Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spotlight Review:

BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN – Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany
HQN
ISBN: 978-0-373-77501-9
October 2010
Paranormal Romance Anthology

BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN contains novellas combining some stories by Jane Austen with the paranormal: ALMOST PERSUADED (Persuasion); LITTLE TO HEX HER (Emma); NORTHANGER ABBEY (Northanger Castle); BLOOD AND PREJUDICE (Pride and Prejudice).

ALMOST PERSUADED – Mary Balogh

Three sisters, Louisa, Jane, and Edna, are daughters of Sir Horace Everett of Goodrich Hall. Jane was always getting into trouble as a child for her vivid imagination and insisting that she remembered having lived previous lives. Shocked at Jane's tales, her parents reprimanded her and punished her for telling lies. After that time, Jane suppressed any unusual memories and became a quiet and compliant young woman.

The ladies visit the vicarage and meet the vicar's brother, Captain Robert Mitford, who is injured and home from the wars. Jane is stunned when she meets him. She recognizes him—she had known him before, intimately. Robert had studied under a guru in India and knows he has lived many lifetimes, but had never chosen love over complications set before him. He does not recognize Jane, but he knows that all the women he has loved through the ages have looked totally different. Could she be the one?

If you enjoy reincarnation stories as much as I do, you will want to read this delightful novella. Ms. Balogh does her usual good story telling. It is a sure winner.

NORTHANGER CASTLE – Colleen Gleason
Bath , England – 1845

Caroline Merrill is an avid reader of Gothic novels. In her bag, she carries a large cross and a stake just in case she runs across any vampires. Currently she is in Bath as a companion to Mrs. Argenot. She meets Isobel and James in the Pump Room, and while dancing with James, she sees a pale man standing in the shadows watching her. He looks like Ruthven, the handsome vampire from her novels; she shivers deliciously. Could it be that she has found a vampire looking for a victim in the crowded Pump Room?

A short, light-hearted tale that readers of vampire stories are sure to enjoy.

BLOOD AND PREJUDICE – Susan Krinard
New Haven, Connecticut – Present Day

The Bennet family is gathered to celebrate their dad's birthday. Most of the Bennets work in the family pharmaceutical company, Bennet Laboratories. Lizzy runs a book store, but Jane and Mary work at the lab. Mr. Charles Bingley, who is hoping to acquire the company, arrives with his good friend, Mr. Darcy. One look and the friendly Charles and Jane are smitten. Lizzy can't help but be attracted to the brooding Darcy. When the ladies are invited to the Bingley estate, Lizzy meets Caroline, Charles's sister, who is beautiful, unfriendly, and focusing her attention on Darcy. Lizzy is surprised to overhear Darcy say nice things about her, but she does not trust him. And then, of course, there is Mr. Wickham, the lawyer…

An imaginative story written in first person about all of the wonderful characters we met in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but with a twist. And what a twist—there are vampires among the players. I don't think I will ever look at these Jane Austen characters in quite the same way!

LITTLE TO HEX HER – Janet Mullany
Washington D.C. – Present Day

Emma's sister left her in charge of a paranormal dating agency. Things are not working out well, especially when Harriet, the witch, turned an elf into a frog, and he is threatening to sue. The agency's clients include elves, wizards, vampires, gargoyles, etc. so that it isn't always easy to put a good couple together. The good-looking wizard, George Knightly, whom Emma briefly dated in college, always seems to be nearby, and although Emma doesn't date the clients, when the handsome vampire, Frank Churchill, asks her out for a drink, how could she refuse, even though she realizes one must be very careful if dating a vampire.

Missy, who couldn't finish a sentence if her life depended on it, is a terrific and original secondary character. This is a comical tale that will have readers laughing out loud. It is sexy, clever, and very funny, and will leave you with a smile on your face.

BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The stories were well written and fun to read.

Marilyn Heyman

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