In this light magical correspondence, letters fly between Cecilia (author Pat), with Aunt Charlotte in Essex Rushton manor, and her cousin Kate (author Caro), with Aunt Elizabeth in London's Berkeley Square for alluring Georgina's season. Mistaking Kate for "odious marquise" Thomas of Schofield, a mysterious Miranda tries to poison Kate with drink from hot chocolate pot at Royal College of Wizards investiture for their country neighbor Sir Hilary of Bedrick Hall. When their shy friend Dorothea attracts men unwillingly, her step-mama Miranda Griscomb nee Tanistry, reveals evil motives and immense power, with ambitions against innocent brother Oliver.
My Rating: ****
Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. Sound fun? It is. Loads. Two cousins, Cecy and Kate, exchange letters, one in London for the season, the other at a country estate. It's all the romance and comedy of manners fun of a Regency novel, but in an alternate universe where spells are flying and love potions are messing things up and people are vying not just for titles and land, but magical power. I found this really entertaining, even though I occasionally found myself mixing up the two girls and their love interests, not always sure who was talking - surprising considering each girl was written by a different author... they must have similar writing styles. I've heard that there's a sequel, but that it's not as charming or hilarious as this one so I don't think I'll follow it up.
Definitely recommended for fans of historical fiction, magic, and regency romance.
Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.
My Rating: ****
I was in the mood to read this back at the beginning of December when I requested it from the library. Unfortunately, so was everybody else in Boise so it took me this long to get it. I thought about just returning it, but decided to try it out first. I'm so glad I did. I haven't laughed that much at a book in ages. It was truly hilarious. The first story was definitely my favorite, but I loved that all three take place in the same town and interconnect. All the characters were fun, but I especially loved the parents - the kind of parents who cut Harry Potter novel-sized pieces of cake and get arrested in riots caused by ceramic Christmas village pieces - oh my gosh I really just laughed my whole way through this.
Content: John Greene's story had a bit of profanity and there was a bit of sexually-based humor and innuendo.
Recommended for: Read this next Christmas if you love funny contemporary romances.
Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.
Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.
The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?
My Rating: ****
I've liked Julie Klassen novels before, but I was surprised by just how much I really liked this one. I'd honestly call it more of a 4.5 stars. I usually check out a Klassen novel when I'm in the mood for a clean regency romance, but this one more than fit the bill. Her novels tend to feel long and rambly and a bit heavy on the Christian influence for me, but this one had none of those problems.
First off, Mariah is secretly a writer. I LOVED that, because it gave me an in-depth look at what Jante Austen's life might have been like. How she published with the help of her family, the every day life of a secret novelist, how to handle it when the secret becomes known, all the scandal and social pressure against being a novelist - oh man I loved all the details. Plus, if you're a Jane Austen fan, there are subtle nods to both Mansfield Park and Persuasion (my fave!). That, and there are tons of details about the navy and some very fun swashbuckling characters.
So, it's top notch as a historical fiction. Then there are the mysteries within mysteries. I had so much fun guessing things and I was very glad not to have been able to predict everything. The romance is sweet, but not overly gushy and saccharine. There are lots of great characters to get to know and love.
Recommended for: Fans of regency romance. If you've heard of Julie Klassen but weren't sure about the label "Christian Fiction" I'd say don't worry about it. The Christian influences in this one are minimal, but the romance is very clean. I especially recommend this one for Austen fans.