A Bespelling and Bewitching Jane Austen Paranormal Love-Fest!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Amazon Vine
It is evident that Jane Austen and the paranormal genre make an inspiring and intriguing combination. In the last two years at least a dozen or so Jane Austen/Paranormal novels have been published, and the trend doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon! Bespelling Jane Austen is a four novella anthology written by four diverse and skilled authors. Each novella infuses different elements of the supernatural world and is around 80-110 pages in length. These authors did a magnificent job of remaining true to the important themes and characters of the original novels, and I was greatly impressed with how they were able to condense and combine various plot events to fit into the framework of a novella.
Almost Persuaded – Mary Balogh (reincarnation)
In Mary Balogh’s variation on Persuasion Jane Everett (Anne Elliot) and Captain Mitford (Wentworth) are destined soul mates that have lived, loved, and lost many past lives with each other. For various reasons Jane and Captain Mitford have never been able to fulfill their destiny and spend eternity together. Will this lifetime be the time they succeed?
I usually love heartrending, romantic Persuasion-esque tales, but this one didn’t really captivate me. It was sort of bland and the romance felt underdeveloped. It felt like Jane and Captain Mitford didn’t fall in love with each other, but merely felt that they were “destined” to love each other. (3 stars)
Northanger Castle – Colleen Gleason (vampires and vampire hunters)
Caroline Merrill (Catherine Morland) is an avid reader of “horrid” novels and because of this she is in the possession of a very active imagination. She travels to Bath armed with a silver cross, wooden stakes, and a wealth of knowledge about the “undead.” Will she be able to determine which one of her new acquaintances is a vampire?
I loved this one! There just aren’t enough stories about Northanger Abbey and this one was a fantastic homage to Jane Austen’s original! I think Ms. Gleason captured Jane Austen’s humor and essence beautifully. I loved how the reader was just as in the dark as Caroline until the very end! (5 stars)
Blood and Prejudice – Susan Krinard (vampires)
Soon after Elizabeth makes the acquaintances of business philanthropist, Fitzwilliam Darcy and lawyer, George Wickham, she makes the discovery that they are both vampires. When Elizabeth learns that the two men are rivals, she cannot help but believe the nefarious and deceitful lies George Wickham has filled her mind with. But ruthless vampire or not, Elizabeth cannot deny the magnetizing attraction she feels for Darcy.
This was my first time reading a novel that featured Mr. Darcy as a vampire and I loved it! He was mysterious, dangerous, and even more sexy! Because he was a two hundred year old vampire, he was very similar in character and manners to Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, an aspect I greatly enjoyed. In addition, I loved how Ms. Krinard cleverly and adroitly inserted and modernized many plot events from Pride and Prejudice into her novella, (i.e. Elizabeth needing to visit Jane at Netherfield, Aunt Gardner and Elizabeth touring Pemberley, and of course Lydia and her mischief)! (5 stars)
Little to Hex Her – Janet Mullany (witches, elves, and an abundance of other supernatural beings)
Modern-day Emma Woodhouse, temporarily in charge of her sister’s paranormal dating service, Hartfield Dating Agency, spends her days helping werewolves, witches, elves, and naiads find love. When her business starts to fail and her funds disappear, Emma can’t figure out who is behind the sabotage. Is is her disgruntled and spurned client, Mr. Elton, her questionable and flirtatious new friend, Frank Churchill, or her ex-boyfriend and landlord, George Knightley?
I found this modern adaption to be entertaining, comedic, and intriguing. I thought it was perfect that Emma was running a dating agency, and enjoyed learning about her unique clientèle. My one complaint is that the story seemed a little unromantic. I wasn’t too fond about the declaration-of-love scene taking place while someone was fixing their breakfast, it felt a little anticlimactic. (4 stars)
Overall, I found this anthology to be well-written, entertaining, and definitely bewitching! Moreover, I would love to see a second Jane Austen paranormal anthology published! I highly recommend!