Feb 032014
 

Love-at-First-Slight-cover_rev-682x1024Replacing Fine Eyes with Smoldering Eyes!!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

In this incredibly clever and rollicking romp of an Austenesque novel, J. Marie Croft decides to put the shoe on the opposite foot and have nearly all the characters of Pride and Prejudice swap genders!

  • Instead of 5 Bennet sisters there are 5 Bennet brothers – Martin, Charles, William, and the troublesome twins, Kit and Laurie.
  • Mrs. Bennet is a retiring and unsociable individual who prefers staying home reading novels and Mr. Bennet has nervous complaints and is anxious to get his sons married!
  • The recently widowed Jane Davenport travels to Netherfield Park in company of her two dandy brothers, her sister-in-law, and her much sought after heiress friend, Elizabeth Darcy.
  • Mr. Collins’s honorable and esteemed patron is Sir Lewis de Bourgh, who lives with his unmarried son, Andrew in Kent.
  • The sycophantic Olivia Collins hopes to wed William Bennet, but he seems to only have eyes for the flirtatious and comely Felicity Wickham.

I most definitely loved how J. Marie Croft cunningly and craftily reconstructed the story of Pride and Prejudice with the genders reversed! It worked really, really well – the insult at the Meryton Assembly, the reason William travels to Kent, the disastrous proposal scene, the debacle in Brighton – were all slightly altered due to the gender change in a way that was satisfying and credible. For example, instead of chasing after and flirting with redcoats, Kit and Laurie (Kitty and Lydia) spend time idolizing and imitating the militia officers in Meryton.

Like Jane Austen, J. Marie Croft has a splendid command of language. Her narration is witty, subtle, and sharp, her characters engage in banter and pithy remarks, her scenes drip with sarcasm and satire. One of my favorite scenes is where Mr. Bennet is bitterly complaining and whining about Mary King being no longer a marriageable prospect for one of his sons. Mrs. Bennet remarks: “Indeed, dear. Now, shall we play piquet, or can I interest you in more of these grapes? They are rather sour though, are they not?” – page 85 (HA! Love it!)

I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters in this novel and loved how they all had their typical odd quirks and eccentricities. William and Elizabeth with their penchant for puns and quips, Cassie Fitzwilliam with her pointed machinations to make William uncomfortable, Mr. Bennet with his competition with Sir William Lucas, and Mrs. Bennet with her guilty pleasure of reading gothic novels! The only thing I felt lacking in this novel was a little bit more closure at the end for some of these characters. Olivia Collins, Jane Davenport, and Charles Bennet in particular – I would love to know what became of them!

If the assurance of an inventive premise, wit, hilarious misadventures, and humorous gender swaps isn’t enough to entice you to pick up a copy of Love at First Slight, then perhaps the fact that this novel may be the only novel where Elizabeth goes from being Elizabeth Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet will! 😀 I highly recommend!

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  39 Responses to “Love at First Slight – J. Marie Croft”

  1.  

    Great review, Meredith! 🙂 I am a big fan of J. Marie Croft’s humor and wit. I found the gender role reversals quite amusing. I looked forward to seeing how she was going to transform each scene and characteristic for the opposite gender. Felicity Wickham and Olivia Collins were great! 🙂

    •  

      Thank you, Jakki! Once I saw how well it was executed, I couldn’t wait to see how the rest of the story would unfold with these gender swaps! It was definitely a very funny experience to see a female Wickham and Collins! 🙂

    •  

      Thanks, Jakki! You and Meredith are tremendous supporters of Austenesque writers. I’m a fan of you both.

  2.  

    Sounds intriguing! It shows there are no limits to the variations on a wonderful original story.

  3.  

    Whew! Thanks, Meredith! I can finally stop biting my nails, sweating, and sitting on tenterhooks. For what seemed an eternity, whenever I opened my ‘Top Sites’ window, there was that saucy Elizabeth Darcy staring back at me from your Currently Reading sidebar. Worrywart that I am, the worst was feared. (“Alas! Meredith can’t even get through my story!”) Now I’m fairly swooning over your review.

    You might be interested to know my original manuscript had closure for everyone, but the book’s first publisher wanted the ending cut short and secondary characters’ fates left to readers’ imaginations. Hmm. If there’s enough interest, a sequel might be in order. What do you think?

    •  

      Oh I’m so sorry, Joanne! Didn’t mean to make you sweat! I read your lovely book on the first two and a half days of our vacation and am still way behind on changing the widget on my side bar! Your book was a delight to get through! 🙂

      I am most definitely interested to learn more about what lies in the future for Charles and Jane, both such interesting characters! And I felt my heart softening towards Olivia, would love a sequel! 🙂

      •  

        No apology necessary, Meredith. I’m a dreadful worrywart, and your opinion is very important to me.
        I can’t imagine actually writing a LaFS sequel, but a short story might be in order to tie up loose ends.

  4.  

    I look forward to my turn reading this one. I am beyond curious knowing about all the gender reversing. Glad it was so amusing and fun to read.

  5.  

    This book sounds fascinating, and I am wondering if I will be able to read it with the character reversals; however, I trust your review, Meredith, that I will.

    •  

      Don’t worry, Eva! wasn’t that hard to follow. 🙂 The personalities stand out enough that you can remember each character very well.

    •  

      One Amazon reviewer had this advice about reading LaFS: “Start reading it as a brand new Regency romance novel. It won’t take you long to figure it out.”
      I hope you’ll give it a chance, Eva.

  6.  

    Oh my goodness, this looks like a LOT of fun! Thanks so much for putting it on my radar! 😀

  7.  

    Lovely review Meredith! I am glad to know you felt the gender reversal allowed the story to still be plausible. I have no idea how Hunsford could happen. This one is very definitely on my TBR!

  8.  

    You had me at hello on this one!

  9.  

    I loved reading this book.

  10.  

    I’m so intrigued bye the summary! As an author, I wonder how mind-twisting it was for Marie to keep all these character swaps straight in her head. It couldn’t have been easy, but she not only succeeded, but excelled at it! Congrats!

  11.  

    What an original plot! I admire J Marie Croft´s way of giving a new twist in Pride and Prejudice retellings!. I think it must be difficult to be original in Austenesque novels with so many stories but J Marie Croft has got it! Who could have imagined it?… Elizabeth Darcy turning into Elizabeth Bennet 😉 it´s great!

  12.  

    Definitely looking forward to this one! I’ve put it on my list to read between school assignments. (blah) Something has to put life back into this old girl. LOL Your review just peps up my need to read. Brilliantly fun premise!

  13.  

    So glad to see you enjoyed it, as I’ll be reading it soon. Sounds like such a clever retelling.

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