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 Comments on "Love at First Slight – J. Marie Croft"

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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! 🙂


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


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


Let’s hope there are no limits to the variations and that we never reach an ‘It’s all been done before’ stage.

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… Read more »
Sophia Rose

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.


I look forward to being your guest at Delighted Reader on the 23rd, Sophia Rose.

Eva E

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.


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.

Living a Goddess Life

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


I’m pleased LaFS is a blip on your radar.


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!


I’m sure LaFS is in good company on your TBR list, Ceri. So many books; so little time!
Re Hunsford … ‘misunderstanding’ is an understatement.


You had me at hello on this one!


Hello, Betsy! I’m glad you’ve been had … so to speak.


I loved reading this book.


Yay! Thanks for reading my book, Suzan.
I’ll always fondly remember your kind words about ‘A Little Whimsical in His Civilities’.

Suzan Lauder

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!


Thanks, Suzan! ‘Alias Thomas Bennet is at the top of my TBR list!


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!


I had fun doing the twist. I think I actually snorted aloud when I realized Miss Elizabeth Darcy would become Mrs. Bennet.

Stephanie L

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!


Good luck with the assignments, Stephanie. Hopefully LaFS will provide a diversion when most needed.

Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

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

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