Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Note: This is the second book in Shannon Winslow’s time-travel/fantasy series, Crossroads Collection, but each book is stand-alone and does not need to be read in order.
In her daring and inventive new series, Shannon Winslow has created an organization that helps people have a second chance at life. The clients that come to Crossroads Center have had their lives cut tragically and unexpectedly short, and now they are presented with the choice of returning back to their old life (a little bit wiser about what lies ahead in their future) or change lives completely. In each book the story will focus on a new character and how they deal with this new and extraordinary opportunity.
In Leap of Hope we meet Hope O’Neil – college student, orphan, and devoted Jane Austen fan. And she finds herself quite delighted and intrigued by all she learns at Crossroads Center. Since she doesn’t have any family remaining, Hope is thrilled with the prospect of living out her fantasy of being a Jane Austen heroine! While she knows there are some drawbacks to life in the Regency era (hygiene, lack of rights or occupation), Hope is determined it is what she wants. And she chooses to have her second chance in the form of Kathleen Barrett, the second eldest daughter (of 4) in a genteel family living in Hampshire. Hope even entertains the notion that her life as Kathleen Barrett may follow the same footsteps as Elizabeth Bennet… you know with a household full of daughters, an entailed estate, and being the second daughter…. 😉
I must admit, I was a little apprehensive when I first heard of Shannon Winslow’s new series. While I’ve read a few time-travel and time-slip stories, I was starting feel my enjoyment wane on them a little recently. But then I read an excerpt from this tale where we witness Hope’s first moments as Kathleen and I was sold! Hard. Like, no brainer. Like, why were you even hesitating?!?
My favorite aspect of this story and the reason I immediately fell in love with it, was spotting all the fun ways Hope would relate and compare her experiences to characters and situations in Jane Austen’s novels. She immediately recognizes that her new sister Lucy has some Jane Bennet-like tendencies. And when she falls off her horse and is brought home by a dashing new neighbor, she can’t help but feel like she just had a Marianne-meets-Willoughby moment. 🙂 Now, I don’t want to give away all the fun allusions and parallels Ms. Winslow cleverly and adroitly weaves into this story, but I will say that they were not quite so predictable. Which was an immensely pleasant surprise! Even though Hope was hoping for a Pride-and-Prejudice-like life, her life at times would resemble other Jane Austen novels instead! So fun!
Other aspects of the story I loved was how well-rounded and balanced it all was. Shannon Winslow came up with an inventive and diverting premise and her execution was masterly. She created an endearing heroine, a likable cast of characters (including some charming suitors!), and always kept the reader guessing. I loved following the twists and turns of Hope’s “Austen Kind of Life” and am definitely hoping that another client at Crossroads will be wanting or experiencing the same…maybe Karen?
Well-written, original, and beautifully composed Leap of Hope is an entertaining and delightful adventure. Fresh and fun, this story is a perfect choice for readers who have enjoyed other time-slip/body-swap stories like Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Attempting Elizabeth, Austenland, and the Lost in Austen mini-series. For those who are still on the fence, I recommend reading a sample excerpt or two and taking a leap! 😉