Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Authors
If you haven’t heard of Holidays with Jane, it is an anthology series of Austen-inspired holiday-themed short stories. There are six stories in each anthology (one for each Jane Austen novel) and each story takes place in present-day. The lovely ladies who collaborate on these anthologies have published four anthologies so far (Christmas Cheer, Spring Fever, Trick or Sweet, Summer of Love) and have a new one scheduled to release soon – Thankful Hearts). In this collection we see Halloween-themed parties and dances, fall festivals, and bit of magic…
I hope you find this breakdown helpful!
MUST BE MAGIC – Kimberly Truesdale
The Premise: As soon as Anne’s family puts their beloved home on the market, two people return to town – the man who Anne broke up with eight years ago and someone intent on finding the powerful talisman hidden in Anne’s home…
What I Loved: That this story infused a bit of magic into Persuasion! I liked how Anne’s reason for breaking up with Fareed (Captain Wentworth) wasn’t due to persuasion, but more to do with her wanting to learn about herself and her gifts. I loved all the talk of spells and seeing what Anne did with her magic as well as the trip to the apple farm and Halloween party.
ONCE UPON A STORY – Rebecca M. Fleming
The Premise: In a desolate state because she is pretty sure the whole Tilney family hates her, Catie retells the events leading up to the Fall-o-ween Festival to some friendly sisters, Jane and Cassie, who she just met at Mansfield Perk…
What I Loved: I love flashback stories! And I thought Jane and Cassie were so adorable with their comments and teasing. I was a little confused by how Catie’s research tied in to the whole Battlefield Legend, but I really liked the different type of conflict between Catie and the Tilneys. Plus it was so much fun to visit Mansfield Perk and imagine myself indulging in all these delectable beverages!
INSENSIBLE – Cecilia Gray
The Premise: Miriam is left in the very sticky situation of having to throw a high-profile Halloween party for client, Brandon Firestone, and not having any funds to do it…
What I Loved: It’s a Marianne/Brandon/Willoughby story! Just like with Holidays with Jane: Spring Fever, I loved the focus on just one Dashwood sister. I think my favorite thing about this story was Brandon – he was utterly swoon-worthy! And I loved seeing Miriam’s thoughts about him and her reflections about their past encounters together. They really are too cute! Also, brilliant idea to have Willow Bee as the name of the band! One of my faves!
EMMA EVER AFTER – Melissa Buell
Premise: Emma Woodhouse is busy planning the Fall Ball, the charity event of the year, when the most brilliant idea comes to her – Bachelor Auction…
What I Loved: Ah! How perfect for Emma, right? I love that this story had a bit more autumn flavor. The rustic decorations Emma used for the Fall Ball sounded perfectly elegant. Emma’s first encounter with Philip Eltonwas hilarious, and I of course loved the dynamic between her and Knightley!
MANSFIELD UNMASKED – Jennifer Becton
Premise: Wanting to help the human he most adores, Pug decides to harness his magic powers on Halloween to help Spenser see that he is truly in love with Pryce…
What I Loved: This story is Mansfield Park meets A Midsummer’s Night Dream!! Love the concept, and love that Pug was Puck! This mash-up worked brilliantly and I really thought it was clever how the Pug mixed and matched the couples…sometimes unintentionally! It truly was a Shakespearean comedy of errors! But also very sweet! One of my faves!
Beyond Midnight – Jessica Grey
Premise: Forced by his sister to attend the Trick or Sweet Dance, Will Harper surprisingly finds his sister’s friend, Elena attractive and interesting. But will the magic of the night be broken at the stroke of twelve…
What I Loved: Such a cute story! I love that Ana was looking out for her older brother and wanting him to date better girls. I thought the whole popular athlete vs. drama geek dynamic was very fitting and loved how Will reacted when he finally gave Elena a chance. The costumes were great and the ending just makes you melt! Well done!
It truly is impressive how these authors find such inventive and diverse ways to pay tribute to these Jane Austen’s novels! You don’t need witchcraft to be spellbound by this fantastic and festive collection of Austen-inspired stories! I continue to love each and every one these holiday anthologies! I highly recommend!