Nov 132017

Sketching the Characters of Jane Austen’s Bad Boys!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Editor


After delivering a splendidly successful and praiseworthy short story anthology devoted to Mr. Darcy, editor Christina Boyd and a team of skilled and imaginative authors have decided to join forces again. This time to divulge the inner workings, untold heartaches, and sometimes scandalous pasts of Jane Austen’s anti-heroes, villains, and charming scoundrels. (Can I get a woot woot?!?) Eleven roguish characters, eleven talented authors, and eleven fascinating tales of human nature and romance. However the question does remain – can these bad boys be redeemed?


All stories in this anthology take place during the Regency period – either during, before, or slightly after the original stories’ timeline. Some of the characters featured in this collection are truly nefarious villains like George Wickham, Henry Crawford, and Captain Tilney, and some are more tame with their bad behavior such as Frank Churchill, John Thorpe, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. In addition, some are gentlemen rogues from the previous generation – Sir Walter Elliot and General Tilney (we know those two are far from innocent!).

I read all the stories in order and I thought it was very clever that they were arranged in accordance with the order of novels published by Jane Austen (starting with Sense and Sensibility and ending with Northanger Abbey). The stories ranged from 22 to 38 pages in length and I mostly read one to two stories in each sitting. (I enjoyed savoring each story and reflecting on it before diving into the next one.) If I were to give a star rating for each individual story, there would be mostly 5 star ratings for all with just one 4.5 or 4 star rating among the group.


How incredibly excited I am that an anthology like this finally exists! Although I adore Mr. Darcy and love reading stories from his point-of-view, I love it even more when authors shine their spotlights on and flesh out some of Jane Austen’s other creations. Just like with The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know met and exceeded my high expectations and hopeful desires. Each story was thoughtfully composed, skillfully executed, and wonderfully plausible. In addition, I loved the elegant formatting of this compilation and I appreciated all the extra touches like the mature content rating system, foreword, acknowledgments, and informative characters introductions.

However, what I admired and loved most about this anthology was the diverse and unique treatment these rakes and rogues received by the pens of these authors. Some authors revealed the past and gave new understanding of why these characters became unscrupulous cads, while others illustrated how even these hardened rakes can find themselves caught unawares by stirrings of a powerful love. I greatly enjoyed the many creative ways these authors told their tales – the backstories they provided, the clever twists they employed, and the new characters they introduced. I also appreciated the fact that not all these characters were redeemed, and not all lived their lives happily-ever-after – they can’t be like Jane Bennet and make them all good. 😉 I admired the honesty about characters and their natures, but I must admit my romantic heart loved seeing some tender tales of how the love of a good woman can irrevocably change a man. 🙂

I loved the feelings that these stories evoked in me, and how these thoughtful character developments induced me to feel more sympathy and compassion for these characters than I have ever felt before. Yes, even for the truly nefarious rogues! Their pain and disappoint, their insecurity and jealousy, their remorse and regret, their infatuation and devotion were all sensitively rendered and palpably felt.


Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues is another sensational release from Christina Boyd and her team! While this anthology highlights Jane Austen’s bad boys, it also pays tribute to her powers of perception and observations of human nature. I commend Christina and all the talented authors of this anthology for constructing another insightful, stimulating, and remarkably high-caliber anthology for us readers to enjoy!! I emphatically recommend!

NOTE: With some stories marked “mature,” I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.

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There are two fantastic Grand Prizes being offered during this blog tour!!!

One giveaway is a prize pack of 15 paperback books from the authors of this anthology.  One lucky winner will win this prize! To enter for this prize fill out the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the other giveaway is for a lovely collection of items called #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures Prize Pack, and this prize pack includes:

  • Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby and The Colonel)
  • ‘The Compleat Housewife’ Notecards set
  • Jane Austen Playing Cards
  • 6 Jane Austen Postcards
  • A Pride and Prejudice Print autographed by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle

To enter for this prize comment on this blog post and all other blog posts of Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Blog Tour!!

  • These giveaways are open worldwide.
  • These giveaways end December 30th!

My gratitude and thanks to Christina Boyd and all the authors in this anthology for making this blog tour possible!

Come back Monday, December 11th to see a special post spotlighting author, Jenetta James!



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  84 Responses to “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentleman Rogues – Edited by Christina Boyd”


    Great review, Meredith! I just bought it, and with all these amazing authors involved, I know I have some wonderful reading hours ahead. And winning the Pleasures Prize Pack would be the icing on the cake.


    Meredith, As a long time fan of your blog and reviews and lists, I am honored and awed by your 5 star review. That you noticed and appreciated the little details like the character introductions to familiarize the reader with lesser known characters, the mature content rating system in the table of contents, and recognizing that not all could be realistically redeemed…gives me such satisfaction. I am so proud of this project and this DreamTeam of authors who really stepped up to this challenge in writing stories about Jane Austen’s characters that often no one was ever meant to like. Thank you again and again for this thoughtful and well developed review. My heart is full.


      Aww, thank you so much, Christina! I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind that this was going to be another stellar compilation, but it still blew me away! You should be immensely proud, this is an incredible work and it is something entirely new for this sub-genre!


    So glad you loved our Bad Boys as much as we did Meredith! As always I love the review!


    Fabulous review Meredith!!! I just bought the book this week too and have read 3 so far…taking my time and savoring them. I hadn’t picked up on the fact that they are in order of publication but should have as I was in at Michael’s getting the 10 pound note, Jane’s silhouette and Royal Mail stamps framed (in order of publication) just on Friday. Can’t wait to get it back in 2 weeks! What fabulous prize packs too…thank you again to Christina for such a worthy and enticing endeavor!


      Hi Carole! I’m kinda jealous, well, happy for you jealous, that you’re getting your stamps framed. I don’t have the 10 pound note yet but this is a great idea for displaying the stamps I have with the the note when I get it, and silhouette. May ‘steal’ your idea? Love it!


        You are more than welcome to ‘steal’ my idea! I have had the stamps for over a year now or maybe longer and wasn’t sure how I wanted to frame them. So when my sister bought me a Jane ornament for Christmas last year and I knew the 10 pound note was coming out, I thought what perfect way to show them all off in my Jane Austen/Regency corner of my living room!


      Thanks, Carole. That is great news. Looking forward to your review–they are always thoughtful and thorough.


      Thank you, Carole! Each story is truly so wonderful! I am glad to hear you are enjoying it as much as I did! I love that you are framing your stamps and 10 pound note! I don’t have the stamps, but I definitely plan on framing my 10 pound note! Please do take a picture of your lovely Jane Austen/Regency corner! I’d love to see it!


    this is on my TBR



    Wow! That’s quite a giveaway! I appreciate your review so much — I had been checking out this title and was looking forward to reading what you thought about it. Now, I’m convinced I will love it! Thanks again for all your hard work.


    I also bought the book and look forward to reading it. But if I when the big prize I won’t complain either since I haven’t read all of the books. Thanks authors for your give away and to Meredith for hosting. here.


    Great review. I love anthologies and so many wonderful authors. Thanks so much for the giveaway.


      Looking forward to what you have to say about this latest anthology. I am so proud of the endeavor and all these authors. So much talent in one collection. Thank you!


      Me too! It is always great to discover some new-to-you authors through these anthologies. For me both Christina Morland and Katie Oliver are new, and I absolutely adored their stories!


    I love the idea of this book and have had it earmarked for a while. It would be wonderful to know what these guys were like ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. Looking forward to it.


    Great review Meredith. I have this book just waiting to be read and I am really looking forward to it. The list of authors is tremendous so I am already anticipating the stories.


      Glynis–can’t wait to hear what you think!!!! Thank you.


      These authors are amazing and they do such a terrific job!! I imagine writing about these heroes wasn’t easy, especially for those who write more often about Mr. Darcy then any other male, but they truly represented each character so well. Hope you get to read it soon!


    Exciting review, Meredith. What a lineup of authors, YES!! I haven’t purchased yet, but it’s there on my wish list, calling to me….I’m really looking forward to reading it. I think I already commented about this for the cover reveal, but oh, what a beautiful cover.

    What gorgeous giveaways, yummm.


    You really nailed what we were trying to do with this one, Meredith. Thoughtful review. Thanks for hosting our DTK. 🙂


      I appreciate you saying that so much, I feel like my review didn’t do this book justice though – that’s how highly I think of it! So very happy to see you taking part in this anthology, my friend! Love it!


    I read and loved this book. I highly recommend it to all JAFF lovers.


    Woot, woot! Our rakes and rogues pleased a woman worthy of being pleased! Thanks, Meredith, for your insightful review and for accepting that not all Austen’s naughty boys could be redeemed. 😉


    Meredith, what a fun post… I so enjoyed it. Since I don’t Tweet or Facebook, I have to pass on the Raftlecopter. However, thanks for offering another give-a-way for simply commenting. The authors have been so generous. Blessings on the success of Dangerous to Know… I have read it and LOVED it. Every JAFF fan should read it. Thanks again for posting.


    It is exciting. Thank you for the great review.


    Thanks for your lovely and thought-provoking review, Meredith! It’s great that you have love for the rakes and rogues, even while knowing what they are. Makes you appreciate your Mr Bingley all the more, I bet!


      Thank you, Karen! I adored your story about Frank and Jane! It is amazing to see what everyone has done with these characters! LOL! Yes, always! I wouldn’t trade my Mr. Bingley for any of these charming rogues! 😉


    Thanks for this delightful review. I love how you can describe something so well — so helpful to the reader — without giving away any secret plot twists.


      Thank you, Lona! I truly wanted to share all the specifics that I loved, but one that would have made for a super long review, and two it is always fun to be surprised by what authors have in store! So thrilled to see you in this anthology and to once again read your writing! I love what you did with Tom Bertram!


    Great review Meredith, and I agree with everything you said. I am in the middle of this book, but my impressions are the same.
    Congratulations to all the authors and Christina. Great job. I’m wondering, what else you have been planning? 😉


      Kate B, Well, I always have ideas… Just have to find time to be able to do a project the way I envision it. The authors always are top drawer! It’s simply a Matter of making all the parts connect. Thank you for asking.


      Thanks, Kate! I appreciate you checking out my review. 🙂 I’m with you in hoping that Christina has more up her sleeve! She is doing such a phenomenal job with these anthologies!!


    Great review Meredith! Year-end is a busy work season for me but I’m looking forward to reading it and getting some back story on Jane Austen’s famous rakes and rouges! Love that there are so many great authors involved as well!


    Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Meredith, I’m over the moon that you loved the Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues so much! It was a great pleasure and honour to be part of Christina’s dream team on this exciting project and The Darcy Monologues!! All the stories are so beautifully written and thought-provoking, and there are some amazing twists that completely pulled the rug from under me. Some rogues were beautifully redeemed, some were beyond redemption, but just as the banner says, from knowing them better, they are better understood.

    Thanks again for the welcome for the Naughty Boys, and I hope your readers will enjoy Christina’s latest anthology as much as you did.


      My pleasure, Joana!! So happy to see you take part again and I adored your Mr. Willoughby! What a stellar group of authors and what amazing stories you all wrote! I just love everything about it!


    Such a delightful review of these delicious and decadent devils!! (I’m teaching an online poetry workshop so I’m especially alliterative today.)

    I’m not much of a short story person–they always end just as I am thoroughly invested–but this collection, like The Darcy Monologues, will be worth the frustration. 😉



      Thank you, Susanne! I love your clever alliterations! I always love to be alliterative when I can…I blame Jane Austen and her titles for that. 😉

      These stories, while compact, do feel very satisfying and complete. I don’t think many will leave you feeling frustrated!


      Hopefully it won’t be frustrating for you because usually they end just where Miss Austen introduces them. Happy reading! And thank you for supporting these indie authors and our project.


    Oh a book full of irresistable rakes, by so many great authors. It sounds SO good to me 🙂 !!


    Never seen this before, LOVE IT. 🙂


    Congratulations, Christina and company! Writing and publishing an anthology is hard work.


      I’m sure it is even more work than readers imagine! But we are very thankful to the authors and editors that put these anthologies together!!


      And you would know! Congratulations on your holiday book baby — and for beating out the nekkid guy. I just looked and we are currently beating out a barechested vampire Highlander. Hahahha!


    It may be too late, but I was just catching up on reading the comments and then I thought of something: How did you choose who got which bad boy to write about. Can’t imagine there weren’t multiple authors wanting to write about specific favorite rogue of theirs.


      Some I tried to match what they had maybe written in the past… Or like with J Marie Croft and her amazing wit–I knew John Thorpe could not possibly be a Casanova–and she would make much of his clownish ways and idiocy…and make us laugh the whole time while doing it. Others may have asked for a specific character if they felt like they had a strong idea. It really came together well. Very blessed for this talented team.


        Thank you Christina, it was lovely having you answer my very late question. And I even more eager to get into this book now. I love anthologies in general, but JAFF?, YAY. Anyway, there are a handful of authors I haven’t read yet in this collection, and what a great way to sample their writing style. Thanks again. Not knowing where you live, I’ll risk it anyway by saying ‘Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.’


    What an interesting anthology. I look forward to reading about the “bad guys”. I’ve always thought a villain adds so much to a story and gives the hero more to be appreciated. Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie


    I’m still reading this anthology and I have to say I was hooked from the start (thanks to Joana)! To suddenly be turned into liking a character you have not liked in past readings, i.e. Willoughby, and now feel sorry for him…what a dichotomy!

    I cannot possibly choose a favorite as I am still reading the book; however, “A Wicked Game” by Katie Oliver made me love the man! Darn it!

    “Willoughby’s Crossroads” by Joana Starnes made me want to go right through the pages and slap the you-know-what out of that mean Isobel! Poor guy he was set on the road to womanizing so quickly. Come here Mr. Willoughby, I’ll rub your brow for you!

    “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” by Beau North did me in when Cal and the Colonel were traveling to dance among the stars. How I loved that!! I’m afraid that is as far as I have gotten, ladies as I read as I can grab a few minutes here and there. But I KNOW i won’t be let down as these writers are a fabulous group! Thank you for this collection


    I’ve started reading the first story though I haven’t completed it yet. I feel for poor Willoughby to be dumped by his widowed lover for another wealthy and old man. I think it could be a plausible evolution into a cad. Not yet come to Eliza’s story yet so I may change my mind before the story ends.


    I’m really curious about this one! I wonder which guy is the worst bad guy!


    Yes, even villains like George Wickham feel pain, but his empathy for others will always need work!


    Thank you for hosting this #RakesAndGentlemenRogues blog stop, Meredith, and supporting our anthology. The winner of the rafflecopter draw for all the books from the authors is Becky Cherrington. The winner for the blog tour comments (announced by a live draw on Facebook) for the Bingley’s Teas, assortment of notecards, postcards, and playing cards as well as the autographed Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle poster was dholcomb1 (Denise Holcomb). Congratulations! And thank you to all who supported “Dangerus to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues” blog tour. So appreciate!! You made it fun.

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