Dec 132017

Matchmaking, Mistletoe, and Christmas Magic with Jane Austen’s Characters!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

I’ve enjoyed so many Austen-Inspired anthologies these past few years and yet, I still beg for more! πŸ˜‰ I was elated when I saw the authors featured in this collection; I’ve read and loved several works by each author, and I know they are one talented and imaginative group! In addition, I love that this anthology features stories set during the Christmas season – don’t you love seeing Jane Austen’s characters celebrate the holidays and and witness their Christmas traditions? I love Regency Christmases! (No commercialism there!)

There are four stories in this collection ranging from 20 to 79 in length. I hope you find this breakdown helpful!


  • Type of Story: Pride and Prejudice Variation
  • The Premise: After her sister’s wedding to Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth travels to Kent to be with Charlotte during her confinement. But an unexpected illness has all the Hunsford ladies staying at Rosings during the holidays. What will Elizabeth do when Mr. Darcy shows up? And brings with him her childhood friend turned suitor?
  • My Thoughts: I love how this premise explored what happens when Lady C doesn’t travel to Longbourn and give Mr. Darcy hope. I also love that Elizabeth has another eligible suitor (whom she has already rejected once before!) pursuing her! This story was so lovely and festive with the residents of Rosings being snowbound, everyone decorating for Christmas, and Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth sharing some moments together.


  • Type of Story: Pride and Prejudice Variation
  • The Premise: After the Netherfield Ball, strong rains prevent some people from traveling to London. Meanwhile some unexpected guests stop by Netherfield saying they were invited and Caroline Bingley comes down with an illness that infuriates and mortifies her! What does it all mean?
  • My Thoughts: I love that this story is a bit of a crossover with Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Tom Bertram all popping into this Pride and Prejudice tale. Emma’s matchmaking attempts with this new group were especially fun to witness and I enjoyed the fast forming friendship between Mr. Hurst and Tom Bertram! πŸ˜‰ While I do like the idea of some Austenesque metafiction, I will admit I wasn’t overly fond of the β€œAunt Jane” storyline. It felt like the restricted length of this story didn’t give enough space to do this idea justice.

NO BETTER GIFT – Wendi Sotis

  • Type of Story: Pride and Prejudice Variation
  • The Premise: Mr. Darcy passes through Meryton on his way home for Christmas and finds the town deserted… His concern and curiosity is piqued when he finds the beguiling country miss he so carefully wanted to avoid at Netherfield performing duties well below her. What has brought on this drastic change?
  • My Thoughts: I love that Mr. Darcy returns to Meryton alone and the many ways he shows Elizabeth his honorable and sterling character. Both his and Elizabeth’s actions are so admirable in this tale. I loved witnessing Elizabeth”s thought process and how she grew to look at Mr. Darcy differently. I enjoyed witnessing the preparations for Christmas and the forthright conversations between Darcy and Elizabeth.


  • Type of Story: Mansfield Park Vignette
  • The Premise: After breaking off his relationship with Mary Crawford, Edmund discover how Fanny grows more dear to him and plans to ask if she could love him enough to marry him. The only issue is finding the right moment to have this very delicate conversation…
  • My Thoughts: I love that Ms Cornthwaite wrote a romantic story about Mansfield Park characters and that she gave us the declaration/happy ending that Jane Austen left to the readers’ imagination! (Sorry, Miss Austen, I do wish you gave us more!) It was fun to see Edmund suffer a little in this one and witness the scheming of some his relations who help/hinder his cause.


A Very Austen Christmas is a beautiful and heartwarming gift for readers who want some Jane Austen in their Christmas season. I greatly enjoyed these creative and festive stories and loved that so many of my favorite authors collaborated together. If anything, I would have loved a little more variety with these stories (as Pride and Prejudice inspired stories kind of tipped the balance a little) or for some stories to be a little longer. But overall, this collection is one I think any Janeite would be happy to find under their Christmas tree!

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  50 Responses to “A Very Austen Christmas – Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite”


    Def on my to-be-read list this Christmas break! I love anything Laura Hile writes!


    This sounds absolutely wonderful. I too love Regency Christmas books. Can’t wait to read this when I have broke up for the Christmas holidays all snuggled up. Wonderful


      Hello, Michelle. My husband bought the kindle ebook and read the stories. He liked that he could read each story in a few hours and go do something else before returning to start another story. It fits a hectic Christmas schedule very well. Thank you for commenting!


      “Snuggled up” with a book — isn’t that just the best?
      We wrote these stories with “comfort reading” in mind. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Michelle.


      I love the traditions of Regency Christmases – gathering the greenery, Yule log, gifts to tenant farmers and servants. So lovely!


    Sorry Meredith but in my opinion you can’t have too many stories about Darcy and Elizabeth. (I’m secretly hoping they are visiting Mansfield Park in that story however I think probably not!)
    I will be having a Christmas book shopping spree and this will definitely be included.
    Thank you for such a great review.


      Hi, Glynis. I’m so glad you love Darcy and Elizabeth as much as we do. You’ll probably find most of your Austen favorites in the anthology, for Laura Hile wrote a mashup including characters from P & P, Emma, and Mansfield Park. In fact, Miss Austen even managed to insert herself into the story.

      We hope you enjoy reading our anthology. We wanted it to be uplifting and romantic. Thank you!


      Hooray for the “book shopping spree,” Glynis!
      My husband and sons roll their eyes at me when I tell then that Amazon gift cards are a wonderful gift. Because … oh, the delight of choosing new books!


      LOL! I know many readers share your opinion, Glynis! But I’ve fallen hard for Ms. Hile’s Patrick McGillvary and Ms. Cornthwaite’s Mr. Knightley! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for checking out my review!


        Meredith, thanks for the smilng endorsement for our swoon-worthy friend, the Admiral.

        In all fairness, I need to point out that Admiral McGillvary is not mine. He was created by Susan Kaye (author of Frederick Wentworth, Captain). He wove through a fan fiction story that we co-authored, and she kindly allowed me to use him in Mercy’s Embrace.

        However he comes, we loves him! πŸ™‚


    Looking forward to reading this one! I am currently reading Christmas anthologies and novellas that have been on my TBR pile for over a year! It has been so busy getting organized for Christmas that I only have time for a short story these days!


      Hello, Caroleincanada! I know! We’re all so busy. I heard today that my elder daughter, her husband, and their three children are coming after all – next week – at the same time my younger daughter and her husband are coming. It’s going to be FUN at Helm house!

      That’s the nice thing about anthologies. You can read a story and set the book aside until you have a chance to get back to it.

      Thanks, dear!


      I used to laugh at the thought of “Christmas in July.” But this year, being crazy busy, I totally get it. Thanks for your interest in our anthology, Carole. And Merry Christmas, too!

      (It’s not to early to say that anymore, wow.)


      That’s great that you are catching up on some of your holiday reading, Carole! I know it feels great to take those books off the TBR pile! πŸ˜‰ It’s a great time of year to read short stories. We have so much to keep busy with!


    Thanks for the recommendation, Meredith!
    I was looking forward to this Christmas post and I see you gave this anthology a high rating πŸ˜‰
    ItΒ΄s lovely to read about preparing for Christmas in the Regency atmosphere with our favourite characters. WouldnΒ΄t it be nice to “travel” to these stories and enjoying the festivities putting the mistletoe, wrapping gifts, attending balls and singing carols?. Of course, I wouldnΒ΄t like to stay near Caroline Bingley and her bad mood! LOL


      Hi, Teresa! I’ve been looking forward to hearing what Meredith thought, as well. I’m so pleased that she liked our stories.

      I would love to be a character in any of these stories. Such lovely Christmases!

      Caroline doesn’t get much face time in this book. lol Mine takes place at Rosings, and Laura made her sick. Ha!

      Wendi left out both terrible sisters. Barbara takes us to Thornton Lacey, and there are no Caroline sightings there.

      Thank you!


      The lovely thing about Austen fiction is that we get to escape to a familiar world with people we enjoy — by definition a “comfort read” ! With a bit of Caroline and Wickham — and Mr. Elton! — tossed in to flavor the whole.

      Who knew that Jane Austen and romance and Christmas festivities would combine so well? Thanks for your interest in our anthology, Teresa. Merry Christmas!


      I liked this one a lot more than the other Christmas book I read this year! πŸ™‚ And I know readers will too! I would so love to experience a Regency Christmas! And with Jane Austen’s characters? Sounds perfect. But I agree, maybe some distance from some characters like Caroline and Lady C would be best!


    This was one of my favorite holiday reads this season. I especially loved that MP got some shine there. The other stories were a nice group, too. Great writers.

    Enjoyed your review, Meredith!


      Hi, Sophia Rose! You just made my day. I’m SO glad you enjoyed A Very Austen Christmas.

      I loved Barbara’s story, too! Poor Edmund! I’m glad he was determined. πŸ˜‰

      Have a wonderful Christmas!


      Sophia Rose, thank you for the kind words. It was such a surprise that the four of us, each writing separately, came up with stories that were unique and yet combined so well. Have a very Merry Christmas!


      Me too! It was a nice surprise to see MP featured! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for checking out my review, Sophia! Will look for yours, glad to hear you enjoyed this collection!


    Meredith, thanks so much for the enthusiastic review. It is a pleasure to work with such talented writers.

    *grin* You were right, The Christmas Matchmaker kept wanting to be a novel …


    I hope to add this one to my collection with my Christmas money. Wendi Sotis is one of my favorite Austen variations authors; I love her tone and writing style and just everything about her writing. I am not as familiar with the other three authors, but Meredith’s review makes me definitely want to check out their works!!

    Wishing everyone a joyous Christmastide,
    Susanne πŸ™‚


      Wendi’s story has so much heart. You will love it, Susanne. I sure do. Merry Christmas!


      Hi, Susanne! I’ve known and loved Wendi for eight or nine years now. We beta (edit) for each other. In fact, neither of us has ever published without having the other beta, so I’m a huge fan of everything she’s ever written.

      I hope A Very Austen Christmas helps to make your Christmas even merrier. Thanks for commenting.


      Great idea, Susanne! Hope you find some gift cards in your stocking! πŸ˜‰ I agree with you about Wendi’s writing, I’ve only read 2 other works by her, but I love her style and portrayals of Darcy and Elizabeth. Hope you enjoy this whole collection!


    I read this and truly enjoyed it. Great review, Meredith.


    Wish-list… I love that cover. That is so beautiful and that guy. Man… great review Meredith.


      Hello, J.W. Garrett! Thanks for the compliments regarding the cover. We all love it, too. Our hero is quite swoon-worthy. Don’t you think?

      Meredith’s review was wonderful, as usual.

      Thanks so much for commenting!


      Hope you find it under your tree, Jeanne! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading my review! Hugs!


    Love Regency Christmas stories. Adore P&P Christmas stories, and this has been in my wish list since it came out. I reread most of the Christmas novellas I own every year and have to start earlier each year to fit in the ones I want to revisit. This one definitely looks like a re-reader to me. I am really intrigued by the blurb of Wendi Sotis’s story. Great review, Meredith. Thanks!


      Hi, Michelle! We all love Austen Christmas stories, too. I confess that I read my Christmas anthologies every year, too, as well as watch the Hallmark Christmas movies. I love Christmas romance.

      Wendi’s story is really wonderful. I think you’ll like it.

      Thank you for commenting!


      I love that you reread your collection of Christmas novellas each year!! Do you have any favorites? What a great way to get into the Christmas spirit!


    This book sounds wonderful and so festive πŸ™‚


      Hello, Charlotte! We like to call this anthology “The Book That Friends Built.” We are like-minded authors who all write happily-ever-after stories, and A Very Austen Christmas is no exception.

      Thank you for sharing!


      Absolutely! It is great to enjoy some festive reads during the Christmas season! Hope you get the chance to read it soon!


    This was definitely a fun book. The Christmas Matchmaker had moments of straight up giggling while reading. I do agree that the “Aunt Jane” thing needs about 14 more chapters. LOL The alternate suitor in Her Christmas Gift had a whole lot in common with Mr. Collins. LOL Oh I enjoyed it. And the ability to read it in pieces was nice too. Thanks ladies for your work!


      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Stephanie! I’d love 14 more chapters for The Christmas Matchmaker! But so true about the funny bits! I enjoyed the new suitor in Her Christmas Gift, he provided some nice competition! πŸ˜‰


        Hi, Stephanie! Everyone always wants more of whatever Laura writes. Her stories always fascinate me. Blame me for this one, though. I was trying my best to meet a deadline and pestered the other authors for their stories. I couldn’t finish the cover without the page count, and Wendi needed everything to have time to format it.

        Thank you so much for commenting.


        Meredith, writing Thomas was cathartic for me. He is based on an old “boyfriend” of mine. I’ll have to send you the back story sometime.


    Thanks for taking to time to read it and review, Meredith! We’re so glad you liked it!! Thanks to all who have responded, too. πŸ™‚

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