Oct 172018

Women of Sense, Strength, and Substance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Editor


With two brilliant and beautifully-crafted short-story anthologies – one devoted to Mr. Darcy and one all about Jane Austen’s bad boys – already under her belt, editor Christina Boyd has decided to create a collection that solely spotlights some of Jane Austen’s female characters. And instead of focusing on just one character, like Elizabeth Bennet, or the main heroine of each tale, this collection spotlights sixteen different female characters from various Jane Austen works. Some of the characters featured are well-known and beloved heroines like Anne Elliot and Marianne Dashwood, some are less favored heroines like Fanny Price and Emma Woodhouse, some are popular secondary characters such as Charlotte Lucas and Elinor Tilney, and some are more unexpected choices like Louisa Musgrove, Penelope Clay, and Lady Susan (love that Lady Susan is included!). But what unites all these characters (and their stories in this collection) is that they are women of sense (sometimes lately developed or hidden), strength (although they may doubt it at times) and undeniable substance.

“In Austen’s fictional world, a single woman in possession of good intellect, must be in want of a man who recognizes its value.” – Devoney Looser (Foreword to Rational Creatures)


All stories in this anthology take place during the Regency period – either serving as prequels, sequels, or in some instances additional scenes or sequences that occur during the timeline of Jane Austen’s original novels. The stories range from 19 – 42 pages in length and are arranged in accordance with the order of novels published by Jane Austen (starting with Sense and Sensibility and ending with Lady Susan). I read all the stories in order (although readers can read them in any order of their choosing) and if I were to give a star rating for each individual story, it would be mostly 5 stars across the board with just one or two 4.5 star ratings.


The praise I have for this collection is immense. I have read and adored all the previous anthologies from The Quill Ink Collective and this one is BY FAR my favorite! The authors, Christina Boyd, and everyone involved has truly outdone themselves with this exceptionally perceptive and astute anthology. I absolutely adored the “rational creatures” motif, the focus on feminism and seizing your own happiness, and all the wonderfully diverse ways these characters are portrayed. The talented and skilled authors of this collection contributed stories that gave new insights to these characters, new understandings to their natures, and sometimes new chapters to their pasts or futures.

I couldn’t possibly decide which story I loved the most, because I loved each story for a variety of unique and special reasons. I loved the stories that shared a character’s innermost private feelings and thoughts and plausibly displayed their evolution and growth (examples: Anne Elliot, Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, Emma Woodhouse, Harriet Smith). In addition, it was thrilling to see some splendidly beautiful courtships (that Miss Austen was a little too brief with!) take place leisurely and ever-so-satisfyingly (examples: Marianne Dashwood, Fanny Price). As well as those courtships we knew took place, but never saw much of on page (examples: Louisa Musgrove, Elinor Tilney). There were some stories that were reflective and fleshed out a character’s past in a surprising new way (examples: Hetty Bates, Sophia Croft) and some that featured these characters bravely taking action, being resourceful, and clever (examples: Mary Crawford, Penelope Clay, Catherine Morland, Lady Susan). Each story is insightful, compelling, and aptly demonstrates – whether practical or romantic, reserved or spirited – all characters featured within are thinking and feeling women worthy of the label “rational.”


Rational Creatures is an outstanding and flawless anthology that pays tribute to the complex and progressive female characters Jane Austen created and creatively exemplifies how through them she was not afraid to challenge the social norm of her time. This stellar collection is sure to entertain, enthrall, and inspire!!! I cannot recommend it enough!

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  62 Responses to “Rational Creatures – Edited by Christina Boyd”


    Beautiful review! I look forward to reading these stories! So curious!


    Wonderful review, Meredith. Thank you!


      Thank YOU, Anngela! I adored, ADORED your story of Emma and Knightley! Love their discourses and loved the new conflict your brought their way!! I wish there were more Emma sequels that give such a satisfying look at their marriage. 🙂


    Such a great review, it summarizes everything I saw in this book as well. Congratulations Meredith, Christina and all the wonderful authors.


    What a lovely review Meredith. I really enjoyed the previous two anthologies and am looking forward to this one. I do have my favourite characters but with the superb cast of authors I totally expect to enjoy reading of my not so favourites. Thank you for sharing.


    Your enthusiasm for this one, even before reading this full review, had me clicking “buy” for my Kindle 🙂 (I even got the Darcy Monologues too, because #Darcy and anthology! 😉 ) Super super excited about getting lost in these stories soon!


    Thanks for the fabulous review for Rational Creatures, Meredith! I’m so happy to hear you loved them all so much!


    “Each story is insightful, compelling, and aptly demonstrates – whether practical or romantic, reserved or spirited – all characters featured within are thinking and feeling women worthy of the label ‘rational.’” THANK YOU, Meredith, for embracing this collection from the beginning and then reading the stories with the same affection they were written. I am so relieved/pleased/inspired that this anthology has lived up to your expectations.

    Putting together a collection like this has been a labor of love and your words truly validate the months of effort. I can’t tell you how much this review has meant to me today. Heading an indie project is an emotional rollercoaster. Like my favorite anti-heroine, Mary Crawford, I keep reminding myself: “‘There, I will stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it.’ (Ch. 25)” These Authors brought their A-game and I could not be more proud or feel more blessed to have worked with these creative, smart, and strong women. All of the women on this project from Devoney Looser who wrote the foreword, subeditor Debbie B, MadHat Covers, Beth who formatted, Claudine who scheduled our blog tour, and the affiliates who created products using our title (PNWvibes.com, Paper & Slate at Etsy, and Northanger Soapworks) have made this a gorgeous project that I will forever cherish.

    Thank you, Meredith.


      It completely surpassed my expectations, Christina!! I loved all your other anthologies, but this one is such a gem! My favorite to be sure! 😉 You and your team deserve all the praise and accolades they receive for this amazing effort!


    Thanks, Meredith, for this lovely and encouraging review. I’m not usually a short-story aficionado, but these stories look far too intriguing to pass up! I’ve added it to my shelf on Goodreads, and I’m hoping to read it soon!

    Susanne 🙂


      “Far too intriguing to pass up” — YES! That’s music to me. Thank you for your enthusiasm.


      Thanks for reading my review, Susanne! I don’t know if I would be as eager to read short stories if they weren’t about Jane Austen’s beloved characters, but I love seeing the many intriguing and inventive ways these authors can tell such a satisfying story in this brief and condense medium.


    I loved the review!! So curious about this book!!


    Such great authors are involved, I’m really looking forward to reading it!


    Fabulous review Meredith! So glad you loved this anthology. I’m REALLY looking forward to reading it – downloaded it on Monday. As soon as I finish my current book, it’s next to read! It’s great that it’s your favourite anthology so far, Meredith. My favourite so far is ‘The Darcy Monologues’, but I’m prepared to be dazzled! 😀

    Many congrats once again to Christina and all the amazing authors who’ve contributed to this book.


    Fantastic review Meredith. I too am looking forward to this one.


    Fantastic review! I can’t wait to read this one!


    I haven’t quite finished the anthology, but I love what I’ve read so far!



    Congratulations to Christina and all the authors!


    Great review Meredith! I am looking forward to reading this one as much as I did the others! Such talent within the pages heightens the anticipation!


    Love the warm reception for our Rational Creatures, Meredith. The other stories resonated strongly with me, too. Appreciate your time to read and review. 🙂


    Excellent review Meredith. I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations to the authors and to Christina Boyd for all their hard work. Oh, and Meredith, a special hello to Mr. Bingley.


    Meredith, thanks for your hospitality on the blog tour. And what a review! Your kind words mean so much to all of us. Yes, it has been a labor of love for each participant, but its biggest champion and cheerleader was Christina. I loved the premise of this anthology from the beginning, and I’m so proud to have been a small part of it. Here’s to all you Rational Creatures out there! We hope you enjoy the stories 🙂


    Your review makes me want to head right over to amazon to purchase! Can’t wait


    Wow, Meredith, that’s quite the glowing assessment! Your review makes me so happy for Christina! Such warm approval is vindication that this anthology (which our editor worked on so tirelessly) was worth her time and effort. Brava, Christina! And congratulations to the other authors. Their stories were all top-notch, and I’m honoured to have been part of this collection about ‘women of sense, strength, and substance’. (Love that alliteration!)


    I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for the thoughtful comments and great review!


    This anthology sounds wonderful. Thank-you for the great review. I’ve just added it to my “want to read” list on Goodreads.


    I am in the midst of this book and enjoying it. Anthologies are great for reading a story to completion and then putting it down with no anxiety as you got the ending of that story and can begin a new story when you pick it up. With my busy life right now it’s perfect. Thanks for sharing. Great review.


      Awww, that is exactly how I like to read anthologies. I read one story (maybe two) right before bed. Perfect length to me. I’m not up all night. But still find that satisfactory HEA and Closure. XO


    I am so excited for this book, the others were WONDERFUL!!!

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