May 202011

A Beautiful Homage to Sense and Sensibility

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift from Mom

Ellen and Mimi Dodge are two sisters with personalities that do not mesh well together. Separated by several states, they’ve grown apart and their relationship has somewhat deteriorated over the years. But since it is their mother’s last wish, Ellen and Mimi are traveling to England together to find an appropriate place to scatter their mother’s ashes. Their mother, anticipating her death from cancer, prepared for her daughters to take a Jane Austen walking tour of Hampshire, England, which includes walks to Stevenson Rectory, Jane Austen’s House Museum, and Winchester Cathedral. It was her greatest desire that her daughters would discover the greatness of Jane Austen and establish a strong sisterly bond. And so, Ellen and Mimi, neither of them Jane Austen fans, embark on this overseas adventure with very little enthusiasm or excitement, completely unaware of all the adventure, romance, and self-discovery that awaits them!

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All is the third book in Beth Pattillo’s “Formidable” series. In previous books, our heroines have encountered members of the Formidables (a secret society of select Austen scholars that safely guard and conserve a massive collection of letters and documents that belonged to Jane Austen) and have unearthed the “secrets” of Jane Austen’s life. In this tale, Ellen and Mimi find something that belongs to Cassandra Austen that discloses some unknown truths about her relationship with Jane. Continue reading »

Jul 092010

What was Jane Austen’s First Impressions?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Giveaway Win

Claire Prescott, an unemployed pediatrics office manager, has spent her whole life suppressing her desires and sacrificing her needs in order to properly care for her younger sister. Our heroine and her sister have suffered the unfortunate tragedy of losing both mother and father in a car accident many years ago, and Claire has been selflessly living her life for others ever since. Because her pregnant sister, Missy, is unable to fly, Claire has obligingly agreed to take her place at a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England. While some Janeites would squeal with delight at such fortuity, Claire finds Mr. Darcy to be a bit overrated. Even though she is going on this trip as a favor to her sister, Claire ends up benefiting from this experience more than she ever anticipated…

Upon arrival in Oxford, Claire meets the exceptionally handsome, wealthy, and of course, arrogant James Beaufort, who is also attending the Jane Austen seminar. Claire’s spine-tingling attraction for James and his undisguised interest in her fills Claire with confusion and excitement. Claire’s recent frustration with her inattentive and self-absorbed boyfriend, Neil, seems to be forgotten as this real-live Mr. Darcy (James) intently pursues her. Is there an ulterior motive for James interest in Claire? Will Claire end her relationship with Neil for James? Continue reading »

Feb 132010

Can Believing in Happy Ever Afters Ruin Your Marriage? Your Happiness? Your Life?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

What a provocative title! Are Jane Austen fans in danger of having unsuccessful marriages and relationships because they aspire to find their own Mr. Darcy? Has reading too many happy endings deluded women into a believing that their life can be as perfect and carefree as in a fairy tale? And, is Jane Austen to blame for this false sense of happily ever after?

Our heroine of this novel, Emma Grant, seems to think so! Poor Emma has suffered from some serious disappointments in her life. She married a man she thought was her older and wiser Mr. Knightley and recently caught him in that act of adultery with her teaching assistant. That same teaching assistant has accused Emma of plagiarism (a claim supported by Emma’s ex-husband), which resulted in Emma’s dismissal from her university position and irreversible damage to her reputation. Continue reading »