This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books are all variations of Pride and Prejudice that I read when I was going through a bit of a reading slump.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dangerous Magic by Monica Fairview
Narrator: Jennifer M. Dixon
Series: Mr. Darcy's Magic #1
Published by Tantor Audio on September 28, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Retelling, Romance
Length: 9 hours 27 minutes
A sparkling tale of Regency England, a forced marriage, and two magicians who must work together to save the Kingdom.
Elizabeth Bennet is stunned when someone from the Royal Mage Academy comes to her peaceful country home to take her away. She is even more bewildered when she is commanded to marry a powerful gentleman by the name of Fitzwilliam Darcy. She has always dreamed of marrying for love, and an arranged marriage with an arrogant stranger was never part of her plans.
Fitzwilliam Darcy is equally dissatisfied with this match. An obscure young lady from the middle of nowhere is hardly worthy of his position. But Darcy and Elizabeth have no choice in the matter. Uniting their two forms of magic is essential if they are to defeat Napoleon's magicians. They may dislike each other on sight, but Elizabeth and Darcy have to overcome their differences and find common ground before it is too late.
Fortunately, it is not long before the sparks begin to fly between them.
I am like a moth to the flame where Pride and Prejudice retellings / continuations is concerned. However, most are just okay. Some are truly terrible. Fewer still are actually great. Dangerous Magic is in the minority as it was fantastic and I very much look forward to continuing the story.
I think what’s truly great about Dangerous Magic is that the characters are all there and fully recognizable. Monica Fairview is clearly a fan who really understood the characters, because there’s no denying that they are who Lizzy or Darcy or even Catherine De Burg WOULD be in this new world and yet they do very little that’s the same as in the original book because the world is SO DIFFERENT.
And the world is fantastic! It is still Regency Britain but the Napoleonic Wars have a whole new impact because this is magical world. The magic culture and abilities that Monica Fairview created are fascinating and well thought out. I loved learning about this new world and somehow managed to never feel lost or confused or info-dumped. She’s able to build some of the same status that existed in Regency England (and thus, the original Pride and Prejudice), while shaping it around the magical world. For example, being someone who can wield magic definitely has an impact on status — it’s what makes you, we’ll say, a gentleman’s family, for example. But it alone is not enough. Belonging to the Royal Mages (which the Bingleys do, but the Bennett’s do not) increases status. But lineage is everything – Darcy has it when the others do not. So the levels are there, but in the magical world she’s created. It’s comes through in so many ways.
She’s turned the plot on it’s head in a lot of ways – Darcy and Elizabeth are to be married almost immediately, for example — and I was surprised to not be bothered by these massive changes. Instead, it just let me get lost in a new plot with familiar hints. In this new plot was a mystery which I found incredibly obvious and is the ONLY reason I give this book 4.5 stars instead of 5. I would have liked to have it be more of a mystery OR for Darcy and Elizabeth have clued in much faster. But that is my only complaint.
I listened to Dangerous Magic, narrated by Jennifer M. Dixon. I think this is the first book I’ve ever read narrated by her and I enjoyed her performance. The voices were solid and I was able to listen at 2x speed without any trouble (my normal speed). I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to her again.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Threads of Magic by Monica Fairview
Narrator: Jennifer M. Dixon
Series: Mr. Darcy's Magic #2
Published by Tantor Audio on May 24, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Retelling, Romance
Length: 9 hours 42 minutes
In a magical Regency England, two powerful magicians strive to find a balance between love and duty as they confront enemies who might well be their closest friends.
Elizabeth Bennet may be a heroine, but by defying some of the most powerful mages in England, she has made enemies who will stop at nothing to embroil her in scandal.
So when she is accused of endangering the Royal Mages through her reckless actions, she no longer knows who to trust. Even the gentleman she loves is taking their side. It seems the only person who believes her is the captive French mage who is imprisoned in the cellar at Netherfield.
Meanwhile, Fitzwilliam Darcy is willing to fight to the death to defend Elizabeth, if only she would stop getting herself into trouble. Why does she always have to break the rules? And why does even her sister Jane cause him so many problems?
Join us in this magical Jane Austen Regency variation. Set mostly in Meryton, with familiar beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice, you will once again be captivated by Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find true love against the backdrop of England’s war with Napoleon.
Threads of Magic is Book 2 of Mr. Darcy’s Magic. It is a standalone novel without cliff-hangers, but it is best read as part of a series.
As I mentioned in my review of Dangerous Magic, this series has diverged in huge ways from the original Pride and Prejudice and this is very true with Threads of Magic. And it doesn’t bother me one bit – it’s part of the brilliance! I see the characters and the important relationships, but I’m enjoying them in this brand new magical Regency England!
Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship is my favorite part (duh?!) — yes, they are married and yes, they are in love, but it is a new, tenuous relationship where they are still learning each other, how to perform their magic together, and how to trust each other. And Elizabeth’s unconventional way of practicing magic is once again a huge problem. A beloved mage has been injured in an attack by the French, but it appears that he was hurt because of Elizabeth’s magic and as a result she’s ostracized and mistrusted by all around her, even those previously friendly. It was difficult to watch her continue to try and Darcy try to defend and protect her, while also trying to protect the mages from the French — you could feel her pain and his frustration so acutely. They are both confused in their relationship, in trying to determine what has actually happened, and what the best course of action is, so they are stumbling about, making a lot of mistakes.
I was equally uncertain and confused (in a good way – this mystery was not as obvious as the first one!), so it was easy to understand their emotions and get lost in the story. It was really great to see the way Monica Fairview continues to weave in the original story, as she manages to bring us to Netherfield and to bring Jane into the story and setup the building blocks for the romance between her and Charles Bingley. Much more prominent, though, are the Napoleonic Wars and they – combined with the magic – have turned this romance into a faced-paced mystery with high-stakes.
I continued to listen to the series, narrated by Jennifer M. Dixon. I very much enjoy her performance and her delivery of the various characters. I think she delivers a pretty decent French accent as well – though I don’t have a distinguishing ear for it. I’m loving this series and hope to continue soon with book 3, hopefully continuing to be narrated by Dixon.
Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl by Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Tessa Dare
Published by The Quill Ink LLC on March 2, 2020
Genres: Historical, Retelling, Romance, Contemporary
Source: Amazon Freebie
With timeless verve, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, bares her intimate thoughts while offering biting social commentary through a collection of romantic re-imaginings, sequels, and prequels, set in the Regency to present day by ten popular Austenesque authors. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter, January 1813―and we think so too!
I got this as a freebie – anything regarding Pride and Prejudice tends to be a no brainer one click for me, especially when it’s free. But as so many freebies do, it sat on my Kindle unread for a couple years. Then I got into a reading slump and was really feeling my Jane Austen rereads and retellings and I finally got around to reading this.
This compilation had 10 stories, which is far too many to review individually. What was neat was the way they spanned time from the Regency era of the original all the way to modern day and brought out different aspects of the heroine I love.
From the Regency era we had a few rewriting Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance, 1 that was a prequel of an impetuous Lizzy, and another that was a sequel of older grandmother Elizabeth. I think these are especially enjoyable if you’ve read the original and are familiar with it.
Then we have some other eras — an Edwardian House Party that made me think a bit of Downton Abbey, Lizzy and Jane as actresses in the 30s, Lizzy attending college in the 80s, and finally her as a grad student in the present. These different ways of telling their romance and in very unique settings was always fun as I found parallels to the original story.
As a compilation overall, it’s 4 stars. I can truthfully say I enjoyed all the shorts/novellas, but some were more like 3 stars and some were definitely 5 stars. I would happily read any of these if the authors chose to expand and write full length novels for them.