An Austentacious Romance
by Jennieke Cohen
HarperTeen, 2019. 429 pages.
Review written September 25, 2020, from a library book
2020 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#8 General Teen Fiction
Here’s another fun variant on Jane Austen! This one is a romance for teens set in England during the time that Jane Austen had published the first four of her books, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Emma.
Our heroine, Lady Vicky Aston, has read and loved Jane Austen’s novels and relates her own life to the events in those books. But there’s a dark side in Vicky’s life that we don’t really see in Jane Austen. Vicky’s sister Althea has fled from her husband, Lord Dain, because he is horribly abusive. The same day that she comes back to the family home, Vicky is attacked in the countryside and fortunately rescued by Lord Halworth, a young man she grew up with but who lived for years on the continent and didn’t answer her letters.
Vicky’s father is determined to get Vicky a divorce, but it’s going to be difficult. At the same time, they need to get Parliament to make Vicky his heir instead of Althea, because if Althea is the heir, the estate would be under Lord Dain’s control. However, Vicky can’t be the heir unless she gets married. So her parents give Vicky a mission: to find a husband during her season in London.
Meanwhile, there are some more attacks. There are misunderstandings. There are accidents that don’t seem like accidents. There are odious suitors and a couple of very nice suitors. But who can Vicky trust? And who is behind those attacks?
It’s all in good fun – while at the same time showing us glimpses of the dark side of the Georgian era and how little agency women actually had.
Another delightful excursion for Jane Austen fans.
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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
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