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Blog category: Contemporary

Review: "An Altered Ending" by Megan Trennett

Review:

Ellen Mitchell did not picture her life ending up this way. She did not imagine that she would be nearing thirty, dealing with her mother’s terminal cancer and taking life day by day with nothing to look forward to. This all changes with an email from Simon Avery, her former professor, who offers to help get her dream of writing off the ground. Their relationship had never been simple, and now she wonders if it’s time to tell him everything she never could. Or will she let the one who got away slip through her fingers again? Continue reading .

Review: "The Mysteries of Udolpho" by Ann Radcliffe

Review:

First published in 1794 in four volumes, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a Gothic Romance set in the 16th century. The novel is unique in this genre in that its many mysterious and supernatural events are eventually given a rational explanation. While most famous today for being referenced in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, The Mysteries of Udolpho was wildly popular on its own account upon initial publication and in subsequent decades.Central to the plot is our beloved heroine, Emily St. Aubert. She is a young French woman who bears a striking resemblance to the heroine of Fanny Burney’s Cecila. She is an orphan, naive, innately good, yet preyed upon and at the mercy of many shady characters, many who are her own relatives. Like Cecilia’s favorite suitor Mortimer Delville, Emily’s true love, Valencourt, has the same emotional (some would say whiny) character and true heart. And like Cecilia, Emily’s story is long. Continue reading .

Review: "Margaret's Rematch" by Farida Mestek

Review:

After the loss of her sister, Margaret Fairfax settles at Northbrook Hall – the country estate of her brother-in-law, Mr. Westfield, whose dislike of her is legendary. There she faces a major challenge of reconciling their many differences and proving to him that despite the rumours of schemes and scandals that followed her from London, she is worthy of his regard and affection. With time and many an exertion on her part and that of her new family, Margaret succeeds in altering Mr. Westfield’s opinion of her and attaching his heart, but she fears the worst when her deceitful friend arrives. Continue reading .

Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library

Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen was first published 200 years ago in 1811. Here at Girlebooks we commemorate its bicentenary with the release a fully annotated and illustrated edition available in the ebook store. A foreword, annotations, biography, bibliography and notes on further reading are by AustenBlog’s Margaret C. Sullivan. Illustrations are by the talented Cassandra Chouinard. Continue reading .

Review: Ida Mae Tutweiler and the Traveling Tea Party

Review: Ida Mae Tutweiler and the Traveling Tea Party

This is a captivating story about love and tea. It is told from the point of view of the titular character, Ida Mae, a divorcee grandmother living in Ohio. As the story opens she is waiting for her best friend since she was 10 years old, Jane, to arrive for tea. Jane and Ida Mae have always been complete opposites–Ida Mae being the quiet homebody and Jane the bustling actress. But their friendship works. They complete each other, perhaps more than the various lovers and spouses that entered the two women’s lives over the decades. In this first scene we learn some devastating news: that Jane has cancer and has only a few weeks left. Continue reading .

Review: "Letters of Love & Deception" by Emily C.A. Snyder

Review:

This is a lovely collection of short stories by Emily C. A. Snyder, author of another Austen-themed publication Nachtstürm Castle. This time around Snyder treats us to two different styles of paraliterature that draw upon all six of Jane Austen’s novels as inspiration. Part I: Heroes and Histories captures the behind-the-scenes moments of Austen’s original works. In Part II: Types and Trifles, Snyder runs with her imagination, taking on various “what-ifs” to hilarious results. Continue reading .

Review: "Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel" by Deena Stryker

Review:

Deena Stryker’s memoir is An American Woman’s Journey from the Cold War to the Arab Spring. Highlights include her stint as Fellini’s press officer during the shooting of the film 8 1/2, journalistic adventures in Cuba where she held informal conversations with all the members of government including Fidel, Raul and Che, and five years behind the real Iron Curtain where she started a family. Not only a professional journey but a deeply personal exploration, you will learn some history while Stryker engrosses you in her narrative. Continue reading .

Review: "Heart Pulled to Pieces" by Megan Trennett

Review:

How do you pick up the pieces when your life falls apart? When her marriage ends abruptly, Andi Mathews packs her bags and leaves the City to start a whole new life in a small town known as The Tourist Trap. A good distance away from her old life, Andi heals by meeting new friends, and flirting with the idea of falling in love once more. But just when life starts to look good for Andi, an unexpected turn of events sends her world crashing down all over again. Continue reading .

Review: "There Must Be Murder" by Margaret C. Sullivan

Review:

There Must Be Murder features Catherine’s triumphant return to Bath, adding some pleasant emotions to memories of her trip just a year previous. Now a bride of two months with Rev. Henry Tilney by her side, Catherine is ready to revel in the romantic triumphs of others, sincerely believing that those others are as earnest and deserving as herself. Ms. Sullivan adds a lighthearted touch to the story by prominently featuring MacGuffin, the Tilney’s affectionate and enormous Newfoundland dog, as well as Lady Josephine, a tabby cat belonging to Lady Beauclerk. Another delightful touch is the presentation throughout of exceptional drawings by Cassandra Chouinard. Continue reading .

"Nachtstürm Castle" now in paperback, review by Joyce

If Northanger Abbey was a little confusing for me, Nachtstürm Castle was not. Author Emily C. A. Snyder describes this work as a Gothic novel in the style of Jane Austen, and it exhibits a visible Austen imprint in the style of prose and in the charming imitation of that author’s habit of addressing the reader. Having read only one novel by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, and having read it as a preparation for reviewing Nachtstürm Castle, I can see the resemblance in style and, of course, subject matter. However, the story takes us beyond Austen, where I perceive (rightly or wrongly) snatches of Dorothy Sayers, Mary Shelley, and even Edgar Allen Poe. Continue reading .


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