Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review and Giveaway: A Fine Stout Love by Renée Beyea

Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
  • What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
  • What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
  • What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
  • What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
  • What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?

With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.

Renée Beyea has crafted a sweet collection of short Austenesque stories in her title, A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories.  She offers one poem and five petite tales of love and discovery, all romantic, with some mysterious and others almost dreamlike in nature.  I offer my impressions of each of the submissions:

Conception – Beyea shares with us her contribution to the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, as suggested by the Derbyshire Writers’ Guild.  This charming line of verse bears many echoes of the beloved novel, and I found it to be an excellent opener to A Fine Stout Love’s collection.

Words in the Wind A trail of mysterious words tracks Elizabeth to the Meryton graveyard, where she has an unexpected encounter with Mr. Darcy.

This began the stories off very well.  I noted it to be mysterious and romantic without becoming overly Gothic. I loved the cryptically appearing slips of paper, which amazingly seem to emerge like magic along their paths. One particular question is never answered, given to the reader to discern, which left me wanting more.

Fine Stout Love or The Efficacy of PoetryWhen Darcy is assailed by an errant and rather evocative specimen of poetry lurking in Longbourn’s drive, Elizabeth’s verses are unexpectedly tested for their efficacy.

Once again we find a stray piece of paper in the wind, discovered and used as a plot device. I found this tale to be short, sweet and very enjoyable.  The level of intimacy between Darcy and Elizabeth, while not salacious, does seem a bit rushed given the status of their relationship at the beginning of the episode.  I suppose this is certainly a case of poetry being the “food of love”.

Neither Slumber Nor SleepToo weary to continue shopping for her sister’s wedding, Elizabeth seeks respite in a nearby church, but her rest is disrupted by an outrageous occurrence.

This story in three parts begins with a prelude that I found to be laugh-out-loud funny and surprising.  It felt a bit disjointed from the other two parts, but welcome nonetheless. Parts two and three were sometimes absurdly amusing, dreamy and of course very romantic.  I enjoyed this one very much and might deem it the favorite.

Gold, All GoldDarcy rescues Elizabeth in the Netherfield woods, but all is not as it seems.

Fantastical and almost supernatural, this tale I found to be a bit odd, but I applaud Renee for her adventuresome pen and vivid imagination.  I would probably say that this one was my least favorite, but it was interesting.

Eden Unashamed When Darcy’s attempt to surprise Elizabeth with a love poem goes terribly awry, no member of the Bennet family escapes its effects.

The longest of the episodes, “Eden Unashamed” is offered in three parts, plus a short epilogue.  The tale presents itself as a comedy of errors, and I could easily envision it produced as a play in the local community theater. Not only is it humorously exasperating, but it’s also a very romantic celebration of Christian love. We must never forget that God created romantic passion, and there’s nothing sinful about those feelings when expressed at the right time.

Overall I found Renee Beyea’s collection to be a light, enjoyable and whimsical collection of Austenesque fiction.  I understand that another collection, What Love May Come will be issued this winter, and I look forward to the release of that title as well.

About the Author

Renée Beyea holds an undergraduate writing degree from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. She serves as full-time wife, mother to two sons, and ministry partner with her husband, an Anglican priest and chaplain. Her free time is devoted to crafting stories and composing poetry that delight the senses and touch the soul.


Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win one of 8 copies of
A Fine Stout Love (including up to four paperback copies).
Open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


5/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley
5/3: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
5/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
5/5: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
5/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
5/8: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
5/9: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/10: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit
5/11: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
5/12: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
5/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
5/13: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
5/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
5/16: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads

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  1. Whimsical! That's a great word to described these. I liked them, too.

    1. Thanks, Sophia! And thank you, Laura, for the lovely review! This volume is most definitely whimsical, but the next volume has an entirely different theme...

  2. I like the idea of some supernatural story

    1. Then you just might enjoy "Gold, All Gold"--it's the most fantastical (that excerpt is coming on 15 May).

  3. Best of luck with the giveaway!

  4. The blurbs are all so compelling! I can hardly wait to read the stories!

    1. Glad it interests you--hope you have a chance in the not too distant future!

  5. HUZZAH! This books sounds awesome!

    1. Thanks, Caryl! Good luck on winning a copy ;-)



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