Saturday, May 30, 2020

Book Review: Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise

     Chance brings about an early encounter between Charles Bingley and Elizabeth Bennet soon after his move into Netherfield. He soon begins to favour this pretty and lively young lady. Circumstances have kept Jane Bennet and Mr. Darcy from the neighbourhood, thereby changing the events that Jane Austen penned in Pride and Prejudice.

     When Mr. Darcy finally arrives, will he be able to keep from interfering when he meets this young lady his friend so greatly admires? When Jane returns from touring the Lake District with her aunt and uncle, will the young gentleman who returns with her prove to be better suited for her than Mr. Bingley ever was?

     In this Pride and Prejudice variation, chance and circumstance greatly affect the way several of Jane Austen's characters arrive at their happily ever after, but not necessarily the way you think.

     As a master of romantic fiction, Jane Austen played the role of matchmaker to some of the most beloved characters in literary history. When examining Pride and Prejudice however, there are many readers who have questioned why Austen made some of the choices she did. We can hardly imagine Elizabeth’s fate with anyone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy, but what if her destiny lied with Charles Bingley, who is an amusing, affable character? Mary Bennet is oftentimes seen as a wallflower, only receiving attention when she deigns to share her mediocre piano skills with society. Austen could have easily created a love interest for her, but that was not the intent of Pride and Prejudice. Other relationships in this classic novel have been examined for generations of readers now, and one way of expanding those speculations further is through the medium of the variation novel.

     Kara Louise has been offering her alterations to Austen’s work for almost two decades, and she has consistently entertained her readers with her adaptations. Her 2010 novel Darcy’s Voyage remains one of my all-time favorites in Austenesque fiction. With Chance and Circumstance, Louise has once again provided a delightful diversion with her twist on Pride and Prejudice.

     It can be confirmed that everyone does receive their “happily ever after”, but the roads that take them to that place are not what you would expect.  In addition, the pairings that Austen created are not always replicated in Kara Louise’s vision. I was quite pleased with the choices that were made in the literary matchmaking, and one relationship in particular very much took me by surprise. Chance and Circumstance kept me guessing, wondering what would become of all the characters, almost until the conclusion of the book.

     The content of Chance and Circumstance is very family-friendly as well. I can easily recommend it to my conservative readers. From what I recall, there is no colorful language and definitely no bedroom scenes. The concept of “wifely duty” is mentioned, but the circumstances surrounding it are actually quite amusing and sweet. Romance is a dominant theme of the book, but it is never exploited for salacious purposes. I applaud Kara for her choices in this matter. This is a wonderful example of quality writing that could be shared with anyone.

     Chance and Circumstance is a fine addition to the world of Austenesque fiction. While liberties were taken with the original choices that Jane Austen made, Kara Louise has retained the personalities of the characters, and the circumstances in which they find themselves are very believable. Because Austen’s pairings are not always retained, the reader gains a sense of uncertainty, which builds suspense as we ponder where the narrative is headed. As the story progressed, I found myself becoming more intrigued by the chapter, which led to a very satisfying read overall. I heartily recommend Chance and Circumstance, and hope that you find it as delightfully diverting as I did.

About the Author

     Kara Louise has been writing Jane Austen variations since 2001 and has published 11 novels. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, but now lives in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, and their ever-changing number of dogs and cats. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending time with their son and his wife and their two granddaughters, who live nearby.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Spotlight: Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

A Mayfield Family Romance

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man's world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he's a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she's so carefully built.

Welcome to the next stop in the Rakes and Roses blog tour! Dozens of blogs are participating in order to shine a spotlight on the third book in the Mayfield Family series by Josi S. Kilpack. This is a new addition to Shadow Mountain Publishing's Proper Romance collection, a series of sweet love stories that are often set in the 19th century. While Rakes and Roses is indeed a part of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone title, so if you are just discovering this trio, feel free to jump in with this latest novel. Here are some advanced praises for Rakes and Roses:

"Uplifting...Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack's strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance."—Publisher’s Weekly 

 “Kilpack takes traditional regency roles and challenges them. She shows how one person can make an impact in the world. I found the story and premise unique.”—Heather Gardner, Fire and Ice 

“This is a story of redemption above all else…the ending was perfect.”— Lucinda Whitney, author of Rescuing the Prince 

Mrs. Kilpack has very much been in the business of world-building with her Mayfield Family series, as you can see by the following family tree:

Bestselling author Josi S. Kilpack tours the blogosphere May 4 through May 22, 2020 to share her third novel in the Mayfield Family series, Rakes and Roses. Forty popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, exclusive excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed Regency romance.


May 04           My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
May 04           Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)
May 04           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
May 04           All About Romance (Guest Blog)
May 05           Timeless Novels (Review)
May 05           Literary Time Out (Review)
May 06           For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)
May 06           Courtney Reads Romance (Review)
May 07           Fire and Ice (Excerpt)
May 07           Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
May 08           History Lizzie (Review)
May 08           Wishful Endings (Review)
May 09           Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)
May 09           Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)
May 10           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
May 10           Delighted Reader (Excerpt)
May 11           Frolic Media (Guest Blog)
May 11           A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 11           Bringing Up Books (Review)
May 12           Lu Reviews Books (Review)
May 13           English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)
May 13           Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review)
May 14           Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)
May 14           So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)
May 15           Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)
May 16           The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)
May 16           The Fiction Aficionado (Review)
May 17           Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)
May 17           Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)
May 18           Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)
May 18           Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)
May 18           The Lit Bitch (Review)
May 19           The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview)
May 19           Heidi Reads (Review)
May 19           Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)
May 19           Laura's Reviews (Review)
May 19           Katie's Clean Book Collection (Review)
May 20           The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)
May 20           Joy of Reading (Review)
May 20           Austenesque Reviews (Review)
May 21           The Calico Critic (Spotlight)
May 21           Getting Your Read On (Review)  
May 21           From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
May 22           Wishful Endings (Interview)

About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children. 

Start with Rakes and Roses, or enjoy all of the titles in the Mayfield Family series, starting at only $2.99 in the Kindle edition:


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