REVIEW: Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely

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Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely Review by Shelly Quade

When I opened my package in the mail the other day, and removed Murder Most Persuasive from its cardboard envelope, I did not anticipate enjoying this novel to the degree that occurred. The third book featuring protagonist Elizabeth Parker, a young woman who quotes Jane Austen and solves any mystery she can get her hands on, this book was a quick read and a great mystery.

To summarize, this book begins with the funeral of Elizabeth Parker’s great-uncle, a rich man who has been ill for some time. This death merely opens the novel and introduces key characters, however – it is really a much older murder that is the focus of the mystery and plot of this novel. Layered on top of and melting into the murder mystery plotline, like the cheese in a dish of lasagna, are numerous allusions to the plotline of Persuasion.

These allusions are fun, and reminded me that I adore the novel Persuasion, (Same here. –Ed.) and it is probably time to re-read it. Overall, however, the novel is a mystery novel. There are allusions to Austen’s novel, as well as numerous quotes alluding to all of her works, yet this novel is only going to interest those who are avid fans of mystery (of which I am one). If you are one of those individuals who grew up on a healthy diet of Agatha Christie, however, this novel is one that you will thoroughly enjoy.

The plot itself is a solid mystery plot, but the real reason to read this novel is for the clever writing and the awesome characters. This novel does a great job of pointing out the ridiculous that exists in everyday situations. People are funny, and by making her characters plausible while pointing out their flaws in a humorous manner, Kiely has exhibited her skills in a manner that will keep readers entertained for as many sequels as she chooses to write.

The ending might be slightly predictable, particularly for those who frequently read mysteries, but Kiely makes the journey to that ending enjoyable. If you’re an Austen fan and a mystery fan, you will devour this book.

I received a review copy of Murder Most Persuasive free of charge, though my opinions are uninfluenced and my review reflects my true impressions and feelings.

Guest Post: A Fine Naval Fervor in Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress

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AustenBlog is delighted to host Laurel Ann Nattress, proprietor of the fabulous Austenprose and editor of the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, for a little tidbit about the anthology. The Editrix had her share in the conversation, er, anthology, as you will read below. LA and I have known each other for a really long time–we were reminiscing how long at the JASNA AGM last week!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It Hi Mags, thanks for graciously inviting me here today on AustenBlog during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. It is particularly gratifying to me since you were one of the first authors I reached out to contribute a short story and have been with me through the entire publication process. You have always been so incredibly supportive of me and my blog Austenprose, advising me on the technical geeky stuff, SEO, social media and all-around advice guru. I sincerely thank you. [Aww. –Ed.]

Captain Frederick MarryatI was really intrigued when you told me that your inspiration for your story would be from two sources: Captain Frederick Marryat’s novel Peter Simple and Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Honestly I was expecting the further exploits from The Very Secret Diary of Henry Tilney, so this was a jolting surprise! After you explained that Peter Simple was an Age of Sail novel written by an English Royal Navy officer, it all started to make sense. I knew that in addition to our shared passion for our “dear Jane” that you were a huge Captain Horatio Hornblower fan who had studied naval history and lore from the era. I was astonished that you were able to pull a plot element out of Peter Simple about sailors receiving family letters and selling them to their shipmates for entertainment and then make the leap to creating your story, “Heard of You,” about the early career of Austen’s Captain Wentworth and Admiral Croft. I remember reading the first draft and shaking my head in amazement at how you pulled it all together. I was truly touched by the story and I hope that readers will be too. Continue reading

REVIEW: Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice by Jennifer Adams, Illustrations by Alison Oliver

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Little Miss Austen Review by Alexa Adams

Until three months ago, a single obsession ruled my world. It Austen all day, all of the time. Then suddenly, in a single moment, dear Jane was demoted to my number two concern. My beautiful baby girl now dominates my life, and my Austen interests have necessarily suffered as a result. How apropos that Jennifer Adams’ new book, Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice: A Counting Primer, should be released at just this time. I admit to feeling a bit skeptical when I first heard of the concept. I doubted that the spirit of Austen’s most famous novel could be captured in a manner accessible to children. How wrong I was! I cannot think of a more excessively diverting manner in which to introduce my daughter to Austen than through this sweet book. Continue reading

REVIEW: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg Review by Allison Thompson

Mr. Darcy goes to Hogwarts.

No, wait, that’s not quite true, since the posh boarding schools Longbourn Academy for girls and Pemberley for boys are located in the U.S.

To increase “diversity” (meaning accepting people whose fathers make less than a seven-figure income) and to improve its academic and arts programs, Longbourn awards scholarships, called “charity cases” by the girls. Entering as a junior on a music scholarship, and hazed unmercifully by the snobbish rich girls, Lizzie Bennet from Hoboken, New Jersey, has a chip on her shoulder when she meets wealthy Will Darcy, just back with his friend Charles Bingley from a semester at a London school. Everything is gearing up for spring prom, the biggest event of the junior girls’ year. Lizzie’s sweet best friend, Jane, hopes to attend with charming Charles, but stuck-up Will doesn’t seem to like Lizzie, apparently because she is a charity case. Continue reading

Reader Review: Sense and Sensibility, Repertory Theater of Iowa

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Review by Ben Millett

My wife Katie and I attended the 11 June production of a Sense & Sensibility staged reading. The new adaptation by Kerry Skram was performed by the Repertory Theater of Iowa at Terrace Hill, the Iowa governor’s mansion. A light supper of carrot-ginger soup, a chicken salad sandwich and open-faced cucumber sandwich, grapes, and apple slices was served. We were seated with seven of the other 40 or so attendees. Five had previously attended productions at Terrace Hill and were not necessarily Janites. The others at the table had a cat named Bingley, so it should be obvious why they were at a performance of a Jane Austen adaptation. We had an enjoyable discussion during supper about our favorite of Jane’s novels and some of their adaptations. Continue reading

REVIEW: The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen, Illustrated by Juliet McMaster

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The Beautifull Cassandra Review by Emma Carton, Age 10

The Beautifull Cassandra was written by the precocious young Jane Austen, and we thought it might be fun to have this edition reviewed by another precocious young lady of our acquaintance, Miss Emma Carton (and yes, she is named for you-know-who). Miss Carton kindly agreed and provided the following review of this edition of the story, illustrated and with an afterword for young readers, by Juliet McMaster.

The Beautifull Cassandra is a wonderful tale about a young mouse that falls in love with a bonnet, places it on her head, and then ventures from her home to seek her fortune. The young mouse leaves her home confident, but becomes discouraged when she does not attain her fortune. At the end she comes home without her bonnet or fortune, and states that it was a day well spent.

I loved this book because it was written by a kid for kids. I loved the illustrations, although I think it might have distracted from the main purpose of the story by turning the characters into animals. I thought the book wasn’t supposed to be funny but learned otherwise when my friends wouldn’t stop laughing until I pleaded with them to stop.

Jane Austen is a wonderful writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I would greatly encourage young readers of my age to read this delightful book.

REVIEW: I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison

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I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora HarrisonReview by Lisa Galek

When a teenage Jane Austen becomes gravely ill at boarding school, her sixteen-year-old cousin, Jenny Cooper, wanders out at midnight into the dangerous streets of Southampton in order to send word to the Austen family. There, she meets the handsome Captain Thomas Williams, who offers her his protection and guidance. When the two girls are taken from the school and Jenny goes to stay with the Austens, she believes she will never see Captain Williams again, but when their paths cross at a ball, Jenny worries that the captain has the power both to ruin her reputation and break her heart. Continue reading