The Bespelled by Austen anthology is the second book I read on my new Kobo. (Yippee! Still loving this.) Since I love Jane Austen, it was an obvious choice when I was offered a free review copy. I liked it, but not as much as I hoped.
What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.
Almost Persuaded In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.
Northanger Castle Caroline’s obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason.
Blood and Prejudice Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard’s version of the classic story.
Little to Hex Her Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany’s story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.
Almost Persuaded is the story I was most excited to read. I felt there was a little too much reliance on the connection from the past lives, as this was discussed frequently in their conversation. A longer story with more time to develop the romance in this life could have added a lot.
Northanger Castle was both interesting and frustrating. The heroine did a lot of speculating about the people around her based on the books she read, which was a big part of Northanger Abbey. I must admit I found it frustrating in the Austen story, so it’s no surprise that I struggled with it here. I love the way the story played out, though. Would have loved more time to strengthen the romance.
Blood and Prejudice was the weakest story of the anthology. It stuck to the original story a bit too closely, and used much of Austen’s dialogue for Darcy. Yes, Darcy has been a vampire for two hundred years, but his formal language combined with Elizabeth’s modern lingo seemed rather jarring. Unlike the other stories, which could have benefited from a longer page count, Blood and Prejudice went on a bit too long. I have to wonder if my familiarity with the original story kept me from enjoying this one more. I’d love to hear from someone who read this who hasn’t read Pride & Prejudice.
Little to Hex Her was a charming story. This one followed the plot of Emma quite closely but gave it a enough of a twist to make it fun. I loved the matchmaking element—it was perfect for Emma. This story was a lovely way to close the anthology. I don’t agree with her thoughts about Knightley, though.
All in all, Bespelled by Austen was worth reading, but I don’t think I’ll go back to it: 3 out of 5.