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Bespelling Jane Austen: Almost Persuaded\Northanger Castle\Blood and Prejudice\Little to Hex Her Paperback – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373775016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373775019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,030,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Four romance novellas put a paranormal gloss on elements from Austen's work. Bestseller Balogh (A Precious Jewel) turns in the plodding "Almost Persuaded," wherein Jane Everett and Capt. Robert Mitford realize they're reincarnated soul mates. Gleason makes reference to her Gardella Vampire series with "Northanger Castle," in which pert Caroline Merrill, lover of vampire novels, suspects handsome Mr. Blanchard of being a bloodsucker. Krinard (Bride of the Wolf) sets "Blood and Prejudice" in New York where bookstore staffer Elizabeth Bennet encounters pharmaceutical CEO Charles Bingley and an unusual variety of vampires. Mullany (Jane and the Damned) gives us a witchy Emma Woodhouse running a dating service for Washington D.C.'s supernaturals in "Little to Hex Her." Though none show Austen's gift with character, humor, or irony, all but Balogh's are lively, and Mullany's sparkles with genuine wit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Colleen Gleason has a degree in English and an MBA from the University of Michigan. After working more than fifteen years in sales and marketing, she owned her own business and worked for two startup companies. She's traveled to Paris, London and Tahiti, and currently resides with her family near Ann Arbor, where she writes full-time. Colleen loves to hear from her readers and encourages them to visit her website for updates and sneak peeks of future books.

Susan makes her home in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment,” with her husband, Serge, her dogs, Freya, Nahla and Cagney, and her cat, Jefferson. Susan’s interests include music (just about any kind), old movies, gardening and getting out into nature. She also bakes a mean chocolate cake.

Janet Mullany was raised in England by half of an amateur string quartet and now lives near Washington, DC. Persecuted from an early age for reading too much, she still loves books and is an avid and eclectic reader. In addition to writing, she has worked as an archaeologist, classical music radio announcer, arts administrator, and for a small press.

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Customer Reviews

I won't give it away, but it's really good.
C. Tyer
Probably one of the problems was trying to fit full books into small stories - there just wasn't time to really develop characters and plot line.
Amazon Customer
This was a lovely read for spoofs of Jane Austen stories.
Theresa M. Studer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Diane B. Wilkes VINE VOICE on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a devoted Janeite, and while I'm not a purist, I'm quite selective when it comes to Austen sequels and variants. I recognize there are (relative) classics and clunkers in the ones set in Regency times and more modern settings, but I find myself consistently preferring the updated-to-contemporary-period retellings and revisions. I suspect it is because there's less of a direct comparison to the original Austen oeuvre--and no one alive benefits from that comparison in my fond eyes and heart.

In BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN, one gets two novellas of each era...with the twist of paranormal activity enthreaded in each tale. Mary Balogh, a Regency romance writer of great repute, returns PERSUASION's Anne Elliot to her time period, but renames her Jane (!) Everett. Captain Wentworth has also been renamed (Captain Mitford). Using reincarnation as her "supernatural" device, Jane and Captain Mitford have loved but lost one another again and again in past lives, but determine not to do so this time around. Jane is "Almost Persuaded" (the name of Balogh's novella), but...

Colleen Gleason (whose Gardella series has made me a devoted fan) upgrades NORTHANGER ABBEY to NORTHANGER CASTLE. I think revisioning one of the Thorpes into a vampire is perfect casting--I just wish she had chosen a different Thorpe. But then, both are innate bloodsuckers, so it works brilliantly. I won't say what profession Thaddeus Blanchard (ne Henry Tilney) has now taken up, but he is related to Victoria Gardella. Catherine Morland is now Caroline Merrill, and while they both have a penchant for reading Gothic novels and possess wild imaginations, Caroline is braver and more observant in many ways. She deserves her mate!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Bespelling Jane Austen / 978-0-37377-501-9

I've always been fond of Jane Austen, and I've enjoyed the paranormal Jane Austen novels that have been coming out of the woodwork; I felt that zombies was precisely what "Pride and Prejudice" was lacking the first time around, and I absolutely adored "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters". And while "Bespelling Jane Austen" looks at first glance to be capitalizing on all the hype, this collection of novellas is really quite solid, and I enjoyed very much the chance to read the Advance Review Copy that was sent to me from the publisher.

This collection of novellas is not, unlike "PPZ" and "SSSM", a direct port of Austen novels, with new text woven in and around the original Austen text. Instead, these shorter renditions of Austen's novels are more like modern `adaptations' of her stories, not unlike the Shakespeare adaptations that maintain the underlying themes but with new settings, characters, and dialogue. Austen "purists" will likely not enjoy these adaptations, if only because of the more modern emphasis on physical passion and sensuality, but Austen lovers who enjoy seeing her delightful themes in new situations and experiences will find much here to enjoy.

"Almost Persuaded" by Mary Balogh, takes a serious and surprisingly deep look at the theme of reincarnation, applied against Austen's backdrop of marriages impeded by social distance. Two soulmates come together in the persons of Jane Everett and Captain Robert Mitford.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tachi1 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is as if you take a great ensemble cast from a classic TV program; cast them in a completely different type of program; have them playing the same character type they usually play and use the same names. (Jerry, Elaine, & Kramer in E.R.) Sound confusing? It is! Everything and everybody seems awkward and out-of-place and you're not sure if the original is interfering with the new or the new with the original--but both run through your head in constant comparisons so it's hard to get involved in the story.

I selected the book because I love Jane Austen and Mary Balogh. My entire previous experience with paranormals was limited to a couple of time travel books and a book about contemporary evil angels, but I was determined to keep an open mind going beyond that.

I found the Mary Balogh story pleasant. She tried to keep to the style that characterizes her work: sensible, human, intelligent characters in settings and situations anyone can identify with. Not an easy task under the circumstances, since her characters had to KNOW they were already in love within minutes of meeting--and it wasn't the usual love-at-first-sight variety. She almost pulled it off, but I wish she wouldn't expend energy in experiments and stick to what she already does brilliantly in her own genre.

Both Mary Balogh's and Jane Austen's style depend on character growth and gradual plot development. Both the reader's and the character's perspectives evolve in a rich emotional journey towards a conclusion that inspires empathy and creates a bond by virtue of the time spent together and lessons learned.

A book in which a conclusion is reached by means of an instantaneous act (such as piercing someone's heart with a stake) doesn't leave much room for emotional connections or growth.
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