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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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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.
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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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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 (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,590,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Wiley VINE VOICE on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What happens when four talented authors put a paranormal spin on Jane Austen tales?

Mary Balogh's "Almost Persuaded" tackles the theme of reincarnation. Miss Jane Everett is used to abiding by all the rules and regulations of regency society. However, she is instantly drawn to Captain Robert Mitford, a man thoroughly unsuitable for a lady of her station. Will their souls recognize one another?

I must admit, Mary Balogh's story is the one that surprises me the most. Not only is it Mary Balogh's first foray into the paranormal, but it is also a retelling of PERSUASION, which I despised. Surprisingly, "Almost Persuaded" is quite entertaining and actually gave me a new appreciation for the original. Mary Balogh's characters are delightful and engaging, while the premise of lost lovers reincarnated works well in the short story format.

"Northanger Castle" by Colleen Gleason features Caroline Merrill, a woman obsessed with Gothic intrigues. She senses danger at every corner, but this time the vampires are real.

I love Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles and "Northanger Castle" returns to the spirit of that world. Caroline sees a dark side to everyone and every situation she encounters, sometimes with hilarious twists. I couldn't help but enjoy her spunk, especially for a Regency era heroine. "Northanger Castle" is a fitting tribute to Jane Austen, as the Gothic atmosphere meshes perfectly with the inclusion of vampires. Beautifully written!

Susan Krinard tackles a modern day version with "Blood and Prejudice". Liz Bennett generally stays out of the family business, instead preferring her bookstore to the research facility her family owns. However, a potential takeover brings her into contact with the mysterious Mr.
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