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Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance Hardcover – December 3, 2019
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“While Vicky takes center stage, interspersed perspectives from other characters, including those of Sherborne and his half-sister, deepen the story’s themes… Frequent references to then-popular novels and a thoughtful historical note add additional context to this spirited romp.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Charming and fun. Replete with intrigue, grand parties, and romantic entanglements, fans of Jane Austen will positively devour this book.” (Jessica Cluess, author of A Shadow Bright and Burning)
“Romance fans and Jane Austen devotees will devour this delicious Regency romp.” (Alexa Donne, author of Brightly Burning and The Stars We Steal)
“Bathed in Cohen’s richly textured language, Dangerous Alliance boldly shines a light on issues women struggled with historically: abuse, obstruction, and dominance. A timeless story.” (Shelley Sackier, author of The Antidote and The Freemason’s Daughter)
“A fresh, enchanting addition to the historical fiction genre! The perfect read for fans of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey!” (Tobie Easton, award winning author of the Mer Chronicles series)
“The perfect combination of mystery, intriguing characters, surprising action, and delightful romance. I loved every single word.” (Samantha Hastings, author of The Last Word)
About the Author
A lifelong lover of history and literature, Jennieke Cohen studied English history at Cambridge University before receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis. After interning with a literary agent and at Prima Games (an imprint of Penguin Random House), she entered the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Cohen has worked as a writing consultant and as a ghostwriter and has written prescriptive nonfiction. She is a member of SCBWI, Romance Writers of America, and the Jane Austen Society of North America. When not writing or reading, Cohen can be found watching classic movies, drinking tea, singing opera and musical theater, and planning her next trip to England. She lives in California. You can visit her online at www.jenniekecohen.com, and find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Lexile measure : HL760L
- Grade level : 8 - 9
- Item Weight : 1.09 pounds
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062857304
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062857309
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.37 x 8.25 inches
- Reading level : 13 - 17 years
- Publisher : HarperTeen (December 3, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #184,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I loved 🖤🖤🖤:
1. Lady Victoria Aston is not your typical damsel in distress, every time she is in danger, she uses her wits to fight back. She’s optimistic, loyal, brave, out-spoken, and utterly charming. She’s definitely a feminist protagonist that modern girls can cheer for, but she still is believable for the time period.
2. Vicky’s obsession with Jane Austen’s books is so cleverly inserted into the story. Vicky tries to use Austen’s books in real life situations and the results are hilarious. She is no Fanny Price and she’d even give Elizabeth Bennett some serious competition.
3. Vicky’s childhood friend, Tom, is a complex character with a tragic past and an uncertain future, yet you can’t help but cheer for him.
4. The mystery—who is behind the attacks and accidents befalling Vicky? What really happened between Tom and Vicky? What is Mr. Carmichael’s business with her bro-in-law Lord Dain? There are great twists and reveals!
5. Through Vicky’s sister, Althea, Jennieke Cohen highlights the awful legal situation of married women in early 19th century England. Despite being abused and/or cheated on, women couldn’t get a divorce. The best they could hope for is a legal separation. Men on the other hand, could divorce their wives for adultery and remarry. Wives (and their dowries) were the legal property of their husbands under English law.
6. Vicky is hoping for her own Jane Austen story-book romance and there are plenty of hiccups! Her suitors range from absolute boors, to former best friends, to wealthy mysterious men. Her ultimate romance is sweet and oh, so satisfying.
A must read for Cindy Anstey and Patricia Wrede fans!!!
In the first chapter, Vicky is attacked by a masked assailant who’s prevented from delivering a killing blow by Tom’s fortuitous arrival. (More about Tom later.) “Just because sensational events happen in novels, that doesn’t mean they cannot happen. And just because ordinary events occur during the majority of one’s life, that doesn’t stop the unexpected from happening at a moment’s notice.” Rather than leaving all the heroics to Tom, Vicky takes off on her horse in pursuit of the villain. Indeed, whenever Vicky’s life is at risk, she’s an active participant in saving herself.
Vicky’s independent spirit becomes an issue when a family crisis necessitates that she marry as soon as possible. (More about the “family crisis” later, too.) She’s not enthusiastic and for good reason. “Most of the gentlemen she’d met were decidedly narrow-minded when it came to females interfering in what they considered the male sphere.” Very reluctantly, Vicky agrees to put herself forward in the London marriage mart and settle for a suitable husband rather than waiting to fall in love. Before long, both Mr. Silby and Mr. Carmichael are frequent callers.
Tom Sherborne is the book’s other protagonist, with the story told alternately from his point of view and Vicky’s. A year ago, his father died and Tom reluctantly returned to his childhood home after having been banished for the last years of Lord Halworth’s life. Aside from the neighboring Astons, Tom has only miserable remembrances about his family estate. Until their dramatic encounter, he and Vicky hadn’t seen each other since his return, and things are awkward between them.
Vicky was “…not at all certain she liked this new Tom. He was guarded, cautious, and it seemed not altogether honest.” What she doesn’t know is that the Sherbornes’ finances are a shambles, and Tom’s spendthrift younger brother Charles is no help. As the new Lord Halworth, Tom hopes to save his family holdings by establishing a European-style hotel in London, and he goes there to seek investors. With his current financial worries, Tom is in no position to marry and therefore fights his attraction to Vicky.
Fate intercedes and the two keep crossing paths in London. Meanwhile, Mr. Silby calls frequently despite Vicky’s decided lack of interest. She feels more attracted to Mr. Carmichael, and her father has a high opinion of him, but Vicky is frustrated by Carmichael’s lack of giving straight answers, which is also true of Tom.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Vicky’s life is in danger. Who’s behind it all? Why? Tom can’t help worrying that perhaps Carmichael is the source of her troubles. Considering how conveniently Tom appears when one of Vicky’s “accidents” happens, Carmichael accuses him of the same. The reader knows Tom is innocent, but what should we think about Carmichael?
I’m impressed at how tastefully the humorous content counterbalances weighty issues raised in the story, such as domestic violence and the relative powerlessness of women during this era. Vicky’s older sister Althea (likened to Austen’s Jane Bennet) has been abused by her husband, Lord Dain, and seeks refuge with her parents. It’s sobering to read how limited the best possible legal outcome is in Althea’s situation and how difficult it will be to achieve it, even though she’s the daughter of an influential earl. Thus, as their father Lord Oakbridge explains to Vicky, “If something should happen to me, and we do not win the suit for Althea’s separation, the estate will fall into Dain’s hands. Now that we know Dain for what he is, we cannot allow him to gain control of Oakbridge if you remain unmarried.”
Unfortunately, I felt the explanation for the mystery to be unsatisfying. We learn who the major villain and co-conspirators are, but Vicky’s first attacker is never explicitly identified. Perhaps he was just a hired mercenary, but I still wanted to know that he’d been dealt with. And one of the bad guys is supposedly a good guy who played along only to spy on the others, which defies logic. The plot against the heroes progresses way too far before he finally steps in. This could be explained if he had a last-second change of heart, but he states that he never intended to follow through with his part of the plot. Why didn’t he warn the others?
Despite that quibble, Dangerous Alliance is a very entertaining read. There’s lots of action, and the writing offers authentic Regency details only a dedicated researcher could provide. Vicky and Tom have believable strengths and flaws, making them easy to like. I won’t give away the ending, but I really love that it sends a strong, positive message about how to approach marriage.
Life really isn’t like your typical romance novel. Fortunately, this book isn’t one of those.
Top reviews from other countries
We follow Vicky, who for reasons I won't go into here, needs to find a husband quickly to secure her father's estate. She's more comfortable out in the estate helping around with livestock than in a ball gown socialising with the ton, so she uses her favourite author Miss Austen's heroines as inspirations in this quest for a husband. There's also a bunch of accidents and mysterious happenings that threaten her and her family, so she gets a little involved in trying to find out what it all means.
I loved this book so much. I didn't realise that a regency YA romance was exactly the kind of thing I'd love, although I shouldn't have been surprised. The characters are so lovely, especially Vicky. She's spirited, passionate and very loyal to her family, and she's also not so good at being a lady, saying the wrong things at wrong times (which I found very relatable!). It was so absorbing to read about her and how she tried to navigate the different emotionally difficult situations and relationships, especially those with her sister and Tom. Tom as the hero was also an interesting character with a bit of an emotionally traumatic past that he's trying to get into terms with.
The romance is so sweet and full of youthful ignorance and naivety but in the best of ways. I got very emotionally involved in all of it - this was one of those books that made me shout a bit at the characters because they just needed to get together, but to me that's always a sign of a good book, because it really swept me into the story and got me involved. The writing is also lovely with some witty conversation that I feel is essential for a good romance novel and as a fan of Jane Austen, I did appreciate the many references to her works.
The action side was a little over the top at times and the villain character feels very caricature , but neither of these things really took me out of the story or bothered me too much, as I consider this to be a romance novel rather than an action packed mystery.
All in all, I would say this book is a must read for any Austen fans and those who love a sweet regency romance. The characters especially Vicky are so lovable and the book was heartwarming, touching and an absolute joy to read. It was the kind of book that made me squeel, laugh and shout, in all the best ways, and sigh happily at the end.
My first big novel that I read in english. I am very proud of myself because I understood everything very well without the help of a dictionary. The story is wonderful and from the beginning you are excited and try to get to the bottom of what is happening. I love Jane Austen very much and this novel is in no way inferior to hers. On the contrary, it is even more exciting. I've read quite a bit by Jane Austen, but unfortunately not all. But that will now be made up for as quickly as possible. However, I prefer to do this in german, because Miss Austen's english is, I think, more difficult to read than today's. Absolute recommendation of this book and more of it please.