- Series: Holidays with Jane
- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 24, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1503366472
- ISBN-13: 978-1503366473
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,814,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – November 24, 2014
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Showing 1-2 of 25 reviews
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Jennifer Becton is the lead-off author with her Navy-centric version of Persuasion called The Work of an Instant. Anne broke her engagement to Frederick Wentworth because she didn't want to be married to a man she knew she'd be separated from for months at a time while he was deployed. I love the Christmas magic that a certain Santa uses to bring Dr. Anne Elliot and Lieutenant Commander Wentworth of the U.S.S. Kellynch together after a separation of seven years. Nicely done!
Second is Mischief and Mistletoe by Melissa Buell, which introduces Sew-Easy as the brainchild of aspiring designer Cate Morland. She's a home-schooled PK (Pastor's kid!) who first became interested in sewing when Mrs. Allen hosted a sewing circle of church women at her home. Now Mrs. Allen is offering her a job dressing the participants in the Santa Barbara Dickens' Christmas Festival. There, Cate meets Henry Tilney, Isabella and John Thorpe. As it happens, Cate has a thing for mystery/horror books, and the Tilney home, Northanger Estate, was used as a setting for the film version of her favorite. Hmmmm... wonder what happens there? This is another pitch-perfect modernization.
A Tale of Three Christmases was written by Rebecca M. Fleming from the point of view of the youngest Dashwood sister, Maggie. There's another bit of magic here, as Maggie discovers a gift to her from her recently deceased father in the attic with very specific instructions and results. We learn Maggie's perspective on her sisters and their potential boyfriends over three Christmases as she herself grows from a 17-year-old to a 20-year-old. Marianne has plenty to get distressed about, especially since Francesca/Fanny is obsessed with decorating and entertaining at Christmastime and doesn't show any empathy for her husband's family. Maggie recognizes the feelings Ellie and Edward have for each other, and she's astute on picking up on the weird atmosphere the year Lucie Steele shows up. Excellent!
Cecilia Gray's With Love, From Emma makes our favorite matchmaker the owner/proprietor of a flower shop who also has a fixation about bees. She can relate to the lonely Queen bee. Emma's 27 years old and is feeling lonely herself because most of her friends and cousins are married and therefore preoccupied with their families during the Christmas season. However, she is very proud of getting her friends Taylor and West together, and at their wedding reception she decides Elton and Harriet would make a nice couple. She makes a bet with Lance Knightley that the match will "take." Lance is the "sex on a stick" hunk who opened a bar on Main Street near her shop; only Mansfield Perk stands between their businesses. Things proceed as you might expect... or maybe not. Clever story!
Prize for the best story title goes to Jessica Grey with It's A Wonderful Latte. Fittingly, this is the tale based on Mansfield Park, and Evie St. Laurent, the main character, is the General Manager of the L.A. flagship coffeehouse. The Mansfield Perk chain was launched by Evie's famous and wealthy grandmother. Jane Austen herself figures in this story. Jane isn't an angel, but she IS a messenger sent down to give Evie a push in the right direction. And Evie definitely needs one. Frank is a dependable employee, while Izzy, Evie's cousin, can be a bit of a slacker. Jake and Maggie Piper (the contemporary versions of Mary and Henry Crawford) show up looking for participation from all the local businesses in a Christmas fundraise, starting with the coffeehouse. You gotta love that Evie is a big Jane Austen fan, but Mansfield Park is her least favorite Austen novel. There are brief appearances by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Jane's sister Cassandra, too, who converse with Jane in Heaven. This is an inspired adaptation.
Lastly, Pride and Presents by Kimberly Truesdale does a great job modernizing Austen's favorite novel. Mr. Bennet has been managing Longbourn Community Center with his family's involvement helping inner city kids for twenty years. Liz is ready to take over for her father in organizing all the Christmas activities this year and the end-of-year paperwork, hoping he will finally relax and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. Charles Bingley shows up at the Center, making a big stir with the kids, as he is the star of the city basketball team. Will Darcy is his lawyer and accompanies him to the Center. Mr. Collins is a lawyer Mr. Bennet hired to file the necessary legal work for their non-profit status and building lease. Wickham shows up as another volunteer at the Center, so Liz gets to hear his sob story regarding the snobby Will Darcy. The parallels to the original P&P are really well done, and so is the romance that builds between Will and Liz. I believe this is the first African-American variation that I've come across, and I'm delighted with that. (Hear that, authors? We could use more races represented in our JAFF, especially the modern ones! But I digress...) Love this story!
This is a fantastic short story collection, and perfect reading for the Christmas season, appropriate for all ages. I'm sorry I didn't get around to reading it sooner!
The Work of an Instant by Jennifer Becton
A little Christmas magic for Dr. Anne Elliot when her one and only returns into her life. Would she choose differently than before? Now's her chance to find out.
Mischief and Mistletoe by Melissa Buell
Catie Morland has the opportunity to design and make the Dickens Festival costumes, meet a charming guy and make friends on her first time away from home. It's not all holiday fun, however, when a misunderstanding leads to trouble for this fanciful girl.
A Tale of Three Christmases by Rebecca Fleming
Through Margaret's eyes, she watches and shares with the magical diary her late father left her about her sisters, love, and her own coming of age. John and Franny come to Norland and the Dashwoods move to Barton. But Christmas works its wiles on the family.
With Love, From Emma by Cecilia Gray
A modern-day matchmaking beekeeping flowershop owner flails at matching her friends during her best friend's wedding while finally having her own eyes opened about the hottie bar owner who knows her better than she knows herself.
It's A Wonderful Latte by Jessica Grey
Evie St. Laurent, Mansfield Perk coffee shop manager hosts a very important customer who teachers her to look around and see what she's been missing. Meanwhile, her friend Frank is acting strange and resentful toward the hot Piper siblings.
Pride and Presents by Kimberly Truesdale
Liz and her family run a community center that may be in trouble when the paperwork goes missing, Santa is AWOL, and the children are sick. Will the man she thought as Scrooge come to the rescue?
Fun times reading these light, heartwarming novellas retelling Jane Austen's well-beloved stories set during the Christmas holiday season. Each author's voice and their creative twist made it fun to turn the pages and enjoy to the end. Every town should have a Mansfield Perk Coffee Shop, a fancy clothes designer like Catie, a gift shop like Emma's, an architect like Brandon, and a Bennet run community center.