Mystery, romance & Elizabeth Bennett! DANGEROUS ALLIANCE: AN AUSTENTACIOUS ROMANCE by Jennieke Cohen gives us a Jane Austen-worthy novel that we didn’t know we needed.
Life isn’t always like the books we read. Yearning for that happy ending like in her favorite Jane Austen novels, Victoria Aston’s perfect family and life is on the verge of ruin when she finds out about her sister’s abusive relationship and divorce. She’s the only one who can preserve her sisters reputation and keep the family’s estate from falling into the cruel hands of her brother-in-law. The solution, she needs to marry, and soon, to save both her sister and her family. Finding love isn’t easy, but neither is finding a worthy gentleman to get to know– even when Tom Sherborne, her childhood best friend, returns to Halworth manor after leaving for five years without a letter of explanation. Vicky is forced to come to terms about their broken friendship. Things get more dangerous when every outing Vicky takes becomes a near-death experience. Who is she to marry? And are the accidents coincidence or planned?
It’s not easy writing a dual perspective novel. Additionally, it’s even more difficult making sure that both perspectives work well together. In Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance, Jennieke Cohen does a great job with Victoria’s and Tom’s perspective. And not only that, she goes above and beyond to input a third perspective toward the end of the novel, but no spoilers here.
Victoria Aston is like any character in Georgian and Regency England. However, like the heroines of Jane Austen, she’s the non-conforming protagonist we enjoy reading about. Still keeping to the duty of helping her family she’s set to sacrifice her happiness to save them, but not without a fight. Right off the bat you get a sense of how non-conforming Victoria is, wearing trousers and rolling in the mud fixing a stone wall and learning about animal husbandry and running the estate. She’s a fiery spirit that works well in this period piece.
Tom Sherborne being the second perspective we are given was harder to get into. As frustrating as his relationship and expressions were in the book you slowly begin to like his character once he starts revealing his secrets. The delay of information is a key element to the rebuilding of his relationship with Victoria but that didn’t come after a lot of provoking and near death accidents.
I love a good period story. Especially one with mystery and some unusual action. Right from the beginning Cohen gives you a taste of the two with an unexpected attack on Victoria. You’re immediately hooked on the story but as you continue reading you find that certain scenes become predictable. Readers might be split on whether the scenes are too repetitive or plot necessary, but Cohen ties up the loose ends very nicely in the end.
Flying through the chapters, I did feel like so much was happening in a short period of time. However, the change in perspectives helped slow down the events happening, even when they were in the same scene.
Not every author is able to adapt to change their writing style. Cohen seems very well versed in old Georgian England dialogue, traditions, and mannerisms. It’s an important skill to have when taking on a period piece, making the story historically correct and informative. She also included a historical note chapter at the end of the book explaining the research she did to write the novel and the various Jane Austen quotes.
As a big Jane Austen fan, overall, I loved the story. Cohen created a delightful story that I truly didn’t know I needed. Amidst all the fantasy novels, revolutionary tales, and coming-of-age fiction, Dangerous Alliance was the perfect cup of tea.
RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.
But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.
Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.
Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.