“For why else would so many other books exist if not to impart different truths about life and all its complexities?”
– Jennieke Cohen
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 exactcircumstances: 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.
In a world full of Henry Crawfords be a Mr. Darcy. An Austentacious Romance is definitely what I’d call Dangerous Alliance. A Jane Austen novel in not only writing style but also in the way it brings us two amazing characters fighting their circumstances and for love.
➽ Vicky – Lover of Jane Austen and is always trying to channel her favorite characters in her everyday life. She’s not like some of the other proper girls of good breeding in her era and actually takes a lead in helping to run her family’s estate out in the country which wasn’t typical. A little wild and very adventurous she might not always do the “proper” thing in society eyes, but when trouble descends upon her family and they only way for her sister and Oakbridge estate to be saved is for her to marry quickly she puts all of that behind her and channels her inner Fanny, Emma and Elizabeth to find a man and hopefully love.
➽ Tom – Back from staying with overseas with his aunt and uncle helping run his hotel he is now the heir to the Hawthorne estate and has taken over due to the death of his father. Unfortunately the old man left them broke and the finances of the state are in shambles. He’s hoping to open up a hotel of his own but needs backers and his brother isn’t exactly being helpful. In a moment of need he turn to his old friend Vicky, who owns the estate next to his, for help but since their friendship ended when he left years ago with no explanation the reception isn’t exactly warm. If he doesn’t come up with something fast it’ll be the end of Sherbourne family’s lives as they know it.
I had a hard time putting this one down. We had a dual POV of both Vicky and Tom which I didn’t get from the synopsis but was a pleasant surprise. There was a bit of mystery weaved throughout Dangerous Alliance that had me unsure of who not only Vicky should trust, but also Tom. In their first meeting since their separation years ago Vicky is attacked on her the edge of her property while repairing a wall. The perpetrator escapes even with both Tom and Vicky after him. There were quite a few weird incidents that kept me on my toes guessing who was in on it and who was just an innocent bystander. In the end nothing I assumed was right but that just made the whole ending even better.
Along with weird incidents going on with Vicky, we had her hunt to find a man which was highly amusing. All the candidates were bores and had the weirdest things wrong with them! Social circles must’ve been tiny back then because the poor thing had very little in the way of suitors, or it could be her wild ways that kept them at bay. The only good candidate was the dashing Mr. Carmichael who while good with Vicky and seemed interested in her being apart of running the estate, caused nothing but trouble for Tom. They clashed publicly a lot and poor Vicky was always in the middle. It was definitely a slow-burn romance where everyone could see Vicky was in love with Tom except for Tom and maybe Vicky. I was cheering for Tom to win her heart the whole novel and found Carmichael rather suspicious but utterly dashing when he was around Vicky. It was a tough decision especially when it seemed like either Tom or Carmichael could be using her situation to either their advantages.
While I was glad there were no info dumps, Tom’s departure and the reasoning behind it was dragged out through most the novel. So if you’re looking for a quick answer you won’t find it. That being said there were a bunch of clues to piece it together, just like with the mystery of who is trying to hurt Vicky. Looking back now I see how they all fit together after seeing the larger picture, but I also might have been too into the romance aspect of the book to pick up on it quicker.
Dangerous Alliance is a superb debut novel by Cohen that really brought back the Austen style of literature with a modern twist. It was the right amount of romance, references to classic literature and mystery that kept me enraptured until the final page. I loved the quotes from Austen’s novels at the beginning of every chapter and how they alluded the the events proceeding them. I thoroughly enjoyed Vicky and Tom’s story and I secretly hope this will become a series that gives other characters their own novel so I can immerse myself in the classic yet modern writing style yet again.
Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review are taken from an advanced copy and may be changed from those that appear in the final version. Quotes will be updated to reflect such changes, if any.