DANGEROUS ALLIANCE: An Austentacious Romance
GENRE: Historical Romance / Young Adult
RELEASE DATE: December 3, 2019
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.
“Her life was looking less and less like one of Miss Austen’s novels and more and more like an utter mess. “
I don’t stray much from reviewing Christian fiction & cozy mysteries here on the blog, but occasionally a book that doesn’t fit either of those categories so captures my attention that I simply have to read/review it when given the opportunity. Such is the case with Dangerous Alliance, a debut Edwardian novel from author Jennieke Cohen. From the great cover to the intriguing blurb, I was hooked.
Then I started reading… And I was instantly drawn into the story, too. It starts off with a bang (to poor Vicky’s head) and proceeds to become more layered and complex as it progresses. Weaving in awareness of women’s rights as far as domestic abuse, divorce in those situations, inheritance, etc. all added even more depth to the plot – but there are also plenty of lighter, witty moments that offset the more sobering ones (while still giving this subplot the attention it deserves). For instance, there’s lots of fun banter, as well as Vicky’s amusing courting incidents in her search for a mate out of necessity – in fact, there was more than one scene (especially when Sheldon the butler got involved) that made me chuckle out loud.
I also loved that Jane Austen is a contemporary of Vicky’s, for all intents and purposes. While the author herself doesn’t make an appearance in the story, she’s much talked about, particularly as Vicky relates most everything she does to what her favorite (or least favorite) Austen heroines would do. This also prompts some fun conversations between Vicky and Tom (her former best friend from childhood), the latter a mix of Darcy and Knightley for much of the story and not at all understanding what the fuss is about concerning these new novels written by ‘a lady’.
She was still very much like the girl he remembered who’d believed in fairy stories, except now she believed in the novels of some Miss Austen.
Tom’s story is deliciously complex and tragic, and I came to love him as a hero more with every new layer of his past & present that was uncovered. His friendship since childhood with Vicky keeps things interesting between them in the present, as does the uncertainty the author creates as to exactly what his role is in Vicky’s future. There’s more than one viable possibility for a husband – guys with snuff addictions & runaway phaetons & weirdly waggling caterpillar-eyebrows notwithstanding – so it’s not completely clear who will win her heart… until it is. What is certain is that Vicky is feisty and smart and loves fiercely, and anyone who claims her hand in marriage is in for an adventure.
“You’re not like Mr. Darcy. And I wouldn’t have you be. You’re you. And I wouldn’t trade you for a dozen perfect gentlemen.”
Bottom Line: Dangerous Alliance is a delightful romp through Edwardian England, spurred on by the at-the-time-contemporary novels of Jane Austen & a spirited heroine who loves them. A bit of well-constructed suspense and a sensitively-portrayed subplot involving domestic abuse & women’s rights of the day add depth & dimension to an already-layered plot, and well-timed humor gives the right amount of levity when needed. Not to mention the swoony romance in play, as well, and the novel’s very satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading more from this author!
“Ladies with no dowries find wealthy husbands who cherish them. Worthy men act honorably. Life should be so tidy and end so happily.”
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some scattered cursing, as well as a few profanities in this book. It is otherwise clean.
Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kah CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.
This giveaway is hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour by clicking the banner below
What about you? What interests you most about Dangerous Alliance?