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.
What worked: This is a fun, engaging romp through Georgian England with a headstrong protagonist who wants to live a life just like one of the heroines in a beloved Jane Austen novel. Vicky could very well be one of those heroines in Pride & Prejudice. I liked how strong her character was and how she wasn't one to do what the men in her family and social circles demanded of her.
Her best friend Tom is a little like Mr. Darcy. Only his story is more complicated. His abusive father sends him packing and Vicky fears he wants nothing to do with her. He doesn't answer her letters, so she assumes the worse. When he shows up right when a stranger tries to harm her on her estate, unanswered questions arise on what his true purpose might be. Rumors circulate that Tom's dead father left him almost penniless.
Mr. Carmichael is that dashing Nineteenth century British gentleman that might be a rogue in disguise. I like how readers don't know Mr. Carmichael's true intentions toward Vicky until the final reveal.
There's also a mystery on who might be behind the attacks against Vicky and her family. Clues are hidden throughout the novel. All the while Vicky takes solitude in her beloved Jane Austen books. In a way she's almost saying, 'What would Jane Austen Do?' in the situations going on around her.
Highly engaging historical romance with witty dialogue and a protagonist worthy of a Jane Austen novel.
2. Witty dialogue with a protagonist who looks for love via Jane Austen