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 HomeBut 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 SeasonSadly, 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 SensibilityMost 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 Dangerous Alliance scratched an itch I didn t know I had for a Jane Austen esque YA historical romance This book is if every Jane Austen novel plus Vanity Fair had a baby It s set in 1817, so Jane Austen herself has published all but her last two novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion , and the main character, Victoria Vicky Aston is a massive fan When disgrace befalls her family, she must participate in the Season to find a wealthy husband to save her family s estate Reluctant but determined, Vicky uses lessons from Austen s beloved heroines and the rogues and love interests of note to guide her through things.To that end, the book is a little meta This premise has been done before, but always in a modern context it was fun to read it in a historical, where essentially Jane Austen is a contemporary of the main characters I m trying to imagine 200 years from now someone writing a YA historical about a massive Leigh Bardugo fan using her books to guide their life lol.I quickly got sucked into the main action, and particularly the characters they re each well drawn, with a TON of conflict that made my stomach do flips, and turn the pages because I had to find out what would happen The book is in multi POV third person, so you get chapters scenes from three characters Vicky for the majority, also from Tom, her longtime best friend who has reappeared after a 5 year absence, and Susie, Tom s half sister who was born in scandal It s really Vicky s story, but Tom and Susie s bits are there to fill in gaps and build tension I cared for Vicky, Tom, and Susie and so it was distressing at times to know their POV and then flip into another s and see the conflicts them being badmouthed misunderstandings That s a big thing in this book like every good Austen book, much of it relies on a building series of social misunderstandings, perceived slights, misplaced pride prejudice, and some dastardly figures outright lying If that sounds up your street, this book delivers I was compulsively turning pages yesterday to find out what happened I read 50% of the book in a single day.Basically the book is full of Austen esque character tropes and they are all deliciously well drawn You ll recognize so many figures, but they all have an original twist to make them fit this world There are rogues and rakes and meddling moms and cash poor nobles, etc etc I was swept up in all the emotions, twists and turns I was SO ANGRY at the rogues rakes villains and SO FRUSTRATED with characters for not seeing them for who they were It was great.I highly recommend this book if you love Jane Austen, social romantic conflict, and or historical I can see fans of adult Regency romance really loving this. A Dangerous Alliance was an enchanting, heart warming and enthralling mix of history, romance, and mystery With charming comparisons to some of Jane Austen s most famous novels and characters, it truly was a delight to read With engaging characters, a wonderful old world English setting, and a mystery that will keep you on your toes, I couldn t read this one fast enough I devoured every single page and was sad when it was over because I wasn t ready to say goodbye ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Half mystery, half romance, I loved it all All the fun of Georgian England PLUS Jane Austen references I really appreciated the author s research into the particulars of the time it added so much to the story. Throughout extremely lucky circumstances I got my hands on half a dozen pre release books Some of which I d been waiting for months to read, this wasn t one of those I hadn t heard of the book or the writer While I do like historical fiction, I only read romance in very rare and specific circumstances All in all, the chances would have been slim for me to pick this book up, especially since the synopsis does not do the book justice It would have been a big loss The book begins when Vicky s sister, Althea flees her abusive husband to take refuge in their parent s house, and it is the ramifications of that decision and what it means to pursue a divorce in that era that pushes the events of the book forward That alone is a unique enough storyline to set this book apart from other historical romances But it s certainly not the only thing Now suddenly Vicky s previous decision to take her time before marriage could mean the family state could fall into the hands of a brother in law that beat her sister If she wants to help her family she needs to make a match before the season is out She isn t forced to do so, she is given the time and opportunity to actually search and meet potential matches Her decisions are respected and let me tell you her search for a match isn t just reasonable, it s high stakes enough to be interesting and it s very very amusing, without resorting to constantly have the characters behave in foolish ways Here s the thing with romance book characters, there are a lot of them that I ve liked, but when I say I like a character in a romance, it means they re not hit in the head stupid I don t expect them to be particularly deep This book might be the first romance I ve ever read that had actual fully fledged characters that I FELT FOR No matter how much I emphasise it, you can t know how rare that is These were characters I actually cared about beyond mere curiosity about what happened to them, beyond finding them amusing or dreamy, beyond not being annoyed by them You know when you read romances and characters somehow manage to exactly leave out that important bit of information or somehow react in a way that causes that rare misunderstanding, be in the exact wrong place at the wrong time or the opposite and how pretty much everything could have been solved in a page if they actually talked and asked question and acted like human beings Well, in this book they do, and yet it moves at a brick neck pace and never stops being exciting Vicky is possibly the best romance heroine since Elizabeth Bennet She is the strongest woman in a romance I ve read and that includes all the modern day romances She is courageous, capable, smart and rarest of all, she ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE She takes action, be it fixing a wall or jumping out of a carriage for good reason She has interests She cares for other people She makes informed decisions She stands up for herself but isn t constantly rude under the guise of being feisty And all of this, we can discover naturally instead of being beaten over the head with by the writer As for Tom, he shows the kind of depth that never ceased to surprise me He isn t just the love interest He is actually another fully formed character with his own wants and needs and motivation that don t just surround finding a wife, or determinedly not finding a wife He has a family to care for, a past to come to terms with and business to get off the ground Both Tom and Vicky have lives that go on separately of each other, that includes families, relationships and events that have nothing to do with their romance In fact, their characters are so well written that the book would have worked without them ever falling in love I would have been than willing to read whole books about these people That is not to say though that their relationship isn t a pleasure to read about Old childhood friends reunited after years of silence, a big part of Tom and Vicky s relationship is coming to understand each other again They do not see each other and suddenly fall apart with passion and desire They don t spend hours thinking about the other s perfect eyes or jaw structure Instead, they actually care about each other They notice each other s flaws They enjoy each other s company They help and trust each other They actually seem like friends And they still manage to remain separate people with separate lives and their other relationships are just as important to the book as the one they share Each of them has a bond with their siblings that is heart warming and beautifully written And those siblings, like other side characters in the book, have their own journeys to go through Both Althea and Charles and even Susie were interesting enough to warrant their own books If that s not how you know characterisation was done well, I don t know what is I could go on and on about other aspects of this book, like how great the pacing is, how perfectly balanced the humour is with the darker aspects, how beautifully the healing arcs of characters recovering from trauma and abuse is written and how very very wonderfully feminist this book is, but if I haven t convinced you to add this to your to read list already, all of that won t make a difference And if you have added it, then I have to smirk and gloat a little because you ll have to wait for a few months before you can get your hands on this pleasure I can completely see this book having allll the witty banter, so obviously I need it ARC received in exchange for an honest review thank you I feel super dispirited right now not many YA books seem to be holding my attention lately This is the third ARC within the space of a few days that I think I ll have to DNF I m utterly unimpressed by her stupidity She ends up slamming her head on the ground for the SECOND time in FIVE MINUTES because she didn t move out of the way of someone who s randomly attacked her She also doesn t seem to be demonstrating the appropriate level of horror over the fact that someone did attack her.Like bitch, there ll be time to fangirl over your hot neighbour later Right now focus on the man who tried to murder you IN FACT the hero himself voices it How can you be so indifferent You were knocked unconscious, fell off your bloody horse, were nearly trampled by mine So yeah, basically she acts like a moron and he calls her out on it Not my thing There are a ton of other irritating things about this book The heroine acts like a spoilt little cow She s described as petulant , and pouting at the unfairness of something Yeah how old is she, again Plus she refuses to acknowledge that she made a mistake and put herself in danger Again, TSTL She lives her life by the refrain of what would Lizzy Bennett do in this situation This is cringey, but also, Lizzy Bennett would NOT whine and pout so you ve already failed It s super irritating to hear her constantly assuring herself she s definitely conducted herself like an Austen heroine Quick POV changes within the chapters We were in the heroine s head for a handful of paragraphs, then before I even managed to bond with her, we switched to the hero s head From whose perspective we discover that the heroine is ravishingly gorgeous, complete with a heart shaped face and cupid s bow lip Spare me Most unrealistic attack ever A man in A BLACK MASK AND GREATCOAT sneaks up on the heroine, bashes her on the head, and vanishes into thin air As I mentioned before, neither the heroine nor her parents seem to care much it s the hero who s demanding a magistrate etc I will say that I ve not yet noticed any glaring historical inaccuracies I think I ll continue for a short while longer, but my hopes aren t high with this book Blog Bookstagram I gulped this delicious book down in one sitting and stayed up far longer than I should have As a lover of georgette heyer s regency romances I enjoyed the depth to the delightful regency frothyness that strikes a chord with its detailed issues of divorce and physical abuse also as a hardened hist romance mystery reader i was sure i knew the outcome of the mystery, but i was completely blindsided by the perp I sincerely hope there s a sequel in which Mr C gets a starring role. If you love Jane Austen s books, Jennieke Cohen will be your new favorite author Dangerous Alliance is the perfect combination of mystery, intriguing characters, surprising action, and delightful romance I couldn t put it down I read it in one night What I loved 1 Lady Victoria Aston is not your typical damsel in distress, every time she is in danger, she uses her wits to fight back She s optimistic, loyal, brave, out spoken, and utterly charming She s definitely a feminist protagonist that modern girls can cheer for, but she still is believable for the time period.2 Vicky s obsession with Jane Austen s books is so cleverly inserted into the story Vicky tries to use Austen s books in real life situations and the results are hilarious She is no Fanny Price and she d even give Elizabeth Bennett some serious competition 3 Vicky s childhood friend, Tom, is a complex character with a tragic past and an uncertain future, yet you can t help but cheer for him 4 The mystery who is behind the attacks and accidents befalling Vicky What really happened between Tom and Vicky What is Mr Carmichael s business with her bro in law Lord Dain There are great twists and reveals 5 Through Vicky s sister, Althea, Jennieke Cohen highlights the awful legal situation of married women in early 19th century England Despite being abused and or cheated on, women couldn t get a divorce The best they could hope for is a legal separation Men on the other hand, could divorce their wives for adultery and remarry Wives and their dowries were the legal property of their husbands under English law.6 Vicky is hoping for her own Jane Austen story book romance and there are plenty of hiccups Her suitors range from absolute boors, to former best friends, to wealthy mysterious men Her ultimate romance is sweet and oh, so satisfying.A must read for Cindy Anstey and Patricia Wrede fans I was fortunate to read an ARC of Dangerous Alliance, diving full speed into Regency England and a tale of damsels in distress, dashing heroes with impeccable timing, and dastardly villains so evil one can almost imagine a moustache being twisted over a wry sneer The book has everything a lover of the genre could want, with its careening carriages, kidnappings, balls, and duels, all set up to support a central love story that parallels Pride and Prejudice Cohen adds her own unique flourishes, giving the heroine agency and a meta awareness of all the parallels between the story we read and the stories the heroine reads The asides read almost like an actress turning to the camera with a wink and a nod Readers who are familiar with Austen s work 4 of the 6 books are referenced will delight in all the parallels Readers not familiar with the references will welcome the way the author provides the information needed to grasp the key info I appreciated the historic detail sprinkled throughout, which added depth and texture to the world I also appreciated that the central relationship had some complexity This isn t just a romance between a beautiful girl and a handsome boy who are bent on being together They have to discover the truth of their feelings by sorting out their own messes While the central relationship provides the spine of the book, Cohen also weaves in family struggles, land and estate battles, legal complications around marriage and divorce, and a thread of mystery about who keeps attempting to harm the heroine and why It s a layered novel It s also a fun story about heroes and villains I think readers who enjoy Regency love stories between feisty heroines and noble heroes will have a blast. I m exhausted today why, you ask Well, I stayed up all night reading an early copy of Dangerous Alliance because I couldn t put it down This book has so many wonderful components that it would be impossible to list them all Here s just a few Vicky the MC s strong, distinct voice is a pleasure to read Her personal strengths are so closely tied with her flaws in my opinion one of the best signs of a well developed character The fierce, sisterly love is believable and authentic, and the romantic banter between Vicky and REDACTED is perfect I refuse to spoil this gem of a novel, you ll just have to read it yourselves Most of all, I loved the exploration of the line between what we read and how we conduct ourselves in our own lives How we find our own individuality amid thousands of other voices telling us who to be and how to act even if those voices belong to people or writers characters we idolize.A stellar debut I can t wait to read what Cohen writes next.
- 448 pages
- Dangerous Alliance
- Jennieke Cohen
- 06 February 2017 Jennieke Cohen