Review: Bespelling Jane Austen

Title: Bespelling Jane Austen
Authors:  Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason , Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Published: October 1, 2011
ISBN13: 9781459213906
Genre: paranormal
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:
Jane Everett and Captain Robert Mitford realize they are reincarnated soul mates; Caroline Merrill suspects Mr. Blanchard of being a vampire; Elizabeth Bennet encounters Charles Bingley and vampires; and Emma Woodhouse runs a dating service for the supernatural.

My thoughts:
Bespelling Jane Austen is a collection of four paranormal stories that are inspired by some of Austen's classic books. The first story, Almost Persuaded, is written by Mary Balogh. As you might have guessed from the title it is based off of Persuasion. Persuasion is my favorite book by Jane Austen so I was anxious to see what Balogh had in store for the readers. Her two main characters are Jane Everett and Captain Robert Midford. Midford has just returned from the war after he had been wounded. From the first moment these two characters are introduced to each other, they have a spark, only it's much more than a spark. It's as if they are two halves of the same soul. Once they start remembering their past lives together it opens the door to a mysterious past with dreadful circumstances. They have to uncover the truth before it tears them apart. Although this story is based on Persuasion, it's totally it's own story. There's a hint of Austen in there, but it stands on its own. Balogh uses similar characters as in Persuasion, but I think that's were the similarities end. I liked this story very much. I think it might be my favorite in the whole book. I liked the love story and the mystery. 
The second story in this book is Northanger Castle by Colleen Gleason. And of course by the name you've figured out this story is based off of Northanger Abbey. This story has the same gothic feel as its namesake. There are many similarities in this story to the original. The characters, the setting, the atmosphere. They all ring true. The exception in this novel is the main characters, Caroline Merrill and Mr. Blanchard. Caroline is just as naive as Catherine, but a little more fearless. Mr. Blanchard is dark and mysterious. And oh yeah, Caroline thinks he's a vampire. In fact she's certain of it, but can she find out the truth before it's too late? This was an okay story. I like the real gothic feel to it, but it was a bit too predictable for me.
The third story in this novel is Blood and Prejudice by Susan Krinard, and it's based off of Pride and Prejudice. While the first two stories take place in regency times, Blood and Prejudice is a modern day adaptation. The same beloved characters are back, but with a paranormal twist. There are vampires afoot. And Elizabeth is smack dab in the middle of the fray. Can she escape their clutches before it's too late? Can Mr. Darcy save her from himself? I liked this story. I wasn't sure how'd I feel about a modern-day retelling, but it worked well. I loved how the author reworked the original story line to fit into this paranormal one. I think Mr. Darcy makes a wonderful brooding vampire! He can bite me anytime!
The last story in this book is Little To Hex Her by Janet Mullany, and it's based off of Emma. Like Blood and Prejudice, this story also is a modern-day adaptation. The main character, Emma, runs a dating service for the supernatural. What a perfect fit! Emma has big problems. Not only is she meddling where she shouldn't, someone has put a hex on her. If she doesn't figure it out in time, she could end up losing everything. Luckily she has her friend Harriet and Knightley. I love that Mullany incorporated almost all of the characters from Emma in this book. They have so much personality it would have been a shame had she not found room for them in this book. This book is a charming take on Emma. It was a very entertaining read.
Overall I liked this book. I think some of the Jane Austen purists would roll their eyes at the thought of reading it, but I thought all the authors did a great job. I love that the stories are all paranormal too. It's an interesting take on these classic characters. This is a quick, relaxing read. Great for a vacation or a weekend. 

My rating: