Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bespelling Jane Austen, by Mary Blogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janey Mullany

Bespelling Jane Austen: Almost Persuaded\Northanger Castle\Blood and Prejudice\Little to Hex HerWhat would happen if your favorite Jane Austen stories were mixed up with paranormal elements?  That is exactly what this collection does.  In Almost Persuaded, Mary Blogh takes the tale of Persuasion and spins it with reincarnation and eternal love throughout multiple lifetimes.  In Northanger Castle, Colleen Gleason takes Caroline from Northanger Abbey and makes her obsessed with Gothic novels and vampire hunters.  Susan Krinard also puts a vampiric spin on Pride and Prejudice in Blood and Prejudice.  Rounding out the book is Little to Hex her, which is Janey Mullany's modern day take on Emma, if all the people involved also had paranormal powers.

This book took two of my favorite things, Austen and the paranormal, and attempted to mix them together in a way that was fresh, exciting, and bewitching, if I may use that pun.  I would say, for the most part, the book was spot on.  I personally loved the first three stories, which seemed to stay more to the original Austen stories, and sprinkle in paranormal elements.  Ever a fan of Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy, Blood and Prejudice was my favorite of the three, but Almost Persuaded was so beautiful as well, that it ran a close second.

My least favorite of the four stories was Little to Hex Her, a modern take on Emma.  I did not like it for a variety of reasons.  First off, it takes a lot for a modernization of a classic tale to work, and for me, this just did not have it.  Having Emma run a dating agency in Washington D.C was not all that original I thought, and to make it paranormal, the dating agency was only for witches, vamps, elves, etc. Again, I found it kind of weak.  I also hated, yes, I used the word hated, the fact that the story was so smutty, with profanity and pretty randy sex scenes.  I do not think Jane would have approved, personally.  It also just did not seem to fit the tone of the book.  The other stories has sexual and romantic elements, but done more in classical Austen style, this was just kind of in your face, and I did not care for it.

The only other thing I can say negative about the book was I wish they had adapted all 6 Austen stories, but perhaps there was not a feasible way to do so.  Otherwise, a wonderful book, which I highly recommend to Austen and other classical literature fans, as well as fans of gothic or horror literature.  It was a nice read for October, great for a book club especially!

A review copy of this book was made available courtesy of NetGalley.