My rating: 3 stars / I liked it
Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style.
If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.
Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.
One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.
Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.
I enjoy Austen retellings and stories based on her books. I don't consider myself an Austen "purist" because I like when the characters or plot are taken in much different directions than the original story. This is definitely a unique collection with the setting in 1800's Austin, Texas, and each novella based on a different book of Austen's. It was interesting to see how each author incorporated the classic storyline while making it new and interesting. I think some achieved more success at that than others. If I Loved You Less stayed pretty close to the original plot and dialogue of Emma, so much in fact that at times I felt like the characters were more British than Texan. Refinements and One Word From You were more creative with the plot and characters. Alarmingly Charming was my favorite since the writing flowed so well and had more depth and dimension than the other stories in the collection. Kathryn and Harmon's unexpected attraction has them in a dance of "should I/shouldn't I" until she helps bring peace to his family and makes her own decision about her future.
(Thank you to Debra Marvin for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)