Title: Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Published: December 3rd, 2019 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: 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 exactcircumstances: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Lady Victoria Aston leads a comfortable and idyllic life on her family’s country estate, and with her older sister well married, she enjoys a considerable amount of freedom. But when her sister unexpectedly arrives home, fleeing her abusive husband, Vicky must marry quickly before the matter becomes public and the family is ruined. However, her beloved Austen novels are little help against the London season and worse, she finds herself the victim of several mysterious accidents as the days go by, making her question everyone and everything around her.
Victoria was an interesting character, smart, independent and very much like an Austen heroine and definitely no damsel in distress. However, she is astonishingly naive for a seventeen year old. She is obsessed with the Austen novels to the point of impracticality and it takes far too long for her to understand that life is not a storybook. Furthermore, despite promising her sister that she would help her, her performance in the society events that follow is passable at best, and she does not really seem to be trying at all. In fact, she seems to approach the entire thing as a game, as she decides to act as a certain character from a novel would. The Austen comparisons both in the narrative and by Vicky herself felt rather forced.
Dangerous Alliance is told in the alternating POVs of Victoria and her former childhood friend Tom Sherborne. While I’m usually a fan of multiple perspective narrations, in this case, it took away from the story as it was quite plain who Vicky was going to end up with, rendering that particular part of the drama superfluous – after all, it’s hard to overlook when two characters are constantly compared to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. I’m also quite curious why the opening scene, where Vicky is attacked and then the subsequent accidents are taken so lightly by the rest of the family and beyond making sure she is unharmed, none of them bring it up again and the story quickly moves along, which is quite unrealistic.
It is quite obvious that the author is well versed in the minutiae of society in Regency England, and the book is very well researched in the way it tackles the subjects of women’s rights and divorce in the time period right alongside the elaborate etiquette of London society. I am rather fond of novels set in the Regency era, and it is always lovely to see a book depict it accurately, more so because this is YA. Overall, Dangerous Alliance was a well-paced and engaging novel, and the element of adventure and mystery definitely added to the tale. If you are not already an Austen fan, this will certainly motivate you to start reading them!
Dangerous Alliance releases on December 3rd, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!