Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

by Jennieke Cohen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fiction
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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 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 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 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.

This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

I received an early ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to HarperTeen and the Fantastic Flying Book Club

Seventeen year old, Lady Victoria Aston leads an unconventional life on her family’s country estate, and with her older sister well married, she enjoys a considerable amount of freedom. She is very a independent helping to manage the family’s English estate, studying animal husbandry.

She adores Jane Austen novels and rereads them meticulously, all the while making comparison of her life with that of characters with pages of those lovely books.

When her life takes a sudden turn she comes to understand that her life is not like a storybook novel. Her sister unexpectedly arrives home, distraught and hurt, fleeing an abusive husband. It becomes clear that Victoria, {Vicky} must take on the the burden of saving family’s reputation before the scandal breaks over her sisters separation from her husband public knowledge. Along with the fact that if her father should pass before her sisters Althea marriage is legally dissolved, the family’s estate would fall into the hands of Althea cruel handof her brother in law Viscount Dain.

Lady Victoria needs to find a husband and marry quickly, before the end of the season. If that isn’t enough a series of unexplained suspicious attack, along with the return Tom Sherborne, her old friend and neighbor returned from years in exile after succeeding to his father’s title, keeps the reader fully engaged in marvelous coming of age tale.

Georgian England, comes to life and is richly drawn out. Wonderful dialogue and the plot line is perfectly paced creating an enjoyable historical fiction.

Cohen adds an historical note chapter at the end of the book explaining the research she did to write the novel and the various Jane Austen quotes.

Dangerous Alliance was paced perfectly and the intriguing well developed characters are stunningly fleshed out. Creative multiple POV’s along with intriguing element of adventure and mystery keep me fully immersed all the through to the end.

Dangerous Alliance – Jennieke CohenExcerpt for FFBC

 

Vicky raised her chin. She would handle this situation as Elizabeth Bennet would. After Mr. Wickham had run off to London with Elizabeth’s sister Lydia, the couple returned to Longbourn.Elizabeth had been polite to Wickham but had also made it clear she knew what kind of scoundrel he was.

Vicky could do the same to Dain. As she stretched to her full height, she realized Mr. Carmichael’s blackish-brown gaze centered on her. She could not guess his thoughts, but unfortunately, there would be no further help from that quarter. Mr. Carmichael had no claim on her that could keep her from a family member.

Mr. Carmichael locked eyes with her just as Dain pulled her arm into the crook of his. Vicky’s lips tightened into a line. Blasted, beastly brother-in-law . . .

Dain nodded to Carmichael and led her away.

She glanced back at Mr. Carmichael. He watched her, a small crease forming between his brows. Vicky searched for her mother once again, but she had disappeared.

“Well, my dear, dear sister,” said Dain. “You look stunning this evening. A new gown, I take it?” His amber eyes traveled up and down her body.

Vicky’s stomach lurched. “You swine,” she spat. “How dare you look at me in such a fashion?” So much for being polite.

“Why, Lady Victoria, such language,” he mocked.

She narrowed her eyes. “But then, I suppose I’ve answered my own question,” she continued. “Swine are too bestial to have a conscience. Indeed, they enjoy wallowing in the mud.” Elizabeth Bennet’s subtlety had deserted her, but blast it. Dain deserved to know what he was!

He put his free hand on her arm and squeezed. The motion would look like fraternal devotion to any onlooker, but it was becoming more and more painful by the second.

Vicky gasped.

He chuckled deep in his throat.

How had he hidden his cruelty all these years? She tried to move away, but his grip tightened. She suppressed her grimace.

She spoke through clenched teeth. “Take your hand off me.”

“Or what, dear sister? What can you possibly do?” He smiled again.

Bile rose in her throat. So this was the monster Thea had lived with for two years. But his question remained: What could she do? What if he took her out of the ballroom? Who knew what he might do to her if they were beyond the gaze of prying eyes?

Vicky’s heart drummed in her chest. Maybe she could knock him in the face with her reticule, or if worse came to worse, somewhere more painful, but she couldn’t do that in the ballroom without appearing mad. If she waited until he took her somewhere private, there was no guarantee she’d be able to break free of him.

Suddenly, an answer came to her. She spoke loudly so the guests nearby would overhear. “Oh, Lord Dain, the ribbon on my slipper has snapped. Pray excuse me. I am certain someone in the retiring room will be able to assist me.”

He tutted with false concern, then gestured to the side of the ballroom. “There is a chair. I shall fix it for you.”

She raised her voice again. “No, no. I’d much rather retire for a moment.” If she said much more, the entire ballroom would think she needed the privy.

He pulled her to the edge of the ballroom. “My dear sister, I could not possibly part with your company.” His hand gripped her arm like a vise.

Vicky narrowed her eyes. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking he could do this to her. “Take your hand off me, or I swear to scream the truth to the entire ballroom,” she whispered.

“What truth would that be?” he drawled.

“That you’ve been beating my sister to within an inch of her life and you’re taking me outside to do the same to me.”

He laughed. “I’m afraid, dear sister, no one would believe you.” His lips curved into a sneer.

His repeated use of “sister” made her itch to slap him. “Perhaps not now. Not yet.”

He gripped her arm even tighter and angled his body to face her. “Just what does that mean?”

Her stomach dropped. She’d said too much. Althea had only been in London a week and the lawyers couldn’t start the proceedings for her legal separation yet. Her mind raced for an answer to distract Dain. “That you will reveal your own character. Just as you have tonight.” She glared at him, refusing to blink.

His lips twisted in a snarl. “Do not try my patience,” he said, anger infused into every syllable.

Before she could say another word, Dain abruptly released her arm and stepped back.

“Lady Victoria. How lovely to see you again.

Vicky’s throat went dry. She turned and saw that, to her simultaneous joy and dismay, Tom stood beside her.

Tom smiled and took Vicky’s hand.

She could hardly believe it. He’d sought her out amongst the hordes of people here? She blinked several times, trying to guess his reasoning. A short stillness ensued until Vicky realized she’d left her hand in his grip a hair longer than was proper. She pulled her hand back and cast her eyes down, hoping her heated cheeks weren’t noticeable.

“L-Lord Halworth, what a surprise.” 

 

Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kah CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.

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