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A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels

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Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children's governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for 'unnatural' crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family. Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth's breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he'd bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath. A Pemberley-sized anthology featuring authors: Julie Bozza, Andrea Demetrius, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Narrelle M Harris, Sandra Lindsey, Fae Mcloughlin, Atlin Merrick, JL Merrow and Eleanor Musgrove.


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Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children's governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for 'unnatural' crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family. Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth's breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he'd bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath. A Pemberley-sized anthology featuring authors: Julie Bozza, Andrea Demetrius, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Narrelle M Harris, Sandra Lindsey, Fae Mcloughlin, Atlin Merrick, JL Merrow and Eleanor Musgrove.

30 review for A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Charbonneau

    Thirteen stories from eleven authors explore the world of Jane Austen with gender identity twists. Darcys abound, both in period and modern-day. Even Colin Firth’s trousers make an appearance. Austen lovers discover each other at Bath museums and book clubs. Adam Otelian finds the governess of his young twin siblings has a beard. Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith decide to seek happiness with each other without regard to the need of a husband. Margaret Dashwood experiences her first kiss from the Thirteen stories from eleven authors explore the world of Jane Austen with gender identity twists. Darcys abound, both in period and modern-day. Even Colin Firth’s trousers make an appearance. Austen lovers discover each other at Bath museums and book clubs. Adam Otelian finds the governess of his young twin siblings has a beard. Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith decide to seek happiness with each other without regard to the need of a husband. Margaret Dashwood experiences her first kiss from the lips of a “fallen” woman who forms a ready-made family with her adorable five year-old son. Both inspired idea and loving tribute, this welcome collection has most interesting twists. Tones vary. Some are sly and sexy, some warm and tender, some brooding and tragic, some laugh out loud funny. The original Jane Austen characters’ full-throated independence, intelligence, curiosity and bravery serve these wonderful tributes well. Reimagined, one and all discover “there are many different ways of living in this world.” I think Miss Austen would be delighted, and I highly recommend this enchanting collection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stevie Carroll

    Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread: I’m very fond of Jane Austen’s novels, and I love pastiches and stories inspired by her works, so this book of LGBTQ+ stories following that theme was an anthology I couldn’t pass by. Pretty much every letter of the QUILTBAG is represented here, along with retellings, prequels, sequels, and stories about readers of the various novels. There are even references to Colin Firth tucked away in there. Of course, such a mixed collection is going Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread: I’m very fond of Jane Austen’s novels, and I love pastiches and stories inspired by her works, so this book of LGBTQ+ stories following that theme was an anthology I couldn’t pass by. Pretty much every letter of the QUILTBAG is represented here, along with retellings, prequels, sequels, and stories about readers of the various novels. There are even references to Colin Firth tucked away in there. Of course, such a mixed collection is going to have some stories that appeal more than others; however, in this case none of them disappointed me. I think my favourite stories were those that subverted Regency Era gender roles. In Atlin Merrick’s Hide nor Hair Adam becomes guardian to his much younger twin siblings, and finds a most unusual governess for them, while in Sandra Lindsey’s Man of War, William Price discovers that not only is the young ordinary seaman he is tutoring remarkably bright for a lad of his background, he is also concealing some unexpected anatomical features beneath his shirt. My absolute favourite out of the trans* stories was Eleanor Musgrove’s Father Doesn’t Dance, which reimagines Pride and Prejudice with the threat of an entail on the estate hanging over the Darcy family as well as over the Bennet girls. Lavinia Darcy will do anything to protect her mother and her younger sister Georgiana from the loss of her home, even leaving them for a supposed religious life, only to return as her long-lost brother Fitzwilliam. The new role suits him, and soon he has others who can be trusted to keep his secret, although Wickham lurks in the background – as he is wont to do in many stories. We don’t get to see what Darcy makes of the Misses Bennet in this story, but I have high hopes of finding more stories from this author that follow a similar vein. Now, gentle reader, do not fear that I didn’t also enjoy the stories of Regency men finding love with each other, nor of those about Regency ladies emulating the two who resided in Llangollen (who, indeed, are mentioned in two of the stories as heroines to be emulated); and let it not be said that I didn’t enjoy the modern stories, because indeed I did. I just expect that I’ll be rereading the stories I paid particular attention to in this review more than I do any of the others. A highly enjoyable book whether read from cover to cover in a single sitting or dipped into at will over a prolonged period.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    I was disappointed that the M/M stories got to run the full gamut from cute to erotic while not a single one of the F/F stories got past the initial feelingstalk. Other than that discrepancy there was a lot of really good stuff!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    A Certain Persuasion (very clever title, by the way) is an anthology of queer stories inspired in some way by the fiction of Jane Austen. It includes new looks at Austen’s protagonists, imagined back-stories for minor characters, and stories about modern characters that interact with the Austen canon in some way. Please note that, although I attempt to avoid significant spoilers in this review, I do not consider the identity of transgender characters to be a spoiler and will discuss this aspect A Certain Persuasion (very clever title, by the way) is an anthology of queer stories inspired in some way by the fiction of Jane Austen. It includes new looks at Austen’s protagonists, imagined back-stories for minor characters, and stories about modern characters that interact with the Austen canon in some way. Please note that, although I attempt to avoid significant spoilers in this review, I do not consider the identity of transgender characters to be a spoiler and will discuss this aspect of relevant stories. The stories are all solidly written and well-edited, though a couple had the somewhat annoying feature that seems common in Austen pastisches of lifting whole chunks of the original texts into their new settings. I was most fond of the stories that focused on a brief, crucial encounter between the characters, rather than trying to tell a sweeping epic in short story length. I don't specifically look for erotic stories when I read material of this sort. None of the stories was so explicit that I skipped passages, and the more physical scenes were generally integrated well into the story so that they didn’t jump out as “insert sex scene here.” The mannered nature of Austen’s settings work well for queer romance aimed at modern readers, as the slow formal pace of social interactions provides a rich context for characters to sound each other out and explore the potential for mutual attraction that falls outside society’s norms. The mix of stories is rather unbalanced towards the masculine, though it includes a wide variety of representation. Of the thirteen stories, four involve romance between two cis women, six have romance between two cis men, two involve romance between a cis man and one each of a trans man and a trans woman. And one story is ambiguous within the story itself regarding whether it involves a passing woman or a trans man (the author’s notes indicate they intend a trans framing) with the implied potential (if the story continues on Austen’s plotline) of romance with a cis woman at a later date. “A Charming Marine Prospect” describes a chance erotic encounter between Persuasion’s William Elliot and the unfortunate Richard Musgrove (though perhaps not so much unfortunate here as having decided to opt out of the family drama). A fossil-hunting expedition in the neighborhood of Lyme sparks a brief erotic encounter. I enjoyed the way the fossil-hunting profession was brought in. The prose is solid and has a very Austenesque feel to it. “One Half of the World” depicts a delicate negotiation between Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith regarding turning their friendship into a lifelong companionship à la the Ladies of Llangollen (whom Harriet specifically references). I’m afraid I found this story over-long, too talky, and devoid of believable romantic chemistry. That is, I suppose I can believe it as a negotiation of two expected spinsters regarding a home-sharing agreement, but not as the careful sounding-out and planning of two women admitting that they hope the other also considers their friendship closer than the ordinary. And though I’m happy to accept new takes on canon characters, the Harriet in this story bears little resemblence to the mousy, uncertain, devoted follower of Emma. In “Hide nor Hair”, a orphaned man at the beginning of adulthood discovers the joys of love and a quiet country life with the governess he hires for his younger siblings--a governess whose only noticeable flaw is a need to shave more regularly than is typical for a woman. This is one of those “slow, delicate negotiation” stories that the collection does well. I can’t quite figure out which Austen novel the characters are meant to evoke, though. “Outside the Parlour” is a somewhat rambling exploration of an alternate Fitzwilliam Darcy, whose romantic entanglements with men provide a motivation for his very ambiguous attitude toward the marriage market and toward Elizabeth Bennet in particular. It provides a keen exploration of the hazards and sorrows of a Regency-era Englishman who had erotic leanings toward his own sex, while Lizzie is relegated to the role of the one woman Darcy might have been able to bear being married to, should he conclude it was necessary to marry at all. The story makes an interesting contrast to the more traditional romance arcs in many of the other pieces in this collection. Margaret Dashwood is the youngest of the Dashwood sisters and a woman longing for the joy of a female confidante and friend with whom she can share her doubts and uncertainties about the prospect of marriage to a man. In “Margaret”, she is solicited to lend respectability as a lady companion to the household of Colonel Brandon’s ward, Eliza (and her young son who bears a noticeable relationship to their neighbor Willoughby), and discovers that companionship can lead to love. A realistic study of the fine lines between respectable and scandalous for unmarried women of that age. And as with some of my other favorites in this collection, it presents a realistic picture of how women might broach the subject of turning companionship into something more passionate. In “The Wind over Pemberley” an encounter between two modern-day Austen fans on Pemberley Cliff (a setting that confused me greatly at first, as Derbyshire has no seaside cliffs that I’m aware of!) turns a shared literary interest into an erotic encounter, though a tragic ending. It’s interesting that the stories in this collection that fall short of a happy ending are the ones with modern settings, perhaps because modern characters have more scope for genuine happiness and therefore may be allowed to fall short of it? “Cross and Cast” has a similar modern setting, with characters that echo persons and relationships in Pride and Prejudice crossing paths in a “dancing with the stars” type of reality show involving Regency dancing. I liked how the play of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and the nursing of hurts paralleled the original text in new and believable ways for the modern characters. It can be hard to set up an Austenesque plot in the modern day, given the very different social rules and dyamics, and this one did it very well. Simiarly, in an excellent modern parallel for the family and romantic dynamics of Persuasion, “Know Your Own Happiness” allows a young man to revisit his capitulation to his family’s rejection of his bisexuality with a chance to choose true love this time. I particularly liked the subtlety with which the theme was developed. For much of the story, the Austen reference is all about the protagonist’s reluctant attendence at a book club...and then the Captain Wentworth-analogue enters and suddenly all is made clear. The third modern-setting story of the collection involves living history...or does it? A cynical young man has an ecounter in an Austen museum with a deliciously wicked Wickham actor in “Thirteen Hours in Austen”. Wickham’s challenge to be allowed an illicit night in the museum to open the protagonist’s mind brings a bittersweet ending after a fun costumed romp. “Man of War” is a story rich in naval details (perhaps a little too rich?) as William Price (the brother of Mansfield Park’s protagonist) mentors a promising seaman. Those not familiar with the rich history of women serving in 17-19th century militaries in male disguise may question the believability of the story’s trans man serving as a sailor but I enjoyed how the motif was handled. The story does not end in romance, but transforms Price’s understanding of his own desires in a promising way. I felt the story suffered a little from an excess of technical naval details, and perhaps too rosy a vision of the inherent benevolence of naval officert toward their crews. We have a gender-flipped retelling of a core Austen story when “Elinor and Ada” follows the trials of Elinor Dashwood’s secret love for Ada Ferrars, who stands in place of Edward. There has been a certain reorganization of family relationships: instead of Ada being the brother to John Dashwood’s wife Fanny and to Robert Ferrars, she is a cousin of theirs and something of a family poor relation. She has been serving as governess to the Steele sisters (rather than being tutored by their uncle) and had formed an indiscreet connection with Lucy Steele, who now holds certain letters over her as earnest for a promise to have Mrs. Ferrars set them up with an independent household. With those alterations (and the eventual substitution of a position as village schoolmistress at Delaford rather than the ecclesiastical living) the story otherwise follows the plot of Sense and Sensibility very closely. Rather too closely, perhaps, as it traces out the entire plot of the novel in the space of a short story, which makes for a great deal of summarizing and plot-outlining. This was also one of the stories that recycled significant chunks of text from the original story. While I loved the re-imagining of the plot, I wasn’t entirely delighted with the execution. In-story gender-flipping also takes the lead in “Father Doesn’t Dance”, in which the Darcy sisters’ lack of a brother to inherit and the impending loss of Pemberley through entailment to an unknown distant cousin inspires a daring masquerade. The elder Darcy’s lingering fatal illness provides time for elder daughter Lavinia to conceive of, and convince her parents to go along with, a plan in which she will become her mythical long-estranged brother Fitzwilliam, thereby keeping the estate in the family and being able to provide for her beloved younger sister Georgiana. We have something of a “training montage” where Lavinia goes away to learn how to perform as a man from her cousin Richard Fitzwilliam (not yet Colonel Fitzwilliam) who will be Lavinia/Fitzwilliam’s co-guardian for Georgiana. The author’s note at the end indicates that she intends the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy in this story to be a trans man, but I didn’t see that implicit in the story itself, which presents the decision as entirely driven by economic and legal motivations. I think it can be read either way (i.e., as a trans man or a passing woman) as the reader pleases. But what I found fatally unbelievable was the motif of the “returning son that nobody at Pemberly has ever met or heard about previously”. Matters had advanced far enough that the dying Mr. Darcy had sent his soliciter on a quest to locate the legal recipient of the entailment. Would the soliciter have simply accepted “Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you about my actual son who’s been off traveling on the continent since forever”? We at least get a nod from the elder Mr. Wickham that he has guessed what’s afoot and is willing to support the filial fiction. Like the preceding story, this one also suffers from trying to stuff entirely too much plot into too short a story, though in this case the majority of the plot covers backstory before the start of Pride and Prejudice. If the premise had been more solid, I would have loved to see an expanded version that carried the plot onward, following Fitzwilliam Darcy’s studied cool distance as a ploy to preserve the secret of his identity, and how that facade falters and crumbles in the face of falling unexpectedly in love with Elizabeth Bennet. Mansfield Park again takes the stage in a story set well after the novel concludes when Fanny’s sister Susan encounters the former Mary Crawford--now the widowed Mrs. Lynd--in Bath and a hesitant and daring courtship ensues that secures Susan a future home with her new Romantic Friend. For a reader who is not fluent in the characters and relationships of Mansfield Park, there may be either too much info-dumping on this point or too little. (I confess that MP makes me want to throw books across the room, so I have less familiarity with it than many of the others.) One thing I very much enjoy in this collection is the historic verities that are reflected in the differences for the male and female characters. Men have the agency to more directly pursue their desires, but with far more perilous consequences for public disclosure. Women risk social ostracism for any sort of deviance from the paradigms of heterosexual marriage, but the realities of “surplus women” and the structures of Romantic Friendship give them a more open means of securing lives together. I don’t know whether it’s a consequence of following these historic archetypes, or simply a difference in what the authors expect their readers to prefer and accept, but there is virtually no erotic content beyond kissing in the women’s stories, while the men’s stories frequently include overt (though not overwhelming) erotic scenes. Overall, this is a pleasant collection of queer Austen re-imaginings that will serve well for the reader who finds that concept intriguing but isn’t ready to venture the vast sea (that I imagine exists) of Austen fanfic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    A Charming Marine Prospect - Lou Faulkner 3 stars William Elliot (from Persuasion) meets midshipman Richard Musgrove at Lyme and together they go on a fossil-hunting expedition. I found William Elliot a somewhat unlikeable character, but the story was well-written. One Half of the World - Adam Fitzroy 4.5 stars 'How much more romantic must it be to be stolen away in the night by a lady dressed as a man, to be thrown across the saddle of her horse and to be galloped off with across the moors by moonl A Charming Marine Prospect - Lou Faulkner 3 stars William Elliot (from Persuasion) meets midshipman Richard Musgrove at Lyme and together they go on a fossil-hunting expedition. I found William Elliot a somewhat unlikeable character, but the story was well-written. One Half of the World - Adam Fitzroy 4.5 stars 'How much more romantic must it be to be stolen away in the night by a lady dressed as a man, to be thrown across the saddle of her horse and to be galloped off with across the moors by moonlight?' I've often thought that Emma could have done better with her life than marry Mr Knightley. There's something about her character and story that so fits a queer reading. One Half of the World is a conversation between Emma and Harriet about the merits of living with your gal pal instead of marrying a man - with plenty of reference to the Ladies of Llangollen, of course. Harriet was somewhat out of character, but I enjoyed that she had more agency and her own opinions. Hide nor Hair - Atlin Merrick 4 stars Adam Ashford Otelian falls for his sibling's governess Miss Mary Hay, who happens to be a trans woman. Too brief, I would have liked the story to continue a little more, but a wholesome and well-written story. Outside the Parlour - Andrea Demetrius 3 stars An angsty story about Darcy's fear at being outed and tried for 'unnatural crimes'. Decently written but too sad for my taste. Obviously queer people have suffered and those stories are important - people should know the history - but also it can be so revolutionary to use fiction to show queer people that they can have happy lives. Margaret - Eleanor Musgrove 4.5 stars Margaret Dashwood has no interest in getting married and instead finds a companion in Eliza Williams. A wholesome story. The Wind over Pemberley - Fae McLoughlin 2 stars The description for this story reads 'Darcy's life changes forever when he happens across the enigmatic Lint on Pemberley Cliff'. I guess you'd describe it as a loose modern AU of Pride & Prejudice. Personally I had no patience for it because I suspected (view spoiler)[it might end in tragedy and was disappointed to be right. (hide spoiler)] Cross and Cast - Sam Evans 2 stars A celebrity dance contest with Regency dancing is a fun idea - I liked the set-up. Not a fan of the convoluted miscommunication-based plot. Know Your Own Happiness - Narrelle M Harris 3.5 stars A book club meeting discussing Persuasion. Cooper bumps into ex-boyfriend Archer who he broke up with after his family convinced him that he wasn't really bi but 'going through a phase'. Not to mention the threat that if he didn't straighten up he'd get kicked out of home. An adaptation that successfully transfers the pressure Anne's family put on her into a scenario that makes sense for the current day. The fact that Cooper hadn't actually read Persuasion made the parallels humorous. Thirteen Hours in Austen - Fae Mcloughlin 2.5 stars Ashley visits the Jane Austen museum and meets the actor who plays Wickham. (view spoiler)[Except turns out he's actually long-dead, which begs the question how was he corporeal? (hide spoiler)] Man of War - Sandra Lindsey 3.5 stars Reading this reminds me of the time I inexplicably loved the Hornblower books - a lot of homoeroticism and naval description. William Price meets and covers for fellow sailor Robert Oakes when he discovers they are afab. I use they because there are a number of ways people assigned female at birth who chose to take on male social roles might identify. Are they fighting against the restrictive societal role women were placed into, or are they not a woman? It wasn't clear and both have precedent. That aside, this was a well-written if somewhat over-descriptive story. Elinor and Ada - Julie Bozza 4 stars A retelling of Sense & Sensibility with Ada Ferrars instead of Edward. Love the concept, but the execution didn't quite work for me. Father Doesn't Dance - Eleanor Musgrove 3 stars Darcy senior is dying and Pemberley is entailed. Lavinia Darcy decides to become long lost son Fitzwilliam Darcy in order to inherit the estate. It was a decent read but I was bemused by how readily everyone accepted this mysterious Fitzwilliam Darcy who they had literally never heard of as the Darcy's eldest son who'd been away 'travelling'. A Particular Friend - JL Merrow 3 stars Susan Price is a character who we know little about, leaving plenty of room for an interesting story fleshing out her personality. I enjoyed it initially but I didn't like that her love interest was so much older than she was. I'd have been much happier with an original character - no need for it to be Mary Crawford. Or conversely, if the author wanted to write about Mary Crawford - and fair enough, she's an intriguing character - give her an original love interest. I did like the scene towards the end where Aunt Bertram gives her approval, a touching moment. Overall, a fun read and I'm very happy this collection exists.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kylee Ehmann

    Niche reading at its finest. This anthology has thirteen short stories based in and around Jane Austen's works. Some are very, very good and made my heart flutter. Some are very, very meh. The works that are the strongest in this collection are the ones that step away from the main characters of Austen's works and find the queer in side characters or in general Regency characters. For instance, the first story, "A Charming Marine Prospect," not only gifts us bisexual William Elliot hooking up wi Niche reading at its finest. This anthology has thirteen short stories based in and around Jane Austen's works. Some are very, very good and made my heart flutter. Some are very, very meh. The works that are the strongest in this collection are the ones that step away from the main characters of Austen's works and find the queer in side characters or in general Regency characters. For instance, the first story, "A Charming Marine Prospect," not only gifts us bisexual William Elliot hooking up with Richard Musgrove and it is a hoot. "Hide nor Hair," one of my favorites, tells us the story of a trans governess finding true marital bliss after she falls in love with the guardian of her pupils--no connection to Austen's characters, but it is so sweetly told. There are also quite a few fun modern interpretations in the book. "Know Your Own Happiness" is a retelling of Persuasion, which I love because 1) it focuses on bisexuality, 2) is all about being true to yourself and 3) is a retelling of the objectively best and inexplicably least adapted Austen book. I wasn't the world's biggest fan of all of the modern retellings in the book, but I really liked a couple of them. The ones I was more "meh" on were the ones that reimagined the main characters as queer. I don't know if it's because the mains are already fleshed out, if the authors themselves didn't have the talents to pull of some of the ideas (I really wanted to like "Father Doesn't Dance," where Darcy is trans, but the author stumbled on the execution of the idea), or if queer readings really work best when you're dealing with characters who were marginalized in the text. Whatever it was, these stories could be kind of a slog to get through. Thankfully the former stories outweigh the latter, and I am happy to say that this book is staying on my shelves.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elisa Rolle

    2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired 1) First of all, I need to say "Whew! What a long book!" But I couldn't put it down. The premise is charming, telling LGBT stories set in the early 1800's in the style of Jane Austen. Almost every story was captivating, though I will say I was less impressed with the few in the middle of the book which were set in modern times. The stories at the beginning of the anthology and again at the end, all set cir 2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired 1) First of all, I need to say "Whew! What a long book!" But I couldn't put it down. The premise is charming, telling LGBT stories set in the early 1800's in the style of Jane Austen. Almost every story was captivating, though I will say I was less impressed with the few in the middle of the book which were set in modern times. The stories at the beginning of the anthology and again at the end, all set circa 1810, were more rewarding. That said, I was a bit put off by the sex scenes in several of the stories, something Jane Austen would never have done. Austen's stories are all about emotional love and societal concerns, not overt physicality. At least, that's how I remember the books from my college days. So the sex scenes felt like a misstep. Perhaps that isn't a fair assessment, given that the current anthology wasn't written for readers in 1810 but today. Still, the few period pieces without sex scenes felt more authentic to me. While I enjoyed almost all of the stories, I think my favorite was by editor Julie Bozza. Most of the other stories were relatively straightforward romances, but Bozza's contained the convoluted conflicts of Austen's works and seemed to me the most successful of all the stories. The book was well-edited and proofed, always welcome features. I highly recommend the book to any Jane Austen fans, and really, to Dear Readers in general.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Yost

    11/13 Stories Approved Anthology books are always very hit and miss with me. Either I hate every single story (no matter how much I wish to love them) or I'm amazingly impressed with the stories. This was one that I just adored! Not every story hit the mark, but not enough that I disliked the whole thing. The themes and characters were perfectly blended, and went beyond the basic "hehe what if Darcy was gay" stories. There were believable tales that explored so many types of relationships and ide 11/13 Stories Approved Anthology books are always very hit and miss with me. Either I hate every single story (no matter how much I wish to love them) or I'm amazingly impressed with the stories. This was one that I just adored! Not every story hit the mark, but not enough that I disliked the whole thing. The themes and characters were perfectly blended, and went beyond the basic "hehe what if Darcy was gay" stories. There were believable tales that explored so many types of relationships and identities that surely existed in the regency era, but had to be so desperately hidden.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This is not LGBTQ+, this is very modern conceptions of G, L, B, and T. No Q, I, A, or + anywhere. Not to mention that the non-modern stories in this anthology should all be much more Q than anything else, if not use this term exactly. What I mean is that those characters all use superlative and definite terms, with no subtlety, uncertainty, variability, and fluidity. They're also all very quick to develop and trust their love interest. Adding that none come any close to the subtle writing Jane Au This is not LGBTQ+, this is very modern conceptions of G, L, B, and T. No Q, I, A, or + anywhere. Not to mention that the non-modern stories in this anthology should all be much more Q than anything else, if not use this term exactly. What I mean is that those characters all use superlative and definite terms, with no subtlety, uncertainty, variability, and fluidity. They're also all very quick to develop and trust their love interest. Adding that none come any close to the subtle writing Jane Austen is praised for, I would not recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suze

    Probably averages out to a 3.5* As with all anthologies there are the stories that entrance, the majority which entertain and a few which are fine and enjoyable. We have mm, ff, trans, bi, historical, contemporary, ghosts, bittersweet endings, reworkings of Austen’s work and faint nods to her works. A mix of known and new authors. I do want to know more about the otherworldly undercliff. Enjoyed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    A Charming Marine Prospect-Lou Faulkner 3* One Half of the World-Adam Fitzroy 3* Hide nor Hair-Atlin Merrick 5* Outside the Parlour-Andrea Demetrius 2* Margaret-Eleanor Musgrove 4* The Wind over Pemberley-Fae McLoughlin 5* (view spoiler)[ this was beautifully written and I loved it until the unexpected sad ending (hide spoiler)] Cross and Cast-Sam Evans 2* Know Your Own Happiness-Narrelle M Harris 4* Thirteen Hours in Austen-Fae mcLoughlin 3* Man of War-Sandra Lindsey 4* Elinor and Ada-Julie Bozza 4* Fath A Charming Marine Prospect-Lou Faulkner 3* One Half of the World-Adam Fitzroy 3* Hide nor Hair-Atlin Merrick 5* Outside the Parlour-Andrea Demetrius 2* Margaret-Eleanor Musgrove 4* The Wind over Pemberley-Fae McLoughlin 5* (view spoiler)[ this was beautifully written and I loved it until the unexpected sad ending (hide spoiler)] Cross and Cast-Sam Evans 2* Know Your Own Happiness-Narrelle M Harris 4* Thirteen Hours in Austen-Fae mcLoughlin 3* Man of War-Sandra Lindsey 4* Elinor and Ada-Julie Bozza 4* Father Doesn't Dance-Eleanor Musgrove 3* (view spoiler)[ story was good but it was long and then it suddenly ended without a, to me, real ending (hide spoiler)] A Particular Friend-JL Merrow 3*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Ashbird

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nikii

  14. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matilde Zannin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aunbrey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa M

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  20. 4 out of 5

    Narrelle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liss

  23. 4 out of 5

    Philipp

  24. 4 out of 5

    Varecia

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matt Smith

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zeoanne

  27. 5 out of 5

    e.e. Newell

  28. 4 out of 5

    Irena

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sally

  30. 4 out of 5

    Whoa!mance

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