Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Second Impressions by Amy George ~ Blog Tour ~ Book Review

Hello fellow Readers! Today as part of the Second Impressions Blog tour, I will be reviewing Amy George's Novella, 'Second Impressions'! Kindly brought to you by Jakki at Leatherbound reviews  in conjunction with  Meryton Press.

Book Blurb:
Once, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet were foes, then tenuous friends. After Elizabeth discovers Darcy is engaged to another woman, she flees to Boston to seek solace with her cousin, the brash and worldly Emeline Poston.

When she returns to England after years spent abroad, Elizabeth must face the man who shattered her heart, and she is shocked to find the proud man she once knew drastically altered. Does she have the courage to seek out the man with whom she fell in love—whatever the cost?

Fitzwilliam Darcy has spent his days regretting what might have been and his nights being tormented by the decisions he has made. His life in tatters, he can barely face the once-respectable man in his mirror or the baby girl in Pemberley’s nursery. Now that Elizabeth has returned, will he atone for his mistakes and win her heart for good?

I've always held firm that I'm no JA purist (also a little hard if you love a variety of JAFF), however I do have principles and am clear about what I enjoy when it comes to JAFF. This book changed that, which is a good thing, because as JAFF grows and expands, we must make room for a variety of author styles.

What I liked about this book was the authors personality. It's the type of story you can imagine a group of Janeites putting together one girly evening. One has the outrageous ideas, one jots it all down, one insists their speech is a little too modern and helps by rephrasing in a more regency manner, another suggests that if a character was created similar to Martha Levinson, Cora's mother from Downton Abbey, then they could get away with some of the lack of propriety and the quiet one in the group, is silently sipping their tea (wine) thinking to herself, "I'm so sending this to Meryton Press in the morning, the girls will kill me, but with a little tweaking, it will be worth it!"

“You have never before used your rank against me. That was clearly the last tactic in your arsenal, Madam Wellington.” “Hush. If Em hears you mention Wellington, we will be forced to endure another tirade on the Corsican Imp and the Brave Duke.” Elizabeth smiled. “There is no need for concern. Emeline and Charles went out riding early this morning.” “Ah, yes,” said Jane. “Our dear cousin has abducted my defenseless husband. It appears Charles is quite intrigued by our brash American.” - Amy George

As a short read I could see something like this cheering me up on the way to work, something that would make me laugh despite being annoyed that at 7:00am, on London Underground, there are so many people who did not wash this morning, or that i'm now squashed against one of said persons. But this morning you have your Kindle and not only do you enjoy the journey, you also pass your stop! Not even the suitcase of gentleman on his way to Heathrow, that keeps bashing me in my shin can distract me from purpose, I admit, the story did keep me engaged.

There were so many times in this book that I was saying, "oh no! I've got a feeling this is what's going to happen, but surely not?"  Followed by "Oh wow, I stand corrected, I can't believe she just wrote that" and then would proceed to burst out laughing for the next five minutes (yes I know annoying for the people on the train!). Or I would be thinking, wouldn't it be funny or good if this happened, just for the fun of it and although i'm not being serious, the author would read my mind and that is what, I would get. 
As Janeite's we all probably daydream about possible JAFFs that could be written, sometimes they're far fetched, or just for a bit of amusement and probably would not see, the light of day, unless you had the time to write them. However JAFF is written by fans of Austen and we must remember, many are not well established authors and would just love to share their re-imagining with you and luckily for us, they do.

"The music drifted through the air as Emeline caught sight of Elizabeth dancing with a lanky, red-haired youth and wondered where Darcy was to be found. Surely, that emaciated, pale boy was not the love from whom Elizabeth had run to Boston to evade. “Miss Poston, if you are going to dance with me then dance with me.” “I beg your pardon, Jack. Were you saying something?” Emeline smiled smugly as she turned her face back to his. “You are entirely too familiar in your address, Miss Poston,” he scolded. “Am I? Pity. I could swear you wanted to be familiar.” John felt his pulse race at her words. They were the truth," - Amy George.

The story is a page turner and I liked how she made the characters slightly different in personality but were still likeable. I always enjoy a story that will make me laugh and keep my interest. Emeline, Jane and Jack (yes Jack! No Colonel, or Wickham for that matter, but a new hero with a likeable character) were my favourite characters surprisingly, despite my attention usually being focused on Darcy and Elizabeth. It had a good plot, however I had two hangups, firstly the book does not make it clear how the 'what if' has altered, I think it was intentional for the mystery, but it made for frustrating reading at times, because you're thinking, why are you being like that Elizabeth? Considering all that has passed, but there is much Elizabeth does not know, but it wouldn't have made any difference to the story if it had been explained at the beginning. Secondly the coming together of Darcy and Elizabeth was rushed and as a result did not flow as nicely as it could have and was a little unclear. However I believe in Novellas sometimes it is difficult to portray so much, in such little time. 

Overall it was a fun read, with some lovely heart warming scenes, to follies and mishaps the next. I liked the freshness of the story and the allowance that was to be had, by having an American in the story, it gave the story a more modern feel. The more JAFF authors there are, the more JAFF I get to read, despite the minor flaws, I do believe this author has the potential to write another intriguing storyline. I therefore look forward to another fun and lighthearted read.

This book is worthy of 3 & half Hearts - The Colonel & Mr Bingley

Author Bio:
Amy George is a middle-aged woman who hates her "old lady/grown-up" car and refuses to listen to its radio at a reasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a town in the middle of the country where the county fair is one of the biggest social events of the season and everything is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a cat, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.

She has been writing since she was a child and was a frequent contributor to the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.

Author Links:

Second Impressions Blog Tour Schedule:

8/15: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
8/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaway
8/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
8/18: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
8/19: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
8/20: Review at Liz’s Reading Life
8/22: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
8/23: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
8/23: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
8/25: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
8/26: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
8/27: Review at Just Jane 1813
8/28: Author Interview & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

I was given an ARC for my honest review

Apologies for the delayed post, but we had a power outage this morning = no internet! :(