|Source: Republic of Pemberly|
3. Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino. I bought this book last spring for my best friend when we went to Disney World. I had heard nothing about the book, but thought that she would like it as she is a fan of the villains (or as Blockette used to say, "The Mean.") The story tells the back story of how Snow White's stepmother turned evil. It was a fun little quick read, but it seemed to have a few holes in the plot. Like who were the 3 cousins? How did they come to own the Queen's mother's soul? Why were they evil? If they already owned the Queen's soul, why did they waste time turning her into a crone? I'm sure I'm missing some other things. While the bones of the story was great, it would have been better if the best and most interesting parts had been fleshed out a bit more.
4.Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale. This was a sequel of sorts to Austenland. It's set in the same sort of Austen - based resort/LARP (live action role play). This story was a bit different as it was set in more of a gothic mystery. I was wondering how they were going to make this sequel different from the first book, and the mystery aspect makes the story not feel repetitive. I must be in a good mood as of late, because I enjoyed and "alls well that ends well" sort of happy ending. I hope Shannon Hale figures out how to work a third story into this setting.
5.Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell. This story was essentially Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in post Civil War Texas. (Near, of all places Austen, TX of course.) I'm not normally into Westerns, but I loved this book. The storyline veered enough from Austen's original to make it interesting, but not so far that it was objectionable. For example, in this story, I loved it that Charolotte married for love. I always hated it that she got stuck with Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice. Aside from the well written storyline, I learned something about the Civil War. I always thought the Civil War started because of slavery. That's what I was taught in school, and was never given any other explanation. Turns out Lincoln didn't abolish slavery until 2 years into the war. The war started, in a nutshell, because congress told the South they could only sell their goods to the Industrialized North, and not other countries. Then Congress went and taxed those Northern goods so much that they were no longer affordable. Basically the whole thing was taxation without representation. I think it's crazy, but great, that this book has gotten me interested in the Civil War, and has this Yankee looking at a great many things in a completely different light.