Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Miss Bennet's Dragon by M. Verant
Series: Jane Austen Fantasy #1
on May 2, 2021
An unforgettable fantasy retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that is romantic, funny, and more relevant than ever.
Elizabeth Bennet is hiding a forbidden power. She can speak to draca, the fire-breathing creatures kept as status symbols by English gentry. If only Mr. Darcy would stop noticing… and hinting at his own dark secret.
When Elizabeth’s sister falls deathly ill, the cure lies in the mysteries of draca. Elizabeth, aided by her brilliant sister Mary, defies restrictive English society to hunt for lost draca lore. She must hurry. England’s war with France has drawn other hunters, and they have darker goals.
Elizabeth’s search leads her to the fabulous Pemberley estate, home of the entitled and infuriating man whose proposal she scorned. There, Elizabeth’s worlds smash together—protocol against passion, and exultation against the risk of love.
But the stakes are greater than her sister’s life. Elizabeth must test herself against a distant war.
And her enemy is not who she thought.
Miss Bennet’s Dragon begins a trilogy of Jane Austen Fantasy.
If fantastical dragon species lived in England during the time of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, wouldn’t it be thrilling to see how that would change Regency life and society especially for the vivacious Elizabeth Bennet and the taciturn Fitzwilliam Darcy? I was well-pleased to take up this book by a new to me author and explore this fantasy retelling of a favorite classic.
When an affianced pair of the gentry and aristocracy are wed, they produce more than a blissful union, but a binding with a draca who comes to reside and protect the family. The deeper the connection between the human couple; the stronger the species of draca they bind to them. The larger the species bound reflects on family status along with bloodlines.
Second daughter of the Bennet household, Elizabeth, slowly discovers a secret gift when it comes to draca and, at the same time, the neighborhood draca are getting mysteriously killed, and a new wealthy owner and his family entourage have taken up residence at a nearby estate. From a quiet, content life, she is now plunged into secretive matters that may change what everyone knows about draca to a quest to save a loved one’s life.
Miss Bennet’s Dragon started out a little confusing as I sorted out the fantasy world that is melded with the real world of Regency England, but once I had the gist, it was engaging all the way. Elizabeth is emotional and impulsive while Darcy is her opposite. They antagonize each other and I felt the urge to swat both of them at different times. Knowing the storyline of P&P had me in no confusion over who was in the middle of the villainy going on, but I was aghast at the author’s clever twist to another antagonist.
The author tinkered a bit with characters so that the Bennet sisters had a bit more zip to them. I think the one who took me delightfully by surprise was Mary. Middle sister was not shy to speak her intelligent mind or be her own eccentric self. Jane may be pretty and gentle, but she was no feather head and worked alongside Elizabeth and Mary to figure out the mystery of the draca and their family’s connection with them.
The story built to a suspenseful climax scene and had some gritty action to it. In fact, the whole book was more robust than the original classic so the reader couldn’t get complacent. The author wasn’t afraid for injury and loss to go with victory. The page-length was longer than the average novel, but I didn’t feel those pages going by and I was reluctant to put the book down when I must.
Miss Bennet’s Dragon ended on a high note and a huge reveal and I can’t wait to see what comes from book two. All in all, this was an abso-fab blend of classic retelling and fantasy which I can heartily recommend.
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