Then Comes Winter

TCWfrontcover_500x7504.5 stars

When I started reading Then Comes Winter I didn’t know what to expect. I had never read an anthology and I don’t usually read short stories, so this book was a true surprise for me.

Reading it turned out to be perfect for this time of the year. It felt like unwrapping a present that contained a box full “Papillottes”. I don’t know if you are familiar with Papillottes, but they are chocolates that are only sold during Christmas season in France, and I truly love them!

There is not one single year when I do not find a way to have them in my house. You may wonder what is so special about them. Well, apart from being delicious, these chocolates, sold in one single package, all have different flavours. So when you take one to eat, you never know what you are going to get. It is always a surprise. And I like the anticipation that comes from not knowing what I will find.

That was precisely what happened with Then Comes Winter. Every new story was a surprise. I didn’t know if I was going to find a modernization or a regency story, if it would be funny or serious, if it was about Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, or any other Jane Austen book. Can you think of anything better for a JAFF reader?

This book is pure perfection for any Jane Austen affectionate and it changed my perspective on anthologies. I now believe they are one of the best presents you can get anyone! This anthology contains 11 short stories based on several works of Jane Austen and it is wonderful because not only it is full of surprises, but also because it is incredibly diversified.
I hope to install your curiosity with the brief resumes of each short story:

 

Holiday Mix Tape by Beau North and Brooke West

This is a modernisation of Persuasion, my second favourite Austen book. I think the adaption was very interesting touching some social stigmas that I was not expecting. I should know better after reading Longbourn’s Songbird 🙂

Apart from Wentworth’s skin colour, I think you will find curious to read the name of Sophie’s dog 🙂

Another interest aspect in this book was the way it was organized, as a mix tape with the song titles giving hints on each chapter. It’s a detail I truly enjoyed 🙂

 

Becoming Fanny by Melanie Stanford

I loved the beginning of this story because it started with a truth universally acknowledged: Everyone wants to be Elizabeth Bennet. Well…at least I do.

The book tells us a story about a girl who desperately wants to be just like Elizabeth Bennet: social, witty and adventurous, but turns out to be Fanny Price, who in her opinion is weak and boring. The character evolves into accepting who she is and that everyone has their own qualities, which is a moral I found interesting.

It is a modernization of Mansfield Park, which is not one of my favourite books from Jane Austen, but the story was wonderfully written, and it got my attention from the beginning. It was funny and romantic, and it gave me a lot of pleasure to read it.

 

A Man Whom I Can Really Love by Natalie Richards

This story was a modernization of Sense and Sensibility, which I love.

Col. Brandon is one of my favourite heroes from Austen, and even though I identify myself with the romantic, emotional and spontaneous Marianne, I always through she was too childish, exaggerated and not worthy of Col. Brandon.

This short story gave someone with my opinion the best scenario possible 🙂 We get to see how Marianne started to love Col. Brandon, and how she realised how foolish and immature she was. We see her grow into a mature person who will be worthy of such a man.

All this happens while she lies in a hospital bed. Learning who Willoughby really is, Marianne rushes out of her house in a storm, ends up having a car accident and is saved by Col. Brandon. She is in a comatose state when she realises that even though she cannot communicate, she is able to hear everything everyone is saying. This is how she starts understanding she was very wrong about Elinor, Willoughby and Col. Brandon. This is how she starts to fall in love with him, and I really liked reading this happen 🙂

 

The Unexpected Gift by Erin Lopez

This is a regency story based on Pride and Prejudice. It starts after the Netherfield ball, with Mr. Darcy in London struggling, and failing, to forget Elizabeth Bennet. His subconscious is stronger than him, and he ends up buying, without even realising it, a gift that was meant for Elizabeth. When Georgiana understands this, she works as Darcy’s conscience, asking the questions he dare not ask himself: Is society’s opinion more important than his own happiness?

Georgiana will play the cupid in this story that didn’t quite finish. I was sad to reach the end of the story without and ending to the plot, so I am eagerly waiting for another short story to continue this one.

 

North for the New Year by Sophia Rose

Northanger Abbey is one of my least favourite books from Jane Austen, but Sophia Rose was able to create a modernisation of it that made me want to re-read the original.

Cate is a young, naïve girl from a big family in a small town that travels with her aunt and uncle North for the New Year. She is passionate about Ghost Hunters across America and believes she has found a friend in Bella who also enjoys the show. We all know she learns the hard way not to trust people so easily, but events were transported into the modern era in a creative way. I particularly liked the ending of the story with the big family gathering, it felt a magnificent ending for Chris 🙂

 

Winter’s Awakening by Anngela Schroeder

This is a regency story based on Pride and Prejudice that I do hope to see developed into a full length book!

Anngela Shroeder found an interesting way to have Darcy learn Elizabeth’s true opinion of him and also, for Elizabeth to find the truth about Wickham and Darcy. This happened in 2 distinct moments, but I think both of them were cleverly created.

In this story Elizabeth and Jane travel with the Gardiners to Lambton after the Netherfield Ball, and obviously their paths will cross with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley who are at Pemberley at the time.

I found the writing witty, and love some of the replies Elizabeth gave to Miss Bingley, namely: “It is lucky then, that you are not the mistress of such a grand estate, as I presume she would be prepared at all times for unexpected events”. Isn’t this sentence wonderful?

I thought the Darcy tradition of chopping Christmas trees a curious fact, and of course, could not resist the image of Mr. Darcy cutting the tree himself. As Elizabeth realized at the time “he is magnificent” while doing it. In this book Mr. Darcy was sexy, charming, and irresistible.

I also liked the fact that in this story Mr. Darcy had an older brother who died at a young age. It was very interesting and I never read that before.

This story was full romance and adventure and I do hope to see a full length book coming out of it because I wanted to be with these characters in this story for much too long.

 

Delivery Boy by Suzan Lauder

This story is a modernization of Pride and Prejudice and places our characters in a scenario I would never have thought about.

Suzan Lauder really surprised me with this story! Elizabeth is a restaurant owner and Darcy appears at her door being mixed up with the “Delivery Boy”.

The story is full of chemistry and misunderstandings keeping us glued to it. The Bennet sisters appeared in a creative and different way, the dialogues with Elvis are incredibly funny and the proposal at the end of the story was just beautiful.

I should also mention that I wouldn’t mind finding a XXI century Mr. Darcy with a beard, I wouldn’t mind at all 😉 This was just a detail on the book, but many of these small details made me enjoy it immensely.

This is a story that can be appreciated by everyone: JAFF readers, but also people who never read P&P.

 

The Food of Love by Maureen Lee

This is a regency short story that portrays Anne, a lonely girl infatuated by Roger Brun, a French refugee who is full of mystery and sophistication. Anne reminds us Maria Bertram when she organizes a play of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to be interpreted by herself, her relatives and of course Mr. Roger de Brun.

But is Mr. Roger de Brun the one who will truly conquer her heart? She admits to have loved him from the moment she saw him, but is this love at first sight going to last once she knows his true character?

I wasn’t so fond of Anne, and her improprieties, but I really liked James and felt terribly sorry for him. I kept reading just to see him find his happiness, and was overjoyed when it happened 🙂

 

Christmas Miracle on Oyster Bay by Denise Stout

This modernisation got me in the first sentence with the word bookstore! One of my long time dreams was to own a bookstore, so I was really happy to read a story where the main character owns one.

This story is similar to the movie “You’ve got mail” with Lissa, the bookstore owner being afraid of being put out of business by her competitors. There is however a chance for her, and Christmas is the perfect timing for grabbing it.

This is was a story that ended too fast for me, I would love to continue reading it and being in the company of Dr. Simon Macgregor. I liked the way their relationship evolved and would like to read more about these characters and their lives.

 

The Clock Doesn’t Lie by Linda Gonschior

This modernisation of Pride and Prejudice has a premise that I always like in a book. There is a snow storm that strands Danielle (Elizabeth) and Chris (Mr. Darcy) in a restaurant. There is an attraction between them and we start to wonder where their relationship is going, but there isn’t a true closure to the story, and I believe we will read more about these characters in a future story. Until then we will take comfort in the words “I’ll be here. Waiting for you”.

 

A Perfect Choice by Lory Lilian

This story is a regency variation of Pride and Prejudice that reminded me of the 1995 BBC adaptation.

Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy’s dog, Blackie, in the garden at Netherfield while she is there taking care of Jane. She plays with him and Mr. Darcy runs into them. This small detail will change everything. With the opportunity to talk to Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth will see a new side of him and establish a relationship with his dog that will alter the entire story.

In fact, it is the dog’s age that will make her more suspicious of Mr. Wickham’s story, and that will make her want to know Mr. Darcy’s side of the story. It is also because of Blackie that he will confide with her what happened to Georgiana, and as you may imagine, this will change everything in the story 🙂

This story was the perfect choice to close this book as it was a true romance we just want to continue reading over and over again.

I loved both Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s characters as well as the relationship they developed.

This was really the cherry on top of the cake and I have to praise the editor Christina Boyd, who did a wonderful job in the choice of stories.

 

I would recommend Then Comes Winter to any romance reader who wants to enjoy good stories. I believe this book was wonderfully written and edited to allow readers to take pleasure in it, to read it throughout the winter season. Not in an afternoon, or in one single day, but to slowly enjoy one story each day.

 

Then Comes Winter is available at:

Amazon.com – Then Comes Winter

Amazon.co.uk – Then Comes Winter

Amazon.fr – Then Comes Winter (English Edition)

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23 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars

23 responses to “Then Comes Winter

  1. Lovely review! I enjoyed the insights you captured. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, it’s really a great book to keep by your side for those spare reading moments!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! It means a lot to me that you like my reviews as I also love to read your reviews and your opinions 🙂
      This is a great book to have with us at all times. It is very rich in the sense that it has a lot of different stories we can read in different moments according to our disposition at the time.
      It gave a lot of pleasure to read it, and now I’m quite curious about Sunkissed Effusions of Summer 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sophia Rose

    Oh wow! Such huge compliments all around. Thanks Rita for putting together a comprehensive review. I cracked up when you said Northanger Abbey is your least favorite. It was has never been near the top of my list of favorite Austens either, but a recent re-read made me see it fresh and I liked it better.
    Definitely a nice variety here. We just missed it by not having an Emma story. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • The interesting thing was that even if it was my least favourite, your story was so good that made me want to re-read it. Maybe I will see it with a diferente perspective now 🙂 Yes, Emma is missing, but maybe we can have her for a Spring Anthology, what do you think?

      Like

      • Sophia Rose

        I like that idea. 🙂 And thanks, I hope you enjoy rereading NA if you get the chance. I listened to the audio version by Juliette Stevens and she did a great job.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ginna

    Thank you for the terrific reviews! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Christina Boyd

    I am over the moon that you liked it so well–and that you are now interested in reading anthologies. And I do hope you will give “Sun-kissed: Effusions of Sunmer” a try. I find anthologies a fantastic way to discover new talent! And I have been encouraging a few to continue with their short stories to expand into a full length novels. Thank you for your thoughtful words for each story. I appreciate that you liken the collection to a box of Christmas chcolates!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was indeed a wonderful surprise Christina!
      It was fantastic to have a new and unexpected story to read every day! Especially because they were all so different 🙂 I think you did an incredible job in choosing the stores and the order by which they appeared in the book 🙂 And I agree with you, short stories might be a way for new talents to start writing and maybe develop full length books. There were a few in this anthology I would love to see developed into a book.
      I’ll definitely read Sun-kissed: Effusions of Sunmer next 🙂

      Like

  5. Pingback: Then Comes Winter | dholcomb1

  6. suzanlauder

    Your review was generous and thoughtful, Rita. I still have to read some of the stories, and your review made me in a rush to do so! Obrigada!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the great review! I love seeing which points in the stories really stick with people. Often I find myself thinking, ‘That was one of my favorite parts, too!’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really great to be able to talk to kindred spirits isn’t it Natalie? I also like to know which parts were kept in other peoples memories. We are all very diferente and it’s curious to see if people will enjoy exactly the same details I did 🙂

      Like

  8. Thank you for the lovely review, Rita ! So glad that you enjoyed our little stories !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for visiting Lory 🙂 A Perfect Choice was indeed the perfect ending for this anthology.
      “And there, in the middle of the Netherfield balroom, amidst loud music and laughter, Darcy chose his future and his destiny” was just perfect!

      Like

  9. Now I want to read it too!

    Funny, I also have a long running dream of owning a bookstore…with a little cozy café inside and a poetry corner where people can share their work, even if they write only as a hobby… should we go into business, Rita? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s my long running dream as well Sonia! never thought about the poetry corner, but it does sound good 🙂
      Unfortunetely I’m not much of an entrepreneur so I think it will remain just a dream 🙂 But I’ll be a frequent visitor to yours if you do decide to do it 🙂

      Like

  10. All of the stories must be awesome! However I cannot wait to read The Unexpected Gift and A perfect choice! Darcy chopping the tree must be breathtaking as it is described on a excerpt I have read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The chopping of the tree was one of my favourite scenes in the entire anthology Ana 🙂
      I pictured Colin Firth doing it the entire time 🙂
      I’m sure you will love both The Unexpected Gift and A Perfect Choice, they are both wonderful.
      I surely loved them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the wonderful review. MANSFIELD PARK is probably my least favorite Austen novel, but when I took the quiz and found out I was Fanny, it made a great premise for a story!
    On a side note, I see you’re an N&S fan- me too! 🙂 My first book came out which is a PERSUASION retelling, but my second, which comes out next year, is inspired by N&S. 🙂

    Like

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