Monday, March 4, 2024

Sophia Rose Reviews: Spellbound at Pemberley by Abigail Reynolds


Today Sophia Rose shares her thoughts on a fantasy Austen retelling.

Spellbound at Pemberley by Abigail Reynolds

Gaslamp Fantasy Romance

Publisher:  White Soup Press

Published:  12.5.23

Pages:  299

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: eARC

Source:  Author

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads


GoodReads Synopsis:

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a powerful mage and master of illusions. His abilities make him the perfect man for a dangerous mission to end the devastating war with Napoleon – a mission that would leave him little chance of returning alive. When he meets the enchanting Elizabeth Bennet, whose magical Talents are as deep as they are inexplicable, he knows he needs her help. And there’s only one way to get that – marriage. Immediately.

Elizabeth wants nothing to do with his plan. Marrying Darcy would mean breaking her strong and beloved magical bond to Longbourn and giving up the use of her Talent forever. Then dragons enter the war in Europe, and England's survival hangs in the balance. And Elizabeth must make the ultimate sacrifice.

In this first book of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mage trilogy, dragons are already watching their newlywed journey to Pemberley, and a shocking discovery will force them to question everything they believe. Can they learn to trust each other and work together to save their country--and their lives?


Sophia Rose's Review:

What could be more enchanting than Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen?  That would be having P&P dropped into an alternate historical fantasy world full of intrigue, mysteries, and two people bound together in purpose that is not love.  Though yes, love, like magic, finds a way.


Spellbound at Pemberley introduces Mr. Darcy, a well-trained mage with an upcoming secret mission that has the hopes of England riding on it.  Unfortunately, his illusion spell is giving him a devilish amount of trouble until a country miss entwines her magic with his own and wonderful, impossible things happen. 

Elizabeth learns that revealing her Talent ability to the arrogant visitor from Pemberley has profound consequences that upend her world all at once.  A forced match of convenience to assist Mr. Darcy in his important mission and the shocking revelation of long-hidden family secrets is only the tip of the iceberg.  Darcy and Elizabeth have to work together and figure things out fast because the stakes are higher and hotter than dragon flame.


Spellbound at Pemberley had a start that I was confident I knew what was coming, but no, what delight, there was oh so much more than I expected (and I was already expecting quite a bit).  The complexity of Abigail Reynolds’ fantasy world with nearly everyone holding a secret and nothing being straight forward once the romance pair were together was sheer delight with some new revelation with every chapter it seemed.  The way she uses magic with the Land Talent ties and more traditional mage magic that acts on the English social and cultural rules was neat.  Naturally, one of the big turns in the story was Darcy and Elizabeth learning that their magical world is not quite what they thought.


But, all is not just intrigue and thrills.  I did love the couple coming together in a forced marriage and making much of it.  I enjoyed the introduction of a wide cast of characters that included Elizabeth’s falcon friend and Darcy’s Lynx familiar.  How fascinating that Lady Anne, Darcy’s mother is a political power and a complex character.  The Bennets and their extended relations are fascinating, too.


Spellbound at Pemberley is the first segment of a three-part story and finishes with hints that matters are about to get more interesting.  However, I liked how there was some closure on the first act so the reader isn’t left hanging on a limb.


For those who like the magic and intrigue set in Regency England, but hesitate because it’s mingled with a popular Jane Austen story, don’t worry.  Fans and newcomers alike can appreciate this story equally well.  If you enjoy Gaslamp fantasy, don’t miss this one.


Author Bio:

Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can’t follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a way to retain her sanity during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Spellbound at Pemberley, The Price of Pride, A Matter of Honor, and Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment. Her books have been translated into seven languages. She lives on Cape Cod with her family and a menagerie of cats who rule the roost. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.


Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, piano-playing, and gardening. Road trips and campouts, museums and monuments, restaurants and theaters are her jam. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

As a lifelong reader, it was inevitable that Sophia would discover book blogs and the joy of blog reviewing. Sophia is a prolific reader and audiobook listener which allows her to experience so many wonderful books, authors, and narrators. Few genres are outside her reading tastes, but her true love is fiction particularly history, mystery, sci-fi, and romance. Though, sorry, no horror or she will run like Shaggy and Scooby.