In 1817, Lady Victoria Aston, the 17-year-old second daughter of Lord Oakbridge, has lived an altogether charmed life. With her older sister, Althea, happily married, she’s largely left to her own devices, helping to manage the family’s English estate, studying animal husbandry, and rereading her favorite Jane Austen novels. Circumstances change, however, with revelations about Althea’s abusive husband, Dain. To protect her sister and prevent their home from falling into Dain’s villainous hands, Vicky must marry by the end of the season. Looking to the characters in her beloved Austen novels for support, Vicky weathers suspicious accidents, rising tensions, and multiple suitors, including Tom Sherborne, the childhood best friend who broke her heart years earlier. While Vicky takes center stage, interspersed perspectives from other characters, including those of Sherborne and his half-sister, deepen the story’s themes. Cohen portrays a young woman who is very much of the time but modern in her thoughts about marriage and women’s roles. Frequent references to then-popular novels and a thoughtful historical note add additional context to this spirited romp. Ages 13–up. (Dec.)
A fresh, enchanting addition to the historical fiction genre! The perfect read for fans of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey!
The perfect combination of mystery, intriguing characters, surprising action, and delightful romance. I loved every single word.
Bathed in Cohen’s richly textured language, Dangerous Alliance boldly shines a light on issues women struggled with historically: abuse, obstruction, and dominance. A timeless story.”
Romance fans and Jane Austen devotees will devour this delicious Regency romp.
Charming and fun. Replete with intrigue, grand parties, and romantic entanglements, fans of Jane Austen will positively devour this book.
Contemporary fans of the Austen novels and their screen adaptations will relish this rousing, late Georgian romance.
Gr 8 Up—In pre–Victorian England, what is a wealthy, titled younger sister to do when her family needs her to save the family's inheritance? Answer: find a suitable bachelor and get married before the end of the social season. When her older sister Althea flees her abusive husband, 17-year-old Lady Victoria Aston is called upon to do just that. Because of complicated and onerous early 19th-century divorce laws, Althea's husband could still claim the Astons' home as an heir. Promising to make a match to thwart this reality, Vicky meets eligible men but deems nearly all of them unsuitable. The one who appeals to her has character flaws, but they might be overlooked to make the match. What should she do? Vicky frequently compares her situations to those of characters in Jane Austen novels. She reads the contemporary authoress religiously and finds inspiration and consolation in Austen's words. Those literary references can feel contrived and gimmicky at times. Throughout the novel, Vicky has interactions with her childhood friend and neighbor, Tom Halworth. They begin the story with an icy relationship but it slowly thaws as Tom helps Vicky solve mysterious attacks on the Aston family. As Vicky makes her choice to save her family home, she realizes her heart has already made it for her. This book contains heavier topics including domestic, child, and sexual abuse, as well as references to rape and murder, some as central plot components while others are incidental. VERDICT This Austenian romance might find some readers in Downton Abbey fans, but most can pass.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
A Regency-era teen needs to find a husband to save the family estate—provided someone doesn't murder her first.
When 17-year-old Lady Victoria Aston's older sister, Althea, flees her abusive husband, Viscount Dain, Victoria's parents tell her she must marry soon: Without Vicky's erstwhile husband as a possible heir, should her father die before Althea's separation can be legally recognized, his estate and title would default to Dain. But someone seems intent on harming Vicky: She's attacked by a stranger and later survives a mysterious carriage accident. Tom Sherborne, her old friend and neighbor returned from years in exile after succeeding to his father's title, saves her both times. But Vicky's still angry that Tom dropped their friendship when he left five years earlier. As various suitors vie for her hand, Vicky has one question: What would Jane Austen's heroines do? Cohen's debut is lighthearted and well researched, but a lack of focus—is it mystery? Romance?—keeps it from being a page-turner. The central conceit—that Vicky draws inspiration from Fanny Price, Elizabeth Bennet, Marianne Dashwood, etc.—only muddles the story, as it's likely going to be lost on many YA readers who may not know who these characters are. There are mentions of India, the West Indies, and abolition, but all characters seem to be white.
Not scary, not sexy, not quite enough. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 14-18)