New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James delivers fascinating behind-the-scenes look in the Essex Sisters world, along with a brand-new short story in the series
This is a book no Eloisa James fan should miss! Eloisa revisits the scintillating world of the Essex Sisters with “A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace,” a new story featuring a young lady, Cece, who would rather ruin her own reputation than endure further speculation about whether her children will be “silly,” like her brother, Billy. Happily for fans of Pleasure for Pleasure, Cece’s best friend is Josie, Countess of Mayne!
Just as exciting, the Companion includes not only Eloisa’s original notes about each book and her “extra” chapters, but a 170-page alternate ending to Kiss Me, Annabel. Eloisa discarded this shockingly different plot after writing one draft, and the published novel went in an entirely new direction. Make up your own mind about which is better—Eloisa’s original, or the final book!
Super fan Jody Gayle’s engaging guide includes essays about fascinating historical details, including period fashion designs. Explore the world of horse racing and tour the London theater scene. Delve into the rich history and deep literary tradition that makes Eloisa one of the top writers of historical romance.
The Companion also gives you a sneak peek at Eloisa’s newest full-length novella, “A Gentleman Never Tells”—which springs from the world of the Essex Sisters! What will happen when one of the men who ruined an heiress’ debut by labeling her a “Wooly Breeder” (and Josie Essex a “Scottish Sausage”) decides that it’s time to make amends?
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About the Author
Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I actually didn't care for all the companion items but I loved the original ending to kiss me Annabelle. I rather disliked Annabelle in the series and this version seemed so much more real. Liked the other short and am awaiting the next novella. Would have given more stars if it was just the author's writings. All the other stuff was uninteresting to me.
A two part review that focuses on facts and information then on the bonus content (Alternate endings, bonus epilogue and a new short story). This mix of fiction, research notes, editing notes and perspective from the author is a wonderful insight and overview of creating a story. With editorial notes, small pieces of referential information and inspirations and even a moment where the author and the editors struggle for common ground, this look back at a series shows the affection of an author for her characters and is full of bits for readers who know them well. With the addition of Gayle’s research notes referencing the facts of the day, and the various ways that authors use or ignore the information in the creation of their stories is intriguing. I’m always fascinated with the variation in adherence to societal ‘ways of doing things’ that authors use, and how they find the balance to make a story appealing to a modern reader. From a personal perspective, seeing the editorial notes and suggestions was particularly intriguing – and I may have found a few new ways to coax a desired end in my work. Then there are the extra chapters, epilogue and new short story. The short story – set in the Essex world is delightfully fun and frothy – with a heroine, tired of the debutante balls and unspoken for as her second season comes to an end. A daring appointment with her modiste resulted in a dress and shoes that are just one step from utter scandal, as Cecilia is determined to cause that scandal, retire to her home in the country and focus on her music. A musical evening and a daring flirtation with the pianist sets up this ‘scandalous’ encounter, until it is determined he is the same boy, now grown up, who used to drop grasshoppers down her dress. Delightfully flirtatious and wonderfully paced, this is a perfect bite for a quick read. While this is a short read in just 100 or so pages, the information, asides and new information will fuel reader’s interest in re-reading the Essex Sisters stories – something I intend to do this summer.
Let me start by saying I haven't read the Essex Sisters books yet. I saw this companion, and I love the books by Eloisa that I have read, and this seemed interesting to me. I was not disappointed. If you mind spoilers, then you don't want to read this before the books, but I love knowing all kinds of really fascinating details and information before I read a book, and this was perfect. It was a magnificent peek into the makings of a book, and I can't wait to dive into the Essex Sisters series now. If you have read the Essex Sisters books, then definitely read this. There is a lot of information in here, and I would imagine it would add a lot to the stories. Plus you don't want to miss all the new content because it was awesome! I was surprised how quickly this book caught my attention and held it. I didn't think it would because I haven't read the series yet, but I was hooked. It is a very interesting read.
When I got my first ereader, the Essex Sisters books were some of the very first library books I ever borrowed and read on it--definitely the first complete series, and my first books by Eloisa James--and all so long ago that it was before I'd discovered Goodreads, so I can't even tell you when exactly it was! I remembered loving them, though, eagerly starting the next as soon as I'd finished the one before it and wishing there were more than four sisters. And now, clearly, it's time for a series re-read. :) Even not remembering every detail of the series, though, I had a great time perusing The Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide. First, there's a whole lot of material by Eloisa James, including a new short story set in their world. Though the former Josie Essex is just a minor character, it was fun to see her happiness in marriage. (There's a new novella that's being published separately, A Gentleman Never Tells , and Josie will play a part in that one too.) There's a series wrap-up bonus chapter that got me all teary, and a whole lot about Ms. James' author process in general and for the series specifically, which I always find fascinating. There are illustrated essays on conventions and institutions during the time of the sisters (fashion, publications, theater), a character guide and family tree. The only part I'm saving until later is the alternate (original) ending for Kiss Me, Annabel . It's a half of the book long! I need to re-read the original before I peruse that one, because I know I'll want the story's details clearer in my mind before I do. I can't wait, though--not one, but two HEAs for Annabel and Ewan! Overall this book was a lot of fun to peruse--and a heck of a lot more than the "100 pages" Goodreads claims (my Nook copy says it's nearly four times that). If you're a fan of the series, or even just have the books on your TBR because you love Eloisa's other books, it's definitely worth the relatively small price tag. Even if you don't read it cover to cover, you'll definitely find a lot to pique your attention as you browse your way through. Rating: 4 stars / A- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review...and then I bought a second one so I could read it on the larger screen of my tablet too :)