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Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

Source: Publisher
Ebook, 486 pgs
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Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd is a collection of stories that explore the rational side of Jane Austen’s characters, delving deep into what makes them tick. From Louisa Musgrove who leaps from the Cobb and is severely injured to Hetty Bates, the spinster who chatters away. Sixteen Austen-inspired stories are within the covers of this anthology, and each one will shed light on some of Austen’s most modern thinking characters. But don’t be fooled by the title because this collection also has the romance many Austen readers desire.

Imagine Elinor Dashwood sketching her beloved knowing he belongs to another, pouring her deep passion and melancholy into his visage with such care. “He has found it, she thought, not daring (not wanting) to break the intensity of his gaze. Could he see, in that drawing and in her face, all she wanted of him? What would he do if she were to reach out and touch him — to feel for herself the line of his jaw, the arch of his brow, the fullness of his bottom lip?” (from “Self-Composed” by Christina Morland)

Readers also get a glimpse into Charlotte Lucas and her thoughts on marriage and her longing for a life like her friend Elizabeth Bennet — a life filled with love. We find that Hetty Bates may be more like Elizabeth Bennet than we’d think, having spurned a marriage proposal. Perhaps Ms. Bates is Ms. Bennet’s alter ego, had Mr. Darcy not strove to improve himself and hope she’d accept him. Even Fanny Price, who many see as weak, is brought into a new light in “The Meaning of Wife” by Brooke West. “Edmund did not truly know her at all, choosing only to see the young woman he expected her to be. It struck her as darkly amusing that for years she had longed for Edmund to look upon her with desire but, now that his heart had found his way to her, she could find none of the expected joy.”

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd offers so much in these short stories but at it’s heart is about women who are searching for their own love stories, even if they are ridiculed, hated, and ignored by others. Isn’t love the most redeeming for us all. Each of these characters is given new life by these authors and their stories are as beautifully engaging as the originals written by Jane Austen herself.

Rating: Quatrain

Mailbox Monday #453

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what we received:

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook, illustrated by Gabrielle Shamsey for review.

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook is an exciting adventure story for grades 3 – 5 about a brave, curious young girl named Veronica, who lives on the side of a volcano. Eruptions are a part of life, as she watches from the protective shields of her home or from her family’s well-equipped Lava Car.
When Veronica leaves on a quest to find rare white volcano pearls on the far side of Mount Mystery, she leads her father, her best friend Maddy, and her friend’s dad, the blustering Captain John, into a series of incredible adventures. But when the colossal volcano erupts, fears wins an election, and Veronica must square off against a fear-mongering villain: the Man-in-White.
Cook’s story blends science with science fiction, straddling the world of the believable and fantastical and combining the latest earth science with incredible action. While writing, Cook extensively researched volcanoes, even visiting one. The most important volcanoes in the book are all based on real-world volcanoes like Krakatoa, Crater Lake, Mt. Pelee, and Tambora.

The Adventures of Taxi Dog: Maxi and the Bark in the Dark by Bill Kroyer, illustrated by Todd Dakins for review.

During another magical sunset in New York, Maxi the Taxi Dog and Jim are playing their “Guess what street we are on?” game. They’re soon interrupted by their first fare, Tupa. Tupa is in a hurry to get to his night custodian job at the Museum, but they quickly discover that Tupa has a problem. Tupa must clean dark galleries in the museum at nighttime but is afraid of the dark. Even being in the room long enough to turn on the light is making it very hard for him to do his job. Maxi jumps to the rescue and decides to sneak into the museum with Tupa to help Tupa overcome his fear. Maxi makes Tupa feel so confident by helping him throughout his shift, that when Tupa must go back into a room alone he has all the skills he needs to overcome his fears. Maxi and the Bark in the Dark is one of four stories in The Adventures of Taxi Dog series.

Maxi Taxi-Saurus by Melinda LaRose for review. (in Spanish)

As Close as I Can by Toni Stern for review.

The eagerly awaited new poems from the author of Wet. Toni Stern enjoyed a highly productive collaboration with the singer-songwriter Carole King. Stern wrote the lyrics for several of King’s songs, most notably “It’s Too Late” for the album Tapestry. Here, with affection and insight, she examines the breadth and boundaries of family, place, language, and self. As Close as I Can is her second volume of poetry.

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues by Joana Starnes,‎ Amy D’Orazio, Katie Oliver, Karen M Cox, Jenetta James,‎ Beau North, J. Marie Croft, Christina Morland, Lona Manning, and Brooke West which I purchased.

“One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” —Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there’s more than one side to their stories.
It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms … a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: “He is a cad—a brute—all wrong!” But is that not how tender hearts are broken…by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created?

In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes. “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues” is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works.

What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy … even temporarily … but heaven help us if we marry one.

What did you receive?