Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina: Review

June 11, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★

I was provided with an advance reader copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.

Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina: ReviewOnce Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina
four-stars
Series: The Book Club Belles Society #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 3, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
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In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, the five young ladies of the Book Club Belles Society are looking for their own leading men.

The Perfect Hero

When handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright strolls into town, the Book Club Belles are instantly smitten with this brooding good looks and prideful demeanor. It's as if he walked out of the pages of their favorite new novel, a scandalous romance called Pride and Prejudice. But Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence—surely a wicked Wickham would be infinitely more fun...

An Unlikely Leading Lady

Justina is the opposite of Darius's ideal woman—not that he's looking for romance. But when he discovers her stealing apples from his uncle's orchard, he can't resist his own thieving impulse. A stolen kiss from the mischievous Miss Penny leaves Darius wanting much, much more. If it's a dashing villain she desires, Darius is more than willing to play the part...

Pride and Prejudice is so ripe with possibilities for copycat romances, and interpretations of what may have, or should have, happened to the characters. It’s the inspiration for many a book and film since.

Jayne Fresina’s new release, Once Upon a Kiss takes a different (and mightily refreshing!) approach to this classic novel. The girls of the Book Club Belles Society in the little village of Hawcombe Prior are actually reading the book. And some might say, living it a little too!

So, here are my thoughts on Once Upon a Kiss:

As you know, I do love an unconventional heroine in my historical romance – and Miss Justina Penny has unconventional in spades! She is delightfully mischievous, has no trouble addressing her concerns – or expressing her opinions, and she is just slightly bonkers. I loved her outlook on life, and the humour that surrounds her is really well done.

Darius Wainwright has that aloof, proprietous air about him that gives us a hint of a Darcy-like character. His utter commitment to the rules and keeping schedule had me giggling – you just knew that he was going to just fall harder than a sack of bricks from a tall building.

I loved the opposites-attract aspect of their romance – the fact that they didn’t just suddenly dive head-first into the sexytime river upon their first kiss made this work all the better. There was a lovely slow burn to their relationship, even though it was patently obvious that these two were on fire for each other.

The secondary characters in Once Upon a Kiss are wonderfully colourful, and I am very much interested in seeing how the remaining Book Club Belles find their own happy endings – and who their heroes might be….

Once Upon a Kiss is a great way in which to kick off this new series from Jayne Fresina. If you enjoy your historical romance with a generous helping of humour and vibrant characters, this is definitely a book for you.

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