Bespelling Jane Austen: Almost PersuadedNorthanger CastleBlood and PrejudiceLittle to Hex Her

Bespelling Jane Austen - Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany An uneven collection of stories combining Jane Austen stories with paranormal elements. I almost didn't finish it, but am glad I did, since the best story came last."Almost Persuaded" by Mary Balogh. After numerous failed attempts to come together, two reincarnated soulmates have yet another chance to get it right -- but will Jane be persuaded to doom them once again? I respected Balogh for taking inspiration from Austen's plot rather than appropriating her characters, but I found this story pretty dull. It's a good thing these two characters were fated to fall in love, because nothing about them seemed likely to inspire devotion otherwise. Also, it seemed highly implausible that Jane would let herself be so quickly talked out of marrying Robert after they had sex, with no thought at all about possible consequences. And I was illogically squicked out by the fact that the heroine is the reincarnation of the hero's great-aunt's daughter. 2 stars."Northanger Castle" by Colleen Gleason. The Austen elements didn't work for me in this one; the characters and themes seemed completely contrary to what Austen would write. 2 stars."Blood and Prejudice" by Susan Krinard. A pretty faithful modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Since Mr. Darcy is a vampire, there's an excuse for him sounding exactly like the original character. This Elizabeth is much ditzier than her inspiration, however. 3 stars."Little to Hex Her" by Janet Mullany. This took the characters of "Emma" and transposed them into a modern, paranormal reality in a very clever and funny way. Humble, devoted Harriet is a very doggy werewolf; charming, duplicitous Frank Churchill, naturally, is a vampire. Only Emma and Mr. Knightly don't seem entirely themselves, which a foreward explains was a conscious decision. I was kind of relieved, since I don't really want to read about those characters having sex. 4 stars.