#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!

Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I receive quite a few lovely review requests throughout the different seasons of the year. Some of the more recent ones (from May-July) were a bit harder to respond to as various authors failed to leave me their contact details whilst at the same time, after searching for them online myself to seek a way to respond to their enquiries – only a few of them had a website. Blessedly – Ms Thorne had a website and I was able to connect with her via her Contact Page.

This is a gentle reminder that if you’re filling out a Review Request form on a book blogger’s blog – kindly include your email address and/or if you know the book blogger is active on Twitter (like I am) – offer your handle so they can DM you. It is the kind of courtesy we appreciate – plus, it goes from moving your request to denied to accepted and in this case, it led to me hosting her three times: two reviews and a guest spot on @SatBookChat.

I received a complimentary copy of “Josette” direct from the author Danielle Thorne in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This is one of two novels I’ve received from this author. The other title was one of my choosing as this one [His Daughter’s Prayer] was the one she submitted for consideration via my Review Request Page. The other novel is “Josette” – a Jane Austen inspired Historical Romance which I happily marked as my first read for #JaneAustenJuly which became my first read for #AustenInAugust after I was afflicted with severe migraines.

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On why I wanted to read  “Josette”:

It began as a way back into reading Austen,.. during a month readathon called #AustenInAugust…

I have a soft spot in my bookish heart for retellings, sequels and inspired by stories on behalf of the canon of Jane Austen. The trilogy I read and happily had the chance to interview the author after I concluded the series was The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. This was a recent series I’ve read and reviewed on Jorie Loves A Story – however, I’ve tipped my hat into after canon retellings for “Pride and Prejudice” & “Sense and Sensibility” to name a few. I like to see how the writers will pay homage to the original canon – how did they draw the influence and the inspiration into their own creative work and spin on a classically appealling tale?

When I was offered to make a second selection from Ms Thorne’s collective works – despite the fact I love reading about pirates, I leant more towards wanting to understand ‘Josette’ – from her motivations to her strength to live her life. I felt “Proper Attire” had a storyline which wasn’t going to work for me right now whereas I felt the storyline for ‘Josette’ was a better fit for the stories I had earmarked to read during the celebration of #JaneAustenJuly.

In truth, I’ve been sitting on some after canon stories featuring the style of Jane Austen for a few years now. I also haven’t had the chance to start reading “Mansfield Park” or “Northanger Abbey” – the two lovely stories my parents gifted me whilst I was thrown a 1st Year Blog Birthday party (ie. 6th August, 2014). I felt the timing was a good one for me as after reading ‘Josette’, I was going to be reading ‘Suddenly Mrs Darcy’ before moving into listening to ‘Yuletide’ by the Quill Collective. I love feeling re-inspired to read works of Classical Lit as it has been a long hard road back into the Classics.

As you can note, I was planning to read a select grouping of Jane Austen inspired stories, after canon sequels and/or the two original canon selections I had made to bring my total #JaneAusten reads to 3x – however, my plans were severely impacted by two severe migraines in mid to late July which rendered me offline, unable to read and unable to blog; ergo, I’ve decided to resume my original idea of hosting my own ode to #AustenInAugust as first inspired by Roof Beam Reader’s annual event.

‘Josette’ therefore is my first story to read during #AustenInAugust!

As technically with all my health afflictions, I was never quite able to finish it!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!Josette
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Direct from Author

Can she forgive the man who ruined everything and allow herself to love?

Josette sees her future when she gazes across the lawn of Beddingfield Park. That is until brooding Captain Carter rides into her life. Grieving her brother and determined to despise his captain, Josette must decide between marrying a fickle cousin or helping her infatuated sister trap him instead. It's no easy task when Josette's stubborn heart yearns for the sea captain she must not love.

This book is a historical regency novel with family, friendship, sisterhood, and clean romance.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories (Author/Book)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936167319

Also by this author: His Daughter's Prayer

Published by Whimsical Publications Inc

on 30th April, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 248

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The Jane Austen inspired Regency Romances by Ms Thorne:

Proper Attire
A Pirate at Pembroke
The Privateer of San Madrid

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #HistRom
and/or #HistoricalRomance and #Regency as well as #HarlequinHistorical

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

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on the jane austen overtures within the storyline:

I wasn’t sure if I’d recognise the overtures within the storyline as it reflects back to Austen, as despite my earnest interest in the collective works of Ms Austen, I’ve read more of the after cannon stories and/or sequels or re-tellings by the authors whom are contemporary to her Classics moreso than I have read her original canon. However, one story I have been captured by quite consistently is Pride and Prejudice – which is why I can noodle out an author’s line of thought within an inspired by Regency of this novel.

I did not fully sequence the timeline so to speak until it was brought out that the estate Josette and her sister Amy love so dearly is now entailed to their Cousin. This gave me a ready smile as I presumed this would follow by other acknowledgements of the canon by Austen – whether directly tied to the one story I’ve loved reading or perhaps others might become interspersed next in line as a collective scope of how Austen inspired the entire story to play out.

I started to see a bit of wit and bantering courtesy of elements of Sense and Sensibility especially in the exchanges between Amy and Josette; when the girls’ wanted to take a volley off each other to discuss how they were each handling the current state of affairs when it comes to addressing their futures at Beddingfield Park.

Outside of these observations, you can intuit Austen in the sense that Josette is definitely a story inspired by Austen’s sense of how to write a story rooted in the heart of family and community with a proper sense about duty, expectations and the quiet moments of repose betwixt periods of growth and development. I felt Austen in the pages of Josette and loved how Thorne developed her own style of telling this kind of Regency Romance over and beyond what was etched out of appreciation for Austen’s style.

my review of josette:

There are some cleverly placed and phrased foreshadows at the start of Josette wherein we discover were truly harbingers of ill news about to be given to Josette and her family (ie. parents and sister) in regards to her brother George. The interesting bit is how observant Josette was to certain signs – a fallen tree and the manner of how rain streamed down a plane of glass spoke to her in silent reflection that sometimes not everything in one’s life is assured. Josette was a fiercely loyal sister and an independently minded one as well. She didn’t follow convention too closely (given how she was first seen by the Captain) and she grieved so hard it spent the last of her spirits.

The Captain (Carter) Josette’s brother George had served under was causing her the most stressing vexations – now just because he knew how to rib her and how make her feel a bit riled but because of how unassuming he is in person and how disarming that is to Josette. The most interesting bit to decipher amongst them is how Josette is obstinate about not liking the Captain whereas with Josette, it is his curiosity in her that leant him to stay-on even a bit more than what would properly be considered polite. Though he did have the decency to vacate when their Cousin Edward was coming round – the same cousin of course which put everyone on edge (especially Josette) for he was the person receiving the new entail to their estate now that the brother was deceased.

It brought to question why they did this – especially when their were women in the family – not just the daughters but there were often living wives, Aunts, and female Cousins as well – which you’d have hoped could have inherited the land and estates just as easily as the men. Yet, whenever I read a Regency or a Victorian Romance (including Ms Austen!) I am reminded of the fact that it hasn’t been too long in history where women have had better equality in property ownership and the rights of inheritance without being gender biased.

The full weight of the family’s situation fell on Josette’s shoulders in a mirror circumstance of how Lizzie felt burdened by her own Bennett family’s strife. Both girls were given such hard choices in life and were put into positions that no daughter ought to be placed. It made sense she would have heavy emotions and not make the best of choices in regards to how she talked with her sister Amy, of whom you have trouble sympathising with due to her inert nature of being selfishly self-absorbed into her own affairs.

It was Carter who gave Josette the most to vex about on a continuous basis – the ways in which she felt he was manipulating the circumstances to suit his own needs I think rankled the most. She was oft catching him in places and moments wherein she felt he had overstepped his boundaries as a guest and rightly, questioned his motives. I, myself, was taken by his gull and had wondered myself what his endgame might be as it seemed that there was more than idle mischief in his wake by the time he took his leave. I wasn’t sure if this would be the end of concern for Josette but I could feel her breathing easier just by having his exit taken!

Amy has such a foul-hearted tongue towards her sister, Josette! She truly likes to rib her sister and get a good rile out of her even at times where I am not entirely certain that was her reason behind egging Josette on. I sometimes feel like Amy feels left behind even before her time has expired – she is acts as if she is involved in a chase towards adulthood, wherein she cannot mature fast enough in order to accomplish the stablisation she needs to settle her fears over Beddingfield Park. Amy moreso than Josette, is not taking their uncertain future in stride nor is she prepared for what their future might look like if Josette doesn’t come up with a solution that befits them all. Again, I felt there was a large amount of pressure placed on Josette, common for the Regency and especially for girls’ in regards to how legacies and inheritances were sometimes co-dependent on men.

What was wonderfully enticing is seeing each of these characters a bit outside of their usual routines – how Josette and Amy were to perform in a sequence of performances whilst it gave us as readers a chance to see Carter in a light not shaded by Josette’s view of him. In that regard, we saw a different kind of man emerging out of Carter, one who has a kind heart and who feels deeply for those of whom he considers close to him. Interestingly, it was Josette who is struggling to find her way forward, whilst owning to the fact that not all her feelings towards Carter are tame nor believable as to her anything other than distain would feel like a distraction from her brother George’s recent passing.

It was here where you can sense more overtures of Austen’s style – of seeing how whenever you gather a certain group of individuals together, they will either get on famously or they will continue to find reasons to exclude each other from their social circles. The interesting bit of course is the formality of it all – as this was the Regency and how despite the fact some women were outspoken, Josette is one woman who attempts to rein herself in a bit before finding that she would be seen as being unladylike in her reactions. And, yet despite that, I found Josette was betwixt and between understanding why Carter was getting to her as much as he was as he simply wasn’t the kind of bloke she felt she would be attracted too. This sequence for me felt similar to when Lizzie Bennett was contemplating why she was as vexed and keenly interested in hearing everything Darcy had to say about any topic he felt he could divest his opinions upon. Whilst Carter also had a foreboding nature about him suited to Darcy whilst also sharing the former bloke’s sincerity for both safekeeping of information known to him and the guardianship of children.

I am never in shock when someone who thinks their doing a kindness about advice post-death of a loved one in regards to when to come out of ‘mourning’ and what to do whilst isolated inside finds that their advice is unwelcome. To imagine that kind of structured oppression and conflict for every family during the Regency is hard to put to mind at times unless your reading and watching period dramas. People were never shy with their gossip or their opinions about other families – even if they were a relation, they hold nothing back and give it their all. The sad bit there is that it always felt the opposite of Christian charity (as they say) to pass judgement on another person’s grief and emergence out of sorrow – why not let each individual sort it out for themselves and be done with it? Of course, this also has a lot to do with the privileged class and the ton of whom feel they are the height of what everyone else ought to do in succession of etiquette. I had to give Josette, her Mum and sister Amy a lot of credit for biting their tongue and not getting into the thick of it when Caroline came round to visit. It would have been dearly easy to have lost it too with their insidious tones of enquiry and suggestions.

At the mention of his return to sea, I noted how disarming this was to Josette, of whom I would have felt might have celebrated his return to his life aboard ship but there was something to be said about how all the needling and angst they associated with each other might have honestly been the foundation of their budding attraction to each other. It led you to wonder, what was going through the Captain’s mind on behalf of Josette as he took his leave? Concurrently, when it was mentioned Josette’s Mum was delivering food to the less fortunate it reminded me of the Christian charities of the March family in Little Women.

loved the scene Amy stepped inside and immediately had a rather heady emotional response to what she had observed of her sister Josette’s behaviour! It spoke to how despite the superficiality of Amy’s personality, she had a hearty array of emotions percolating beneath the gaiety of her joyful spirit. I was quite overcome myself by Amy’s emotional collapse and I must admit, it was one of the most stirring scenes due to how how honest it played out and how close the bond of connection is between Josette and Amy. It also opens you to seeing Amy in a different light than the previous one observed through her behaviours and conversations. It definitely added to the conflict and the drama of the story whilst giving you a different perspective on what was expected of the sisters.

The complications which soon started to ensue were what weighed most on Josette’s heart of hearts – wherein she would contemplate both the future she was groomed to believe was meant to be her own and the future in which she had never fully dreamt of being plausible for herself. She didn’t live during an age where girls and women were given much to hope for past marriage, family and a life of duty to both of those endeavours. And, yet due to the bits of freedom she and her siblings had always enjoyed she was in a keen position to view both the world and the expectations expected of her differently; and rightly, so! Thorne makes good use of this time of internalisation and introspective resolutions on behalf of Josette as it also helped paint the picture truer of how the Regency was a dearly divided era between the sexes.

The time Josette spent with Mrs Egglestone was telling in of its own way – as it allowed Josette to consider things she hadn’t reckoned she’d want to consider in regards to life, love, marriage and the curious ways in which paths open up in our lives we might not have dreamt for ourselves but were in of their own a sweetened way to live. This was another instance in the novel where Josette turns introspective and allows herself the grace to walk through her thoughts – both pensively and with a thoughtfulness about not limiting her routes into her future. And, yet, when she’s allowed the moment of truth of what she’s ruminated over she makes a faux pas and I questioned why? Why would you be as critical of another person’s life when you yourself have constantly felt judged by others yourself? It felt real in how everyone doesn’t make the best choices (all of the times) but how sometimes they can error in understanding how in order to have the most out of your own period of self-growth is endeavouring to give others a chance to show you a part of themselves without being judged in return.

We took off to the Season shortly after Josette returnt from her travels and duties as a fill-in nanny – it was there, whilst seeing Josette entrenched with Caroline and her Mum, wherein Amy and her had a chance at a new Season in order to find a winning match for one or both of them, we started to see how the illusions of what those balls and dances were truly about come to the surface. It was also a telling revelation about their cousin Edward – a fitting moment where you want to throw champagne in the rake’s face! And, yet, there was a softer tone of excitement bubbling in the background – wherein even Josette had to admit she was enjoying herself, at least for a little while.

It took me a bit to realise there is a key scene that was re-worked for Josette from Pride and Prejudice – as I was lost in the throes of the storyline and of hugging close to Josette herself who has been wrestling with her heart, her thoughts and what to do about her future. The incident which involves Lydia and how Darcy leapt to the rescue has become reworked in this story – in lieu of Lydia we have Amy and in lieu of the exact circumstances we have a cleverly spun alternative which produces the same results – a young girl’s reputation is at stake and an unassuming bloke is making an attempt to right the wrong. Thorne even kept the disdain Darcy felt in the eyes and heart of Captain Carter whilst she kept the fluttering of stress alive in Josette as Austen had in Lizzie.

Similar to Austen, Thorne doesn’t ready give you a measure of knowledge how her story will conclude and how the entanglements of her characters will resolve. She makes you wait for those revelations – to feel as strongly as her characters who are moving through their own obstacles to find restitution in the future and giving us as readers a lot of worriment over their affairs! The joy truly is in how the story is told – the choices Thorne made in its telling and how the characters, especially make the journey such a welcome respite from the tides of our lives.

I truly connected with Josette – it was giving me a chance to settle into a Regency Romance in homage of Austen during a moment this Summer wherein I was aching to read an Austen inspired #HistRom. Thorne alights you into this world with a gentle guiding hand and lets you see her characters flaws, their curiosities and allows them to tell their own stories. It is a delight for any Janeite and I hope others will give this a chance to warm their own readerly heart with joy. It further left me with a smirk to realise I have kept myself enthralled with more Pride and Prejudice inspired stories than I have of any other Austen novel. What bounty of loveliness it is to re-see a story play out I have truly loved discovering!

on the regency & historical romantic styling of danielle thorne:

As Thorne helps us enter into the life and world of Josette, we are astounded by the fact there is a quick reveal of a death in her family whilst at the same time, it is revealled her father is quite the strict parent and a man of few words. This is the author’s debut novel and her first Regency Romance stylised in appreciation for the collective works of Jane Austen. As I was reading both Josette and her latest release by Love Inspired His Daughter’s Prayer – I could see the growth of the writing as much as the author’s style and voice.

As within the initial first chapters of Josette the writing style isn’t as fleshed out as it is within her Love Inspired release but at the same time, you could see what was inspiring the pace and revelations within Josette. There were little moments of where I could see the author’s instincts for knitting together a Regency and a few freshman author mishaps where the narrative could have hugged a bit tighter together. The start of the second chapter was one of the strongest centring on a character’s emotional outlook on her state of mind I’ve read as it helped you tuck closer to Josette in the height of how she had awoken that morning with the fullest realisation of how much her life had changed in the singular moment her father and sister Amy had been told of their loss.

Before you reach the midway mark of the novel, Thorne settled into her story and the characters felt a bit more alive to me as I had had the chance to gather more information about them. I felt she found her confidence as the novel grew in length as the interactions felt more organic and fittingly, there were more overtures of Austen’s style and cheeky wit appearing more regularly as well. Especially the affection Austen shared for showcasing oppositional matches and how sometimes, the person you’d love to hate most is the one person who understands you the best – as I was observing this kind of cheek and banterment evolving between Carter (George’s Captain) and Josette.

As the story continues to evolve forward, Carter has taken his leave and is the cousin Edward of whom is up for both affection and attraction to either Josette or Amy; in order of course, to erase the entailment causing a rift of clouds between the sisters as they anguishly worry over their futures. It is here wherein Thorne takes you closer to the heart of what is pulsing behind the title of Josette and gives you a glimpse of what it was like to set your world to rights within the Regency era of England. The entire back half of the novel is where the good fodder is to read – of seeing how Thorne chose to draw her characters closer together and to allow them the grace to choose their own path in which to take them into a future they could choose for themselves rather than a future dictated by social pressures and/or out of respect of what is expected of girls without the wealth of a strong endowment or of whom are the sole heirs of an entailed property.

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Now that I have had my fill of Thorne’s Regency Romance styling – I daresay, I am now ready to dive into her Historical Romances involving the high seas and her pirates! I knew this would be a good place to begin my readings of her stories – as I have long held a soft spot of love for Victorian & Regency Romances. There is something classically appealling to them and I am thankful to Ms Thorne for gracing me with the chance to request Josette. It was the story I needed to be reading right now – and one I will be grateful for having read.

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Portions of this novel were read whilst listening to the RISE Playlist via #Spotify and other times I was listening to various Folk Playlists as well or spinning some Christian Contemporary Playlists – as the gentleness of the lyrics or the soundscapes of the instrumentalism styling on RISE allowed me to retreat into “Josette” and find my presence welcomed. I love pairing stories and music via #Spotify and hope these notes I’m sharing help inspire you to find your own musical soundscapes to accompany your readerly life.

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This book review is courtesy of the author:

About Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of over fifteen historical and contemporary sweet romances. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, she has also published young adult non-fiction and worn an editor's cap. Her new release is a 2020 historical series set in the United States and follows the period of the American Revolution. Her first book with Harlequin's Love Inspired line will be out this summer.

#SatBookChat logo badge created by Jorie in Canva.

This series was part of a #SatBookChat discussion in July, 2020.

Be sure to read my thoughts on “His Daughter’s Prayer” a Love Inspired story I will be featuring this coming #INSPYSundays (during the readathon this August) – which coincidently was happily sent to me alongside this one for review consideration. Both novels were discussed during #SatBookChat.

As well as the #SatBookChat Rewind for Danielle Thorne!

I gave a s/o to Ms Thorne when I announced my goals for # #CFSRS20!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! 

Did you participate in #JaneAustenJuly this year!? If so, which stories did you read for the readathon? And, which adaptations were you hoping to see before August? Which stories by Jane Austen and/or her other stories or letters do you feel speak to you moreso than others within her canon? What first inspired you to read Jane Austen and why do you feel her works continue to endure? I’d love to know which of her Classics are your top personal favourites and why you love both the story & the characters!? If you’re a reader of the after canon niche of loveliness – which authors, stories and series do you recommend as your top favourites!?

If July didn’t go as you planned it to
– will you be joining me for a spontaneously serendipitous #AustenInAugust?!

#AustenInAugust banner created by Jorie in Canva.

It should be said, I had asked Adam (Roof Beam Reader) if he would mind if I hosted a bit of a homage to his event and he did give me his blessing. I previously cancelled my plans to opt instead to join #JaneAustenJuly – however, as things turnt out, I apparently was meant to run with my original idea and use this month as a self-directed readathon of Austen inspired stories. I can only hope my pursuit of Austen will give a small measure of joy for #theclassicsclub members who remember fondly how much fun it was engaging and joining Adam in his #AustenInAugust events when he was host as I truly loved them myself. I couldn’t go as big as those prior events myself this year – but to just find the encouragement to read Austen and read her after canon stories – is enough to fill my readerly heart with JOY.

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This book review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction, the Regency era

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2 responses to “#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!

    • You’re most welcome! I love sharing my journey into the after canons and inspired by stories of Jane Austen – this one has such a heart of joy to be read because of how it evolves to tell a story that is both a homage to Austen and a wholly original Regency Romance all of its own.

      I appreciate your compliments for my review and hope you might enjoy this one yourself.

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