Book Review: “Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs” by Mary Jane Hathaway

December 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Mary Jane Hathaway in her new book, “Emma, Mr. Knightley book coverEmma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs” Book Two in the Jane Austen Takes the South series published by Howard Books takes us into the lives of Caroline Ashley and Brooks Elliott.

From the back cover: When the friendship of a lifetime turns into something more, will she see the truth before it’s too late?

From the bestselling author of Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits comes a new and comical contemporary take on the perennial Jane Austen classic, Emma.

Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at The Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother and their aging antebellum home. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’s misgivings and throws herself into the project.

Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?

Featuring a colorful cast of southern belles, Civil War re-enactors, and good Christian women with spunk to spare, Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs brings the modern American South to light in a way only a contemporary Jane Austen could have imagined.

I do not know why however Civil War reenactments have a fascination for me. Perhaps because I think it plays out like a movie before me even though it is live. Whatever the case Ms. Hathaway has slipped some reenactments into her story and I enjoyed it. This is a re-imagining of “Emma”. Ms. Hathaway took the frame of the story by Ms. Austen and then built a really funny clever comedy of the type that Hollywood used to make and should make again for this would play very well on the screen. I do not know much about the South so reading about some of the social customs was terrific. Caroline is a lot of fun and Brooks is the one to watch as he changes and grows throughout the book.  If you liked the original then you are going to really like this.  If you never read the original then you are still going to like this.  Southern style happiness that will leave you with a smile on your face.  This book does not disappoint at all.  I am so looking forward to book three in this series.

You can find “Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs” at a discount at  http://www.deepershopping.com/item/hathaway-mary-jane/emma-mr-knightly-and-chili-slaw-dogs/6121287.html

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books for this review.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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