November 27, 2019

Review: Dangerous Alliance

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Grade: C
Release date: December 7, 2019
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I love a good historical fiction story, particularly when it's young adult. However, this one didn't quite meet my expectations. 
Dangerous Alliance is half romance, half intrigue/adventure. Both those genres can make for excellent stories, but most everything about this book fell short. From the get-go, Vicky is an atypical Regency heroine because she's very modern for the time period. She traipses around in trousers and does work on her father's estate, though once the characters go to London for the season, those behaviors disappear. She had a childhood friendship with Tom Sherborne, but I never really bought into their relationship. I just couldn't see the connection. Furthermore, Tom's relationships with his brother and his half-sister also didn't read as authentic.
The plot grows a little more interesting once the characters get to London. Most of it revolves around Vicky finding a husband (and fast), and the family's fight to get their elder daughter, Althea, legally separated from her abusive husband. There is also a threat to Vicky (and the rest of her family), as it seems someone does not want her to be alive. Parts of that plot seemed very contrived and too much like The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue. Vicky relies a lot on "What would [insert Jane Austen character] do?" and it grows a bit old, and seems a bit too childish. As much as I wish real life were like fiction, I very much know that it is not. Additionally, it means Vicky doesn't seem as fully-formed of a character.

Content warnings: references to and descriptions of domestic abuse and an abusive marriage, violence, attempted sexual assault

The Verdict: Disappointing, for a YA historical fiction novel.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.

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