cover image Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Edited by Christina Boyd. The Quill Ink, $12.95 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-0-9986540-1-0

This capable homage anthology brings new life to the rakes of Jane Austen’s worlds. Each of the stories details either a rake’s rise to roguishness or his fall from it. Beyond this unifying theme, the authors seem to come together in the belief that women set the men on their wicked paths, except in one or two stories. In Katie Oliver’s “A Wicked Game,” George Wickham is the victim of a woman who stole his innocence, much as he tried to steal Georgiana Darcy’s. In Jenetta James’s “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot,” William Elliot is seduced and humiliated by a young actress. In “Willoughby’s Crossroads,” Joanna Starnes imagines the woman who broke John Willoughby’s heart. Though the final story, Amy D’Orazio’s “For Mischief’s Sake,” seems to want to redeem this point, teaching Capt. Frederick Tilney to feel ashamed of casually destroying women’s reputations, the other portrayals of women as villains is disheartening and may turn some readers off. For fans of Austen, bad boys, and romance, this anthology will be a fun frolic into the worlds they know well, so long as they do not dwell on the fates of women. (BookLife)