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Elizabeth Bennet Darcy is eager for Christmas this year in Hertfordshire. There will be a ball at her mama’s fine new house and a baking competition for charity at Beau Bon-Bon, the tea shop in Meryton. But then a silly quarrel erupts between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, threatening the joys of the season.
Though the war is now over, the village of Meryton is anything but peaceful. Mrs. Bennet, Lady Lucas, and Mrs. Philips is each determined her cook will win the first annual Beau Bon-Bon charity baking competition, and the new tenant of Netherfield Park also enters the fray. And there is a bit with a dog…
I recently reviewed “Fair Trade” by Kate Bedlow, which is still eligible on Just Jane 1813 as an audiobook giveaway, and I found it to be a really diverting and creative variation based on the Bennet sisters entering trade after the untimely demise of Mr. Bennet. This sequel to “Fair Trade” picks up three years later at Pemberley, where Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, and Bingley are planning to join Mrs. Bennet and the other Bennet sisters in Meryton to attend a holiday party that Mrs. Bennet is throwing at her new estate, Mulberry Park, an estate happily settled upon her by Mr. Darcy. As Elizabeth and Jane prepare to share their young children with their family in Meryton this season, an altercation occurs at Pemberley between Darcy and Bingley, which changes the current tenor of their relationship.
As everyone gathers in Meryton, it appears that history certainly does repeat itself when the announcement is made that Netherfield Park is, once again, let at last. This time the newly arrived gentleman, an older man known as Commodore Harrington, is seen by Mrs. Bennet as a possible match for Kitty Bennet, who is the sole sister still spending any time working at the local tea house, the Beau Bon-Bon. However, Kitty is content with her life and artfully attempts to avoid the matchmaking schemes of her mother.
A bit of humor and mystery is thrown in throughout the story as a furry “The White Ghost” appears throughout Meryton, causing the ladies to run in fear for their show roses and other easily obtained accessories. Uncertain about what to do about this unfamiliar beast, the Meryton residents scramble in his presence and attempt to find a solution to his unwanted attentions. More importantly, the owner of the White Ghost must be identified to help rectify the situation. Will the chaos of the season cause too much friction amongst the Bennet, Darcy, and Bingley families and ruin their holiday season?
Kate Bedlow has written a sequel that retains a lot of the humor and characterizations of “Fair Trade,” while allowing us to spend some time catching up with these delightful characters during this most cherished season of the year. As the story switches its focus from the Bennet sisters to Mrs. Bennet, it becomes apparent that grief and loss have tempered Mrs. Bennet a bit, making these subtle revisions in her character a pleasant change in her overall demeanor. Never one to miss the opportunity to become better acquainted with any intriguing new arrival in Meryton, Mrs. Bennet’s interests in the Commodore broaden to include some unforeseen possibilities. Will the pleasures found at the Beau Bon-Bon bring the hope that love will shine once again in the lives of the Bennet ladies?
“Beau Bon-Bon Christmas” is also as well-written as “Fair Trade,” where the efforts in Kate Bedlow’s writing appear to be writing a story that is told at an even and steady pace, without the need to include descriptive language or dialogues that distract the reader from the central focus of her story. The transition from the story centering around the younger Bennet ladies to Mrs. Bennet is done in a pretty seamless matter and brings a welcome storyline to this JAFF story. For readers who enjoyed “Fair Trade,” this is a sequel that will be a nice addition to a JAFF lover’s holiday reading collection; I suggest making your own “Mrs. B” to sip while you read this story!
Kate Bedlow is giving away an ebook of “A Beau Bon-Bon Christmas,” which I think JAFF readers will truly enjoy after reading “Fair Trade! To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post no later than midnight ET, on December 9th. The winner will be announced on this blog on December 10, 2016.
If you like to see my creation of a hot coffee drink based on the “Mrs B,” visit my “Mrs. B” recipe here to view and print your own copy. It was a delicious piece of “research” done for this review!
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To make this holiday blog event even sweeter, I am offering a giveaway of one of my very own favorite finds from 2016; a pair of Plantronics wireless headphones, which will be given away to one Just Jane 1813 reader, along with one JAFF audiobook of your choice, from Audible. All you have to do to enter this special giveaway is leave a comment on every post on this blog from December 1-12, 2016. Just think of it as your way of saying “Hello” to us every day during this event and letting me know what you think about each post. At midnight, ET, on December 15th, I will select the winner of these headphones and JAFF audiobook from the names of the readers who commented on each post, and on December 16, 2016, I will announce the winner of these awesome headphones.
Not only should you enter the giveaway for these headphones, I have two separate audiobook giveaways taking place here on Just Jane 1813 to enjoy with these headphones; one is for Kate Bedlow’s “Fair Trade” and the other is for Elizabeth Adams’ “The Houseguest.” Enjoy and good luck to the entrants!