Monday, 2 June 2014

Review: Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society #1)- Jayne Fresina*

These Book Club Belles are ready to put down their novels and find some real-life leading men!

In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, five young ladies of the local book society are reading a salacious romance called Pride and Prejudice. Upon finishing the book, the ladies race to find their own Mr. Darcy, and the handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright is the perfect mark. 
Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence. But if the town's only eligible bachelor marries anyone, it should be her sweet, beautiful sister. And it's up to Justina to make it happen. How could this plan possibly go wrong?
How has it been so long since I've read a historical romance? I know, I know, it's terrible. But you'll be pleased to hear that I've put an end to this drought and have read and reviewed the first in a wonderful new series from Jayne Fresina.

Once Upon a Kiss tells the tale of Justina Penny, the youngest daughter of a small town doctor and owner of a pleasantly active imagination. Longing for some excitement that goes beyond the activities of her book club, Justina decides to set upon new arrival and very eligible bachelor, Darius Wainwright, as the perfect man to marry her much prettier and much more sensible older sister.

Once Upon a Kiss is a nice shadowing of the book club's study, Pride and Prejudice, although I must say that Justina reminded me a lot more of Catherine Morland than she did Elizabeth Bennet. Darius, you'll be pleased to hear, is much closer to Mr Darcy. Jussy would be described by some as spirited, but let's be honest she's just plain batty - and I loved her for it. Full of energy and charm it's hard not to let her creep into your heart. Her overactive imagination and fearless spirit get her into plenty of scrapes and humorous situations and thankfully we're along for the ride. Darius is the perfect foil to Jussy, reserved and a touch too serious, with no time for the meddling antics of the Penny family and just about everyone else in the town.

Jussy and Darius' relationship is of the wonderful 'slow-build' type, providing plenty of opportunities for heart warming moments as the couples attitudes' soften towards one another. The couples verbal sparring is one of the high points of the novel and Fresina's talent for witty dialogue really shines through. Fresina has also skilfully crafted a wonderfully rounded set of secondary characters, from the familiar Mrs Penny to Wainwright's easily dislikable sister-in-law.

The first in Fresina's new series is a light-hearted delight, clever, packed full of fun and with more than enough romance to keep any reader happy. I can't wait to read the rest in Fresina's new series which promises to be just as enjoyable as Once Upon a Kiss.

*ARC received in return for an honest review. Once Upon a Kiss is published by Sourcebooks Casablanca and is released on June 3rd.


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my book. I do agree with you in that there is a touch of Catherine Morland in Jussy too!

    1. You're welcome, thoroughly enjoyed it. Jussy's an adorable mix of everyone, I'd say - just loved her.