Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina

Pub Date June 3, 2014

ISBN 9781402287763

Price $6.99

Question: Do you like “Pride and Prejudice”? If you’re a die-hard fan of Jane Austen, you might get a smidge upset, but if you can take a little creative licensing with P&P, you’re gonna like Once Upon a Kiss.

At first I thought this a Beauty and the Beast styled book with a little bit of Little Women thrown in the mix, but then came Chapter 4 in which Ms. Fresina made it blatantly clear this was an offspring of Elizabeth and Darcy, to which I still think there is a B&B background to the main characters of Justina and Darius.

Justina Penny, is a Miss who likes to live in an imaginative world, creating situations which, unintentionally, causes distress to others as an end result. Fortunately Mr. Darius Wainwright, (that’s right folks, a Mr., not a Duke, Earl, Marquess or any other ‘ton’) whom is of a linear mind, repetitious in his ways, and likes his life lived in an organized manner meets up with Justina, otherwise he’s end up a crusty old man. Of course, as in any good romance, when someone from the far left field meets someone from the far right field, gravity needs to bring them to middle ground.

Thankfully, Ms. Fresina crafts a sticky tale which glues readers to the pages reminiscent of Ms. Austin’s work.  Although Justina’s character does begin the monumental task of growing up and overcoming her ‘reputation’, it’s Darius’ subtle changes in each chapter which closely resembles Mr. Darcy’s change toward Elizabeth and her family which enthralled me. For each unexpected action Darius makes to his own shock and dismay, he uses his analytical mind to ensure, for a lack of a better phrase, he’s not crazy.

By the end of the book, I was thoroughly smitten and glad I read past the first three chapters before giving up.  Justina’s character was a bit over the top for me, but once I got to Ch. 4 and things started to make sense and characters started to develop better, I was smitten, as I’m sure you’ll be too.  Pre-order and may you not have too many sleepless nights!

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