Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Mary Jane Hathaway
Publisher: Howard Books
“Lord, why can’t you just put me on mute when I’m running my mouth? But God didn’t work that way. He let his children make their own messes – and clean them up,” Shelby realizes in Mary Jane Hathaway’s novel, Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits.
At three hundred and fifty-two pages, this first in the Jane Austen Takes the South series paperback targets fans of Jane Austen that enjoy Christian romantic fiction set in a college town in Mississippi. With some slang and no overtly sexual or violent scenes, it would be apropos for teenage to adult readers. After the story, there are two food recipes, the author’s note, acknowledgments, a reading group guide with topics, questions, book club directions, and the author’s conversation, along with the first chapter of the second book. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
In this current day tome, twenty-nine year old Shelby Roswell enjoys her job teaching Introduction to the Civil War at Midlands College in the South. Unmarried and living with her friend, an English teacher who is a fan of Jane Austen, the woman has almost reached a tenured position.
Having recently written a book about the history of nearby Flea Bite Creek, she is devastated when the well-known historian, Ransom Fielding, writes a scalding review of it. To her further dismay, the man has accepted a job teaching at the same college.
Starting off on the wrong foot in their strictly pedagogical relationship, the two professors butt heads constantly by assuming and questioning the other’s actions and meanings. When Shelby ends up being the scapegoat for the misunderstandings, her upcoming tenure becomes jeopardized.
As widower Fielding tries to deal with his past, Shelby’s roommate correlates Jane Austen’s Darcy to the angry man, questioning if he is capable of romancing a contemporary Elizabeth. In turn, Shelby wonders if there is any hope of a future with someone who appears so aloof.
While the female history teacher deals with one emotional blow after another involving her future, she tries to look toward God for mercy and grace. In the meantime, Fielding, a man who has shunned the Almighty for years, may have to listen to a colleague’s advice.
A charming read that exhibits the gentleness of the South, this yarn offers a fun yet romantic read, making one anticipate the next book in the series.
Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this book at no charge in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.