Cover Image: Pride, Prejudice, and Peril

Pride, Prejudice, and Peril

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overall I enjoyed this book but there were some plot holes, which I assume would be fixed before final publication.
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This was a fantastic read! I love that this draws a lot of elements from Pride and Prejudice, but Phaedra isn't the Elizabeth character. Or maybe not the only once, since Phaedra's love interests aren't the main Darcy character. So that had some pretty interesting dynamics! 

This is all set around this show of Pride and Prejudice meets the Bachelor, which quickly goes wrong when the owner of the home that is hosting this show, is killed. Phaedra is a part of the investigation twofold, because she was the consultant of the show for her historical expertise, and because her best friend is the wife of the murder victim.

There was a lot going on in this book, between the mystery, which was intriguing because he had a lot of enemies, and everything going on in Phaedra's life. Between the show, her job, and the festival she's trying to continue, she has a lot of her plate. And then there's the two new guys in her life, Professor Mark, and Detective Morelli. They were both really interesting to read about, and it'll be interesting to see if she'll fall for one of them! 

I do think that a few things were just a little bit too easy. This is a murder mystery story, but Phaedra isn't really one that has the most useful investigative skills, though she gives a good go at it, with her Tea Society group! I don't know why this bugs me when it normally doesn't, but I did find it a little too convenient. But I did enjoy how things came together! 

I had a great time reading this book, and I can't wait for the sequel!
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I often like to read retellings of Jane Austen works, however they don’t always live up to my expectations. I did however very much love this book. The characters were well fleshed out and the plot was entertaining and moved at a good pace. Unfortunately I had to knock off a star for a continuity error, as there were a few references to “the pen early ball” in P&P, however there was no ball at Pemberly. I think they meant the Netherfield ball. Otherwise what a fun story! Can’t wait for the next one.
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PUBLISHES 12/27/2022: 

One of my Erika's, who is also a librarian, an Austen fan, and my weekly date for trashy reality TV shows so when she asked if I had read this new release as of yet, I said no but immediately set on getting it.

The concept of Austen and reality TV really hits the mark with me as it covers two of my favorite subjects.

In the beginning, I was irritated with Phaedra with her billowing Regency gowns and ballet slippers. It was a bit too on the nose for me. Phaedra's argument is that by wearing Regency clothes as she teaches gives an "Immersive experience," which seems kind of fun, the irritation began when it seemed that she wore Regency gear all the damned time. It's in the 21stC and yes, while there may be those who wish it were back in the 1810s, you would be hard pressed to find someone who actually honestly wants to live in pre-electricity, air con, and contemporary indoor plumbing days. Oliver it seems gave up the idea of having Phaedra always in Regency mode when she started introducing Phaedra wearing contemporary clothes, driving a Mini, and having a laptop and cellphone. Thank god.

The mystery was solid and there were a few twists and turns that Oliver took you down that was interesting. Nothing too obvious or out of sync with the character, which was good. The settings seemed genuine and believable and nothing seemed to be too stretch of the imagination.

I did adore several things about the book:

Name checks of Pride and Prejudice characters sprinkled throughout the like Phaedra's cat Wickham and her best friend's maiden name is Lucas
Oliver set Phaedra up with not one but two potential love leads. Neither seem to strike particularly smarmy such as Wickham and both seem to be as haughty as Darcy so it'll be interesting to see where this goes

The one massive hiccup is that the use of the "Jane Austen Tea Shop" group was sparse and Phaedra didn't really need them to suss out the murder so to name it as such and attempt it as such was a bit of a misnomer.

tl;dr Overall the book was a fast read and was sturdy in its compensation. Nothing too obvious seemed to be off and the ends of mystery tied up a bit nicely. The writing was competent.  Austen fans who happen to be cozy mystery fans will love this and the series is worth exploring.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

Pride, Prejudice, and Peril is the series debut mystery by Katie Oliver.  It is a somewhat successful mash up of Jane Austen inspired characters and murder. 

Professor and Jane Austen expert Phaedra Brighton is busy teaching classes (in Regency period dress) and planning the annual Jane Austen Festival.  To add another feather in her cap, she is hired as a historical consultant for a new reality dating television show.  The show is filmed at her good friend Charlene’s home.  Charlene’s new husband, a former televangelist turned pharmaceutical company CEO, Bill is soon found dead in the bath, and Charlene quickly becomes the prime suspect,  As the body count rises, Phaedra does all she can to unmask the real killer.

I confess…I am a fair to middling Jane Austen fan and not a fan at all of reality dating TV so I admit to being hesitant to read Pride, Prejudice, and Peril, but I do adore cozy mysteries so decided to dive in.  There are lots of references to Austen’s characters and works (I think I caught most of them), and, really, the TV production has little to do with the actual plot.  The story is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice but with murder thrown in, and it is obvious that author Katie Oliver is passionate about Austen.  Oliver successfully includes “easter eggs” that Austen fans will enjoy.

Phaedra is meant to be a modern Elizabeth Bennet, but I am not sure she even realizes it.  Her mother is definitely Mrs. Bennet made over as she is constantly trying to marry off her daughters.  Even Phaedra’s cat is a nod to Austen.  But, back to Phaedra.  She is obviously knowledgeable and smart, but she does some stupid things…like withhold crucial evidence from the police.  She comes across as someone who thinks she is better than and knows more than anyone else.  She is sometimes quite judgmental and her investigating skills are lacking.  Her brusque interrogation style is counterproductive and off-putting.  Honestly, I do not like her very much, but with a few tweaks here and there she could be quite enjoyable.

The first victim Bill Collier is not a nice man, and there are plenty of people who would just as soon see him dead making the suspect pool large.  As the story moves along, there are more victims, in addition to an earlier theft that may or may not be related, for Phaedra to work through.  Several characters are introduced then dropped, perhaps destined to appear in future books, but left hanging here. The pace is a little uneven, but the book is an easy read.  There is a potential love triangle brewing, and I do hope the author resolves it quickly.  I guessed the killer’s identity early on but did not figure out the motive until late in the story.  The motive is something near and dear to me so that helped my overall opinion of the book.

I liked Pride, Prejudice, and Peril, and with some changes to Phaedra there is a lot of potential for the series going forward.  Recommended to Jane Austen fans.
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In this cozy mystery, genre tropes are mashed together with a pale facsimile of Pride & Prejudice romantic plot. The whole thing lacks subtlety and nuance, instead sustaining itself with clunky storytelling and generic characters.

Our sleuth, Phaedra, takes herself way too seriously for a lit professor/luddite in regency dress who claims the costume is "immersive" for her students. Bro, they could watch an Austen film adaptation and get more out of it by that logic. Also, she reads more like a Darcy superfan than an academic in terms of tone and motivation. In the story, she is somehow consulting on a regency-themed reality dating show. We rarely see her working (at either job), and I'm still not clear why she was needed. How the hell did she turn this into a paycheck, I ask? Despite attempts to paint her as the Lizzie Bennet of this story, Phaedra was more of a Mary Sue to this reader.

In terms of the mystery, heavy-handed clues are paired with Phaedra's wild assumptions meant to appear as keen observation and deduction. She has no skill set that lends itself to investigation and is only minimally motivated by protecting her friend, a suspect for the murder. Curiosity is her primary impulse. I'm all for not putting unwavering trust in police, but seeing as a rich, white asshole is the deceased, any sidebar inquiry by an inexperienced woman who withholds evidence seems unnecessary (and it's not truly subversive when she swoons over the police detective). She goes about it with perfect, brazen confidence and approximately 0 mL of caution. Basic people skills carry the day for some amateur sleuths, but her generally blundering questioning style left much to be desired, even though she still managed to magically glean secrets from her blunt interrogations.

Our murder victim is a poster child for cartoonish villainy: I don't take much convincing when it comes to the casual evils of a mediocre white man with bags of money, but this one is not only a former scam artist/televangelist but also inherited a role as a pharma CEO who refused to reduce insulin prices. He is blatantly dickish to everyone and emotionally abusive to his wife in plain view of an audience of strangers before he gets dramatically offed during a thunderstorm. Also, I know cozy mystery heroines often find the body to have a reason to be close to the murder investigation... but why would Phaedra walk in on a man she doesn't know in the bath? If you're worried he's not responding through the door in a storm... get his wife maybe?

Finally, some offhand remarks set me off in terms of how to deal with aggressive men. One sexual harasser/blackmailer is deemed ultimately benign because he stops at verbal pestering, as if that isn't bad enough. Another man known for being "handsy" is not only ignored but given repeated access to a woman who asks not to be near him. It's even worse because Phaedra assigns her friend a role working with him. He's a professor and the friend is a grad student, so the power differential would make it even harder for the woman to protect herself. Friend of the year, professor of the year, investigator of the year Phaedra is not.
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This cozy series starter was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The pacing was a bit slow and Phaedra's relative immersion in her Jane Austen obsession was a bit much. However, for true Austenites, there are tons of references and I'm sure a Mr. Darcy themed dating show would be a hit with a certain crowd! I didn't feel like this one, as the first in a series, did a lot to set up future books, but I'd be willing to give the next one a try.
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Pride, Prejudice, and Peril by Katie Oliver is the debut of A Jane Austen Tea Society Mysteries.  Dr. Phaedra Brighton is a quirky college professor at Somerset University.  Phaedra teaches English Literature and is a Jane Austen scholar.  She dresses in Regency attire (including reticule, slippers, and parasol) to teach.  Phaedra has been hired as a historical consultant for Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy (a cross between The Bachelor and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice).  The show is being filmed at Marling where her friend, Charlene and her new husband, Bill Collier now reside.  Bill Collier is not a nice man (putting it mildly).  During a heavy rainstorm, the cast and crew take refuge in Marling.  One of the bachelorette’s is wearing Charlene’s Georgian necklace when the power goes out.  The necklace is stolen, and Bill is livid.  The storm becomes increasing severe and then a large tree crashes into the manor.  While Charlene checks on her ill mum, Phaedra agrees to assess the damage caused by the tree and look in on Bill who had decided to take a bath during the lightening storm.  Phaedra finds Bill dead in the bathtub.  It is obvious that he did not die of natural causes.  Detective Morelli is assigned the case and he is being urged to close it quickly.  The evidence quickly piles up against Charlene.  Phaedra sets out to find the true culprit.  The guilty party is not happy with Phaedra’s meddling and attempts to get her out of the way.  Phaedra with help from her Jane Austen Tea Society friends work through the list of suspects.  Can Phaedra unravel the clues before the killer strikes again?  There are numerous references to Jane Austen novels throughout the story.  I can tell the author knows Jane Austen and her works.  The story contains good writing, but the pacing is a little slow.  I admit that I am not a fan of Phaedra.  I like that she loves to read and is a respected scholar.  I thought it was clever that she dresses in Regency clothing for her lectures.  Her personality, though, is only okay.  I found her to be judgmental.  Her upbringing is apparent from her attitude and how out of touch she is about certain things.  The mystery provides us with several suspects since Bill Collier was not a likeable man (a real toady).  There are good clues to help readers solve the crime before the reveal.  I found Phaedra’s style of questioning to be lacking.  Phaedra can be brusque, and she lacks subtlety.  Phaedra’s mother is just like Mrs. Bennett.  She is always trying to marry off her daughters.  There is interesting Regency trivia in the book.  I learned some interesting facts.  A few changes to Phaedra would not go amiss.  Phaedra likes to act superior to others, makes hasty judgements, and I did not like how she withheld evidence from friends and police (to the detriment of the case).  I am hoping the author will allow Phaedra to see some of the negative aspects of her characters and make necessary changes. I am hoping her questioning style will improve with time.  Pride, Prejudice, and Peril is a Janeite delight with dead drug executive, a clever canine, a precious pug, a matchmaking mother, a dedicated detective, a framed friend, and a prying professor.
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This was a cute cozy with lots of Jane Austen references. The pacing was slow at time, and at times Phaedra was not a very likeable character. I will definitely continue with the series.
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Two of my life's passions are Jane Austen & cozy mysteries. This book was kindly sent by the PR team at Berkeley and from that moment, I knew it was meant to be.

The name Katie Oliver has been floating in my head for years now, thanks to her skin in the cozy game. Also, have you seen her social media presence? Her instagram screams I LOVE MR. DARCY....and honestly, SAME! I instantly fell in love. Yes, I keep saying it - but it's true. Maybe you have to be a true Austen fan to understand, but I knew this woman would understand me and the needs of a P&P & Cozy Mystery lover alike. 

This was such an easy read. I have dreamt about a character like Phaedra for such a long time. I can relate to her constantly obsessing over the comfort Pride & Prejudice and so many other classics bring us. Adding in the "who done it" scenario took it to another level. Katie Oliver wrote the best "clue" sequences. It kept me guessing the whole time!

I love this book so much. I thought this was an excellent "first book in a new series" starting point.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the ARC. 

🌟🌟🌟🌟 4/5 stars 

A cute start to a brand new cozy series. Pride, Prejudice, and Peril is Jane Austen meets reality TV plus murder. Phaedra, an English professor who specializes in all things Austen, is asked to consult on a reality tv show titled Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy. However, on the first day of shooting, the husband of her best friend is found dead. Now it is up to Phaedra to solve the murder and help her friend. 

I love anything that involves Jane Austen references and this book is full of them. I loved the plot and setting, as well as the two potential “Mr. Darcys”. I am interested to see where this series goes. I am already sold on the title of the sequel - A Murderous Persuasion. 

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review to be posted on publication date.
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Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie meets The Bachelor in Pride, Prejudice, and Peril. Perhaps this is a combination that shouldn’t work, but in author Katie Oliver’s hands it does, resulting in an entertaining cozy mystery.

Phaedra Brighton is a professor and Austen expert, perhaps best known for teaching her classes in full Regency wear. She dreams of Mr. Darcy but knows the closest thing to Pride and Prejudice in her real life is her mother pulling a Mrs. Bennet trying to see her daughters wed. When Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy, a Jane Austen-inspired reality dating series, starts filming at the estate belonging to her best friend, Charlene, Phaedra is offered the job as consultant. Then during filming Charlene’s husband is murdered and evidence points to his wife as the most likely suspect. Phaedra is determined to clear her friend of suspicion and find the true killer, but as someone who is more Lizzy Bennet than Miss Marple, she’ll have her work cut out for her.

Phaedra is an entertaining heroine with just enough quirkiness to make her stand out. In the usual cozy mystery way, she takes it upon herself to investigate, frustrating the local detective with her interference and putting herself in danger. I liked the nods to Austen Oliver sprinkled throughout the story and – as an admitted Janeite – these tidbits made me smile. Phaedra has a rather extensive list of suspects to choose from during her investigation – the deceased was anything but beloved. It was entertaining watching her put the puzzle pieces together while trying to juggle everything on her plate. Information is doled out as needed in order to keep things going and while I sometimes found the reveals to be inorganic in their delivery, it didn’t pull me out of the story. Phaedra’s family and friends are all interesting and I look forward to learning more about them. All in all, I really liked Pride, Prejudice, and Peril and I’m looking forward to seeing what Phaedra gets up to next!
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I read a lot of cozy mysteries and was really intrigued to see a premise I hadn't come across before.  I really like that the main character is an English professor specializing in Austen and I also really loved the reality show angle.  Unfortunately, this one just didn't quite work for me.

I had two main issues with this mystery.  The first one was the number of characters.  We have Phaedra, her coworkers and friends and family as well as all the people associated with the reality show both as contestents and in production.  It's a lot of people to be introduced to and since this is the first book in the series I felt a bit like I was scrambling to figure out who was who and where they fit in.  I think this made it hard for me to connect with any of the characters which made me struggle to get invested in the story.

My second issue was the pacing.  This isn't an uncommon problem with first books in the series as there's so much world building that has to be done.  Unfortunately, this combined with the first issue kept me from being able to be pulled in to the mystery and really enjoying the story.  I also found it hard to believe that Phaedra was an established professor as her actions frequently came across immature and naive.  

I think this series has some potential.  There are some interesting side characters and I enjoy the fact that the main character specializes in Austen on an academic level.  Unfortunately, at this point this isn't a series I plan on continuing with.
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Thank you so much for an advanced copy of this book!

Genre: Cozy Mystery/Women's Fiction 
Pub Date: December 7, 2021
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a fun start to a new series, and I enjoyed the book a lot. I thought the main character, Phaedra, enjoyable and easy to love. I thought her determinedness and single-mindedness were two things I could greatly relate to as an individual, and I couldn't help but wonder who her Mr. Darcy would be in the book! I particularly liked that her knowledge of Jane Austen put her in the middle of a murder to solve and that she was a professor. I'm a finance professor, but I always say if I could be any other kind of professor, it would be English!

Overall, I thought this story kicked off the series well. I will definitely read more about Phaedra, and I'm looking forward to future books!
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Pride, Prejudice and Peril was a cute cozy mystery with lots of references to Jane Austen's novels, which I love. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this story and the regency talk tremendously. I went back and forth with who I thought Phaedra's Mr. Darcy could be, but I was hoping for one over the other. I love the broody protective ones. 
I enjoyed a lot about this one, but I also found it hard to follow at times. This was a fun start to a new series.
Thank you to Katie Oliver, Netgalley and Berkley for an early copy.
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Mini Review: I quite enjoyed this book, which is the first in the new Jane Austen Tea Society Mysteries series. It was a unique premise, Phaedra was a good main character, and I liked the supporting characters, too! Overall, this was a good beginning to a new cozy series, and I will definitely be checking out the next book!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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Pride, Prejudice, and Peril is the debut book in author Katie Oliver's Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery series.  It is clear from this book, and other romance novels written by this author, that she is a fan of Jane Austen.  The main character, Phaedra Brighton, is a well-respected college English professor whose expertise is Jane Austen.  This is apparent in the way she dresses for her lectures and her criteria for a significant other.  When Phaedra is asked to serve as a consultant on a new reality dating series, Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy, things go wrong when her close friend's new husband is murdered and the police set their sites on the friend as the prime suspect.  I really wanted to like Phaedra and for the most part, there is nothing overly objectionable about her character.  Most of the time I just felt ambivalent about her.  Her sleuthing skills are not strong and her questions to potential suspects are brusque and lacked finesse.  I did feel there were some parts to the story where Phaedra is a bit judgemental and out of touch based upon her upbringing.

The book was an easy read and I liked the mystery.  The pace felt a little slow at times but not so much that it detracted from the book.  The author does provide the reader with a number of other viable suspects to consider as they comb through the clues.  I was surprised by the killer's identity and this person was not on my radar.  The motive made sense once it was revealed.  

I would love to see the author make some tweaks to Phaedra's personality to make her a bit more likable.  There is also a potential for two love interests for Phaedra and for me that is a turn-off if the love triangle goes on too long.  I think the series has potential with some tweaks and additional thought given to the characters and pacing.

I voluntarily read a digital advanced reader copy of this book provided to me by the publisher, Berkley, through a NetGalley widget.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and are in no way impacted by the manner in which I received this book.
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Pride and Prejudice and Peril, the first book in The Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery series, is an entertaining Austen infused cozy mystery.

The story is set in the small university town of Laurel Springs Virginia, where Jane Austen professor/ Regency historical consultant Phaedra Brighton discovers a murder during the filming of a Pride and Prejudice inspired reality dating show.

As a Jane Austen fan, I enjoyed identifying the numerous references to Jane Austen’s books and adaptations as well as discovering some interesting Regency trivia. Author Katie Oliver is clearly an Austen fan and she weaves together an entertaining Jane Austen inspired cozy mystery with a loose Pride and Prejudice retelling. Phaedra, the Elizabeth Bennet of the series, cleverly uses her knowledge of and love for Jane Austen and Regency paraphernalia to investigate the crime. Though her sledgehammer interrogation technique is at times cringey, it will hopefully become more refined as the series progresses and she investigates future crimes.

The mystery is, of course, satisfyingly solved by the end of the book. However, the retelling is merely set up; there are two potential Mr. Darcy’s and the Jane and Mr. Bingley characters have only been briefly introduced. I expect the retelling will be the overarching story of the series and I look forward to discovering it.

Pride and Prejudice and Peril should satisfy cozy mystery readers and Jane Austen fans alike and is a good book to curl up with over the Christmas holidays.

Thank you to NetGalley for this early copy of Pride, Prejudice and Peril in return for my honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Katie Oliver for this early copy of Pride, Prejudice and Peril in return for my honest review. 

I adored this book. What a fun story, mixing classic literature with modern day living. The characters were witty and charming, and it was the perfect who-done-it, that kept you guessing the whole time. I am excited to see that this book is the first of a series and that the author is already planning on the second book set to release next year.I can’t wait to continue reading the stories of Phaedra and the Jane Austin tea society.
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This book was like a mashup of Jane Austen,  Agatha Christie and The Bachelor

An Austen scholar is hired as a consultant on a new dating reality show, Who Wants to Marry Mr Darcy. During shooting a man, the owner of The Marling, is found dead and she investigates to find the assailant. 

I liked the premise of this book but overall this was just ok for me.
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