Book Reviews

Book Review: Alluring in Autumn

By Jane Erickson

Published June 2022

281 Pages

Helen (Eleni) Tolliver has always been considered the clever daughter and never fit in with her boisterous siblings.  Even her coloring is different, her red hair and freckles in contrast against their dark, Greek looks.  To make the most of her talents, she’s lived with her aunt in London amongst other intelligent, well-read people for a decade.  Still, sometimes she must return home to visit, and these trips are almost always frustrating with Helen feeling like an outcast among her own family.  Only childhood friend Jonathan Lowe’s company makes these visits bearable.

Jonathan has always been enthralled with Helen, but she’s his best friend’s sister and therefore, completely off limits to him.  Besides, a woman that smart, surrounded by the London elite, would never look twice at him, would she?  

“Alluring in Autumn” interpreted by Wombo Dream

So, obviously a romance and while I don’t normally gravitate toward romances, this was also billed as Victorian historical fiction, which I do try to read.  All the ingredients were present to make this work story really well: two people in love with each other but unable to declare their intentions, a wonderful supporting cast, an ill-fitted suitor, and a few dangerous escapades.  Unfortunately, it never quite came together for me.

The love story was so obvious from the beginning and the reasons for Jonathan and Helen to never declare themselves were so thin, that there was no tension.  It was almost like I had to wait for them to come to their senses through yet one more tossed in plot point, some of which made almost no sense and didn’t really advance the story.  Helen’s feelings and intentions flip flopped wildly depending on who she spoke to and the fact that she didn’t enjoy her life in London, or her suitor, made that whole part of the story lack credibility.

What saved this novel for me was her family, in particular her cousin, who romped through the book like a breath of fresh air, tossing fun dialogue around like confetti.  Also, this is part of the Twist Upon a Time series and while I knew that going in, I would never have figured out it was a retelling of The Ugly Duckling if Amazon hadn’t told me so.  

Final words:  cute but predictable.

2.75/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to BookSirens for providing the eARC.  I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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