Lucas, by Elna Holst, is a delightful re-imagining of Jane Austen's world, following the story of Charlotte Collins, Elizabeth Bennet's childhood friend. While Charlotte writes to the Lizzy we all know and love, this story is told in a second, secret set of correspondence Charlotte can never send to her friend, detailing her affection for women and her unexpected fall into infatuation and love--not with her husband, the rector of Rosings Park in Kent, but her physician's cousin, the delightfully unorthodox Miss Ailsa Reid. Ms. Holst paints a wonderful historic picture from the gardens and simplicity of Kent to the finery and excitement of a winter vacation Bath. Despite the fun and adrenaline of new, forbidden love, the more serious aspects of womanhood in Regency England were dealt with honestly and with respect.
Throughout the tale, Charlotte becomes increasingly akin to her imagined penpal, torn into two versions of herself: one, the demure, sensible Mrs Collins, rector's wife, the other swooning, secretive Charly Lucas, lover to the beguiling Ailsa. While the epistolary nature of the book made for a bit less world-building and richness than I would have liked, everything I love about Austen's world is here, from the longing and drama, to the exquisite clothes and races across the countryside for someone's honor and safety. I was hooked as Charlotte had to choose between her family's reputation and her own happiness. 4 out of 5 stars!
I'm so honored Queer Sci-Fi chose to check out Nel's first adventure! It's amazing when a reader truly gets the heart of a story.
"One of the major themes in this story is that of understanding the past to understand the future. We need to know where we came from to know where we are going. It’s a loving tribute to the science of archaeology itself. But it also parallels Nel’s journey – she is still figuring out who she is and her place in the newly discovered changed world. All of her expectations have been shattered apart by the end of the book, and she needs to figure out where to go from here.
If you’re looking for science fiction grounded in factual science, this is a great look at the world of archaeology...." read more
I'm so thankful for this incredible 5-star review of Smoke and Rain from Literary Titan!
"V.S. Holmes hits the mark with this incredible fantasy adventure that utilizes a unique writing style to tell a vivid story. We’re introduced to some rather complex, and rather bleak, characters that we get to see develop throughout the story from multiple perspectives. And with this I felt a lot more connected to these riveting characters. Having such lively characters makes the intense battle scenes all the more dramatic and theatrical...." read more