Book Review: Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey—and a Giveaway!

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Title: Attempting Elizabeth
Author: Jessica Grey
Publisher: Tall House Books
Publication date: January 24th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance



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Attempting ElizabethAttempting Elizabeth
Jessica Grey
Tall House Books, January 2013
ISBN 978-0-9850396-6-0 Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.


If God had wanted us to walk straight up
mountains he wouldn’t have invented Henry Ford.

That sentence right there is the one that made me decide I’d love to have had Kelsey as a buddy when I was in my 20’s (we won’t talk about how long ago that was). Then, when I saw how devoted, er, obsessed, she is with Pride and Prejudice, well, I ask you, how could I possibly resist Attempting Elizabeth?

Now, I have to admit that I was predisposed to like this book because I read another by Jessica Grey (Atone) not long ago and really liked her style, her creativity and her humor. Ms. Grey has not lost any of those appealing talents and I can safely say I’m still a big fan. I also have to say I’m a great admirer of her solid knowledge of Jane Austen’s enduring tale. Since Kelsey falls into the story, that deep awareness is what keeps Attempting Elizabeth from being just a run-of-the-mill romance.

Romance is not a favorite genre of mine by itself but I do like it when it’s a sort of side story to the main theme. In this case, though, romance is what it’s all about, actually in both the contemporary story and the historical fiction episodes. This book reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series (both very pleasant reminders) but without being too close for comfort. Ms. Grey’s use of the motif is so well-done and so entertaining and yet with her own imagination that comparisons can only be positive, of the “if you like this, you’ll like that” variety.

Who do I love best in this book? Certainly Kelsey and Mark and, although she could be truly annoying, I couldn’t help liking Tori and appreciating how much she cares about her roommate. I also found Rick and Danny to be amusing foils for all the angst about getting back in the dating saddle after a bad break-up and I really enjoyed the sincere friendship among all these people and the way they were willing to let a new guy in.

Attempting Elizabeth is a quick read and one that can be relished  by readers in search of romance, humor, and a large dose of fantasy. Now I’m off in search of my copy of Pride and Prejudice but I’ll probably have to re-watch the Colin Firth mini-series first 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2013.


About the Author

Jessica Grey 2Jessica Grey is an author, fairytale believer, baseball lover, and recovering Star Wars fangirl. A life-long Californian, she now lives in Montana with her husband and two children where she spends her time writing, perfecting the fine art of preschooler-wrangling, and drinking way too much caffeine.

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To enter the drawing to win an ebook copy of
Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey, leave a
comment below. The winning name will be drawn
on the evening of Tuesday, November 12th and
the prize will be sent out after November 26th.


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