Books and Reviews
For Amalie and Dominic Aranyi, the problem is literal and real. Amalie and her two children, Jana and Val, have been rescued from their ordeal of being kidnapped by bandits and threatened with rape and murder. But the trauma isn't over, especially for Jana, the former tomboy who has become timid and passive, and for Amalie, who had to bring herself and her son to the brink of death.
Now Dominic, with Amalie's active encouragement, is torturing the captured bandit leader, Reynaldo. But when torturers and victim are gifted telepaths, the process threatens to corrupt and destroy the entire household.
As long-buried Aranyi secrets begin to emerge, Amalie realizes it's up to her to save her family. In the final section, Amalie accompanies Dominic on a romantic quest, hoping to convince her husband's beloved companion, Niall Galloway, to return and make the family whole again.
But is it too late? Has the Aranyi family dug its own grave along with Reynaldo's?
Many readers are surprised to learn that Jane Austen, typically for her time and place (England of the late 18th century), spent the first year-and-a-half of her life, not at home with her family, but in the cottage of her wet nurse.
In this short article for the newsletter of the Jane Austen Society of North America--New York region, I discuss the use of wet nurses among upper- and middle-class women in Western Europe, beginning in medieval times. In the days before bottles and formula, and when laundry day was enough to make strong women weep, most wives and mothers who could afford it employed a wet nurse for their newborns. Surprisingly for many modern readers, the typical wet nurse did not live in the same household, but had her own life and family in the nearby village or the countryside.
Eclipsis: Lady Amalie's memoirs, 5
Six years have passed since Amalie married Dominic and became 'Gravina Aranyi. Amalie and Dominic have a daughter, Jana, a fighter like her father, brave beyond her years; and a son, Val, a budding genius at not quite two years old, who speaks three languages but wears a diaper at night. Dominic's companion, Stefan Ormonde, has moved on to marry and start his own family.
Now Amalie has learned a few things about Dominic's past. And in her jealousy and anger, she sets out on a dangerous journey with the children, only to be ambushed by bandits. As she tries to free herself through the use of her telepathic gift she makes a horrifying discovery: her captor is gifted too.
Dominic and his new companion, the intrepid young officer Niall Galloway, must rescue Amalie and the children from a madman and his army of desperate outlaws. It will take all of Dominic and Niall's skills of telepathy and swordsmanship to save their family—and it's up to Amalie to protect herself and the children in the meantime.
But for the Aranyi family, the enemy within is the most dangerous.
The honeymoon is over for Amalie and Dominic, Margrave Aranyi. Since moving to the city for Dominic's work in 'Graven Assembly and the Military Academy it's been one misstep after another for Amalie, leading to escalating fights. For Stefan Ormonde, Dominic's companion, life in the middle of this squabbling couple has become unbearable. And unlike Amalie, he's free to leave this three-person marriage.
Now back at Aranyi for Midwinter and the birth of her child, Amalie hopes to save her marriage. With Stefan gone, she's arranged a gift for Dominic, something she knows he's wanted for a long time: a tryst with Lord Roger Zichmni, the handsome, gifted young ruler of Eclipsis.
As the men begin their assignation, and as Amalie shares in the pleasure through telepathic communion with her husband, something goes wrong. Amalie realizes that she's about to give birth for the first time, miles from Terran medicine and hospitals, in the most inaccessible place on Eclipsis.
The only person who can help her is Dominic. But will his strength be enough to bring Amalie and her child safely through the ordeal?
With blood and sex and shouted curse words, "Birth" is an unusual account of a universal family event, here occurring in a mixed marriage of three telepaths: one Terran, two Eclipsian, but all gifted, and in love.
After months of separation, Amelia Herzog has a chance to be with her lover, the formidable Dominic, Margrave Aranyi, one of Eclipsis's ruling nobility. But their first night together is a disaster, a sordid, mindless encounter under the influence of a telepathic weapon powered by anger and hate.
As a rebellion rises in the north, Dominic must leave Amelia at his ancestral home while he leads the military forces of the 'Graven Coalition. Amelia receives a warm welcome from Dominic's household despite her Terran origins. With her silver third eyelids and her telepathic gift—and carrying Dominic's child—she's accepted as "Lady Amalie," the future 'Gravina Aranyi. And as she explores the wealthy and self-sufficient Realm of Aranyi and learns about the people and their work, Amalie feels that she has found a home and a family.
When Dominic returns home wounded and with his young companion, Stefan Ormonde, at his side, Amalie faces her greatest challenges: Can she and Stefan work together to heal their partner? Can she survive the burning ordeal of the Graven Rite of Matrimony? Can she adapt to the restricted life of an Eclipsian woman and make this marriage of three people a success?
Readers of Ann Herendeen's novels know that she writes from the Third Perspective, the woman who prefers a bisexual husband and an m/m/f ménage. Wedding, the third installment of Lady Amalie's memoirs, tells the story of the original ménage and the first of these unusual heroines.
T. T. Thomas says: "Wedding is the most realized, most poetic, almost cosmic, of the [series].... One really ought to read the series in order to appreciate how Herendeen's amazing talent moves the series from a most unusual voyage of adventure to an entrancingly mellifluous love story. Heredeen explores and explains complex concepts of bisexuality with insight, humor and sensitivity.... a love story about two unique characters who use their individual and combined gift of "communion" to reach both new depths and new heights of romantic love."
Amelia Herzog has found a home on Eclipsis—or so she hopes. She's been tested for the gift of crypta she shares with the 'Graven, the telepathic aristocracy who rule over this Protected World, and offered a place in the elite seminary of La Sapienza. Soon, Amelia hopes, she'll become Eclipsian Amalie and leave her Terran self behind.
So why does Amelia feel that she's back in high school? Starting a new kind of education, at thirty-five, alongside students in their teens, is bad enough. But in this regimented and class-conscious society, Amelia seems to break a taboo every time she opens her mouth. Her only comfort is the telepathic "visits" of her lover, Dominic, Margrave Aranyi, visits which break one of the biggest taboos of all. And when she's finally ready to take her place among other gifted people, doing the demanding work she has trained for, something is holding her back from participating—something she doesn't understand and can't control.
Despite hard work and good intentions, Amelia faces some difficult choices. Should she dedicate herself to becoming a sibyl, the most powerful position for a gifted woman? Or has life on Terra, among the ungifted, made it impossible? Can she hope for love, perhaps even marriage, with a gifted man? Or is Eclipsian marriage, with its strict sex roles, too limiting for a gifted woman to endure? And in reaching her decisions, Amelia is forced to question the motives of the one person she thought she could trust. Is he her lover—or her enemy?
Sometimes you're still coming of age at thirty-five. Sometimes you have to travel halfway across the universe to find your home.
Life on sweltering Planet Earth isn't working for Amelia Herzog. She's light-sensitive, with protective third eyelids that appear at the first glimmer of UV rays. And she hears other people's thoughts, a one-way conversation that's more isolating than intimate.
Eclipsis, a cold, dark planet settled centuries ago by refugees from Earth's climate catastrophe, a place where eco-tourists visit but no one wants to live, seems like the perfect place for Amelia to disappear. Instead, she discovers a world of choices, the possibility of love and, perhaps, a way to turn a curse into a gift.
In Recognition, the first book of the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs, Amelia takes a job on Eclipsis and meets the one person who truly shares her thoughts. Before long she's on her way to a new career, a new identity, and a chance to realize her full potential as a telepath.
With the ECLIPSIS series, Ann Herendeen writes, as always, from "the third perspective," taking readers back to the future as puts her unique twist on the sword-and-sorcery genre.
Quiet Riot Girl says: "To create a whole other world, that is both believable and fantastical takes a lot of talent. Eclipsis does just that. It transports the reader to a different time space continuum, but makes it seem real.... there is also a historical feel to the story.... if you enjoy genre-bending and other worldliness, but also like a good old-fashioned story, this is the book for you. "
The hidden story of Jane Austen's popular novel!
A finalist for the 2011 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction
Mark Simpson says: "I have had to readjust my dressing gown a few times when reading ‘Pride/Prejudice’, which is currently at my beside. You ... write about man-on-man action with much more vim and vigour than most male writers. In fact, you make MSM hot again, even to a jaded homo like me (who also has a big weakness for slutty bi men)."
Publishers Weekly says "this unlikely redo is erotic, witty and as often silly as refreshing."
Brigitte Weeks in the Washington Post says P/P "breaks open a new genre of Austen-based fiction" and that "Janeites will not be pleased, but Oscar Wilde might have welcomed such a transfiguration."
Laura Miller on "http://www.salon1999.com/books/laura_miller/2010/01/20/jane_austen/index.html">Salon says "Herendeen does a better job than most of approximating Austen's style without aping it."
Pink Magazine calls P/P "a haughtily naughty same-sex twist" on Austen's story, "told in comparable English ... and leading up to a crux of of 19th century bisexuality that teases and tantalizes." (Page forward in the PDF to the "PinkPicks Entertainment" page).
Reviewer TJ Jarboe of Instinct Magazine gives P/P four out of five round red thingys and says "the intensely graphic sexual scenes described between Darcy and Bingley, Elizabeth and Charlotte and even Wickham, in several gay encounters, make for a rousing read!"
Roza of Night Owl Reviews gives P/P 4.75 out of 5 stars, a Reviewer Top Pick and says: "This is probably one of the best fan fics I've read in a long time. Everything that happened in the original but just happened off-screen (-page) happens here. If it was hinted at by Austen and glossed over for whatever reason, it's explicit here. And the best part is that it still sounds like Austen, still uses language like Austen."
EDGE Magazine editor-in-chief Steve Weinstein, in a serious, thoughtful review, says "Herendeen does a nice job of using sex to deconstruct Austen’s characters."
Lototy, on Coffee Time Romance calls P/P a "most scintillating read" and adds, "Darcy and Charles’s characters are brought to life, and their relationship bears all the earmarks of a great male love story. But then you add in the ladies, Elizabeth and Jane, and you have a tangled web of sweetness, seduction, and secrets that will keep you thoroughly spellbound. Their nineteenth century propriety is a veil to a whole host of lusty liaisons, ebullient emotions, and fierce intelligence sure to titillate anyone’s secret desires."
Valerie, on Love Romances and More gives P/P four hearts, saying, "Ms. Herendeen has written a compelling, sexual and realistic story that I enjoyed and I believe others will too," and that "she tells the story beautifully."
"I gobbled up this delicious book in one sexy/cerebral reading orgy. Now I need to go back and marvel at leisure, at its author’s wealth of insight and imagination"
"Ann Herendeen has turned Jane Austen's beloved classic novel on its head with this beautifully written 'what if' story. It is the erotic retelling of Jane’s very eighteenth century characters. The book is surprisingly creative and makes this version timely, realistic and clever fun. An entertaining read!"
"Audacious and masterful, Pride/Prejudice is an exploration both sympathetic and daring of the intimate lives of Jane Austen’s immortal characters. True to Austen’s spirit, Ann Herendeen has given us a compelling, and sexual, novel of manners. In scenes that illuminate the motives and intellects of our favorite characters, we witness their most private moments. Delectable"
A rollicking new twist on the historical romance, Phyllida portrays the situation of a man with a wife and a boyfriend as a love story, with a happily-ever-after ending for the three main characters.
"Herendeen's book brings a breath of fresh air and creativity to the romance genre and with her humor and ability to entertain, she is sure to woo fans"--Publisher's Weekly
"Sparkling with Regency wit and panache, Herendeen's debut novel ... is a brilliant exploration of love, sexuality, class, and gender, but above all, it is a wonderful love story. Highly recommended for those readers comfortable with alternative sexual and erotic literature"
"Impeccable research, fantastic characters, and even a bit of mystery made this one of the best novels so far for 2008. Be prepared to be shocked, to learn something about the Regency world, and to laugh out loud. Ms. Herendeen writes a dynamite tale. I very highly recommend this clever story and give it a Perfect 10"
"With caustic wit, some wildly original characters, and plenty of sex, Herendeen creates her own delightfully imaginative and boldly sensual take on the classic Regency marriage-of-convenience plot"
"Herendeen takes many plot devices of the traditional Regency romance and turns them, quite delightfully, on their ear.... The final chapter, which features a play on the marriage scene that typically completes a Regency romance, is the perfect ending for this genre-bending novel. While Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander can be enjoyed on many levels, readers ... who appreciate new interpretations of a classic genre will be delighted with the games the author has played in this novel"
"This witty and fast paced first novel does great credit to the author's training as an English major at Princeton and to her own very well developed talent. Lust, love, secrets, lavish settings and intrigue -- this one has the whole delicious menu for a great summer read"
"Ann Herendeen has written a Regency novel unlike any that has come before ... Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander comes bursting through a door in Regency romance that previously Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John books had only knocked upon politely ... Impossibly, wonderfully, the book has a happy ending. Read Herendeen to find out how, and then keep an eye on her"
"A delightful twist on the Regency romance genre ... a story that will keep you laughing and reading ... a fresh look at an established genre of story, giving it a new vibrancy and excitement ... crafted into a romantic homage to Jane Austen's oft-crossed lovers and comedic misunderstandings. I look forward to Ann Herendeen's next book"
"Subtitled 'a bisexual romance,' this well-written novel opens doors to a little-known side of Regency England. With style and wit Herendeen introduces readers to an unusual romance that works perfectly because she's created realistic characters whose motivations drive the story forward. We believe in them and cheer as they find their way to an unconventional love"
"Herendeen ...writes about romance and history with comedic timing and the kind of dialog that makes you feel you are in the room with the characters ... This book [is] a great love story, beautifully written, with a sense of life and a sense of comedy that is at once exhilarating and impassioned ... If you're not sure if you're reading a Regency romance, a bisexual romance, a comedy or a novel ... Call it all of that or none of it: It's a great read!"