Sense and Succubus (Souls and Shadows Book 2)


Elinor Dashwood and her dryad sisters lose their home when their good-for-nothing satyr father gambles away everything at the casino and leaves them at the mercy of their half-brother and his calculating goblin wife. Author Adrienne Blake charmingly pays homage to Jane Austen’s classic, changing none of the principle names, but injecting loads of mischief by transplanting the Sense and Sensibility cast into a twenty-first century inhabited by all forms of magical creatures. Elinor and Marianne find love and tribulation with their own Edward Ferrars, John Willoughby, and Chris Brandon. All the while, unbeknownst to them, a sinister demon waits to collect on the last of their father’s failed gambles.

Inauspicious prologue aside, this reboot really has a lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek air to it. Characters are matched with magical personalities that emphasize their roles. The Dashwood sisters are down to earth, authentic, and organic, as befits their dryad heritage. The more fiscally minded members of the Ferrars family are true to their goblin ancestry. The satyrs are ridiculous. And, the romantic rivals from the original are now portrayed by a pair of seductive, but notoriously unreliable, incubus and succubus. This modern and paranormal retelling deserves full credit for cleverness and smooth prose. However, Austen’s original satirical commentary on early nineteenth century class conduct and propriety makes less sense in a contemporary American setting. The forewarned reader should forgive the dated plot and overlook a lack of suspense due to its faithfulness to the original. This delightful opportunity to learn and re-live Austen is as much fun as a wood nymph on Arbor Day!

Joan Lai