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Series Review – Unconventional

Posted in Book Blogger

This is my last Sydney Salier review post, featuring the Unconventional series. Be aware, both reviews contain spoilers. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you check out my other two review posts for Sydney Salier’s one-off books and The Denton Connection series.

An Unconventional Education

Series: Unconventional, Book 1
Genres: Romance, Humor, Regency, Pride & Prejudice Variation
Release Date: August 23, 2020
Pages: 218
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★

Review

** SPOILER ALERT **

Unconventional Education (UE) was fantastic! There is so much to like, it’s hard to know where to begin. If you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — the book, not the horrid movie — you’ll likely enjoy this book as well.

To start, I love the author’s original characters, the Mortimers. Mrs. Mortimer, especially, is fantastic.

While I don’t typically love stories where Mrs. Bennet is an atrocious person, I don’t mind that aspect in UE since she’s a minor character. And, in this case, it created the opportunity for Elizabeth, Mary, and Kitty to have a much better upbringing.

While even the more “standard” aspects of their education were an improvement over what the girls received in the original Pride and Prejudice, I especially liked the more “masculine” subjects they were able to experience, like fencing and shooting. The self-defense lessons were brilliant, especially given that the girls put them to good use. Bravo to Jane for putting her would-be assailant in his place. UE makes me wish my education had included those physical and defensive lessons.

I took great joy in the handling of many of the characters. Lydia is still self-confident and assertive, but in a way that is socially acceptable. Mr. Collins, with some excellent role models, is a much better person in general. Caroline is much as she is in Pride and Prejudice. Her failed attempt to compromise Mr. Darcy and subsequent self-banishment to the new world make sense and are in character.

In a totally separate departure from Pride and Prejudice, Colonel Forster is downright evil in UE. However, I don’t think that was necessary. The story could have worked just as well with a gentlemanly Colonel Forster. The terrible deed he committed in UE — which was unnecessary to the story — could have been carried out by Wickham and his gang, or not at all.

And, speaking of Wickham, his end was handled well, and the repercussions for the girls was believable. It’s sad that the situation resulted in the termination of Bingley’s pursuit of Jne. However, I admit I enjoy seeing Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam paired with her. And Darcy’s care for Elizabeth during the ordeal was fabulous.

And finally, Mrs. Bennet’s son. While his conception was horrible — and likely deserved a trigger warning — his existence felt like a plot device and nothing more. Because he existed, Lydia had a reason to move past her expectation of returning to her mother and Mr. Collins Sr. ended up dead. But then we didn’t really see much of the son in the story. Hopefully we’ll get more in the sequel.

NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on June 4, 2022 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.


Unconventional Ladies

Series: Unconventional, Book 2
Genres: Romance, Humor, Regency, Pride & Prejudice Variation
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Pages: 230
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

** SPOILER ALERT **

First off, Unconventional Ladies (UL) was a fantastic sequel, and I’m hopeful there will be a third.

I adore Lydia in UL. Her personality — self-confident, assertive, engaging, etc. — though, is almost too perfect. I’ve never known a teenager to be that put together. She reads as a woman in her 20s or even 30s.

But, onto the other characters. Mary’s courtship was a delight, and her beau was a fun character. Anne’s improvement — with Mr. Collins’ help — and handling of her mother was a hilarious addition. It’s always fun to see an overbearing Lady Catherine put in her place. I wish we’d gotten to “see” her reaction to Anne and Mr. Collins marrying, though.

The Bingley – Charlotte Lucas match was a surprise, and the first time I’d seen that pairing. The logic behind it, though, makes sense.

Even more surprising was the match between Patrick and Mrs. Mortimer. While it was treated as no big deal in the story, I imagine a far greater fuss would have been made over someone marrying their grandchild — nevermind a lack of blood relation and a lesser age difference than the relationship would imply.

There are two things I took major issue with:

  1. Caroline Bingley’s fate. Regardless of the type of person she was, she didn’t deserve to be beaten within an inch of her life. And I find it difficult to believe it would actually happen. On top of that, it was treated as something minor, rather than a nearly deadly and life-altering event. Either the severity of the beating and injuries were exaggerator, or Caroline recovered far too quickly, both mentally and physically.
  2. Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Bennet it mentioned a handful of times for seemingly no reason. UL could have existed just fine without any mention of her at all. We already know from the first book that she isn’t a good person. We didn’t need occasional mentions of her acting rotten or like a fool to remind us of that fact.

I’m hoping for a third book with the story of Mrs. Mortimer’s school as well as more of Joshua Bennet. While we got more of him in UL than in the first book, it still wasn’t much, and I’d like to see how his life changes with more Mortimer influence.

While I won’t hold my breath for a third, I will keep my fingers crossed.

NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on June 4, 2022 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.


About the Author

I have always been a bookworm.

In 2018 I discovered Fan Fiction and stumbled onto Pride & Prejudice. I loved many of the stories, but often wished the characters would behave differently. I kept thinking about Elizabeth’s reaction at the assembly, wondering how I would like her to respond. I jotted down bits of conversations and ‘Don’t flatter yourself’ was born. Encouraged by the other readers I decided to publish my story. It turned out that other people liked it too.

I had so much fun writing Don’t flatter yourself, and receiving the positive responses, that I continued writing other stories.

My stories will generally be low angst and have a happy ending, although not always the one people might expect. I don’t pretend to write great literature, just the kind of fun stories that I would like to read.

I recently re-edited my early stories and rereleased them with new covers.. I hope you will find them improved.

I live in Australia, used to work in IT, and love full contact martial arts and bad puns.

I hope you enjoy my stories.

Author links: Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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