The Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event: Kelsey Bryant Interview (& Book Review!)

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Today I am honored to be interviewing Kelsey Bryant and reviewing her beautiful book, Suit and Suitability, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

KelseyBryantVJAJoin me in welcoming author Kelsey Bryant to Once Upon an Ordinary!

Kelsey, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a daughter of God who lives in Texas and works at several jobs that I love, including writing, copy editing, and teaching martial arts. I’ve written three novels, but I delight in many things—Bible study and Hebrew, keeping fit and eating healthy, reading British authors and seeing new places, and spending time with family and friends, to name a few. I’m a homeschool graduate and love being a daughter, sister, and aunt.

What first made you decide you wanted to be an author?

My parents passed their love of books to me. I can’t remember never creating stories, so I suppose being a writer and author was always something I wanted. My grandfather was an editor and compiler of Christian books and devotionals, so that went a long way in inspiring me. After high school, I decided to seriously pursue becoming an author because that was the only thing I felt God calling me to do at that point. After several years, I finally completed a novel (Family Reunion, the first book of the Six Cousins series) and was ready to publish.

I love the concept of retelling old favorites. May we have an introduction to Suit and Suitability and a little backstory on what made you choose this book?

Suit and Suitability casts Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, one of my favorite novels, into Great Depression America. Here’s the synopsis:


Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

The heroine of Sense and Sensibility is Elinor Dashwood, my favorite book character ever. Her courage, capability, unselfishness, and strong moral character really inspire me. I love the whole novel, but Elinor is the main ingredient that drew me to write a retelling of it.

What is your favorite aspect of the ordinary life God has blessed you with?

If I had to pick one, it would be the opportunity I have to walk daily with my Lord, Savior, and Teacher and receive His guidance. I can’t imagine living without Him as my best friend and bedrock.

Any plans for further projects?

I’m working on a third novel in my Six Cousins series as well as trying my hand at a fairy-tale retelling for children. Suit and Suitability showed me how much I love writing historical fiction, so I hope there will be more of that in the future.

Thank you so much for coming!

Thank YOU so much for having me!

SuitSuitabilityVJAtourCanton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

I really loved this book. The characters were what made it most enjoyable for me. 😉 I really appreciated how quiet and sensible but also how loving Ellen was portrayed. No cliches here, just a regular girl who loved her family. The sister dynamic between her and Marion was great, though realistically painful at some points. Even though their relatives were overly helpful sometimes, their time at Cardinal Bush sounded delightful, and Sport was a sweet companion for Greta.

Everett was such a great guy. There were times that from his description he sounded a wee bit effeminate, maybe? But he wasn’t in the least. He was just a shy, exceedingly honorable guy that I ended up, ahem, loving to pieces. 😉 And guys, his bravery? SPOILER ALERT! Snooping at the office to help get the Dashiells’ dad acquitted?!! END OF SPOILER! ❤ Calvin Bradley was pretty awesome too. I really appreciated how he tried his hardest to let Ellen keep her job. What a great example of a compassionate, Christian employer during the Great Depression!

The romances (2 out of 3) were just entirely too sweet. Three cheers for friendship-based romances! The spiritual lessons weren’t “in-your-face”, but I was reminded again to give everything to God and let Him define my dreams. (Which is eerily applicable to my life right now.) (And can I just say that the whole ladder metaphor was sooo beautiful?!!)

There were a few slow spots in the book (particularly Leona, the spoiled brat, and a lot of description of New York) that I was tempted to skip over, but other than that the book was entirely fantastic! Just a note to parents of younger children, there are a couple intense scenes including a non-descriptive SPOILER ALERT! car accident END OF SPOILER! and some slang words that had a more appropriate meaning in the ‘20s. 😉

Best quote: Ellen half-smiled. “I hope so. I’d like to see your dreams coincide with God’s plan.”

Altogether, I enjoyed this book very much and can’t wait to see what this author writes next! 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Available on Amazon in ebook and paperback! 

 

Hop on the rest of the blog tour for interviews, reviews, giveaways, and so much more! 😀

November 5

Review of Emmeline – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Bellevere House – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – A Real Writer’s Life

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – Resting Life

Series Spotlight – Kelsey’s Notebook

November 6

Interview with Sarah Holman – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Emmeline – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Mini-Reviews and interview with Sarah Scheele – Deborah O’Carroll

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Livy Lynn Blog

Review Suit and Suitability – Resting Life

November 7

Interview with Kelsey Bryant – J. Grace Pennington

Review of Perception – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review and Interview of Perception – Purely by Faith Reviews

Review of Second Impressions – The Page Dreamer

Series Spotlight – Finding the True Fairytale

November 8

Interview and Review Suit and Suitability – Once Upon the Ordinary

Review of Suit and Suitability – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – A Brighter Destiny

November 9

Series Spotlight – God’s Peculiar Treasure

Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability – Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father

Interview with Rebekah Jones – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews

November 10

Review of Suit and Suitability – With a Joyful Noise

Series Spotlight – Liv K. Fisher

Review of Second Impressions- Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Review of Perception – She Hearts Fiction

Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh

November 11

Series Spotlight – Reveries Reviews

Review of Suit and Suitability – Faith Blum

Interview with Sarah Holman – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Interview with Hannah Scheele – Peculiar on Purpose

Review of Bellevere House – Seasons of Humility

 

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