Blog Tour: Rational Creatures Edited by Christina Boyd: A Book Review

Audiobook Tour: Rational Creatures by Various Authors

Editor: Christina Boyd

Narrator: Victoria Riley

Length: 18 hours and 3 minutes

Series: The Quill Collective, Book 3

Publisher: The Quill Ink, LLC

Released: Jul. 18, 2019

Genre: Anthologies

 “But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” (Persuasion, Jane Austen)

 Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels are timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary - because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.

 In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, 16 celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s heroines, brave adventuresses, shy maidens, talkative spinsters, and naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.

Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; - that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” (Mary Wollstonecraft)

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams
Source: I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Christina Boyd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.   

    Jane Austen remains one of the world’s most beloved authors. To this day, many of her fans adore her heroines and discuss whether Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse is their favorite. Fans also like to pick apart Fanny’s timid nature and often wonder why Mary Crawford was not the heroine in Mansfield Park. In this anthology, the authors explore Jane Austen’s female characters and their traits. By giving a thorough examination of a particular female character, the reader will notice how the short stories mirror the feminist ideas discussed in Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

     Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of all time. My favorite heroines are Emma Woodhouse, Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, and Anna Elliot. Thus, reading these short stories that focus on these characters were a real delight to me. However, there were a few pleasant surprises throughout this audiobook. The stories also focused on secondary characters like Mary Crawford, Harriet Smith, and Hetty Bates. I absolutely loved the short story on Charlotte Lucas, which is a short Pride and Prejudice sequel. I also liked the story of how Lady Susan became wicked because she was a loathsome character. Thus, each of these stories gave me an extra insight into the characters.

    While each of the stories were enjoyable, they were all brought to life by a fantastic narrator. The narrator had a British accent that made the performance very believable. Each character she narrated remained true to their original characteristics. Ms. Riley also portrayed the characters with a hint of vulnerability, so that it seemed as if each character was your best friend. Thus, I was blown away by Ms. Riley’s narration and she made the characters shine as bright as the PBS’s adaptations!

    Overall, these stories are about marriage, first love, inner strength and heroism. The stories were very engaging, witty, and thoughtful. I like how they were very reminiscent of Jane Austen’s writing. I also like how the stories did an excellent job in exploring women’s roles in the Regency era. While there were at least two stories that did not enhance Jane Austen’s original novels, this is still a great listen for Austenites! Rational Creatures is perfect for fans of Austenland, Dancing with Mr. Darcy, and Lost in Austen.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Buy on Audible  


    CHRISTINA BOYD wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

Narrator Bio

    Victoria Riley is a British voiceover artist and audiobook narrator. Originally trained as a theatre actor, she gradually moved into voice work and is now happiest behind the mic. She loves classic literature and travelling the world. If she isn't recording, she's probably lying in a hammock in some far-flung place, reading book after book after book.

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  1. “...short stories mirror the feminist ideas discussed in Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman...I was blown away by Ms. Riley’s narration [in audiobook] and she made the characters shine as bright as the PBS’s adaptations!”
    Well, I was blown away by this outstanding review. So glad you enjoyed the collection overall. Thank you for taking time to listen and for crafting such a thoughtful review.

  2. What a thoughtful review! Thank you for hosting Rational Creatures, Laura Lee!


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