‘Dangerous Alliance’ enthralls readers yet falls short of plausible

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‘Dangerous Alliance’ enthralls readers yet falls short of plausible

Jennieke Cohen's new YA book

Jennieke Cohen's new YA book "Dangerous Alliance" has many enjoyable elements, but the unlikely personality and mannerisms of the main character ultimately let it down.

Andrea Butler

Jennieke Cohen's new YA book "Dangerous Alliance" has many enjoyable elements, but the unlikely personality and mannerisms of the main character ultimately let it down.

Andrea Butler

Andrea Butler

Jennieke Cohen's new YA book "Dangerous Alliance" has many enjoyable elements, but the unlikely personality and mannerisms of the main character ultimately let it down.

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A young girl in a historical setting who’s not like the girls around her. A love interest that she’ll turn away in favor of a childhood friend. And a constant reference to Jane Austen novels?

Lady Victoria Aston has the characteristics of female YA protagonists, yet with her love of Jane Austen’s novels and characters, she stands out from the literary crowd.

In Jennieke Cohen’s new book, “Dangerous Alliance,” Victoria, commonly referred to as Vicky, is the carefree second daughter of a decently prosperous aristocratic family. She lives as she likes, lamenting only the lost connection between her and her childhood friend until her sister suddenly shows up at their manor. Overnight, Vicky is forced to grow up and find a marriage partner to save her family’s estate from falling into her sister’s abusive husband’s hands, with only the wit and experience of author Jane Austen’s characters to guide her.

Through all of this, Vicky must also solve the mysterious pattern of malevolent people attacking her and her family before she is killed or worse. Along the way, she will discover what a relationship truly means for her, redefining what she wants in a marriage, and what she ultimately finds valuable to her.

First of all, the main character’s constant references to Jane Austen are very entertaining and also convey a lot of underlying aspects of her personality that otherwise would be very hidden. After all, any character who fancies themselves as a well-developed and acceptable fiction person has a long way to go, and it was entertaining to watch the main character realize that.

On that note, the author’s use of Austen for Vicky sometimes missed the mark of the main point of Austen’s literature. However, I feel we can’t hold this teenage character accountable for her interpretation of Austen’s novels in the past then, so I feel like the inaccuracies were more befitting of the time and personality than a blatant oversight.

The main problems I found with the novel were Vicky’s actions and decisions from cover to cover. For an educated young woman in that period, her actions seem much too spitfire and uncouth than I would expect for a book set in this period. That aspect does serve as a crux for characterization, so I understand why Vicky is portrayed like that, but it did take the shine off the immaculately crafted world she lives in.

One of the coolest aspects of the book was the careful attention paid to the laws and culture surrounding divorce at the time and how inherently unfair it was to women. I’ve read and learned a lot about this time period, and to be able to learn another factoid by reading this book is an excellent addition to the story.

Lastly, since the romance was affected by Vicky’s abnormal attitude, I felt it was a romance suitable for a YA novel, but less in the time period. It is adequate, but if you want a romance that tugs on your heartstrings, you’re not going to find it easily here.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading “Dangerous Alliance” despite the shortcomings in plausibility, and I recommend it especially if you are a fan of Jane Austen and YA novels in general.