Friday, October 23, 2009

Alton House by velvetglo

Alton House





Thoroughly modern Bella Swan wakes up in 1815 and discovers polite society isn’t always as it appears. Do reformed rakes make the best husbands? This AH bawdy romp through Regency England is rated M for stylized metaphoric 19th C. lemons.


When I was asked to review Alton House by Velvetglo, I was pleasantly surprised. I had just found this story a couple days prior and had fallen in love with it. I love to read historical fiction, so I was glad that I had found this story with the Twilight characters. This story appeals to my tastes in historical writing. The transition from the present to the past was good. I mean, an accident wasn’t a good thing, but it works well for this story. I love how she uses the slang of the times and then gives the definitions at the bottom in an author’s note. I know it has helped me through the chapters.

I like how she introduced the characters as they show up, and Jane is this story is priceless. The little minx is going to get herself into some trouble. I like how she added Jane and gave her more personality than I have read in previous fanfics. And when Emmett, Jasper, and Edward show up all I can think about is their sexy English accents. The way Velvetglo describes each of them, I can picture them so well, and they are hot.

She captures the debauchery of men in the 1800s with the bordellos, the gambling, and the drinking. She also captures the men’s discreetness of their actions when in a woman’s presence as well as the politeness of the gentlemen of that era. When I read her chapters, I feel like I’m in the room with the rest of the characters.

The interaction between Rosalie and Emmett is exactly what I would expect from them. Rosalie is harsh yet polite, and Emmett is as aloof as I expect him to be. The chemistry between Edward and Bella is undeniable even from the beginning. And of course, Alice and Jasper are attracted to each other from the get-go. I wouldn’t expect anything less. However, the flirting of the era is evident when Emmett and Bella banter back and forth, and I love it. Velvetglo has all the elements of a good historical fanfiction and isn’t afraid to use them to her discretion. This is one story that I search my email inbox for everyday, and I am so glad that I found it in my searching for fanfics.

Did you all know I'm a wussperv? I know, shocking, right? It's definitely a well kept secret in the fandom. *snort* That being said, I tried with all my might to read Alton House, but eventually had to throw my wussperv card down and bow out. My poor heart couldn't take the random hook-ups (whether they were accurate to the time period or not). So while I can't give you a full review, I can tell all the other wusspervs to proceed with caution. ;) And I'm sure the rest of the lovely ladies of the Pack will have more interesting and helpful things to say that actually pertain to the story.

~Biggest wussperv on the planet

Righto! :) Now I am a tough cookie/nut/taskmaster/bitch/right royal pain in the arse - take your pick! - when it comes to fics that have a British setting... I have to be terribly honest and admit to reading them - just looking and waiting for the trip up, knowing it will happen and normally pretty damn pronto! But! I actually forgot to do so with this fiction. I got engrossed with the upstairs/downstairs//forsythe sage esque shenanigans that frequent this bawdy and fast paced lusty and busty tale.

I like the fact that Bella is from another time... That she carries with her her cynical 21st century self whilst trying to embrace and make the most of her new lot in life.. I enjoy CadLordWard, although he is primarily a twist on DoucheWard its still nice to read a twist on the DoucheWard characterisation. Normally I freak out at a ____Ward who sleeps with many - but the charm of CadLordWard manages to halt that reaction when I read Alton House. I enjoy his frivolity and the way he see's women purely for sport and any sort of emotional attachment to women as Folly.

Another aspect of Alton House I enjoyed was the fact that she did not limit her cast of characters to the core 6 or even 8 we can expect in most stories. There is a role for many of the marginalised characters from the twilight realm. In particular Jane gets an especially important role as one of Bella's new cousins, who is much more than she seems. Additionally much of the characterisations are not standard cannon fodder. Jasper, for example, has a different role here than in most AH tales.

As an avid lingerie collector, I got a lascivious thrill from CadLordWard's penchant for quickly collecting the ribbons which stood for garters/suspenders back in the regency day. I cannot wait to see the state of his collection at the end, and how (if) he develops past his cad persona... as he has certainly met his match in modern-mind-but-Regency-body-Bella. (what a nice twist on canon Edward - older mind than his body or era suggest....) She is quite unlike anyone he has encountered or experienced before.....

4 out of 5 ribbony knickers ooops no knickers so ribbons from the stockings instead..

I’m a history person. I dig it, it’s my thing. I’m not a huge fan of historical or period stories though. As sometimes writer’s can bog or slow down the story with the minutia of the time period. This is not the case with Alton House. Velvetglo includes details and touches from the time period, Regency England in this case, but doesn’t cram it down our throats. It’s blended naturally into the story to where you are almost not aware that you are learning something about the time period.

Velvetglo gives explanations in author notes of things or terms we might not be familiar with but doesn’t go into great detail within the story. I personally find the AN’s helpful and informative and am happy she chose to go this route.

Also we are seeing the world of Regency England through the eyes of 21st century Bella, she adapts almost seamlessly to the time period through a very clever plot device. The motivations of the characters and their activities are very nicely done. Lady Hale (Esme) for example wanting to make good marriages for her daughters to advance their stations and offer comfort doesn’t come off as pushy or overbearing, simply what a lady of the time would be naturally doing.

I have to give bonus points to velvetglo for use of vernacular and the patterns of speech the characters use. Again it’s easy to follow and adds to the feeling of being immersed in the time period without dragging or slowing the story. Also the hidden innuendo’s make me giggle and smile.

Now about the story.

Edward is Cad, plain and simple. Given the time period and his social status it’s to be expected of him. He’s dashing, charming and makes a sport out of chasing and bedding women. There are a few bets between the 3 younger gentlemen, all of which Edward wins. There is an obvious attraction between Edward and Bella, but it is unclear at this point if he is pursuing her because of the thrill of the chase or because of some deeper reason. Their difference in social classes makes it almost impossible for any overtures of marriage to be made, even if they were interested in that, which they aren’t.

I’m going to be completely honest; Jane in this story disturbs me. I know for the time period her behavior is scandalous and I think that is the point. It does add an edge to the story and I can understand her motivations, but I still find it slightly off putting. Her characterization does follow that of canon Jane and every story needs a bad guy. Not that Jane is bad, merely manipulative and innocently naïve.

The other secondary characters don’t fall flat are well developed, again bonus points to velvetglo for that. Jasper is a military man wounded in the war against Napoleon. We know that until recently that he was a virgin and worries about his future now that the war is over and he is wounded. Emmett is jovial and light, but not an idiot. He is a gentleman of leisure with vast holdings and wealth. Though not as big of a cad as Edward he does enjoy the company of ladies. Alice and Rosalie are ladies of society and everything they would have been during that time period. They are not boring or 2 dimensional. Their personalities come though even though they are bound by societal rules to behave and act a certain way.

I particularly like the characterization of James as a vicar, it’s a nice twist. There is something odd about him and much has yet to be revealed. I can’t wait to see more of his character come into play as the Lady Hale (Esme) tries to push Bella and him together.

I have to admit that this is my favorite characterization of a human Aro that I’ve ever read. He is not malicious, but rather enjoys sitting back and watching how things will play out. It’s very similar to his canon characterization. He is kind and takes an interest in Bella, though the purpose of his interest is not yet clear. Be it curiosity or some kind of romantic overture.

Now I must admit I giggle a little bit at the smut and the verbiage used. It’s correct and proper for the time period and adds to the atmosphere, but is at times ridiculous to my 21st century self. Every sexual encounter is intense and I do think that is in part because of the verbiage used. There isn’t a lot of actual smut yet, most of it coming from Jane at this point. There is a lot of shy flirting, coy looks and laced innuendos. UST abounds and I love it.

One last thing, I highly enjoyed the nighttime conversation where Bella informed Alice and Rosalie on the opposite sex and their own sex for that matter. Bella’s 21st century experience served her well as she taught Alice and Rosalie the pleasures to be found in sex. They were completely clueless and were unaware they even had feeling parts.

Velvetglo weaves the multiple storyline together while immersing us of the time period very well. I can’t wait to see where this one will go next.

4 out of 5 ribbon garters from me.

I want to preface my review by saying that historical/period pieces aren't my favorite genre.

The first chapter of Alton House, set in present day, gives us a glimpse into Bella's life. She's being hit on by Mike #1 with a green shirt, and was previously engaged to Mike #2. She's obviously been grieving her way through Mike #2, references to her sulking at home and then turning her depression into a need to drink and screw as often as possible. After drinking too much while out with Jessica, she decides to go someplace to fuck Mike #1, but is impatient and needless to say, Mike cannot fuck and drive. The chapter ends with a head-on collision.

Chapter two brings us to 1815 Bella, the introduction of Emmett, Rose, Alice, and Jane. I thought it was an interesting twist that even though she's somehow transported into 1815, Bella has all of the required memories and faculties in order to handle being in that time – she knows the layout of the house, she recognizes her relatives, etc.

Chapter three is a bit of a thorn in my side. Fifteen year-old Jane coerces nineteen year-old Tom to fuck her. I know, I just used really harsh words, but that's what it is. She essentially gives him the choice of fucking her, or, as she states it,

“If you refuse to do it, then I will get Walter to do it,” she said. Walter was the head groom, forty years old with yellow teeth, what was left, chronic halitosis, lank graying hair, and an expanding paunch that got larger with each progressive year.

Tom still refuses, and Jane begins to flirt with Walter, appearing intent on carrying out her words. He relents, and frankly, it's just... I don't know. I'm unclear as to the purpose of this chapter, aside from shock value. I'm hoping that the author will weave this particular line of the plot around to something meaningful. It isn't enough to me to state that Jane is a “minx,” and leave that as the sole explanation/justification for a graphic sex depiction with such a young character, even if you contend it's appropriate for the time.

To the author's credit, she does give full disclosure at the beginning of this chapter, and encourages you not to read on if underage sex is an issue for you.

Chapter four introduces us to Jasper, the war-injured virgin Emmett is attempting to de-virginize with local whores, and Edward, who is more than happy to patronize the local whores, by his own admission. Edward and Emmett, discussing the local beauty, make a friendly bet after Emmett claims his cousins just may be the most beautiful women in all of London.

Chapter five is a really delightful zoomed-in look at Edward and Bella as they go on a walk. Their banter and interaction made me giggle and smile often. I loved that Bella has carried her bitterness in love back in time with her, and that this is an interesting source of bonding between the two of them.

Chapter six is an interesting mix of Rosalie/Emmett and Jasper/Alice. Each couple exchanges banter, Alice and Jasper retiring to the summer house so Jasper can rest. In comes Jane again, and there's a confusing mix of Jasper thoughts. He both notes how she lacks curves and seems very childlike, but then goes on to describe her as very beautiful.

True confession, chapter nine has one of my most hated sentiments ever, uttered from Cullen, who mere paragraphs before had me panting at his charm and sexiness: “Sometimes, no means yes.” Actually, Mr. Cullen, no always means no.

The discussion of genitals, sex, arousal, and procreation was amusing and giggle-worthy.

The jury is out on Edward; what's he doing in his spare time? Is he really as horrible as we think he is right now? And, what's the deal with Jane and Tom? And Emmett, will he make his move on Rose now that they've kissed? Finally, what of poor Whitlock and what seems to be his consuming guilt over his moment with Jane? When will these boys realize that life isn't made up of bets and boasting?

All of these questions are begging to be answered, and I'm curious to see how each situation will go.

I have a weakness for historical romances, if they're well written. Writing with the time period in mind is a bitch, and a task that I could never master. EVER. So I give props to those who do and do it well. Interesting bit about it is that Bella is from the 21st century. That facet alone makes it worth reading, especially that she is still a modern girl that has been 'sent' back in time.

I too like Bri am a wussperv. I have an easier time with the non-canon implications with AH and I give extra leeway to this as it is historical (with the caveat that I hope to Jesus that it ends up E/B somehow or I'll cry) That doesn't mean I'm not reading it through my fingers. Yes, a wussperv is that bad. ;) Edward is a cad, a hot cad, but a cad nonetheless. His proclivities towards random sex with the ladies is actually fine with me (gasp I know) because he embraces his seedy lothario ways and is wholly unapologetic for it.

The characters is this at times make me cringe, but then laugh and then cock my head to the side like that damned dog but all in all I genuinely really enjoy the story. Great imagery, wonderful characterizations and an original plot line to boot.

I too will agree with Kathy though about the Jane chapter. I didn't care for it, maybe because I thought it sort of came out of nowhere? Regardless, the author explains how it's fitting for the time and the guys are trying to lose their cherries too so it basically comes down to an age issue. At 15 I was no angel but I can't relate to Jane here.

All in all, this is a historical so unfortunately it's deemed 'boring' or 'sluggish' by some but honestly. Give it a chance I don't think anyone will be disappointed. Give the author credit, it's not easy to write historicals. There is research and a lot of time dedicated to it and that alone is worth taking it for a spin. It's extremely well written, interesting and Edward is yummy in it.


I've been hiding out incognito on various Twifandom sites for months, only to be asked for my bio by the lovely folks here at the PPSS. I'm one of those authors who hasn't told a soul in real life about my dirty little secret, so it's a bit difficult for me to be completely forthcoming. Well, my husband knows (and enjoys the benefits), but other than a few online friends, that's it. What I am not, however, is one of those fanfic authors who has been toiling away for years on my great American novel, scribbling away in my worn leather-bound journal at poetry slams or in coffee shops. Other than a few pieces assigned in school, I have never written creatively before, but I am now hopelessly and helplessly addicted to it. Not to the reviews (although they are wonderful and warm my heart), or to the attention (it sure is flattering to be affirmed for one's efforts), but to the writing process - capturing on the computer screen the jumbled thoughts and disjointed pictures in one's head, and wrangling words and sequencing syntax into elegant (one hopes) prose. The ability to create a new universe with nothing but a loose collection of characters from four YA books is as close to giving birth as it gets, without the midnight feedings and dirty diapers. To borrow from Martha, it's a good thing.

So for my biography: Married working mom to two. Sign: Scorpio (western) and dog (eastern). Card carrying member of the Professional Organization of English Majors. Owner of 71 pairs of shoes, three alarm clocks on my nightstand, and one g-spot vibrator that has changed my life.


bouncy72 said...

Definatly sounds interesting. Will have to go & check it out :)
Don't know when you girls find the time to read all these stories....hmm maybe you've got vampire like qualities & don't sleep...

Emmy said...

Thanks for your note bouncy72! We thankfully have each other to tell us the good stuff! We share EVERYTHING here at the shack! ;)
Let us know how you enjoy this or any of our reccs! & remember to leave the lovely authors reviews!! :)XX

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