“The Avenger” by Don Jacobson – Blog Tour: author interview, excerpt + giveaway

Happy New Year 2019!

What a great way of starting the year I have: introducing The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament by Don Jacobson!

You may be asking yourself, why is it a great way of starting the year? Apart from the obvious part of this being a book from an author that I really enjoy… it is also one of my New Year’s resolutions to read The Bennet Wardrobe series. I have read two of them so far and I want to read them all (even the ones I have already read). Don Jacobson has created an amazing world where Pride and Prejudice‘s characters originally created by Jane Austen have a new level of adventures. Just for you to have an idea, you could read my review of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque.

Today Don is sharing a lot of information about the wardrobe and how it works. Moreover, he is giving us a bonus, we have a big part of Chapter 23 waiting for us to enjoy (just keep reading after the giveaway).

Let me (re)introduce you to the author, Don Jacobson:

Don Jacobson Head Shot
Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. He has previously published five books, all non-fiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series. Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and“The Maid and The Footman”.
Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.
He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound. Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear. Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged Scotch whiskey.
His other passion is cycling. Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes, there are hills). He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days). Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

You can follow and contact Don through different ways:

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)

Author Website (with blog)

Twitter (@AustenesqueAuth)

Blurb

Bennet looked at his wife’s swollen lips, softly bruised from several deeply loving kisses, and her flushed complexion, as alluring when gracing the countenance of a woman of four-and-forty as that of a girl of nine-and-ten. He was one of the lucky few to have fallen in love with the same woman at both ages.

Thomas Bennet, Master of Longbourn, had always counted himself amongst the few educated gentlemen of his acquaintance. But, he had to travel over 120 years into the future to discover how little he knew about the woman sharing his life.

Once again, the amazing Bennet Wardrobe proved to be the schoolmaster. Tom Bennet’s lesson? Mrs. Bennet had been formed especially for him. Yet, t’would be the good lady herself who taught him the power of the Fifth and Sixth Loves: Redemption and Forgiveness.

Fanny Bennet also would uncover deep wells of courage and inspiration as she stood by her man’s side in the bleak years after World War II. Together they would lead their descendants in pursuit of the beast who had wronged every member of the Five Families.
The Bennet Wardrobeseries stands alone
The Avenger takes us on a new journey through The Bennet Wardrobe– an alternate universe rising from Don Jacobson’s vivid imagination and based upon the immortal Pride and Prejudice. The Avenger is another important step leading to the culmination of this enchanting trip: one that has drawn us into its reality to travel side-by-side with richly sketched characters. Each book has left us wanting more.
The Bennet Wardrobe series stands alone as a unique result of originality focused on beloved characters as they move—and grow—through surprising plotlines.
Lory Lilian, author of Rainy Days
Interview: Of things Wardrobe and Avenger

Thank you very much, Don for visiting us today. Readers, I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I have. I have learnt a lot about the Wardrobe and its functioning and I find very interesting the idea of solipcism.
Why the Wardrobe as a device to create a story arc in the Pride & Prejudice Universe?
Many #Austenesque writers have sought to carry on the ODC story by offering the younger sisters their own storylines. Epilogues usually place Mr. Bennet in the bowels of the Pemberley Library. Mrs. Bennet is rarely mentioned—and is often suddenly dispatched with a bout of apoplexy.
I felt that there needed to be a different possibility… that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back. Could they have done that by staying on the Regency timeline? Perhaps.
However, something tickled my brain—perhaps it was my adolescent fascination with science fiction mixing with my much more adult appreciation of the Canon—that placed the Wardrobe up in front of me. Now my protagonists could be immersed in different timeframes beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realize their potentials.
I adhere to the idea—solipcism—posited by the great speculative fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein: that through the act of writing fiction, the reality in which that fiction exists is created. Thus, the writings of Jane Austen created a universe in which Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet…or Thomas and Fanny Bennet…are as real as you and I. In addition, I have used my author’s prerogative to make them aware of their context, often through the device of tasking historical characters to play a part in advancing the plot or providing needed exposition.
What is the Wardrobe and how does it work?
The Bennet Wardrobe was created by the master cabinetmaker Grinling Gibbons, one of those historical personages previously mentioned, in the early 1690s for the first Bennet to own Longbourn Estate in Meryton, Mr. Christopher Bennet. This Bennet had earned his fortune with the Honorable East India Company (HEIC).
Gibbons, a friend of Isaac Newton’s and a follow student of the universe, had divined a way to create a mystical transport device/system (similar to C.S. Lewis’ Wardrobe, J.K. Rowling’s Flue Network or Dr. Who’s TARDIS). He took those ideas and incorporated them into the Bennet Wardrobe. The Wardrobe was capable of transporting the user—who must be a Bennet bloodline descendent—to a time in the future where the Wardrobe itself is present. Then the user can return to the exact same moment in the present.
Can the Bennet user go to any time and place in the future they wish?
No. The Wardrobe is driven by an intelligence/understanding that employs what the users need to learn to grow into the best versions of themselves…not what they want…as the determinant for the where/whenfor the solution of the request.
What controls the Wardrobe?
Gibbons discerned a series of “Rules of the Wardrobe” that appeared to be inviolable.
Chief amongst these, after the bloodline requirement, were that travel could only be accomplished to the future. No travel to the past prior to that instant was possible.
The second critical rule was that all trips needed to be round trips. Thus, while a user could travel to the future, the user’s next use of the Wardrobe would result in a return to the where/whenfrom which the user departed.
How does the Wardrobe play a role in the Sixth volume of the series?
In The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament, the Wardrobe is used twice.
Before I move on with this response, I must note that The Wardrobe is a plot device. The Bennet Wardrobe stories and novels are a chronicle of the Bennet Family of Meryton… and how they are afforded the opportunity to redeem themselves, to grow beyond the plot devices established by Miss Austen. Thus, you will not see the Bennets flitting around time and space. T’would be distracting.
However, the first time the Wardrobe is employed…three years after the double wedding…Thomas Bennet is responding to his wife’s frequently voiced desire to see Kitty. The fourth daughter, at least according to Mr. Bennet, had been dispatched to a seminary in Cornwall to make reparations for her role in the Lydia affair in December 1811.
Bennet discovers… and he would not learn this epigram until later as his youngest had yet to utter the words… that The Wardrobe has a particularly nasty sense of humor. He had desired to bring his wife (suitably drugged with laudanum) to a where/when—the future (see both Volumes of The Exile)—for a brief conference with their darling girl. Sadly, the Wardrobe decided to send Thomas Bennet to a time and place…and a situation…where he could lift himself up from being the indolent father.
You have mentioned that Bennets are transported to times where they can ‘become the best versions of themselves.’ What does this mean?
This is my formulation of what I have determined to be The Fifth Love(moving beyond C.S. Lewis’ Four Loves). Exagoras Agapis is the love which redeems. I see the Fifth Love as an active force…unlike The Four Loves which describe states of being…driving persons to rectify their shortcomings so as to become worthy of the object of their affections.
For all my conversations about “secondary characters,” the first example of redemptive love is found in Pride and Prejudice itself. After Hunsford and Darcy’s letter, both Darcy and Elizabeth undergo tectonic changes in their personalities, outlooks, ad behaviors. All of these shifts are examples of Exagoras Agapis, two centuries before I articulated it.
However, t’is Mrs. Bennet… as she herself begins the final assault on the heights of her flighty personality construct in Book Two of The Avenger… who offers an introduction to the love which redeems.
Chapter XV (August 1947)
On the slopes of Oakham Mount
©2018 by Don Jacobson. All rights reserved. Reproduction—either mechanical or electronic—without the written consent of the copyright holder is prohibited.
[Here Mrs. Bennet, while in conversation with her husband, uses self-hypnosis to reach out to her Inner Guide, a being with whom she had not conversed since shortly after her marriage to Bennet in early 1789.]
Her eyes drifted shut as she slid down through the layers of noise that had impeded her mentalitée until she arrived at a space so familiarly quiet that an ineffable sense of peace flooded over her. T’was then that she felt the other…one particularly familiar in her ancient comfort yet having not been called upon for decades.

Is it you? I thought you had abandoned me.

>could not rise past lace, children, confusion, anger, fear

Why now?

The form/not form/color/arc shot throughout the vault, as if rejoicing in its liberation. In its passage, a calming smoothed the matte surface that was the slate of her inner being.

>exagoras agapis[i]

Exagoras agapis? What is that? From where did it come?

>the love that redeems

>given you by the Bennet, grasped by your soul

>the desire to be the better version of self

But why now?

>Founder needs you, your strength. but I cannot…

>too new…draw closer for help

At this, a great china-blue strand whipped across the field. With dread, Fanny observed a night black blade drop and cleave it in twain. One portion shriveled and vanished, the other floated, unanchored.

>take it

As the viable strand passed into her possession, she was surrounded by dunes covered with carpets of roses…of all colors. The sound of the sea swished in her core, and she sensed another approaching, sweeping down from behind the crest of the sandy mounds. Then all sound was cast in the richest of green hues.

>mother Gardiner-Bennet

Do I know you?

>i am of yours…not the Countess, but her guide…here for moment.

Are you suggesting that you are “neither Kitty nor Kate” but are like mine, but hers?

>yes…ask…

Where is my girl?

>…not here…gone out, above plane…ask

What happened to her?

>blackness…around…suddenness…noise…pressure…release

What???

><indistinct> winter rose

The flower? There are no roses that bloom in winter.

>truth…browned canes…waiting pruning…even now…black flower.

>rosa chinensis will triumph…ask

Rosa Chinensis like what I introduced from Mama’s garden into Longbourn’s?

>…Gardiner is mother bush from which all Bennet roses bloom…

>…Founder cannot succeed without the rosa merytonensis…

>…help him, mama…ma…ma………..ma….

A great wind arose and swept the emerald filament off into infinity…and silence resumed.
A tear slid down from beneath a closed lid as Mrs. Bennet realized that, for all the abuse and disquiet she had absorbed over four-and-ten years in the wilderness, she was the missing link.

[i]Redemptive love. See D. Jacobson blog post The Fifth Love: That Which Redeems, Austen Authors.net, March 17, 2018. https://austenauthors.net/the-fifth-love-that-which-redeems/

From Chapter XVI

Squaring her shoulders, she spoke in a low, but firm voice, “You saw me just now. You may have thought I was not attending to that which you were saying. I assure you that I was…on one level.
“However, most of my senses were elsewhere. T’is akin to a trance, I imagine. I fall into it when I clear away all distractions and carefully focus my eyes on something like the leaves above us or the upper corner of a room where two walls and the ceiling meet. That permits me to separate myself from my cares and concerns, something I wish I had done these four-and-ten years past.
“As my concentration deepens, my eyes eventually drift shut, the outside world vanishes, and, with my mind clear, I find myself able to commune with…with…oh, I do not know with what or whom. T’is a force, a power, a being. I have always called her my Guide.
“We have conversations. I ask her questions, and she helps me find true solutions to my problems where, in my consciousness, I would seek to derive emotional comfort from false or partial solutions. These invariably lead to nowhere.
“Consider the ultimate false solution.
“I forced you to bow to my demand that each of our beloved girls come outwhen she reached five-and-ten. I wanted each to steal a march on other young ladies in her cohort; to attract the attention of a marriageable man and secure her…my…future.
“While the first four avoided disaster, we now know what my need to protect the girls from the entail led to with the fifth. Lydia will enjoy none of the perquisites relished by our other girls who waited until after their twentieth year to wed.”
Fanny had once again clambered off the fallen tree trunk, so comfortable for her long-legged husband, but a bit elevated for a woman who barely troubled five feet when measured in her satin dance slippers. She stood facing Bennet and made her case with hard-edged hand gestures and broad arm sweeps as if the bowl of Oakham’s slope rising above was home to benches filled with eager students. From time to time her sky-blue eyes would settle on Tom’s hazel orbs and her voice dropped as she sought to drive home her points.
“False solutions, Tom, are the path to ruin,” she continued. “I know.
“T’is not that I had forgotten about my Guide or what I could accomplish with her aid, but rather I was so disturbed after…after…well…the babe…that I could not have settled myself long enough to seek her out.
“I became more and more like my sister; concerned about fripperies and gossip and not on our family. Would that I could have modeled my comportment after Edward.”

How did you enjoy the interview and the excerpts? I believe Don has treated us with so much information and so much insight in the Bennet Wardrobe that some of you may want to go right now and buy this book (or the whole series):

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Bookdepository

Blog Tour Schedule

Visit the previous posts to enjoy much more about The Avenger:

28th Dec. 2018 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

29th Dec. Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Giveaway

30th Dec. My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway

avenger tour

2nd Jan. 2019 More Agreeably Engaged; Character Interview, Giveaway
3rd Jan. My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, Giveaway

4th Jan. So Little Time…; Guest Post, Giveaway

5th Jan. My life journey; Review, Excerpt Giveaway

8th Jan. Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Giveaway

9th Jan. From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Giveaway
Time To Give Away

Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament

avenger covers

Click on the link below to participate on this giveaway. This book, like its series, is worth it!

Rafflecopter – The Avenger

BONUS

Chapter XXIII
The “New” Carlton Club, St. James Street, London, September 1, 1947
Liebermann’s assertion about Bennet Eyes sent Detachment Anubis scrambling as this was the first real clue they had uncovered besides the murderer’s rank and service branch. A trusted forensic artist had been sent over for an impromptu Deauville vacation—something about which her husband and children were justifiably thrilled. Liebermann sat with her, much to Madame Liebermann’s displeasure, for two whole days until an accurate sketch of the subject was generated.
Now Anubis had the first item that could be tacked upon the wall in a meeting room, given over to their exclusive use, deep beneath Lincoln’s Inn. Over the following years, hundreds of documents, photographs, and other scraps, culled from a thousand different sources, would find their way onto the beige panels in that subterranean keep. More would be posted and then removed. But the pencil sketch with hazel green eyes remained, the paper gradually yellowing with age.
Still, a portrait of this nature did nothing to bring to light the identity of the culprit. Only Liebermann could pick him out of a crowd, but chances were microscopic that the two would ever be in the same place at the same time. Thus, Bennet had resolved to place the Sergeant where he would do the most good.
To that end, Bennet had prevailed upon the Earl to break through the bureaucratic logjam that was modern government to enable Anubis to insert Liebermann into the bowels of the captured SS Archives consolidated in the suburbs of Nuremberg. There, the sergeant would soon be able to flip through hundreds of thousands of documents collected from the remains of Himmler’s headquarters in Berlin and satellite complexes across Hitler’s Festung Europa that had been captured either whole or in part. Much was duplicated and nearly all was on paper. The process of microfilming the trove had barely begun and was anticipated to take years.
However, there was a chance that Liebermann would find his man’s photo attached to a personnel record. However, Bennet assumed that the Sergeant’s patience would fail long before achieving positive results. Yet, try they must for all earlier efforts had generated nothing.
The Earl resolved to pull two specific levers to execute Bennet’s wishes.
The first was to employ Lizzy Schiller’s wartime service with General Clay. He gambled that the High Commissioner of the Military Government (US) would respond to an appeal directly delivered by his former driver to allow a demobilized German subaltern into the closely held archives, usually available only to the Nuremburg Tribunal attorneys. Using Lizzy as his emissary likely would guarantee the High Commissioner would consent to a meeting, however brief. Clay knew Lizzy’s background and connections from his earlier history with the young lady. And, knowing what he did of Matlock’s other role, Clay would instantly accept a verbal message from Mrs. Schiller.
Lizzy’s maid pulled the young matron’s WREN uniform from storage and brushed it, all the while wondering if birthing a young heir for the Schiller line would have rendered the question of the outfit ever fitting again asked and answered. However, Mrs. Schiller’s daily rambles across the hillsides flowing down from the Peak toward her mother’s seat at the rose-colored sandstone mansion in Derbyshire proved to be the deciding factor. With one or two minor adjustments to the rich blue skirt to accommodate Lizzy’s now-womanly hips, the outfit settled onto her frame as if it had not been put aside since May 1945.
Lizzy and Alois boarded an American DC-3 at RAF Biggin Hill, and the aircraft soared toward occupied Germany. Operation Anubis came to life as soon as the transport’s wheels left the ground.
The Earl, however, refused to place all his eggs in the figurative single basket. That was the purpose of this session in the bastion of British Conservative Party politics. This was his second pressure point.
The Earl had been warmly greeted by the Carlton’s gatekeepers. However, they balked at admitting the stranger who accompanied him. While Matlock was long seen as apolitical by the Club’s staff, his more unusual activities had left him with an after-image, an aura that was more soiled than pristine; nothing confirmed, of course. The sense of his being involved in a world that would normally be eschewed by the more proper gentlemen who inhabited the paneled rooms overlooking St. James Street imbued attendants with a sense of caution that precluded admitting any unknown persons accompanying the Earl. The staff, therefore, sought to refuse admittance to Bennet.
M, in his guise as Matlock, had an ace up his sleeve. However, as Thomas Fitzwilliam was an eminently honorable man, he would have found that metaphor to be distasteful. In truth, the capital card had been face-down—and un-played—on the table for more than a century…literally from the first day of the Club in 1832.
“Now, Henderson, I do appreciate that you have taken it upon yourself to uphold the Club’s standards. However, I assure you that Mr. Bennet has the same right to be here as I do,” Matlock vowed.
The employee was unfazed.
“I am sorry, my Lord. I do not recognize the gentleman, and, while you vouch for his bona fides, I am not comfortable in seeing him enter here as he may be tainted with unsavory associations. You understand, sir, that I must protect the reputation of the Club,” the man respectfully replied.
Throughout this, Bennet watched, bemused, his grandson, a peer of the realm, doing battle with a banty rooster decked out in the finest livery and determined to protect his coop.
Shaking his head, the Earl let drop a hammer, one that carried little meaning to the attendant beyond shifting the discussion to a level far above his pay grade, “Please send for Managing Director Matthews. Advise that he needs must bring the Club’s membership roster found in his safe. There is but one.”
Henderson picked up a telephone receiver from behind his podium and briefly spoke into it conveying the Earl’s instructions.
Within five minutes, a compact man bustled down the grand staircase. In his arms he cradled a large volume.
Striding across the lobby, he motioned the Earl and Bennet over to a large table flanking the wall adjacent to the entrance. Taking a moment to arrange the leather-bound book on the slab, he turned to the two men. Brief introductions were made. The Earl then took over the conversation.
“Matthews: do you accept me at my word that the gentleman accompanying me is a certain Mr. Thomas Michael Bennet of Meryton, Hertfordshire?”
The official assured him that he would never presume to question the veracity of any statement made by the Earl of Matlock.
Fitzwilliam continued, “Excellent. Then I repeat my assertion made to Henderson. Mr. Bennet has every right to enter the halls of the Carlton Club either by my side or without me—in fact his right to be here long predates mine.”
A look of outrage at the idea that someone who had not been vetted by the Membership Committee entering the sacred precincts reshaped Matthews features. He chose a milder tack, though, when he demurred by saying, “I have never heard of Mr. Bennet, and I have been associated with the Club since your father’s day.”
The Earl glared and uttered an imprecation under his breath before firmly sticking a pin in the supercilious attitude with which he had been met, “Then look in your roster, man…”
Had the Earl finally slipped a cog, Matthews wondered? As the Carlton’s Managing Director, part of his remit was to know every active member and have at least a passing awareness of those who had stepped away from Westminster’s fray and had permanently retreated to their country homes. To his mind, this gentleman from Hertfordshire—more likely a forger from Prague given the number of words the man had not uttered—resembled nobody Matthews knew. He did bear an uncanny resemblance to Matlock. Perhaps, Matthews mused, the Earl had taken to travelling with a body double: someone destined to take a bullet otherwise intended for him? In any event, this person was not Carlton caliber, of that Matthews was sure.
Matthews opened the great roster with exaggerated movements indicating that he truly believed that he had been dragged from his office on a fool’s errand. He turned toward the back of the book which drew an exasperated sigh from Matlock.
“No, Matthews…the front of the book. Look at the first two pages.”
Matthews shrugged, perhaps suggesting that aristocrats, particularly those of the older families, had been known to become increasingly eccentric in their middle years. He knew that those first two pages contained the names of the Carlton’s founding members who had met at the Thatched Coffee House in the aftermath of the Great Reform Act of 1832. While there were some legacy members who had descended from the Originals, their names were entered later in the book. But, he turned to the front of the ledger and dutifully ran his well-manicured forefinger down the columns of member names and their sponsors.
And, there on the second page, about halfway down he discovered something quite shocking.

Thos. M. Bennet of Longbourn, Meryton, Hertshire

by Lord Matlock, Genl. Sir Richard Fitzwilliam KCB

“And, Matthews, if you check your records, this member, number 93, has regularly paid his dues for 115 years,” the Earl growled, “but, I do not expect you to question the plausibility of such as this. Rather, I insist that you cease any further interference and that you admit Mr. Bennet immediately. He has a meeting with the Member for Woodford.[i]
“You will now forget his antecedents. Know that if he wishes to dine here or entertain, his charges will be handled in the usual manner, unless, of course, you would prefer that he frequent his other club—the Reform.”

***

“Officious bureaucrat,” groused Matlock as he and Bennet left the puzzled manager and amused doorman behind as they climbed the great staircase to the member’s lounge that stretched across the St. James’ front of the structure.
Bennet chuckled and laid a comforting hand on his grandson’s shoulder, “Now, Tom, you will give yourself an apoplexy if you let every little thing set your teeth on edge. I was finding the sparring match between you and Mr. Matthews to be quite amusing.
“He reminded me of my cousin Coll…”
The Earl cut him off snapping, “Nobody mentions that man’s name in the hearing of any of the Five Families.”
Astonished at the reproof, Bennet backtracked, “That I did not know. You will have to explain the reasoning behind this injunction sometime.
“What I had planned to say was that Matthews had many of the more irritating qualities that my…cousin…exhibited minus the oleaginous bowing and scraping for which he was legend.
“Now, before we walk in, please tell me something about the man we are to meet.”
A thumbnail of one of the century’s dominant political figures followed and occupied the remainder of their passage across the vast wood-paneled room, their footsteps muffled by the deep pile of exquisite carpeting. The room itself was nearly deserted as members were still making their way back to the capital with the completion of their vacation journeys and the end of the house party season. Individual members consoled themselves in their loneliness with copies of the day’s broadsheets and early afternoon bracers of whiskey or brandy.
However, one small grouping in the pre-eminent position of the room’s geography—adjacent to the great fireplace, cold now—drew Matlock and Bennet to it. There they saw a roly-poly figure of a man, his bald pate shining in the sunlight streaming through the great windows that occupied one long wall. Occupied with a tall whiskey and soda and an equally imposing cigar upon which he puffed from time-to-time, the gentleman was surrounded by two acolytes who relaxed in the great man’s presence, comfortably laughing as he offered some trenchant commentary. The younger men, solely from their manner, impressed Bennet not as lackeys but rather as lessers in the orbit of one who was the first amongst equals.
Winston Churchill, out of office for two years, was now in his 73rd year and continued as leader of the Conservative Party. His health had recovered from the vicissitudes of his wartime service, and he once again relished the rough and tumble of parliamentary politics. Churchill regularly heaped unique levels of scorn upon the Labour government headed by Clement Atlee, continuing his thirty-year battle against the dangers of Socialism first launched in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Already he had begun to feel the pain of having outlived many of his contemporaries who had already succumbed to upper class lifestyles dominated by cigars, drink, and rich food. Thus, he had necessarily surrounded himself with men twenty to thirty years his junior: good men, but of a different generation without personal memories of late 19th Century global forces that had shaped Churchill’s life and worldview. Two of those, R.A. Butler and Brendan Bracken, sat by him now.[ii]
The former premier espied Matlock and his guest crossing the floor in his direction. He waited until the pair had pulled to a halt in front of his station before he curtly dismissed the other two gentlemen saying, “Rab, Brendan…leave us.”
To their credit, neither man, so familiar each was with Churchill’s behavior, bridled at their man’s brusque manner. They simply rose and, unintroduced, nodded to the Earl and Bennet before departing.
The Leader of the Opposition gazed upwards from his leather wingback. He had known Matlock for decades, both as a young man before his elevation upon his father’s death as well as his wartime M, having swept the previous master of British intelligence out the door with the rest of the appeasers. Churchill’s interest was arrested, though, by the remarkable resemblance between the two men in front of him. Oh, there were differences. Matlock seemed a softer, newer version—Fitzwilliamed, it seemed, on top of another stock—of the other fellow; the latter had apparently sprung from an earlier graft upon their common family tree. However, dismissing superficial differences, the two men were clearly related. The most distinctive variance was to be found in their eyes, similar in their unique cast, something which was held in common by every member of the Five Families, but different in color. The Earl’s were his father’s steel grey. The other gentleman’s eyes were hazel.
Churchill, turning his penetrating gaze directly upon Bennet, drank in a vision of the male version of someone he had last encountered in early 1940. As was frequently his wont when he turned something over in his capacious mind, muttered in sotto voce, “So, you would have me meet a Mr. Bennet of Hertfordshire. Is he the same Bennet written about by Miss Austen, I wonder? I recall talking with Holmes about his belief that Pride and Prejudice was a work of non-fiction published as a romantic novel.
“This fellow does look like a former Miss Bennet who, with her husband the Earl, dined with Clemmie and I at Selkirk when we abandoned Sunny and Consuelo at Blenheim and dashed off to the Peaks in ’07.”[iii]
Then he subsided into himself, content for the moment to await the opening gambit of the Earl of Matlock whom he knew to be as crafty and cagey as any man on the planet. He motioned the two to take up the seats recently emptied by Butler and Bracken. However, M surprised his old employer with something thoroughly unexpected, a remarkable amount of candor.
“Winston…I sent you some information on Mr. Bennet when I requested this meeting. I can tell you little beyond that which you already know about him. I will offer that he has travelled an unimaginable distance to be here today. I trust that you will allow me to leave you in the dark concerning Bennet’s background, although I am certain that you may have already arrived at some conclusions that you may wish to discuss with Lindemann.[iv]
“Beyond some intentional smudging around the edges, I want to apprise you of the true reason we are here today.
“Bennet and I need your help in convincing Atlee to allow one of our people free rein in the SS archives collected at Nuremburg.
“I have asked Bennet’s help in tracking down the SS colonel who orchestrated the death of my mother, my son, his wife, and their two children along with over a dozen other innocents since the end of the war. Mr. Bennet has a peculiar and equally strong interest, akin to my own, in bringing this monster to justice; his obsession is one which would do our friends in Palestine credit.
“We have created a special detachment in MI6—limited to only a few trusted persons, taking a page from Holmes’ pursuit of Moriarty—that will strain neither the resources of the agency nor the black portions of the broader budget. Instead, the Five Families, as this is predominantly their concern, will bear the cost…and I advise you that we are prepared to beggar our treasuries to catch this creature.
“We have already eliminated the actual trigger men in an operation at the end of last month. Now we pursue their leader, a man who has wreaked so much havoc upon our families,” Matlock explained.
Churchill blinked as he digested the aristocrat’s presentation. He already had determined that he would intercede with the Prime Minister, but, in his own way, he needed to glean a nugget of something which the Earl had intentionally left unsaid. He would get the measure of Thomas Bennet and then gracefully subside having had his entertainment.
He tried to pin Bennet using his fiercest glare before launching his assault.
“Now, Mr. Thomas Bennet of Hertfordshire, tell me why you must send someone to crawl through Himmler’s sewer?” Churchill aggressively demanded.
Bennet sat back for a moment. The politician’s manner reminded him of his brother Gardiner when the man had begun a complicated negotiation and was seeking to put his opposite number on his back foot. However, Thomas Bennet, MA, Cambridge, ’82, had not wasted his time in the halls of academe. He knew how to deal with examination boards made up of older men with calcified minds.
Churchill, surely a descendant of Queen Anne’s great captain John Churchill, was not a victim of the worst of all sins, an unexamined mind. He would not be a push-over and would never respect a man who could not join in battle on the same level. An audacious move would be the only path forward.
Bennet, thus, exposed his Queen.
Surprising his host, Bennet turned to the Earl and addressed him as his subordinate, “Tom, I must ask you to rise and stand post over us to ensure that none may overhear. I am invoking our new rule.”
Surprising Churchill, the Earl, long known in some circles to be Britain’s most powerful non-member of Government, simply nodded and rose to his feet in a manner identical to that recently exhibited by two members of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet. He moved off a few paces and faced the room, beginning a metronomic scan that took in every person within fifty feet.
Then Bennet addressed his interrogator, his Hertfordshire “r’s” rolling off the back of his tongue, making his speech sound even more archaic in a London so recently overrun by Americans and their multitude of accents reshaping and coloring their version of the King’s English.
“Mr. Churchill, I think you are taken with the extraordinary circumstances of a commoner such as I who would presume to order about an Earl, let alone the head of the British Secret Services. I assure you that young Tom would normally have bridled at such cavalier treatment by one so beneath his station.
“Matlock has assured me that you are a man used to keeping confidences of the greatest sort. And, thus, I will offer you a taste of Mankind’s greatest secret. Prior to this, the treasure has been revealed to only two others who were not at the very least married into the Bennet Family or one of its branches.
“You may have learned of the abduction of Miss Catherine Bennet who later became Lady Fitzwilliam, the Countess of Matlock. The young Earl, Henry was his name…”
Churchill briefly interrupted, “He was one of my dearest friends as was his wife Lady Kate.”
Bennet continued after a beat, “Ah yes, Lady Kate. In any event, the 11thEarl consulted with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson as he searched for her. To meet the detective’s unusual demand for complete transparency, this Earl told him the secret.
“The information I share could shake the foundation of nations if transmitted into the wrong hands. However, we have determined that we must eschew the old ways and include those who would help us in our time of need.
“This explains why you see before you a man born in 1760 seeking vengeance for his murdered daughter and asking for your help.”
A waiter was quickly summoned to refresh Churchill’s drink and to offer Bennet and the Earl their choice of libation. Bennet smiled and chose to indulge himself in one of his favorite drinks—vintage port—in this case a generous snifter of 1931 Quinta do Noval Nacional. After all, he assumed that he was a rich as Croesus and would have ample metal to cover his drinks bill. Then two cigars appeared, duplicating the generous tube sported by Churchill.
In a deepening blue haze, the Edwardian politician and the Regency gentleman leaned toward one another and suspended the rest of the world for a while.

[i]Winston S. Churchill (1874-1964) was the member for Woodford from 1945 to his retirement in 1964.
[ii]R.A. “Rab” Butler (1902-1982) served in many high offices in Conservative governments beginning in 1938 and ending in 1965 These included Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary. Brendan Bracken (1901-1958) served in the Cabinet in WWII, was considered one of Churchill’s closest political allies and, if possible, friends, and founded the modern version of The Financial Times.
[iii]Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9thDuke of Marlborough, known as “Sunny” and his first wife, Consuelo, formerly Vanderbilt, one of The Buccaneers (see Edith Wharton).
[iv]Churchill’s science advisor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Lindemann,_1st_Viscount_Cherwell

Review of “Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep” by Regina Jeffers

Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep by Regina Jeffers

No, it is not a Pride and Prejudice variation or any variation related to Jane Austen. Carry on reading! Do not stop just because you may think that “you just want JAFF” because Regina has written a great book. Very strong characters and a plot that does not allow you to stop reading.

Love at first sight, just sight actually! Accidents, reputation and honour that needs to be protected, intrigue, murders, stubbornness…

Angelica is an American whose parents are British. Angel comes back to his father’s country to follow the wish her mother had for her: to come out in England. Her manners are not exactly what the ton looks for but she is still a novelty and that is good for gossip at least.

Angelica is determined to pleased his father and look for a good match until she sees his “Lucifer”… in her dreams or not…

A carriage accident occurs and she has to pretend that a gentleman is her husband because she has rescued him. This man eventually has only Angel as the only real part of his life because he has lost his memory during the accident and he sees her as his “Angel” even after he is recovered by his family and Angelica is back to his father’s protection.

However, destiny is vicious and the ton’s invitations cannot be forsake, so Angel goes with his father to the Devil’s Keep where her “husband” is.

Nope, I have not forgotten to mention anyone 😀 you will have to read about him. I am pretty sure that you will like him as much as I do. However, Angel is the character that I have loved the most due to her strength and determination to help everybody and if needed she will sacrifice herself, or her heart to protect others.

5out5 stars

Follow Regina or check her books on the links below. I have read quite a few and I recommend you to read her, you will not be disappointing.

Amazon US    Amazon UK    Twitter    Facebook    Austen Authors   Goodreads

Blog Tour of “D&E: Hope of the future” by Sharon Lathan, guest post + giveaway

Good morning or good afternoon or even good night for some of you! Yes, I am back after only a week 🙂 I am trying to behave and do not keep you out of the loop. That is why today I am very happy to present Sharon Lathan with her latest book Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. It is her second book on her Prequel Saga, our loved protagonists, Elizabeth and Darcy are getting married, aren’t they? …

Blurb of Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future (Darcy Saga Prequel Book #2)

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!

The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers. 

Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured! 

As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result? 

Continue the journey began in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century.

The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.

After this blurb, can you not wait to buy the book? Print or ebook? You could buy both formats here, and also the first book of the saga Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship.

Amazon US                   Amazon UK                         Barnes & Noble Nook and Print

Kobo digital                                         iBooks digital

Apart from introducing the book and give you a “male” excerpt for you to enjoy, Sharon has done a guest post where you will find a lot of information about weddings during the Regency. I have learnt a lot, I must admit that I knew maybe half of the facts presented. I would recommend you to read this post but also visit the different posts where her book is being promoted because she has great information to share with all of us.

 

Let me introduce you to Sharon Lathan in case she may be a new author to you, although she has been written great novels for a long time now:

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, was published in 2009. Sharon’s series of “happily ever after” for the Darcys now totals nine full-length novels and one Christmas themed novella.Sharon Lathan photo

Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future complete the “prequel to the sequel” duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began.

Sharon is a native Californian relocated in 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky, where she resides with her husband of over thirty years. Retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer.

Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Beau Monde chapter of the RWA, and serves as the website manager and on the board of the Louisville Romance Writers chapter of the RWA.

Sharon is the co-creator of Austen Authors, a group blog for authors of Austenesque literary fiction. Visit at:  www.AustenAuthors.com 

Connect with Sharon at the following places:
Website/blog:  www.SharonLathanAuthor.com       Facebook at Sharon Lathan, Novelist                 Twitter @SharonLathan                     Pinterest  SharonLathan62

 

After introducing her, let’s read what Sharon is sharing with us, not only a very “funny” excerpt but also, as mentioned above, interesting information about weddings.

 

First and foremost, I must thank Ana for hosting me on her blog today. It is a pleasure to be here sharing a bit of wedding history and my latest novel with the My Vices and Weaknesses readers. Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is the second book in the two-volume Darcy Saga Prequel Duo, which began with Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. These two novels perfectly fit with my Darcy Saga Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, the series now including nine lengthy novels and one novella.

Regency Wedding Preparations

To understand wedding preparation during the Regency, you must start by erasing everything you envision as part of a modern-day wedding. English weddings prior to the Victorian Era were small, understated events. The primary purpose of the ceremony was the religious solidification of the marriage contract. For the most part, everything was approached with this serious aspect foremost.

The simplicity factor was one reason why the time between proposal to marriage could be very short. For most couples, the two weeks waiting for the three readings of the Banns was plenty of time. A longer courtship period would likely be the result of concerns such as ensuring a house to live in, financial security, and similar practicalities rather than needing time to plan the ceremony itself.

Unless a special license was procured—this was quite rare—or one was of a faith other than the Anglican Church, the wedding procedure was standardised. Couples with extreme wealth and social importance might have a glitzier arrangement and grander celebration, but never the ostentatious affairs we have today.

the-village-wedding-sir-samuel-luke-fildes1883

Location and Timing of the Wedding:  An Anglican wedding could take place on any day of the week, but ALL weddings took place in the parish chapel where at least one of the two persons lived. Per Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753, weddings were required to take place during the canonical hours of 8 AM to noon.

Since most members of the ton could claim the fashionable London districts of Mayfair, Grosvenor, and St. James as their residence, the vast majority of Regency weddings took place at Saint George’s Church in Hanover Square. Established in 1725, thousands of weddings were conducted at St. George’s—1063 in 1816 alone!

Wedding Guests:  Invitations were handwritten by the bride—if they were sent at all—and depending on her creativity, the invitation may be fancy, but more often it was a basic letter giving the facts.

It was unusual for anyone outside the immediate family and closest friends to attend the ceremony. If family members lived further away they would be notified and an invitation extended, and in special circumstances time may be allowed for travel, but this was not the expectation and no one thought it wrong if they chose not to come. The only essential attendees were the clergyman, parish clerk to ensure formal logging in the register, and two official witnesses.

Local citizens often waited outside the church, ready to cheer and congratulate the newlyweds. It was common for these folks to form a processional behind the couple, shouting well-wishes all the way back to their house.

Bride’s Attendants:  A bride was typically assisted by one or two female attendants, perhaps a few more if she was of higher society. These attendants could be married or unmarried and helped the bride in various ways—penning invitations, getting dressed, making the bouquet—and one was designated the official witness for the parish registry.

The term “bridesmaid”—or more commonly “bridemaid” without the S—was in use since the 1500s. “Maid of Honor” was akin to “lady in waiting” so more specifically referred to royal attendants. The use of “maid of honor” in relation to a bridal attendant was a late 19th century, American addition. The term “matron of honor” to specify a married attendant is an Americanism not seen until after 1900.

Groom’s Attendants: Historically, the groomsmen were “blade knights” who served as protectors of the bride and guards for the couple during their vulnerable hours preceding and following the ceremony. We see this same tradition today in military weddings where a sword wielding “honor guard” form the saber arch for the couple to walk through.

Such fears were gone by the civilised Regency. Instead, the enlisted groomsmen were close friends who lent a hand as necessary. With the ceremony being a quiet event, the groom having little to do beyond show up on time, and a bachelor party or extensive reception speech unheard of, groom attendants had minimal stated duties. The number varied, and probably was very small, but as with the bride, one man was designated as the “best man” to stand with the groom and serve as the official witness.

 

After reading this, I know that I would have been one of these local citizens waiting for Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy to leave the church together with Mr and Mrs Charles Bingley J Enjoy the excerpt of a really appealing book.

 

Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future

By the time Darcy, Richard, and Georgiana returned to Netherfield, the Hursts and Caroline Bingley had arrived. 

“Terrific,” Darcy muttered grumpily upon espying the familiar coach in the drive. It was a sentiment of which neither Colonel Fitzwilliam nor Miss Darcy could disagree.

As per the agenda for the final days and evenings, the brides and grooms would honor tradition by not seeing each other after sundown on the eve of the wedding, meaning they would dine apart. For tonight, however, Mr. Bingley had offered to host at Netherfield. It was the sensible choice, presuming the likelihood of some of their families arriving that day. As it turned out, everyone arrived that day. It was, for all intents, a prewedding reception.

When the dust finally cleared, and the last visitor had departed with the rest retired to their guest quarters, the grooms and Richard Fitzwilliam met in Bingley’s private sitting room.

“Well, that went swimmingly, I’d say.” Richard handed a brandy to Darcy, who grunted, then took a large swallow.

“As swimmingly as in a river of piranhas.”

“Oh, it wasn’t that bad—maybe sharks, or stinging eels, but not piranha level.”

Bingley smiled at Richard’s humor but looked a bit dyspeptic and also gulped at his brandy. “We may as well accept it, Darcy. After all, we will be family in two days so these gatherings, while hopefully rare, will happen from time to time.”

Now it was Darcy’s turn to look ill.

“Does Mr. Hurst ever smile?” Richard blurted in a tone of sincere curiosity.

“Sometimes, I think.” Bingley frowned, then shrugged. “Can’t recall to be honest.”

“Huh. Well, here is to family.” Richard lifted his glass. “Got to love them, for better or worse, sickness and in health, richer or poorer… Wait, that is for spouses. What are the rules for family again?”

“That is the real tragedy. One has no choice in the matter and is stuck with them,” Darcy grumbled.

“Yes, well, cheer up, Cousin. You have me! That is a stupendous blessing from the Almighty. And soon you shall have Bingley here. We make up for a dozen Mr. Hursts or Mrs. Bennets.”

“I suppose I will have to give you that,” Darcy admitted grudgingly, and then he laughed.

Richard joined in, but Bingley was quiet, eyes faintly troubled and a frown creasing his brows.

“What is it, Charles?”

“Was Caroline…” Bingley paused. “That is, did she do or say anything I am unaware of?”

Richard shook his head, but it was Darcy who spoke. “Surprisingly, no. In fact, I don’t think she said much at all. She sat with Mrs. Hurst the whole night. I know she never approached Elizabeth, at least when we were all together. I was watching. I think the time away did her good, truly I do. But really, what does it matter for the present? We should put all this aside and focus on what is important. The reason we are gathered here in the first place.”

“Here! Here!” Richard raised his glass, but only halfway. Staring at Darcy with a comically confused expression, he asked, “And why was that again?”

Time to Give Away

You cannot miss the great giveaway that Sharon is doing with us today. She is giving:

  • One print, signed copy of Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future and a magnet duo of Darcy and Elizabeth from The Darcy Saga (1 winner, only US)
  • One ebook copy of Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future for 1 international winner.

What do you need to do to participate? As usual, share your opinion with us about what you have read. What do you think about the excerpt? Did you know the info about the weddings? Were you surprised about any of it? Please comment on this post and please, write your email and specify if you are participating on the US part of the giveaway or if you are participating on the international.

This time for an extra entry, you could share this post with some friends and if a friend of yours leaves a comment and indicates that he/she has found the post through you, you get an extra entry (maximum of three friends to be counted).

The giveaway will be open the 14th of September and I would like to post the winners during the following weekend. All the entries before 12pm (CET) will be counted. Good luck!

 

REVIEW of “With Pen in Hand” by Melanie Schertz

So far I have only read two of Melanie Schertz‘s books, although I have a few more waiting on my kindle waiting for me to read but I would need days of 40 hours! Apart from With Pen in Hand, I have read Darcy’s Continental Escape and I really liked it. I have liked With Pen in Hand, however, it is too sugary for me. Spoiler below 😉

Elizabeth and Darcy end up together and obviously that’s great but I was missing more misunderstandings between them, I missed a bit of difficulty for them to get together.

The book relates how Elizabeth saves her family after a fire destroyed almost all Longbourn. Elizabeth is in London and  writes books and earns a lot of money that she sends home for repairs and she provides a good education for her younger sisters. Every single member of her family is extremely proud and thankful and Elizabeth, keeping her name under a pseudonym. Elizabeth, with the help of his uncle Gardiner, earns even more money with investments. Elizabeth and the Gardiners move to a bigger house in a “better” place of London.

Everything goes smooth apart from an initial “pride and prejudice” moment between them but it passes very quick. The book is like a walk in the clouds, that is nice, but maybe too much. We cannot forget about Wickham, he appears and he is indeed mean and despicable but everything is resolved quickly and our protagonists carry on with their story.

It is a pleasant read with really nice scenes, I will recommend the ones about giving bottles of Port in exchange of dances or Darcy fainting… you need to read to understand!

3.5out5 stars

If you want to discover more about Melanie Schertz, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

To buy any of her numerous JAFF books, you could go to Amazon UK or Amazon US.

 

(cover picture from Amazon UK)

REVIEW of “For Peace of Mind” by Leenie Brown

Love is in the air!! Love is all around!! John Paul John and Wet Wet Wet’s  songs’ titles  totally reflect this book. This book is about love and not only the love between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. There is a lot of love to share!

I received a Advance Reader Copy in exchange of an honest review. I got the book some time ago but I made the mistake of not passing the file to my kindle and it was still waiting on my email. Fortunately, I found it, read it and I had a great time 🙂

When Elizabeth refuses to marry Mr. Collins, her dad decides that it will be wise to send Elizabeth to London with Jane… for his peace of mind.

There she encounters Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam during a shopping outing with Jane and their aunts. Destiny comes to show that they actually know each other but maybe not in person as Darcy does businesses with Mr. Gardiner as well as Richard’s father, Lord Matlock. Mr. Gardiner is well esteemed and respected and he has a extremely important role on Mr. Bingley’s success…

Meetings come along and I will just point out that the encounters are lovely and endearing not only for the sparks but also for the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner’s offspring. There is a little gentleman who takes care of “his Lizzy” and does not allow anyone to approach her. Mr. Darcy has a powerful rival or adversary that he needs to prove his worth to in order to “be allowed” to court her.

However, although the vast majority of the book is about happiness, love, teasing, friendship and family, we need a baddie, and who will be a “better baddie” in this story than the scoundrel and blackguard of George Wickham?? He is despicable, I cannot even start describing his role in this story!! Even if the “length” of his part is not very long, it is more than enough!!

Back to a happy note, I mentioned teasing, happiness, family, love and friendship because you will find a lot from the very beginning. It is quite refreshing to read Richard and Charles teasing Darcy and Darcy not being all serious, he starts from the very beginning to be a bit more open and later on the book he can be fun with answers to comment. What we can see is three male friends who even share a laugh or can talk a bit about their hearts. In addition there are some stories about the eldest Bennet sisters when growing up and being a handful, always within reason but not letting others, mainly boys, to underestimate them.

I will just recommend you to read this charming book where love is essential and friendship and family are key.

I will leave you with a couple of teasers:

  1. Lady Catherine can surprise you after being confronted by Elizabeth and being threaten to be loved against her will.
  2. A short dialogue between Elizabeth and Darcy:

“Why Mr. Darcy, ” she said, colour staining her cheeks, “are you flirting with me, sir?”

“I believe I am, Miss Elizabeth.”

 

 

4.5out5 stars

Follow Leenie Brown on different media: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest.

If you want to read this lovely book or any other novel or novella by Leenie Brown, you could go to Amazon UK or Amazon US.

(cover picture from her website)

REVIEW of “Still a Young Man” by P.O. Dixon

Still a Young Man: Darcy is in Love is one of my top 10 JAFF books with a what if about the characters in Pride and PrejudiceP.O. Dixon is one of the first JAFF authors I discovered and I have read most of her work and I highly recommend it.

At the beginning of the story we found Elizabeth marrying Mr. Calbry, one of her favourites, according to everyone who knew them, but he dies after six months. Elizabeth is sent away by her husband’s family and she goes to live with her newly wed sister, Jane Bingley.

Elizabeth shows herself as the perfect mourning widow during a year and one day, after that time, she wants to live again.

Mrs. Elizabeth Calbry is back to society with her sister and brother and she is the new “attraction” of the ton, a pretty young widow. Although she is not in possession of a fortune, she is seen as a experienced and woman in possible need of a man, maybe not to marry but to “share her experience”. This is how some so-called gentlemen see her, but not all of them. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth’s brother’s best friend, is amazed with her and he wants to protect her even if she does not want him to do it.

Mrs. Calbry dislikes Mr. Darcy from the first moment of her acquaintance due to his words and his questions about her life and also due to the information, or misinformation, given by a childhood friend of Fitzwilliam. Everything she knows together with her own opinion, show Darcy in a bad light but that starts changing when Elizabeth sees herself entangled in a dishonourable event where she was going to be the only victim. Fortunately for her, Darcy keeps his own promise to protect her and he arrives just in time to avoid further harm to Elizabeth.

From that moment onwards, they begin spending time together and become fast friends, they share a lot of nice moments together and after Darcy saved her from that entanglement, he wants something back, he wants her to sped the summer at Pemberley, his house, with him and obviously with Jane and Charles Bingley. Elizabeth cannot deny him and she is happy to oblige, she is eager to spend more time with him. However, her feelings are changing and she is unsecure, he is a younger man and she is a widow. She can see the mutual attraction and she decides to offer herself as his lover just once. Unfortunately, this is quite common among the ton, widows sometimes look for lovers to have their needs covered. Elizabeth knows that she could only have Darcy as her lover. Eventually, when they are in Pemberley, she gathers all her courage and tells him to go to her that night. He is puzzled, bewildered but hopeful at the same time. He loves Elizabeth and he just wants her to feel the same for him and share their life.

As you already know, with this couple, nothing is easy or goes smooth. It will be very difficult to see them together but (SPOILER ALERT!) with a lot of patience, time and people who love them, they will find happiness but, as I mentioned, it will not be easy at all!

“You are mistaken. You know nothing about me”, she protested.

“What more do I need to know, Elizabeth… other than I love you with all my heart?”

*sigh*

I normally write now “what ifs” questions but I will leave you with that tiny bit of conversation and three important words from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that came to mind several times while reading this book: Obstinate, headstrong girl!

 

5out5 stars

If you want to know more about P.O. Dixon, you can follow her on different social media: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and Pinterest.

If you want to buy Still a Young Man or any other book by this great writer, go to Amazon UK, Amazon US or Smashwords.

REVIEW of “Bewitched, body and soul” by P.O. Dixon

P.O. Dixon is one of the JAFF authors I have read the most. I may have read around 80% of her writing, that is quite extensive, and I keep liking everything she writes.

Bewitched, body and soul is one of my favourites by P.O. Dixon, I have just reread it to write this review. In this book you can see the strong willed Elizabeth Bennet who goes to town in order to look for Mr. Bingley and tell him or make him understand that her sister Jane is in love with him.

She is not very successful because she encounters Miss Bingley and also Mr. Darcy but there is no way of finding her sister’s heart’s desire. Jane Bennet is not the same one as she was since he left the neighbourhood, she rarely is in company of her family members and she does not even dares to go to Meryton.

Elizabeth is determined and after going to Mr. Bingley’s house and have no success on seeing him, she decides to go to Mr. Darcy’s house to seek assistance from the serious and haughty friend of Bingley. You can imagine how inappropriate was this visit for two reasons: she was unchaperoned and he was the only person in his house. They are totally alone and she collapses due to a temporal illness. He takes care of her and she wakes up in the mistress’ bedroom without recalling any event from the previous night.

She is ill but as she is a headstrong girl, she flees from Darcy House to her relatives. She is fuming and very angry with Darcy for two reasons, again: he does not want to help her regarding her sister’s relationship with Bingley and she realises the unladylike behaviour she had going to the house of an unmarried man.

However, she has seen a different man, still a bit arrogant but caring as well. She is a bit confused but avoids thinking about it. At this point  Elizabeth is “indifferent” to Mr. Darcy or that is what she wants to believe but there is already something not clear for her.

What must it be like seeing him again? Elizabeth frowned. Why am I always thinking of him?

Elizabeth’s aunt, Mrs. Gardiner, has a family member, Lady Susan, that wants to be like a sponsor for Elizabeth. Elizabeth accepts with the hope of finding Mr. Bingley in any social event during the Season. Among other people, Lady Susan introduces Lady Gwendolen Helmsley to Elizabeth and they get on well with each other.

Lady Gwendolen is the sister of one of Mr. Darcy’s oldest friends and she is hoping to catch Mr. Darcy, she fancies herself in love with him. She is actually quite nice until she sees some rivalry and tries to overcome it. This rivalry is seen during the getaway in her country house and the person that seems to get Mr. Darcy’s attention is her new friend Elizabeth Bennet. Lady Gwendolen is not happy and seeks, as usual when Darcy is concerned, help from his brother.

Rumours can destroy the reputation of a person and even more if those rumours point to a fallen woman, Elizabeth Bennet… When Darcy is informed about those gossips he is as usual, honourable and asks Elizabeth to marry him, to placate the malicious reports and also because he loves Elizabeth.

Nevertheless, Elizabeth refuses him! why? on what account she refuses the person who wants to protect her and claims a profound admiration and love for her?

Does Elizabeth see Mr. Bingley? When and where do they meet again (both Charles and Jane and Elizabeth and Darcy)? Do they solve their problems? Lady Catherine is going to be around, how will she behave? Is Wickham going to make an appearance as usual or not?

 

Read the book and see what else is happening to the eternal Darcy and Elizabeth.

 

A teaser to get you into the book:

“I must confess I am relieved to hear it. I had not put the matter completely out of my mind.”

“Trust me, Miss Elizabeth, I am relieved, as well, much more than you know.”

“Why is that, sir?”

“Because, the next time I offer you my hand in marriage, I intend to go about it entirely differently.”

 

If you want to find out more about this book and P.O. Dixon‘s work, check her Twitter and Facebook. If I have to choose my favourite book by her, I will choose Still a young man: Darcy is in love. I will reread it, for the third time, and review it for you to like it at least half as much as I do like it 🙂

You can buy her books on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

4.5out5 stars