“In Essentials” by Helen Williams, excerpt and giveaway

Hello to all!

I am very intrigued about this book and that was before checking the previous posts of this blog tour or reading the excerpt from In Essentials that Helen Williams is sharing with us today. Let’s see if you get hooked with the blurb:

Five months after Darcy’s disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, he discovers that the woman he ardently loves is suffering from a grave illness.

Despite an affliction that has left her altered, Elizabeth Bennet is still the same person in essentials: witty, sanguine, and obstinate. However, her future is uncertain, and she struggles to maintain her equanimity—especially when Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to Netherfield and seems determined to improve her opinion of him. Now she must decide whether she is brave enough to trust him and embrace happiness, however fleeting it might prove to be.

What do you think? What on Earth has happened to Elizabeth? How altered she is and which aspects? How is Darcy going to improve her opinion of him? Too many questions that I will get to answer once I read In Essentials.

Let me introduce you to the author: Helen Williams. Welcome, Helen!

Helen lives in Cambridge, UK where she works for the University of Cambridge. She has been writing as a hobby for around 15 years and has written several novel length stories based on the work of Jane Austen. Helen has Welsh roots so her stories will often include a couple of references to the land of her fathers, in addition to her two other loves – dogs and rugby. In addition to writing, Helen’s hobbies include cooking, hiking, cycling and campaigning for green initiatives. Having been diagnosed with pituitary growths in 2015 and 2020, Helen is also an active member of the Pituitary Foundation and her experiences with chronic illness inspired her latest story.

After knowing about her, would there be any rugby involved? Unfortunately, I doubt it because it was invented in 1823, so a bit later than the year of this story. However, would there be any dogs? Would her chronic illness have inspired her for Elizabeth’s maladie?

You can follow Helen and her writing on her Facebook Author Page.

EXCERPT

This is a lovely excerpt mostly about the relationship growing between Elizabeth and Georgiana and Jane helps make it a entertaining and funny scene. Enjoy!

When the time came for Elizabeth to take her leave, Darcy escorted her out to await the carriage.

“Your sister is a darling girl,” she said. “I had never expected to find her otherwise, but I am very pleased nonetheless. I am sure we shall soon love one another just as two sisters ought.”

Darcy took her hand and pressed it. “My sister has long been in need of a sister—a true friend—and I thank you for taking her so easily into your affections.”

“How could I do otherwise when I have you to please and she is so delightful in her own right? But if anyone should be expressing their gratitude, it is I. As Jane has recently discovered to her regret, not all future sisters by marriage are so agreeable.” This was said with an arch look, and Darcy smiled ruefully.

“I meant to enquire…did you truly have the headache earlier, or was that a convenient excuse?”

“What a quandary you put me in, Fitzwilliam! For if I say yes, you will worry, but if I say no, you will scold me for crying wolf.”

“I daresay in this instance I would quite forgive you, knowing the provocation.”

“Then I regret to say that in this instance I was not dissembling, though I confess that I have headaches so frequently of late that it was a convenient excuse I was only too happy to take advantage of.”

“I am grieved to hear it. They do not distress you?” Mr Darcy asked gently, stroking her hand.

“No, though I shall admit to you that I am very tired. I know you will not take this the wrong way, but I shall be glad of a little peace and quiet once you all have departed. It will be a few days before the Gardiners arrive at Longbourn, and I look forward to doing very little indeed!”

“You should rest now if you need it. I would not begrudge you your peace and quiet, and I know the same can be said of my sister. In fact,” Mr Darcy paused and then smiled, “if you would welcome a little company, I am sure my sister would enjoy being quiet with you. You discovered for yourself her favourite pastime, but she is as often found working on her embroidery as she is practicing the pianoforte.”

Elizabeth laughed merrily, and Mr Darcy smiled at her with a quizzical look.

“That would be a very elegant solution indeed, were it not for the fact that I dislike the pastime myself. But I would be very happy to spend a morning or two with your sister so that we may become better acquainted, and she is very welcome to bring her work bag.”

This invitation was accordingly extended to Miss Darcy, who found herself sitting with Elizabeth in the latter’s room a few days later. Jane had joined them as well and had prevailed upon Elizabeth to turn her hand to prettifying an old purse.

“That is lovely, Miss Elizabeth.” Miss Darcy spoke quietly, admiring the other’s work while oblivious to the marked superiority of her own.

“I do enjoy a French knot. There is something so satisfying about them, except, of course, when you are left with one of those pesky loops. Those do put me quite out of patience.”

“Most stitches seem to do that, Lizzy,” Jane murmured and smiled at Miss Darcy when Elizabeth laughed. “My sister does not often try her hand at embroidery. Her skill is not at all lacking, but she is easily frustrated when something goes awry.”

“I am quite the same. Indeed, often I have to set aside whatever I am working on that has vexed me and return to it when I am in a calmer frame of mind.”

“Ah, but my dear Miss Darcy,” Elizabeth teased with a twinkle in her eye, “have you ever, in your vexation, launched your sewing across the room? I think perhaps not!”

“Well, no,” Miss Darcy admitted hesitantly. As Jane and Elizabeth were both laughing quietly, she allowed herself to smile. “I do not usually become that frustrated, Miss Elizabeth.”

“Whereas I have been known to lose my temper at the slightest provocation. I am quite sanguine generally, but place a needle and thread in my hands, and I transform into quite a different creature.”

“Do not worry too much, Miss Darcy,” Jane counselled kindly. “Between us we have contrived ways of preserving my sister’s temper, and I shall happily share them with you. First and foremost, you must always thread her needle for her.”

“Must I? But why so?” Miss Darcy looked as though she wished to laugh, which she duly did when Elizabeth brandished her needle and scowled at it in dramatic fashion.

“Because it is a physical impossibility to squeeze six threads—six!—through such a tiny aperture. Either that or I am just a clumsy-fingered fool, but my vanity much prefers the former interpretation of the issue.”

“Dearest, you are not clumsy at all.”

“Thank you, Jane—that soothes me. But do go on. You must tell Miss Darcy everything, following which she may decide whether she wishes to have me for her sister after all.”

“Well, there is not so very much besides. You do prefer to have someone sort your threads for you. But as you can see, Miss Darcy has hers marvellously organised, so I daresay you need have no fears on that account. And I am certain Miss Darcy would not mind were you to seek her advice when you happen to go wrong—”

“Which I very often do,” Elizabeth interjected.

“—or when you have sewn your work to your gown,” Jane concluded with a mischievous grin. Elizabeth burst out laughing, unable to deny the charge, whilst Miss Darcy giggled behind her embroidery hoop.

BLOG TOUR

If you have loved this excerpt and you want to know much more about Helen Williams’ In Essentials, check the other entries of this blog tour.

Are you interested in buying In Essentials and getting to know what happened to Elizabeth and how Darcy got her good opinion? Here are some links that you could use:

Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon US Amazon ES Amazon DE

Meryton Press is giving away 6 ebook copies of In Essentials by Helen Williams during the whole blog tour. In order to be considered in the giveaway, please click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – In Essentials

“Parallels” by Linda Gonschior, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I am glad to have for the first time in My Vices and Weaknesses author Linda Gonschior. She is presenting her third book on the Reflections series and I hope you enjoy what she is sharing with you today.

Just in case you have missed the previous post, let’s have a look at the blurb:

Love, heartbreak, and self-discovery

are life’s greatest challenges,

no matter who your parents may be.

Will and Elizabeth Darcy faced those challenges twenty years earlier, yet marriage taught them patience, understanding, and most importantly, the irreplaceable value of one another. Now their children are about to embark upon that path, hopefully to learn those lessons more gently and avoid the mistakes of their parents.

This third book in the Reflections series brings to a conclusion the story of a couple whose love drew them together in spite of themselves and continues to test them when least expected.

I do not know if you have read the previous books but I would bet that reading this blurb makes you think “I think I should read the previous two”. On the other hand, if you have read the previous two books on the series, I can imagine that you cannot wait to see what is going on with the Darcy’s children. It is pretty appealing to read how they met, how they fell in love, got married and had their kids, don’t you think?

Let me introduce you to the author of this really good series:

Linda Gonschior has entertained the art of writing since elementary school but never allowed it to come to fruition until Pride and Prejudice lured her into deeper exploration of characters, relationships and ‘what ifs’.  Writing is not the breadwinner, however, as she has a day job and many other interests that compete for attention and time.  Still, she has managed to squeeze in several dozen stories – long and short – and there are many more in the ‘incomplete’ folder on the computer.  As retirement looms on the horizon, some may be dusted off to evaluate their potential to entertain those who share a fondness for Jane Austen’s characters and don’t mind straying a little off the beaten path.

Amongst her accomplishments Linda counts raising a son, stage managing live theatre productions, flower gardening, and website administration, but not netting purses or painting screens.

You can follow her on Facebook on her Author Page. Here you have her Amazon UK Author Page.

Linda is an accomplish woman, indeed! We can say that she reads a lot too 🙂

EXCERPT

Enjoy!! Darcy and Georgiana and then Darcy’s children. Any similarities? Any parallels?

Thank you Ana for this opportunity to share a little more from Parallels, the final book in my Reflections series! I’d like to talk a bit about the Darcy siblings’ relationships.

In the first two books the character of Georgiana Darcy played a significant role. The relationship between these Darcy siblings was strong, supportive and not without conflict at times. Georgiana was there for her brother in some of his lowest moments. She also let him know when he was thinking too much of himself and not others. In this excerpt from Parallels it is Will’s turn to bring his sister out of the darkness of grief, but can he?

**

There was no answer to his knock, but he hadn’t expected one. Pushing the door open slowly, Will peered around it to see Georgiana sitting in the window seat, staring towards the front lawn. He crossed the room to stand at her shoulder. For several minutes, he said nothing, but memories from childhood soon intruded. “I remember when Mum dressed you up for our family portrait and you escaped from the house, running across the grass to the pond on the other side.” He looked at her face for some reaction. “Do you remember, Georgie?”

A small smile appeared on her face, but Will suspected it was merely for his benefit. Her eyes still stared vacantly through the glass. “I was looking for you.”

“You thought you were the only one denied any fun for the sake of that portrait, but I was annoyed at having to be here instead of with my friends. You knew exactly where to find me.” He looked out the window too. “Despite your little adventure, the photo turned out to be excellent. We managed to clean you up before Mum and Dad realized you were found. Nobody even noticed the mud on your shoes.” Will turned to face her once more, taking one of her hands in his to squeeze it.

“Don’t, Will. Don’t try to make me feel like I’m still alive…because I’m not.” She whispered the words, her gaze out the window never wavering.

**

In keeping with the ‘parallels’ theme, Will and Elizabeth’s two eldest children also share a close bond. They tease and annoy one another, of course. And when one is in trouble the other is quick to act even if it’s unwelcome interference.

**

Anna wasn’t, by nature, particularly patient. So when Wednesday evening rolled around and she still hadn’t heard from her brother, she began to make enquiries. Since there had been no reply the dozen times she had texted and rung his mobile, she next called Robert Bingley, where Ben had last been.

“Sorry, Anna,” Robert told her. “I haven’t seen him since Sunday. He left here in a mood, and I doubt he’s coming back anytime soon.”

She thanked him and said goodbye, not wanting to spend too much time when she could be continuing to look for him elsewhere.

Anna and Ben had always been rather close. She tagged after him as a child, forever into her big brother’s toys and wanting to do everything he did. A pest she may have been, but Ben hadn’t minded altogether, and as they grew older, they had grown closer, which was why Anna was worried now. It simply wasn’t like Ben to hide himself away like this.

The quickest way to find him would be the university, she decided, and with that in mind, Anna didn’t waste any time. She drove straight to Cambridge and sought him out in class.

“What are you doing here?” Ben hissed as he joined her in the hallway outside the lecture hall.

“As if you have to ask!” Anna hissed back. “Where have you been?”

“Around.”

“Don’t be smart. Mum is worried sick about you. How can you be so inconsiderate?” Anna pulled on his arm, turning him to face her. “What happened on Monday, Ben?”

He looked away then brought his eyes around again to meet hers. “I made a right mess of things.”

“Oh, Ben.” Anna felt her brother’s pain just looking at his face. “Are you sure? Can’t you make it up?”

“I doubt it. I did everything I promised her I wouldn’t do. How could she trust me again?” Ben shook his head and started walking down the corridor.

Anna walked along beside him. “You can’t just give up, Ben. Isn’t she worth fighting for? Isn’t your relationship stronger than that?”

Ben came to a sudden halt and spun around to glare at his sister. “I don’t need any lectures from you, Anna! I feel like a daft plonker, and I deserve to feel that way. Don’t give me any condescending reassurances because I don’t want them. Just leave me alone.”

“But,” Anna began.

“I said to leave me alone!”

**

I hope you find these tidbits appetizing!

What do you think? I have really liked both bits and I want to know more. Why is Georgiana not feeling alive? What has Ben done?

If you want to buy the book, you could do it here:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

BLOG TOUR

Do not forget the previous post and the following ones, you are going to enjoy them and know a bit more about Linda and Parallels.

June 7 Donadee’s Corner

June 8 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 9 Diary of an Eccentric

June 10 From Pemberley to Milton

June 11 Babblings of a Bookworm

June 14 My Jane Austen Book Club

June 15 Probably at the Library

Meryton Press is giving away eight eBooks of Parallels. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends at midnight on the 17th of June or 12:00 AM on the 18th of June.

Click on the link and follow the instructions. Good luck!!

Rafflecopter “Parallels”

“The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet” by Hunter Quinn, excerpt, review and giveaway

Hello to all,

I hope you are doing well and having time to read. I am getting there, reading as much as I can on this few moments that I have to spare, but it is worth it.

I am very glad to have an author visiting us for the first time: Hunter Quinn, who is bringing her book The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Hunter Quinn is a British writer, residing in the southwest of England. She is an avid reader, no doubt due to the influence of her mother, an English classics’ professor and lecturer. 

Having grown up a stone’s throw from Bath and always surrounded by the words of literary greats, Hunter first discovered Jane Austen at a young age. But it was the ubiquitous scene where Mr. Darcy—portrayed by Colin Firth (a moment of silence and applause)—first emerged from the lake in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that cemented her love for Jane Austen and the regency romance genre of spirited damsels, dashing gentleman, and glittering ballrooms. Afterwards, Hunter walked through life daydreaming and writing ‘what if’ scenarios between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy but never had the courage to share them. 

Once the lockdown went into effect, Hunter took the plunge and began sharing her first novel on well-known JAFF sites. The praise and interest of readers gave her the confidence to submit The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to Meryton Press Publishing… and the rest is history!

I am glad that Hunter Quinn had the courage to share her ‘what ifs’ 🙂 If you want to follow her, check her Author Page on Facebook.

Let me share the blurb of the book before Hunter shares a very good excerpt from the book:

An insulting proposal without an explanatory letter…how can they possibly reconcile?

When her sister Lydia elopes without a trace, Elizabeth Bennet must put aside her predisposition against Mr. Darcy—the man whose hand she refused months earlier—and plead for his assistance in locating the wayward couple. As a result, they face daunting hurdles with help from well-loved friends and interference from old rivals. Will their struggles result in permanent estrangement or a love match?

Oh, Lydia! Really? Let’s recap: Darcy proposes at the parsonage, there is no letter, Lydia elopes, Elizabeth asks Darcy for help… what could go wrong?

Hello Ana and thank you very much for hosting me as your guest on My Vices & Weaknesses!  

For those of you who have been following this blog tour, the excerpts I have chosen are in chronological order. In this next passage we learn more about how Elizabeth is feeling in the aftermath of her meeting with Mr. Darcy. Mr. Gardiner has received an astonishing letter, and we are, like a fly on the wall, listening to a conversation between Elizabeth, her aunt, and her uncle. Will Elizabeth be able to keep her composure…?

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy this next installment.

When Elizabeth found Aunt Gardiner in the drawing room, she was surprised to see her uncle there as well.

“Now that you have joined us, Lizzy, I have some astonishing news that might interest you both,” exclaimed Mr Gardiner.

“What is it, Uncle?”

“I was to leave for work when I received a note from none other than Mr Darcy,” he said. “I believe you are acquainted with the gentleman, Lizzy. This is the same Mr Darcy who refused to stand up with you at the assembly and supposedly treated Mr Wickham very ill!”

When Elizabeth failed to respond, he continued. “Does this not shock you, especially after his behaviour in Meryton?”

“Yes indeed, Uncle. What could he mean by contacting you?” said Elizabeth, feigning ignorance.

“Well, as you mentioned before, he truly is a man of few words.” He chuckled to himself. “He starts with a terse introduction and then writes that he has received some upsetting information regarding our mutual acquaintance, Mr Wickham. Mr Darcy goes on to say he does not wish to commit anything further to paper but asks whether he could call on me this afternoon as he may be of some assistance to us.” After he concluded, Mr Gardiner looked at Elizabeth expectantly.

“Mr Darcy wants to help us?” Mrs Gardiner asked her husband with a look of incredulity. She then turned to Elizabeth. “But Lizzy, if he is as disagreeable as you said he was, why should he want to offer his assistance?”

“I am as surprised as you are, Aunt. I cannot imagine what has compelled him.”

“Lizzy, I must admit I was astonished by your description of the young Mr Darcy. As you know, I grew up in Lambton, which is but five miles from Pemberley, and the Darcys have long been respected landlords and members of society. Their tenants and servants never have an unkind word to say about them.” Squeezing the hand of her husband, she continued, “I confess I am slightly giddy at the prospect of him visiting our home, Edward.”

Elizabeth felt distressed for having to deceive her relatives and prayed they would not discover her role in the matter.

“How did you respond, Uncle? Will you meet with him?”

“Of course! We are in no position to refuse someone of his influence, especially as he may be the key to locating our Lydia. I am feeling more optimistic now than last night…” Mr Gardiner gave a little sigh at the reminder of the severity of the situation.

“Dearest Lizzy,” Mrs Gardiner said, “I can feel your apprehension, but let us try to be open-minded. The gentleman must be a good fellow if he is offering to help with such a delicate situation when it concerns him not. What should it matter to him what happens to our family? We should consider the possibility that, since we were wrong about Mr Wickham’s character, we may have been wrong regarding Mr Darcy’s as well.”

Elizabeth disagreed with her aunt but lacked the energy to argue. She understood what desperation can drive a person to do and still maintained that Mr Wickham would be an honourable gentleman were it not for the injustice he had suffered at Mr Darcy’s hand. Therefore, she gave her aunt what she hoped was a reassuring smile and then looked down with a small frown. Her feelings and thoughts regarding Mr Darcy were in turmoil, and the conflicting emotions made her headache. How could one man cause her head to rage and her heart to flutter? No! He may be handsome, and perhaps he was occasionally caring and gentle, but he was also someone who enjoyed toying with people’s livelihood as his wealth and power allowed him to do all his life. She vowed that he would never be able to wield his influence over her. He was helping because he ought, seeing how he was the root cause of Mr Wickham’s misfortunes. Mr Darcy was still the same disagreeable man she knew in Hertfordshire and Kent.

“Oh, Lizzy, I almost forgot,” said Mrs Gardiner as she passed her a letter. “This came for you this morning. I believe it is from Jane. Forgive me for not giving it to you when it arrived. I thought it best to let you rest. You have been through a great deal of shock.”

“You are right. I have not been well lately.”

Elizabeth tore open the letter, daring to hope Jane had written to inform her that Lydia had returned home, and this had all been a silly misunderstanding. Her shoulders drooped as she read in silence, and upon finishing the letter, she looked up to inform her aunt and uncle that Jane would be joining them to help recover Lydia.

“Jane writes that we should expect her by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. I confess it will be a great comfort to have her here.”

“I agree, and I am glad she is coming,” replied Mr Gardiner. “I sent an express to Longbourn before I retired to apprise them of your father’s condition, and it will reach Jane before she departs. In any case, we shall ready another room in anticipation of Mrs Bennet’s arrival, as she might want to be here for Mr Bennet. It will be a bit of a squeeze, but we shall manage.” And with that, Mr Gardiner bowed to the ladies and left for his study.

A servant arrived shortly to inform Elizabeth that she could visit her father. Sitting at his bedside, she read to him in nervous anticipation of Mr Darcy’s impending visit.

What do you think? If you have not read the previous excerpts, I highly recommend you to go and check them, I am writing the blog tour below. Is it true that he has got to know some info or is there anyone who has asked for help? 😀

BLOG TOUR

No, I have not forgotten about my review but it is coming just after I remind you of the schedule of the blog tour.

April 19th From Pemberley to Milton

April 20th Probably at the Library

April 21st My Jane Austen Book Club

April 22nd Diary of an Eccentric

April 23rd My Vices and Weaknesses

April 24th Donadee’s Corner

April 26th Austenesque Reviews

REVIEW

Elizabeth is pretty annoying for part of the book. Even if she must ask Darcy for help, she keeps thinking the worst of him, however, as you can imagine, that changes at some point…

As you have read on the blurb, there was no letter after the horrendous proposal, so she has no idea of how badly he has judged Darcy. However, she is so stubborn!

The story is good and the annoyance you can feel towards Elizabeth is needed but I got far too annoyed. Wickham has eloped with Lydia and she still defends him and blames Darcy for where Wickham is now in life!!! However, Lydia even gets a grip after listening to Wickham talking to Denny and boom! (I like this scene). Although, even if I like that Lydia, she is very lucky to

Darcy, what can I say! He is so tired of getting Elizabeth’s recriminations and putting up with her bad opinion of himself that he is almost on the verge of giving her up. He technically does it but words are words and sometimes you have to eat what you have said.

Apart from Elizabeth and Darcy, and Lydia and Wickham, there are many more things happening and I can tell you that they are very well written and you will enjoy them.

One last thing, Wickham is believed to be dead but… he is not and he has an extremely bad scene. Despicable!!

Meryton Press will give away one eBook of The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to one of the readers of this blog who comments on this post. The giveaway is international and it will finish on Monday 26th of April 2021 at 11:59 CET. Good luck!

“Interrupted Plans” by Brigid Huey, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I have to confess that I have a big bookish problem lately because I barely have time to read and there are so many fantastic books being published lately that I want to pull my hair. One of those intriguing books is Interrupted Plans by Brigid Huey (I hope to read it this month or the next one!). Only the blurb calls me to read it but, once you read the scene that Brigid is sharing with us, I am sure that you will want to read more of those looks! Let me allow you to read the blurb:

Suppose Elizabeth Bennet never visited Pemberley…

It is October of 1812. Elizabeth Bennet and her family have seen dramatic changes in the past few months—none of them welcome. Her sister Jane needs a fresh start, and Elizabeth is no less eager to leave behind the pain and confusion of not accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has not seen Elizabeth since he offered for her—and she adamantly refused him. When she appears in London, he is determined to gain her friendship and make amends. When a carriage mishap throws them together, Darcy does all he can to demonstrate his changed behavior.

Though their renewed acquaintance seems to be growing into a genuine friendship, a family secret constrains Elizabeth. As she falls deeper in love with the man she rejected, does she dare tell him the truth?

The blurb already starts well with Elizabeth having read the letter but not having seen him at Pemberley, as you have read, this is the first time after the proposal… Second, who is Mr. W…? Oops, that’s not on the blurb, but there will be a bit of info soon in this post.

What family secret do we have? Is it Lydia? Is it something else? I really want to know!!

Let me (re)introduce you to the author of Interrupted Plans:

Brigid Huey has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids and spends her free time reading and writing. She also has an assortment of birds, including five chickens and too many parakeets. She dreams of living on a farm where she can raise as many chickens, ducks, and goats as she likes and write romance novels in an airy study overlooking the wildflowers.

Follow and contact Birgid Huey on:

Website Facebook Author Page Email Instagram Twitter

I am very glad that Brigid is sharing her latest book with us and also is giving us a peek in the story with this short but very interesting excerpt! (remember the looks)

Thank you so much for having me on My Vices and Weaknesses today! I’m excited to share another excerpt from my book, Interrupted Plans. In this scene, Elizabeth and Darcy are sharing a meal with her family and a new friend, a Mr. Wessex of Bedfordshire and Scotland.

“As I am sure you can guess: I am travelling north as well. I am sorry to hear about your troubles, Miss Elizabeth.”

“The meeting of so many friends has softened our inconvenience considerably, Mr Wessex,” Aunt Gardiner replied with a smile.

Looking at the two men side by side, Elizabeth was struck by Mr Wessex’s youthful appearance. He seemed much younger than Mr Darcy. She knew Mr Darcy had been given all the cares and responsibilities of an adult at a young age. Perhaps his bearing exuded more maturity by habit.

“You say you are heading north, sir,” Uncle Gardiner said. “Do you reside in Derbyshire as Mr Darcy does?”

“No, sir. I am travelling even farther north. I have an estate in Scotland that I am attempting to make prosperous once again.”

“Mr Wessex is considering sheep farming, Uncle,” Elizabeth supplied.

“Yet he is unwilling to remove the crofts, are you not Wessex?” Darcy added.

“Indeed! Darcy here is giving me a great amount of counsel on the matter. I mean to keep the small farms and add sheep farming. It will be a difficult business, but I feel confident that my tenants and I shall be all the stronger for it once we have accomplished our goal.”

“I am glad to hear that you are keeping the crofts, sir. When we spoke about the matter the other day, you seemed rather undecided.”

“You are very astute, Miss Elizabeth. In truth, I lacked pride in my convictions. It was Darcy who helped me to see what I truly desired to do with the estate. He has confidence in spades, you know.”

Elizabeth could not help but glance at Darcy, though she wished she had not a moment later. He was staring at her, his face a mixture of emotions she could not interpret.

“My confidence in estate matters comes from time and experience, as I have been managing Pemberley for many years now. It is possible to be too sure of your opinions, Wessex. Better to think deeply about them, as you have. Pride in your convictions can too easily become arrogance.”

“Well said!” Mr Gardiner raised his wine glass in salute.

Elizabeth could not help responding. “Mr Darcy, I do not believe anyone who truly knows you would call you arrogant or prideful.”

He looked at her again, their gazes locking across the table. For a moment, Elizabeth forgot all about Mr Wessex and her family. All she saw was Darcy, his dark eyes burning into hers with an intensity that took her breath away.

Can you imagine those dark eyes? I definitely can and I could imagine that Elizabeth may have shivered apart from forgetting all about Mr. Wessex and her family.

Are you ready to buy it? If you want, you could do it here:

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon DE Amazon ES

Blog tour schedule

Would you like to know a bit more about Interrupted Plans? Just check the rest of the blog tour and enjoy!!

March 4 My Jane Austen Book Club

March 5 So little time…

March 8 From Pemberley to Milton

March 9 My Vices and Weaknesses

March 10 Diary of an Eccentric

March 11 Savvy Verse & Wit

March 12 Austenesque Reviews

March 15 Babblings of a Bookworm

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Brigid Huey’s Interrupted Plans, and the giveaway is international. Yes, eight winners from the tour will get one ebook copy of this interesting novel! If you want to participate, click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Interrupted Plans

I have to say that the cover and backcover are amazing!!

“Determination” by C.P. Odom, excerpt + giveaway

Happy New Year to everyone! I am aware that we are almost at the end of January but as it is my first post, I thought I could start for hoping that everybody is feeling well.

I am glad to have a visit from C.P. Odom again and in this occasion he is introducing his latest book: Determination. I like the title, it is promising, isn’t it? We like determined people.

What is this book about? Let’s have a look:

“Love at first sight” is a laughable concept in the considered opinion of Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam and never occurs in real life—certainly not in the life of an experienced soldier. In fact, until he observes the smitten nature of his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy, he doubts that fervent love truly exists. Marriage, after all, is a matter of money, social standing, and property.

But his cousin becomes besotted with Elizabeth Bennet, the lovely but penniless daughter of a Hertfordshire gentleman, and is determined to make her his wife. Unfortunately, emotions overwhelm his good judgment, and he botches an offer of marriage.

When the colonel attempts to untangle the mess, his own world becomes almost as chaotic when he makes the accidental acquaintance of Miss Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s beloved elder sister. Can emotions previously deemed impossible truly seize such a level-headed person as himself? And can impassible obstacles deter a man of true determination?

Ooops! Colonel and Jane? But Bingley is there… as you could see later. Darcy being besotted with Elizabeth does not surprise us much, does it? although I want to see how similar or different is his proposal. Back to the colonel, when does he meet Jane? How is that “accidental” acquaintance? How determined is he? What do Darcy and Elizabeth do?

C.P. Odom may need to answer all these questions but I think it may be as entertaining to read Determination. If somebody does not know Colin, he is introducing himself. Welcome again!

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics.

I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have five novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015), and Perilous Siege (2019), and A Covenant of Marriage (2020). Four of my books are now audiobooks, Most Civil Proposal, Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets, Consequences, and A Covenant of Marriage.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

I am glad to be able to participate on this blog tour, but I must tell you to check the other entries, so far you can learn a lot about Determination. Have a look!

18th January 2021 Babblings of a Bookworm

19th January So little time…

20th January Diary of an Eccentric

21st January My Vices and Weaknesses

22nd January Austenesque Reviews

25th January Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

26th January Donadee’s Corner

When you read the excerpt that C.P. Odom has for us, you may then go and check if you can peek more inside this book!

This excerpt is from Chapter 12 of my new novel, Determination. Previously, Colonel Fitzwilliam invited Jane, Elizabeth, and their aunt and uncle to be his guests at the theatre. Following that evening, Elizabeth tells the colonel that she has decided to allow Darcy another chance to seek her favour by formally courting her in the usual fashion. As her price for this change of mind, she wants Darcy to confess what he did to separate Bingley from her sister. This excerpt deals with Bingley’s reaction to the express he receives from Darcy on that subject.

Chapter 12

Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

– Robert Heinlein

Thursday, May 6, 1812
Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Charles Bingley was not in a particularly good mood as he cantered into the stable yard behind his cousin’s estate. A good part of his discontent was the thought of going into the house for breakfast. Despite the fact that he had worked up a good appetite with his brisk morning ride, he could depend on Caroline arriving at the breakfast table as soon as the meal was announced, and he found it wearing to have to listen to her incessant complaints: Scarborough was a boring town, there was nothing to do, and why could they not return to London?

As he swung down from the saddle and handed the reins to a stable boy, he shook his head in irritation with his sister. He knew that he should not allow her to spoil what ought to be a relaxing visit with their many relatives in the area, but he did not seem able to ignore her as he used to. He had tried to inform her that there was no reason for her dissatisfaction since Scarborough was believed to be England’s first seaside resort and was a popular destination for the wealthy of London. But she had ignored him, and he knew why. She wanted to return to London in order to continue her useless pursuit of Darcy, hoping for an invitation to spend the summer months at Pemberley away from the unhealthy streets of London. That would be pleasant enough, but Caroline could not accept that Darcy was simply not interested in her beyond her relationship as a sister to his good friend—certainly not as a wife despite her beauty, wealth, and supercilious manners cultivated and honed by the elite school she and Louisa had both attended.

I am not sure just what kind of woman Darcy is looking for, he thought, but it is certainly not Caroline. When Darcy made that comment at Netherfield about a woman not being truly accomplished unless she could improve her mind by extensive reading, she did not realize he was describing her. Caroline might read, but her book selections do nothing to broaden her horizons.

He was at times tempted to respond with one of his late mother’s favourite sayings when Caroline was young that “boring people are the first to be bored. Are you a boring person, Caroline?”

He smiled at the thought as he walked into the house. He knew he could not be so cold as to repeat his mother’s words, but it was tempting. Very tempting.

The butler must have heard his footsteps as he went down the hall towards the stairs since he stepped out of his little cubby. “An express arrived for you while you were out, sir. From what the express rider said, it appears to be rather important.” He gestured to a silver salver on a small table. Bingley thanked him and picked up the letter, noting it was from Darcy.

I wonder what of importance Darcy has to relate, he thought idly. He, of course, knows that we planned to stay several more weeks before returning to London. And that we shall do, no matter how much Caroline complains. Perhaps it is about that town house I have been interested in buying. In any case, I am sure it concerns nothing of real importance.

However, despite what the butler had said about the importance of Darcy’s express, Bingley was too hungry to read it just now and instead hurried to the breakfast room.

It was almost an hour later before Bingley climbed the stairs and stalked down the hallway to his room. His breakfast sat like a lump of lead in his stomach after barely being able to restrain his temper as Caroline launched into her usual litany of complaints, and he threw Darcy’s express onto the writing desk while he went to the sideboard and filled a glass from the decanter of port. He was so upset that it took a valiant effort to pass by the brandy in favour of the lesser-strength beverage, and it was almost a quarter hour more before he retrieved the express.

He noted the date and time written in the corner and shook his head. Darcy wrote this on Saturday and it is just now arriving, he thought in disgust. That is almost five days! It only takes about three days by coach. Depending on the roads, of course.

Still, he was not that surprised. A postal rider travelled only about three miles in an hour, and even the usual express rider could only manage to increase that to four miles. And they could not travel by day and night; the roads were safer now that so many turnpikes had been opened, but travelling at night was still a risky business. He knew Darcy must have paid extra for even a five-day delivery.

But Bingley was not an overly introspective man, so he shrugged and opened the express.

***

Three quarters of an hour and another glass of port later, Bingley was vaguely conscious of a knock at his door, but he ignored it as he concentrated on trying to make both his message and his penmanship intelligible. The knock came again, and again he ignored it as his quill scratched over the paper.

“Charles?”

His sister’s voice became more strident as she repeated his name. It was only after two more repetitions that Bingley looked up from his letter.

“Go away, Caroline,” he said as he saw his sister. “I am busy. I have several expresses to write and dispatch. But make yourself useful. Ring for the butler.”

Caroline’s lips were compressed in anger as she went to several bell cords hanging from the ceiling and pulled one before turning back to her brother.

“Charles, stop that writing! I want to talk to you.”

“I care little what you want. I am busy.”

“I have just talked with Louisa, and we are both agreed that we want to load up your coach and return to London.”

“You do, do you? Hah!” Bingley concluded his second express and finished addressing it when the butler knocked at the door and entered.

“Ah, Smith! I have several things that I need to get done immediately. First, send word to the stables to have my coach prepared. Then summon my valet to pack my trunk. I want to be on my way in half an hour.”

The butler was taken aback to hear that their visitors were leaving, but he had received surprising instructions many times during his service, so he merely said, “Very good, sir,” and stepped over to pull another bell cord.

“Next—and this is just as important—here are two expresses that I need to send, one to my estate in Hertfordshire and the other to a friend in London. Please summon a pair of riders—good ones, like the one who delivered my express this morning.”

“Perhaps you might consider using just one express rider, sir? If I am not mistaken, both destinations are nearly in line with each other.”

Bingley thought that over for a moment before shaking his head. “No, I shall pay the extra cost to make sure each one is delivered as fast as possible. And pack some food and drink for myself and the drivers for the road. It is going to be a hard journey in any case, but I hope to shorten it to four days.”

“Very well, sir. Is there anything else?”

“No, I believe that will be all for now. Thank you.”

Bingley waited until the butler left before swivelling about in his chair to face Caroline, who wore a huge, satisfied smile.

“You have nothing to smile about like that, Caroline. We are not returning to London. I am going to Netherfield instead. One of my expresses was for the housekeeper to arrange to have the house prepared for occupancy.”

Caroline looked at her brother in shock. “Whatever for, Charles?”

“To try to rectify a horrible mistake if at all possible.”

“Talk sense! What are you speaking of?”

“I am speaking of the conspiracy that you and my best friend engaged in to convince me not to return to Netherfield because Miss Jane Bennet was not suitable to be my wife and did not even care for me. Do you perhaps recall that little conversation the four of us had? You, me, Louisa, and Darcy?

“Well, of course, but that was in your best—”

“Do not tell me that was in my best interest!” Bingley said icily as he surged to his feet to confront his sister. He picked up Darcy’s express and waved it furiously at his sister.

“Darcy confessed everything—what he did in convincing me of Jane Bennet’s indifference to me and what he thought when he considered how Mrs. Bennet would order her daughter to accept any offer of marriage I made.”

Caroline went dead white in shock and mortification, taking a step backwards away from her brother’s anger.

“He also writes that you concealed from me that Miss Bennet was visiting her aunt and uncle in London. Also, that you coldly severed the acquaintance with a young lady you had been pretending was a friend! How could you be so callous and cruel? Is that what they taught you at that expensive school?”

“How…how can you even know of this?” Caroline stammered in mortification.

“Because he developed an interest in Miss Bennet’s sister, Miss Elizabeth—so much so that he made her an offer of marriage! What do you think of that, Caroline?”

Caroline was so dumbstruck that she could make no comment at all, her mouth open wide in dismay at the shattering of all her hopes and dreams.

After several moments, she managed to say weakly, “Then…Mr. Darcy is going to marry…to marry…” Her voice went silent. Caroline Bingley simply could not say the words.

“It is not that simple,” Bingley said derisively. “Miss Elizabeth proved herself no more a fortune hunter than her sister would have been. She refused Darcy’s offer, and angry words were exchanged. It was she who informed him of all the particulars of your deception regarding Miss Bennet. But at least Darcy has confessed his errors to me, and now both of us have an opportunity to achieve our dreams: he with Miss Elizabeth and me with her sister. That is why I am going to Netherfield.”

Caroline opened and closed her mouth several times over the next several seconds, trying to say something but unable to make the words come. Finally, she managed to say, her voice almost like the croaking of a frog, “I…I will not go to Netherfield! I…I refuse to have any…any part in such an unseemly scheme! I will not—”

“That is quite all right,” Bingley said with a smile. “Because, you see, you are not invited. You will remain here in Scarborough—you and your sister and your sister’s husband.”

“But…but you are taking your coach! How will…we cannot…how…how will we get home?” Her voice had risen almost to a screech, and the expression that twisted her lovely features was one of pure desperation and panic.

“You could hire a coach, I suppose,” Bingley said with a careless shrug. “You have your own fortune, you know, unless you have overspent your income again. But if the three of you pool your funds, you should be able to manage something. Or you could always travel by post. In any case, it is not my concern. I must be on my way.”

Bingley left his sister standing motionless, her mouth open in shock and dismay, stepping around her to give instructions to his valet about preparations for his journey.

What do you think? He is flying to Netherfield, Darcy has told him everything and I love how he leaves Caroline. However, back to what we know from the blurb… Colonel Fitzwilliam. Are we having a fight over Jane? Is Jane still in love with Bingley? Will Colonel realise that this love at first sight is eventually true? or maybe he will think it is an infatuation? Are Bingley and Darcy becoming brothers, or would Darcy become brother to the cousin he feels is his brother already? I think I am going to stop here and recommend you to buy Determination or participate on the giveaway below.

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Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Determination. To participate, click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

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“In Plain Sight” by Don Jacobson, guest post, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

It is always a pleasure to share the news of Don Jacobson’s latest writing, and this time he is bringing something else, it is not the “usual” Darcy and Elizabeth story, it goes beyond the cannon and I believe it may make us see them differently, with a new perspective. I wish you a great time reading In Plain Sight.

Here you have the blurb and see what Don is hinting:

“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

                                                      Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands

What do you think? I know it is not much but, how do you see Elizabeth? and Darcy and his inclinations? If you are confused you can blame this amazing writer.

Let me (re)introduce you to Don Jacobson:

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 began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)Don Jacobson Head Shot

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.

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 the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

I think that it is worth reading what Don has to shared with us about this “different” approach to our beloved couple. I put the inverted commas on different because I believe that we are kind of used to having the same pattern even with variations. However, I am really looking forward to read In Plain Sight and learn more about these characters and how they can see their real world.

I wish to thank Ana for hosting me today. I look forward to engaging with each of you.

Classic Canon has Darcy’s head so high in the clouds of his status that he barely condescends to see those clustered around his feet. Canon also has Elizabeth reacting with impertinence and asperity against the man’s haughty nature and arrogance. That dynamic tension has been present for 200 years.

When I ventured to write my first novel which was Elizabeth/Darcy-centric, I resolved to create a work that would offer readers a fresh approach to the quandary that is the Eternal Binary. I am convinced that one of the reasons that I avoided ODC novels (in spite of Lory Lilian and Joana Starnes urging me to do otherwise) was that I was unwilling to compose another story that relied on plot devices used a dozen times over in JAFF.

Then, sometime in the middle of last year as I was writing The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion, something clicked. It may have been Lydia Wickham acting contrary to her nature Canonically memorialized as well as scorched across the pages of a thousand variations pushed out since about 2010. That sense of our core characters acting differently, assuming new guises, sent a glimmer into the darker corners of my mind where it muttered (and gibbered?) through the end of the Lydia book and the composition of my North and South story, Cinders and Smoke.

At some point in early-October, I turned to the idea that was to become In Plain Sight. Making the Lydia alterations my starting point, I asked myself ‘What must Darcy do to lose his pride and begin to appreciate the people around him if Elizabeth’s Hunsford rejection was not the cause?’ After considerable mulling, my search for a satisfying plot path hit a brick wall. I could not see a way that Fitzwilliam Darcy, master of Pemberley, could set aside his pride and become a fully dimensional person. And, there it was—right in the center of my problem. He could not as long as he was master of Pemberley. That man could only respond to the Hunsford disaster: the denial of his most cherished wish. I needed to have him become another, an inversion of the character with whom we are so familiar., in order to allow him to grow in the manner I would like to write.

Now, I am not a particularly religious man. Even though my books are replete with Christian and Eastern mystic references, these are artifacts of a Swedish Lutheran childhood. That said, our Nineteenth Century characters are people of faith and not Nietzsche’s children, and, thus, allusions to religion and faith are relevant.

As I began to look at inverting Darcy, I was reminded of the story of the Prodigal Son. By the time of George Darcy’s death, Fitzwilliam Darcy has risen to the top of the heap. He was in possession of his birthright at the age of twenty-three. How could this man learn what he needed to learn in order to become worthy of Elizabeth’s love? If Darcy was at the pinnacle, who would be at the absolute (white man’s) social nadir? Like the biblical young man, he would have to lose it all, to be stripped down to his barest essentials.

He would be convicted and relegated to toil, hidden in plain sight, from all of those who would have condescended to know him before.

Once I hit upon that solution, much more moved into position. Now that Darcy was invisible to everybody except the men to whom he was chained, how could he interact with Elizabeth? That forced me to consider the person of Miss Elizabeth Rose Bennet. As a gentleman’s daughter, what did she know and who did she see? Canonical readers and fans of #Austenesque works tend to pigeonhole Elizabeth as somewhat saintly and most certain without fault—except for her nasty proclivity to mimic certain Derbyshire gents in jumping to conclusions.

Yet, would not the daughter of Longbourn be equally susceptible to classism? While she is not of the first circles, are we to assume that those attitudes of superiority did not percolate downward toward the sparrows from the eagles? This gave me a mobilizer for Elizabeth and Smith’s relationship. She was in her own, as well as society’s eyes, so far above the convict as the master of Pemberley was above the second daughter of a modest country gentleman.

Now, Elizabeth had to learn that labels do not make the man. Does Collins become an exemplar of saintly rectitude simply because he is ordained? Much as Lydia discovered that the color of uniform does not define the valor of the man wearing it, so too will Lizzy Bennet find that checkered shirts and canvas pantaloons do not determine the inner qualities of the person before her.

In Plain Sight is, I believe, an honest work. It offers up our hero and heroine in a new light. It moves them through an unfamiliar word growing from the whole cloth of the great work. The novel tells the love story in a way that will be seen as unusual and stepping beyond the norm.

What are your thoughts? Both Don and I would like you to share your ideas, your opinions, your comments to his explanation and, if you keep reading below, to this excerpt where Elizabeth starts seeing…

Excerpt from Chapter 16, In Plain Sight

In the parlor of the Longbourn Dower House where Elizabeth Bennet watches over the unconscious foundling carried there by Mr. Fitzwilliam.

The past few days had been ones of harsh reality for Elizabeth Bennet. She had yet to fully appreciate what she had seen and felt.

Have I been so sheltered as not to understand the cruelties—both petty and great—that surround me? Upon what is my world built? Is it the sands of propriety or the sound stone of wide-opened eyes?

First the flogging of that poor boy.

Then came Mary’s betrothal when none of her sisters had even imagined that she harbored the ability to own such tender feelings.

Mr. Collins’s pique at being denied the £300 from Longbourn’s living showed me another side of placing the control of church offices into the hands of those who see themselves as betters. For their own purposes—to maintain their power—they would manipulate others of weaker spirit, unctuous men like my cousin, men who should only pay fealty to the Heavenly Father. Instead, they bow and scrape before unscrupulous men, moneychangers all, who prey on the fear and blindness of those for whom they are supposedly responsible. If I hear William Collins say the word ‘patroness’ one more time…

And now this poor fellow—Mr. Smith according to Mr. Fitzwilliam—lies with one foot in the grave. He was not condemned to the gibbet by a Red Judge. Yet, here he now rests: sentenced and punished by those not wearing robes of authority. But for what reason?

He rose against the cruelty of the barnyard, living that which we have been taught every Sunday. Did that warrant his death? Or is there a darker reason?

If it had not been for the long figure stretched out before her, Lizzy would have pulled on her pelisse, soiled or not, and launched herself into a pilgrimage across Longbourn’s fields toward Lucas Lodge. She needed Charlotte’s advice right now.

There was something about this man, something that led known—and unknown—bits of her body to warm and tingle in manners that were neither uncomfortable nor unwelcome. Her diet of novels that inspired romantic visions did not blind her to what was happening. Charlotte could help her sort this since Jane yet traveled.

She was attracted to this man, a convict, someone so far outside of her sphere and so wholly unsuitable to be the object of her ruminations as to be toxic to her wellbeing. Yet, there was a nobility about him that shone forth and led her to believe, to pray, that there was more to his tale than that which people would claim after seeing him labor under the watch of armed guards. Lizzy appreciated that he was a fine figure of a man and hoped to learn more. She was frustrated by his continued insensibility.

After Mary’s revelations, Elizabeth had decided to look beyond first impressions. That she had condemned her sister as being bedeviled by a poverty of spirit because Mary affected a dowdy façade was to her shame.

Now, she chose to look beneath, to peel back the layers of a person and seek the golden kernel hidden within. However, she could not ignore the fact that a lack of appearance and gentle behavior—her cousin Collins being a prime example—did predispose her to dislike persons who inflicted themselves upon her when she did not desire them.

Here before her was an early test of her new resolve.

Elizabeth could not believe that Smith was a common criminal. He was anything but ordinary. That bare minute in front of the Netherfield barn had shown Lizzy that he knew how a gentleman carried himself—or at least how she imagined a sophisticated man-about-town would seem: acting neither as rake nor rattle. He had stepped forward to end the outrage rather than holding back with the other convicts, content to bay like a pack of hounds when the Master of the Hunt held high the fox’s torn carcass.

Dependence upon appearance as the sole basis for ascribing character could lead to misunderstanding and prejudice. After all, was that not the case with King Richard III who was portrayed as a hunchback by the Bard, contrary to recorded history? The audiences in the pit easily understood that Henry Tudor, clear-eyed and upright, had earned the right to rule in place of the deformed usurper.

But Lizzy knew that she had little choice except to consider physical manifestations as the freshly wound ormolu clock chimed its way through the quarters while she sat there. She consoled herself with the thought that the poor man could barely speak when conscious, let alone engage in revealing conversation. Thus, she would have to use that which she could observe. Yet, her examinations of men as they slept were rightly limited to her father when she came upon him in his library after he had imbibed one too many brandies.

Even though she had never inspected any other men, she had, oddly, tried to sketch William Collins after he had brushed the crumbs from his black waistcoat and climbed the stairs to his chamber. Did he wash away the sweat of the day before he slid on his nightshirt?

Huffing slightly, she tried to expunge from her thoughts the repellant image of her cousin abed fast asleep. Even in repose, she shuddered; Collins’s inherent nature shone through, illuminating all in a greasy light that was roiled with his obsequious comments.

On the contrary, Lizzy felt that she could see a well-bred refinement shaping Smith’s somnolent features. While his closed eyes were marred by the black-and-blue of his beating, Smith’s aquiline nose—swollen—dropped from a broad forehead to end above his cracked and broken lips. Even these, when the swelling was ignored, may have been found gracing a likeness of an ermine-clad noble in a great house’s gallery.

Yet, Elizabeth Bennet had not been brought into the manor house only in the past week. She had become the family’s skeptic, especially as Meryton was changing with the influx of commerce in the form of Watson’s Mill, the Canal, and tradesmen attracted by the wartime economy. Her private mission was to protect her sisters’ virtues. She had never feared that Mary or Jane would have compromised bedrock principles, so Kitty and Lydia were her unwitting charges. To prepare herself, Lizzy had watched the militia officers stationed on the parade grounds above the Mimram. She had learned that an easy appearance coupled with gentle manners and a glib tongue could certainly hide a deficiency of honor and a wastrel’s inclinations. Too many of the town’s young women had been dispatched to “visit their widowed aunts in the country” for Lizzy to accept a redcoat’s blandishments toward herself, Kitty, and Lydia.

She contemplated the conundrum known as William Smith as he snored softly in his drug-induced torpor.

Yes, a judge had sentenced him to toil as punishment. However, she could not believe that he had fallen as the result of a terrible character defect. Likely, his perdition came about because of remarkable circumstances that overwhelmed engrained probity.

After all, even though he was nearly comatose when she discovered him, had he not urged her to abandon him by the roadside as anything less would have been a violation of propriety? This was surely a sign of a refined temperament. His simple act of defending a friend convinced Elizabeth that he had redeeming qualities that were the strakes atop oaken ribs that made up the man called Smith.

Papa once had counseled her—referring to the Biblical admonition—that one can never build a house upon a foundation made of sand. Men and women needed secure stone footings to build upright lives.

William Smith had shown underpinnings redolent of unshakable principles. Soon Elizabeth would discover whether his edifice was mansion or shanty.

Is it not very interesting? I know it is maybe a very simple idea what I am going to say but for me reading this excerpt and “putting myself” on her place, I just thought about the English expression of “the penny dropped“. What do you think? Let us know.

Do not forget that this post is included in a blog tour with awesome stops, go, check them and enjoy!

IPS Blog Tour Banner Horz M

June 17 Diary of an Eccentric

June 18 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

June 19 Austenesque Reviews

June 20 Donadee’s Corner

June 22 From Pemberley to Milton

June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 24 Savvy Verse & Wit

June 25 So Little Time…

June 26 Babblings of a Bookworm

IPS BlogTour Schedule M

Are you interested on buying In Plain Sight? Here are a few options:

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time to give away winners

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks for 8 winners of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson. Click the link below and follow instructions.

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“Mr. Darcy’s Clan” by Lari Ann O’Dell, guest post, excerpt and giveaway

The upper echelon of English society—comprised of vampires, or Firstborn Sons—is a world Elizabeth Bennet has no desire to join. She has little exposure to Firstborn Sons until Mr. Bingley arrives in the neighborhood and falls in love with her sister Jane. His mysterious friend, Mr. Darcy, attracts Elizabeth’s attention, but she is convinced he is hiding a dark secret. In spite of this, powerful feelings draw her to him. She learns a shocking truth when Mr. Wickham appears, and disaster strikes at Netherfield. Forced into Mr. Darcy’s supernatural realm, a confusing new world of danger threatens their deepening love. How can they find eternal happiness when members of his illustrious clan are plotting her demise? Can Mr. Darcy rise beyond his past to save her or will he lose her for all eternity?

Hello, what do you think of this blurb? Yes, vampires! As you know I do not mind a Mr. Darcy-vampire because it seems that he is even “colder” and then I imagine that his love for Elizabeth is even stronger. Moreover, she is drawn to him too… What do you think so far? I hope you are intrigued as I am because apart from the topic, I am very glad to welcome for the first time Lari Ann O’Dell to My Vices and Weaknesses, and I hope it will not be the last time.

I have to admit that I did not know her until recently and she is not even a new author, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, the book she is introducing today is her third book already. In case you did not know her, let me tell you a bit about her. If you are one of the lucky ones who already knows her, maybe you will get to know a bit more about her:

Lari Ann O’Dell first discovered her love of Pride & Prejudice when she was eighteen. After reading a Pride & Prejudice variation she found in a closing sale at a bookstore, she said, “This is what I want to do.” She published her first novel, Mr. Darcy’s Kiss, two years later.IMG_6861

Born and raised in Colorado, she attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing. After graduating college, she wrote and published her second novel, Mr. Darcy’s Ship. Her third novel, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, is her first supernatural variation, and she is working on two more fantasy variationsShe is now back at school and pursuing a degree in Nursing. She adores her two beautiful nephews, Hudson and Dean. She currently works at a middle school and writes whenever she can.

What do you think? Did something catch your attention? She is working on two more books!

I recommend you to follow her, and you can do it on different platforms:

Facebook            Twitter           Amazon-Author      Goodreads   Facebook Author Page

Sometimes I wonder how authors get such “crazy” and original ideas to mix something “normal” with fantasy. I actually like it but I marvel at their imagination. To help me with my doubts, Lari Ann will tell us a bit more about vampires and her vampires, and she is letting us have a look at Mr. Darcy’s Clan with a really nice excerpt. Enjoy!

Hello, dear readers. It is a pleasure to be here at My Vices and Weaknesses. I am excited to talk about my newest release, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, a vampire Pride & Prejudice variation.

So let’s talk about vampires. Throughout the history of film, television, and literature, there are hundreds of representations of vampires. We’ve all heard about the sparkly, vegetarian vampires of Twilight, the cheesy nineties vampires of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, of course, Dracula.

When I sat down to write this variation, I wanted to present my vampires in a new way. While I followed some tropes and vampire rules, there are others that I broke. My vampires cannot see their own reflections, which makes ladies’ maids and valets all the more important for the upper class. They do perish in direct sunlight, but as it is an established rule in my variation that there is no direct sunlight in England, that element does not directly come into play. My vampires are immortal and, of course, must drink blood to survive. Some vampires in my variation have the ability to enthrall people and bend them to their will.

But how are they different? I did not want my vampires to be the monsters in the night that everyone feared. I wanted to create a Regency world wherein vampires are fully integrated into society. Not only that, but they are respected and even revered. Naturally, it made sense to start with the English monarchy.

I have always been fascinated with Henry VIII and the Tudors. King Henry VIII’s struggle, and ultimately, failure, to provide a living male heir, his dissension from the Catholic Church, and his bloody history with his wives seemed an interesting jumping off point. So, I devised an alternate and supernatural history. This history is detailed in the Introduction of the book.

The next hurdle to overcome was how to integrate vampires, known as Firstborn Sons, into society. Vampires coming from the monarchy was a good first step, but it wasn’t enough. So, I established a code of honor, civility, and propriety for my vampires to live by. This set of laws is known as the Dictates.

The Dictates outlined in detail how a Firstborn Son of England would behave. These rules outlawed killing humans for sport, banned the Siring of vampires who were not Firstborn Sons or their chosen partners, and demanded that Firstborn Sons would only feed from the poor. These traditions allowed vampires to survive and thrive in English society.

My vampires are much more human in nature than other iterations of vampires. They are capable of deep, eternal love. They are capable of procreation. They comport themselves in a proper manner, with a few notable exceptions. (I am looking at you, George Wickham and Lady Catherine.)  Firstborn Sons do not go on killing sprees, only taking what they need to survive. Unfortunately, the poor are the main source of blood, a pathetic yet true reflection of the very strong division of classes in Regency England.

Firstborn Sons find their Eternal Partners through a phenomenon called the Call of the Blood. It is the vampire equivalent of love at first sight. When a Firstborn Son encounters his future mate for the first time, there is a primal sensation he feels, down to the very essence of his being; his blood. It is a sure sign that a vampire has met his perfect match.

We see this phenomenon very early with Darcy, when he first encounters Elizabeth Bennet at Lucas Lodge. Of course, part of Darcy’s struggle is his fight against nature. In this variation, the Call of the Blood is not known to be wrong. So when poor Darcy senses it for Elizabeth Bennet, who has no notable connections of fortune, he is mortified. He valiantly attempts to fight his vampiric instincts, knowing that as much as he despises his situation, he owes it to his family and clan to marry a woman of fortune. But the more time he spends in Elizabeth’s company, the more he comes to appreciate her charms, her wit, and her beauty. He begins to realize that she is the only woman with whom he wishes to spend an eternity. But by the time he accepts that he is in love with Elizabeth, he has already offended her and hurt her pride, and his journey to eternal happiness with Elizabeth is not an easy one. But rest assured, lovely readers, that Mr. Darcy’s Clan has a happily ever after.

The excerpt I am sharing today is when Darcy first feels the Call of the Blood for Elizabeth Bennet. One of my favorite scenes to adapt in any variation is Darcy’s famous declaration that Elizabeth is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him!

What was delightful about writing this scene was the fact that Darcy’s words were in such great conflict with his instincts. In this excerpt, we can already see him struggle to fight his attraction to Elizabeth. It results in him heedlessly stating words he will quickly come to regret and establishes his reputation in Hertfordshire as a man who is unpleasant, proud, and arrogant. And since Elizabeth has the misfortune of overhearing his slight against her, an unpromising beginning ensues.

——————————-

Gentlemen were scarce compared to ladies so Elizabeth was obliged to sit out for part of the dancing. Overall this was not much of a punishment. Elizabeth was quite content to observe as Jane danced with Mr. Bingley a second time. How unlike his friend he was! 

After that dance ended, Elizabeth observed Bingley crossing the room. She had not noticed that Mr. Darcy had removed himself from the hearth and was now only a few feet away from her. She was in a position to overhear a conversation she ought not to have heard.

***

“Come, Darcy,” Mr. Bingley said, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

Darcy was unmoved by his friend’s perturbed speech. “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. I have no desire to encourage Caroline’s wishes, and Mrs. Hurst is unavailable. It would be insupportable for me to dance with any other young lady here tonight.”

“I would not be so fastidious as you are for a kingdom!” Mr. Bingley cried. “I have never met with a more pleasant group of young ladies. The women of the ton care only about how they shall spend their Eternities. In this part of the country, the people savor every moment, for it is even more precious knowing that their time may never be infinite. You must dance.”

Bingley looked around the room, and his gaze landed on a young lady with dark hair and bright eyes. “There is one of Miss Bennet’s sisters, Miss Elizabeth. I daresay even you would find her very agreeable, and she is uncommonly pretty. Shall I make an introduction?”

Had Darcy’s heart been capable of beating, it certainly would have skipped a beat. He hesitated, then glanced over at Miss Elizabeth. Her gaze was lowered, but her lips were curved into a smile. Her bowed head gave him an excellent view of the ivory column of her slender neck, and Darcy was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to go to her. His blood sang for this woman, though she was unknown to him.

He turned back to his friend, attempting to look displeased. “She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was almost painful to say the words that contradicted his primal urges to such a degree. But he was enough master of himself to control his actions, no matter what his blood may be compelling him to do. “Go back to your Miss Bennet and enjoy her smiles for you are wasting your time with me.”

To Darcy’s great relief, Bingley turned away to seek Miss Bennet again. Darcy knew without question that he needed to get out of Miss Elizabeth’s presence. He would ride his horse back to Netherfield. It did not matter to him that this would reflect poorly on his character. He cared not what the people in Hertfordshire thought of him. There was one thing of which he was certain: Miss Elizabeth Bennet was a danger to him, and if he dared to spend time with her, that could ruin everything.

What do you think? He says the “tolerable” when he is already in danger! Is it powerful or not what he feels? Apologies, it looks like if I have forgotten Lari Ann’s explanations about her vampire-world and I have not, but you need to be honest and tell me that you did like that scene!

I appreciate having the fantasy part of the story described and clarified because as she points out, there are many different characteristics for the vampires. It is important to to mix ideas, her vampires do not glow in the sun because they cannot be in the sun.

What do you think so far of the book? If you are thinking on buying it, here you can find it:

Amazon US       Amazon UK       Amazon CA       Amazon DE

Blog Tour

You need to check the other stops on the tour, you will enjoy it immensely!

March 24 Savvy Verse & Wit MDC Blog Tour Banner Vert

March 25 Donadee’s Corner

March 26 Diary of an Eccentric

March 27  More Agreeably Engaged

March 30 My Vices and Weaknesses

March 31 So Little Time…

April 2 From Pemberley to Milton

April 3  Babblings of a Bookworm

April 6 Austenesque Reviews

 

time to give away winners

Why don’t you participate on the giveaway of 8 ebooks of Mr. Darcy’s Clan? Eight winners for this intriguing book.

Click on the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

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“Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match” by Kelly Miller, character interview, excerpt and giveaway

When secrets are revealed and a family agenda works against him, can Fitzwilliam Darcy recover his damaged spirits and find happiness?
Following his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to London from Kent broken-hearted and dejected. One bright spot penetrates his sea of despair: his sister, Georgiana, has finally recovered her spirits from the grievous events at Ramsgate the previous summer. She has forged a new friendship with Miss Hester Drake, a lady who appears to be an ideal friend. In fact, Lady Matlock believes Miss Drake is Darcy’s perfect match.
Upon Elizabeth Bennet’s arrival at the Gardiners’ home from Kent, she finds that her sister Jane remains despondent over her abandonment by Mr. Bingley. But Elizabeth has information that might bring them together. She convinces her Uncle Gardiner to write a letter to Mr. Bingley providing key facts supplied to her by Mr. Darcy.
When Mr. Bingley discovers that his friend and sisters colluded to keep Jane’s presence in London from him, how will he respond? Given the chance, will Darcy and Elizabeth overcome their past misunderstandings? What will Darcy do when his beloved sister becomes a hindrance towards winning the lady he loves?

So, Elizabeth betrays Fitzwilliam telling Bingley about his role on separating him from Jane? Wow! I already like it! What do you think about it? Maybe she is not Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match? 😉

I would like to welcome once again Kelly Miller to My Vices and Weaknesses. You may remember her because if her original variation of Death takes a holiday at Pemberley.

Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano (although like Elizabeth Bennet, she is errant when it comes to practicing), singing, and walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match is her second novel published by Meryton Press. Her first was the Regency novel Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy. Her third novel, Accusing Mr. Darcy, will be released later in 2020.

Kelly is sharing so much with us; I hope you enjoy this delightful interview with Miss Georgiana Darcy.

Hello and greetings to all of the lovely followers of My Vices and Weaknesses. Today I have the privilege of speaking with Miss Georgiana Darcy, who plays a pivotal role in my latest book, Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match. Although Miss Darcy is modest and unused to being the subject of such attention, she has graciously agreed to participate in this interview.

KM: Miss Darcy, although readers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice know you are the sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and your character is important to the plot of the story, you are “present” in the novel for only a short period of time. Therefore, much is unknown about you. For those who would like to know you better, would you mind sharing a fact or two about you that is not common knowledge?
GD: Oh dear. It is disquieting to consider that everyone who read Pride and Prejudice is aware of the terrible mistake I made that almost ruined my life. They must believe me to be silly, irresponsible, or worse!

KM: Not at all, Miss Darcy. I am certain that readers realize who the villains were at Ramsgate, and you were not one of them. It is known that you play the pianoforte and are fond of music. What are some of your other interests?
GD: I enjoy painting, embroidery, and riding. Recently, I have grown fond of long walks.

KM: What was your childhood like?
GD: My father was very good to me. I have many happy memories of spending time my father; he used to take me to visit the animals on the estate, and he taught me how to ride. There was nothing he would not do to ensure my well-being. I especially loved the occasions when Fitzwilliam was home from school. He was always a wonderful brother to me. My earliest memories are of Fitzwilliam reading to me or showing me a puzzle, toy, or game he had loved as a child. I had several nurses and governesses to look after me, and I was fond of many of them, but I wished my mother had lived longer. She passed away shortly after my birth, so I have no memories of her. I was lonely a great deal of the time. You see, in my youth, I was not allowed to play with other children.

KM: Really? Why was that? Were there not other estate owners near Pemberley with children close to your age?
GD: There were, but when I was still in leading strings, there was a terrible outbreak of Scarlet Fever that spread through Derbyshire. I am sorry to say that several of Pemberley’s tenants, and some townspeople from Lambton and Kympton as well, lost their children to the disease. My father was terrified that I would succumb to Scarlet Fever or some other illness. Our family doctor believed that sick children, even before they displayed symptoms of their disease, emitted a dangerous miasma that could sicken others. The doctor cautioned my father against exposing me to them, and my father took that advice.

KM: When were you first exposed to others your own age?
GD: Not until I was thirteen. My father had passed away six months earlier. As you might imagine, it was a terrible time for my brother and me. A great weight of responsibility had fallen upon Fitzwilliam all at once, and the burden of caring for me was a large part of it. Although my cousin Richard was named as my co-guardian, his military duties took him away for months at a time. My brother followed Lady Matlock’s advice and sent me to a girls’ school popular with members of the ton.

KM: Did you look forward to attending school?
GD: No. The idea of it frightened me. Initially, I told Fitzwilliam I did not wish to go. Later, I was convinced to agree to it by my aunt Lady Matlock. She told me it was the best thing for both of us; she said that I would benefit from meeting girls my own age, and Fitzwilliam would be freed from fretting over me so he could concentrate on his other responsibilities.

KM: What was it like for you at the school?
GD: It was…difficult. I entered the school at the Michaelmas term in October. The other students had been enrolled for the entire school year and already knew one another. I have always been a quiet, reserved person, uneasy around people I do not know well. Fitzwilliam is also reserved, but while my brother is capable of being strong, confident, and commanding when he needs to be, I am timid and shy. All of the other girls seemed more confident and sophisticated than I. It was as though they all knew some secret of which I was ignorant. Even in a group of girls my own age, I felt isolated and alone.

KM: Did you make friends at school?
GD: I am afraid not. A few girls took pity upon me. At times they would ask me to join an activity or attempt to draw me into conversation, but I was so mortified by my own awkwardness and my inability to respond with anything relevant or interesting that I soon stopped trying.

KM: Did you not share common interests with any of the girls at school?
GD: It did not seem so. I felt that the other girls at the school were absorbed with similar topics: they gossiped about others, talked endlessly of fashion, and fussed over their own appearances. The older girls were more mature, but if they spoke to me, it was invariably to question me about Fitzwilliam.

KM: How long were you at the school?
GD: Well, Fitzwilliam came to visit me in the beginning of December. He would have visited me sooner, but both the head-mistress and Lady Matlock advised him to wait and give me more time to become adjusted to school. When I saw my brother, I tried to pretend, for his sake, that I did not mind it there, but Fitzwilliam saw through me. When he pressed me, I admitted that I was unhappy. He took from school and hired a governess for me. I was relieved and happy to be back home with Fitzwilliam.

KM: What happened after that?

GD: Unfortunately, Lady Matlock was not pleased when she learned I had left school. I did not return to school in January, after many months and a number of discussions, I agreed to attend a different school at the beginning of the next school year. This time, Fitzwilliam came to visit after one month. I was then about to turn fifteen. When he asked me how I liked being at school, I told him the truth, that I hated it. He took me home that same day.

KM: I shall skip forward now to March of 1812. Mrs. Annesley had been as your companion. By this time, had you put the events of Ramsgate behind you?
GD: In some ways I had. Time had gone by, and the pain of the betrayal had faded. My deepest desire was to have a true friend, but I feared that I was too unlikeable for anyone to befriend me without an ulterior motive.

KM: So this, then, was your mindset at the start of Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match?
GD: Yes, that is correct.

KM: I thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview, and I appreciate your candid replies.
GD: You are quite welcome.

I believe that Georgiana shows so much of her, that we can get to know her better and also, in case she has not been understood by everybody, she can now be more “transparent”.

Now enjoy a beautiful excerpt from Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match. Georgiana cares so much for her brother.
This excerpt features Darcy and Georgiana at their town home in London. The first section is in Darcy’s point of view, the second is in Georgiana’s.

The basket of bread from his sister and added a slice to his plate of roasted chicken, potatoes, and broccoli. Georgiana changed position several times in her chair, an indication that his sister was waiting for the serving girl to leave the room.
Sure enough, they had not been left alone for more than a few seconds before she spoke. “Fitzwilliam, now that you have met Miss Drake, pray, what is your opinion of her?” She peered back at him, frozen in a tense pose.
“She was charming and pleasant. I liked her quite well.”
As she displayed a beaming smile, Georgiana’s voice grew more animated. “I am relieved to hear it. I am certain that you will like her even more as you get to know her better.”
“I should not expect otherwise. I had already sought the opinions of Lady Matlock and Mrs. Annesley before meeting the lady, and I heard nothing to give me any concern.”
She nodded. “I thought you would.” Leaning towards him, she added, “I had no fear for anything they might tell you, but I was afraid you would find a reason to object to Miss Drake just the same.”
“Not at all. She seems a lovely young lady.” At his reply, Georgiana attended to the food on her plate with renewed gusto.
It seemed his sister truly had fretted over his opinion of Miss Drake! This was the first time since Georgiana’s childhood that she found a friend who meant so much to her. The two close friendships cultivated in her youth had both ended in disappointment. One of the girls moved away with her family to Wales; the other inexplicably rejected Georgiana after developing a close friendship with another girl.
This recent alteration in his sister—her frequent smiles, the esprit exhibited in her actions, and her propensity to talk to him more than before—was gratifying. Would that he could follow her lead and raise his own spirits. After all, what sort of brother was he to continue to wallow in self-pity over so commonplace an occurrence as unrequited love in the face of his sister’s newfound happiness? Were he a poet, he would have exorcised his pain in the composition of a lyrical ballad and be done with it; but he had neither the talent nor the inclination for such a creative outlet. What then could he do to break Miss Bennet’s unrelenting hold upon his battered heart? He flinched as his sister’s voice broke through his thoughts.
“… and Miss Drake is always so poised and assured. She never seems to be intimidated by others. She is attentive and kind to me without being the least bit ingratiating. She is so…genuine. It seems each time I meet with her I find another reason to admire her.”
“It sounds as though Miss Drake has an abundance of commendable qualities.” He brushed his napkin over his mouth to conceal his sigh. If only his sister’s effusions for this lady did not elicit thoughts of another lady—one no less admirable.
***
Later that evening, after Fitzwilliam had retreated to his study, Georgiana passed the entry hall and halted at the sound of voices. Slade spoke to a gentleman at the front door. She lingered, catching the end of Slade’s speech: he told the caller her brother was not at home. When Slade entered the hall, he nodded at her and would have walked by, but on impulse, she called to him.
Slade stopped and turned to face her. “Yes, miss?”
“Who was at the door?”
The butler’s visage was almost impassive but for the faint grooves between the man’s brows. “It was Mr. Kendall, miss.”
Her jaw lowered but no immediate response came to mind. Mr. Kendall was a good friend of Fitzwilliam. It was not unusual for the gentleman to stop by their home for an evening and stay to play a game of billiards or chess with her brother. Fitzwilliam often met with friends like Mr. Kendall at his club for a drink or a shared meal, but her brother had not been there since his return home. A sudden heaviness in her chest prompted her to step closer to the wall and rest her shoulder against it. “Why did you tell Mr. Kendall that my brother was not at home?”
Slade stiffened and leaned back upon his heels. For a moment, it seemed as though he would refuse to answer her. At length, he said, “I am following the master’s orders, miss. He is home to no one other than family.”
“I see. Thank you, Slade.” As the butler walked away, she ambled to the next room and sank heavily upon the nearest chair. Why would Fitzwilliam avoid Mr. Kendall or any of his other friends? Her brother had already denied more than once that anything was wrong, so asking him again would do no good. However, if Fitzwilliam continued this odd behaviour much longer, she would write to Cousin Richard. He would know what to do.

Would you like to buy this book? I cannot wait to read it!

Blog tour
I recommend you to check the previous posts as you will find so much more about our beloved characters.

January 27 Austenesque Reviews

January 28 My Jane Austen Book Club

January 29 Austenprose

January 30 So Little Time…

January 31 Babblings of a Bookworm

February 3 More Agreeably Engaged

February 4 Savvy Verse & Wit

February 6 Donadee’s Corner

February 7 Diary of an Eccentric

February 10 From Pemberley to Milton

February 11 My Vices and Weaknesses

Meryton Press is giving away 8 giveaways for 8 different winners. Just click the link below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match

“A Covenant of Marriage” by C.P. Odom, vignette + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very happy to have author C.P. Odom again with us introducing his latest novel: A Covenant of Marriage. As you may have guessed if you have not followed the tour, which I definitely recommend you to do, he has written a variation of Pride and Prejudice. A really good variation if you let me say it. Let me give you an idea of what this book is about…

A Covenant of Marriage—legally binding, even for an unwilling bride!

Defined as a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or compact, a covenant is commonly used with regard to relations among nations or as part of a contract. But it can also apply to a marriage as Elizabeth Bennet learns when her father binds her in marriage to a man she dislikes. Against her protests that she cannot be bound against her will, the lady is informed that she lives under her father’s roof and, consequently, is under his control; she is a mere pawn in the proceedings.

With such an inauspicious beginning, how can two people so joined ever make a life together?

OMG! What is going on? Poor Elizabeth, tied to… or to… or to… It was not simple to be a woman during that era even if what we are reading is fiction, we know that these issues were real though. I can foresee a lot of angst, maybe? Misery? Misunderstandings? Who knows!? Well, Colin knows for sure 🙂

Let Colin (re)introduce himself:

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics.

I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.Colin photo 2014

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have four novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015), and Perilous Siege (2019). Two of my books are now audiobooks, Most Civil Proposal and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

You can follow Colin on:

Facebook           Amazon’s Author page           Goodreads          Meryton Press page

Colin is eager to leave us without knowing much about what is happening with Elizabeth and the covenant of marriage. However, he is sharing and unwritten piece explaining Lydia’s destiny…

Lydia’s Destination – a Vignette for A Covenant of Marriage

Unwritten events occurring during the timeframe of Chapter 8

Friday, June 18, 1813

London, Bedford Home for the Unfortunate

Lydia Bennet was already dressed in her traveling clothing when she knocked at the door of the director of the Bedford Home for the Unfortunate. This dilapidated building had been her home since late September of the previous year, when George Wickham had abandoned her, leaving her penniless and pregnant. Her days there had not been happy ones, as she grew larger and larger from the life growing within her, watching other girls in a similar situation go into labour, have their babies, and then have to leave the home. Worse, more than five of the unwed mothers had not survived the birth of their children.

She had not had that misfortune, at least. Her delivery had been without incident, and her baby son had entered the world with a healthy cry of outrage at what had happened to him. But now, after two weeks of nursing the infant and being taught the rudiments of how to care for him and for herself, she was going to have to leave this meagre shelter, like the other mothers before her. What might befall her when the doors of the institution closed behind her, she could not imagine.

Mr. Dickerson himself opened the door for her with a practiced smile of mingled concern and good cheer.

“Come in, come in, Miss Lydia. Here, have a seat. Good, good.”

He leaned forward to look at the sleeping baby wrapped in a threadbare blanket who she held in her arms.

“I understand the boy is doing well. He certainly looks healthy. But I truly wish you would allow us to inform your family of your whereabouts and your condition.”

“No!” Lydia said, almost desperately. “I cannot go home! I just . . . cannot!”

“So you have said,” Mr. Dickerson said sadly. “And your uncle and aunt here in town?”

Lydia shook her head, her lips pressed together petulantly.

“And the boy? Many of the young ladies decide to leave their new babies to the care of one of the parish churches or perhaps the Foundling Hospital.”

“You told me that there is a situation for me where I can keep my son.”

“Yes, that is true. You are more fortunate than most of the ladies who seek asylum with us. You have a benefactor who has—”

“My uncle, you mean?” Lydia said, more harshly than she had meant to, and Mr. Dickerson looked at her unhappily.

He did not, however, say anything and continued his explanation. “Your benefactor has . . . connections, it would seem. He has arranged for you to take up residence in Portsmouth, which is a seaport to the south, where you can live among a number of other women who have been widowed by this war with France. A chaise will soon be here take you and your son there. Have you named him yet?”

Lydia turned back a corner of the blanket and looked down at her sleeping son, with a soft and tender expression on her face. “I have decided to call him Stephen. Stephen Bennet, I guess.”

“It will have to be Stephen Oldham, Miss Lydia. As I explained earlier, you will assume the identity of the widow of Sergeant Brendon Oldham, a trooper in the Sixth Dragoons, who was killed fighting the French in Spain.”

“Oh, yes, I had forgotten.”

“Well, it is something you must remember. In reality, Sergeant Oldham did not have a wife, but it is unlikely anyone will ever check the military records. The government pays a small survivor’s pension to the families of the soldiers and sailors killed, but it is quite small. But your benefactor has set things up so that you will not be showing signs of having more money than expected. The rent for your rooms, for example, will be paid by a solicitor, who will also provide you a monthly allowance for your expenses. Here is his address.”

He pushed a small piece of paper across his desk to her and she nodded her understanding.

“The allowance will pay for your food, with some extra for clothing and other expenses. But I warn you that it is not overly generous. You will have to learn not to spend more than you have, since you will not be able get more money until the first of the next month.”

Now it was Lydia’s turn to look unhappy, since she had never before had to do any of this for herself. Dinners were fixed by servants, who drew her bath, attended to her hair and dress, and kept her room cleaned. But that all belonged to her life before she had allowed herself to be deceived and seduced by Wickham.

And she simply could not go home and face her family! It wasn’t her fault! They would not understand! They would blame her and call her foolish and . . .

She bit her lip to stop the litany of familiar excuses from running through her mind. Somewhere, down deep inside, a part of her knew her situation had been of her own doing, but she could not acknowledge that. Not yet . . .

And Mr. Dickerson was continuing to speak.

“. . . these are the kind of things you would have kept from your dead husband. Here is where you were married . . .”

He pushed that paper to join the name and address of the solicitor.

“. . . a locket with a small miniature of your husband, the letter from his lieutenant telling you of his death, the official notification from the government, the . . .”

Dickerson droned on, adding other papers to the pile in front of her until he was through, after which he wrapped everything into an oilskin envelope and tied a string around it. Then he moved on to other topics.

“You have learned enough while here to allow you to take in sewing to add to your income, and we have shown you how to prepare a few simple meals for yourself and later for the boy. There will be several baskets to go in the chaise with you, a few pots and dishes, some bedclothing, the dresses you sewed for yourself in addition to what you brought with you, and some clothing for the boy. Here is a purse for your money, but I caution you to wear that under your clothing, where a pickpocket cannot get at it . . .”

At long last, the man finished and looked at her. He thought she had listened to most of it, but he still knew she did not know everything she needed to know to take up this life she had chosen. But at least she would have a roof over her head, and the baby could nurse while she was learning. It was more than most of the unfortunate girls who passed through his charity had when he had to usher them out into the world.

As he escorted Lydia Oldham outside and assisted her into the chaise with her meagre household possessions, he could not convince himself to be confident about her ability to survive. She was so very young!

***

What do you think? Does she deserve this? Who is that benefactor? Why can she not go back and deal with the consequences? Will we get to know more in the book? There are many more questions I could write but I will leave you to think them.

Thank you very much, Colin, for being with us today!

What about checking this book and buying it? You could do it on:

Amazon US             Amazon UK         Amazon CA          Amazon DE

Blog Tour

This blog tour is about to finish but I highly recommend you to check the previous stops. Have fun!

5th of November A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life

6th of November More Agreeably Engaged

7th of November From Pemberley to Milton

8th of November Half Agony, Half Hope

9th of November My Love for Jane Austen

11th of November Diary of an Eccentric

12th of November Darcyholic Diversions

14th of November Margie’s Must Reads

15th of November Austenesque Reviews

16th of November My Jane Austen Book Club

17th of November Babblings of a Bookworm

18th of November My Vices and Weaknesses

19th of November Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

ACOM Blog Tour Schedule

time to give away winners

8 ebooks, not one or two, 8 ebooks! Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of A Covenant of Marriage to 8 winners. I hope yo are one of them! Just click the link below and follow the instructions.

Rafflecopter – A Covenant of Marriage

“A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods” by Brigid Huey, vignette + giveaway

Hello 🙂

This blurb:

A surprise meeting

A baby alone in the woods

And a second chance at love

Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley with one thing on his mind   ̶ to forget Elizabeth Bennet. Riding ahead of his party and racing a storm, he happens upon the very woman he wants to avoid. To his astonishment, she is holding a baby whose name and parentage are unknown.

Elizabeth Bennet never dreamed she had wandered into Pemberley’s Woods on her afternoon walk. But when she finds an infant alone in the storm, she turns to the last man in the world she wants to see ̶ and the only one who can help them both.

As the mystery of the baby’s identity intensifies, Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy to be quite the reverse of what she expected. But when the child’s family is discovered, will the truth bring them together, or tear them apart?

A baby alone in the woods?? No, no, no! I do not like it already! Well, I actually like it but I don’t. Sorry, a bit of a messy start but basically is that I find it already interesting because we do not know who is the baby or who his/her parents are. Poor Darcy! Poor Elizabeth!

Let me introduce you to the author of this interesting book: Brigid Huey. She is inviting us to have a peek inside the story, she is sharing a vignette from Mr Darcy’s point of view!

author

Brigid has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids, and spends her free time reading and writing. This is her first Pride and Prejudice variation, though many others live in her imagination.

Thank you, Ana, for hosting me today! This vignette takes place before the book begins and is told from Darcy’s perspective. He is returning home after an arduous journey north. Like the vignette told from Elizabeth’s perspective featured on Half Agony, Half Hope, here we get a taste of Darcy’s state of mind before the novel begins!

Darcy stared out the window of the coaching inn. Darkness had already fallen, and the courtyard beyond was lit by only a few torches. He tried to look past the yard to the trees behind it, but all was cloaked in inky darkness. I should be home! He was only three hours from Pemberley, but instead of sleeping in his own bed, he was stuck at yet another coaching inn.

They had stopped for the evening because the ladies had grown tired. Darcy knew Georgiana would have continued, but the Bingley sisters had been quite insistent that they stop here in Derby instead of pushing on to Pemberley. Though he was eager to see to their needs as a gentleman should, he was loath to spend another evening cooped up. He needed the comfort of home—the wilds of Pemberley.

The Bingley sisters were never easy to travel with, being fastidious about everything. With the exception of their copious praise of his coach, everything fell under their unfavorable scrutiny. At every inn the dinner had been complained of—loudly and often. This night, in fact, Darcy had seen fit to quiet Miss Bingley’s perturbations with a silencing comment. Perhaps he had been too harsh, but the woman was insufferable!

Her ploy to secure him as her husband was embarrassingly obvious. He had been careful to never be left alone with the lady, and had purposefully treated her with as much neutrality as politeness allowed. Darcy had never shown her the slightest inclination, yet she would not be deterred.

Not that he had the talent of interpreting a woman’s feelings. Elizabeth Bennet had taught him that—and much more besides. Yet he was fairly certain he could understand Miss Bingley. She wanted his income and his name. His true self, however, she seemed perfectly happy to ignore. Elizabeth Bennet had always seen the real man beneath the wealth and status. If only I had been half so perceptive then!

A soft knock at his door drew him from his ruminations. He opened it to find Georgiana and her maid.

“Georgiana! Are you quite well, my dear?”

She assured him that she was perfectly well and dismissed her maid. He led her to the chair near the fireplace. Once she was seated, she fixed him with such a look of determination that he blinked in surprise.

“Brother, I mean to give you some advice, though I know it is not my place to do so. An idea has formed in my mind, and I intend to speak to you about it.”

“I beg you, Georgiana, be at ease. I welcome your opinion.”

“Well then, I shall tell you my idea. I believe you should ride ahead of our party tomorrow morning. Ride home to Pemberley on your own. It is only three hours by horseback, I believe, and the solitude would you do good.”

Darcy looked at his sister. Her delicate brow was furrowed in concern, and her luminous skin held a faint blush that belied the surety of her words. Rarely did she entreat him to do anything. Not since Ramsgate.

He shook his head, as much to dispel the ugly feelings that arose from thinking of that time as in response to Georgiana’s suggestion.

“My dear, I have a responsibility to you and my guests. I will see you all safely to Pemberley myself.”

“I know you would never shirk your responsibilities, Fitzwilliam. However, I would beg you to remember that we are not alone. Mr. Bingley and Mr. Hurst will look after us. You need a respite, my dear brother, and you shall not have it once Miss Bingley is ensconced in Pemberley.”

Darcy merely stared at his sister, unable to account for this little speech. She was not usually so forthright with her opinions, preferring to demure to his own thoughts on any matter. He found he rather liked that she was finding her confidence once again.

“I do crave solitude, Georgiana,” he said carefully, “and I thank you for your sisterly concern. It warms my heart that you seek to secure my welfare.”

“I am only following the example you set for me, Fitzwilliam. Please, think about my proposal.”

“I cannot simply leave you. You know I would not leave you or my guests in such a way.”

Georgiana was quiet for a moment, folding her delicate hands in her lap.

“Fitzwilliam, might it not be wise for you to settle your business affairs with your steward, before our guests arrive? Indeed, that would be most polite of you.”

Despite his mood, Darcy felt himself struggling not to smile. “I suppose you are correct, Georgiana. If I meet with my steward before our guests come to Pemberley, I would be more at my leisure to attend them.”

“As is fitting,” she added with a smile.

“My dear girl, I can see you are quite determined!” He came to stand before her, offering her his hand to help her out of her chair. “Come, I shall escort you to your room. You need your rest after our long journey.”

They reached her door in a moment, her room being adjacent to his.

“Will you at least consider my plan, Fitzwilliam?”

“I shall consider it, my dear. I promise.”

A small smile graced her features, and she disappeared into her room after bidding him goodnight. Darcy walked the short distance back to his quarters. Shutting the door behind him, he pondered Georgiana’s suggestion. She was completely correct, he did need solitude. His treatment of the Bingley sisters during dinner was regrettable, especially since he had pledged to himself that he would change his ways and be cognisant of the feelings of others.

He allowed himself a small smile. Elizabeth Bennet did not have Miss Bingley in mind during her heated speech, he knew. The two ladies had never got on well, due completely to Miss Bingley’s abominable rudeness.

A sigh escaped his lips as he loosened his cravat and slumped into the chair Georgiana had so recently vacated. Perhaps she was right. Three hours alone with his horse would do much to clear his troubled mind.

He found that as he drew nearer to Pemberley, Elizabeth was nearly ever present in his mind. Not that a day went by without his thinking of her. In London, he would start if he saw a young lady with her same chestnut curls. He had even gone so far as to follow a woman into a bookstore, just to be sure it was not she. And yet, what would he say to her even if they did meet? He knew she wanted nothing to do with him.

The truth was unavoidable, and it had become achingly clear the closer he came to Pemberley. She was not with him, and had no desire to be so. It was time to be brave. It was time to move on from Miss Bennet.

Yes, he would take his horse and ride for home. He would leave as early as he could, so he might catch Pemberley at its finest. He loved to catch the rising sun as it glinted off the windows of the great house—it was nothing short of a magical. Perhaps it would have the power to ease his mind and rid his heart of Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn.

How sweet of Georgiana! Speaking up to his brother just because she loves him. He knows he needs his peace, mainly away from Miss Bingley! I would like to know if we read more about her behaviour.

Thank you very much, Brigid for sharing your novel with us.

Ladies and gentlemen, one question that maybe you are asking yourself and I am asking myself too… how is this going to work out???!!! We need a happy ending but the blurb is mysterious, are they going to pretend the baby is related to one of them? Are they going to pretend an “attachment”? What has Brigid written!!??

If you want to follow Brigid Huey:

Website              Twitter                 Facebook              Goodreads

Do you feel like buying this book right now? You can do it on different places, for instance on:

Amazon US                          Amazon CA

Amazon UK                          Bookdepository

Blog Tour Schedule

This is the last stop of the tour, please catch up with the rest of the tour if you have not done it yet, you will enjoy it!

9th of September   – So little time…tour

10th of September – Darcyholic Diversions

11th of September – Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

12th of September – Savvy Verse & Wit

13th of September – Babblings of a Bookworm

14th of September – My Love for Jane Austen

15th of September – My Life Journey

16th of September – Austenesque Reviews

17th of September – Half Agony, Half Hope

18th of September – Diary of an Eccentric

19th of September – From Pemberley to Milton

20th of September – My Jane Austen Book Club

21st of September – My Vices and Weaknesses

 

time to give away winners

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Brigid Huey’s A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods. Click on the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!!

Rafflecopter – A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods

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