“Madness in Meryton” by Jayne Bamber, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

Can you believe that it is the 22nd of July already? July has almost finished! However, that is never an impediment to have new books to read. JAFF is a dynamic world, and fortunately for us, readers and bloggers, we can enjoy great stories. Today, Jayne Bamber is presenting her latest novel: Madness in Meryton.

Here your have the description:

Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, and two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their quarrelsome younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and their tedious cousin, Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.

That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for the officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham reveals to Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.

The next day, the same thing happens again.

And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in an effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.

As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….

Elizabeth Bennet must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

What do you think? I am looking forward to reading it and seeing how Elizabeth manages her “eternal” day.

Welcome, Jayne! Thank you for being with us today 🙂
Hello, Janeites! It is a treat to be here and share a little about my upcoming release, Madness in Meryton. This is my sixth Austen variation, and has proved to be the wildest ride yet; it is a Groundhog Day vagary – with a twist.
The day being repeated is the day that Elizabeth meets George Wickham and hears his tale of woe, and I have reimagined it as Meryton’s monthly Market Day to heighten the chaos of Darcy and Elizabeth’s shared predicament.
The excerpt I am sharing today is from one of my favorite chapters one where chaos reigns at Longbourn in the aftermath of Mr. Bingley’s proposal to Jane Bennet – or one of them, at least….

***

Jane and Mr. Bingley had begun to stroll together at some remove. Elizabeth walked alone in the garden, keeping near the house, her gloved hands folded behind her back as she slowly moved along the rose bushes. For a few minutes she was content to watch Jane and Mr. Bingley walking arm in arm, their heads bent together in conversation.
Inevitably, her mind soon drifted back to Mr. Darcy, who had made this moment of bliss possible, and even imbued it with some private humor. She had not dared to hope that the colonel’s plan would work so beautifully, that the proud Mr. Darcy would ever make such an effort to amend his error.
She began to wish he had accompanied his friend, and as she indulged her imagination, supposing what they might say to one another, she heard footfalls on the gravel path behind her. She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling a pleasant warmth creep into her chest. “I hoped you would come,” she said softly.
But as Elizabeth turned around, her dreamy smile fell into dismay; it was Mr. Collins. He gave her an awkward, amorous look. “Cousin Elizabeth!”

Collins
Elizabeth instinctively recoiled, but her cousin approached her with his hands outstretched. “I am come – I must speak!” He moved closer, oblivious to her apprehension, and stopped to pluck a flower from one of the bushes. He held it out to her with one hand, his other coming to rest on his heart. She froze, gaping at him, and Mr. Collins lifted her hand and placed the flower there, closing his fingers over hers. She jerked her hand away at once, and he finally showed a modicum of hesitation.
“Sir,” Elizabeth hissed. “I believe you mistake me – I did not know it was you there.”
He smiled repellently. “Come now, fair cousin, there is no need to be coy; I believe we understand one another. The tears of joy you shed for your sister have made me understand that you must wish to be next, and I see no reason to delay what will complete your happiness, dear Elizabeth.”
Mr. Collins lurched toward her, but Elizabeth quickly backed away. “Mr. Collins! Sir, I beg you would return to the house at once. I wish only to chaperone my sister.”
Again he took Elizabeth’s hand. “Believe me, Cousin – your modesty adds to your other perfections. But of course you wish to follow her to the altar ere long. I am ready to declare myself, for almost as soon as I entered the house, I singled you out as the companion of my future life!”
“Mr. Collins, that was but three days ago,” Elizabeth replied, again backing away from him.
“Indeed it was! But before I am run away with my feelings, perhaps it would be advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying.”
Mr. Collins clearly was overcome by feelings, though Elizabeth had never imagined such a ludicrous thing possible. She struggled to keep from laughing, and Mr. Collins continued his absurd address, detailing at length how Lady Catherine had compelled him to seek out a bride. “You will find her manners beyond anything I can describe,” he said with a fatuous grin.
This time she could not restrain her laughter. “I am sure of that,” she said.
Mr. Collins stammered, and gaped at her. “Your wit and vivacity must be acceptable to her, when tempered by the silence and respect her rank will inevitably excite.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I am sure you are mistaken, sir, I cannot imagine Lady Catherine receiving me with any measure of acceptance, nor should I ever wish it.”
“Cousin Elizabeth! Think of what you are saying. You are a gentleman’s daughter, and therefore a perfectly acceptable match for a man of my situation – particularly as I am to inherit this estate after the death of your honored father. But do not think I seek only to extend my charity in choosing amongst his daughters – I must now assure you, in the most animated language, of the violence of my affection. To fortune I am perfectly indifferent….”
Despite her attempts to stop him, Elizabeth began to fear her cousin would never cease. “Mr. Collins, please – you are too hasty, sir. I must thank you for the compliment of your proposal – but I must decline it.”
Mr. Collins simpered and smirked at her. “I know it is the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application; I am by no means discouraged.”
“Really, Mr. Collins. I am perfectly sincere in my refusal,” Elizabeth insisted. She looked about the garden, but Jane and Mr. Bingley had snuck off together. She was happy for them, but what horrid timing!
Mr. Collins also perceived that they were alone, and he reached for her. “Cousin Elizabeth, you seek to increase my love by suspense, in the usual style of elegant females. You are uniformly charming!” He leaned in as if to kiss her, and Elizabeth was obliged to shove him away.
“Mr. Collins, I beg you would leave me alone this instant, or I will shout for Jane and Mr. Bingley.”
“Cousin Elizabeth, I beg you would end my agony, and accept my suit,” he said with gallantry, reaching for her again.
Elizabeth’s patience was at an end. She recalled the occasion when she had driven him to accuse her of blasphemy by merely telling him the truth about her dilemma, and she was on the verge of doing just that when he seized her hand in his and began to pull at her. “Cousin Elizabeth, I beg you!”
“Sir, it is quite literally impossible for me to marry you!” His grip on her arm began to hurt, and Elizabeth struggled to wrest free. “Unhand me or I will scream!”

***

Darcy spotted Bingley walking with Jane Bennet in a pretty little wilderness beyond the garden, and moved that way to congratulate them, when he heard a scream. He took off running, and reached the garden just as Elizabeth ripped her arm out of Mr. Collins’ grasp and turned to flee. She stopped just short of colliding with Darcy, who instantly closed the gap between them and took her in his arms. “Elizabeth, Good God! Has he harmed you?”
“Mr. Darcy!” Elizabeth leaned into him, her breathing ragged. After a moment she drew away from his embrace, but stood very near. “A little,” she stammered. “That is, he has importuned me….”
“I think I see,” he said gravely, staring down the toady parson, who cowered back, a wild look in his eyes. Darcy looked back at Elizabeth. “Do you require any assistance?”
She shook her head and laughed ruefully. “No indeed, I had everything perfectly under control – could you not tell?”
He laughed softly, and took her hand in his. “You have kept your gloves on.” She blushed, and he ran his thumb deliberately across her fingers.
Mr. Collins whimpered in indignation. “Mr. Darcy? Of Pemberley?”
Darcy drew himself up into an imposing posture. “Indeed I am, sir, and if you do not cease your unseemly addresses to Elizabeth at once, Lady Catherine will hear of it.”
Mr. Collins gasped, and shrank back a little. “Lady Catherine,” he sputtered. He looked down at Darcy and Elizabeth’s hands entwined, and stomped his foot with a cry of horror. “No! I think I understand – but it is impossible! Oh dear – it must be true. I can think of no other reason my cousin should refuse me, but now I see, I see it all! She thinks to have you, Mr. Darcy – she has practiced her arts and allurements to draw you in! Think of your cousin, Miss de Bourgh!”
Elizabeth slipped her hand free and glared at her cousin. “Mr. Collins! I beg you would return to the house, and allow Mr. Darcy and I to speak privately.”
“I cannot allow that, Cousin Elizabeth – I cannot let you throw yourself at such a man as this! Can you not see the folly of putting yourself forward with a man so superior in every circumstance – and actually engaged to another?”
“That is a scandalous falsehood,” Darcy thundered, taking another ominous step toward the dreadful parson. “Furthermore, it can be no concern of yours. If you know what is good for you, you will leave us at once, and you will henceforth cease to speak of what does not concern you.”
Mr. Collins blanched and backed away from Darcy, but turned back to wag his finger at Elizabeth before he scurried away. “Your mother shall hear of this, Cousin.”
As Mr. Collins retreated to the house, Elizabeth began to laugh hysterically, and again she leaned into Darcy. He knew he ought not be surprised that she could find the humor in such a shocking scene, and after a moment his own vexation gave way to a shared sense of mirth.
She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling, and she arched an eyebrow at him. “Perhaps I ought not have kept my gloves on.”

Lizzy 1
Darcy laughed, and captured her hand once again. He gently tugged at one of her gloves, until it fell away. “Is that better? Perhaps you might catch him up, before he scampers off to tattle.”
Elizabeth smirked, letting her hand rest in his. “I really ought to, before I end up in Mamma’s black books for the remainder of the day – then again, she is so happy I doubt even I could vex her today.” She clasped his hand a little tighter. “I have you to thank for that.”
Darcy gazed down at her; he wished to say something eloquent, though his rapidly dwindling sense forestalled his from speaking. In the end, he only lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it.

Darcy
She blushed and looked away, gently withdrawing her hand. “I am sorry for my behavior yesterday.”
“It was natural and just,” Darcy replied. “I realize I judged your sister unfairly; it is I who should apologize.”
“I had already forgiven you,” she said, looking back up at him. She chewed her lip for a moment, and Darcy hoped she might say more, but she only flinched as her mother called her name from somewhere in the distance. “I better go inside,” she muttered. She hesitated, then stood up on her toes and kissed him softly on the cheek.
At that moment, there was another sound from the house – Mr. Bennet cleared his throat. Darcy and Elizabeth looked over at the window – it was open, and Mr. Bennet was standing behind it with his arms crossed. He did not look happy.
***
Thanks for joining me for this stop on my blog tour – I will be continuing this scene in another excerpt at Laughing with Lizzie.

OMG! I need to read what has happened for them to have such a lovely relationship! How they have managed Mr Collins 😀

Don’t forget that Madness in Meryton will be available on Kindle Unlimited July 24th! Amazon US

time to give away winners

Jayne Bamber is giving away one e-book copy for one winner. Click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Madness in Meryton

Winner of “Missing Jane” by Bronwen Chisholm

Dear all,

Eventually Bronwen has drawn the winner of a ebook copy of her latest book: Missing Jane.

Thank you all for commenting!

The winner is…

Glynis

Congratulations! Please send me your email address by commenting on this post or if you prefer, email me on myvicesandweaknesses@gmail.com

I hope you enjoy this lovely story!

“Missing Jane” by Bronwen Chisholm, excerpt + giveaway

Hello to all of you! How are you? How is everything going?

I am still doing less reading that I wanted but maybe in a week or so I may have more time. Today, I want to introduce you to Bronwen Chisholm. I have reviewed one of her books previously but she is today with us! Let’s see what she has for us.

BCBronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

Hello Readers! I am so pleased to be here to share my latest book with you. Missing Jane is a low angst, sweet clean novella. So, without further ado, here is the blurb and an excerpt.

cover_missing_janeMr. Bennet is dead; his daughters “scattered to the winds,” according to Mrs. Bennet.

And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.

Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.

Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?

 

Darcy stood on the stoop of the Gardiners’ home in Cheapside. He had wrestled with himself all night. His cousin was still away, and therefore he had no one to speak to regarding what he had learned in Meryton. Instead, he had risen with the sun and made his way to Cheapside, where he questioned anyone he met until he located Elizabeth’s relations. He folded his hands behind his back as he waited for the door to open and wondered if Elizabeth would refuse to see him. He could not fault her if she did, but at least he would have tried.

The door opened and a young maid greeted him. He gave her his card and asked if the family was home.

“Mr. Gardiner is at his warehouse and the missus is inside with her youngest, who is ill. Miss Bennet has taken the older children to the park.” Darcy thanked her and instructed her not to disturb her mistress as he simply wished to leave his condolences.

He approached the young boy holding his horse and was about to mount when he glanced towards the park. Could he come this far and forego the chance to at least see her? Shaking his head, he quickly mounted, tossed the lad a coin, and rode to the park.

At first, he did not see her. He was about to admit defeat when her laugh arrested his progress. It rang through the air once more. Though it still held the same musical quality, the pure joy he remembered in Hertfordshire was missing. Darcy’s breath caught in his chest when he turned and saw the sun dancing off her auburn curls as she attempted to retrieve her bonnet from a young boy.

Darcy dismounted and crossed to them, removing his beaver while he approached her from behind. It was clear they were playing a game, and he could not suppress a smile as he thought of how she might have been with their children one day. “May I be of assistance, miss? Has this ruffian assaulted you?”

Elizabeth stiffened, startled by his voice. “Forgive me, Mr. Darcy. I was entertaining my cousins.” She blushed as she curtseyed, and Darcy was lost to her again.

“I saw.” Her gaze fell to the ground, and he shuffled his feet. “I had stopped at your uncle’s home and was told you were here. I have been to Meryton.” He paused, waiting for her to lift her gaze to him, but she continued her study of the path where they stood. “Please accept my condolences.”

She nodded and returned her attention to her cousins, who had continued their game.

“I did not know until Bingley returned to Netherfield Park.”

“Mr. Bingley returned to Netherfield?” She regarded him with an incredulous stare.

Darcy nodded. “A week ago.”

She shook her head and laughed bitterly.

“I never . . .” he began, but the expression on her face stopped him. Warnings shot from her eyes. He lowered his gaze, unable to meet hers. “I cannot imagine what you are feeling, losing your favourite sister so close on the heels of your father.”

“Jane is not dead!” she said between clenched teeth.

Darcy blinked repeatedly as he lifted his head. He did not believe she was one who could deny the loss of a loved one. It did not seem like her. “I do not understand. I was under the impression—“

“Who have you spoken to regarding my sister?”

“Bingley. He spoke to Mrs. Collins. I also saw your mother in Meryton.” He ran his fingers along the brim of his beaver.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “We are searching for her.”

“Searching?”

She sighed as she walked towards her cousins, who were beginning to wander away. He followed. “There was an accident. The carriage rolled. The servant who was travelling with Jane was found and said my sister had gone for help.”

“How long has it been?”

Elizabeth hesitated, but finally replied in a strained voice, “It has been just over a fortnight since she left London.”

Darcy slowly shook his head. “That is not what Bingley was told. He is devastated, thinking she has passed.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “There is a chance Miss Bennet is well and you simply have not been told.”

Elizabeth’s eyes beseeched him. “My uncle is doing all he can to learn what may have happened to her, but we are unable to leave London at this time, and his means are limited.”

Her eyes conveyed all her fears, and he fought the urge to draw her into his arms to comfort her. Swallowing hard, he softly replied, “Elizabeth, do not lose hope.”

She looked at him quizzically and he allowed his gaze to become more intense.

“I know I have never given up.” He bowed over her hand, before returning to his horse and mounting it. Their eyes met again just before he left, and he prayed he did not imagine the admiration he saw there.

This book has been such a joy to write. New characters and a new locale have been fun to explore. The Kindle version of Missing Jane is available HERE. I hope you will pick it up and love it as much as I do.

And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Ana will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Missing Jane. Good luck! I can’t wait to read your comments.

What do you think? How intense that excerpt is, right? At least I have read it with a heart full of fear for Jane and that struggle that Darcy has and that last bit of hope when he is leaving.

What on Earth has happened to Jane? Where is she? Is she really dead or is she lost somewhere? Poor Mr. Bingley too!

Do you want to know more about Missing Jane? Check the other stops on the blog tour:

Blog Tour Update

1st of July Austen Authors

6th of July From Pemberley to Milton

8th of July Diary of an Eccentric

9th of July More Agreeably Engaged

10th of July Babblings of a bookworm

11th of July My Vices and Weaknesses

13th of July Austenesque Reviews

14th of July Interests of a Jane Austen girl

15th of July Laughing with Lizzie

25th of July My Love for Jane Austen

 

time to give away winners

As Bronwen has mentioned, she is giving 1 ebook copy and I will choose 1 winner from the comments on this post. The giveaway is open until the 14th of July at 23:59 CEST. The winner will be announced on the 15th of July, Good luck to everyone!

“Fortune & Felicity” by Monica Fairview, review

Hello to all of you!

I hope you keep being well and enjoying some hobbies that you may have had time to do if it were not because of the lockdown or quarantine we have in many countries. If you are looking for more reading, do not go anywhere, I have a great book for you to read: Fortune & Felicity by Monica Fairview.

You may know Monica Fairview as she has been around the JAFF world for quite some time and her novels are really good readings with lovely stories. Let me (re)introduce her:

Monica Fairview writes Jane Austen variations and sequels. After graduating from the University of Illinois, she worked as a literature professor and then as an acupuncturist in Boston before moving to London.

Monica loves anything to do with the nineteenth century, and obsessively follows every period drama she can find. On rainy days, she loves to watch ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (all adaptations), ‘North & South’, ‘Cranford’, or ‘Downtown Abbey’.

Among Monica’s Kindle best-selling novels are Mysterious Mr. Darcy, the Darcy Novels trilogy, two books in the Darcy Cousins series, and the quirky futuristic P&P inspired Steampunk Darcy. She has also published several traditional Regencies.

Apart from her avid historical interests, Monica enjoys reading fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels, but avoids zombies like the plague. She loves to laugh, drink lots of tea, and visit Regency houses, and she is convinced that her two cats can understand everything she says. 

Would you like to connect with her?

Austen Variations      Blog       Website       Facebook

As you can see, she does a bit of everything in JAFF, even a steampunk Darcy!

Ase you know interested on what is Fortune & Felicity about? It is not a steampunk, just for you to know 😉

Blurb

In this Pride & Prejudice variation, Elizabeth and Darcy have a second chance to get things right. Will they be able to come together this time, or will pride intervene yet again?

Seven years after Darcy’s disastrous proposal, Darcy is in need, not of a wife, but of a governess for his young daughter. Imagine his surprise when he discovers Elizabeth Bennet on the list of possible candidates provided by the employment agency. The question is, should he take her on as a governess, or would he be playing with fire?

Elizabeth Bennet is forced by her reduced circumstances to take on a position. However, when Mr. Darcy invites her for an interview, she is embarrassed and humiliated. How could she possibly live under the same roof as the man she had rejected so strongly seven years ago?

Whatever decision she makes, there will be a high price to pay… one way or the other.

Would he be playing with fire? What do you think? I will start with this bit on my review.

Review

As I said, the haughty Mr Darcy believes himself not in danger of this Mrs Heriot, née Bennet who captivated him so long ago. I would like look Darcy in the eye and tell him: really? Reeeeeally?

Just in case you have not realised, I have started with one of my spoilers! So, spoiler alert!!

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The happy ending will be there, at some point, in time, slowly, annoyingly but it is so worth it!

After the proposal Rosings, they part ways and he gets married, and then she gets married too (you will know about these bits when you read it). She is helping her sister with her own children but there a lot of them and there is not much space, so she looks for a position as a governess.

Darcy is a widower now and he needs a governess for her daughter who is, in principle, not the most lovable kid because she learnt a bit from her mother and her treatment towards herself was maybe not the best one.

When Darcy realises that there is a Mrs Elizabeth Heriot that looks like it may be “his” Elizabeth, he has to interview her. Let’s say the interview is… interesting. All in all, she accepts and then they go to Pemberley.

Elizabeth realises that her charge, Kathy, may not be as “easy” to work with as her nieces and nephews, however, her courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate her, right? Her charge, for such a young girl, is very classist and insists on treating her as a servant even if her father has told her that Mrs. Hariot is a gentlewoman and as her governess she needs to be respected. The same is said to the servants in the house and Mrs. Reynolds is… Mrs. Reynolds (she is really good and protective as she is the “mama-hen”).

I know this may not be surprising but Mr. Darcy is: black and white, hot and cold, yin and yang, I do not know what other opposites to use, he is not able to decide how to treat her. Remember that he is NOT in danger… ha! You wish! Example: while taking her to Lambton, he does not open his mouth and I could feel that it was super tense because he has also “ordered” Elizabeth to go with him through a servant and he has not given her any explanation. However, this is a very interesting scene… and an important one. You can definitely imagine Elizabeth’s attitude when they finally talk!

I simply love how silly Darcy can be mainly when he is very “proper”, and how much conflict Elizabeth has to adapt to her new role in society.

But then… Georgiana appears! OMG! How much damage one can do when the aim is to be helpful!! That party, that dress… (I leave it there)

The story has a great pace, the biggest part shows their “job” life of him as a master and her as a governess. However, there is the introduction to know how they got to that point (a lot of pain for both), and of course, we cannot forget the coming together and the lovely epilogue.

The characters are very well developed and both the original characters and the new characters make your time so worthwhile! For instance, Jane is a great add to this story and not only because Elizabeth was living with her. A new character: Georgiana’s husband is a man who gave me a not-so-good first impression but then you realise that he is awesome.

If the five stars below are not enough, I will write it: I highly recommend this book for you to read.

5out5 stars

Do you want to but the book? Here you have some places where you could do it:

Amazon US             Amazon UK              Amazon CA               Amazon DE            Amazon ES

Blog tour

I highly recommend you to check the other stops of this tour, you will get to know much more about this Darcy and this Elizabeth.

blog-tour-banner-ff-with-dates

“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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“When Duty Calls” by Belén, character interview

Hola a todos 🙂

I hope everybody is taking care and being safe at home. Let’s enjoy a bit more reading now that we have to remain at home and luckily we may enjoy a bit more of free time.

I am happy to welcome again an author with whom I share mother tongue but, I presume, loves reading anything austenesque in English: Belén Paccagnella. Belén is doing an amazing blog tour with her latest book: When Duty Calls. Let me talk about the cover of this book before getting into the story… in the hypothetical case that you have landed on my blog but have not read anything at all about this novel, what do you think about the cover? Yes, it is simply beautiful: the colours, the contrast of light and dark but.. they are kissing! That couple at the front is kissing! OMG! This is the first thing that may shout at you as “this book is promising”.

I know that a lot of JAFF readers only like clean variations and I totally respect that. I actually like almost any variation and, on my top 10 of JAFF books you can find clean versions, they tend to be very sweet. However, let me show you the description of this book and then we keep talking 🙂

The Netherfield ball brings about many changes for the population of Meryton, and more so for the female residents of Longbourn. Mr. Bingley’s departure leaves the eldest, Jane Bennet, heartbroken whilst Mr. Collins’s proposal induces Miss Elizabeth to make a hasty escape. During her flight, she happens upon Mr. Darcy, a gentleman she despises. A moment of solitude in the woods leads to rather improper behavior, and the couple departs with the promise they will tell no one about their minor indiscretion. When their secret is finally uncovered, marriage becomes the only solution to saving Elizabeth from social disgrace. Her other grudges against Mr. Darcy are amplified by resentment and the prospect of spending her life with a man she can never respect. Nonetheless, the marriage takes place, forcing the young couple to deal with their pride and prejudices as husband and wife.

Originally posted online almost twenty years ago, this Regency tale of redemption narrates the struggles of two people, their differences, and their rocky start. But will they succeed in overcoming lies, misunderstandings, and their own errors to finally find love?

So… improper behaviour? Noooo, it cannot be and they are going to keep it secret? I do not know about you but this blurb has totally hooked me because even if I do like a kiss before being betrothed or something similar, although the word “improper” sounds so bad! However, it may not be bad or yes or maybe… I leave it there.

Who is Belén Paccagnella? Let me (re)introduce you to her:

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’s work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development and administration of shopping centers.belen

In 2001, she began writing both Regency and modern stories, adapting the Pride and Prejudice storyline to different backdrops, merging drama, humor, and adventure while creating characters with unique traits. Almost two decades later, she published Obstacles, a modern variation released in 2018 by Meryton Press.

Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires where she shares her home with her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing.

If you would like to follow Belén, you could do it here:

Facebook           Twitter            Instagram

Character interview

I do not know how you would feel knowing that Belén is not doing the character interview 😉 Who will interview Mrs Elizabeth Darcy? I hope you enjoy this interview, it is refreshing and gives a few things away…

I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy six years ago, when she came first to Derbyshire soon after her wedding to our dear neighbour, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Elizabeth is a most intriguing character and a truly generous lady when it comes to sharing her thoughts regarding her life as a married woman. Being a fictional character myself, vaguely mentioned once in this Pride and Prejudice variation, I decided I was the right person to conduct this character interview, thus satisfying the readers’ rapacity for spoilers and my own dream of becoming a social columnist. Since Elizabeth’s youth and background has been explored thoroughly in the original novel, I shall focus my questions in her impromptu marriage to the Master of Pemberley and how it affected her life. Thank you, Ana, for hosting my humble attempt at journalism in your blog, My Vices and Weaknesses. Never a name so consistent with my dreams and expectations!

                                                                        Lady Eugenia Archer

     LEA: Fanfiction writers have adapted your story to almost every backdrop and timeline that exists. Their imagination knows no limits when it comes to narrating your love story with Fitzwilliam Darcy. I have read about you in the past, the future, in almost every known culture known or invented by men, either here on Earth or in space. How do you feel about your life and most intimate feelings being exposed or altered for other people’s enjoyment?

     ED: (laughs) Delighted! I truly enjoy being a literature icon. As long as I end the story married to my dear husband William, I don’t mind what obstacles these exceedingly creative writers throw in our way.

     LEA: Even if they marry you to Colonel Fitzwilliam first?

     ED: I would rather marry Richard than Mr. Collins, if you ask. I know there are a few of those out there. (shudders).

     LEA: It is universally known that he proposed to you. (arches a knowing eyebrow)

     ED: And it’s universally known that I refused him. Most emphatically!

     LEA: Which leads us to this particular story, a forced marriage scenario.  It starts with you running away from Mr. Collins after he proposes, and you happen upon Mr. Darcy in the woods. How do you feel about what happened between the two of you that day? Do you consider Darcy’s behaviour as faulty as yours?

     ED: The blame is almost entirely his. I say almost because William insists that I have been flirting with him since the beginning of our acquaintance.

     LEA: Were you?

     ED: At least not consciously! Men can be clueless at times and interpret women’s attitude to their own convenience. But, in his defence, I can say I had always enjoyed teasing him, stirring the hornet’s nest, if you understand my meaning. And considering how much he fancied me at the time, in retrospective, that might have given him the wrong impression. William is a very passionate man, quite impulsive, and sometimes he fails in reigning back that passion, like it happened that day. If you don’t believe me, ask Lt. Wickham. It was William’s incapability to withhold his temper what made him attend his own wedding with a purple eye. Which, by the way, became a fashion statement. I have been told it matched the colour of my sister’s gown.

     LEA: You’ll tell me about that later (smiles). We already know the author’s thoughts on forced marriage stories, since she shared them in Janet’s interview posted at More Agreeable Engaged. Would you like to tell me yours? How did you feel about being forced to marry a man you disliked so much?

     ED: I was very angry. I could not imagine how we would manage to achieve a decent degree of happiness with my hatred for him and his family opposing the match. The anger dissipated a bit during the engagement, but when I learned what he did to my sister, I was truly despondent. The first weeks of our marriage we were both immersed in great sorrow. At the time I felt I would be miserable for the rest of my life. Fortunately, all that was reversed as we became better acquainted. 

     LEA: I noticed there was something amiss between the two of you when I first met you, the night you dined with us at Thornaby Hall. That was quite early in your marriage. Although I did not perceive any particular animosity, there was a distance between the two of you that was unusual for a newly wedded couple.

     ED: We were just beginning to understand each other at the time. Although I was already in love with him, I had not made my feelings known to him yet. I was not certain about his sentiments either, so I was at loss of what to do. My thoughts at that time are reflected on the excerpt the author posted for the Valentine Special. Later that day, William, Georgiana and I happened upon Lord Archer on the streets of Lambton, and he invited us to dine at your home. That was a turning point for me.  Although unintentionally, that day William said something that broke my heart. It made me realize how much my words had wounded him. From them on, I tried my best to show him that I truly cared for him. It took us some time to finally become a couple in every sense, but that was the starting point for my change of attitude. Now neither of us can understand life without the other.

     LEA: Does your sister’s marriage to Lt. Wickham have to do with this delay?

     ED: Indeed! The news of Lydia’s elopement reached me the day we shared our first kiss after our wedding. Well, perhaps it was not precisely the first one. We had shared a couple of kisses before that one, but those were merely stolen kisses that took the other by surprise. I don’t think they count as the first kiss. Then he left for London for a fortnight, and I began to have doubts about how Lydia’s reckless behaviour would affect our marriage. At some point I feared he might—

     LEA: I must stop you here and say spoiler alert! Let us not give away too much of the plot, shall we? However, since this scene has already been posted online during the blog tour, at Savvy Verse & Wit, would you tell me the anecdote about Wickham’s blue eye? How did that happen?

     ED: (laughs) I cannot tell you much about it, for I did not have the pleasure of witnessing it, and William did not share with me the details of why he punched Wickham on the face. All I can tell you is of my husband’s broken hand. Which, by the way, earned him a lecture from his boxing master. He’s quite a conscientious teacher and never fails to chastise his pupil when he does something wrong. You can read more about my husband’s fondness for pugilism on the 8th stop of this blog tour, at Austenesque Reviews.

     LEA: One last question so the readers can learn more about you after the story ends. I heard the author decided not to include an epilogue for this published version of When Duty Calls, although I know there was one, originally. You are now reaching the end of your confinement. I imagine you must be exhausted, taking care of your husband and two children while assisting your sister Georgiana in the preparations for her wedding. How do you find the strength to do all that while keeping your fresh, beautiful countenance? What’s your secret? My feet were so swollen during my confinements that I could hardly put my shoes on!

     ED: (laughs along) Long walks and a loving husband who rubs my feet every night! And, of course, a battalion of servants ready to satisfy my every whim. Being the mistress of Pemberley has many benefits, and wealth is just one of them (winks and rubs her belly).

What do you think? Have you enjoyed it? I have really liked Lady Eugenia Archer’s interview to Elizabeth. I think it helps having another character who has been there, even if briefly.

I cannot wait to read about Wickham’s blue eye and about how they got to be forced into a marriage and, most importantly, how love was born!

If you cannot wait either, you can but the book on different places, such as:

Amazon US        Amazon UK          Amazon CA        Amazon DE

Blog Tour

If you have liked or loved this character interview as much as I have, in case you have not done it before, check the rest of the entries on this tour, they are awesome! If you do not know where to start, go back to the character interview and check all the blogs mentioned 🙂 (you have all the entries on the links below)

WDC BT Schedule M

 Diary of an Eccentric

So Little Time…

Austenprose

Babblings of a Bookworm

Savvy Verse & Wit

Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

Austenesque Reviews

More Agreeably Engaged

From Pemberley to Milton

My Vices and Weaknesses

 

time to give away winners

Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of When Duty Calls to eight fortunate winners.

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

Rafflecopter – When Duty Calls

“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

Winner of “When Charlotte became Romantic” by Victoria Kincaid

Lyly Bernard, you are the winner of the giveaway that Victoria Kincaid has done in her stop at My Vices and Weaknesses.

Apologies for taking so long to select a winner.

Lyly, I hope you enjoy this lovely book! I will send your email address to Victoria for you to get your ebook.

“When Charlotte Became Romantic” by Victoria Kincaid, character interview + giveaway

Dear all,

I hope you are doing well and looking forward to this interview! Victoria Kincaid is sharing her latest book: When Charlotte Became Romantic. Yes, Charlotte Lucas. Was she romantic after all?

In the original Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas marries the silly and obsequious clergyman, Mr. Collins.  But what if fate—and love—intervened?

Desperate to escape her parents’ constant criticism, Charlotte has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins despite recognizing his stupid and selfish nature.  But when a mysterious man from her past visits Meryton for the Christmas season, he arouses long-buried feelings and causes her to doubt her decision. 

James Sinclair’s mistakes cost him a chance with Charlotte three years ago, and he is devastated to find her engaged to another man.  Honor demands that he step aside, but his heart will not allow him to leave Meryton.  Their mutual attraction deepens; however, breaking an engagement is not a simple matter and scandal looms.  If they are to be happy, they must face her parents’ opposition, Lady Catherine’s disapproval, dangerous figures from James’s past…and Charlotte’s nagging feeling that maybe she should just marry Mr. Collins.   

Charlotte had forsworn romance years ago; is it possible for her to become romantic again?

Wait a minute… James Sinclair, who is him? What do you mean “cost him a chance with Charlotte”? I am bit stressed now. Let’s see if Charlotte can solve this mystery about Mr Sinclair. Enjoy the interview!

Q. Hello, Charlotte, it’s nice to meet you and congratulations on your engagement to Mr. Collins.

A. Thank you.

Q. Are you looking forward to moving to Kent and becoming a parson’s wife?

A. Of course. I am looking forward to establishing my own home and I hope to have many children.

Q. You’re not worried about how far Hunsford is from Lucas Lodge?

A. The distance is rather an advantage than otherwise.

Q. Interesting. And, tell me, how did Mr. Collins propose?

A. With a lot of words. He has quite a way with words.

Q. That’s one way to put it.Did he express his love and admiration?

A. Yes, of course.I believe he called me his petunia blossom. 

Q. And do you love him?

A. (After a pause.) I greatly admire and esteem him. I’m not romantic, you know.

Q. That’s an interesting claim. I was doing some research about your visit to Bath three years ago and I heard that there was a time in your life when you were quite romantic.

A. I do not know what you mean.

Q. I learned from a reputable source that you were once in love with a mysterious young man and accepted an offer of—

A. (Standing.) I will not answer that question!

Q. Will you just confirm or deny that—?

A. I was unaware that this was to be such a shockingly personal interview. You must write for a very disreputable publication.

Q. I’m sorry.I didn’t mean to offend you.  I simply wanted to know the truth about that visit to Bath three years—

A. This interview is at an end.(Gets up and leaves the room).

WOW! What has just happened? She just left the interview! She was not really receptive and pretty upset she went.

What do you think? Is she romantic after all? I know I already asked that question but I want to know more and the only way is reading When Charlotte Became Romantic.

You can buy this entertaining book on:

Amazon UK                Amazon US                   Amazon CA

For you to know Victoria a bit more, read the biography from her website:

Victoria Kincaid is the author of several popular Jane Austen variations, including The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & ProposalsMr. Darcy to the Rescue, When Mary Met the Colonel, and Darcy vs. Bennet.All of her books have been listed in Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Regency Romances.  The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth was nominated for a Rone award and Pride and Proposals was recognized as a top Austenesque novel for 2015 by Austenesque Reviews.

Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.

She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, an excessively energetic dog, two children who love to read, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy.  A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

If you want to follow Victoria Kincaid’s work, follow her on:

Website            Facebook           Twitter             Goodreads

time to give away winners

Victoria is kindly given an ebook copy of When Charlotte Became Romantic to a winner. This giveaway is international. To participate you need to comment on this post and you can get an extra point for each share in a different social media. The giveaway will end on the 8th of December at 11:59pm (CET). Good luck!

“The Perfect Gentleman” by Julie Cooper, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all, please welcome Julie Cooper, the author of The Perfect Gentleman, a variation of the beloved Pride and Prejudice.

Julie Cooper, a California native, lives with her Mr Darcy (without the arrogance or the Pemberley) of nearly forty years, two dogs (one intelligent, one goofball), and Kevin the julie-cooper-photo-with-emmaCat (smarter than all of them.)  They have four children and three grandchildren, all of whom are brilliant and adorable, with the pictures to prove it. She works as an executive at a gift basket company and her tombstone will read, “Have your Christmas gifts delivered at least four days before the 25th.”  Her hobbies are reading, giving other people good advice, and wondering why no one follows it.

You can connect with Julie on Facebook.

I think the blurb of The Perfect Gentleman is going to be both confusing and, “I need the book now” at the same time. Enjoy!

’Tis no secret that Lizzy Bennet has dreams. The uniquely talented daughter of a woman with a dubious reputation, Lizzy knows she must make her own way in a world that shuns her. Fitzwilliam Darcy carries the stains of his family’s disgrace upon his soul and only by holding himself to the strictest standards has he reclaimed his place in society.

Now Georgiana Darcy has gone missing. If his fifteen-year-old sister cannot be found quickly, the scandal could destroy Darcy’s years of perfectbehaviour. Lizzy Bennet know just what to do to find Georgiana. She is willing to join the pursuit to get what she wants but will Darcy be willing to trust her with his secrets? And what will they do when the search for Georgiana reveals what neither expected to find?

The Perfect Gentleman is a romantic adventure so big it needs two volumes in one book. Follow the adventure in A Not-So-Merry Chase and discover the surprises and temptations that await at Pemberley in Love Wisely But Well.

What a twist, right? What do you think? Let me know on the comments. I am not sure how to analyse the blurb, even writing my “questions” seems lacking because the main one would be: what is going on with the disgrace and the dubious reputation???

Let’s get a bit more about this book… a lot more!

The Perfect Gentleman is the story, at its heart, of a man and a woman from separate social circles but with comparable inner-life experiences. This allows them to see each other differently than the rest of the world might. It does not mean, however, that they have an easy time convincing the world of the advisability of the match.

In this excerpt, we hear Charles Bingley, sent to play cupid’s assistant, try to explain to Lizzy’s family (who has always lived amidst scandal and scorn) a little bit about the great family she is marrying into, and how they might help prevent social disaster from befalling Our Dear Couple!

Excerpt from The Perfect Gentleman:
Jane looked up at him hopefully. “So…your friend, Mr Darcy…he is…a kindly gentleman?” she asked tentatively.

Charles’s brow furrowed. “Hmm. Kindly. Well, ’tis not that he is unkind. A right honourable gentleman, he is, but I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do.” His brow cleared. “Fret not. He is the busiest of men, terribly industrious, always doing three things at once. Excepting the Sabbath, of course. Which is why, if restlessness takes him, it happens then.”

“Oh, my,” Jane murmured.

He saw he had not achieved his object, which was to give a confident report of Darcy’s character. “Truly, ma’am, he is a splendid fellow.” He continued with a convoluted tale of how Darcy had walloped a regular bell swagger at Eton, thus rescuing the much younger Charles Bingley from a terrible drubbing. He noted she did not look much reassured, though he thought it a grand tale, himself.

“I say, don’t get yourself in a pucker,” he soothed. “I promise Darcy does not make a habit of getting himself yoked. He has had many an opportunity too, for he is known as one of the finest catches on the marriage mart. His uncle on his mother’s side is an earl, and the one on his father’s is the Bishop of Derby. No fears he cannot support her, what?”

“Oh, my,” Jane murmured again. “’Tis worse than I thought. I mean…not worse, precisely, but…our household situation is not quite…” She trailed off, plainly at a loss.

Charles was certain he knew the cause. “Darcy knows all about, um, your family history,” he said, unable to prevent his blush. He hurried on to the part of the plan he had practiced with his stepmother. “I have a letter here, from my mother-in-law. She is the sister of Thomas Bennet, which makes her Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s aunt, see?” he said eagerly.

Jane cautiously accepted the folded parchment, and smoothing it open upon her knee, read:

Longbourn House
Hertfordshire
28th May, 18—

Dear Mrs Bennet,

I send you the greetings of a long-lost sister. It grieves me to admit I only just learned of your marriage to my brother a few weeks past. The cause of said acknowledgement being a sad one, as Mr Bennet is ill, nigh unto death, and his marriage and most especially, his daughter, weigh heavily upon his conscience at the crossroads of his own mortality.

However, God works in mysterious ways. My son-in-law, Mr Charles Bingley, upon hearing the tale of your star-crossed marriage, sent his friend, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, who has relations in your city, to discover how you and your daughter fare.

I cannot say enough favourable regarding Mr Darcy. He is a prosperous gentleman, a great landowner, and true and faithful friend to my son since their days at Eton.

The situation, of course, is delicate. We would both, I am sure, wish to avoid any gossip attending the wedding of your daughter to such a great man as Mr Darcy. I feel confident Mr Bennet, were he well enough to understand the particulars, would acknowledge Elizabeth as he ought to have long ago. But he is not able to do much at present and it is left to us to settle what ought to be done now.

I beseech you: pray, come to Longbourn. I would beg a sisterly indulgence; except I have no right. I am sure you have suffered much as a result of my brother’s pride, but I will not hesitate to petition your mother’s heart, where pride has no place when it poses a barrier to the happiness of our children. Bring any and all members of your household, too, of course. But come quickly, for I know not how many hours Mr Bennet has left in this mortal realm, and I am certain reconciliation ought to be the dying wish of a father and husband.

Hopefully, Your Sister,

Margaret Bennet Bingley

Jane carefully refolded the letter. “Oh, my,” she said.

As is plain to see from this excerpt, challenges await our dear couple!

If you want to buy The Perfect Gentleman, you can do it, among other, here:

Amazon US        Amazon UK           Amazon CA            Amazon DE

Blog Tour

Enjoy much more about this intriguing book! Go and check the other stops on the tour.

the-perfect-gentlemen-tourbanner

time to give away winners

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on November 13th. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entries. Good luck!