Blog Tour of “The Child” by Jan Hahn, review + giveaway

Will Darcy ever grow to love a child he never wanted?”

Wait a minute… how can someone write that and leave it like nothing happened! Jan Hahn, that is one of the most unnerving questions I have ever read in a JAFF novel. If you are looking for the definition of “intriguing”, that sentence would be a good example. You cannot guess how my mind went wildly and how many different scenarios I imagined in a few seconds.

I will let you read the rest of the book description in order to let your imagination rest… or not!

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford is disastrous. In Jan Hahn’s The Child, Darcy flees England soon afterward, striving to overcome his longing for her. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget. But who is the child holding her hand?

Darcy soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight. His misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.

Will Elizabeth be able to forgive Darcy for his good intentions gone awry? And what effect will the child have on Darcy’s hopes to win Elizabeth’s love?

What now? Better? Worse? Even more questions? I totally understand it, it is complicated. I will let you know a bit more later on in my review, but let me introduce you to the author of The Child: Jan Hahn.

Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a jan hahncombination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’ Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.

Follow Jan on:

Jan Hahn’s Facebook Page                    Jan Hahn’s Author Page

Already so intrigued that you cannot wait for the giveaway?

Buy the book on:    Amazon US         Amazon UK        Amazon DE

Blog Tour Schedule

A great tour with lovely posts where you can find out more about this book. Do not forget to check them!

March 21st My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 22nd From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

March 23rd  More Agreeably Engaged / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 24th My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 25th My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

March 26th Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

March 27th Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway

March 28th Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview & Giveaway

March 29th So Little Time / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 30th Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 31st Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

April 1st Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

April 2nd Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

Review

Maybe one of the most difficult JAFF books that I have read and I want to review without giving spoilers. I will try: the book is really good and there is a lot of misunderstanding between Darcy and Elizabeth. Full stop.

No, I am not crazy, this book is almost impossible to review without spoilers so I will just make one… you have been warned, do not look below…

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there is a HEA.

Am I crazy again? Nope, but you may think so. Let me explain a couple of things about the beginning of the book.

Darcy, as you have read, left England after the first proposal. He went to Europe even crossing enemy lines. He took Charles Bingley with him. He was escaping. When he is back a few years later, he is about to walk down the aisle when, before entering the church, he sees the woman he has always loved, Elizabeth, just on the other side of the street. However, there is a surprise, she holds the hand of a child. He is petrified but eventually he goes down the aisle.

How can things get any worse?, you may be thinking. Trust me, they do worsen. A transport problem finds Darcy and Bingley helping Jane, Elizabeth and the child who are in need. Fire and thunder go around Elizabeth’s manners towards Darcy, you have no idea! However, the ladies need the help for the child’s sake. Nothing carries on in a good path from now on. Angst, pain, resentment, etc. go together hand in hand to despair us while reading.

Jan has written a lovely book where so many of the characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice appear again and a bit changed. There is anguish as well, and a two-years-old child who is a bit spoilt may not make things easy for the adults.

However, who can resist a beautiful little child as the one on the cover. Isn’t it a lovely cover? What an artist!

the child book

4.5out5 stars

Time To Give Away

8 eBooks of The Child are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on March 21 – until midnight ET on April 4, 2018. Just click the following link:

Rafflecopter link to the giveaway of “The Child” by Jan Hahn

Terms and conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

You can always buy the book on:    Amazon US         Amazon UK        Amazon DE

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Winner of “Cake & Courtship” by Mark Brownlow

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Edited on 26th March

Hello again, unfortunately Erika has not replied even after the extra days I have not been able to recheck the post.

So, Vesper! You were second so you get the prize!!

Could you email me please with your details?

Ana

Hello ladies and gents, I do apologise for getting to you a bit later than expected. However, here you have the result of the randomiser to get the winner of Mark Brownlow’s giveaway. I have used random.org

Remember that you have the option to choose from some delicious Viennese chocolates or a copy of Cake & Courtship, that is very juicy as well.

Thanks again to Mark for being with us and for the giveaway he is offering.

Without much ado, congratulations to Erika M Messer!! Erika, please email me your choice of prize and your address to pass to Mark at myvicesandweaknesses@gmail.com

Erika, you have five days to answer, in case Erika does not email me in that time, I will choose another winner. So, if you know Erika, let her know!

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Blog Tour of “Cake & Courtship” by Mark Brownlow, author interview + giveaway

I am always very glad and happy to introduce a new author on My Vices and Weaknesses but I am even happier because I had the chance to have a hot chocolate with him (no cake this time) and have a chat about his writing, his books and life!

Welcome, Mark Brownlow to My Vices and Weaknesses and thank you for bringing Cake and Courtship: Mr Bennet’s Memoirs Book One with you.

Here you have Mark’s biography, you may read things that you may not expect and that is always nice and refreshing:

Mark Brownlow is a British-born writer living in Vienna, Austria. His debut novel, Cake and Courtship, is a Regency romance narrated by Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Bennet. He has also written a novella, The Lovesick Maid, c&c authora cozy mystery set in Jane Austen’s fictional village of Hunsford. You can find Mark at LostOpinions.com, where he is known for his reimagining of classic literature as emails.

Science degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Aberdeen and Reading prefaced a short-lived career as a research academic. Since turning from facts to fiction, Mark has also worked as a translator, agony aunt, marketing consultant, journalist, business writer, web publisher and copywriter. None of which kept his soul happy in the way that creative writing does. When not writing, he works as a part-time lecturer in medical and scientific English at a local university.

If there is no pen to hand, he can be found watching his kids play football or sharing a glass of wine with his wife in front of a costume or historical drama.

You can follow Mark and his work on various places: website       Goodreads      Twitter       Facebook  Mark’s author page at Amazon.co.uk    Mark’s author page at Amazon.com

Before reading his interview, please let me present you Cake and Courtship: Mr Bennet’s memoirs book one, a book that I believe you would love, it is very witty and “very Mr Bennet” and after reading the interview, you can easily imagine why it may be so good: Mr Bennet with his way of speaking and Mr Brownlow with his own way… Let’s start with some quotes from a few reviews on Amazon:

“An uplifting, amusing and oh so tender read!” (5-star review at Amazon.co.uk)

The course of true love doesn’t run smooth in this sweet, witty ramble with Mr. Bennet(5-star review at Amazon.com)

There is so much wit, humour and likeability. I laughed out loud many, many times(5-star review at Amazon.co.uk)

Interested now? Keep reading the blurb and a bit more of information about the book:

When John Barton falls in love with the elusive Anne Hayter, there is only one man he can turn to for advice. Unfortunately, that man is Mr Bennet of Longbourn, a world-weary gentleman with five daughters pursuing their own marital ambitions.

To help John, Mr Bennet must emerge from his beloved library and face the challenges of the tearoom and dance floor one more time. In doing so, he finds his own romantic past catching up with him.

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Mark Brownlow takes you on an Austenesque journey full of wry humour and Regency romance (with a few slices of sponge cake).

As you get older, Lizzy, you will discover that life does not
bow easily 
to the wishes of even the most romantic of souls.
Quite the opposite. 
Life must be mastered with pragmatism
and sense, which explains why so few people succeed at it.

If you are already so intrigued as I was, you could buy the book on any of these links:

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE
eBook: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Kobo | iBooks | Nook / B&N

Without more preamble, here we have Mark Brownlow, author of Cake and Courtship answering some questions that you may not expect. Well, you may not expect the answer… watch out JAFF! 😉

Hi, Mark and welcome.

Hi, Ana, and thanks for having me as a guest on My Vices and Weaknesses!

How did you get involved in writing JAFF?

Obliquely. My wife and I watch a lot of costume and historical drama, and I always enjoyed the Austen adaptations on television. Then I found myself wondering how much of the dialogue came from the scriptwriters and how much from the books, so picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice. I was astonished – and I mean ASTONISHED – to find that, for example, all the humour was lifted straight from the page. That’s how I discovered Jane Austen the writer.

I always wanted to write fiction, so the combination with the Austenesque world seemed a natural fit, especially as I was already writing snippets of literary humour in the same genre for a web project.

Do you have any special writing rituals?

Not as such. While working as a business writer, with constant deadlines, I was forced to be flexible – to write when and where necessary. So I’m equally comfortable with a pen or keyboard, on the sofa or in a coffee house. Having said that, my dream has always been to write like the Colin Firth character in Love Actually – rent a villa somewhere in the south of Europe and hammer away. Though I’d make copies (and do my own washing up).

I do try and write in the mornings, when the day is fresh and full of promise.

Are there any challenges being a male writer in this genre?

If there are, they’re more internal than external. I’ve never encountered anything other than warmth from the community of readers and writers. And there are other male writers already way more established than me. All of them, actually!

By internal, I mean, for example, that I’d hesitate to write from a first-person perspective with a female protagonist, of which there are obviously one or two in Jane Austen’s works! Not because I think writers should always stick to their gender, but simply because I’m not sure I’d do a good job of it. My new novella has Charlotte Collins as the “heroine” of the story. That’s written from a third-person perspective, which I think Charlotte would be relieved about.

It’s sometimes “interesting” when shifting worlds. My other lives are spent teaching scientists or at the football. I’m not sure all my friends here in Vienna have quite got their head around what I do.

Is there much awareness of the world of Jane Austen in Vienna?

Not much. Austria, of course, has classic authors of its own and the Regency period isn’t such a defined era here, for obvious reasons. A kind of equivalent in terms of interest is the long reign of Emperor Franz Joseph in the second half of the 19th century. There’s a particular fascination with his wife, Empress Elisabeth, who was a rather complex and tragic figure.

You’re not Austrian yourself?

I am now, but I was British until about six months ago. I grew up in Wiltshire, not far from Bath, and moved here in 1994.

Let’s turn to your book: it retells Pride and Prejudice from Mr Bennet’s perspective, but he’s not the first name that springs to mind when you think of the original.

No, he’s not. But his humour and cynicism make him an attractive narrator for a writer, especially when you take him out of his comfort zone and force him to swap his books for balls and bonnets.

Jane Austen leaves his backstory largely open, so there’s a fresh canvas to paint on there, too. Plus, he’s about the nearest Pride and Prejudice has to me in terms of age, gender and character, which makes writing from a first-person perspective a little easier. With my calves, I can’t do Mr Darcy.

I’m glad you mentioned Mr Darcy. He’s talked about in your novel, but he never makes an appearance. Why’s that?

Hah! Because I am more foolish than Mr Collins. When I began writing the novel, I didn’t have much experience of Austenesque fiction. So I assumed people would be tired of reading about the Elizabeth-Darcy story. You have permission to laugh at my ignorance.

But it’s also because, from Mr Bennet’s perspective, Mr Darcy doesn’t play that big a role at first: “Cake and Courtship” ends before Lizzy goes to Hunsford.

Although we see Pride and Prejudice through Mr Bennet’s eyes, there’s a separate story going on, too, with new characters. How did that come about?

I wanted to do something fresh with Mr Bennet, rather than just repeat the original plot. He wasn’t going to leave his library without good reason. It’s the story of John Barton and Anne Hayter that forces him into the unusual position of playing cupid and the unwanted position of facing up to his own past.

If the novel ends pre-Hunsford, will there be a sequel?

I’m working on it at the moment. Mr Bennet still needs to cover the second half of Pride and Prejudice. And although the “Cake and Courtship” story comes to a conclusion, there is one issue in the Bennet past that needs resolution. Also, I can put more Darcy in a sequel!

Will there be cake?

As Mr Bennet says, “Life always has more cake. It is one of its few redeeming features.”

Some quick questions to end…favourite Austen book?

Persuasion.

Favourite Austen character?

Mr Collins. Surely everyone’s favourite?

1995 or 2005 Pride and Prejudice?

I’m not answering that. I can’t handle conflict, a character trait my kids exploit mercilessly. I will admit to a soft spot for the 2005 proposal scene (ducks).

Favourite cake?

Confession: I’m not a big cake person. But I can handle a nice bit of lemon drizzle cake.

Favourite author (you’re not allowed to say Jane Austen)?

Terry Pratchett. He also had an astonishing knack for creating memorable characters. Incidentally, if you read his novel “Snuff”, you can find a subtle tribute to Jane Austen in there.

Interests outside of writing?

Well, football and, um, football. Though I’m trying to teach myself copperplate calligraphy in a desperate attempt to convince myself that I have “varied interests”.

Thank you very much for your time, Mark.

Thank you, Ana!

What do you think, readers? Did you like his answers? Did you like his style? I had a very nice time talking to him and yes, I was a bit astonished with his idea of maybe people did not like to read more about Elizabeth and Darcy, but it is great that he found out as he will keep writing more and more!

Regarding the issue of not much of the world of Jane Austen in Vienna, and in Austria in general, I think we need to do something about it, we will see!

Check the other stops of this blog tour and you will find so much more great info about the book, about the characters and about the author. Find the links to all the blogs below the picture:

c&c blog tour

28th February Diary of an Eccentric – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
1st March Half Agony, Half Hope – review, excerpt
2nd March Austenesque Reviews – interview with Mr Bennet, giveaway
3rd March Babblings of a Bookworm – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
4th March Laughing with Lizzie – Mr Bennet’s inbox, giveaway
5th March From Pemberley to Milton – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
6th March My Vices and Weaknesses – author interview, giveaway
7th March More Agreeably Engaged – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
8th March So little time…so much to read – Mr Bennet’s diary, giveaway
10th March Just Jane 1813 – guest post, excerpt, giveaway

Time To Give Away

Mark is giving away different prizes on this blog tour. The winners can choose either a paperback copy of Cake and Courtship: Mr. Bennet’s Memoirs Book One OR a box of Viennese chocolates (super yummy, I can tell you for sure). One prize per winner and it is an international giveaway. You can comment, share your opinions and/or questions until the 12th March 23:59 CET.

c&c giveaway

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Blog Tour of “The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn” by Don Jacobson, author interview + giveaway + extra

The Bennet Wardrobe series is just something else. Don Jacobson has created a superb series involving one of our favourite novels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and time travelling. What is most, his writing is awesome and what ideas he has!!

Today he is introducing The Exile: The Countess visits Longbourn.

If you have been following My Vices and Weaknesses for some time now, you may have read my review of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in which I could not praise more Don’s way of developing the characters, I simply loved it and that together with really good stories… what else can you ask?

[FYI – This post is going to be a bit long but I promise that it is worth it to read it all.]

For the ones who may be new to the blog or maybe new to this author, 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 published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.”

Don Jacobson Head Shot

 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).

He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.  

His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

If you would like to follow his work, here you have different ways to do it:

Website                Amazon Author Page            Goodreads Author Page              Twitter

In case you have not come across this series, check the blurb to The Exile: the Countess visits Longbourn:

“I have been shaped by the events of over forty years. The world is a nasty place full of awful persons, Mr. Wickham, and does not get any lighter through complaining or blaming.”

The Countess: An Enigma? A Mystery? Or a young girl all-grown-up?

 Kitty Bennet, the fourth daughter of the Master and Mistress of Longbourn, had spent far too long as the shadow of her youngest sister. The all-knowing Meryton chinwaggers suggested that young Miss Bennet needed education—and quickly.

How right they were…but the type of instruction Kitty Bennet received, and the where/when in which she matriculated was far beyond their ken. For they knew nothing of that remarkable piece of furniture which had been part of the lives of clan Bennet for over 120 years: The Bennet Wardrobe.

Forty-six years from when she left her Papa’s bookroom, the Dowager Countess of Matlock returned to that exact same moment in 1811 to tend to many important pieces of Family business.

In the process, Kitty Fitzwilliam helped her youngest sister find the love she craved with the hero who, as the Duke said, “saved us all.”

wardrobe clock backgrnd.jpg

In the slim possibility that you are not 100% convinced that this book and, therefore, the series is super worth to read, here you have, from my point of view, one of the best Jane Austen Fan Fiction authors that you can read commenting on the series: Joana Starnes.

Who can resist the magic of time-travel? Pages of worldwide history rustle back and forth between Regency grand salons, Napoleonic battlefields and more recent conflicts as, guided by Don Jacobson’s masterful pen, the Bennet sisters grow as people and come into their own. ‘The Countess Visits Longbourn’ is a wonderful new instalment, and we cannot fail to revel in the excellent writing and the abundance of detail as the mysteries of the Wardrobe continue to unfold. This captivating series, that brings together real and much-loved fictional characters from all walks of life, is one to savour, and I will revisit it again and again. – Joana Starnes, author of Miss Darcy’s Companion 

You can buy this book on:   Amazon US       Amazon UK        Amazon DE

Without more ado, enjoy this interview that Don is giving us:

MVAW: Maybe you’ve answered this question a lot of times but some of us would like to read it again… Why Jane Austen? Why writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction?

DJ: Like many, I had been inspired to visit (I had not read the Canon in school) the works of Jane Austen after the 1995 Mini-series. My reading tastes up to that point—and from high school onward—had been firmly in the camp of historical fiction and speculative fiction.

Then in 1997 I began to voraciously absorb the Patrick Cornwell Jack Aubrey Series. Shortly thereafter I discovered the works of Bernard Cornwell, particularly the Richard Sharpe Series. Leaven those two with the alternate history approach of Harry Turltledove and I think I had developed a rather eclectic blend. At the same time I was devouring the “Forsyte Saga,” most of Henry James’ and Edith Wharton’s works along with Somerset Maugham.

T’was not until my daughter gifted me with a Kindle around 2010 that I began dipping my tone into other genres. Kindle Unlimited is a marvelous invention! Austenesque Fiction probably entered my reading diet in 2014.

As I have noted in other venues, I had not considered writing any fiction (although I had been making my living for 40 years as a writer)  until my daughter surprised me with her first novel. That jarred something loose…and after a steady diet of Austen-inspired novels and novellas, my brain tossed up a fragment of a letter written by Caroline Bingley to Jane in 1816. Further mulling led me to reconsider my life-long avoidance of fiction writing.

MVAW: Your main focus is Pride and Prejudice, any specific reason? Are you contemplating the idea of writing variations of other novels by JA?

DJ: I feel that there are more stories to tell, particularly about those thinly sketched characters who rest at the margins of Pride and Prejudice, than Jane Austen needed to relate, focused as she was on the tale of Elizabeth and Darcy.

 Perhaps it is because P&P has been dramatized so many times that it provides more fertile ground for an author seeking to expand the tableau and to build a world within which the characters can realistically reside.

 At this point, deep as I am in the midst of creating the Universe of The Bennet Wardrobe, I am unable to consider other possible variations. However, I have found several authors’ efforts to merge the narrative worlds of the Canonical novels to be intriguing.

MVAW: In the wardrobe series, we have time travelling to different eras. Why time travel? Where do your like/fascination/choice comes from?  How did you come with idea of joining P&P and time travelling?

DJ: In one way, the Regency offers a wonderful, rose-hued world within which to station characters and stories. However, as I was concerned with how Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and Thomas Bennet could overcome the handicaps given them by Austen, I considered arenas in which they could grow and find their destinies without the constraints of their previous narratives. Time travel (as opposed to translation to another world like Burroughs Barsoom or Lewis’ Narnia) offered the opportunity to create a different narrative world that was neither unfamiliar nor unbelievable.

 Thus, Mary’s destiny, shaped as it usually is in Austenesque Fiction by love, was realized not through her own time journey, but that of another. And with that, Mary Bennet was able to find her own path in the early years of the Industrial Revolution. However, Kitty, crushed by her life as the fourth daughter—and, as we learn, other factors—needed to escape all she had known up to 1811 to be able to learn that which she needed to become her best self.

Future volumes of The Bennet Wardrobe will see Lydia learning that the life of a soldier is a hard one indeed. Thomas Bennet needed to shake off his indolence and prove that he was a man worth of the endearment “Papa.” And then there is the reason for the whole cycle. No; that is three books from now. Sorry!

MVAW: So far, I have just read Kitty Bennet and the Belle Epoque and I loved the story but I must say that what made me loved the book even more is your way of giving the personalities of the descendants a part of Darcy/Elizabeth and at the same time a part of their own new personality. How did you plan the way/personality your new characters were having without compromising the plot and the links to the original characters as their ascendants? People may expect to see Darcy and Elizabeth’s personalities again and again…

DJ: I am not trying to be coy here: I will tell you honestly that I do not plan ahead of time to insert personality traits. My writing is very organic. Characters grow as I write. I would hazard that the great lasting power of the Canon is that the personalities sketched by Austen are fairly universal and, thus, recognizable.

The cycle begins with “The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey.” There really are no personality clones from the Canon hiding therein. Most are fairly direct extrapolations of the original core characters. Edward Benton, the man who captures Mary’s heart, was molded in some ways upon Sidney Chambers of the Grantchester novels and television dramatizations.

I did see much of Darcy hiding inside the heart of Henry Fitzwilliam. Like Darcy, his nature had to be shaped by a transformative experience. In “Henry Fitzwilliam’s War,” the young Viscount uses the Wardrobe in 1881 to seek his manhood on the field of glorious combat to set to rights the collapse of the family’s image after his Granduncle had been tarred with the brush that was the failure in Crimea in the 1850s. However, he discovered that, much as his Great Grandmother Lydia often exclaimed, the Wardrobe had a nasty sense of humor. It deposited him in World War I.

 Oddly enough, as “The Exile, Pt. 1” began to take shape, I found much of Lizzy in the soul of Maggie Small. Aline Charigot-Renoir may well have been the Jane of the first part of The Exile. Eleanor Fitzwilliam (Henry’s sister) has the same joie de vivre without the unfortunate aspects of young Lydia Bennet. And Jacques Robard is Colonel Fitzwilliam in the body of a French peasant: fiercely loyal and a man dangerous with whom to trifle.

In Part 2 of “The Exile,” I think that both Darcy and Fitzwilliam would be discomfited to learn that there was more of them in Wickham than previously imagined. And, there is more of the cold steel of the Old General in the frail body of Lady Kate than anyone could countenance.

MVAW: What could you tell us something about the Countess that you may have not said/written in other posts of this blog tour? How changed is this character? How has Kitty matured?

DJ: T’is difficult to consider…but I will try.

Just as Austenesque Fiction writers have long conjectured that Darcy and Elizabeth formed a seamless partnership in love, life, and business, I, too, realized that the Henry/Kitty pairing was the epitome of the “sum of the parts being greater…”

 As Henry was limited by his injuries suffered at Loos in 1915, he could not realize his martial dreams. Plus, as Managing Director of the Bennet Family Trust, the 11th Earl of Matlock take off to fight on the Afghan Frontier or subdue the Boers. Rather, he found his niche in becoming the nation’s “go-to” diplomat in that last decade of peace before World War I. Note that Lady Kate, in “Lizzy Bennet Meets The Countess,” has dictated Henry’s enforced vacation in 1907due to his exertions on behalf of the Empire leading the delegation at the Algeçiras Conference.

 As his wife, the Countess participated in the diplomatic swirl surrounding the great Hague, Berlin, Paris, and London conferences. She was his hostess, fully aware of the importance of her role. The growth in the Kitty/Kate personality came from the confidence she had found as she began to process and understand how the events of the summer of 1800 informed her adolescent life…and how the terrifying trials of 1891 resonated within her heart. The love and support first of Ellie and then Maggie and Aline and then that of Henry shaped her into a Twentieth Century woman, fully confident of her own agency. It is with this power that she returns to 1811 to set in motion events that will, she believes, fulfill the Wardrobe’s mission.

How else could The Countess, all sixty-three years of age, offer her father a cigarette in the latest installment?

MVAW: What are you writing next? Any insights?

DJ: As many of the commenters have noted in the recent blog tour, the Wardrobe is beginning to emerge with its own distinctive personality. Even though it cannot speak, the various Bennets who come into its orbit begin to sense that there is more to this wonderful piece of furniture than simply its service as a doorway, albeit a somewhat intelligent one, to the future. More about this will become apparent.

Other characters will require their own books before we reach the final chapter of the Wardrobe’s Saga. Next up is “The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament.” Lydia’s story will be fully covered in “The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion.”

Don, thank you very much for this interview. I really appreciate all the time that you have spent answering these questions and I believe readers will have enjoyed them as much as I have. I want to also thank Janet as she has put together all the blog tour 🙂

You can buy this book on:   Amazon US       Amazon UK        Amazon DE

Ladies, gents, we are not finished, not even close! We have more!! First, let me remind you the schedule of this blog tour, do not miss very interesting posts about The Exile: The Countess visits Longbourn.

14th February Austenesque Reviews;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

15th February My Jane Austen Book Club;  Guest Post, GA

17th February My Love for Jane Austen;  Character Interview, GA

19th February So little time…  Excerpt, GArsz_the_exile2_blog_tour_banner_vert

20th February Interests of a Jane Austen Girl;  Review, GA

21st February Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, GA

23rd February More Agreeably Engaged;  Review, Excerpt, GA

24th February Darcyholic Diversions;  Character Interview, GA

26th February From Pemberley to Milton;  Excerpt

28 February Just Jane 1813;  Review, GA

2nd March  Diary of an Eccentric;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

3rd March  My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, GA

5th March  Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, GA

 

Have into account that the books of this series are even better if they are read in an specific order:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

I wrote more, right? Here you have more:

Here is a taste from the Thomas book which was published as Epilogue Two of “The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn.”

This excerpt is © 2018 by Donald P. Jacobson. Reproduction of this excerpt without the expressed written consent of the creator is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

 Epilogue Two

Longbourn Estate, Hertfordshire, October 28, 1814

Thomas Bennet was an unhappy man. No, his disquiet was not the result of what many Meryton friends would have assumed it to rise from: Mrs. Bennet’s famous nerves. His lady wife had calmed considerably since their eldest daughters had married. And, while Longbourn was quiet with Lizzy and Jane living in Derbyshire and Mary off at Rosings, Lydia, now a married woman for three years, had taken up lodging once again at her ancestral home given that Wickham was still on detached duty, serving with Fitzwilliam and the Duke in Vienna. Thomas suspected Mary’s hand in that affair—Lizzy and Jane were too involved in their Derbyshire lives as mothers and wives. Thus, Mrs. Bennet would always have company in the parlor or whenever the desire to shop moved her to declare that mission to Meryton was in order.

Bennet’s discontent rose from something else in his wife’s nature: her maternal feelings. Frances Lorinda Bennet missed their fourth daughter, Kitty, gone now nearly three years. Thomas had leaned upon his lord of the manor excuse of having sent the youngster to seminary in Cornwall far too long. Mrs. Bennet had been complaining that she was quite put out that Kitty never wrote and never visited. More recently, she had begun hinting that, since she had seen the sights of Derbyshire and the Lake District in the last year, she might find a lengthy visit to the south and west to be to her liking. Bennet had come into his bookroom more than once to find his wife curled up in Kitty’s chair, her slippers propped up on Lizzy’s stool, a book on Salisbury Cathedral or the Great Stone Circle or Weymouth in her lap.

Then she would pierce his heart with those sky-blue, nearly purple, eyes of hers and repeat her desire to travel in that direction…with the possibility of seeing Kitty hanging in the air between them.

And, while he had been content to ridicule the mother of his children for more than a decade after that horrible summer in the Year Zero, Bennet had himself changed much over the past three years. He had found her present nature to remind him of the bright, vivacious woman who had entranced him back in ’90.

If I had to do it all over again, I think I still would drop to a knee and beg for her hand. But, I would treat her differently. She is a sweet rose who needs a man to cherish her. Having watched how Darcy and Bingley love my girls…and from what Lydia has told me of her newly-reformed Wickham…I would spend less time in my bookroom and much more in her company.

Thomas Bennet was discovering just how ardently he loved his wife.

And, as such, he was loath to continue to deceive her.

Bennet had thought long and hard about the Kitty situation and how to address it with his wife. He cast his thoughts back to when Kitty, as the Countess, had visited with him after the weddings in 1811. They had never touched on her mother, but Kitty did leave him with the impression that she missed Mrs. Bennet.

Kitty had also revealed that the Wardrobe had been kept under considerable security since her journey ended in 1886.

The germ of a plan began to form in the fertile and capacious mind of Thomas Bennet. Only a modest deception, combined with some laudanum, would put Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in the presence of their daughter.

What Bennet did not take into account was what Lydia later always asserted…except that she had yet to utter it for the first time…The Wardrobe has a nasty sense of humor.

∞∞∞

“Fanny, love, would you care to take tea with me in the library?” the Master of Longbourn gallantly asked.

Mrs. Bennet’s head snapped around, her greying blonde hair tucked away under her work-a-day lace topper. Her husband had frequently sat with her in the parlor over tea and cakes…more often now than in any time since they were first wed. But, he had never asked her to join him in that male preserve of his—one that was traditionally barred to any distaff members of the family, although Fanny Bennet had been taking liberties in recent months. She had avoided any effort to inspire him to impose organization upon the chaos that was Longbourn’s book room. She secretly harbored some jealousy that he was comfortable in the library’s disarray where she could never have abided such clutter if it had found its way to her private sitting room.

However, she would not hesitate at this invitation. No, indeed, as it was a rare example of complete gentility on the part of her casual husband.

Perhaps watching Darcy involve himself at Pemberley or Darcy House has left an impression on Thomas Michael Bennet!

Mrs. Bennet calmly placed her needlework in her sewing basket, smoothed her skirts, and rose from her chair. She virtually floated across the room to meet him at the doorway, halting to take his arm to be guided across Longbourn’s entry hall into the library.

Which was spotless!

Bennet’s usual book shelving system was wall-to-wall. Now, however, every tome was stowed with as much care as if the librarians at the Bodleian had been employed for weeks! The dark stained shelves glowed from all of the elbow grease applied by Mrs. Hill and her maids. The fireplace’s andirons shined under new blacking and a cheerful fire spluttered behind a gleaming brass screen.

Mrs. Bennet’s newest tea service, a gift from the Darcys, sat on the low table between the two leather upholstered wingback chairs.

She looked around the room, admiring a large portion of her home she had rarely seen. Everything could not have been more on point. Her heart swelled at the respect her husband was showing her.

One might think Tom Bennet was wooing me all over again!

Guiding her over to the chair nearest to, but with its back also to, his wardrobe, Bennet gently handed her down to the seat.

“Now, Mrs. Bennet, Fanny, you must allow me to serve you today. Then we can talk of some travel plans about which I have been hoping to gain your advice,” Bennet said.

Intrigued, the lady asked, “Travel plans, Thomas? Are you suggesting that we are going to Salisbury? To Bodmin? To see Kitty?”

She fairly bounced in her seat, her excitement turning her from a mature pillar of Meryton’s society into a young lady barely out. She calmed when her husband handed her a cup of tea. In her enthusiasm, she had not noticed Mr. Bennet carefully adding several drops of clear liquid to the brew as he prepared hers.

Bennet replied, “I am hoping to include Kitty in our itinerary for I am certain she would thoroughly enjoy seeing you. However, Mrs. Bennet, I must remind you to keep your emotions under the strictest regulation.

“Act with her as if you are having dinner at Matlock House. In fact, that must be the image you carry in your mind.”

As they continued to converse, Bennet subtly tried to prepare her for what was to come. Mrs. Bennet shortly began to complain about a sudden onset of weariness. Her husband continued to divert her attention that might otherwise have led her to ascend to her rooms for a restorative nap. Eventually, the woman’s chin dropped to her fichu, and she began to snore lightly.

Mr. Bennet waited a full five minutes to allow Morpheus to fully envelope Mrs. Bennet in his grasp.

Rising, Bennet scooped her up.

She is still a slip of a woman. All I need to do is look at her to know how my girls will appear when they are her age. Thank goodness she does not tend to stoutness like Lady Lucas or Mrs. Goulding. Fanny Bennet is one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance!

Stepping around the furniture occupying his path to the Wardrobe, Bennet carried his burden until they were in front of the cabinet. Holding one arm around her middle, he set her feet on the floor, her face nestled into his cravat. He pulled out a long linen sling he had previously hidden in his waistcoat. Draping it over his head and then hers, he maneuvered her unresponsive arms through the opening until her upper body was suspended in tight proximity to his own.

He murmured, “Forgive me, Fanny, for the unladylike manner you are being supported. If I knew a better way, I would have used it.”

Bennet closed his eyes and chased every thought from his mind. Then he scribed in bright letters across the tabula rasa:[i]

Kitty. I want to see my daughter.  

Thomas Bennet, the Founder, planted his hands on the Wardrobe’s front.

A thousand bees buzzed…and the pressure built until…

∞∞∞

Matlock House, London, July 13, 1947

Lord Thomas Fitzwilliam, the 12th Earl of Matlock, crossed and uncrossed his legs as he waited impatiently for that which he knew was ordained to happen.

He knew that which he knew because of a Founder’s Letter written in a shaky hand that had been delivered to him by a uniformed messenger from the Trust Offices in Lincoln’s Inn. The writer had neglected to be terribly specific about the time of arrival: he only indicated “in the afternoon.”

I could have dealt with any of a number of issues over at the “Circus” if I had only known the actual when of the where/when.

He reached over to the table next to his chair and lifted a burning cigar to his lips taking a long, exaggerated drag. His eyes never left the Wardrobe where it rested, immobile, across the chamber from him. Nearby was what the writer of the Founder’s Letter had quaintly referred to as a ‘Bath Chair;’ or in modern parlance, a wheel chair.

More minutes passed. The H. Upmann continued to burn, filling the room with an aromatic haze.

With no preamble, a loud thump inside the Wardrobe broke the silence.

The double doors popped open.

Two persons—a man supporting an apparently comatose woman—both wearing garb Matlock had last seen in the Victoria and Albert collection wavered in the entrance. Quickly placing the cigar in the ashtray, the Earl moved across the room, cursing his fifty-two year old knees for their arthritic complaining. He collected the woman from the sling around the other man’s neck and lowered her into the chair.

The gentleman stepped away from the Wardrobe and smoothed his waistcoat with both hands as he looked at the man who had most recently handled his wife with all the propriety the situation could afford.

It is as if I am looking in the mirror after Hill has administered my morning shave. This fellow could be my twin! Except for his steel-grey eyes!

Lord Thomas was experiencing the exact same emotions.

Except, he recognized the man before him, he of the hazel eyes—Bennet Eyes—from the painting that still dominated the Board Room at the Trust.

Throwing position and status to the wind, Thomas Fitzwilliam blurted, “Hello, Grandfather. Will Grandmother require any medical assistance?”

Thomas Bennet smiled and replied, “No, son, she is just under the influence a sleeping agent. I am experienced in administering my wife’s tonics. As such, I imagine she will awaken in an hour or so. Perhaps you could find a bedchamber where she might be made more comfortable?

“So you must be Kitty’s oldest and my namesake, Thomas. Looking at the thinning thatch atop your pate, I would imagine that the Wardrobe has carried us further than I had planned. Certainly I would have enjoyed bouncing you on my knee rather than sharing a brandy with you. But, there is no profit to be had questioning the Wardrobe.

“However, that said, could you fetch my daughter? I would wish to greet her.”

Fitzwilliam’s face fell at his grandfather’s request.

“Oh, Grandfather. We lost Mama over three years ago. You are too late!”

[i] Literally “blank slate.” Used by John Locke in his seminal Treatise on Human Understanding (1690) to describe the infant mind.

(silly note, I really like that Vienna is mentioned, I am actually on the train towards that lovely city)

Time to Give Away

This post is coming to its end but I am sure that everything was a good read, right? Now it is time to give away and Don Jacobson is giving away during this blog tour 10 ebooks copies and 2 paperbacks. A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook or Paperback of The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn by Don Jacobson. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

Giveaway – The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

Terms and conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

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Blog Tour of “A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity” by Amy D’Orazio, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am going to reintroduce you to an author who has already shared some lovely moments with us before: Amy D’Orazio. Thank you very much Amy for stopping by again with another lovely book.

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.ADOrazio Author Image

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Follow Amy on all these places to be always the first one knowing how her writing is going:

Amy D’Orazio’s Facebook Page

Amy D’Orazio at Meryton Press

Amy D’Orazio Goodreads Author Page

Twitter:  @AllAbtAusten

Amy has a new book that you cannot miss: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. I am going to let Amy’s words to give you a feeling of what you may expect:

Good morning, Ana. Thank you for inviting me to your blog, My Vices and Weaknesses, to share this excerpt from my newest release, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. This excerpt is from a scene between Darcy and Elizabeth while they share a private moment in the Netherfield’s library. I hope your readers enjoy this excerpt as much as I loved writing!

 

It had been a pleasant surprise to discover Bingley’s library was now far better stocked than on his first visit to Netherfield. He had even discovered several volumes that he owned but had not yet had time to read. Such was the volume he had begun that afternoon, and he eagerly anticipated losing himself in its pages once again.

He strode through the dark halls intent on his mission and entered the library within minutes, eager to retrieve the tome he hoped would help him pass the next solitary hours.

Elizabeth had the same notion, or so he surmised when he found her standing in front of the bookshelves. She startled upon seeing him and nearly dropped the lamp she held.

“I beg your pardon,” he said, bowing stiffly.

“No, I…” She bobbed awkwardly then looked around her, as if hoping the bookshelves might give her some indication of what to say.

Thankfully, his book was immediately apparent on a small side table near a comfortable blue chair where he had whiled away the afternoon. “My book.” He gestured at it.

“Oh.” She picked it up and took a step forward to hand it to him. Alas, her diffidence caused her to misjudge, and instead of landing in his hand, the book fell to the floor with a thud that startled them both.

“Oh!” She exclaimed again. “Forgive me, I…”

She bent to retrieve it. By unfortunate coincidence, he did likewise, and their heads collided. Both straightened immediately, each raising a hand to rub the spot where they had struck one another and babbling apologies. Elizabeth was quick to bend again and retrieve the tome where it still lay.

He took it and thanked her. “Is your head—?”

“I am well,” she assured him. “Yours?”

“A trifling bump.” He hesitated a moment then extended his hand to her.

Her eyebrows flew up for a moment until she arranged herself into a more sedate countenance. Her hand—pale, trembling, and small—came slowly to rest upon his. In a manner most natural, their hands moulded to one another, but he pushed that thought away, leading her to the sofa and sitting down next to her.

For a short while, he did not speak, staring down at the rug beneath their feet. He felt her eyes upon him, no doubt baffled by this alteration in his demeanour towards her.

“I thank you for your apology…before…in the drawing room. I did not receive it graciously, and I should have.” In a quieter tone, he added, “You know me too well to believe that I am well. I am not—not yet. I was ungenerous, and I am sorry.”

“You need not apologise to me,” she murmured.

He took a deep breath. “I shall be leaving in the morning and—”

“What? Leaving?” She interrupted him quickly. “Why are you leaving?”

He did not answer, and she pressed him. “Because of me?”

Because I am a helpless moth drawn to your flame, and I fear I shall be incinerated.

He did not reply but rose from the settee and walked a few paces before turning back to look at her.

“It is hard,” he began. “Very hard…” He stopped speaking, unable to clearly say what he wished her to know.

“To pretend there is nothing between us,” she said when the silence had drawn too long.

“Yes.”

“Pray, do not leave on my account.” She lowered her head and clasped her hands together, her fingers busily twisting among each other. “Your friend has missed you, and my sister is pleased to have you among her party. I shall go; I must go.”

She was an ethereal beauty sitting there, illuminated by the small dim lamp. She seemed so sorrowful with her head lowered. Everything within him revolted against seeing her thusly—she should be in sunshine with laughter dancing in her eyes—and he was struck by the need to fix the situation, to fix whatever ailed her.

“Elizabeth, I cannot ask you to leave your sister’s house.”

“I am offering to leave; indeed, I must, for I am needed at Longbourn.”

He wanted to stay; indeed, he wanted it a great deal. Was he a fool? Should he be leaving her as fast as his horse would take him?

But no. She would go to Longbourn, and he would be at Netherfield. Perhaps in smaller doses, he would learn to be unaffected by her.

“Very well,” he said quietly. “I shall stay.”

He helped her to rise, and when she stood, he did not drop her hand. They looked at each other for some time until he finally bowed over her hand, allowing himself one brief graze of his lips against her bare fingers before she left him.

 

Whaaaaat???? What have we just read? What is going on between them? There are in given names status… Elizabeth. Is he a fool? Why so nice and so… even tender? Amy, have you no consideration for my nerves??

Dear readers, after trying to calm down, just below you can read the blurb that may answer some of these questions. You may then be able to breath in and out without palpitations 😉

Sinopsis

Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?

Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him. 

But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given. 

More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept. 

When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?

So, are you going to buy it now? Here you can do it:

Amazon US    Amazon UK   Amazon DE

ASPOEFfull2

Blog Tour Schedule

You can follow many many more post about this great book and maybe you will find a bit more about this bittersweet scene that Amy has shared today with us.

21st February More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

22nd February From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

23rd February Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & GiveawayASPoEF Blog Tour Banner 2

24th February My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

25th February My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

26th February Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

27th February Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

28th February Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

1st March So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

2nd March Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

3rd March Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview

4th March Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

5th March Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post & Giveaway

6th March Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

 

Time to Give Away

Amy D’Orazio and Meryton Press are giving away 8 copies to 8 different winners. The giveaway finishes a couple of day after the end of the blog tour, March the 8th . Check the terms and conditions below.

Rafflecopter – A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity

Terms and conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

Blog Tour of “A Most Handsome Gentleman” by Suzan Lauder, character interview and giveaway

Hello, hello! I am going straight to the blurb of this book that I am completely sure will be awesome to read. Let’s talk again after you read the blurb:

Book Blurb

Elizabeth Bennet’s life is uncomplicated until she meets a quartet of new men: the haughty but handsome Mr. Darcy, the pert-with-a-pout Mr. Bingley, the confident and captivating Mr. Wickham—and then there is her father’s cousin, the happy man towards whom almost every female eye has turned.

Mr. Collins is HOT—well, incredibly handsome in Regency-speak—beautiful of face, fine of figure, elegant of air, his perfect clothing and hair matching his Greek god-like form. Unfortunately, when he opens his mouth, Elizabeth wishes he were mute. With affected servility and prideful self-conceit, he capitalizes upon his exquisite appearance and fixes on Jane Bennet as his bride.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy form an alliance to stop Jane’s suitors from issuing challenges—and will Elizabeth coax a smile from Mr. Darcy?

Bestselling Regency romance author Suzan Lauder delivers a hilarious Austenesque romance suitable for all readers of Pride and Prejudice.

So, let’s read that again: “Mr Collins is HOT”… what??? As I commented on From Pemberley to Milton, “Hot and Collins… until now that meant a suffocating experience where he was praising your potatoes and you could not run away!!”. Collins like a Greek god? OMG! That cannot be true :S

Now let’s try to be serious and think about the rest of the information that this blurb is giving us… Elizabeth needs Darcy’s help to stop any challenges that Jane’s suitors are issuing, what suitors? Collins and Bingley… anyone else?  What kind of challenges? My mind can race from just being very insistent to try to ruin her… you never know with these characters!! The most important part that it is not included here, will Mrs Bennet’s nerves let her live having to “endure” several suitors for Jane?? 🙂

I have to say that I am super intrigued by this book. This time I have avoided to read much about it as I want to have my reading time full of surprises. However, that does not mean that you should do the same. There is a great blog tour with stops in several amazing blogs that you must check. I will write the schedule below, but first let me introduce the lovely author of A Most Handsome Gentleman, Suzan Lauder.

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman is the fourth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet, a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, and the dramatic tension filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate.IMG_20150318_114408

She and Mr. Suze split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzan.lauder.merytonpress.com, on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder, and on Twitter @suzanlauder. You can follow her on different social media: Website    Goodreads Author Page   Facebook          Twitter     Amazon Author Page   Pinterest

Suzan has prepared a great character interview that it is hilarious and inappropriate (wink wink)… you’ll understand in a bit what I mean. Enjoy!!

Meryton Residents speak about Mr. Collins: a modern/Regency mashup interview.

Martin Drölling, Portrait of the artist's daughter Louise-Adéone, 1812

Miss Katherine Bennet: “Good morning. My name is Kitty Bennet and I am secretly hoping to be a novelist one day like the lady who wrote Pride and Prejudice. I will be writing a novel where the heroine is me and the hero is my cousin Mr. Collins because he is the most handsome and accomplished man of my acquaintance. He is so handsome and accomplished, no one even notices John Lucas any more. The only thing that would make Mr. Collins more handsome and accomplished would be a red coat. Then I think even my sister Mary would swoon. But here. Let Mary speak for herself about my cousin.”

 

Miss Mary Bennet: “Mr. Collins reads Fordyce with the voice of an angel. He smells like an angel, too.”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “What does an angel smell like?”

Miss Mary Bennet (nearly swooning): “Mr. Collins.”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “What kind of answer is that? Pooh. I shall go on to another person to find out their impression of Mr. Collins for my novel. Here is my aunt.”

Mrs. Archibald Phillips: “Mr. Collins has big feet. You know what ‘big feet’ means. Big…uh…shoes.” (She winks.)

Miss Katherine Bennet: “I do not care about his shoes. I care to know if you think he is too handsome for a hero in a novel. Do you not think he is A Most Handsome Gentleman, Mama?”

Mrs. Thomas Bennet: (fans herself) “Handsome? Bless me! Did you know your father is nearly eleven years my senior? Weak hearts run in his family. It is not out of the question for a widow to remarry a younger man. Widows make the best of wives. After all, I am already Mistress of Longbourn. If Mr. Collins could just wait…yes, he is the handsomest man. Oh, dear, you have made me hot, and these flutters of my heart! Goodness! Bless me! Bless me!”

Miss Jane Bennet: “Come, Mama, sit down.”

Mr. Charles Bingley “May I join you, my angel?”

Miss Mary Bennet: “Really, Mr. Bingley. Do not confuse things. Mr. Collins is the only heavenly creature around here.”

Mrs. Bennet: “Bless me! Mr. Collins is too handsome for heaven. Bless me!”

Miss Kitty Bennet: “I suppose Mr. Collins is accomplished enough to do so, Mama.”

Mrs. Thomas Bennet: “Oh, my poor nerves. Where are my salts? I have these flutters and urges…”

Miss Jane Bennet: “Really, Kitty, must you work her up so?”

Miss Lydia Bennet: (giggles) “Kitty did not work her up. She was ogling Mr. Collins’s breeches as she mentioned Papa’s heart.” (giggles and ogles Mr. Collins’s breeches)

Mr. Thomas Bennet (shouting out of library window): “I have the heart of an ox. Now leave me in peace whilst I snigger to myself about Mr. Collins’s antics right in front of his too-handsome face. Accomplishments, my eye. My left foot is more accomplished than Mr. Collins. I had to teach him draughts of all things!” (closes window to library)

Miss Katherine Bennet: “Come, Mr. Wickham, what say you? Do you think Mr. Collins is handsome and accomplished?”

Mr. George Wickham: (grumbles) “He may be handsome and accomplished, but does he have a credible sob story? Take pity on me. Have you heard about the living I was supposed to have?” (winks and waggles eyebrows)

Mr. Reginald Denny: “Collins is so handsome, I want to date him. Wicky, want to bet who will snag Collins first, me or Miss Lydia?”

Miss Lydia Bennet: “Or little Chamberlayne, all dressed up like a lady!” (snorts and guffaws in true non-Regency form)

Mr. George Wickham: “Excuse me, ladies, but I have some pressing militia business to attend to.” (turns to Mr. Denny) “Odds?”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “Oh, here is Lizzy. She will have a rational answer. Lizzy, is Mr. Collins not the handsomest and most accomplished man you have ever known?”

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: “He would be if I could reform him from his obsequious blabbermouth doofusoid tendencies. I must really stick by his side so I can admire, uh, train him to be more sensible. Perhaps I could hold his tongue.”

Miss Katherine Benet: “What?”

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: “I meant to say, he needs to learn to hold his tongue. If he could do so, he would be hot.”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “What do you mean, hot?”

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: “Incendiary.”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “Huh?”

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: “Oh, look! There’s Mr. Darcy. I detest the man.”

Mrs. Archibald Phillips: “But have you noticed the size of his feet?”

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: (mumbles) “I was not looking at his feet.”

Miss Katherine Bennet: “No one seems to make sense around here. Why is the world so enamoured of feet? We were talking of Mr. Collins’s handsome face and manly accomplishments. Yes, my research confirms that he is A Most Handsome Gentleman. This is Miss Kitty Bennet, signing off for the day.”

So, what do you think? feet apparently are important… I do not know why… (ehem ehem) Did you like Mrs Bennet? No so worried about Mr Bennet dying and leaving them on their own.

I am pretty sure that you cannot wait to read A Most Handsome Gentleman, in order to buy it, go to Amazon UK or Amazon US (check if you prefer ebook or paperback).

I could not forget to mention the cover, OMG! they are actually very handsome indeed. The quartet of male protagonists of this book that they could make anyone swoon!! Janet Taylor is an awesome artist!! Janet, beautiful faces!!

Blog Tour Schedule

10/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Character Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/21   My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/22   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

10/23   Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

AMHG Blog Tour BannerV M

10/24   Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

10/25   Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/26   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway

10/27   Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

10/29   My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/30   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

10/31   Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Giveaway

11/01   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

11/02   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

11/03   Margie’s Must Reads; Review, GA

Time to Give Away

You really need to try to win this book or just go and buy it on the links I shared above. If you want to participate click the following link but also read the terms and conditions mainly to know how to get extra entries. Good luck.

Rafflecopter “A Most Handsome Gentleman”

review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries. A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

Blog Tour of “Particular Attachments” by L.L. Diamond, excerpt and giveaway

I hope all of you are very well and ready to read a bit more about another great book. Today I am pleased to present Particular Attachements by L.L. Diamond. This is the second book of her Particular Intentions Series and our protagonist is Miss Georgina Darcy.

Let me introduce you to our author, she is a very accomplished woman apart from a really good writer.

L.L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans before following her husband all over as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and now England have all been called home along the way.leslie

After watching Sense and Sensibility with her mother, Leslie became a fan of Jane Austen, reading her collected works over the next few years. Pride and Prejudice stood out as a favourite and has dominated her writing since finding Jane Austen Fan Fiction.

Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. Her most recent endeavours have included certifications to coach swimming as well as a fitness instructor. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolour is her medium of choice with one of her watercolours featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Leslie also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!

Leslie’s books include: Rain and Retribution, A Matter of Chance, An Unwavering Trust, The Earl’s Conquest, Particular Intentions, and Particular Attachments.

To follow L.L. Diamond, you can go to:

Facebook       Twitter      Goodreads      Austen Variations

Let’s enjoy the excerpt that Leslie is sharing with us 🙂

Thank you so much for having me!  It’s been so much fun sharing different parts and such about Particular Attachments with everyone. Today, I have one more excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!

 Georgiana placed her pen upon the stand, sprinkled some sand upon the page, and then, returned the coarse grit to its bowl. Bright light filtered in through the window, so she stood and stepped over to enjoy the view. The sun had already begun its path across the sky and a breeze rattled the limbs on the trees in the square. It was a brilliant blue day for December. If she were at Pemberley, she would saddle Phaethon and ride around the peaks. In weather such as this, Phae was always in high spirits, snorting and prancing about. How she adored riding on a crisp, cool day!

Well, if she could not ride, perhaps she could convince Lizzy to walk—if she was awake.

She arrived in the drawing room to no one about, but a humming reached her ears and she pivoted back and forth. Where had it come from? She followed the sound to the dining room where Mrs. Rowley ran a finger across the sideboard, looking for dust.

“Mrs. Rowley?”

“Oh!” The older lady’s hand pressed to her chest. “You gave me quite a fright, Miss Darcy. I was not aware you had left your chambers.”

“Forgive me. I had not meant to alarm you.” She glanced about the room. “I was wondering if my sister, brother, or Miss Bennet were awake?”

“Mr. and Mrs. Darcy requested trays a little over an hour ago. I believe they were to spend the morning with young Master William once they breakfasted. Miss Bennet’s maid has yet to be called to the lady’s rooms.”

Georgiana nodded. “Thank you. I shall be practicing my pianoforte should I be needed.”

“Of course, miss.”

She exited to the hall and was about to turn into the music room when a rap sounded at the door. Jobbins appeared from the servants’ corridor and with his usual calm, slow manner opened it.

“Miss Darcy!” Before Jobbins could speak, Nathaniel strode forward, took her hand, and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. “I hope you will forgive my early call, but the weather begged for a canter down Rotten Row and I hoped you would join me.”

She blinked. Nathaniel was in her home. She glanced at the clock—at half nine, and he wanted to ride—with her? “I had not—I—That is, I have no mount in town. My mare remained at Pemberley and Fitzwilliam does not keep a horse for me in London since I have stayed in Derbyshire the past several years.”

“I hope you will not think me presumptuous, but I considered just such a circumstance. My mother keeps a horse in town for days like today, though after the late night at the ball, she preferred to keep London hours than ride.” He grasped her hand, led her to the drawing room where the windows overlooked the street, and pulled back the draperies. “When I mentioned the possibility last night, she offered the use of her mare.”

Her eyes darted to the street before the house where three horses stood with a girl holding the reins of each.

“Who is the girl?”

“Our stable master’s daughter. She is as proficient a rider as the grooms, and you mentioned last night of your companion visiting her family for the holiday season. Since I was uncertain whether Miss Bennet would be awake and whether she even rode, I thought a chaperon might be a prudent idea.”

“Prudent indeed.” How she wanted to join him! Had she not just longed for Phae as she admired the pleasant weather? Not to mention, the closest of the mounts was the most beautiful dapple-grey she had ever laid eyes upon.

“Which is your mother’s mare?” Her teeth scraped along her bottom lip. Be the grey! Be the grey!

His breath made the curls at her temple flutter and heated her face. “Which do you want her to be?”

She drew back and gasped. “What an impudent response!”

“You cannot deny you have a preference, else you would not think to ask,” he taunted with an impish grin.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Why will you not answer?”

He mirrored her stance, his riding crop still clutched in his hand. “Agree to accompany me, change into your habit, and I shall give you the information you seek.”

She peered out the window one more time and back to Nathaniel. “Very well. I shall return as quickly as I can.”

As she hurried up the stairs, she worried at her lip with her teeth. Was this wise? Nathaniel said they would just be friends, but was it a sensible expectation?

Lucy started when she strode into her dressing room and requested her habit, but complied with haste. With her usual efficiency, her abigail had Georgiana undressed and dressed again with her riding gloves in hand in under a quarter hour.

She stared at her reflection in the mirror. The timidity about London and being in town needed to cease! What did the opinions matter of those so wholly unconnected to her? The truth was they did not. She needed to do what she wished without regard to those who would disparage her for sport.

One last, large gulp of air was drawn into her lungs and released. If she and Nathaniel were to be friends, she would have to rid herself of this ridiculous aversion to his company. He was not the same as the boy she once knew. Of course, characteristics of the younger Nathaniel remained, but he was now an adult. He had also come to her defence in the hat shop, had he not?

When she returned to the hall, Nathaniel grinned and gave a bow. “I am pleased you would accept my invitation, milady.” He held out his arm. “Shall we?”

A laugh escaped at his antics. “Lead the way, my lord.”

As Jobbins appeared to open the door, she paused. “Should my brother or Mrs. Darcy enquire as to my whereabouts, inform them I am riding with Lord Sele.”

“We will be in Hyde Park,” offered Nathaniel.

The aged butler peered to the horses and the young lady who would accompany them. “Very good, miss.”

After the door closed behind them, Nathaniel chuckled. “Did he ensure we had someone to accompany us?”

“More than likely. Since my companion Mrs. Annesley has been visiting her family, I am usually joined by Lizzy, Lydia, or my aunt when I leave the house. I am certain Jobbins found my departing on the arm of a young man singular and cause for concern.”

“Jobbins was your butler before your mother’s death. I remember I found him rather terrifying as a young boy.”

“But he is kind and what I imagine a grandfather to be. When my governess would bring me to the kitchen for a biscuit, Jobbins would tell me the most wonderful stories. I believe he would create them as he said them aloud.”

“Ah,” replied Nathaniel, squinting a bit as a particularly gusty breeze blew in his face. “You have a perspective of him I lack. I remember the ever so tall, quiet, and imposing figure who answered the door. He also gave me a rather disapproving glare when I tried to chase after your brother on several occasions.”

“There is no running in Darcy House, did you not know?”

Nathaniel studied her for a moment out of the corner of his eye. “You are different this morning.”

“I hope the change is not unwelcome.”

He faced her and their eyes held one another until she had to fight to remain still. How she needed to fidget about, but she could not. To wiggle like a worm would be mortifying!

She held out her hand and took a step in the direction of the dapple-grey, who stretched her neck and sniffed Georgiana’s palm. Once she had deemed Georgiana worthy, she nickered and nuzzled Georgiana’s glove with her velvety muzzle.

“Do you like her?”

Her cheek prickled from his steady gaze while she pressed her palm against the star between the mare’s eyes and stroked down the length of her face. “She is stunning.”

His shoulders relaxed as he smiled. “I am glad. She is your mount for the morning.”

She gave a delighted gasp. “I had hoped. What is her name?”

“My mother named her Viola.”

He laced his fingers and held them down and palms up to help her mount. Once they were both in their saddles, and walking towards Hyde Park, she lifted her face to feel the cool breeze as Viola blew noisily from her nose and tugged at the reins.

“She must enjoy Twelfth Night to name her horse for one of the characters.”

“My parents attended a production of Twelfth Night for my mother’s birthday the evening before Viola arrived as her gift. While she does take pleasure in that particular play, I believe the name is more as a remembrance.”

When they entered the Grosvenor Gate and headed in the direction of Rotten Row, Viola began to stomp and prance about.

“She loves to run Rotten Row, and my mother tends to give her free rein. You will need to use a firm hand if you do not wish for the same.”

“Phae knows the paths at Pemberley where I prefer to test her speed. She behaves much the same as Viola is now when we approach one.”

Nathaniel’s brows drew down in the middle. “Phae?”

“Phaethon is the immortal horse of the goddess of the dawn, Eos.”

“Your brother’s horse is named from the stories of the Greeks as well, is it not?”

“Boreas is the god of the north wind who assumed the shape of a horse to pull the chariot of Zeus.”

He laughed and reined his horse back so they remained together. “While the story has Boreas pulling the King of the gods, the actual horse carries the Master of Pemberley.”

One side of her lips curved upwards. “My father was still alive when my brother named his horse. He was not yet master. We have quite a few horses with names taken from the Greeks or the Romans.”

After a peek in Nathaniel’s direction, she cued Viola to a trot. The horse had a graceful gait. Her bottom would not be terribly sore on the morrow, thank goodness.

The rhythmic plodding of Nathaniel’s horse from her side was a reminder of his presence—not that she required one. She was not far ahead of him as they neared the corner where the Route du Roi, also known as Rotten Row, began.

Despite this hour of the morning being a fashionable time to ride one’s horse on Rotten Row, few men were out with their mounts and even fewer ladies.

“I hoped most of the ton would keep to their beds this morning. Between Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam’s ball and Sir John Sutton’s masquerade, most of London was occupied until the early hours.”

She brought her mount to a canter and began riding down the path, ensuring she did not collide with the other riders. Nathaniel rode to her left, but his horse was just far enough to the rear that she could see nothing but his head if she peeked to that side. His horse stretched his neck and wore at the bit. Nathaniel was holding him back. Did he believe her to be a less than competent rider?

Without thought, she leaned forward and pressed her leg into Viola’s flank. The horse did not throw her head or object, but accelerated forward with grace until the horse could not go faster without galloping.

An exclamation came from behind as she laughed and pushed forward until she neared the end where she pulled back and turned to ride along the edge of the Serpentine. She kept Viola at a trot until Nathaniel drew alongside and then slowed her to a walk.

“You do enjoy defying convention, Georgiana Darcy.”

“I wanted to give her a good run.” She lifted her chin just a bit. “Besides, I do not require you to rein in your horse. I have no doubt Viola and I can match your pace.”

“Ladies do not typically race the gentlemen along the Row—not that I object. I enjoyed it immensely.” His slight smile widened. “I wanted to be certain you were comfortable on my mother’s horse, but I never expected my ensuring your safety from behind would wound your pride.”

Her jaw dropped. “You did not wound my pride.”

“Then why the need to prove yourself?” He trotted ahead with an altogether too smug expression on his face.

If only she could wipe it off as easily as a smudge of dirt!

“You have no response?” he taunted with his head turned back towards her. “The Miss Darcy I remember would not have allowed such a statement to go unanswered.” He stopped his horse and pivoted in his seat as he awaited her.

She brought Viola to a trot once again and gave him what was hopefully her most disdainful expression. “The Miss Darcy you knew no longer exists. I do not seek your approbation. I need no one’s approval.”

Who is that Nathaniel? Have you been in other stops of this book tour and you already know? How has she learnt to dismiss people’s approval? Why is she repeating that they are only friends as if she wanted to convince herself?

Blurb: She swore would never marry!

Georgiana Darcy is a lady with a secret! The last thing she wants is to return to London, but what else can she do when her brother and his wife make plans to spend the Christmas season in town. When Lizzy’s youngest sister, Lydia, joins them, Georgiana gains a confidante, but will Lydia’s outgoing nature cause problems when Lord Sele, son of a family friend reappears in Georgiana’s life?

As an insufferable boy, Lord Sele vowed he would marry Georgiana, but was his return from Ireland a coincidence or was his sole purpose to pursue her? He admits to desiring friendship, but Lydia is determined his desire is Georgiana and she will stop at nothing to see her best friend happily settled.

What is Georgiana to do when faced with the 

 

society she has managed to avoid for her entire adult life as well as the one man determined to change her mind about marriage? Will she be able to overcome her fears despite the spectre from the past that seems to be haunting her? Will she be forced to tell her secret and choose happiness or will someone from her past ruin everything?

 Lydia… friend of Georgiana? What is going on? 😉 Someone from her past? OMG! nooo, more angst when it comes to our beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice.

Do you want to read this book straight away? You can do it, among other sites, here:

Amazon UK                 Amazon US                       Kobo           Barnes&Noble

The Particular Attachments Blog Tour

book

Great stops in this blog tour, I cannot choose my favourite, so visit them all! 🙂

September 8: Just Jane 1813 – Review

 

September 9: Babblings of a Bookworm – Character Interview

 

September 11: From Pemberley to Milton – Excerpt

September 12: More Agreeably Engaged – Character Interview

September 13: Austenesque Reviews – Outtake

September 14: Austen Variations – Release Day Post and Giveaway

September 15: Just Jane 1813 – Character Interview

September 16: My Jane Austen Book Club – Outtake

September 17: My Vices and Weaknesses – Excerpt

 

Time to Give Away

Leslie is giving away an e-book copy of Particular Attachments to one winner. Please leave a comment or question for her with anything that you would like to know or what to say about this excerpt.

The Giveaway will be open until the 24th September at 23:59 (CET). If you want to get more entries, share with a friend and ask them to join us on the comment section. Your friend will have to say that he or she has found us through you.