“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

“Rebellion at Longbourn” by Victoria Kincaid, excerpt, review + giveaway

Dear all,

How is the reading going? Mine has been for too long very slowly and even on the second week of my holidays, I have barely read anything. However, several weeks ago I read a very interesting book, Rebellion at Longbourn, with a twist that I really enjoyed to discover.

Have a look at the blurb and see what you think.
Elizabeth Bennet’s father died two years ago, and her odious cousin Mr. Collins has taken possession of the Longbourn estate. Although Collins and his wife Charlotte have allowed the Bennet sisters and their mother to continue living at Longbourn, the situation is difficult. Viewing Elizabeth and her sisters as little more than unpaid servants, Collins also mistreats the tenants, spends the estate’s money with abandon, and rejects any suggestions about improving or modernizing Longbourn. After one particularly egregious incident, Elizabeth decides she must organize a covert resistance among her sisters and the tenants, secretly using more modern agricultural methods to help the estate thrive. Her scheme is just getting underway when Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton.
Upon returning from a long international voyage, Darcy is forced to admit he cannot forget his love for Elizabeth. When he learns of the Bennet family’s plight, he hurries to Hertfordshire, hoping he can provide assistance. Sinking into poverty, Elizabeth is further out of Darcy’s reach than ever; still, he cannot help falling even more deeply in love. But what will he do when he discovers her covert rebellion against Longbourn’s rightful owner?
Falling in love with Mr. Darcy was not part of Elizabeth’s plan, but it cannot be denied. Darcy struggles to separate his love for her from his abhorrence for deception. Will their feelings for each other help or hinder the Rebellion at Longbourn?

Servants? Not following advise… how can Mr. Collins be so obtuse when he always followed Lady Catherine’s? (Is she around?) Darcy, really? Two years away and you expect to have forgotten her… as if! 😀

Let me (re)introduce you to the author of Rebellion at Longbourn: Victoria Kincaid.
Victoria Kincaid is the author of several popular Jane Austen variations, including The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & Proposals, Mr. 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.

You can connect with Victoria on: Facebook Twitter Goodreads or check her website here.

Excerpt

Hello Ana and thank you for having me back for a visit! Below is a scene from early in Rebellion at Longbourn when Elizabeth comes across the cottage of a tenant’s widow. Collins, now the landowner at Longbourn, has ordered the woman’s eviction. Enjoy!
Sam was lashing the last of the Wileys’ belongings securely to the cart.
“Hello, Sam,” Elizabeth said, striving to imbue her tone with warmth.
“Miss.” He nodded respectfully.
“This is a sad business, is it not?”
He hung his head. “It is indeed. I don’t like forcing a woman out of her house, but I don’t want the master to turn me out neither.”
“Of course not. Such a shame the family has nowhere to go but the poorhouse.” She opened her hand to reveal the coins, drawing Sam’s attention. “But I was thinking… There is an old cabin on the edge of the North Field, near the woods. Nobody lives there….The Wileys could inhabit it without disturbing anyone.”
Sam’s brow furrowed. “Would the master like it?”
“There is no reason he has to know. It would be a temporary solution,” she hastened to add. “Until I might find a new home for them.” Surely one of the local landowners would be compassionate enough to give them a cottage until John was of age.
Sam’s eyes focused on the coins, a month’s pay for him.
“You would be doing her and me a great favor,” Elizabeth said.
“But if Mr. Collins found out, he would toss me out for sure.” He scratched his forehead.
“Even if he discovers the Wileys, they will not say that you helped them.”
The man considered for a long moment. “Very well. It ain’t right to force out a family when the nights are still cold like this. I’ll take her things to the North Field cabin.”
Elizabeth poured the coins into his hand. “There is no road to the cabin,” she reminded him. That was why it had been abandoned.
“Yes’m, but I can drive the wagon to the Three Oaks clearing and carry her things the rest of the way.”
Elizabeth smiled. Carrying the furniture through the woods would reduce the chances of being discovered. “Clever man.”
He ducked his head and blushed. “Should I bring the Wileys, too?”
“No. I will escort the family by another route.” They could travel more inconspicuously across the fields.
“Very well. I’ll take my leave, then.”
“You are a good man, Sam White.”
He blushed again and then hurried to the cart.
Mrs. Wiley, with little Tom clinging to her skirt, and Mrs. Greeves emerged from the house just as it was rolling away. “Did he agree, then?” the widow asked, her eyes wide with amazement.
“Yes.”
“I thank you, miss. You worked a miracle for my family today.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “It was the least I could do. Longbourn owes you a deep debt. You deserve better treatment.” Her husband had died fighting a wildfire at Longbourn six months ago.
Elizabeth took the older boy’s hand. “I can lead you to the cabin and make sure you have a stock of wood for the fireplace. But this must stay a secret; Mr. Collins would be quite angry to find you living on Longbourn property. I shall attempt to bring you food directly, but I want to avoid rousing suspicion.” She looked questioningly at Mrs. Greeves.
“I can get her the food when you can’t,” the other woman said stoutly. “Nobody is watching where I go. And a few of the other neighbors can be trusted.” Mrs. Greeves would know which tenants would keep such a secret; no doubt most could. The tenants of Longbourn seemed to watch out for each other.
Elizabeth nodded. “I will send the food to Mrs. Greeves, then. Of course, this is but a temporary measure—until I might find another place for you.”
Mrs. Wiley wiped an errant tear from her eye. “I wrote to my brother in Plymouth, but I don’t know when we might hear from him. He’ll need to find someone to read the letter to him.”
This woman faced so many obstacles that Collins would never even consider. “We will find a place for you.”
“God’s blessings on you, miss. I’ll pray for you, I will.”
Elizabeth wished she could do more to earn such gratitude. “Let us go to the cabin now and have you settled by sundown.”
Mrs. Greeves embraced her friend. “I’ll visit you tomorrow, Kate.”
Elizabeth led the family toward the road, calculating a path to the cabin that would draw the least attention to the family. John made a small noise of distress. Elizabeth squeezed his hand. “Is this not exciting? You shall live in the woods!”
He gave her a tentative smile—rather brave under the circumstances. “Is it an adventure? Like in the stories?”
“Indeed, it is,” she said with a cheerfulness she did not feel. “Let us venture out and see your new home!”

Review

Let’s be honest among us, it is clear that years may pass and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is not going to forget her true love, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. However, stubborn and proud Mr. Darcy believes that going far away with Bingley and Georgiana is going to help his heart to forget her. Wrong! Two years away and in the first moment he learns that Elizabeth has lost her father, the fate of her sisters and that she is under Collins’ “protection”, he flies to Longbourn (if he could have done it literally, he would have taken an helicopter). It is endearing and funny to see how he makes up excuses for his behaviour and his reasons to be back so suddenly. Elizabeth is confused to say the least but she has more pressing matters on her hands, however, having the man who declared his love for her back, it is somehow distracting. Although, the wellbeing of the tenants and her sisters and mother are paramount for Elizabeth.

As you can read on the blurb, she will rebel agains the injustice, even if it is in the shadows. She spends even the little money she has to make Longbourn prosper. Together with her sisters Jane, Kitty and mainly Mary, they are able to hide from Collins their plans and the tenants help them because they are the first ones to benefit as their houses get repaired or there is enough food on their tables.

What happens when the “silly” Darcy gets to know this deception? Many many things that I am not going to spoil for you but you must know that Mr. Darcy will be a bit unrecognisable, mainly with some clover…

Spoiler alert (yes, one of my spoilers…)

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There is a happy ending for everyone, even Mrs and Mr Collins! I think Mrs Charlotte Collins gets a good ending.

I really like how Darcy gets even more to Elizabeth’s heart with his kindness, although obviously the present is from Georgiana, ehem ehem! Nope, Elizabeth does not only love him for a present but I am not telling you what else he does for the family, you will have to read it.

4.5out5 stars

time to give away winners

Double giveaway!

Victoria is giving away an ebook copy of Rebellion at Longbourn and I am giving away one paperback, therefore, we will have two winners!
To participate (for a chance to win or the ebook or the paperback): one point will be given if you comment on this post and you can get an extra point for every share of the post on social media (do not forget to tag me on those posts).

The giveaway is international and closes on the 16th of July at 23:59 CEST, shortly after I will announce the 2 winners.

READ: For the paperback, it is likely that I will buy it on Amazon and send it to the address you give me, so you must allow me to share your address with Amazon to send you the book. I may use the Amazon on your country or amazon.com / amazon.co.uk depending on where you are in the world!

Edited (22nd of July): big apologies for not having drawn the winners yet, I will do it before the end of this week!

“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!

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

Dear all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

                                                      Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands

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

Let me (re)introduce you to Don Jacobson:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television, and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

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

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

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

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

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

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

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

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

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Chapter 16, In Plain Sight

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

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

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

First the flogging of that poor boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IPS Blog Tour Banner Horz M

June 17 Diary of an Eccentric

June 18 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

June 19 Austenesque Reviews

June 20 Donadee’s Corner

June 22 From Pemberley to Milton

June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 24 Savvy Verse & Wit

June 25 So Little Time…

June 26 Babblings of a Bookworm

IPS BlogTour Schedule M

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

Amazon US              Amazon UK                Amazon CA              Amazon DE

 

time to give away winners

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

Rafflecopter – In Plain Sight

“Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl”

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for another amazing collection of stories edited by Christina Boyd. After The Darcy MonologuesYuletide, Dangerous to Knowand Rational Creatures she is introducing Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, and how much do you like it already only with the tiny bit of information that I have given you?

Let me give you some more info:

“Obstinate, headstrong girl!” For over two hundred years, Elizabeth Bennet has enchanted and inspired readers by being that “obstinate, headstrong girl” willing to stand up to the arrogance and snobbery of her so-called betters. Described by Austen as having a “lively, playful disposition,” Elizabeth embodies the perfect imperfections of strong-willed women everywhere: she is spirited, witty, clever, and loyal.

In this romance anthology, ten Austenesque authors sketch Elizabeth’s character through a collection of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times. In ELIZABETH: OBSTINATE, HEADSTRONG GIRL, she bares her most intimate thoughts, all the while offering biting social commentary about life’s absurdities. Elizabeth overcomes the obstacles of others’ opinions, not to mention her own flaws, to find a love truly worthy of her—her Mr. Darcy—all with humor and her sparkling charm.

“I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, January 1813―and we think so too!

Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare.

Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.

Yes, 10 stories!! and yes, Christina has written one of them and you will really like it 🙂

Giveaway Grandprize backlist books

However, this post is not only for Elizabeth but for a great author that not only entertains me with her stories but she makes me learn about other decades of the 20th century too. Please welcome Beau North!

Beau North is an author and host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast as well as a staff writer for The Spool. You can connect with Beau via her website.

Why Elizabeth? by Beau North

4Limelight cover_ElizabethHello readers of My Vices & Weaknesses! Thanks for giving me space to talk about my contribution to this incredibly special project. When setting up this blog tour, editor Christina Boyd asked us to write about what inspired our stories and why we love Elizabeth Bennet. For myself, Elizabeth Bennet is a highly relatable protagonist. As a woman from a small country town that had to grow up with financial struggles, I identified with her more than most of the heroines I’d read. Her somewhat-cynical worldview leads her to make mistakes, but in true heroine fashion, she learns from them and grows as a person. And that’s someone worth rooting for, even 200 years later.

OHG quote

As for what inspired my story, “Love in Limelight”, I owe a great portion of it to my favorite podcast, The Secret History of Hollywood. In his “Bullets and Blood” series, host Adam Roche details the lives of the Warner family and the life of actor James Cagney. The Warner family fled Cossack-occupied Poland and would revolutionize cinema with the invention of the talking picture. It was the story of Sam Warner and his wife—Ziegfeld Girl Lina Basquette—that really captured my heart, and the long struggle that Lina endures after Sam’s tragic demise.

In “Love in Limelight”, Georgiana Darcy (stage name Gigi Duvall) is a tender mix of of Lina Basquette and Shirley Temple, as both actresses found success at a young age but struggled to maintain a career as they got older.

Picture 3

In his follow-up series, “Shadows”, Roche explores the life of producer Val Lewton, who made some of the most beautiful early auteur suspense movies on a shoestring budget. Lewton’s aunt, the great Alla Nazimova, is a slight inspiration for my Eliza Bennet, who began her career on the stage and eventually moved into the world of pictures. Alla Nazimova was the original superstar…think Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie rolled into one. And while my Eliza only has eyes for Darcy, Nazimova favored the fairer sex. She lived the last few decades of her life openly with her partner Glesca Marshall. There’s even a nod to this relationship in “Love in Limelight”.

Picture 4

I’ve always been fascinated with all of the behind-the-scenes goings on of the people who bring fiction and history to life on screen, whether it’s the producers, actors, even directors of photography have fascinating stories. But how to mix that all with Austen’s most beloved heroine and not lose sight of what makes readers love Elizabeth Bennet? It presented more of a challenge than I’d originally counted on. In the end, all of these characters are a mix of Austen’s characters and real players in Hollywood during the golden age of cinema. You’ll meet a Caroline who is also part Hedda Hopper, a Collins who enforces the Morality Code (also known as the Hays Code or sometimes the Breen Code), a Jane Bennet that is a luckier version of Jean Harlow, a Colonel Fitzwilliam with a dash of Tyrone Power, and as for Darcy…well, I really had to do my best, because there weren’t a lot of studio heads of that era who were really stand-up guys.

I’ll leave with you this and hope that you enjoy “Love in Limelight”:

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”  My eyes met his, saw that he was serious. A peal of laughter burst from my lips.

“Oh, surely not.”

His expression melted from hope to consternation, brows drawing down into one severe line.

“Are you…laughing at me?”

I shook my head. “Sir. You cannot think I would marry you. Not if you were the last man on earth, and I the last woman.”

His stride—athletic, purposeful—had him across the room and at my side in an instant. I put my hand against the silken folds of his cravat. His hands were warm manacles on my arms. 

“Do you mean to tell me that you don’t love me? You’ve played me a fool?”

My mouth opened, breath catching somewhere behind my teeth. His chest rose and fell like the swelling of the ocean tide. I searched his eyes. Hurt, wounded eyes. I felt myself sliding into that gaze, swooning against my better judgement.

“I…I…”

And then his lips met mine; warm, pliant, and completely still for approximately three seconds.

Cut! That’s a wrap!

What do you think about Beau’s excerpt? I really like it, it gives me goosebumps because even if they are acting within a story of a fiction story… it feels great to read it!

Would you like to buy the book? Why not checking on one of these among other places:

Amazon US          Amazon UK       Amazon CA

time to give away winners

The #OmgItsOHG (Oh-my-gosh, it’s Obstinate Headstrong Girl) Blog Tour began February 18 with announcement and cover reveal at Austenesque Reviews, and we hope you will continue to join us and connect with each author about their “Elizabeth” story. We’ve included a Grand Prize package giveaway (a book of your choosing from each of the eleven author’s backlist) as well as additional giveaway: my Silly Austen-inspired blank note cards and coordinating coffee mug. Open worldwide, so be sure to participate. 1) Enter the Rafflecopter for the Grand Prize package of books, and 2) comment on the blog stops to be counted for the additional giveaway (you need not comment everywhere to be entered in that drawing but we hope you’ll have your share of the conversation.) Ends March 31.

“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

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley, excerpt and guest post

Hello to all of you!

Lately we have Charlotte as a main character and I am personally very glad about it. Although she may not be my favourite character from Pride and Prejudice (as if I could choose only one…), I definitely like Miss Lucas or Mrs Collins. However, when she is Mrs Collins I tend to pity her even if it was her choice. Apparently, Molly Greeley’s latest book may be more into the latter.

Let me introduce you to Molly Greeley, the author of the book I am presenting you today: The Clergyman’s Wife.

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents’ floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. A graduate of Michigan State Molly Greeley Author Photo 1University, she began as an Education major, but switched to English and Creative Writing after deciding that gainful employment was not as important to her as being able to spend several years reading books and writing stories and calling it work.

She lives in Traverse City, Michigan with her husband and three children, and can often be found with her laptop at local coffee shops.

Her first novel is forthcoming from William Morrow in December 2019. 

If you would like to follow Molly, you can do it here:

Website            Facebook          Twitter           Goodreads           HarperCollins

Let’s have a look at the blurb straightaway:

In this Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel, not everyone has the luxury of waiting for love.

Charlotte Collins, née Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine.

In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life  Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

What do you think? She is already married!! OMG! Is there a lot of angst? Is there a happy ending? Poor Charlotte!

Let’s see how you like part of the prologue of this book:

Excerpt

Prologue
Autumn 

Mr. Collins walks like a man who has never become comfortable with his height: his shoulders hunched, his neck thrust forward. His legs cross great stretches of ground with a single stride. I see him as I pass the bedroom window, and for a moment I am arrested, my lungs squeezing painfully under my ribs, the pads of my fingers pressed against the cool glass. The next moment, I am moving down the stairs, holding my hem above my ankles. When I push open the front door and step out into the lane, I raise my eyes and find Mr. Collins only a few feet distant.

Mr. Collins sees me and lifts his hat. His brow is damp with the exertion of walking and his expression is one of mingled anticipation and wariness. Seeing it, the tightness in my chest dissipates. Later, when I have time to reflect, I will perhaps wonder how it is possible to simultaneously want something so much and so little, but in the moment before Mr. Collins speaks, as I step toward him through the fallen leaves, I am awash in calm.

On the morning of my wedding, my mother dismisses the maid and helps me to dress herself. Lady Lucas is not a woman prone to excessive displays of emotion, but this morning her eyes are damp and her fingers tremble as she smooths the sleeves of my gown. It is only my best muslin, though newly trimmed at the bodice with lace from one of my mother’s old evening dresses. My father went to town the other day, returning with a few cupped hothouse roses, only just bloomed, to tuck into my hair this morning. He offered them to me, his face pink and pleased, and they were so lovely, so evocative of life and warmth even as winter grayed and chilled the landscape outside, that even my mother did not complain about the expense.

“Very pretty,” my mother says now, and I feel my breath catch and hold behind my breastbone. I cannot recall having heard those particular words from her since I was a small child. I look at my reflection in the glass and there see the same faults—nose too large, chin too sharp, eyes too close together—that I have heard my mother bemoan since it became apparent, when I was about fourteen, that my looks were not going to improve as I grew older. But the flowers in my hair make me appear younger, I think, than my twenty-seven years; I look like a bride. And when I look into my mother’s face now, I find nothing but sincerity.

My mother blinks too quickly and turns away from me. “We should go down,” she says. She makes for the door, then pauses, turning slowly to face me again. “I wish you every happiness,” she says, sounding as though she is speaking around something lodged in her throat. “You have made a very eligible match.” I nod, feeling my own throat close off in response, a sensation of helpless choking.

I am largely silent during the long, rocking ride into Kent. My new husband speaks enough for both of us; he has an astonishing memory for minutiae and discusses the wedding ceremony in such great detail that I find myself wondering whether he remembers that I was also in attendance. We left for my new home directly from the church; my family and a few friends all crowded, shivering in their cloaks and muffs, outside the entrance, waving as we were driven away. Maria, my sister, cried as I left; my brothers looked solemn, my father beamed, my mother smiled a tremulous smile. My friend Elizabeth’s smile looked as if it had been tacked in place, like a bit of ribbon pinned to a gown but not yet properly sewn on.

Mr. Collins’s awkward height is emphasized by the cramped conditions of the coach. His long legs stretch out before him as far as they can go, but he still appears to be uncomfortable. The hair at his temples is moist, despite the cold, and I have to glance hastily away, feeling a lurch in my stomach that has nothing to do with the jolting ride.

He is very warm beside me in bed. I watch him sleep for a time, tracing the relaxed lines of his face with my eyes and thinking how different he seems without the rather frantic energy he exudes in his waking hours. There is a tension about him, much of the time, that I did not recognize until this moment, until sleep removed it.

He introduced me when we arrived to the housekeeper, Mrs. Baxter, who is broad and pleasant, and to the gruff, graying manservant, John, whose powerful shoulders are built from years of labor. The parsonage itself is exactly as Mr. Collins described it: small, but neat and comfortable, with surrounding gardens that he assured me would be beautiful come spring. His eagerness to please me was matched by his inability to believe anyone might find fault with his home, and I found his manner at once endeared him to me and irritated me thoroughly.

Throughout the tour, he pointed out improvements here and there that had been the suggestion of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There were rather a lot of them.

At our bedchamber he paused with his palm against the door. “I hope . . . it suits,” he said, then opened the door and bowed me in.

The room was much like the rest of the house: comfortably furnished, if a trifle small. “Charming,” I said, and pretended not to notice the flush on his cheeks.

We ate dinner together. I had little appetite, despite the novelty of eating a meal in my own home that I had had no hand in preparing. Afterward, I considered suggesting we adjourn to the parlor but found I could not face the intervening hours between then and bed. Tomorrow I would unpack my books and my embroidery. I would write letters. I would meet Lady Catherine, for Mr. Collins assured me that lady had vowed to have us to tea when we returned to Kent; and I would begin to learn the duties of a clergyman’s wife. But tonight—I wanted only for tonight to be over.

“I am tired,” I said. “I think I will retire early.” Mr. Collins rose from his chair with alacrity. “A fine idea,” he said. “It has been a long day.” And to my consternation, he followed me up the stairs, his footsteps behind me a reminder that it will forever be his right to do with me as he pleases.

It is not so terrible, I think after, lying in the quiet dark watching my husband sleep. At my insistence, he allowed me time to change into my nightdress in private. And the rest was vaguely shocking, dreadfully uncomfortable, and far more mess than I had anticipated, but bearable. Mr. Collins, at least, seemed vastly pleased at the end, murmuring affectionate nonsense against my neck until he drifted off to sleep.

I wake before dawn, and for a moment I imagine I am still at home. There is a presence beside me in the bed, warm and heavy against my back, and I think it is my sister, Maria, until it lets out a gusty snore against the nape of my neck. My eyes open and I find myself staring at an unfamiliar wall covered in delicate floral paper. For a moment, I am held immobile by the weight of all the ways in which my life has changed. And then Mr. Collins— William—shifts in his sleep, one heavy arm reaching over my hip, his long fingers brushing my stomach, and I go rigid for the barest of instants. A moment later I force the stiffness from my body, allowing my spine to relax back against my husband’s chest. Exhaling the breath I had been holding, I wait for him to wake.

I will, no doubt, grow accustomed to mornings begun beside William. This is, after all, the life I chose.

If you are interested already on reading The Clergyman’s Wife, you can buy the book on:

HarperColllins           Amazon US     Amazon CA       BooksAMillion

Amazon UK (on pre-order, January for the paperback and March for the ebook)

Guest post

What does Molly say about The Clergyman’s Wife? Why Charlotte?

It took about a year of once-weekly writing sprints to finish my first novel, The Clergyman’s Wife, but the idea had been slowly germinating for a long time. I have, in fact, been thinking about Charlotte Lucas and her choice for more than twenty years, ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice. Back then I was ten years-old, and with a child’s understanding of what I read, my first and strongest reaction when Charlotte chose to marry Mr. Collins was complete revulsion. Mr. Collins was gross, and worse, he was a little bit stupid. Someone like Charlotte, who was friends with Elizabeth Bennet and therefore must be intelligent, would be miserable married to him. I agreed completely with Elizabeth’s first reaction to the news of her friend’s engagement: Charlotte had made a terrible mistake. But time, and many subsequent readings, softened my take on Charlotte’s decision, and as I grew up, she became the character in Pride and Prejudice who fascinated me most, her choice to marry Mr. Collins less horrifying than the circumstances that led to it.

Charlotte had neither money nor the means to earn any, and she had no beauty, which was, of course, its own form of currency. Even when she was young, the likelihood of attracting a husband equal to or above her in station was fairly slim, but as the years passed I imagined the constraints of her situation tightening around her like a net. The truly sad thing about Charlotte’s circumstances, I realized, was not so much that she married Mr. Collins but that she lived in a time when an intelligent, capable woman had only two choices: remain unmarried, and risk becoming a burden to her family, or accept the proposal of a man who could offer her security, even if he also happened to be a fool. Her story was all-too- common in Jane Austen’s time: the woman who married the most practical choice available, because a woman’s security, unless she was exceptionally fortunate, was always linked to the prosperity and generosity of the men in her life. The remarkable thing about Charlotte is that she set out to seduce Mr. Collins—not with her body, but with her attention and sympathy. Rather than wait passively for a man to notice her, she saw an opportunity and took it, and in doing so, she took charge of her own life in the only way available to her. I felt punched by the courage and, yes, selflessness of her decision, for in marrying the heir to Longbourn, she ensured that neither her parents nor her younger brothers had to worry about her future. We get so little of Charlotte’s inner world in Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted more.

The remarkable thing about Charlotte is that she set out to seduce Mr. Collins—not with her body, but with her attention and sympathy. Rather than wait passively for a man to notice her, she saw an opportunity and took it, and in doing so, she took charge of her own life in the only way available to her. I felt punched by the courage and, yes, selflessness of her decision, for in marrying the heir to Longbourn, she ensured that neither her parents nor her younger brothers had to worry about her future. We get so little of Charlotte’s inner world in Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted more. 

Austen tells Charlotte’s story mostly from Elizabeth’s perspective, with a few interjections from the novel’s nameless narrator, and Charlotte seems, above all else, calm, practical, and more than a bit calculating. But Elizabeth, as it turns out, is not actually the most astute judge of other people’s feelings and motivations. So I started thinking: what if Charlotte was just good at making the best of things, even if she didn’t feel as cheerful about them as she appeared? What if she was grateful enough for the security Mr. Collins offered her to be genuinely pleased with her new life when Elizabeth visited in Pride and Prejudice—but what if security was not enough to make her truly happy in the long run? What if she finally fell in love? Some of my favorite books take well-known stories and delve into the minds and hearts of characters who were peripheral to the original. Charlotte has never felt peripheral to me; even as a child, I couldn’t read Pride and Prejudice without having a visceral reaction to her story. It’s a story about a woman’s worth, a woman’s place in society. It’s about mothers and daughters, because it’s impossible to imagine Charlotte’s own worry about her prospects as the years pass without also imagining the strangling fear her mother must have felt, too. And it’s about love, or lack thereof, and what place it would have had in the lives of women who did not have a man with ten thousand a year waiting to rescue them from the terrifying uncertainty of the future. Such women, like Charlotte, had to rescue themselves.

Molly Greeley

I hope you have enjoyed Molly’s thoughts. What do you think about her?

Have a nice week 🙂

“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!

“A Case of Some Delicacy” by KC Kahler, review + giveaway

Dear all,

I am glad to introduce you to a new author in My Vices and Weaknesses: KC Kahler. Although she is not a new author for me, as I have read some years ago, her first modern JAFF novel: Boots and Backpacks. A novel I found very interesting, not only because of the characters but also because of the descriptions and setting.

KC Kahler lives in northeastern Pennsylvania and works in online education, after having dabbled in sandwich making, bug collecting, and web development. She kckahlerdiscovered Jane Austen fan fiction in 2008 and soon began dabbling in writing her own.

KC blogs about Austen and other pop culture topics. In 2015 and 2017, her popular Austen + The Onion Headlines meme was featured in The AtlanticFlavorwire, and AV Club. In 2017, she made the requisite pilgrimage to Jane Austen country, where she took the waters in Bath, walked the lanes of Steventon, didn’t fall off the cobb in Lyme Regis, and stood awestruck in Chawton. 

KC’s first novel, Boots & Backpacks, was published in 2014. Her second, A Case of Some Delicacy, released in 2019.

If you are interested in following her, you can find her on so many different media:

Blog     Tumblr     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Goodreads    Amazon’s Author Page

What about knowing a bit about this novel? Here you have the blurb, a 150 words blurb that I hope intrigues you.

The heir of Longbourn offers his olive branch earlier…

Rumors of Jane Bennet’s impending betrothal to her cousin Mr. Collins are already spreading at the Meryton Assembly. But Elizabeth vows to prevent her dearest sister’s happiness from being sacrificed in marriage to the ridiculous parson, no matter how much Mrs. Bennet encourages the match.

A secret partnership formed…

After Mr. Darcy overhears an argument between Elizabeth and her father, he offers to help in her quest. She is desperate enough to accept assistance from the man who insulted her. They begin meeting secretly to strategize and, in the process, come to know and understand each other.

Eavesdropping abounds, cricket balls go astray, and romance blooms despite Mrs. Bennet’s poor matchmaking. All the Bennet sisters play roles in the altered events, some in surprising ways. Join the characters you already love on a fun romp in your favorite Hertfordshire neighborhood. 

Ready to buy it? You could do it on: Amazon US      Amazon UK      Amazon CA

Review

Cricket, that sport that I barely knew anything about until seven years ago. I still do not know much, although I kind of understand the 4s and the 6s but not much. Cricket, that sport that Mr Darcy plays as a pro! but also is played by Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr Bingley, and the Lucases, and Lydia Bennet too. What can a cricket game do to get one of our favourite couples together? It can do a lot of harm, mainly if a ball goes astray!

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Let’s start with the idea that “apparently” Mr Darcy abhors any kind of disguise… false! or at least, he should define “disguise” because he is pretty cheeky and a bit naughty in order to help Lizzie to help Jane. Let’s face it: Lizzie is quite oblivious to what she is getting into when she accepts Mr Darcy’s help, she seems a bit naive and he is far too keen to help. She thinks that this will be just something for him to entertain himself as he is not among the ton and the best society.

Things evolve easily, I really like how quick Darcy is and how he “organises” his help. Mr Collins is so obliged to him that he follows almost any advice that Darcy gives him, even if it includes being less time with his dear Cousin Jane.

A few things for you to know: cricket can be dangerous, going upstairs and downstairs with a twisted ankle can be entertaining, having Lydia looking up for a husband may be even beneficial, Anne de Bourgh can be really nice and understanding, Caroline Bingley is, as usual, annoying and Mr Bennet needs a good telling off.

Jealousy is a powerful tool, a very powerful one, it does not matter what way it goes. Misunderstandings are always going to be there for this couple and KC Kahler knows how to write them.

4.5out5 stars

Blog Tour

Really nice tour of A Case of Some Delicacy. Visit the other posts to get more opportunities on the giveaway but above all, to get to know much more about the book.

2nd of October Austenesque Reviews

3rd of October My Jane Austen Book Club

4th of October From Pemberley to Milton

7th of October Babblings of a Bookworm

8th of October Diary of an Eccentric

9th of October Savvy Verse & Wit

10th of October My Vices and Weaknesses

11th of October So little time

BlogTour

time to give away winners

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on October 18. 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.

“The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion” by Don Jacobson, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very pleased for hosting Don Jacobson once more, and to reintroduce him to all of you. Don is a great author who has such an amazing mind that I cannot even imagine how all his ideas go around his brain and imagination without spilling out every five seconds. Don is back with his latest book on the The Bennet Wardrobe Series and I cannot be more excited. If you do not know what this series is about, let me try to describe it a bit: characters of our beloved Pride and Prejudice plus great new characters, time-travelling, strong family link, love and love and more love!

Do you understand what I mean? 😉 I am leaving you now with the blurb of The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion:

“My life has been very much like an unfinished painting. The artist comes to the portrait day-after-day to splash daubs of color onto bare canvas, filling in the blanks of my story. Thus grows the likeness, imperfect as it may be, which you see today.” Lydia Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock, letter to her sister Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, March 14, 1831.

Does it matter how a man fills out his regimentals? Miss Austen never considered that query. Yet, this question marks the beginning of an education…and the longest life…in the Bennet Wardrobe saga.

Lydia Bennet, Longbourn’s most wayward daughter, embarks on her quest in The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. This biography reveals how the Wardrobe helps young Mrs. Wickham learn that honor and bravery grow not from the color of the uniform—or the gender of its wearer—but rather from the contents of the heart.

In the process, she realizes that she must be broken and repaired, as if by a kintsugi master potter, to become the most useful player in the Bennet Wardrobe’s great drama.

The Pilgrim explores questions of love, loss, pain, worry, and perseverance. All of these are brought to bear as one of the silliest girls in England grows into the Dowager Countess.

This 151,000-word novel is the seventh, and next-to-last, volume in the Bennet Wardrobe Series. Each book along the way has revealed more about how the mysterious Wardrobe has led Miss Austen’s Bennets to learn that which they need in order to take part in its ultimate mission.

Lydia is pretty changed here, don’t you think? The fault is Don’s!

The Author

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series 

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)Don Jacobson Head Shot

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

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

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

He is a member of JASNA.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective.

He lives in the Las Vegas, Nevada 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).

Excerpt

Chapter LIX

The Darcys and Lydia have repaired to Selkirk to attend the Matlock Harvest Ball some two weeks hence. As the guests arrive, they gather in the Great Parlor. Lydia has entered late, hoping to remain inconspicuous. There is, however, one guest, of great significance, who desires to make her acquaintance. 

The Countess took Lydia’s arm and led her toward the gathering at the room’s center, the crowds parting like the sea beneath Moses’ staff. At the end of the void rested a pair of chairs. In one sat Richard’s father, the Earl. In the other, though, reposed a man who, even sans regalia was clearly one of the leading men in the entire realm.

As the two ladies approached, he fixed Lydia with a hard stare and planted his cane vertically between his feet before clasping his hands atop its head to lever himself up to a standing position.

Lady Fitzwilliam at his nod initiated the British tradition, “My Lord, may I present to you Mrs. Lydia Wickham of Longbourn and Pemberley. Mrs. Wickham, may I present to you the Marquess of Anglesey, Lord Henry Paget. You may know of him, by his ancient title, as the Earl of Uxbridge.[i]

“My Lord, Mrs. Wickham is the widow of Captain George Wickham of the 33rd.”

Anglesey nodded, “My condolences on your loss, madam. As the Duke said, Wickham saved us all.

Lydia felt Richard arrive by her side. His presence comforted her, although she was quite taken with the handsome, if older, aristocrat standing before her.

Then the Master of Uxbridge snapped, genially, but ordered, none-the-less, “I fear that I am still uncomfortable on my feet for too long.

“Matlock, get yourself off. I would speak with Mrs. Wickham, but I need to sit. As yours is the only other seat up for bids, I declare the auction closed! Mrs. Wickham will join me. Only those of us who have marched to the drum need be here right now for a bit of private conversation. General…you may stay.

“The rest of you: begone.

“Maybe Miss Darcy might turn her mind to some lighter Scottish airs.”

Lydia smiled her thanks at the Earl of Matlock who grinned back at her as if he was in possession of some great secret.

The Marquess adjusted his seat, grimacing as he was forced to reach down to slide his right boot into alignment with his missing knee. Four years after that June afternoon and his stump was still bothering him. Lingering pain aside, he was proud of his fully-articulated prosthetic limb. With the knee joint unlocked and pantaloons—the modern styles were much to his taste—draped outside of his boot uppers, he could sit in company without anyone being forced to notice his amputation.

Three pairs of eyes were riveted by his bluff yet comfortable demeanor, awaiting whatever pronouncement he would make.

“You know, Mrs. Wickham,” the great man intoned, “I have made it a study of mine to explore what makes men behave bravely. Those musings also, I am convinced, allow me to comprehend what turns their bowels to water.

“You have offered up an interesting conundrum. You see, men would have it that they are the sole repositories of courage, ignoring, of course, Queens Judith and Boadicea. All too often, these self-same deep thinkers seek to ascribe the success of our greatest monarch, Elizabeth, to Drake or Exeter or Salisbury rather than to her political genius and ability to make the people believe in her cause.

“You, my good woman, have reminded me, no all of us, through your selfless act of saving General Fitzwilliam that resolve is neither defined by the color of the uniform nor whether a uniform is worn at all.

“Brave acts may be committed by the young or the very old. Here you are, a lady of but three-and-twenty, yet you acted without fear.

“You have also shown that one can do one’s duty without reference to the body within which the bravest of hearts resides.

“You have destroyed the myth that only men can commit daring acts and reverse the flow of history.”

By this point, Lydia was blushing fiercely, and she averted her eyes as Paget’s praise flowed deeply around her.

She made to demur, saying, “My Lord, I would wish that you would temper your compliments. They are undeserved by me. I acted without thinking, not heroically, like you who sat in the line of fire [that June] afternoon. I honestly can remember little of what happened on St. Peter’s Field this past August.”

The Marquess stopped her by grasping her right hand.

“Enough of that, Mrs. Wickham.

I am no hero. Oh, perhaps an argument can be made that I behaved like one because I did not flee the moment the Tyrant’s le brutal fired. But, remember that young Fitzwilliam along with the Duke was equally exposed. Both stayed in their place.

“However, I repeat…I am no hero because I sat on my horse and watched my cavalry troopers get ground up between the lines. That image of all those beautiful men vanishing into the smoke and never returning will haunt me to the end of my life.

“I am no hero. I sat and watched…watched men like your husband…long may his name rest upon the lips of Britons far and wide…put down that French dog once and for all.

“T’was hot work at Hougoumont, madam, and George Wickham did his duty without flinching, knowing that t’was his portion to hold that end of the line.

“Me? At Waterloo, I was unmoving, atop my beast, when the ball took my leg.

“You, in Manchester, showed that you were a queen defending her realm: regnant and glorious, shaped by Lord knows what forces.

“You say you acted without thinking. The greatest of champions act without thinking and, in those unconscious moments, show the depths of their character.

“But, whether reasoned or not, your actions saved my comrade-in-arms, my dearest warrior friend and brother, Richard Fitzwilliam.

“Your modesty does you credit, but do not debase your achievement. Like your sister, Mrs. Benton, you bear scars honorably earned.

“Just as King Harry said before Agincourt…

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day:[ii]

“And you, Mrs. Wickham will quietly bear up under the scrutiny of those who have no idea what it means to feel the ground tremble beneath the hooves of heavy cavalry. Yet, every year on the anniversary of Peterloo, you will nod to Mrs. Benton and then take a moment to reflect on all that you gained, not lost, on that August day in your youth.”

Scanning the chamber, Lord Anglesey pronounced what was the equivalent of a Red Judge’s decision,“I would have it known that I heartily approve of Mrs. Wickham. Her late husband saved the nation. His widow saved one of our greatest paladins.”

The Marquess stood, leaning heavily upon his Malacca cane. After bending to lock his knee, he extended his left hand to Lydia to help her gain her feet gracefully. Paget, still one of the most handsome men in the kingdom, rapped his wooden leg with his stick, the drum-like sound echoing across the parlor.

He continued, “Just as you ignore my leg, I would have you look at the whole woman standing beside me. She should be held up as an example to your daughters…and your sons…for she has shown that the willingness to sacrifice is not limited to one sex.

“Here is a promise made before all of you assembled here.

“Pon my honor, Mrs. Lydia Wickham will be welcome at any Paget home anywhere in the realm. Our bed and board shall be her bed and board. If she were not already honored by His Royal Highness with a widow’s annuity, I would enhance her dowry.

“If Mrs. Wickham so wishes it, and if the Countess of Matlock and Mesdames Bingley and Darcy countenance this next, my wife, the Marchioness, will sponsor her when she makes her curtsey before the Queen.

“In all of this, I will not be gainsaid.

“Oh, and Mrs. Wickham,” at this he speared Fitzwilliam with an icy stare that bespoke of get on with this, man, “our hospitality is not contingent upon the presence of any slow-witted, addlepated man in your party.”

Richard looked astonished at the Marquess’ outspoken declaration.

Lydia blushed again.

————–

[i]Henry William Paget (1768-1854) was Earl of Uxbridge when a bounding French cannon ball struck his right leg near the end of the Battle of Waterloo. He had been in command of Wellington’s cavalry, much as Major General Richard Fitzwilliam was leading the Allies’ massed infantry squares. Uxbridge was elevated to Marquess of Anglesey (1st) upon his survival and served a long career in the Army (ultimately as Field Marshal) and the Government.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Paget,_1st_Marquess_of_Anglesey
[ii]William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4 from Scene 3  http://shakespeare.mit.edu/henryv/henryv.4.3.html

I am very intrigued to know much more about this book. Not only what comes next, because we already know what is the next name of Mrs Wickham but also I am very intrigued of her brave character and what she has done. I think Don may have redeemed Lydia of any youth folly she committed.

Blog Tour Schedule

I am closing the tour but do not miss great posts, reviews and much more.

25th of September From Pemberley to Miltonlydia-blog-tour-banner-horzm

26th of September So Little Time…

27th of September Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

28th of September My Love for Jane Austen

30th of September Babblings of a Bookworm

1st of October Diary of an Eccentric

2nd of October More Agreeably Engaged

3rd of October My Vices and Weaknesses 

Interested on this book? You could buy it, among other, on:

Amazon UK           Amazon US              Amazon CA

time to give away winners

Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion to four lucky winner. Just clikc the link below and follow instructions.

Rafflecopter – Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion

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