“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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“The Journey Home to Pemberley” by Joana Starnes, guest post, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

What can I say about this book? To be honest, if it has the name “Joana Starnes” is going to be an awesome story. That is what has happened so far with The Journey Home to Pemberley, and, even if I have not finished yet, I am loving it at the same time as hating it. Joana makes me angry because she is such a great writer that you really want to get to the HEA, but she insists on making us suffer 😉 in a positive way always!!!

Let me (re)introduce you to Joana, this woman who always has me on a “half agony, half hope” mode while reading her books.

Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination, and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.js-photo

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of PemberleyThe Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s CompanionMr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacyand one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know, Rational Creatures and Yuletide). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

You can connect with Joana on:

Facebook           Website            Twitter             Instagram           Austen Variations

Let’s have a brief insight on Joana Starnes’ latest book through the book trailer (link) or the blurb below:

Book trailer of The Journey Home to Pemberley

A chance encounter in the wilds of the North brings more joy to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy than either of them dared hope for. But her world is rocked by blow after blow – and the truth would only cause him pain. ‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ is Elizabeth’s guiding precept, and she chooses her path. Yet time, circumstances and new acquaintances teach her she had made a terrible mistake.

How can she regain what she had lost and rebuild a future with the only man she will ever love, but for whom disguise of every sort is his abhorrence?

What happened? What blow was that? Why must she be cruel to be kind? (Sorry, I cannot forget to mentioned that when I read this sentence, Nick Lowe’s song comes to mind 😉 ) Is she cruel in the right measure??

Guest Post

Many thanks for hosting me today, Ana, on the blog tour for my latest book, released on 12 Sept. Unlike many of my other novels, The Journey Home To Pemberley is almost exclusively about Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. The other characters must take a back seat. So I thought it would be only fair for this guest post to be about someone whom we love as much as Mr Darcy (well, almost 😊). And that would be the dear colonel, of course.

Col Fitzwilliam Hunsford 2a

We picture him in many ways, but more often than not he is the brother Darcy never had – the teasing voice of reason that urges him to follow his heart.

But what if Mr Darcy does follow his heart and goes out of his way to win Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections, yet for a goodly while he seems to receive worse than nothing for his efforts? What if Colonel Fitzwilliam should see his cousin cast yet again into despondency? If his fiercely protective instincts should be awakened, I think the even-tempered and cheerful colonel would be formidable. And heaven help those who get on the wrong side of him!

CF library

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE JOURNEY HOME TO PEMBERLEY

Excerpt

As soon as he saw young Thomas emerging into the garden and advancing towards him with purpose, Darcy excused himself with a few words and a bow, left his three companions to stroll along the paths and went to meet his footman, a question on his lips:

“Yes, Thomas, what is it?”

“Colonel Fitzwilliam has just arrived, sir. Mr Howard saw him into your study as you instructed.”

With a curt nod by way of thanks for the intelligence, Darcy made his way in, only to be met with a wide grin and a cheerful, “You lucky devil! She is exquisite. Now I see why you left Heathcote hell for leather yesterday, and in such a state too. So, she said yes, eh? Praise be. So, come now, out with it, sly wretch. How did she come to be here? And above all, who is she?”

Darcy’s baffled confusion was short-lived. His cousin’s airy gesture drew his glance towards the window, and he glimpsed Arabella Monkford sauntering through the shrubbery hand in hand with her sister. Fitzwilliam’s misapprehension thus explained, Darcy hastened to correct it with a wide grin of his own, and with matching raillery.

“Judging from your reaction, I expect you will be pleased to hear she is not my betrothed. But pray have the kindness to put a damper on your unfailing charm, Richard. She deserves better than to have her head turned for your amusement.”

His cousin brought his hand to his chest with a look of mock dismay at an undeserved affront. “I could say my character deserves better too. Must you blacken it so? I have half a mind to demand penance for that ignoble speech. An introduction to the lady will do, for a start.”

Darcy rolled his eyes in feigned exasperation. “Ignoble speech, was it? I daresay you have just proven my point. Besides, the pair of you are acquainted already—”

“Impossible!” the colonel cut him off. “I would not have forgotten that turn of countenance unless… Oh, damme, pray tell me I was not three sheets to the wind on the occasion and disgraced myself!”

“No, nothing of the sort, rest easy. Back in those days, you had the good sense to set a decent limit to your libations,” Darcy chortled, but then took pity on his cousin and put an end to the good-humoured teasing. “You made her acquaintance some fifteen years ago. She is Mr Monkford’s eldest daughter.”

Fitzwilliam arched a brow. “What, that little imp? What was her name?” He frowned as he sought to remember. “Bea? Beatrice?”

“Bella,” Darcy said tersely, his feigned exasperation by now turning real. “Miss Arabella Monkford. Now, would you kindly spare me at least some of your attention? I wrote to ask for your assistance, if you remember.”

Suitably chastised and quick to acknowledge the justice of it, the other sobered. “Of course. Forgive me. How can I be of service?”

Darcy rubbed his brow. “I need to locate someone. With due discretion. I thought you would know best how I should go about it.”

“I see,” Fitzwilliam replied with a nod of appreciation for the tribute and the implied trust, then his steady gaze grew shrewdly speculative. “I take it this has something to do with your sudden betrothal and this mysterious lady of yours, still to be named?” he prompted.

“Indeed,” Darcy acknowledged. “And there is no mystery,” he began, only to see his cousin’s eyes widen in outright consternation. Instinctively, he darted a glance over his shoulder, half-expecting to see he had foolishly neglected to close the door firmly and that it had swung open to reveal Elizabeth making an appearance in the great hall behind him. But that was not the case. It must have been something else – something in his air or his tone of voice – that had triggered Fitzwilliam’s finely-honed powers of perception.

No,” his cousin said, the one-syllabled word stretched out into a long, shocked whisper. “You could not have been quite so feeble-minded as to be caught in her web again! Pray tell me you are not engaged to Elizabeth Bennet!” he spat. But he must have read the answer in Darcy’s countenance, because he threw his arms in the air in a gesture of disbelieving anger. “God’s teeth, you are nearing thirty! Do you still need a nurse to keep you from harm?”

Darcy reached behind his back to press the door into the frame for further safety, hoping against hope that his cousin’s outburst could not be heard beyond the study, for neither his urgent words of caution nor his vehement gestures were able to bring an end to the harangue.

“Is that what I should have done, appointed myself as your damned nurse?” the colonel lashed out. The rant was followed by a crude oath that belonged in sordid taverns or in a military encampment, and then a vicious, “What the devil do you see in her that another woman cannot give you? What cursed hold does she have on you, to render you so witless as to seek her out again?”

The look of incensed disbelief suddenly gave way to outraged comprehension, for whatever could be said of the colonel’s temper and his language, the sharpness of his wits had never been in question.

She came after you,” he hissed. “She is here, is she not?”

“Yes. She is,” Darcy confirmed, mightily struggling to keep himself in check despite the severe provocation, and not leap at his cousin’s throat, either verbally or otherwise. He sought to remind himself that it was fierce loyalty and affection that had sparked Fitzwilliam’s aggressive outburst and his highly objectionable remarks. Moreover, they had to talk, not tear at each other. “Pray do not fly into another fit of rage,” he sensibly urged, just as the colonel let out a fresh stream of invective. “Do still yourself and listen. Listen, Richard! You have no notion of what she has suffered—”

“What she has suffered?” Fitzwilliam snarled. “What of the hell she put you through for months on end? She deserves to—”

“Just hold your tongue and listen for a moment, will you?” Darcy burst out, at the limits of his patience.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I suppose it was just as well that Mr Darcy stopped him before the colonel could cross too many lines. Least said, soonest mended. Because bridges have to be mended, of course – Elizabeth has to be restored to Colonel Fitzwilliam’s good opinion. But I think we can trust Mr Darcy to do that.

Colonel Fitzwilliam!! I really like him, I am not sure if I have ever read a JAFF book where I do not like him. He is so caring of Darcy and everyone else that I cannot normally contemplate a story without his appearance, even a brief one.

Elizabeth, how much she has suffered?? What happened? How are they back together in the same place? How is Mr Darcy so dedicated? Too many questions that I want to know the answer to now! Unfortunately, I have little time to enjoy one of my favourite hobbies: reading.

As I mentioned before, I have not finished it, I am only on the 50% of the book but I am loving it and I already recommend it!

If you are interested on buying the book, you can find it on:

Amazon US         Amazon UK         Amazon CA

Blog Tour Schedule

You can get to know much more about The Journey Home to Pemberley if you follow the tour. You will not regret reading these entries 🙂

tjhtp-blog-tour-banner_m

time to give away winners

Click on the link below for a chance to win:

  • one of the 8 Kindle copies of The Journey Home To Pemberley
  • or a paperback copy
  • or a P&P and Austen-related goodie bag.

Rafflecopter – The Journey Home to Pemberley

The giveaway is international and it ends at midnight EST on 4 Oct 2019.

Good luck to all of you!

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

Hello 🙂

This blurb:

A surprise meeting

A baby alone in the woods

And a second chance at love

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

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

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

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

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

author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to follow Brigid Huey:

Website              Twitter                 Facebook              Goodreads

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

Amazon US                          Amazon CA

Amazon UK                          Bookdepository

Blog Tour Schedule

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

9th of September   – So little time…tour

10th of September – Darcyholic Diversions

11th of September – Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

12th of September – Savvy Verse & Wit

13th of September – Babblings of a Bookworm

14th of September – My Love for Jane Austen

15th of September – My Life Journey

16th of September – Austenesque Reviews

17th of September – Half Agony, Half Hope

18th of September – Diary of an Eccentric

19th of September – From Pemberley to Milton

20th of September – My Jane Austen Book Club

21st of September – My Vices and Weaknesses

 

time to give away winners

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

Rafflecopter – A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods

“The Colonel” by Beau North, excerpt + giveaway

Hello! ¡Hola!

Pride and Prejudice, that great novel by Jane Austen that we love so much and has given us so much too. Not only the themes and the characters and her insight on people’s minds and lives but also the JAFF part that she may have never thought about it. All the what ifs, the variations, the sequels, different eras, etc. just carry on with her legacy. I’m not going into better written or less well written but I will say that today we have a really good writer who is presenting her latest book: The Colonel: a Longbourn’s Songbird. This book follows Beau’s Longbourn’s Songbird.

Beau North is the author of four books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In her spare time, she is the co-host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast.

You can follow her on:

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An obvious thing about this book: Colonel Fitzwilliam is the main character or the main person in this book. I don’t know what you think about him, but I would love to know. I really like him and the way authors portray him of JAFF: a super nice cousin taking care of them, on regency even marrying Georgiana or Kitty or Charlotte, being always the one making fun of Darcy, etc. I believe he can be so reliable in a story that I immensely enjoy his stories. This story is not going to be an exception. As I mentioned this book is second to Longbourn’s Songbird and I recommend you to do as I’m going to do this summer, read both books. I cannot wait to start them and you will know about it 🙂

Beau North is telling us a bit more about “the Colonel”:

This isn’t a love story, but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night. This is the story of my father and the woman he spent most of his adult life loving, a woman who was never really his.”

1950:
After letting his chance at love with Elizabeth Bennet slip through his fingers a second time, Richard Fitzwilliam loses himself in women, whiskey, and war as he tries to forget what he left behind. Putting oceans, continents, and decades between himself and his heartbreak, Richard seeks his future, only to be pulled back to the past again and again.

2002:
Shaken by recent events, Ben Fitzwilliam has left everything familiar behind, walking away from his relationship, his Manhattan apartment, his career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to return to his family home in Annapolis, Maryland. Struggling to navigate a world that makes less and less sense, Ben finds purpose where he least expected it: in his father’s private letters. With the help of Annapolis PD Officer Keisha Barnes, Ben attempts to uncover his father’s secrets, heal the rifts those secrets caused, and find the answers he seeks on far shores.

Spanning decades, continents, wars abroad and wars at home, The Colonel is the anticipated companion to Longbourn’s Songbird.

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

I put these links for you to know where to buy this super interesting book but it was also for the sake of distracting you of the fact that he loved Elizabeth Bennet! It should not come to a surprise if you have read the first book but if you haven’t…

Did you read the part: “a second time”?!?! I will leave it there.

If you are intrigued, just wait for it! Read the excerpt that Beau North is sharing with us. Have fun!

Excerpt Setup:
After a somewhat disastrous New Year’s Party at the Fitzwilliam home in New York City, Richard sends his cousin a letter that is partially an apology, and delivers some surprising news.

Excerpt:

January 15, 1951
Dear Will,
Greetings, salutations, etcetera. Thank you for dragging your family complete up to the city for the party. It was, as always, good to see you, but even better to see you so happy. You can be pretty fun to be around when you’re not glowering and putting everyone off of their feed.
You must think I’m very foolish. No need to deny it―I saw the look that passed between you and your excellent wife. Did you know that the two of you, taken separately, are about as easy to read as Greek—but when you’re together, you’re comically transparent.

So yes, I was a foolish man. Nothing to be done for it now. If I can be grateful about anything, it’s that I never fancied myself to be in love. I was thrill seeking, endangering life and limb, hell, my very sanity (or what’s left of it) but never in love. You may be glad to hear that that is all over with now. In any case, I don’t want either of you to worry about what kind of trouble I’ll be getting myself into next because well, damn it, there’s no easy way to say this, but I am back in the army. Old man Tilney himself pulled some strings and brought me back in, with a promotion.

When I took two bullets in Brest, I was a captain. The old bastard got me kicked out as a major, and now I’m going back in a lieutenant colonel. I could be one of the youngest men to make colonel, provided Uncle Sam doesn’t get fed up with my antics before then. I’ll have a bigger command now, which is good but troubling too. I hope that I’m up to the task. I think that there is more to this little skirmish than they’re letting on.

I’m to leave at the end of the month. I was hoping it wouldn’t be an imposition to come spend my last week there at Pemberley. We could settle my affairs (just in case) and I could say my (temporary) goodbyes to you all.

Confer with Mrs. Darcy and ring me up when you know.
Your faithful friend,
Richard
Darcy looked up from the letter at the two women dearest to him. Georgiana had her nose buried in a book while Elizabeth sat buttering her toast. She wore a bemused little half-smile, as if remembering a joke she hadn’t heard in years. She was beginning to show, getting more beautiful every day. She seemed to glow from within all the time these days, even when she was wretchedly sick or weeping or falling asleep every few minutes. His heart beat almost painfully when he thought about the child she carried, their life to come.
He honestly had no idea how she would take this news.
“So,” he began, watching Elizabeth’s face. “I have a letter from Richard here.”
Her only acknowledgment was a tiny lift of her eyebrows. “Any messages from Charlotte?”
“Ah, no. So I’m assuming things must be well.”
Georgiana put her book down and picked up her coffee, making a face. “Wasn’t his girlfriend so awful?”
Elizabeth’s lips twisted in a wry smile. “Actually, I rather liked her, though probably for all the wrong reasons. She was vastly entertaining.”
Darcy smiled. “She was rather appalling. I think she might have even been ruder than I am.”
“Impossible,” Elizabeth teased. “Still, I shouldn’t laugh at her. If she makes your cousin happy…”
She never said his name, Darcy noticed. It was always your cousin. He wondered if she was even aware of it.
“Ah, well. That’s part of why he writes. It seems that Miss Huntington-Whitney is out of the picture now.”
“Thank goodness,” Georgiana said with a sigh. “Poor Richard.”
If any of this talk bothered Elizabeth, she didn’t let it show.
Darcy turned to his sister and asked if she would excuse them for a minute. She shrugged and gathered her things before breezing out the room. Darcy reached over and took his wife’s hand.
“Elizabeth, do you mind if Richard comes to stay for a bit?”
“Why on earth would I mind? As long as he’s not bringing that little goblin with him. Not that I mind but I think she would probably upset Georgie.”
“I think you know what I mean when I ask, and it has nothing to do with Georgiana.”
“Oh good lord, not that again. I think we’d better get used to our new family situation sooner rather than later. We’re all adults, aren’t we?”
“That point is debatable. There’s…something else.”
“You’re worried! Is everything all right?”
“Richard has…well, damn if he’s not in the army again. That’s why he wants to come for visit. He’ll be headed out at the end of the month.”
She looked down at her plate, a small crease appearing between her eyebrows.
“I see. Headed out where?”
“I think you know.”
She cleared her throat, a habit she was picking up from him. “Are you going to tell Georgie or should I?”
“Don’t you want to tell her together?”
“One of us ought to inform Mrs. R, don’t you think? Yes, I think I will. You tell Georgie. I’m sure she’ll have all kinds of questions.” She stood suddenly, smoothing the fabric of her dress with the palms of her hands.
“Elizabeth—”
“I’m fine, William.”
But he wondered. Wondered at the tight set of her shoulders as she walked out of the room, the overly precise and careful way she closed the door behind her.

OMG!! Sorry, I’m speechless right now, or wordless.

Well, you know me, I’m not really wordless but I wanted you to reread that last paragraph and maybe think: what has happened? Was there something between them? Did he declare himself? Did she refuse him? So many questions that need to be answered soon!

Let me know on the comments what you think. Please if you have read Longbourn’s Songbird, do not leave any spoilers for the people who have not.

Thank you very much, Beau North for being with us today and bringing us your latest book which is extremely appealing!!

Beau North is giving away an e-copy of both of her books. To participate, click the link below and follow instructions:

Rafflecopter – The Colonel

Good luck!