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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KM: What happened after that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 27 Austenesque Reviews

January 28 My Jane Austen Book Club

January 29 Austenprose

January 30 So Little Time…

January 31 Babblings of a Bookworm

February 3 More Agreeably Engaged

February 4 Savvy Verse & Wit

February 6 Donadee’s Corner

February 7 Diary of an Eccentric

February 10 From Pemberley to Milton

February 11 My Vices and Weaknesses

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

Rafflecopter – Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match

Winner of “When Charlotte became Romantic” by Victoria Kincaid

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

Apologies for taking so long to select a winner.

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

“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 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:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

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!

“Perilous Siege” by C.P. Odom, excerpt + giveaway

Dear readers,

I am very pleased to introduce you to a new Jan Austen Fan Fiction release by C. P. Odom as well as having him for the first time with us. Welcome, Colin!

Perilous Siege is his last novel published and I would say that it is a very original way of combining our lovely character from Pride and Prejudice with the modern world, well, not even ours just yet… but 2045. Still 26 years to go!

I have not read Perilous Siege yet but I am very intrigued about it. However, I have read one of his other novels and I really like how he writes.

Just to give you a bit of information, read the book blurb and see what your first impressions are:

What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?
When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world.
Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?

Major Edward McDunn… Why are you going to do with Lizzie, with Darcy, with the Colonel, with Georgiana…? Are you a friend or a foe? You must be a friend if Mr Darcy befriends you, right? We will see..

Let’s know something else about the author before carrying on with this curious book. C.P. Odom is letting us know a few interesting bits of his life.

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the  Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.
I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published: A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, was recently published in the second quarter of 2019.
I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

Engineering, Marine, aircrafts, Jane Austen… Now maybe, some pennies are dropping, what do you think? Not sure yet? We will get soon to the excerpt but first, let me tell you how you can follow C.P. Odom to discover more about his writing.

 C.P. Odom’s Facebook Page
C.P. Odom’s Amazon Page
C.P. Odom’s Goodreads Page
C.P. Odom’s Meryton Press Page

Without further ado, please enjoy this interesting excerpt that shows us when Darcy met the Major. Let’s see how shocking it may be… or not. However, first, Colin is telling us a bit more about the writing of this book and how fund it was.

Thank you, Ana, for inviting me to share this excerpt from my newest novel, Perilous Siege. It’s from early in the novel, where Fitzwilliam Darcy discovers a man from the future of our world (the year 2045, to be exact) lying in a field on his estate of Pemberley. Yet this novel doesn’t involve the science fiction concept to time travel (which is totally impossible according to Einstein, but then this is fiction, right? And I’m a long-time science fiction reader.). In my novel, I made use of another science fiction concept, that of parallel universes resulting from decision points leading to different outcomes. Thus, in this fanciful concept, the number of parallel universes would be literally infinite, and surely there would be one in which Jane Austen’s characters actually existed!

So, imagine the fun I had in putting myself into the persona of someone from approximately our time who got sent to the world in which he most belonged (he’s a reader of Jane Austen, besides being a US Marine from the future of the United States). The means of transport was the Siege Perilous, an artifact from the legend of Arthur Pendragon, King Arthur. Hence, the title of my book, Perilous Siege – Pride and Prejudice in an Alternate Universe. According to Merlin, the Siege . . . well, perhaps it might be better to include the explanatory paragraph from the Prologue when the wizard Kaswallon, whose family had custody of the Siege for two millinea after the time of Arthur, explained it to Major Edward McDunn:

“Ah, there you are wrong, brave McDunn, for you sit on a remnant from Arthur’s court—the Siege Perilous, the vacant seat at the Round Table. It was found by Merlin, who proclaimed only the knight who was successful in his quest for the Holy Grail could sit in it without dying. Six of Arthur’s knights tried to and died, or so the legend says. But the legend is wrong, as was Merlin, for the knights who disappeared did notdie. They were sent elsewhere to the world meant for them. Only Sir Percival and Sir Galahad, who together achieved the Grail quest, were able to sit in the Siege without disappearing. Or so said Merlin, wrong as always, because the real reason they remained was they belongedto this world, not elsewhere.”
So this is the discovery of McDunn in a world he never imagined . . .

~~~~~~~~~~**********~~~~~~~~~~

If a coin comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed. Until that moment the two possibilities were equal. But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart.
— Philip Pullman,The Golden Compass

Tuesday, October 10, 1809
Pemberley, Derbyshire

“Sir! Sir! Mr. Darcy!”

Fitzwilliam Darcy had been half-dozing as his coach rumbled along on this still-warm autumn day. He was on the final leg of a journey to his Pemberley estate when, startled from his comfortable doze, he sat bolt upright at the call of his driver and the subsequent hard braking of the coach.

“Yes, Wainwright?” he called, looking over at his sister, Georgiana, and his cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam as the vehicle lurched to a stop. “What is it?”

“Over there, sir! A man!”

“A man? Where?”

“In the grass, sir! To your right! A-lyin’ in the grass!”

Darcy felt the coach shake as one of the footmen scrambled down from the back of the coach, and he was not surprised when Brown appeared suddenly at the door.

“I will see what it is, sir,” he said in a gravelly voice and started to turn away.

“Wait!” When Brown turned around with a surprised look, Darcy continued. “I want to have a look myself.”

He opened the door and jumped lightly to the ground without bothering to lower the entry step. Behind him, he heard his cousin descend in the same manner.

“Stay inside the coach, Georgiana,” he called without turning his head. He did not have to look to know she had intended to jump to the ground. Her natural curiosity grew by the day.

“But William!” Georgiana said, beginning to protest. It was clear from her expression that past experience told her the uselessness of doing so when her brother spoke in such a tone of voice. “Oh, very well,” she said, settling back on her seat.

“Now, where is this man, Wainwright?” Darcy asked. “I cannot see anyone.”

“Over there, sir,” his driver said, pointing. “He is just there. Maybe dead. I canna tell.”

“I should do this, Mr. Darcy,” repeated Brown.

“Or I,” Fitzwilliam said, stepping up beside Darcy with his hand on his cavalry saber.

“I want to see for myself,” Darcy said. Then, seeing the look of distress on his footman’s face, he relented. Brown, after all, did have a secondary duty as an armed guard against the possibility of highwaymen on the road. The threat was admittedly rare in recent years, but it remained.

“Very well, then. We shall all investigate.”

“Yes, sir,” his footman said reluctantly, touching the pistol he had stuck in his waistband. Darcy was careful to conceal his smile at Brown’s protectiveness. The man had never had occasion even to withdraw his firearm from under his coat, but he took his duty seriously.

As he and Fitzwilliam walked in the direction his driver had pointed, Brown followed slightly behind and off to the side. Something was clearly pressing down the long grass of the field.

As they got closer, Darcy realized his driver had been right. There was indeed a man lying in the grass, curled up almost into a ball, but he was attired in a most baffling fashion, which added to the mystery of his presence.

His clothing resembled a military uniform since the trousers and jacket were similar in appearance, but the material itself was like no uniform Darcy had ever seen. It had no constant color, being composed of a mottled conglomeration of browns and tans, but the sharp demarcation of the mottling showed it was intentional and not accidental. The man wore a pack of the same material except its mottling was different in pattern.

In addition, the man’s clothing and pack were incredibly dirty and deeply stained with mud. This was puzzling since the roads and fields were dry. There had been no recent rains, yet the man’s boots, unlike any Darcy had ever seen, were also covered in the same type of mud.

As the men moved closer, Darcy was shocked to realize many of the stains on what he was increasingly certain was a kind of uniform looked more like blood than dirt or mud. Dried blood. A lotof blood.

The reddish-brown stains were down the entire front of his uniform. Adding to the mystery was an unfamiliar helmet on the stranger’s head, covered in the same brown and tan cloth as his clothing.

Darcy heard a rustle of cloth and a snapping sound behind him, and he knew Brown had just withdrawn his pistol from his waistband, cocked the hammer, and was no doubt turning the pistol sideways slightly to get a few grains of powder into the priming pan. Darcy felt no inclination to reprove him. The unconscious man’s presence was enough to justify a degree of caution, especially when coupled with his complete unfamiliarity and the strangeness of his clothing.

A sense of alarm struck Darcy as he saw the item his footman had seen, and he understood why Brown had drawn his pistol. Under the stranger’s left armpit was some kind of leather holster, and protruding from it was what appeared to be the butt of a pistol. The butt was significantly smaller than the pistol in Brown’s hands, as well as being quite oddly shaped. Regardless, there was a sleek deadliness about the weapon that convinced him of its danger.

A second shock ran through him when he saw a long object lying in the grass just beyond the stranger’s out-flung hand. From its length and similar appearance of precision as the pistol, Darcy was certain the long object was also a weapon of some kind. It bore a superficial resemblance to the muskets and shotguns with which he was familiar, but this musket was too short, had strange protrusions in various places, and did not appear to be made of metal. Everything, including the barrel, was colored the same as the man’s pack. Perhaps those colors were paint, but he wondered why a musket would be painted.

Darcy stopped about ten feet away and regarded the stranger. He was deeply tanned but unshaven with several weeks of dark beard. He could see the man’s clothing was not only dirty and bloody but also badly worn with numerous tears, especially about the knees and elbows. Some type of bulky vest or harness was strapped about his torso, supporting numerous pouches bulging with unknowable contents. There were also pockets everywhere about his clothing—on the sleeves and down his baggy trousers—all of them bulging like those on his vest. He lay quietly on his side, breathing slowly and deeply, and the large pack strapped to his back looked vaguely like the packs worn by soldiers illustrated in the London newspapers. For the first time, Darcy noticed several canvas bags nearby, and he realized the mottled coloring of the bags had made them almost blend in with the vegetation.

He looked over at Fitzwilliam, but his cousin only shrugged his thick shoulders. His military experience apparently did not provide any more answers than Darcy’s civilian knowledge.

But caution seemed advisable. The man might look rough and bedraggled, but he was also large and muscular with broad shoulders and large hands, somewhat resembling Fitzwilliam who was a colonel of dragoons and a rather formidable man in his own right. The two shared the same weathered features acquired by a life spent mostly outdoors.

Unable to bear the mystery any longer, Darcy ignored the voice of caution sounding a warning in his mind and stepped forward to nudge the sole of one of the stranger’s boots with his cane. It was only a slight touch, but the results were both startling and violent!

With a rapidity that caused the three men to recoil backward in complete surprise, the stranger seemed to explode up from the ground. With astonishing speed, he rolled abruptly to the side while simultaneously whirling about and half-rising. His head whipped about in a blur, quickly scanning the surroundings before fixing on the group of men in front of him. A clicksounded as he came to a halt on one knee, and Darcy realized that a strange-looking pistol had somehow appeared in his hands. It must be the pistol from beneath the man’s armpit, and it was held in a completely unfamiliar manner, supported by both his hands.

The sight of the pistol caused Darcy to freeze, instantly and completely. The stranger’s dark eyes were locked on him with a dangerous fixation, and the sound he had heard was made doubly ominous because of its similarity to the earlier sound of Brown cocking his pistol.

“Brown, do nothing!” Darcy barked the command. He instinctively realized he had made a grave error; the strange pistol was not pointed at him but rather at Brown, and the muzzle, while clearly not as large as the pistols with which he was familiar, seemed even more deadly.

No one moved for a long second or two before the stranger spoke.

“He’s with you?”

Darcy gave a jerky nod.

“I haven’t fired,” the stranger continued, “since the muzzle of your man’s blunderbuss isn’t exactly pointed at me and his finger isn’t on the trigger. Please have him lower the pistol and un-cock the hammer. I don’t want to kill anyone over a misunderstanding, but I also don’t want to die by mistake either. And I won’t warn him again.”

“Brown!” Darcy said quickly. “Put the pistol away!”

“Yes, sir,” Brown said reluctantly, and Darcy heard the sound of the pistol being uncocked and the subsequent rustle of cloth indicating it was being returned to its place.

“And perhaps, if the big man in the red coat might loosen the death grip he has on that large knife he has partway out of its scabbard, I’ll holster my pistol.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Darcy saw Fitzwilliam reluctantly lower his saber back into its sheath and uncurl his fingers from the hilt. He felt a bit of amusement at the way the stranger referred to his cousin’s beloved saber as a big “knife”—though he was not sure Fitzwilliam shared his amusement.

“Better,” the stranger said, standing up. “Much better.”

He touched something on the small, black pistol. It made the same snapping sound Darcy had heard previously, and he put it back in the holster and buckled a strap over it. Darcy saw he wore a matching holster with a similar pistol beneath his right armpit, and he also had what might be another rifle over his back under his pack. The weapon was covered by a multi-colored canvas sheath with a long belt-like strap across his chest, holding it in place.

Clever idea, all those belts and straps,thought Darcy in wonder. It would make sure they stay in place when galloping about a battlefield, but how did he unfasten the strap so quickly when he awoke?

“I did not mean to startle you,” Darcy said, but the stranger waved away his apology.

“And I didn’t mean to startle you either, but when I felt something touch my boot…well, where I’ve been lately, you wake up instantly or you might not wake up at all. It tends to make one twitchywhen startled.”

“Ah yes,” Darcy said in confusion. “Twitchy. Interesting word.”

The stranger looked at Darcy and gave him a crooked smile. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

“I have never been so confused in my life, sir,” Darcy answered, and his comment seemed to amuse the stranger further since his smile broadened as he looked about him, taking in the attire of Darcy, Fitzwilliam, and Brown as well as the coach and horses.

The stranger waved at Georgiana, who was standing beside the coach in wide-eyed excitement and curiosity.

“I’m sorry if I startled your passenger. I didn’t even know she was there until just now.”

“My sister.” Darcy glared at her. “I had suggestedshe remain in the coach while we investigated.”

“I suppose all of us are completely confused, sir. Me, for example. Not only do I have no idea where I might be, I don’t even know whenthis is. It’s certainly not where I came from.”

Brown stood nearby, and Darcy remembered his father’s admonition never to discuss serious matters in front of the staff. Turning to his footman, he said, “Please rejoin the coach and keep a sharp eye out. I think we will be safe enough now.”

“Aye, sir,” Brown said dutifully, but the tone of his voice made it clear he did not fully agree with his employer. Darcy waited until he had mounted the coach again before turning back to the stranger.

“You do not know where you are?” Darcy asked, his surprise evident.

When the unknown man shook his head, it seemed to make him aware of the helmet on his head. He unsnapped the strap and removed it, revealing a mop of dark hair that had not been barbered in quite some time.

“I’m not at all sure how I came to be here,” the stranger said slowly with visible uncertainty. “If it would not be too much of an imposition, might you first tell me whereI am?”

“You are on my land. This is a meadow on my estate, sir,” Darcy answered with a trace of irritation in his voice.

“Ah, so I’m a trespasser. Very serious, sir. Very serious, indeed. But since I wasn’t aware I was trespassing, perhaps you might enlighten me as to just whereI’m trespassing? I assume your estate’s in England?”

Darcy openly smiled at the renewed evidence of humor in the stranger’s speech as he had consciously modified his speech to match his own.

Except for the use of those contracted words,Darcy thought. I know they are becoming more fashionable in these modern times, but still…and that accent of his! It is definitely not one with which I am familiar. Nevertheless, this is an educated man. It shows in his speech.

“Yes,” Darcy said with a nod. “Pemberley is indeed in England. In Derbyshire to be exact.”

The man flinched momentarily at this information. “Interesting,” he mused. “I thought I would be in Cornwall.” He shook his head and continued. “The next item to assuage my curiosity is the date—the year to be more specific.”

Darcy wrinkled his brow in confusion, looking at the stranger oddly for a moment before he replied slowly, “It is Wednesday, the tenth of October in the year of our Lord, 1809.”

The stranger’s eyes grew large at the information. “It’s 1809!” he murmured. “I thought the stone—”

Whatever else he meant to say went unsaid, and he shook his head again before standing up straighter.

“I do apologize for appearing in your meadow, sir, but I assure you I’m as surprised to be here as you are to find me. But as an intruder and a trespasser on your land, I really should introduce myself. Edward McDunn. I’m American despite my Scots name. Brevet Major and late Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps.”

Darcy’s eyebrows rose just a bit at this bit of information, but he was not completely surprised. “I had surmised you to be American from the manner of your speech.”

“My accent, you mean?”

“Indeed. We both speak the same language, but you clearly hail from elsewhere. If I may hazard a guess, I would say one of the southern of our former colonies.”

“South Carolina,” McDunn confirmed.

Darcy was still confused. What was an American doing in England, much less in Derbyshire? And lying in a Pemberley meadow, especially at this time?

From what his cousin had told him, bad feelings between Britain and the United States of America still lingered from the Chesapeake-Leopard affair back in ’07. Fitzwilliam worried that the Royal Navy’s insistence on stopping ships flying the American flag and impressing seamen from their crews might eventually cause the two countries to stumble into an active state of hostilities.

Have we not enough enemies,he thought sourly, with Bonaparte and the rest of his coalition?

He shook his head at his woolgathering and decided this was not the time to stand on propriety. There was certainly no one to introduce the two of them. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Major McDunn…or is it, what did you say, Gunnery Sergeant?”

McDunn smiled wryly. “It’s lateGunnery Sergeant, sir. That rank, as well as my majority and my place in the Marines are—well, it’s long off in time and far away. Very much so.”

“I see,” Darcy said though he did not see at all. “My name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and as I said, I own Pemberley. And may I present my cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam of His Majesty’s Sixth Regiment of Dragoons.”

Darcy’s hesitation was due to his decision to include his Christian name as the American had done. It was not usual, but he supposed Americans had different customs.

Both men gave the stranger a quick bow, but both Darcy and his cousin were taken aback by McDunn’s reaction. His mouth had dropped open slightly, and he was staring at Darcy as though he had seen a ghost.

***

Fitzwilliam Darcy? McDunn thought, so staggered by the man’s name that he questioned his sanity.

The name “Pemberley”he had put down as coincidence, but it could not be a coincidence that the man who owned Pemberley in this alternate world also claimed the name of Austen’s hero in Pride and Prejudice.

What in the seven levels of hell is going on here? Darcy!And Colonel Fitzwilliam! And that has to be Georgiana by the coach! Has that Siege stone sent me to a world of fictional characters? Characters created in the imagination of an unmarried author of old-time novels? But this man, this Darcy, said this is his estate! Pemberley in Derbyshire! I know Kaswallon said there were an infinite number of alternate possible worlds, but still—! This is not bordering on the ridiculous; it is so far beyond such boundaries, it’s ludicrous!

~~~~~~~~~~**********~~~~~~~~~~

What do you think? How is this going to continue? I have quite a few questions that may be answered by reading Perilous Siege.

You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon and other sites. Just check the one that you prefer 🙂

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Although the tour has just begun, do not miss the premier of the blog tour and check what is coming 🙂

Perilous Siege Blog Tour Schedule

April 8th /
My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

April 10th / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt

April 12th / Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview

April 13th / Just Jane 1813 / Meet C.P. Odom  

April 14th / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

April 15th / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Excerpt

April 16th / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette

April 17th / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Excerpt

April 18th /More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege. The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019. Just click the link below and follow instructions. The terms and conditions are below the link.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1ddd45520/?

Terms and Conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.


“The Most Interesting Man in the World” by JL Ashton and Justine Rivard, excerpt + giveaway

I believe that the title in itself it is very appealing, what do you think? Let’s see it this way: you know it is JAFF, specifically Pride and Prejudice, and then the most interesting man is portrayed. Yes, that man in none other than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley.

What else do you need to know? Much more, trust me. however, we will start with the blurb of the book.

What has gotten into Fitzwilliam Darcy lately? 
Charles Bingley, a jolly fellow who relies on his great friend’s impeccable judgment in all things, is determined to find out. What could explain Darcy’s ill humour and distraction? Or his uncharacteristic blunder of speaking Greek to a horse who only understands Latin? Not to mention that shocking book accident! Certainly, it has nothing to do with Elizabeth Bennet, the sister of Bingley’s own angel, Jane. Bingley is certain of it. 
What was really going on behind the scenes at Netherfield, Pemberley, and Darcy House, and just what did those men talk about over billiards and brandy? In this novella, Bingley sheds a little light on keeping company with the most interesting man in the world, and shares his own musings on puppies, his dreadful sisters, and the search for true love. Prepare to be shocked, delighted, and confused by a Charles Bingley the likes of whom you’ve never met before.

Charles Bingley telling us about his loyal friend, Darcy. Sounds interesting, like the book 😉

Would you like to read a bit more? Let me just introduce you to the two ladies who have written this book and are sharing a great excerpt with us today. Please welcome: Justine Rivard and JL Ashton.

Justine Rivard is a very serious college professor who has no time for frivolity or poppycock of any kind. She strenuously objects to the silliness found in this story and urges you to put the book down at once before it gives you ideas. You are invited instead to join her in the study for a lecture about her extensive collection of whimsical 18th-century animal husbandry manuals.

J.L. Ashton, on the other hand, is a very unserious writer of Jane Austen variations you might have read (A Searing Acquaintance and Mendacity & Mourning) and collector of recipes she will never attempt. She encourages a general lack of decorum and has a great appreciation for cleft chins, vulnerably brooding men, and Instagram accounts featuring animals. Especially cats. Also foxes. 

To follow these lovely authors, check below:

Facebook: J.L. Ashton Author   https://www.facebook.com/JanAshtonAuthor/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: @Jan Ashton 
https://twitter.com/jancat10
Pinterest: AustenAshton  https://www.pinterest.com/jsashton25/

Instagram: jancat95

Blog: 
http://jlashton.merytonpress.com/

Justine’s Twitter : @JustineJRA  https://twitter.com/JustineJRA

Without further ado, let the authors introduce this great excerpt that they are sharing with us.

Ana, thank you so much for hosting us here at My Vices and Weaknesses, and letting us share an excerpt from our somewhat nonsensical look at the bromance and conversations between Darcy and Bingley. In this excerpt, the two men, one of them considered by the other as The Most Interesting Man in the World, talk about love, food and the elusive Elizabeth Bennet.

Darcy cleared his throat and spoke with what seemed to Bingley to be feigned nonchalance. “Bingley, I hesitate to bring this up for reasons that will become evident, but the most peculiar thing happened this afternoon. I am sure you will never guess who was here when I arrived.”
Bingley tried to think of the least likely person Darcy might have encountered upon his arrival at Pemberley. “Napoleon Bonaparte? Beau Brummell? Um…Cicero?” Knowing Darcy, this had to involve Latin and some damn Roman.
“Do not be absurd, Bingley. You know very well that Cicero is dead. Still, you truly will never guess, so I shall have to tell you: Miss Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner.” Darcy bit his bottom lip and nodded. “The ones from Cheapside.”
Bingley was stunned. How many times since the twenty-sixth of November had he thought of Miss Jane Bennet? At first, he had tried to deny that he ever had any real feelings for her, and he had let his admiration for Darcy and his desire to be more like his friend overrule his own good sense. Not that he really had good sense about anything. He was far more likely to trust the judgment of others than to rely on his own poor powers of discernment. But still, he had been right to listen to Darcy with regard to dear Jane. There was no doubt about it, none at all. Nevertheless, thinking about her always left him feeling full of melancholy and regret—a most unusual and uncomfortable sensation as he was used to happily gliding through life. For the most part, he had been untouched by the dramas, tragedies, and tensions that made up other people’s lives. It made Caroline angry. She always had such purpose in her words and in her stride, yet she had to depend on him—the man of the family—to lead their way in the world. It had hardened her eyes.
But why was he thinking about Caroline when Darcy was talking about the Bennets? Here was a chance to hear more about dear Jane from her sister. Suddenly, he was so eager that he could hardly bear it. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet is here?” Oh, it felt so wonderful to say “Bennet” out loud instead of just mouthing the word (with Jane’s name appended to it) in front of the mirror. “Not here. Not here now. She was here earlier, visiting the park.”
Oh. Bingley was crestfallen. Here and gone and without her sister. Why had she been here? Had she left word for him, for the dolt who did not understand love or recognise her sister’s worth or grasp how to parry and thrust? Verbally, anyway?
“But why here?”
Darcy’s face turned a deep crimson. “They were on holiday, um, are on holiday and touring the area. Miss Elizabeth’s aunt is from Lambton. You know, the village just outside Pemberley. They are here for a visit.”
Bingley stared at his friend, astonished at the wealth of information he had gleaned. “You spent some time with them?”
“No, no, no,” Darcy replied quickly, shaking his head. “Well, yes. Some. Bingley, excuse me. You have come all this way, you are still in your travelling clothes, and I have yet to offer you a drink. Please, sit down.” He gestured to one of the leather wing chairs he favoured. All his homes were littered with them. “May I order you some tea or perhaps some—?”
“Brandy. I would like a brandy.”
“Brandy?” Darcy enquired, his brow furrowed. “Surely, you must have something to eat first. Would brandy agree with you after that long ride in the hot sun?”
Ah, Darcy was worried about his boots or his rugs or his billiard table. Fair enough, though Bingley wished to protest that he had always been able to hold his liquor—unlike some men he could name. Still, he would indeed like some brandy, especially considering how concerned he was that Darcy might at any time ask where Georgiana was. What on earth would he say? He needed a quick excuse! Maybe he could distract his friend by talking about something else. What was it that Darcy had told him? Oh, yes! How could he have forgotten? Miss Elizabeth!
“Yes, Darcy, brandy. It has been a long day, and you have a story to tell. I must know everything about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. I should like to have seen her.”
Darcy handed his friend a glass of brandy and picked up his cup of tea.
“Shall I have some food sent in?”
“Oh yes, please. What do you have on hand? Do you suppose the kitchen has a duck pasty or two? Perhaps some sausages or a partridge? Oh, or Cook’s lovely creamed potatoes… And what about some of those delicious sticky buns or her famous berry tarts?” Bingley realised that this might be a bit too much to ask, but he was ravenously hungry.
Well acquainted with Bingley’s enormous appetite, Darcy merely nodded and rang for Mrs. Reynolds. “Yes, excellent idea.”
“Oh, that reminds me, what is the damage to your billiards table?” Bingley flushed, thinking about the table he had left in ruins earlier in the spring. He cleared his throat. “Well, I know what the damage was. What I mean is: How much do I owe you for its repair?”
“Nonsense. You owe me nothing. We had quite a bit to drink that evening, and if you had not done the honours, then Archie or I would have done so sooner or later. Damn soldiers’ drinking games.”
Bingley shook his head in disbelief. He could not imagine his talented friend eviscerating a billiards table. Not unintentionally anyway. “No, never. Please let me take care of it, old chap.”
“No, no. Truly, never mind. All in a good night’s fun.”
That had been an interesting evening, Bingley reflected with some wistfulness. Not that he remembered it too clearly. He recalled something about the colonel…um, Archie flying around on a magic carpet. That could not really have happened, of course. Could it? No, no, that must have been the brandy talking. Something about a hot air balloon as well, and that seemed a bit more likely, although it still seemed improbable that they had actually taken flight in Darcy’s town house. Also something about an ostrich… In any case, the material point was that something had happened after the hot air balloon episode, and that something was the conversation he vaguely remembered overhearing between Darcy and the colonel. Archie. Perhaps he had dreamed it along with the colonel’s magic carpet, but he thought not.
It seemed to have been a weighty and important conversation, but Bingley could not quite recall the subject. Something Darcy was not telling him? Something to do with a woman? Darcy had never explained what had happened with his cousin Anne in Kent. And, come to think of it, he had never confirmed that it actually had been Anne at all. Perhaps it was some other lady who had turned Darcy down. Imagine that! If only he could reach through that evening’s brandy-induced haze to retrieve the memory of exactly what the two cousins had been talking about.
Bingley’s train of thought was interrupted by Mrs. Reynolds’s entrance into the study. After a proper greeting was exchanged, Bingley enquired about the availability of his dreamed-for meal and was delighted to discover that nearly all of it was already waiting in the kitchen. He was Mrs. R’s favourite bon vivant, and she was well acquainted with his culinary tastes. She clucked and fussed a bit because the berry tarts would not be ready till the next day—when she had expected him to arrive. Bingley suddenly realised that Mrs. R might be curious about Georgiana’s whereabouts, and he was sorely relieved when she bustled out of the room without enquiring after the girl.
After her departure, the friends settled into their chairs by the window. Darcy’s knee was bouncing up and down, Bingley noted with surprise. How annoying. No wonder his sisters, his aunts, and Darcy himself constantly chastised Bingley about his own free-spirited limbs.
Limbs. He remembered Darcy’s limbs, his legs in particular, stretched high up on the wall that evening, the evening of the billiards contest for the ages. He had looked so relaxed then, even elegant in his drunken melancholy, whilst he was agitated now. Rather as he had been back on that long, cold night in January when they had discussed his verbal parries with Miss Elizabeth. What had that been about, anyway?
“Darcy, tell me about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. Did you know she would be at Pemberley? Was it a surprise or a planned rendezvous?” He waggled his eyebrows to emphasise his clever joke.
“For God’s sake, Bingley. What do you imply? Miss Elizabeth and I are merely acquaintances in a tenuous sort of manner. She is travelling with her aunt and uncle, they stopped here and walked the gardens, and they encountered me only because I arrived a day earlier than expected. In fact, they believed that none of the family were here.” Darcy glared at Bingley, his face flushed and eyes bright. He clanked his teacup down on the saucer with no little discomposure and poured a bit of brandy into a nearby glass.
He eyed it then took a deep swallow.
“In what manner did you encounter her? Them?”
“Oh. I rode in, felt a bit overheated in the sun, and stopped by the pond. Aeschylus needed a drink.”
The Greek steed. That fine piece of horseflesh had a sweet disposition and a white heart-shaped dot on the tip of his nose, and Darcy had named him after a poet instead of something truly memorable such as Avenger, Sport, or Thunder. The man was hopeless.
“Did your horse push you into the pond? Is that why you are still a bit damp?”
Darcy froze.
“Good God, Darcy! Did Miss Elizabeth see you this way, soaked and dishevelled?”
“Of course not. I had changed my clothing.” Darcy abruptly stood and walked across the room to an ornate mirror. He grimaced at his reflection and began smoothing back his hair. He straightened his coat and turned around.
“In any case, Miss Elizabeth and her family are still in Lambton.” Upon hearing this, Bingley heaved a great sigh of relief and then tried to cover it up by rubbing his stomach in a gesture of exaggerated hunger. He would still have a chance to hear news of Jane! Darcy continued, “I have made arrangements to see them tomorrow morning at the inn where they are staying. After Georgiana arrives, that is. Would you like to join us?”
Georgiana? Why did Darcy wish to introduce Georgiana to Miss Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle? She was so shy that it surely would be torture for her. In any case, Bingley did not wish to talk about Georgiana, in particular why and how he had left her at the mercy of his awful sisters. Never mind that. The important question was: Did he want to visit Miss Elizabeth tomorrow? By Jove, yes, he did!
“Oh, yes, indeed!” he blurted before continuing on with barely suppressed eagerness. “I mean, that sounds capital. It will be delightful to see her again after all this time. I hope her family is well.” Her family—especially Jane. Oh, it really was tragic that she had never shared his feelings: the warmth and love and admiration.
“Yes, she said that they are well,” Darcy replied with a slight smile. “A number of times.”
She said who was what? Lost in his daydream about Jane, Bingley could not remember, but he supposed it did not matter over much.
“I say, old man, I look forward to observing the two of you spar and joust!” he exclaimed with great jocularity. “You and Miss Elizabeth have a great talent for spirited conversation. Perhaps I can learn from you, and it can help me capture the right lady’s heart.” He still had some doubts about whether that was really what he was looking for in a lady. But he supposed he should jolly Darcy along since it seemed to be what his friend was seeking in a mate.
“Honestly, Bingley, you make it sound as though I have some sort of interest in Miss Elizabeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am appalled that you would even joke about such a thing.”
Oh dear. Perhaps he had gone too far. Darcy had always made it abundantly clear just exactly what he thought of Miss Elizabeth. So what exactly was the man looking for in a lady besides all those things he had listed back in January? Love, connection, sparring, destiny, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam. Oho! At last, he had used a Latin phrase correctly! Or had he? Perhaps this was the one that meant “beware of dog.” Where was that blasted food?

What do you think? It is pretty amusing. Reading Bingley’s thoughts is like his letter in the novel. I think this will be a very enjoyable book to read. Participate below in the giveaway but do not miss the other posts on this blog tour.

Would you like to buy this book? Here you have some sites where you can find it:

Amazon US. Amazon UK. Barnes & Noble. Bookdepository.

Meryton Press is offering eight ebooks copies of The Most Interesting Man in the World. Eight ebooks for eight different winners. The giveaway runs until midnight, March 1, 2019.

Rafflecopter – The Most Interesting Man in the World

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and dailycommenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. 

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.