“A Promise of Forever” by Christine Combe, excerpt + giveaway

Hello! I have to go straight to the blurb because when I read it I was like: WTH!!!

“How dare you think that you can just come along after four years and dictate the course of the whole rest of our lives, Mr. Darcy!” she cried. “You don’t have the right!”

He stood and stepped up to her, and stared down at her with an equally determined expression. “I am your husband and he is my son—I have the only right.”


In this new Austenesque tale, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are Elizabeth’s parents and she grows up happy and carefree in Lambton. At sixteen, Lizzy meets and falls in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy, future Master of Pemberley. The couple decides to elope but they are torn apart by their closest relatives, and when reunited must determine whether the pain of the years that have passed can be overcome to regain the love that was lost.

What?? I am sorry… not! but I have never read an elopement when they are so young, I am not even sure if I have ever read an elopement of Elizabeth and Darcy. Moreover, a son? Four years separated? I need to breath 😀

I may seem a bit crazy but I do not think I have ever considered this path. I also see that it changes a lot as Elizabeth is not a Bennet, but that’s why variations are there, right?

Let me introduce you to the author, who will tell us more and will share a lovely excerpt with us.

Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen’s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.

You can follow her on:

Blog: All That They Desire / Facebook: (1) Christine Combe | Facebook

I like that she is already working on her next book 🙂 What is it about, Christine?

Greetings, fellow Austenians! I’m so excited to be visiting My Vices and Weaknesses today, the last day of my blog tour for my new book, A Promise of Forever.

If the blurb doesn’t entice you, maybe this excerpt from chapter two will:


Elizabeth was jostled awake unceremoniously, and blinked as she sat straight; she’d been quite perfectly fitted to her companion’s side.

“Fitzwilliam?” she queried softly at the same time as she heard Wickham’s voice cry “Sorry!”

“Try to avoid the ruts, will you?!” Darcy called back before he looked to Elizabeth with a smile. “I’m sorry he woke you.”

“It’s all right,” she replied. The chaise was dark, the curtains pulled tight. “Any idea what time it is?”

“Close to midnight, I imagine,” said Darcy. “I can’t read my watch in this light, I’m afraid.”

“You could open the curtains, you know,” she replied.

“Don’t think it would help much, there’s very little moonlight,” Fitzwilliam replied, though he still reached to do as she suggested; when he had, she saw that he was right, as she could still barely see an inch before her face. “I closed them for your comfort once you fell asleep.”

“It was kind of you to be so considerate,” said Elizabeth. “Have you any idea how close we are to Gretna?”

“We’ve some hours to go yet,” he told her. “But before you woke, I instructed Wickham to find us an inn at which to stay the night.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Won’t stopping risk our getting caught by your father?”

She sensed his nod more than saw it. “It does, but we must risk it, my dear. The horses need rest and so do we.”

With a sigh, Elizabeth snuggled into him once more and smiled as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Have I ever told you, Fitzwilliam, that I very much enjoy being held by you?” she asked.

Darcy chuckled. “I do not recall such a declaration.”

“Well, I do. Your embrace is warm and comforting, and I can feel the strength underneath that shows you’re not one of the idle rich,” she explained.

“Just wait, my lovely young bride—I shall show you even more what strength there is in me when we are married.”

Elizabeth froze—did he mean what she thought he did?


The young lovers are on the road, but will their wedding be bliss? Leave a comment below for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Promise of Forever, available for purchase from Amazon on Kindle — also in paperback and hardcover!

Contest open until January 25, 2022. Good luck!

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

Jane Austen Book Club
Babblings of a Bookworm
All that They Desire
My Love for Jane Austen
Jane Austen State of Mind
A Novel Sentiment
Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
But Do Not Faint
My Vices and Weaknesses

Review of”Her Sisterly Love” by Lucy Marin

Hello to all checking this post,

Here you have my review of Lucy Marin‘s latest book: Her Sisterly Love.

Let me know if you have read it and what you think about it.

Longbourn is actually a nightmare for the Bennet sisters. Her parents literally hate each other and they argue in from of the girls and can be aggressive to each other. Therefore, for many years now, Jane and Elizabeth have taken care of the girls’ education and wellbeing. Both of the older girls but Elizabeth is the stronger force.
New neighbours come to the area: Mr Bingley and family and his friend Mr Darcy. Mr BIngley, as per canon, is enamoured of Jane from the beginning and Darcy is intrigued by that lady that seems to pay great attention to her sisters and to the appalling behaviour of her mother.
Due to the fact that Elizabeth is more like a guardian/parent and something that happened a few years before the start of the story, she is more cautious and she may not believe everything that Wickham tells her, even if she is very curious about what he tells her.
Darcy is soooo sweet trying to confort Elizabeth during the ball. Everything starts being a bit different from here.
I recommend the book for its sweetness and flow of the story. I believe that everybody can like this story because of Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy changing to puzzlement, then to friendship and finally to love is lovely to read. Moreover, Darcy’s willingness to improve everybody’s opinion of himself is well explained.
In addition to the main two protagonists, seeing Mary, Kitty and Lydia in this way makes it very enjoyable too. Lydia is still Lydia in essentials but with proper manners and common sense. She is great.
Jane was not my favourite character but I did not dislike her, I just found her a bit annoying at the beginning of meeting Bingley when talking about him to Elizabeth and Elizabeth telling her to guard her heart.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

If you are interested, you can pre-order this book on:

Amazon CA Amazon UK Amazon US

“Susan, A Jane Austen Prequel” by Alice McVeigh, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very glad to welcome for the first time Alice McVeigh with her latest book Susan, a Jane Austen Prequel. This books shows us a young Susan but we can see how some characters of other books by Jane Austen appear. Here you have the blurb with a reminder of how Jane Austen’s Susan is in her own words:

“She possesses an uncommon union of symmetry, brilliancy, and grace. One is apt to expect that an impudent address will naturally attend an impudent mind – but her countenance is absolutely sweet. I am sorry it is so, for what is this but deceit?“ (from Jane Austen’s Lady Susan)

Sixteen-year-old Susan Smithson – pretty but poor, clever but capricious – has just been expelled from a school for young ladies in London.

At the mansion of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, she attracts a raffish young nobleman. But, at the first hint of scandal, her guardian dispatches her to her uncle Collins’ rectory in Kent, where her sensible cousin Alicia lives and “where nothing ever happens.”

Here Susan mischievously inspires the local squire to put on a play, with consequences no one could possibly have foreseen. What with the unexpected arrival of Frank Churchill, Alicia’s falling in love and a tumultuous elopement, rural Kent will surely never seem safe again…

So, Mr. Collins is her uncle, oh dear! We may see a bit of the non-sensical parson, or not… What do you think about Susan? You opinion of the adult one by Jane Austen or what you have just read. In here, she started pretty soon to be what we know about her in adulthood. I am very interested on reading this book and it is on my TBR pile for this year.

Let’s know a bit about the author of Susan, a Jane Austen prequel: Alice McVeigh.

Alice McVeigh, a London-based ghost writer, has had two contemporary novels published by Orion/Hachette, one dystopian thriller published by UK’s Unbound (writing as Spaulding Taylor) and an Austenesque novel published by Warleigh House Press.

Her first novel was optioned for filming by UK’s Channel 4; her Kirkus-starred thriller has just been long-listed for Chanticleer’s Cygnus Award; and Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel (Amazon bestseller in four categories in July) has been rated “pitch-perfect, 10 out of 10” by Publishers Weekly‘s BookLife Prize.

You can follow Alice on her website, her blog or on Facebook.

Alice is sharing a excerpt with us and I have enjoyed reading people talking about Susan, mainly Mr Collins! Enjoy!

After supper, Mr Collins uncorked his claret and addressed Edward: ‘And so, what say you, nephew? This deplorably self-aggrandising event is in only two days’ time. The play could scarcely be more ill-chosen; the performances are certain to be risible; and yet – when all is said and all is done – the fellow is our near-neighbour, and has been generous to the girls, besides.’

‘Too generous, sir, in my opinion.’

‘Perhaps, as you suggest, too generous. My dear Charlotte agrees with you. She fears they are distracted, to the great detriment of our connections at Rosings – and to Susan’s studies too. Which she was sent here on purpose to improve.’

‘That is of no great consequence,’ said Edward. ‘Susan will never attend to anything requiring application. Her fancy has always overruled her intellect – and always will.’

‘My own concern is more that the Johnsons’ influence might prove too great a temptation. Johnson himself is inexplicable! – He has hosted dances – inaugurated a hunt – and perpetuated every kind of display imaginable, even before the play! And yet he is also supporting your aunt’s new school, which shall bear his name. Without him, between ourselves, we could never have encompassed it.’

 ‘I have no such fears for Alicia, but Susan… You were not in town to observe the machinations by which Susan secured Lady Catherine’s good graces. Her ladyship, for my cousin, is no more than a means to an end. She does not comprehend the gulf that exists – and is intended to exist – between ourselves and such great people. In her mind, I grieve to say, there appears to be no gulf at all.’

His uncle thumped the table. ‘Precisely! Even her manners, at Rosings, seem entirely different! There is some genius to it, because her ladyship has always preferred young ladies to be reserved and discreet. Her own daughter’s spirits seemed sometimes low to the point of oppression before she was wed, though she has assuredly gained confidence since.’

‘My dear sir, though it grieves me to admit it, Susan can deceive. I have never, in the entire course of our lives, heard her employ a softer tone than she uses with her ladyship. As for pertness, you and

I might observe a thousand instances in a single day, yet with her ladyship she hardly ventures to comment! It is as if there are two Susans: one who is quiet, loves poetry and possesses a most ladylike wit – and the other, who is mocking and provocative and utilises her charm to her own advantage.’

Mr Collins very nearly banged the table again, but his hand still ached, so he forbore. ‘You have described her to perfection! – How ironic it is that the one true actor of the party has never been called upon to act! I know that this entire play – would that the notion had never occurred to Mr Johnson – greatly troubles your aunt, and that she will be exceedingly relieved when Friday is passed. Yet we cannot offend Mr Johnson – and does not her ladyship attend?’ ‘I believe so,’ said Edward.

‘But I have an ill feeling about this play, as does Charlotte – and her instinct is second to no one’s. What a fortunate day it was when she accepted me!’

‘I only wish that I might be half so fortunate. And yet, I did hear that she was not your first choice.’

His uncle sighed, and his waistcoat popped a button. ‘I am astonished that such a rumour ever reached you – yet such was, indeed, the case. Due to the reversion of the Longbourn estate, I considered it most becoming to choose a wife from amongst the five Bennet girls – and I visited there with nothing less momentous in mind.

‘Miss Bennet, an exceedingly sweet, pretty girl, being already spoken for, I made an offer for the hand of the second, who is now married to Mr Darcy. However, my cousin Elizabeth, doubtless already conscious of her own noble destiny, disdained me. Their mother then hinted that Miss Mary would bless herself at such an unlooked-for opportunity – but I had already conceived hopes of persuading your aunt to make me the happiest of men.

‘I shall never forget that day! I set off early – the sun had scarcely risen – to her father’s abode. Imagine my surprise to encounter her, all alone, quietly perusing her psalter – almost as if waiting for me. I can see her now, so composed, that dappled sunlight on her hair…’ He paused, in near ecstasy.

‘Such an occurrence,’ observed his nephew, ‘must have assured you that the marriage was destined to be – though very ill luck on Miss Mary, of course.’

I do apologise for not starting with Susan, but what about Mr Collins and his description of Elizabeth’s refusal and his “decision” of proposing to Charlotte? 😀

Now, what about Susan? She is cheeky, is she not? I like how they explain her behaviour and how she behaves when she is with Lady Catherine, for instance. She seems more than a handful already, it is not difficult to understand how she is later in life.

Are you interested in buying the book? You can do it on different places:

Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon US B&N

BookDepository WHSmith Waterstones

If you would like, here you have a few reviews of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel.

From Pemberley to Milton



Reviews on Goodreads

Do you prefer or do you also like audiobooks? The audiobook of this award-winning novel was released in October. You can read much more about this audiobook here.

Alice McVeigh is giving away one paperback copy for one winner who comments here. What do you think about Susan or Lady Susan? The giveaway is open internationally and it will finish on Sunday 9th of January 2022 at 23:59 CET. Good luck!

“Kidnapped and Compromised” by Demi Monde, excerpt.


How is the year going? My year starts with birthdays, yesterday it was the birthday of a non-blood related niece (a best friends’ daughter), today is my niece’s second birthday and tomorrow is my husband’s. So we are celebrating a lot lately, even if it is by videocall.

We have to keep celebrating releases of books too, and in this case a JAFF/Austenesque book: Kidnapped and Compromised by Demi Monde.

I want to point out that this is a steamy variation because I am aware that some people do not like them, and I totally respect that. However, let me tell you that this excerpt does not contain any steamy parts whatsoever.

Here you have a bit about Demi Monde as she will be the one introducing us to Kidnapped and Compromised.


Bestselling author of sensual Pride and Prejudice variation books, Demi Monde’s books feature Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. She first fell in love with Pride and Prejudice in high school. Mr. Darcy has forever ruined any other man for her. Today she brings her fantasies to life for every fan of Mr. Darcy.

She was born in Missouri, then moved to Iowa in grade school and finally settled in South Dakota which reminds her of the English countryside, if you squint and ignore the harsh winters and humid summers. Her favorite animals are cats, corgis and horses. When she’s not writing you can find her walking in nature, cross stitching, reading, antique hunting and practicing calligraphy.

I like that we share the love of other things that are not only books: cats, cross stitching (even if I do very little) and walking.

Demi Monde is telling us about her latest book. I hope you enjoy it!

Hello Dear Readers, it is a pleasure to be here to share more details about my new release, Kidnapped and Compromised. This is a steamy novella and a work of Austenesque fiction.

Abducted and facing ruin, can Elizabeth’s wits save her from a dastardly plot? And will Mr. Darcy find her in time? 

When a false friend tricks Elizabeth, she is abducted by carriage from Meryton and carried hours away to a bawdy house. If Mr. Darcy does not rescue and pay her ransom, she will be sold to the highest bidder.

Elizabeth must depend on her wits to survive. But the clock is ticking. Will Mr. Darcy choose to risk his life for the woman he secretly loves but who despises him? And if so, can he rescue her before it’s too late? 

This 40,000 word steamy Pride and Prejudice variation features kidnapping, compromise, forced marriage, rescue by Mr. Darcy, double wedding, Christmas holiday ball and a happily ever after.


This book opens near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, with the militia present in Meryton and Elizabeth Bennet’s opinion of Mr. Darcy set, no matter his opinion of her fine eyes.


Chapter 1

Mr. Darcy pulled the reins, bringing his horse to a standstill from cantering, and looked around the Hertfordshire countryside. He thought he had heard yelling. But all he saw was an open field, crops in rows, with no one in sight. Fox pranced forward skittishly; no doubt unnerved by his rider’s stillness.

“Miss Elizabeth?”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

He had definitely heard it this time, over the sound of the horse’s hooves churning the damp earth underfoot. He had not imagined the voices calling for the desirable yet impertinent Elizabeth Bennet. Though she had believed Wickham’s stories about him, and questioned him at the Netherfield ball, he still admired her intelligence and beauty. But he could not have what he wanted. Her social connections and her family’s impropriety would never allow him to be with her in society or even to call on her in Hertfordshire.

He fingered the smooth leather reins as he decided whether to give in to his desire to find the cause of the servants yelling for the Bennet girl or to avoid temptation. The more he was close to her, the harder it was to not speak to her, to make her notice him, to have her admire him.

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

Mr. Darcy nudged his chestnut stallion Fox with his heels and headed towards the figures near the forest. Any gentleman would offer assistance in this situation. And Miss Bingley was not here to tease him for paying too much attention to Elizabeth’s fine eyes.

“You there!” He spied a servant walking at the edge of the woodland. “What is the matter?”

The man pulled at his forelock. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet has not returned from her walk.”

Mr. Darcy had heard of her odd habit of lengthy, daily walks and had seen it for himself when she had hiked three miles to Netherfield to care for her sister. “Surely she cannot be lost? Has she not walked all over this countryside?”

The older man nodded. “Yes sir, but she—” 

“How long has she been missing? What is being done to find her?” Mr. Darcy’s horse shook his head and pawed at the ground, eager to return to cantering.

“Miss Elizabeth has been gone since right after the noon meal, sir. Mr. Bennet has all the servants out looking for her.”

Mr. Darcy frowned. That was nearly five hours ago. Even a country girl with a fondness for countryside rambles would have returned by now. His chest clenched at the thought of her injured on the ground, somewhere at the mercy of the local wildlife. “How many are searching for Miss Bennet? Is anyone on horseback? What is her usual walking path?”

The servant looked back towards Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family. “I do not know, sir. Mr. Bennet is at Longbourn and would answer your questions.”

Mr. Darcy spun his horse and kicked him into a canter. He searched the ground for a beautiful young woman lying injured as he rode. She must have twisted her ankle and was too far away to be heard yelling for help.

It was unconscionable that the Bennet girl was allowed to walk without a maid. Never would he have permitted his sister Georgiana to do the same. Perhaps Mr. Bennet would be more circumspect after this. However, Mr. Darcy doubted it. Control over his family was not one of Mr. Bennet’s strong suits, not with the way his younger daughters behaved at the assemblies or in town, flirting with the officers.

Mr. Darcy guided his horse down the short driveway of Longbourn.

Mr. Bennet looked up at the sound of Fox’s hooves clattering on the gravel path. The family’s patriarch stood in front of the house, directing searchers in his greatcoat and hat. Mr. Bennet turned in Mr. Darcy’s direction.

“Mr. Bennet, I came across one of your servants looking for Miss Elizabeth. May I offer my assistance?”

Mr. Bennet grimaced. “It would be much appreciated Mr. Darcy. However, I am sure my dear Lizzy has just lost track of the time. I have tried to curtail her long walks, but she will not listen to me.”

He chuckled, most likely expecting Mr. Darcy to join in. But Mr. Darcy’s thoughts were far from amused as his opinion of the Bennet patriarch dropped lower. “Men on horseback could cover a greater distance. I am certain Mr. Bingley would provide his servants to help with the search.”

Mr. Bennet widened his stance as he looked up at the younger man who outranked him in every manner. “I thank you for your offer; nonetheless I am sure we will find her quite soon. There is no need to cause alarm among our friends and neighbors.”

Mr. Darcy gathered the reins, biting back the desire to tell Mr. Bennet that a proper search had not been done. He turned, giving his horse the signal to move away from the man and his doddering ways. The eldest two Bennet girls deserved all the credit for their characters. It was a shame they came from such a family.

A young maid darted out from behind the hedgerows lining the lane. Fox reared back in surprise, but Mr. Darcy quickly brought him under control. He turned to the girl, ready to lecture her on not startling horses.

“Oh, Mr. Darcy! I have a note for you. I was going to give it to Mr. Bennet, but since you are here…” She held the stationary up to him.

He plucked it out of her hand with a scowl. It could not be a message from Netherfield. Mr. Bingley would not have sent a young maid alone to find him. “Who is this from?”

“A man in Meryton asked me to give this to you.” The girl gripped her waist, breathing heavily.

He unfolded and read the note, his heart stopping. Mr. Darcy pinned the servant girl with his stare. “How long ago did you receive this? Did you recognize the man that gave it to you?”

“No, sir, but he had a red coat on. He must be one of the militia.”

Mr. Darcy turned his head away to think. The maid curtsied and started towards the house.


She stopped and looked back, clutching her apron.

“Do not tell anyone. Miss Elizabeth’s reputation is at stake.”

The servant assured him of her silence and continued down the driveway to Longbourn. Mr. Darcy lifted the reins, intending to race to Netherfield and round up his friend Mr. Bingley and servants, but stopped. It was his fault entirely that the honor of Elizabeth Bennet was at risk. The fewer people that knew of this situation, the better.

He needed to move quickly. Mr. Wickham had abducted Elizabeth Bennet.


I hope I have piqued your interest, the book is available here: https://geni.us/kidnapped

What do you think? How dare Wickham? Why is he doing it? Has he seen that Darcy admires Elizabeth? Maybe yes, but at the same time, he may know that Darcy would not propose… or maybe he knows Darcy even better than himself? OMG! Poor Elizabeth, kidnapped… and compromised??

The description of the 40.000 word variation gives me hope that everything will be ok, don’t you think?

New winner of “Mages and Mysteries” by Victoria Kincaid

Dear all,

As darcybennet, the winner of the giveaway by Victoria Kincaid, won already the ebook in another blog stop, here you have the new winner using the randomiser:

Buturot, congratulations! Please email me on myvicesandweaknesses (at) gmail (dot) com with the email address you prefer to receive the ebook and what format you use.

Winners of different giveaways! Check for your name :)

Dear all,

Apologies for taking a bit longer to publish the name of the winner of three giveaways I had to reveal. As usual, I have used random.org to get the winners.

Without further ado, let’s start!

Victoria Kincaid was giving away an ebook copy of Mages and Mysteries… and the winner is:

Congratulations, darcybennett!

Bronwen Chisholm was giving away one ebook copy of Son of an Earl… and the winner is:

Congratulations, Alexandra!

Ridge Kennedy was giving away one ebook copy of Murder & Miss Austen’s Ball… and the winner is:

Congratulations, darcybennett! (again 🙂 )

Please, send me an email to myvicesandweaknesses (at) gmail (dot) com, state the giveaway you won and most importantly, write the email address you want to use to get your ebook.

Thank you all for your comments and I wish you a lovely Christmas time if you celebrate it, if not, I wish you a good rest if you are able to enjoy a few days off.



“Son of an Earl” by Bronwen Chisholm, deleted letters + giveaway


How are you? I hope you are well and you enjoy what I am showing you today together with an author who has visited not long ago: Bronwen Chisholm.

What would be better than to share another JAFF/Austenesque book on the anniversary of Jane Austen’s birthday??

If you recall, a couple of months ago, Bronwen introduce us to the firs book on her Defying Propriety Series: As A Proper Lady Would (you can check that post here). Today she is sharing more insight on her second book of the series: Son of an Earl.

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be back visiting you here at My Vices and Weaknesses. The second novel in my Defying Propriety Series, Son of an Earl, is now available for pre-order. Here is the cover along with the blurbs for both the series and this book.


We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.

All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.


Ashton Fitzwilliam, Viscount Grayson and cousin to Fitzwilliam Darcy, has always known what was expected of him. As the eldest son of an earl, he must marry a lady from the first circles of society, preferably one whose father will be a new ally to the current earl. He never anticipated meeting an intriguing American lady with a secret or two she is determined to keep hidden from the disapproving haut ton.

What do you think? What about this American lady? I have only read a couple of JAFF books where there is an American lady but they always make it interesting because they have different ways of seeing the world and sometimes, as it may happen in this book, the ton does not approve of their ways. Moreover, I am eager to know more about Viscount Grayson, would he be more like his brother the Colonel or more like his cousin? Even if he knows what is expected of him, is he a bit of a rake or is he a proper gentleman?

Let me (re)introduce you to Bronwen Chisholm before she shares more with us.

Bronwen Chisholm has released eight Pride and Prejudice variations since 2014. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

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

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

As you may have read before, I like to share deleted scenes when the authors are showing us more of their books. However, today it may be even more interesting as we have two deleted letters! Yes, from the Viscount and the American lady. Let’s read what Bronwen has to show us:

I have shared some excerpts and a character interview at prior stops on my blog tour, but today I thought I would share something that didn’t make it into the book. Many times when I write, there are scenes I must delete because they do not efficiently move the story forward. This book did not have any of them. What it did have was letters that were mentioned but never shown. Now, I cannot share all of their contents as it would just give away far too much information, but I will share what I can.

1. In this first one, poor Ashton becomes a bit frustrated at one point and his closest friends are nowhere around. Darcy is at Pemberley following the death of his father, bogged down with the weight of his responsibilities, and Ashton does not want to burden him. Instead, he writes to his brother who is currently stationed on the continent.

Matlock House


4 May 1806


I am most displeased with your absence at the moment, brother. Though most of London society remains unchanged and uninspiring, there is a lady residing with the Carlisles who has disturbed my equilibrium. I have assured my mother it is nothing more than an infatuation, but I cannot drive her from my mind, or my dreams. Since you are on the continent and Darcy remains at Pemberley, I am forced to put my thoughts on paper that I might purge myself of them once and for all.

The lady is an American, from Virginia to be precise. She has ebony hair, a healthy complexion, and haunting grey eyes which brighten with lightning bolts whenever she is perturbed. She is petite with a pleasing figure, but she rarely speaks above a whisper. That is, unless she responds with emotion, in which case her voice is firm and a bit commanding. However, a look from a Carlisle immediately sees her eyes upon the ground and her voice returned to the blasted whisper once more. It is the most frustrating thing!

Mother has revealed what she knows of the lady on the promise I will cease approaching the woman to learn more of her. (She truly is the most mysterious lady I have ever encountered.) . . . They sent her to England to find a husband as she was being pursued by an unwanted suitor. Her appearance is so striking, I can understand a poor bloke experiencing such an infatuation, but to be so obtuse as to pursue a lady who does not return your sentiments that the woman must flee the country? It is a bit extreme.

Now, for the most rancorous part. Lord Carlisle is forwarding a match for the young lady with Croome, of all people. Croome! He is repulsive! And he plans on carrying the lady to his forgotten estate in Cornwall and leaving her there. Burying this beauty away from society to bare his children, while he waltzes about London enjoying his depraved amusements. It disgusts me! The lady deserves far better. I can only imagine your thoughts were you here. No! I cannot imagine, which is what further frustrates me. What I would not give for your biting sarcasm or, perhaps, military stratagems at the moment. Without them, I fear I shall never see her again.

Forgive me, for losing my head for the moment. Write it up as me missing my little brother and hoping you are well. Return to us soon and in one piece, Philip.

Your exasperated brother,


2. The second letter is from his mysterious lady to her mother back in America.


20 May 1806

Dearest Mamma,

How I miss you and Papa and Tom and Arthur. London is nothing like what you described, at least not for me. Perhaps your memories were sweetened by distance. More likely, your happy memories stem from your time with your parents, friends, and meeting Papa. I am in a city of strangers, hosted by one of the coldest, most jealous ladies I have ever met. Oh Mamma, how could you call her friend? Lady Carlisle is nothing like what you described.

Her husband has found a man for me to marry. My skin crawls when he touches my hand. Mr. Croome flatters me, while eyeing the bosom of every passing lady, but the Carlisles believe I am unworthy of better. They have gone so far as to warn off the only man who has caused my pulse to race and my heart to hope because he is a peer.

Oh Mamma, if you could only meet him, but I know it will never be. Lord Grayson, Ashton Fitzwilliam. He is all I ever dreamed a gentleman could be. For some reason, he continues to make attempts to speak to me, though I have followed Lady Carlisle’s directions regarding the proper way to address him, limiting my conversation to meaningless nothings, and speaking in a demur manner. I hate the version of me she is creating. I refuse to believe you behaved in this manner.

I miss you more than words can say. I have only received one letter since arriving and am hoping all is well with you, Papa, and my brothers. I detest being so far from you. However did you manage when you left England for Virginia? You never saw your parents again. I shall be miserable for the rest of my life if I am forced to marry Mr. Croome and never see you.

Now that I have thoroughly released my feelings, I shall dry my eyes and begin again on the letter I will truly send. To tell you of my misery will only bring the same to you. Perhaps misery loves company, but I refuse to allow you to be plagued by thoughts of my unhappiness when there is nothing you can do to change it.

Our poor couple. Both are hurting without the support of those they love near to encourage or commiserate. And worse, they cannot turn to one another––for now, at least.

What do you think? They are pretty desperate and obsessed with the other. Will this love defeat the Carlisles and anyone else that goes against them? I hope there is a HEA but I am not sure how it will happen. Philip? I believe that’s the first time I have seen that name for the Colonel, would he be back on time to see his brother and share his sarcasm?

I hope you have enjoyed everything that Bronwen Chisholm has shared so far with us, but as she has said about the other stops, go and check the other blogs and enjoy what you will discover!

Austenesque Reviews
Babblings of a Bookworm
Probably at the Library
From Pemberley to Milton
Austen Authors
My Vices and Weaknesses
Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
My Love for Jane Austen

Would you like to buy the book? You can check it here:

Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon US Amazon ES Amazon DE

Last but not least, Bronwen is sharing one more thing with you all:

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

“Mages and Mysteries” by Victoria Kincaid, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

It has been a while since I have posted, even if I do not do many posts. However, I cannot be in a better moment in life as I am the proud mum of a almost 7-weeks old daughter. She is gorgeous (what can I say!) and healthy; but now it is time to start doing some posts to share with you.

What can it be better than to start posting with a bit of magic?

I am pleased to have one of my favourite authors today showing us a bit of her latest book: Mages and Mysteries. Let’s welcome Victoria Kincaid!

I can already tell you that this is a pretty good book even if I am still on Chapter 8! (half way the book and Collins does not understand English!) I am enjoying the conversations between our two main protagonists but you will never believe what other impediment, apart from pride and prejudice, is there for a HEA!! Victoria, why?? 😀

Anyway, I am not giving you more because I prefer you to carry on reading this post, read the book or if you do not have time, read my review at the beginning of 2022.

For the ones (hopefully few) who do not know Victoria Kincaid, let me introduce her:

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

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

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

You can follow her on Facebook Twitter Goodreads Blog

Let me give you some time to read the summary of Mages and Mysteries. I hope you like it 🙂

In Regency England, women are expected to confine their magical acts to mending dresses or enhancing their beauty, but Elizabeth Bennet insists on crafting her own spells to fight goblins and protect the people of Meryton.  She even caused a scandal by applying for admission to the magical Academy. When Hertfordshire is beset with a series of unexplained goblin attacks, Elizabeth is quite ready to protect her family and friends. If only she didn’t have to deal with the attitude of the arrogant mage, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Mr. Darcy doesn’t need to be associated with a scandalous woman like Elizabeth Bennet—no matter how attractive she is. But as the goblin attacks accelerate and grow more dangerous, Darcy realizes that he could use her help in identifying the cause—and is forced to recognize her magical ability.  Unfortunately, continued proximity to Elizabeth only heightens his attraction to her—which is particularly inconvenient in light of his engagement to Caroline Bingley.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy unravel the mystery of the goblin attacks before more people are hurt? And how can they manage their growing mutual attraction? It’s sure to be interesting…because when Darcy and Elizabeth come together, magic happens. 

Now you know what was the impediment I mentioned before. How can he be engaged to Caroline Bingley!!?? Victoria, as I read, I am anxious to know how the HEA will end (I need my salts!)

I am not sure about what parts of Pride and Prejudice you prefer to read when reading a variation but I like the “insult” at the Meryton assembly because authors can be so imaginative and change a lot of that scene or, also, it may seem that the changes are not very visible but they always make the scene special. I cannot get bored of this “misunderstanding” on Jane Austen’s novel and I hope you enjoy this excerpt that Victoria is sharing with us:

Hi Ana, Thank you for having me back for a visit!  I am thrilled to introduce my first fantasy Pride and Prejudice variation, Mages and Mysteries. Below is an excerpt from the first scene in the book, at the Meryton assembly. Darcy has met Elizabeth and identified her as the woman who had the temerity to apply to the Magical Academy, which only admits men.  The conversation below takes place a few minutes later. I hope you enjoy it!


Darcy was considering yet another glass of punch when Bingley appeared at his side. His friend was always in his element amidst a large crowd of people—perpetually well liked wherever he went. Darcy occasionally envied his friend’s easy ways but found them onerous at other times. This event fell into the latter category.

“Come Darcy, I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner,” Bingley declared. “I must have you dance.”

“I certainly shall not,” Darcy said.  “You know how I detest it unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner.  Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to stand up with.” 

“I have never met so many pleasant girls and several of them are uncommonly pretty,” Bingley said.

Darcy had already been importuned into visiting Hertfordshire and attending this vexing dance. He was not about to allow himself to be coerced into additional dancing.  “You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” Darcy said, indicating Miss Bennet.

“Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But, there is one of her sisters who is very pretty and, I dare say, very agreeable.” Bingley waved his hand toward their right. 

Darcy turned his head just enough; Miss Elizabeth stood not far away.  He had to admit that she was quite lovely—with particularly fine dark eyes. She regarded him with an enigmatic smile.

He quickly glanced away. Apparently the Darcy fortune would easily overcome any reservations the woman had about his role on the Convocation panel. But Darcy’s reservations were not so easily conquered. Even if he were not engaged, he would not be inclined to give her any encouragement.

“She is tolerable,” Darcy said to Bingley, “but not handsome enough to tempt me.”  She could not fail to overhear, which was all to the good; she was less likely to importune him. “I am in no humor at present to give consequence to women with such insufferably high self-regard.”

Bingley laughed uncomfortably.  “I would not be as fastidious as you for a kingdom!  I understand why the panel denied her application, but surely there is no harm in desiring to attend the Academy.”

“You know what the Academy is like,” Darcy said. “She would not have lasted a single day. There was no reason for the Convocation to indulge her capricious ambitions.”

Bingley shrugged.  “Perhaps not, but there is also no reason to avoid dancing with her.” His friend gave Darcy no opportunity to reply. “Perhaps Miss Jane Bennet might agree to another dance.” 

A moment after Bingley’s departure, Darcy happened to glance to his right; Miss Elizabeth Bennet had quitted the vicinity.  It was just as well.  Her presence had been annoying, and those eyes had been a distraction.

Those eyes are a distraction… ladies and gents, you cannot realise how much of a distraction they are, I recommend you to get Mages and Mysteries to discover it.

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon ES Amazon CA Amazon DE

You have read here the “first impressions” but I recommend you to get to know much more about Victoria Kincaid’s latest book by following the blog tour. You are going to enjoy it! There is some fantastic creatures around, and maybe some ashes…

December 6      Babblings of a Bookworm

December 7      So Little time

December 8      Savvy Verse and Wit

December 9      My Jane Austen Book Club

December 10    Probably at the Library

December 13    My Vices and Weaknesses

December 16    From Pemberley to Milton

December 28    My Love for Jane Austen

January 10        Austenesque Reviews

Victoria Kincaid is offering an ebook copy of Mages and Mysteries. In order to participate on the giveaway of the ebook, please comment on this post about what you have read here but most importantly: tell us why you like/dislike fantasy or why you want to read fantasy on JAFF/Austenesque books. The giveaway is open internationally and it will remain open until 23:59 of Sunday 19th of December 2021. Good luck!

“In Essentials” by Helen Williams, excerpt and giveaway

Hello to all!

I am very intrigued about this book and that was before checking the previous posts of this blog tour or reading the excerpt from In Essentials that Helen Williams is sharing with us today. Let’s see if you get hooked with the blurb:

Five months after Darcy’s disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, he discovers that the woman he ardently loves is suffering from a grave illness.

Despite an affliction that has left her altered, Elizabeth Bennet is still the same person in essentials: witty, sanguine, and obstinate. However, her future is uncertain, and she struggles to maintain her equanimity—especially when Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to Netherfield and seems determined to improve her opinion of him. Now she must decide whether she is brave enough to trust him and embrace happiness, however fleeting it might prove to be.

What do you think? What on Earth has happened to Elizabeth? How altered she is and which aspects? How is Darcy going to improve her opinion of him? Too many questions that I will get to answer once I read In Essentials.

Let me introduce you to the author: Helen Williams. Welcome, Helen!

Helen lives in Cambridge, UK where she works for the University of Cambridge. She has been writing as a hobby for around 15 years and has written several novel length stories based on the work of Jane Austen. Helen has Welsh roots so her stories will often include a couple of references to the land of her fathers, in addition to her two other loves – dogs and rugby. In addition to writing, Helen’s hobbies include cooking, hiking, cycling and campaigning for green initiatives. Having been diagnosed with pituitary growths in 2015 and 2020, Helen is also an active member of the Pituitary Foundation and her experiences with chronic illness inspired her latest story.

After knowing about her, would there be any rugby involved? Unfortunately, I doubt it because it was invented in 1823, so a bit later than the year of this story. However, would there be any dogs? Would her chronic illness have inspired her for Elizabeth’s maladie?

You can follow Helen and her writing on her Facebook Author Page.


This is a lovely excerpt mostly about the relationship growing between Elizabeth and Georgiana and Jane helps make it a entertaining and funny scene. Enjoy!

When the time came for Elizabeth to take her leave, Darcy escorted her out to await the carriage.

“Your sister is a darling girl,” she said. “I had never expected to find her otherwise, but I am very pleased nonetheless. I am sure we shall soon love one another just as two sisters ought.”

Darcy took her hand and pressed it. “My sister has long been in need of a sister—a true friend—and I thank you for taking her so easily into your affections.”

“How could I do otherwise when I have you to please and she is so delightful in her own right? But if anyone should be expressing their gratitude, it is I. As Jane has recently discovered to her regret, not all future sisters by marriage are so agreeable.” This was said with an arch look, and Darcy smiled ruefully.

“I meant to enquire…did you truly have the headache earlier, or was that a convenient excuse?”

“What a quandary you put me in, Fitzwilliam! For if I say yes, you will worry, but if I say no, you will scold me for crying wolf.”

“I daresay in this instance I would quite forgive you, knowing the provocation.”

“Then I regret to say that in this instance I was not dissembling, though I confess that I have headaches so frequently of late that it was a convenient excuse I was only too happy to take advantage of.”

“I am grieved to hear it. They do not distress you?” Mr Darcy asked gently, stroking her hand.

“No, though I shall admit to you that I am very tired. I know you will not take this the wrong way, but I shall be glad of a little peace and quiet once you all have departed. It will be a few days before the Gardiners arrive at Longbourn, and I look forward to doing very little indeed!”

“You should rest now if you need it. I would not begrudge you your peace and quiet, and I know the same can be said of my sister. In fact,” Mr Darcy paused and then smiled, “if you would welcome a little company, I am sure my sister would enjoy being quiet with you. You discovered for yourself her favourite pastime, but she is as often found working on her embroidery as she is practicing the pianoforte.”

Elizabeth laughed merrily, and Mr Darcy smiled at her with a quizzical look.

“That would be a very elegant solution indeed, were it not for the fact that I dislike the pastime myself. But I would be very happy to spend a morning or two with your sister so that we may become better acquainted, and she is very welcome to bring her work bag.”

This invitation was accordingly extended to Miss Darcy, who found herself sitting with Elizabeth in the latter’s room a few days later. Jane had joined them as well and had prevailed upon Elizabeth to turn her hand to prettifying an old purse.

“That is lovely, Miss Elizabeth.” Miss Darcy spoke quietly, admiring the other’s work while oblivious to the marked superiority of her own.

“I do enjoy a French knot. There is something so satisfying about them, except, of course, when you are left with one of those pesky loops. Those do put me quite out of patience.”

“Most stitches seem to do that, Lizzy,” Jane murmured and smiled at Miss Darcy when Elizabeth laughed. “My sister does not often try her hand at embroidery. Her skill is not at all lacking, but she is easily frustrated when something goes awry.”

“I am quite the same. Indeed, often I have to set aside whatever I am working on that has vexed me and return to it when I am in a calmer frame of mind.”

“Ah, but my dear Miss Darcy,” Elizabeth teased with a twinkle in her eye, “have you ever, in your vexation, launched your sewing across the room? I think perhaps not!”

“Well, no,” Miss Darcy admitted hesitantly. As Jane and Elizabeth were both laughing quietly, she allowed herself to smile. “I do not usually become that frustrated, Miss Elizabeth.”

“Whereas I have been known to lose my temper at the slightest provocation. I am quite sanguine generally, but place a needle and thread in my hands, and I transform into quite a different creature.”

“Do not worry too much, Miss Darcy,” Jane counselled kindly. “Between us we have contrived ways of preserving my sister’s temper, and I shall happily share them with you. First and foremost, you must always thread her needle for her.”

“Must I? But why so?” Miss Darcy looked as though she wished to laugh, which she duly did when Elizabeth brandished her needle and scowled at it in dramatic fashion.

“Because it is a physical impossibility to squeeze six threads—six!—through such a tiny aperture. Either that or I am just a clumsy-fingered fool, but my vanity much prefers the former interpretation of the issue.”

“Dearest, you are not clumsy at all.”

“Thank you, Jane—that soothes me. But do go on. You must tell Miss Darcy everything, following which she may decide whether she wishes to have me for her sister after all.”

“Well, there is not so very much besides. You do prefer to have someone sort your threads for you. But as you can see, Miss Darcy has hers marvellously organised, so I daresay you need have no fears on that account. And I am certain Miss Darcy would not mind were you to seek her advice when you happen to go wrong—”

“Which I very often do,” Elizabeth interjected.

“—or when you have sewn your work to your gown,” Jane concluded with a mischievous grin. Elizabeth burst out laughing, unable to deny the charge, whilst Miss Darcy giggled behind her embroidery hoop.


If you have loved this excerpt and you want to know much more about Helen Williams’ In Essentials, check the other entries of this blog tour.

Are you interested in buying In Essentials and getting to know what happened to Elizabeth and how Darcy got her good opinion? Here are some links that you could use:

Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon US Amazon ES Amazon DE

Meryton Press is giving away 6 ebook copies of In Essentials by Helen Williams during the whole blog tour. In order to be considered in the giveaway, please click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – In Essentials

“As a Proper Lady Would” by Bronwen Chisholm, character interview + giveaway

Dear all,

I hope you are all well and ready for the weekend. In case you need some reading to do and you are not deciding what to read, I am glad to introduce you to Bronwen Chisholm’s latest release: As a Proper Lady Would. Let me give you the blurb in case you want to know more apart from the author and the title 🙂 Just to let you know that this is the first book of Defying Propriety Series (I love the title of the series!)

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.

All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.

In this first book of the Defying Propriety Series, we watch as Elizabeth and Darcy learn what society expects of them, while attempting to achieve what they truly desire in life. The well-known characters, as well as a few new ones, grow from childhood to a marriageable age; some reveal different facets of their personalities, while others are doomed to follow the same paths.

What do you think? I really like it! What society expects of them but what about their own feelings? Their own experiences?


Let me (re)introduce you to the author of this great series:

Bronwen Chisholm has released seven Pride and Prejudice variations since 2014. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

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

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

Please welcome Bronwen Chisholm and read what she is sharing with us. I hope you enjoy this interview!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be back visiting you here at My Vices and Weaknesses. The first novel in my Defying Propriety Series, As a Proper Lady Would, came out on October 1st on Kindle and in paperback.

As a special treat, I arranged for Viscount Grayson, Ashton Fitzwilliam, to join us. Lord Grayson, thank you for taking a few minutes to share with our readers today.

LG: Your request was intriguing. You say this is a for a blog? Sounds like a rather nasty term for some unpleasant affliction. But you say this is regarding Darcy so fire away.

BC: Yes, well, thank you. As the eldest of Darcy’s cousins, you have known him your entire life. What––

LG: Indeed. Darcy is a good man. A bit stiff in public, but my brother Philip and I did what we could to loosen him up. Elizabeth! Now she has done wonders for the man. She is truly a find. Darcy is damned lucky. Forgive me.

BC: Of course. I understand that you and your brother helped Darcy in social settings. Did––

LG: Philip and I developed signals to help Darcy know who to dance with and when. (chuckles) We always had him dance the supper set with someone who didn’t need assistance carrying a conversation. Poor man couldn’t have gotten a word in if he tried.

BC: You mentioned Elizabeth. Your family was accepting of her, even though she was not of the ton?

LG: My mother and father were pleased he found someone so well suited to him. I believe it is what his parents would have wanted. They would have liked her.

Now, my Aunt Catherine! That is another story.

BC: Yes, our readers are familiar with Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

LG: Lord, let us hope she does not learn she has gained notoriety. The woman is difficult enough now.

And that nauseous sycophant she appointed to look after the people of Hunsford! My father and I are looking into ways to have the man removed. He should not be responsible for a sheep let alone God’s flock.

BC: Yes, they know Mr. Collins as well.

LG: Uck! May we move on to more appetizing subjects?

BC: Of course. I have told several of my readers that you are the reason this one story became a series.

LG: . . . Is there a question?

BC: Forgive me, your lordship, you have not required a question before now. Are you pleased to have your story told?

LG: You wish to tell it. I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours.

BC: I believed the story was finished. You were the one who left the room when your father suggested you marry your cousin. Do you dislike Miss de Bourgh?

LG: You know that is not the case. When you come to know Anne, she is not so terrible. I had even considered . . . for a moment. If one cannot have what one desires . . . but . . . Forgive me, madam, I believe we are finished.

BC: Of course. Thank you, Lord Grayson, for taking this time to speak with us. I am certain the readers join me in hoping that you fine a happy ending as your cousin has been lucky enough to do.

LG: I thank you, no matter how unlikely that may be. Good day.

Lord Grayson is quite a character. I hope you enjoy As a Proper Lady Would and come back in December when I release Son of an Earl to get to know more about the viscount.

I think I like his lordship already even if I have not read anything else about him and I think it is promising we will know more on the second book of this series.

So, are you thinking on reading As a Proper Lady Would this weekend? If you want to, here you have some links to buy it:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

If you are not certain, I highly recommend you to check the previous stops of this blog tour and one more to come tomorrow (links below the picture):

Austen Authors
Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
Babblings of a Bookworm
From Pemberley to Milton
Probably at the Library
My Vices and Weaknesses
Laughing with Lizzie

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

Yes, as Brownen has said, one winner from this blog post will get an ebook copy. I wish you luck to all. The giveaway is international and open until Sunday, 10th of October 2021 at 23:29 CET. I will announce the winner at the beginning of next week.

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