“A Season of Magic” by Sarah Courtney, guest post, excerpt and giveaway

I love the title, it may sound silly but for whatever reason I already like this book because of its title. However, I am going to just write below the first sentence of the blurb that hooks me too:

Everyone knows Elizabeth and Jane’s parents were magical murderers. But blood isn’t everything.

Wait a minute! What?? Magical murderers? Are we talking of Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet?! Why? What happened? Ok, let´s continue reading:

When the girls are forced to reveal their elemental magic, it does not matter to the Mage Council that they did so only to save lives. Their parents were traitors, and the entire magical community is simply waiting for them to descend into evil themselves.

The Council reluctantly admits Elizabeth to the magical university (and unofficial marriage market) called The Season, where she will learn how to control her powers. If she can keep her head down and avoid drawing any untoward notice, she might be able to graduate and finally be accepted as a fire mage.

But fading into the background will be difficult. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, nephew to Lord Matlock of the Mage Council and a student himself, is assigned to observe her and report any misstep. One mistake could send her back to her foster parents, the Bennets—or worse, to prison. Yet when that mistake inevitably comes, he stands up on her behalf. Could he be an ally instead of an enemy?

When pranks between classmates become something more dangerous—and potentially deadly—Elizabeth will be forced to depend upon her friends—including Mr. Darcy. There’s something terrible lurking beneath the surface of the Season, and it will take everything Elizabeth has to survive it.

I am not really sure I like pranks anymore if they can be so dangerous. However, what about the foster parents? So, when did their biological parents acted? Where they executed as they were traitors? Is Jane going to the university too? How is Mr. Darcy in this book? and Lord Matlock? Many questions and one way to answer them… reading A Season of Magic by Sarah Courtney.

Sarah Courtney loves to read fantasy, fairy tales, and Pride and Prejudice variations, so what could be more fun than combining them? She currently lives in Europe where she homeschools her six children and still manages to write books, which has to be proof that magic exists!

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Today Sarah Courtney is sharing a lot with us, but do not forget to visit the other stops on the tour!

July 28 Austenesque Reviews

July 29 My Jane Austen Book Club

August 1 From Pemberley to Milton

August 2 Savvy Verse & Wit

August 4 My Vices and Weaknesses

August 5 Babblings of a Bookworm

What about buying A Season of Magic? You can already do it!

Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon UK Amazon ES Amazon DE

Sarah is explaining some important things about this magical world in A Season of Magic, then she is sharing a funny excerpt. However, why is Wickham here? (oops! mini-spoiler)

Thank you for having me on My Vices and Weaknesses! My latest Pride and Prejudice variation, A Season of Magic, is a fantasy that takes place at a magical university called “the Season.”

Many people in this fantasy world have some degree of magic known as a talent, but it is only those who can control the elements themselves—fire, wind, water, and earth—who attend the Season.

Fire mages protect farms, grasslands, and woodlands from the dangers of uncontrolled fires. They can help warm crops or prevent frost when it is unseasonably cold, and they can lower fevers of the sick. Wind mages can guide clouds, winds, and storms, clear smog and smoke so that cities have fresh air, and clean the air of contaminants. Water mages can find water during droughts, purify water that is dirty or carries disease, and help control floods. And earth mages can help both with shaping the earth and with growing and protecting plants.

Elizabeth would love to use her own fire magic to help others. But her parents exhibited the worst side of power. While elemental mages can use their powers for good, they can also use them for evil. After her parents’ crimes became known, she and Jane became targets of scorn. It is challenging enough to attend the Season as an orphan, much less one with notorious and hated parents.

Mr. Darcy is the nephew of Lord Matlock, a member of the Mage Council, and so he feels obligated to keep an eye on Elizabeth in case she turns out like her parents. Or, at least, that’s the initial purpose of his interest.

Elizabeth begins to grow weary of Mr. Darcy’s constant attention and decides to play a little trick on him in the scene below. Along with her element of fire, she has the talent of metal-working. She can shape any metal without needing heat or tools.

In this scene, each student is supposed to concentrate on their element while their teacher, Mrs. Suckling, walks around the room making deliberate attempts to distract them as a test of their focus.

***

Elizabeth could not help a glance at Mr. Darcy. He was still looking at her, his tree complete. But then, it was not as if he had to do much once the tree was grown. Earth was the easiest element for this sort of practice.

His hands stroked the small trunk of the tree, and Elizabeth noticed his signet ring. Almost without thinking about it, she reached her metal magic out to the ring. Gold, then. Easy to work with.

A bit of mischief rose in her, and she smiled to herself, her eyes on her fire sphere, as she stretched the ring just a bit. Not enough to be ridiculous, just a couple of sizes.

Mr. Darcy cut off a word of exclamation and leaped to his feet. His ring had slipped off his finger and bounced to the floor.

“Mr. Darcy, as much as I appreciate your addition to my distractions, I think it would be better if you remained focused on your own creation,” Mrs. Suckling scolded.

Elizabeth hid a grin as she neatly shrunk Darcy’s ring back to its usual size as he picked it up and placed it back onto his finger. His face was red, but he made no response to Mrs. Suckling but a short bow. His tree had collapsed in his absence, and he busied himself growing it again.

She waited until he was busy adding more leaves to his tree before she stretched the ring again. This time he caught it just as it bounced onto the desk, which was a little disappointing.

He eyed the ring suspiciously, but as she had shrunk it back to its usual size as he caught it, there was nothing to notice. This time, though, he did not put it back on his finger. He placed it on his earthen desk and continued to shape his tree, thickening the trunk and spreading new branches.

Elizabeth sighed and returned to her fire just in time to jump when Mrs. Suckling whipped her ruler through the air just in front of Elizabeth’s face. Her fireball disappeared.

Mrs. Suckling looked thrilled. “Miss Bennet, your attention cannot be so easily distracted. Fire is a dangerous element! Someone could die if you jumped and lost control the moment you were startled.”

“Yes, Mrs. Suckling.” Elizabeth pulled her fire back to life and began to shape the ball again, wondering whether she could make the ball able to keep its shape without continuous attention. If she could create it and give it the initial heat but leave it to keep burning, none of Mrs. Suckling’s tricks could destroy it.

She had almost forgotten about her little games with Mr. Darcy’s ring until the end of class.

“Has anybody seen my ring?” Mr. Darcy called just after Mrs. Suckling declared them done for the day.

Elizabeth bit her lip and glanced at his desk. She did not see it. Had she taken her little joke too far? He would never have lost the ring if he had kept it on his finger.

Mr. Wickham agreed. “I never take mine off during the day,” he said with a grin. “You cannot lose it if it is on your finger.”

Miss Bingley said, “I see it, Mr. Darcy.”

There, half buried in the trunk near the bottom of the tree, was his signet ring.

He groaned as he reduced his tree to an acorn and retrieved his ring. “Thank you, Miss Bingley. I should not have liked to lose it.” He put it back on his finger, shaking his head.

Elizabeth felt an extra bounce in her step on her way to Lord Stornaway’s class. She was tempted to tell Mr. Wickham that she had got a little revenge on Mr. Darcy, partly for his sake, but she thought it better not to. Mr. Wickham might let it slip, and it was better if her prank remained unknown.

Well, unknown to the subject of the prank, but she would still enjoy mulling over Mr. Darcy’s red face when his ring went bouncing across the floor. Yes, she would relive that many times, indeed.

Anybody is surprised that Elizabeth´s talent is with fire? Me neither and I love it!

I like cheeky Elizabeth but I do not like Wickham being already friends with her, as I can read from these lines. However, will Darcy know what´s going on with his ring? I need to know and read it too. I really want to know more of how they end up here, what was what her parents did and much more. Above all, how do we get to a HEA? Because we get one, right? 😉

Sarah is giving away one eBook per blog stop. If the winner is from the US and prefers a paperback, he/she may choose that instead of the eBook. If the winner has already preordered the book, he/she may choose another one of Sarah’s books for their prize.

Comment on what you have read in this post, or if you have read the book, what do you think about it (no spoilers please). You can also give us your opinion on magic in Pride and Prejudice variations.

The contest is open until the 8th of August 2022 at 23:59 CEST. After this date I will announce the winner. Good luck!!

“The Barrister’s Bride” by Suzan Lauder, flower post + giveaway

Hello to all,

What do you think about the title? Before I read anything about this book, I knew it was a Pride and Prejudice variation and then my mind raced with questions: who is the barrister? Is Elizabeth engaged to a barrister? What happens with Darcy then? As you can read shortly on the blurb, my mind was not really very close to the plot… (which was good!)

A pact that will change their lives forever…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a successful young barrister with a bright future. His late uncle has guided his career, made him his heir, and even selected a bride for him—sight unseen—whom he’ll meet and marry upon her majority. Who could have predicted that making the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Meryton would throw those careful plans into disarray?

Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t know what to make of “Fitz” Darcy, who intrigues and draws her notice like no other. Despite Fitzwilliam’s warnings, she allows Mr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s older brother and master of Pemberley, to charm her. Little does she know that she, too, has been promised in marriage by her late father—to an unknown barrister, no less. What is she to do when her hopes to marry for love disappear in the blink of an eye?

Is George Darcy’s suit in earnest? Can this mysterious bridegroom of her father’s choosing become the husband of her dreams? With the danger of duels and deceit, what will come of the initial attraction between her and Fitzwilliam? Will she become the barrister’s bride?

Note: contains scenes with adult content.

How cool is that? Two arranged marriages? I hope not!! Let me be mean… will Fitzwilliam eventually inherit??

I am glad to (re)introduce you to Suzan Lauder. I highly recommend her books!

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, yoga, fitness, home renovation, design, sustainability, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder keeps busy even when she’s not writing novels based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, all of which are published by Meryton Press.

She and Mr. Suze and their rescue tabby split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial casita in Mexico. Suzan’s lively prose can be found on her Facebook author page; on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest; and on her Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead.

Suzan is bringing a lovely to post to let us discover more things about The Barrister’s Bride. I do not know a lot about the meaning of flowers but the little I know, I really enjoy it. I hope you enjoy what she teaches us too.

Ana is a favourite blogger of mine because she can write a review so close to giving spoilers, yet never giving them. So, this post from The Barrister’s Bride for “My Vices and Weaknesses” is a special one.

~~~

During the final scene of The Barrister’s Bride, Elizabeth places flowers on several graves near Pemberley. The dictionaries for the language of flowers (floriography) weren’t out yet in the Regency (the first was 1825), and the flowers I used in that scene depicted floriography that came from various sources on the internet, including Victorian lists.

I had some difficulty choosing the flowers. Several of my first choices (begonias, sweet peas) were unavailable in the UK the Regency. Most flowers on the floriography lists are for romantic love, and none of my flowers were required for more than friendship. The flowers that were listed for friendship themes tended to be spring flowers, and the scene took place in early autumn. Sometimes different web pages had different language for some flowers, even the so-called Victorian original listings, so one site would say a flower was friendship and another would say the same flower was disdain.

I had to choose my own from one site and stick with it, ensuring the flowers were indeed Regency. However, none of this is spelled out in the novel, so I thought readers might like to know what I was thinking in regard to floriography in The Barrister’s Bride.

Yellow and white rose bouquets went onto Fitzwilliam Darcy’s parents’ graves: Yellow roses are for friendship and joy, and white roses are for purity.

Amaranth (cockscomb) was set on George Darcy’s grave and is for foppery and affectation. I’m certain Elizabeth could have chosen a flower such as lavender (distrust), but she was being generous.

The multicoloured bouquet for Uncle David Darcy was to celebrate his gay life, which is not a Regency, but a modern theme. Marguerites (a certain type of daisy) are for purity, innocence, and loyalty. Lemon blossoms are for fidelity.

Elizabeth scattered pink rose petals to the wind hoping some would get to her father’s grave in Longbourn. Pink roses are for admiration, lesser than a romantic love.

Though not in the book, she would likely have dressed each bouquet with a little rosemary for remembrance.

Sprig of fresh rosemary

~~~

What do you think? Did you like the descriptions? I am intrigued to know more about these characters too and how many more flowers we read about in the book. Yes, I know, it may not be the most relevant thing in my mind when I read it, but I would definitely appreciate them.

Want to buy the book? You can check on the following links:

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon DE Amazon ES

Please do check the blog tour, so far I am enjoying it a lot and I recommend you to check it.

May   9 My Jane Austen Book Club

May 10  Babblings of a Bookworm

May 11 The Literary Assistant

May 12 My Vices and Weaknesses

May 13 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

May 16 Austenesque Reviews

May 17 From Pemberley to Milton

Meryton Press is giving away six eBooks of The Barrister’s Bride by Suzan Lauder.

There is a swag giveaway by Author, Suzan Lauder, and it includes a personalized signed copy of the book, a Suzan Lauder reticule, an embroidered handkerchief, and a fan. Both giveaways are in the Rafflecopter. The link is below, click on it and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – The Barrister’s Bride

“The Murder of Mr. Wickham” by Claudia Gray, review

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

How do you like a mystery? If you like one or you want to try this genre, you have here a mystery with a lot of Jane Austen’s characters.

If you like Clue, you will like The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray. You may suspect almost everyone in the house!

AMAZON US | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | AMAZON UK | AMAZON CA | AMAZON ES

I am glad to introduce you to Claudia Gray, you may know her thanks to her writing that varies from science fiction to this book where Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie (Austenprose).

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

What do you think of the blurb? How come the two youngsters of this house party play detective? Well, justice is the answer but I am not going to say what that means. Yes, Jonathan Darcy is “worst” than his father when he was younger. However, it is great to get to read his thoughts, as the thoughts of many other characters.

I have liked how the story and the discoveries have gone, however, the magistrate was quite lacking on discernment. To be honest, in the book, his role has been described as more of a on paper job as there was not need to do much until this event, but it was still lacking. You may be surprised to know who he is.

The couples (the Darcys, the Brandons, the Knightleys, the Bertrams and the Wentworths) all have their own problems before the murder, however, these problems may be accentuated after the murder. These issues are very different from couple to couple.

The epilogue is something that I have enjoyed, I would have just hoped to have a bit more about some people… two of them specifically and know what more happened to them.

“Maria Bertram’s Daughter” by Lucy Knight, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very glad to present you Lucy Knight’s Maria Bertram’s Daughter. Apologies for not having posted yesterday but we had some problems that prevented me from being near my computer or having any time. However, here we are and I am looking forward to know what you think about this book.

I was pretty curious about it as we have here a protagonist that is not on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Moreover, I am not a fan of Maria Bertram but I think I am going to like Dorothea. We will see how she lives her life despite all her struggles and “family”. I do not want to tell you more, let’s have a look at the blurb.

She could be mistress of Mansfield Park. But is that what she wants?

An unwanted child—conceived in circumstances her mother would rather forget—Dorothea Henrietta Rose grows up solitary and neglected with her dissatisfied mother and unpleasant great-aunt Norris. Raised without the knowledge that her mother is her mother or that their occasional visitor, Sir Thomas Bertram, is her grandfather, she is forbidden ever to set foot in Mansfield Park.

Dorothea hopes for a happier life when sent away to school, but her difficulties are not over. She is obliged to make her way in the world as a governess and, thus, encounters human frailty, hypocrisy, good, and evil in her travels throughout England.

She meets the Crawfords—Henry and Mary (now Lady Drumroth)—and inevitably does the one thing she must not do: unwillingly makes herself known to the inhabitants of Mansfield Park.

I am pretty angry with Maria. I understand that she was a child born out of wedlock (I love this word) and all this that entails… but even her mother basically ignores her. However, her grandfather visits sometimes! Nothing else it seems.

I cannot wait to read about the encounter with the Crawfords and her life before that too. I actually want to meet Dorothea and see what happens to her.

By the way, have you seen the cover? I really like how Dorothea could look like. I normally have Victoria Hamilton as Maria Bertram, so I think there is something there.

Lucy Knight grew up in Whitby, North Yorkshire, now a tourist town but until recently a small and historic port which was known for shipbuilding, fishing (including whaling) and having an important Abbey. During her life she has moved around a great deal both in England and on the continent of Europe; she now lives in a tiny hamlet lost in the French countryside with two rescue dogs, two rescue chickens, an unknown number of bees and eight sheep.

Lucy has two children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in England.

Lucy has only recently begun to write historical fiction but she enjoys it so much she can’t stop! Her background is in comedy and drama, so there will always be some jokes and plenty of dialogue.

When she is not writing, Lucy teaches English and French, and she loves to take long walks with her dogs during which she revels in the birds, butterflies, trees and flowers which are so abundant in her part of France.

I am really glad to have a languages teacher in the blog, we share the same profession and I am pretty sure that we could see Dorothea teaching French for instance 🙂

You can follow her on:

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The excerpt that Lucy is sharing with us may not show a lot of Dorothea, however, Lucy shows us a very important topic that was not “appropriate” as women were not supposed to be independent. I like the idea of talking about these women. Enjoy!

Thank you, Ana, for hosting me on my blog tour! I have an exclusive excerpt for your readers. I introduced a couple of “wise women” (or “witches”) to my narrative, partly because I take a great interest in herbal medicine – and have ancestresses who did the same – and partly because I wanted to introduce some older women who were making their own way in the world, independent of men. One of the themes of the book is of women striving to be independent in a man’s world.

Here, Dorothea’s great friend is very unwell, and Dorothea has suggested that a wise woman might be able to help – but how to get such a person into a parsonage without being seen by the parishioners, who might be scandalised? Under the cover of darkness, of course…

“It was three days before the “witch” could be fetched. A fall of snow made the roads almost impassable for a time. On the third day, just after nightfall, a small round figure bundled in a cloak hurried into the vicarage, and Edward was grateful that his house was hidden from most of the village.

Dorothea waited in the hall, eager to usher the small person up to the bedroom with no loss of time. The cloak was pushed back, and Dorothea’s eyes met a pair of small blue ones in a round, pink face.

“Mrs Dowson,” said the owner of the bright complexion.

“I beg your pardon,” Dorothea said, “I am Miss Rose. It is my friend who is unwell.”

“Before I see her,” said Mrs Dowson with great firmness, “I need to know everything that has happened. How came she to fall ill?”

Dorothea, despite her impatience, suffered the visitor to be divested of her cloak and took her into the drawing room to recount Anne’s history.

She began with Anne’s difficult confinement and her apparent full recovery, but Mrs Dowson insisted upon going further back in time.

“Her childhood?”

Dorothea told of school, the privations they had suffered there. She did not know about Anne’s early childhood.

“Was she ever unwell at school?” Mrs Dowson had an almost educated voice, Dorothea thought. She felt great curiosity about this determined little woman, but now was not the time.

“No indeed. She was always considered delicate, but I think that was more from her appearance than from any actual frailty of body.”

Mrs Dowson looked thoughtful. “And she is an orphan, you say? Sent away to school? And what, pray, were the recent events that led to this insensibility?”

Dorothea told of the shock Anne had when a man came to the house enquiring after her.

“Had she cause to be concerned for your safety?”

“Yes,” answered Dorothea without elaborating.

“Very well,” said Mrs Dowson, standing up. “I am persuaded that this is not a disease of the body but of the mind. I have with me all that will be necessary except some hot water and, perhaps, a cup of tea?”

“Of course,” said Dorothea, blushing slightly and ringing the bell. “I should have thought of it earlier. I am so anxious about my friend that all my civilities have been laid aside. I do apologise.”

“I understand. Let us proceed upstairs.”

The maid having been informed of Mrs Dowson’s modest requirements, Dorothea led the way.

Edward stood as they entered the room. He had been kneeling beside the bed, praying, Dorothea observed. He nodded briefly to Mrs Dowson and hurried away.

Mrs Dowson sat on the side of the bed and took Anne’s hand. The patient lay inert under the white sheets and rose-sprigged counterpane; she made no movement or sign.

“She takes some food, I imagine?” said Mrs Dowson.

“Yes,” Dorothea replied. “We sit her up on the pillows and use a spoon or a cup. She is taking more than formerly though it seems still sadly insufficient.”

“It is certainly a disorder of the mind. I believe it is a deep melancholy. Women often suffer a form of this after their confinement. I have seen it often. I daresay the doctors will have tried vomiting, bleeding, and perhaps mercury. All very dangerous and unhelpful in this case. She needs music, laughter, and a tincture of setwall, horehound, and hawthorn. Setwall is a flower sometimes called valerian. I use the root,” she explained, as Dorothea looked puzzled. The remedy will not take effect immediately. We must allow ten days with no change; then, if she is not beginning to recover, you may send for me again to eat my bonnet!”

Dorothea could not help laughing despite her anxiety.

“There—laughter,” said Mrs Dowson, beaming. “Continue to feed her as before. Why does she not have her baby here?” she added, looking round the room.

“The nurse brings baby in once a day. Edward does not want too much excitement.”

“Excitement is exactly what she needs. Baby’s crib should be in here—perhaps to be taken out of the room if he cries excessively but not otherwise. Laughter, music, and gaiety are essential. Flowers!” she exclaimed.  […]

“But how shall we bring music into the room?”

“Sing, my dear! Sing to baby, sing to her, sing all the songs you know. Ten days. I shall not take a fee until she is cured. Now, I must hurry away to be home before it is time to retire to bed.” She finished her tea, and she was shown out of the house, bundled up as before lest any delicate-minded parishioners should spy a weaver of spells leaving the vicarage.”

What do you think? I really like the advise to get Anne recovered. I am interested in knowing if we have more wise women around in the book and how Dorothea plays a role in having them there.

Very interesting stops on this blog. I have to admit that I am still catching up but the first couple of stops show really good things to discover about Lucy Knight’s Maria Bertram’s Daughter. I hope you like them too!

April 11 My Jane Austen Book Club

April 12 So little time…

April 13 Babblings of a Bookworm

April 14 From Pemberley to Milton

April 15 Austenesque Reviews

April 16 The Literary Assistant

April 18 My Vices and Weaknesses

You can buy this book on:

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon FR

Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of Maria Bertram’s Daughter by Lucy Knight. You only need to click on the link below and follow instructions!

Rafflecopter – Maria Bertram’s Daughter

“The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy” by Don Jacobson, excerpt + giveaway

I am very glad that today I have one more of Don Jacobson’s books, and specially, the last novel of The Bennet Wardrobe Series: The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.

I have only read two of the novels in the series (shame on me 😉 ) but they are so good. I really want to read them all and following the order recommended by Don:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy

So, fortunately because we have one more, but unfortunately because it is the last one, today we are enjoying The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.

“You must throw away notions of what you want.
Only then will you be free to accept what you need.”

—The Brown Guide to
Fitzwilliam Darcy, 1840

Long has the amazing Bennet Wardrobe involved itself in the affairs of Longbourn. Where before its actions have been cloaked in mystery, its purpose now becomes clear. The fey cabinet has molded the universes to strike a balance that can be achieved only by saving the greatest love story ever told.

Follow the paths taken by Pemberley’s master and mistress after their children are grown. See Elizabeth Darcy struggle to rekindle the love glow that has dimmed after a quarter century. Grasp the unaccountable pain her departure levels upon the entire Derbyshire family. Watch Fitzwilliam Darcy learn that which he must in order to become the best version of himself: worthy of his Elizabeth.

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy closes out the Bennet Wardrobe series.  The disparate threads spun by the remarkable women born to a Hertfordshire couple of insignificant fortune are woven together. These lives have become the tapestry that records the destiny of Jane Austen’s lovers, immortal in any here/now or where/when.

I do not know you but I cannot wait to read it because knowing that Elizabeth and Darcy may have struggles, like every other couple, is a bit heartbreaking (I know they are fictional characters!). However, what I really want to read is what both do and how they behave to “solve” this issue.

Here is what Lory Lilian, one of the leading authors of Austenesque fiction, has to say about the Wardrobe story arc.

As an author myself, I admit I would never be capable to craft such a complex, enchanting, and exciting story, not to mention an entire series! Congratulations to Don for a masterful work! I highly recommend The Bennet Wardrobe series to all readers, not only those who love Pride and Prejudice, but anyone who enjoys time travel, mystery, originality, and history.

I would like to (re)introduce you to the brain, soul and imagination behind this awesome series:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years, 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 nonfiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. Since then, Meryton Press has re-edited and republished Keeper and the subsequent six volumes in the series. The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy is the eighth and concluding volume. Other Meryton Press books by Jacobson include Lessers and Betters, In Plain Sight, and The Longbourn Quarantine. All his works are also available as audiobooks (Audible).

Don Jacobson

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in history with a specialty in American foreign relations. As a college instructor, he taught United States history, world history, the history of western civilization, and research writing. He is currently in his third career as an author and is a member of JASNA and the Regency Fiction Writers.

Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the Austenesque world, Jacobson also enjoys cooking, dining out, fine wine, and well-aged scotch whiskey.

His other passion is cycling. Most days will find him “putting in the miles.” He has ridden several “centuries” (hundred-mile days). He is especially proud of having completed the AIDS Ride–Midwest (five hundred miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-a-Wish Miracle Ride (three hundred miles from Traverse City to Brooklyn, both in Michigan).

When not traveling, Jacobson lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife and co-author, Pam—a woman Miss Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize.

You can follow him and contact him on:

Amazon Author’s Page  Goodreads Site Austenesque Thoughts newsletter

Author Website Twitter 

Don Jacobson is sharing with us a excerpt, that, I am pretty sure, would make you wish to read The Grail and all the previous books. I really hope you enjoy it and you end up wanting to read much more! Thank you Don for sharing it with us.

How wonderful is this? Here I have the chance to talk with fellow fans of #Austenesque literature while also showcasing the final book of the Bennet Wardrobe Series—The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.

I delved through the book and think that this excerpt explores the mindset of a fifty-three-year-old Darcy as he contemplates his own mortality, and the impact his death would have on Elizabeth. Yes, he is channeling a bit of Mrs. Bennet—not her distracted fear, but rather her very rational understanding of the impact of her husband’s much-anticipated death. I felt that an inquisition by the head of the British Secret Services—M or General Lord Richard Fitzwilliam—would illuminate best.

I look forward to your comments.

Chapter Three Excerpt

November 12, 1835

Darcy could not recall the passage to Selkirk being this rough. He had barely crested the rise above Pemberley before his body began to complain. His superior seat could not insulate his aging joints against the jolts, even though Praetor’s gait, as always, was silky and confident.

One would think that the Universe is urging me to delay my journey—or, perhaps, to turn back and take the coach and enjoy the plush comfort of a well-sprung chassis rolling over twenty miles of good road. If I did so, I could ask Elizabeth whether she wished to accompany me and spend a few pleasurable days with her sister and nephews while I examine the estate’s books with Richard.

His heart squeezed as he contemplated the delight of spending time alone with the most interesting woman of his acquaintance, now or in any age. Although the infamous Meryton assembly and the Netherfield ball took place twenty-five years ago, Elizabeth still mesmerized and captivated him.

How long and how short it had been.

Taking joy in Elizabeth’s company on the way to Selkirk would be an unconscionable indulgence on his part. Greed struggled with his better self, calling out that he needed to bank her delicious smiles against a time when she would frown in worry over his final sickbed.

When Elizabeth had joined him in the breakfast room that morning, she was subdued. Any wife may have chatted up her husband about his journey or the weather or the roads—as did Mrs. Darcy over the morning’s rolls and coffee. That effort would have served to label the lady as being agreeably engaged in her husband’s affairs. However, that cold and utterly proper civility when delivered by Elizabeth Darcy betrayed a lowered spirit, for she was not another woman.

No, her habitual warmth had been lacking. What nagged at him was that Elizabeth had been so unremittingly pleasant—not teasing, not playful, not brimming with her usual Lizziness.

Perhaps Elizabeth was tired of his presence, at long last beginning to relate to him as other women of the ton did to their husbands. He shuddered at this thought. Mayhap the fading of their passion, either by his design or from natural causes, would free her to seek new happiness after her mourning ended. That would give him a clear conscience to leave her side, however reluctantly, and pass into eternity.

Darcy tamped down these rebellious thoughts.

He finished his journey along the banks of the Derwent and turned beneath Selkirk’s great portico before the Sun lowered itself into the Irish Sea. His welcoming committee—Richard, Lydia, and the twins—was assembled on the landing.

Lydia glided toward him. “Welcome, Brother. I trust you left my sister in good health?” The words were warm, but her tone—something Darcy had learned to read much as he would a cloud bank above the Peak—left a frozen rime.

The three men stepped forward and shook his hand. The pretty completed, the fourteen-year-olds vanished, and Lydia turned Darcy over to Hill, the butler, to be escorted into Selkirk’s depths. The earl trailed behind.

Standing before the door leading into Darcy’s usual apartment, the pair paused as Mr. Hill bowed away. Richard’s usually inscrutable face exhibited a plethora of emotions. Without so much as a by-your-leave, he barged past Darcy into the sitting room, stopped in a shaft of sunlight, and spun to face his cousin. Richard’s well-tailored form was cast into a lava-like glow as if he were Mars freshly armored in Vulcan’s best. Darcy cocked his head to one side, quizzing his cousin with a glance.

“Get in here and shut that door,” Richard growled. “We cannot allow any ears but ours the pleasure of this conversation.”

Darcy knew to be on his guard when his cousin took that tone—a dripping blend of irony, sarcasm, and spleen. This timbre made enemies of the realm quail when “M” used it.

He turned his back on Richard and, in a controlled motion, closed the door. “From your manner, dear Cousin, you have something caught in your craw. Well, out with it! We shall resolve nothing unless you lay your bill of particulars before me.”

An inchoate sound rumbled from Richard’s throat. He threw his hands into the air and rushed to a sideboard where a full decanter rested. Shaking his head, the earl sloshed three fingers of amber nectar into a crystal goblet and downed the liquor in one swallow.

He dropped his chin to his chest before rounding on Darcy, using the spent cup as a pointer. “You blithering idiot! What are you up to? I thought you had washed all of that foolishness out of your system decades ago!”

Darcy was astonished. “Of what are you accusing me? If it is nothing specific, I would suggest that you are missing your afternoon lie-down and have become querulous. As for me, after a long day in the saddle, I could benefit from an equally lengthy soak. Perhaps we should withdraw to our respective corners and resume civil relations at dinner.”

By this time, the level in Richard’s glass had been replenished, and he poured Darcy a drink and thrust it at him. “Do not be glib with me, Darcy. Playing the innocent will earn you no relief. Just be thankful it is I and not Lydia who is conducting this interview, although you have not escaped that sublime pleasure. My wife will confront you later. I am merely the opening act. Allow me to attempt to breach that infuriating obtuseness you so charmingly effect.”

He poked a stiffened forefinger trembling with suppressed rage into Darcy’s chest. “Sit.”

Darcy’s knees cracked beneath the digit’s force. Falling back into a well-upholstered wingback, Darcy’s height advantage was erased. Richard assumed his position on the high ground by the fireplace. “Why is it that every twenty-five years or so, somebody has to drag you out of whatever dark hole you scurry into? Have you never figured out that you cannot hide from the world? Last time it was Elizabeth who laid a piece of lumber aside your thick skull. Now, I have been delegated to soften you up before Lydia sinks her claws into your hide. What were you thinking? Have you learned nothing?”

Darcy wearily interrupted his cousin’s harangue. “Specifics, Richard. Specifics. Who is suggesting that I have been less than civil?”

Richard exploded. “That is just it, Darcy! You are too civil! When you get like that, throwing every which way your infuriating politeness that comes off as mockery, everybody in the room wants to wring your neck—most of all me! There is one person, though, who does not. Rather, she worries herself to distraction trying to unlock the puzzle that hides behind your forehead. I am speaking of Elizabeth!”

“Elizabeth?” Darcy sputtered, now fully engaged. “What has my wife to do with any of this?”

“She wrote to my wife. And when Lydia gets her wind up about something, especially if it has to do with any of her sisters, I have learned to batten down my hatches. That it was Elizabeth only made it more of an issue because your wife always rises to the occasion. For her to unburden herself to Lydia…”

His insides curdled, Darcy vaulted to his feet and paced to the window. There he stood staring into Selkirk Dale, one hand on the frame supporting his weight while the other was fisted behind his back, its thumb worrying the forefinger.

What do you think? Do you like Richard and Lydia as much as I do? Do you want to slap Darcy even if you do not know yet what has happened? I hope so 😉

What about buying The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy?

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A lot more to discover if you check the other posts of this blog tour!

Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy to six winner. You just need to click on the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

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Review of “Bitter Mournings” by Linda Gonschior

Hello to all,

Today on My Vices and Weaknesses we have a sweet Pride and Prejudice variation: Linda Gonschior with her latest novel Bitter Mournings.

I leave you with the blurb and then my review. I hope you like it!

The deaths of his wife and sister weighed heavily upon him, and there was little left in life to enjoy…

IT IS SUMMER’S END OF 1821 when the ladies of Longbourn learn that Netherfield Park has been let at last, to two wealthy young widowers. The news is elating to Mrs Bennet, who has never given up hope that her beautiful eldest daughter Jane will one day marry a rich gentleman. For the former Miss Elizabeth Bennet—now Mrs Matthews—the news is less exciting. A widow herself, she is more interested in caring for her two young children and settling her recently widowed mother into a new home than with thoughts of husbands.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY HARBOURS NO THOUGHTS of acquiring a wife, only entering into the society of Hertfordshire on behalf of his friend. Yet, the more he sees of Mrs Elizabeth Matthews, the more she draws his eye and the more his dreams of Pemberley becoming a house of warmth and laughter and love prick at his mind.

BUT A LIFE LIVED IN THE SHADOWS of grief has become too comfortable for them both. Falling in love will require both Darcy and Elizabeth to recover their lost hopes, reignite long-forgotten dreams, and regain the courage to give their hearts to one another.

Bitter Mournings is a Pride and Prejudice variation set in England during the Regency Era.

“Bitter Mournings” is a very calm and angst-free Pride and Prejudice variation.

Everybody has been married but Jane. However, Bingley, Darcy and Elizabeth have lost their partners. Bingley is not himself since he lost his lovely wife and Darcy is more or less his old self without the haughtiness. Elizabeth is happy to be able to have a comfortable home with her children as well as a secure income. However, as we can imagine, this will not last because…

SPOILER ALERT!

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There is a happy ending for everyone, although Elizabeth may be a bit too stubborn and keep thinking ill of people, i.e. Darcy. That’s the plot basically.

As you can read on the blurb, Mr Bennet has died and Mrs Bennet is her own self when Netherfield is let at last! The gentlemen are all that is polite and helpful with the ladies at Longbourn and Mrs Matthews and, therefore the children become fast friends. More friendships are forming but our protagonists may be a bit mixed up by Mrs Bennett. However, once Lady Catherine appears, that may be clear. She is more horrible than usual, I would say.

I like the question that Jane poses towards the end when she sees Darcy and Elizabeth 🙂 No, I am not telling you!

It is a nice, relaxed read.

“Captive Hearts” by Kelly Miller, excerpt, review + giveaway

Hello to all!

January is basically done, February is just there. However, reading has no dates or seasons, “reading one book is like eating one potato chip” (Diane Duane). I love this quote as it is so true, that’s why is the subheading of this blog. Why I am mentioning this quote? Because we cannot have enough books in general and Austenesque/JAFF variations in particular, but most importantly, we need more variations of Persuasion, and one of those is the protagonist of today’s post: Captive Hearts by Kelly Miller.

Will Captain Wentworth realize too late that he has a second chance at love?

With a successful naval career and a fortune to his name, Frederick Wentworth receives a hero’s welcome from his sister’s neighbours.

One person, though, presents a source of vexation. Years earlier, Miss Anne Elliot had reneged on her promise to marry Wentworth, revealing a significant character flaw. Yet Anne’s unmarried state at the age of seven and twenty, her altered demeanour, and her resolute avoidance of Wentworth raise questions that gnaw at his composure.

In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the captain follows the advice of a respected new friend and re-examines the agonizing circumstances of his bitter break from Anne, reaching a novel conclusion. But before he can act upon his new resolve, a dire twist of fate threatens Anne’s life.

What do you think? The twist is quite unbelievable!!! I won’t tell you though.

Award-winning author 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, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

Kelly Miller

Captive Hearts is her fifth book published by Meryton Press. Other books by Kelly Miller:

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation with a touch of fantasy (my review here)

• Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards and Indies Today Book Awards.

Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

Accusing Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation and murder mystery

• Winner: Firebird Book Awards and Queer Indie Awards-Ally Division.

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

• Finalist: Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

A Consuming Love, a Pride and Prejudice Regency novella

• Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

You can follow her on:

Kelly’s blog page is found at www.kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter,

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

I hope you enjoy this excerpt, Mary is soooooo selfish!! (ok, nothing new from Austen’s Persuasion though!) This excerpt, in Captain Wentworth’s point of view, takes place at a dinner held at the Great House, Uppercross, the home of the Musgrove family.

When he and the other gentlemen returned to the drawing room, Miss Louisa vacated her seat beside Sophia and slipped into the empty chair beside him. “Mrs. Croft told us you returned today from a visit to a friend in Lyme. Did you have a pleasant time?”

“Yes, I did. Captain Harville is one of my closest friends. Another good friend, Captain Benwick, is staying with Harville and his wife. They made me promise to return again soon.”

“And so you should. That poor Captain Benwick! He must benefit from your society.” Sophia’s statement drew the other ladies’ attention. She addressed her audience. “Frederick’s young friend suffered the tragic loss of his betrothed who died this past summer. Captain Benwick had been engaged to Miss Fanny Harville, Captain Harville’s sister.”

Several of the ladies present indicated their compassion for his friend’s bereavement. Miss Elliot, seated furthest away from Wentworth yet again, neither spoke nor looked in his direction, but creases lined her brow.

Mr. Charles Musgrove addressed him. “If you approve of the idea, we might plan to visit Lyme as a group in the next week or so.”

He nodded. “Yes, that is a fine notion. Most rooms at the inns at Lyme are unoccupied this time of year, so we should find lodging without difficulty.” The Miss Musgroves voiced their enthusiastic approval for the scheme, but the elder Mr. Musgrove and his wife declared they would rather not visit the sea at this time of year.

The admiral patted Mr. Musgrove’s arm with a sly smirk. “Let us leave this excursion for the younger folk, shall we? They need not have us along to slow them down.”

“Then it is settled.” Mr. Charles Musgrove craned his neck, peering around his wife’s form. “Anne, this trip is a fine opportunity for us to show you our appreciation for all of the help you have provided. I imagine you would enjoy a change of scenery before you join your family at Bath.”

A coral tint enhanced Anne’s complexion as she became the target of the group’s sights, allowing Wentworth the opportunity to focus upon her with impunity. “Thank you, Charles.” She smiled at her brother-in-law.

Mrs. Mary Musgrove tapped her husband’s shoulder. “Your suggestion is a well-intended one, but I do not suppose you considered the consequences.”

“What do you mean?”

“Goodness knows, I should love for Anne to accompany us. But if we are both to be away from home, surely Anne ought to remain with the children. Otherwise, they are certain to suffer in her absence.”

Mr. Charles Musgrove’s jaw dropped, but no words came forth. The entire room grew silent for several long seconds.

He gnashed his teeth. Insufferable—had the woman no shame?

“You need not fret for the children, Mary,” called out Mrs. Musgrove. “Without question, Anne must accompany you to Lyme. The children will stay here with us while you are gone. I shall be pleased for this opportunity to look after them.”

“Thank you, Mother.” The younger Mr. Musgrove relaxed against his chair.

Wentworth, too, resumed a more composed deportment. In a curious twist of fate, Miss Elliot would meet his friends—not as his wife or betrothed as he had anticipated at one time—but as a mere acquaintance.

I really like to read a lot from his point of view, and how he still defends Anne, internally, as we have read on the excerpt.

Wentworth is very annoying at the beginning, as in Austen’s Persuasion (from my point of view), because he wants to ignore Anne, makes that remark about not recognising her, etc. I know he is hurt but he is very annoying 😀 However, here he gets to realise sooner that he is paying too much attention to the younger Musgroves, however, it may not be soon enough?

We have a cameo from another of our favourite couples: the Darcys of Pemberley. They are great examples of matrimonial felicity and Darcy may say something to Wentworth that makes him think and bits and bobs change. Important changes. (One bit that I did not like to be so different from canon is how he now likes and respects a person that he, basically, hates or super dislikes on the original – not saying who. I just think that there is such a change!)

As you have read on the excerpt, they go to Lyme, but things do not follow canon exactly. Different characters have their “roles” swapped in a way and somehow that’s the beginning of the end. Or is it? That’s what we may think but we have characters that are not in Lyme, so we need to encounter them too.

Bath, we cannot forget this city and the people there, important. There is a very creepy person who makes something that you are not expecting at all. You may expect that person to do something but no what that person eventually does!! Big twist there…

Spoiler alert

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There are several happy endings…

On my next and last opinion, you may not believe me but I have to state it: I eventually like Sir Elliot a bit. There you have it, I wrote it. You can now throw me to the lions 😉

Why not buying this book? It is worth reading this variation and if we keep reading variations of Persuasion, more authors will write them. Maybe Kelly could write another one?

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Many excerpts for you to get to know more of Captive Hearts, go and check them!

Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of Captive Hearts. Just click the link below and follow instructions.

What do you think about variations of Persuasion? Do you like them? Do you think we need more? What do you think about this one so far? If you have followed the tour, you may have a very good opinion about it. Let me know.

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“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:

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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!

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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:

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“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

Manybooks.net

Indiereader.com

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!

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