“The Last House in Lambton” by Grace Gibson, excerpt, review + giveaway

Dear all,

I hope I find you all well and enjoying this lovely season. I adore the colours of fall and I imagine them on the book that I am happy to show you todays: The Last House in Lambton by Grace Gibson.

There is a lot to read today, so I will start sharing the blurb.

Does it ever stop raining in Lambton?

Darcy and Bingley depart Netherfield Park, leaving Elizabeth Bennet acutely aware of the monotony of her life. Seeking a reprieve, she volunteers to serve as temporary companion to Mrs. Gardiner’s elderly aunt who lives in Lambton. Nothing turns out as Elizabeth expects, and she is forced to dig deep into her reserves of common sense, humor, and stubborn persistence to prove herself equal to the dreary circumstances. 

Initially unaware that Pemberley is only five miles away, Elizabeth crosses paths with Darcy annoyingly often. When the gentleman rescues her from a shocking situation, Elizabeth faces some hard choices, at the same time struggling against the smoldering attraction that can neither be repressed nor fulfilled.

Mr. Darcy, meanwhile, in whose heart a fire has also been lit, is shocked by the lady’s stubborn refusal to accept his help. Alternating between alarm and begrudging admiration, he stands helplessly on the sidelines while she struggles to retain her independence. He, too, must make some hard choices in the end. Will he let her go?

Yes, the situation from where he rescues her it is pretty schocking but I think Elizabeth tries to manage it quite well…

Anyone is surprised that she is stubborn? 😀

Look at the mosaics on Grace´s picture!

In addition to mosaic art, which she creates at Studio Luminaria (her home-based glass shop in El Paso, Texas), Grace enjoys writing Regency romance and Pride and Prejudice variations.

Follow her on Facebook.

It is lovely to visit My Vices and Weaknesses today, Ana. Thank you so much for having me!

We all adore Mr. Darcy, otherwise we would not be here today talking about him! But don’t you also enjoy seeing his confidence shaken for once? Perhaps, as I do, you also chuckle with satisfaction when his perfect manners slip, his storied composure breaks, and he is made more than a little uncomfortable by a pert young lady with a rather sharp tongue.

Here is an excerpt told from Mr. Darcy’s point of view in which just this sort of humbling takes place:

“What do you hear from Mr. Bingley, sir?” she asked.

Bingley! I did not want to talk about Bingley. I mumbled a vague reply that I had left him in London, to which she mused aloud that she had thought he might have since left town. To my horror, she then related to me in the most knowing manner that her sister had been in London, had tried to reestablish a connection with that family, and had been rebuffed!

I formulated a pathetic explanation that I thought he might indeed have left for Scarborough, only to be exposed by my artless sister who blurted out unhelpfully, “But I saw Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst very lately, and they made no mention of leaving London.”

As my face flushed at having been caught out, I was then treated to a verbal mauling the likes of which took my breath away.

Oh lord. Elizabeth is about to unleash her wit on poor Mr. Darcy! If you would like to find out just what she said to him on this and many other occasions in this retelling, sign up to win a free copy of The Last House in Lambton. I hope you will discover that an imperfect Darcy is more loveable than ever.

I have really enjoyed having both Elizabeth and Darcy´s point of view. I always like how Darcy reacts with Elizabeth, and example that you can find on the excerpt that Grace Gibson has shared with us.

As you have read in the blurb, Elizabeth is pretty empty and bored, however, perhaps she was to hasty to help her aunt´s relative. It is not even closed to what she had in mind, she actually has to work (gasp!). Although it is Elizabeth and we know she is strong and all but she is up for a scare at the beginning. Hopefully, she also gets Mrs. Reynolds’ help even before she sees Darcy. I will not tell you about their meeting at Mrs. Reynolds’ office but I can say I find it funny and a bit endearing (and it won´t be the last time Elizabeth has to ask for her help).

Elizabeth has to learn so much about managing a household that she realises how deficient her education in that aspect it. However, without knowing it, this will be very useful to help her with her relationship with her mother and will aslo be useful for her sisters.

When Elizabeth starts seeing that Darcy is actually caring, she is quite stubborn to accept help, as it can be read on the blurb, however, she knows she has to accept the offer from Darcy to protect also her “aunty”, but this may be seen as something that it is not. Yes, you are reading it well, it could be mistaken. Fortunately, Georgiana is there and Elizabeth is able to rest because she is not the only one helping her aunty.

There is a point when Elizabeth returns home that I do not like. She is the one making the decision for others, or another, when she used to dislike Darcy doing that.

Anyway, I have really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend you. It is a nice read, it is not angsty per se but many things happen around this couple.

Moreover, you will then meet the neighbour in the second to last house in Lambton ;D

Follow the blog tour, you will get so much more from this book!

November 7   Babblings of a Bookworm

November 8   My Jane Austen Book Club

November 9   Austenesque Reviews

November 10 From Pemberley to Milton

November 11 My Vices and Weaknesses

November 12 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

What about buying the book? Here you have a link:

Amazon Universal Link

Meryton Press is giving away an ebook copy of The Last House in Lambton to one person commenting on this post. Let me know what you think of the book so far, or my review. The contest is open until 23:59 (CEST) on the 17th of November 2022. Good luck!

What a beautiful and amazing cover, Janet!!

“Once Upon a Time in Pemberley” by Summer Hanford, Q&A, excerpt + giveaway

Can the course of a life be altered by the stroke of a pen?

Widowed at a young age, Fitzwilliam Darcy has no reason to think he’ll ever find the love his first marriage lacked. Instead, he dedicates himself to his roles as father and co-guardian, determined to excel at both. But when love finally finds him, will he be too mired by the strife of the past to recognize it?

Elizabeth Bennet does not care for the newest addition to Meryton society, no matter how handsome and wealthy Mr. Darcy might be. She is, however, rather fond of his children and his sister. If only Mr. Darcy needn’t be so certain of his own worth, she would tolerate him on their behalf, but that change in him seems very unlikely.

Once Upon a Time in Pemberley is a sweet, Regency era Pride & Prejudice Variation of approximately 92,000 words. While this is Summer Hanford’s first variation without co-author Renata McMann, it will not be her last. Plus, you can look for more joint Renata McMann & Summer Hanford variations to come.

Dear all!

What do you think of this blurb? Short but sweet, right? Darcy is a papa but he is as “proud” as usual, isn’t it? I like it!

I am very happy to show you today Summer Hunford’s Once Upon a Time in Pemberley. I do not know about you, but I also really like the title.

Summer Hanford is an author of sweet, adventure-filled Historical Romance, Pride and Prejudice retellings (often in conjunction with Renata McMann), Children’s Picture Books, and Epic Fantasy. She lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York with her husband and compulsory, deliberately spoiled, cats. The newest addition to their household, an energetic setter-shepherd mix, is (still) not yet appreciated by the cats but is well loved by the humans. For more about Summer, visit www.summerhanford.com.

You can follow Summer and her writing on:

WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebook
TikTokBookBubGoodreadsAmazon

Sumer writes so many genres and ery different from each other. On another post soon, I will tell you a bit more about her Children’s Picture Books after we enjoy much more from her and Once Upon a Time in Pemberley.

However, let´s get to know Summer more!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What inspires you to write?

Very simply, the joy of it. I love writing. Given my choice, it’s what I would spend nearly all my time doing. Pride and Prejudice variations, in particular, can be very fun to write. We all know the characters, which means that getting them into various situations has an extra level of delight because so much of what goes on is almost an inside joke between the author and the reader.

What are you working on now?

Editing the ‘Space JAFF.’ It’s a great book but it’s long, so I’ve been editing it for a while, and Renata is waiting and waiting. She literally knit me a hat and a scarf, along with hats and scarves for a bunch of other people, while waiting for me to finish a pass on this book.

What is your favorite part of Once Upon a Time in Pemberley?

That’s difficult to say. There is so much of the book that I love, and I like all of it, and I don’t want to give any spoilers. I’m fond of Mr. Collins’ proposal. The timing of it. I did that to be deliberately mean to our heroine. There are also some very sweet interactions between Darcy and his children, and let’s not forget Bingley carrying Jane in the rain… there’s a lot to be said for that, brief as the moment was.

I’m not sure if I want to read a book with children.

That’s definitely a consideration. If you don’t like to read books with children, I honestly wouldn’t recommend Once Upon a Time at Pemberley. I wish I could say it’s a book for everyone, but that’s simply not true. It is not intensely romantic. It’s much more about various types of familial love. And the children are in the book, not simply mentioned and then tucked away. They are active characters with personalities and roles to play in the plot.

Why did you title it Once Upon a Time in Pemberley when it happens in Netherfield?

I know. I simply couldn’t help it. Elizabeth said the line, ‘Once upon a time in Pemberley,’ and I thought, what a lovely title. I often pull a title from a line in a book. Perhaps I should have called it ‘Once Upon a Time in Netherfield Park,’ but it simply doesn’t have the same ring to it. I guess I sort of hoped everyone would forgive me, and I think most people have?

Will you write another variation alone?

I do hope to. As with other genres in which I write, I have lists of ideas and folders full of outlines. I will never get to write them all so it’s always an agony to select which to write next. My favorite idea plays it a bit loose with strict Regency protocol, as did Once Upon a Time in Pemberley, but it’s my opinion, having read various firsthand reports from those times (journals, letters, etc.), that the people who lived then were not so well behaved or proper as many people prefer to think.

For example, in 1810 in Edinburgh, women in fine gowns walked the streets in bare feet. That is a literal fact taken from a journal written by an Englishman traveling there, and Edinburgh is Scottish, yes, but a city, not a small town. Yet I can imagine the reaction if I wrote about Elizabeth wandering about even a small town barefoot, in public. Once all those men glimpse her pinky toes, she’ll never be fit to marry.  

My point is, we’ve done a lot of idolizing. That said, I do try to stick to what people like to think of as proper Regency behavior, but humans were just as human then as they are now, and I find it difficult to pretend otherwise. They will do foolish things, brave things, irreverent things, and selfish things, just as they do now, whether socially acceptable to the wider world or not.

But that is a whole different topic, delving into the pitfalls of writing about historical times. The question of how much research is too much or too little. How much accuracy is wanted or required. What sort of language to use. If an author should cater more to reality or to reader expectations that have grown up around a genre. I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I simply try to be consistent in my writing choices so that fans of my work can enjoy it, and I can enjoy writing it.

Is there anything else you wanted to tell us?

Only that I love Once Upon a Time in Pemberley and I thank you all so much for giving it consideration, and for the overall warmness of the book’s reception. It was stressful to put out a work without Renata, so I really appreciate the support the book has received.

And thank you so much to Ana for hosting me here on My Vices and Weaknesses. I’ve never done a blog tour before this book and I really appreciate the patience and support you’ve given.

Lastly, keep an eye out for the Once Upon a Time in Pemberley audiobook, narrated by the wonderful Catherine Bilson, which should be out any day now (it’s going through sound checks as we speak).

Thank you all for reading and for being readers.

Have a great day!

Summer

What? I understand that you have written it, but liking Mr. Collins’ proposal is beyond the pale 😉

Walking barefoot? Too cold for my taste, but I do not find it so different from nowadays when you leave the club and you have to take your heels off (not exactly the same though… I know)

I think you are here for a treat. I love these kids!!

Elizabeth’s mother and three younger sisters streamed from the carriage the moment the conveyance halted outside Netherfield Park’s three story, box-like manor house, the sandy-colored stone building altogether too austere for Elizabeth’s tastes. At least the home boasted no giant gargoyles or plethora of decorative merlons to jut upward like teeth against the blue autumn sky, and the grounds about the manor house were exceptionally beautiful.

“Do you think Mr. Bingley will be at home?” Jane asked, making no move to disembark yet. Looking past Elizabeth to the house, Jane absently smoothed her already unwrinkled skirt.

Elizabeth smiled at how opposite Jane’s desires were from hers. “It’s possible, but gentlemen generally enjoy riding at this time of day.” As she fervently hoped Mr. Darcy did. “And we must assume that he rented Netherfield Park to take in the countryside.”

Jane nodded and schooled her features into her usual look of bland pleasantness. “I’m certain a visit with Miss Bingley, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Darcy will be very enjoyable indeed.”

Having observed Mr. Bingley’s sisters at the assembly the evening before, their noses so high in the air they might have been sniffing the ceiling for fresh plaster, Elizabeth doubted that. “Let us go in and see?”

Jane climbed out, accepting a footman’s hand even though her every movement held so much grace, it seemed impossible she could require assistance. Elizabeth endeavored to emulate her sister as she followed but knew that, as always, she fell somewhat short. If Jane weren’t her very dearest friend and confidant, and the most pleasant person Elizabeth knew, she would be endlessly jealous of her.

They followed the path that their mother and younger three sisters had taken up the mansion’s steps to where a smartly dressed butler admitted them. That upper servant accepted a cloak, hat and gloves from each Bennet woman, handing them off to a line of waiting footmen. Elizabeth, last in line, toyed with the idea of handing her outerwear to the final footman directly, bypassing the austere butler, but she didn’t wish to give the man a fit.

“The ladies are receiving guests in the cream drawing room,” the butler informed them once he’d handed off Elizabeth’s cloak. “Sarah will show you the way.”

He gestured to a maid, who stepped forward and curtsied. Wordless, she pivoted and set off down a wide, stark hallway, the unadorned corridor almost tunnel-like. Elizabeth supposed that, should someone reside in Netherfield Park with any permanence, the cavernous feeling would be easily alleviated by small tables, flowers and paintings. As it was, only evenly spaced sconces broke the monotony of dark wood paneling that stood below deep blue papered walls and above a predominantly cobalt runner. Trailing her mother and sisters down the hallway, Elizabeth hoped that the cream drawing room would prove less dreary.

Mrs. Bennet lengthened her stride to come abreast of the maid. “Are we not the first callers, then?”

“No, Missus. The Lucases have called and the Gouldings.”

Mrs. Bennet cast a frown over her shoulder. “I told you not to take so long with your hair, Kitty.”

“But Mama, I need to look my best for Mr. Bingley.”

Lydia huffed. “Mr. Bingley wouldn’t pick you over me if you covered your curls with diamonds.”

“You can’t know that,” Kitty replied and promptly started coughing, a light, rickety sound that would undoubtedly be cured by a bit of sun on the southern coast, if either parent cared enough to press for the expense.

“Mr. Bingley will marry Jane,” Mrs. Bennet said confidently. “You can only hope to win Mr. Darcy.”

Elizabeth had a hope of her own, and that was a fervent one that the cream drawing room stood far to the back of the house out of hearing and that Sarah, the maid, proved suddenly deaf.

“Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth could practically hear Lydia roll her eyes as she spoke. “No one would want to marry him. He’s horrible.” She pulled her shoulders back and angled her chin into the air. “I’m Mr. Darcy. I’m too grand to dance with anyone unless Sir William makes me.”

“He danced with those of his party without encouragement,” Jane corrected softly.

“That’s only worse,” Lydia replied.

Elizabeth agreed, though she wouldn’t admit as much. Not when they might be within hearing of their hosts at any moment. Instead, hoping to nudge the conversation away from directly insulting a man who might possibly be in the drawing room they approached, she said, “Will we call on the Lucases next, Mama?”

“If Lady Lucas wishes to speak with me after calling here before we did, she may visit Longbourn.”

“It is unlikely Lady Lucas knew when we would call,” Mary supplied, speaking for the first time since they’d entered Mr. Bingley’s leased residence and adding, “He hath made everything in his time.”

“God didn’t make Lady Lucas visit before we could,” Lydia said with a giggle. “Kitty’s hair did.”

“Girls,” Mrs. Bennet intervened, much to Elizabeth’s relief. If uncurtailed, Lydia would badger Mary into endless biblical quotes of increasingly less relevance.

The maid turned into a doorway. “Mrs. Bennet and the Miss Bennets,” she said and dipped another curtsy.

“Show them in,” cultured tones that Elizabeth identified as Miss Bingley’s replied. “And bring tea.”

The maid bobbed again, turned to them to offer a nod, and started back down the hallway.

Elizabeth followed her mother and sisters in to find that both of Mr. Bingley’s sisters and Miss Darcy awaited them. Relieved as the gentlemen’s absence made her, she felt a touch of sorrow for Jane, whose smile wavered as hope of seeing Mr. Bingley left her. Elizabeth doubted anyone else noticed Jane’s momentary lapse in the flurry of greetings that commenced.

Finally, greetings exchanged, they all sat. Mrs. Hurst cleared her throat and said, “What lovely weather one finds in Hertfordshire at this time of year.”

Mrs. Bennet nodded. “Yes. You could not have chosen a better time for a visit to the countryside and my daughters are great walkers. They will be happy to show the beauties of Hertfordshire to you.”

“Walkers?” Miss Bingley repeated, her voice holding a mixture of incredulousness and disgust.

Forcing a bland tone, Elizabeth nodded and said, “Yes. It is an affliction of those who reside in the country.”

The faintest giggle sounded, somewhere behind Elizabeth and to the right.

“On affliction, I can agree with you,” Miss Bingley replied.

“I walk a great deal when at Pemberley,” Miss Darcy said, her smile so forcedly fixed as to be a grimace. “Walking is pleasant.”

Mrs. Hurst turned to her. “Yes, I’m certain it is when you do so, Miss Darcy.”

“Not when Lizzy does so,” Lydia said with a laugh. “She walks for hours, in all sorts of weather.”

“I don’t know how she doesn’t become ill,” Kitty muttered.

“Do you now, Miss Elizabeth?” Miss Bingley studied Elizabeth with cold eyes.

“Do I what?” Elizabeth asked with feigned confusion.

“Walk in any weather and never suffer from doing so.”

“Oh yes. I daresay it’s my hearty countrified constitution. Perhaps if you walked more, you could do so without becoming ill as well, Miss Bingley.”

Another giggle. Elizabeth looked about, certain none of the ladies before her had issued the faint sound.

“Caroline is quite hardy,” Mrs. Hurst said with mild alarm, as if word of frailty might get around if not immediately squashed. “She would be a wonderful walking companion for you at Pemberley, Miss Darcy.”

Miss Darcy nodded, then set to studying her hands, folded in her lap.

“Yes, well, we’ve wonderful weather of late,” Mrs. Bennet said, too loud.

Conversation about the weather waxed on around her but Elizabeth stopped truly attending, looking about the room instead. Finally, she noted a pair of small pink slippers poking out from beneath one of the thick cream curtains. Once she saw them, it didn’t take her long to note a second set, heels this time, the hidden child apparently looking out, rather than facing the room. To her surprise, turning to study the curtains that hedged a second window, she found the crossed knees of britches above a child-sized pair of shoes.

Why, the room was rife with hidden children and one of them, if Elizabeth’s ears didn’t deceive her, sang very softly.

Elizabeth turned back to Mrs. Hurst, Miss Bingley and Miss Darcy, wondering if they knew. At the next lull, she said, “I imagine you’ve received many guests in this room already today?”

That earned her confused looks but Mrs. Hurst politely replied, “We were receiving in the rose parlor but were informed of your impending arrival and deemed a larger room required for your brood.”

Mrs. Bennet bristled. “Brood?”

“Our Bennet Brood?” Elizabeth said with a laugh. “I do believe Mrs. Hurst looks on us as a flock of chicks, Mama.”

More giggles, and louder. Miss Darcy must have heard as well, and Jane, for both looked about with slight frowns. Miss Darcy seemed to catch sight of the pink slipper clad toes. Her gaze narrowed.

“We are not chickens,” Mrs. Bennet said severely.

“No,” Mary agreed. “You would be a hen, Mama.”

“We are fowl of no sort,” Mrs. Bennet cried, swiveling to face her middle child. “Mary, perhaps you should ask our hostesses if there is a pianoforte of which you might avail yourself while the rest of us visit. You’re in dire need of practice.”

Mary looked down, cheeks pinking.

It was on Elizabeth’s lips to suggest that Mrs. Hurst may have in fact meant they were goslings, more in an effort to elicit more giggles than to torment their hostesses or her mother, but Netherfield’s maids selected that moment to arrive with the tea service.

Once the maids deposited their burdens and left, Miss Bingley looked around with a fixed smile. “Tea?”

“I want tea,” a voice whispered. “How long must we hide, Bee?”

“Shh, Fitz,” one of the curtains hissed.

This time, everyone heard and began looking about.

Where she sat on a sofa she shared with Kitty and Lydia, Miss Darcy swiveled to look behind her. “Bee? Laurel? Fitz? Are you hiding in the curtains?”

“It’s Beatrice,” the shushing curtain snapped.

“Oh dear,” Miss Bingley said with a grimace. “Children, come out at once. What are you doing, spying on us?”

A round, petulant face topped with curls and possessed of perhaps ten years poked out from behind the curtain that hung above the forward-facing pink slippers. “We are not spying.”

Miss Darcy shook her head. “It very much seems as if you’re hiding, Bee.”

“It’s Beatrice,” the little girl, apparently named Beatrice, cried as she stepped free of her hiding place. “We were here first. You all came in.”

“We didn’t see you,” Miss Bingley stated and then looked down the length of her nose at them, lips pursed.

“Children, it is very impolite to spy,” Mrs. Hurst added.

“We are not spying.” Beatrice added a stamp of a pink slipper to her assertion.

Another curtain pulled aside to reveal a blond boy perhaps half his sister’s age, presumably the afore shushed Fitz. “We’re playing hide and seek, not spy.”

“Then why are you all hiding here, spying?” Mrs. Bennet demanded, sounding every bit as affronted as Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley.

The girl, Beatrice, tipped her chin up in a withering look that put Miss Bingley’s to shame. “I’m afraid we have not been introduced, Madam.”

Lydia giggled and pressed her hands over her mouth.

“Laurel is meant to be seeking,” the boy, Fitz, said, coming to his feet. “She probably forgot.”

Realizing the faint singing continued, Elizabeth glanced to where the heels of a second set of slippers could be seen below another curtain.

“Laurel,” Beatrice called, then repeated, much louder, “Laurel.”

The singing stopped. An ethereal looking little girl, aged somewhere between her older sister and younger brother, stepped free of one of the curtains. She blinked, looking about at all the faces, the adults all at an angle as they peered over the backs of chairs and sofas. She pushed long, white-blonde and uncurled hair over her shoulder. “Yes?”

“You were meant to find me and Fitz,” Beatrice said with severity.

Laurel looked down. “I was watching the trees.”

Beatrice released an exasperated huff.

“Come be introduced to our guests, the Bennets,” Miss Darcy said. “We met them yesterday at the dance.”

Laurel’s face, more angular and sharper than her siblings, lit with a smile. “Did you dance with Papa? Does he dance well? Did you wear ball gowns? When I am old enough, Papa says I may have a ball gown and attend a dance.”

“If your Papa is Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth danced with him, as did Miss Lucas, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley,” Jane said, gesturing to Elizabeth.

The three children turned to Jane. Elizabeth watched their features take on the same look of adoration that her older sister inspired in adults.

“Not you?” Laurel asked.

“She danced with Mr. Bingley,” Lydia said. “Twice.” She covered her mouth and giggled again, then leaned to whisper to Kitty.

“Come be introduced, children,” Miss Bingley reiterated with a frown of condemnation for Elizabeth’s youngest two sisters. “Young Fitz, Miss Beatrice, Miss Laurel, these are the Bennets.” Nodding to each of them as she spoke, Miss Bingley continued, “Mrs. Bennet, Miss Jane Bennet, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Miss Mary Bennet, Miss Kitty Bennet and Miss Lydia Bennet.”

Mr. Darcy’s children came forward as Miss Bingley spoke and when she finished, both girls curtsied with fair precision, Fitz offering a bow.

“Now, children,” Miss Bingley said at the same time as Beatrice asked Jane, “Are you accomplished? You look as though you must be accomplished.”

“Jane is very accomplished,” Mrs. Bennet stated. “She is too pretty to be anything but.”

Beatrice nodded as if that made sense. “Do you speak French and Italian, Miss Bennet?”

Jane shook her head. “I do not.”

“Do you play the pianoforte and sing?”

Another head shake. “Mary plays and Elizabeth sings.”

Mary pursed her lips, likely because she sang as well and felt she did so pleasantly…though she was alone in that feeling.

Beatrice scrunched her features. “In what are you accomplished, then?”

“Jane draws beautifully,” Mrs. Bennet asserted. “And sews and embroiders and is a wonderful hostess. She would be a perfect wife for any gentleman.”

“May we have tea now?” Fitz asked, his gaze locked on the assortment of miniature cakes and pastries on the table before them.

“No,” Miss Bingley said firmly. “What you may do is return to the playroom I allotted to you and the care of the staff I appointed to look after you.”

“Who will hear of this,” Mrs. Hurst added.

“Laurel and Fitz should go,” Beatrice said, standing as tall as her stature permitted. “I am old enough to stay for tea.”

“A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence,” Mary stated, to looks of confusion.

“It’s boring in the playroom,” Fitz said plaintively. “There are no toys.”

Seeing an escape from tea with Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, Elizabeth said, “What if we went to try out the pianoforte?” She turned to Miss Bingley and asked, though she knew it would annoy, “There is a pianoforte, is there not?”

“Certainly,” Miss Bingley said even more stiffly than Elizabeth had expected.

Miss Darcy popped to her feet. “I can show you where.”

“Will you come with us, Miss Bennet?” Beatrice asked Jane.

“I would be pleased to.”

“You see?” Mrs. Bennet said to the room at large. “Jane is so good with children, and is like to have a great many of them. All strong sons, to be certain.”

Lydia whispered to Kitty again and they both dissolved into giggling.

Before anyone could reorder the matter, Elizabeth ushered her sister, Miss Darcy and the three children out of the drawing room, leaving Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley to have tea with Mrs. Bennet, Mary, Kitty and Lydia. Elizabeth knew escaping was ill-mannered of her, and worried as well what sort of impression her mother and younger three sisters would leave with Mr. Bingley’s sisters, especially without her there to curtail them, but she couldn’t resist seeking her freedom. All in all, the prospect of a pianoforte, Jane, the amiable seeming Miss Darcy and three children seemed far better than tea with Mr. Bingley’s relations, and her own.

“It’s this way,” Miss Darcy said, leading them away from the drawing room, Fitz at her side. “Do either of you play?”

“Elizabeth does,” Jane replied.

Beatrice walked beside Jane, slanting looks up at her.

“In truth, Mary plays far better than I,” Elizabeth admitted from where she and Laurel trailed the others. “She is much more diligent. I do not put in the practice I should.”

“But you sing beautifully,” Jane said, ever the staunch supporter.

Elizabeth, with no use for false modesty, acknowledged that with a nod. “Only due to natural talent, not diligence.”

“Aunt Georgie plays very well,” Laurel said, looking up at Elizabeth as they walked. “I like to sing.”

“Yes. I could hear you.” Elizabeth smiled. “But not well enough to recognize the song.”

“She made it up.” Beatrice’s tone expressed exasperation rather than pride. “Laurel is forever making up silly songs.”

Laurel dropped her face to study the blue runner.

“What were you singing about?” Elizabeth asked.

“It was a song for the trees, because it’s autumn and they’re going to sleep.”

“You were meant to be counting,” Beatrice said with severity.

Not the most supportive of sisters, Elizabeth decided.

“Here we are,” Miss Darcy said brightly and led the way into a large drawing room, a pianoforte off to one side. “I will play and we can all sing.”

Elizabeth smiled. That sounded much more pleasant than tea with Mrs. Hurst, Miss Bingley and her mama, even if she were being ill mannered and would without a doubt endure a reprimand later.

What do you think? How funny it is? I could imagine the three kids at the beginning when they are found behind the curtains with their cute little outfits and their smiles.

Why not checking this book? You can buy it on:

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon ESAmazon DE

Soon you will be able to buy the audiobook if you prefer it.



Summer is hosting a great giveaway where she gives you different options to choose from. However, remember that asking for an ebook of Once Upon a Time in Pemberley is possible and advisable 😉

She has the giveaway on her website. Click the link below and follow instructions. By participating you will enter her mailing list (everything is explained there).

ONCE UPON A TIME IN PEMBERLEY – Giveaway

“A Dutiful Son” by Kelly Miller, excerpt + giveaway

What will Fitzwilliam Darcy do when his beloved father stands between him and happiness?

Darcy has always emulated his wise and honourable father, George Darcy. But following a sinister act of betrayal by a former family friend, his father rejects his most benevolent principles.

When Georgiana forms a friendship with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy convinces his father to allow the association to continue. However, Elizabeth soon presents a thorny problem: she entices Darcy as no other lady has before, and with his father’s current outlook, he would not approve of her as a daughter-in-law.

Still, Darcy’s problem may resolve in time: his father, after getting to know Elizabeth, is certain to recognise her many admirable qualities and change his mind. But what if he does not?

In this Pride & Prejudice Regency variation, Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught between the influences of love and duty. Which of these will wield the greatest power?

It sounds so angsty already!! Do you think Mr Darcy father will be so tough? and who this “family friend” may be? Any guesses? 😉

Hello all! I hope you are well.

I am enjoying this book already and even if I have just started I want to know more!

I am glad to welcome again Kelly Miller who is sharing some insight on her latest novel: A Dutiful Son.

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 pets.

You can follow her on: Blog Twitter Instagram Facebook

A Dutiful Son is her sixth book published by Meryton Press. The first five are:

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy.

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

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

A Consuming Love, a Pride and Prejudice Regency novella.

Captive Hearts, a Persuasion Regency variation.

I recommend you to check these books! I have read most of them and I believe you may enjoy them a lot! The links on them go to Amazon UK but you can easily then check on your specific Amazon link.

Yes, you also have the link to A Dutiful Son, but I am leacing a few more of this book below:

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

You may think that I have shared the links to buy it too soon. However, I think you may change your mind when you read the excerpt Kelly is sharing with us. It is pretty cute, even if I think that Elizabeth is perhaps too direct.

Thank you so much for having me today, Ana. I’m happy to be here with an excerpt from “A Dutiful Son,” my Regency “Pride & Prejudice” variation. In this scene, from Chapter 2 in the book, Fitzwilliam Darcy dances with Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton assembly. The excerpt is in Darcy’s point of view.

He led Miss Elizabeth into position for the third set with a heightened sense of anticipation. What method would she employ to entice him?

“You have done me a tremendous service by engaging me in this set.” Miss Elizabeth spoke just before stepping away to take a turn with the gentleman to Darcy’s left.

The mere seconds it took for her to return to him seemed to elapse in slow motion. “What do you mean?”

“The rain this morning prevented me from taking my customary walk. Since I missed out on that bit of exercise, I am particularly eager to dance tonight. However, the ladies far outnumber the gentleman on this occasion. I had expected to sit out a dance or two, but now I am certain to dance every set.”

“Why is that?”

“My neighbours will wish to seek my opinion of the much-anticipated wealthy friend of Mr. Bingley.”

“I see.” His heart raced. The possibility of her approval loomed before him like an elusive treasure. “And what will you tell them?”

She arched an eyebrow. “I should not wish to make my conclusions apace. After all, the set has just begun.”

The prudent course would be to change the subject, but his desire to hear her opinion of him displaced any other consideration. “You must have formed a first impression, at least.”

Miss Elizabeth tipped her head at an angle. “Very well. In all likelihood, I shall report that you are”—she flitted away for a few interminable seconds to complete a fleuret step—“an amiable, perceptive, and kind-hearted gentleman, if a bit reserved, who will be a welcome addition to the area.”

He closed his lips against a burgeoning smile. “Thank you. That is far more than I should expect for an initial perception. How did you come to this determination?”

Her smile took on a tender cast. “Well, you danced with my dear friend Charlotte…um…Miss Lucas. That alone speaks in your favour.”

“Mr. Bingley danced with her too.”

“He did, and my neighbours already have a favourable opinion of him. However, you did something that Mr. Bingley did not. While dancing with her, you gave my friend your complete attention.”

“My friend did not pay her the same courtesy?”

“Mr. Bingley divided his focus between Miss Lucas and my sister Jane, who danced nearby with Mr. Lucas.”

Yes, that sounded like Bingley. “Do you have any further evidence to support your findings?”

“Evidence?” She flashed a grin. “No, but I have learnt to trust my intuition. Your deportment denotes confidence and authority, yet your eyes possess a sentient quality. My guess is that, while you are accustomed to wielding a fair amount of power, you possess a benevolent nature.”

Darcy grew warmer than the physical activity of the dance could have produced. Miss Elizabeth had bestowed upon him the rare compliment that had naught to do with his appearance, his intelligence, his standing, or any skill he possessed.

Her smile faltered. “I hope I have not offended you. At times, my manner strays perilously close to impertinence.”

“No, not at all. I hope I never give you cause to change your initial assessment.”

“I hope not as well”—her lips curved into a cheeky smile—“for I dislike being proven wrong.”

His dance with Miss Elizabeth presented a peculiar experience. Her movements, guileless smiles, and luminous eyes conveyed her delight in the activity, making an entrancing display. Their stream of witty conversation kept him talking for the entire half hour, yet it never seemed like a chore. On the contrary, words flowed off his tongue as though he had known her for years.

Like Miss Lucas before her, Miss Elizabeth never broached the subjects of his estate or his connexions. Instead, she led him into discussions of such topics as childhood games he used to enjoy, the dog breeds that made the best companions, and recent books they had each read.

Darcy froze in a momentary state of bewilderment when the musicians played the final notes of the dance. A set had never elapsed with such speed. It would have been no trial on his part to continue their conversation, but he had no sooner thanked Miss Elizabeth for the dance when she curtseyed and glided off, disappearing into the crowd.

Another remarkable aspect of his dance with Miss Elizabeth became evident as the evening wore on. That singular experience boosted his vigour, enabling him to sail through his subsequent dances with relative ease. In fact, in addition to those sets he had already garnered, he sought and obtained places on the dance cards of three other local ladies.

I love her first impression of him 😀 Has anyone else imagined Darcy like puffing with pride after that great description?

Short but good blog tour, starting with yesterday’s post. Do not miss any of them 🙂

October 18 – My Jane Austen Book Club

October 19 – My Vices and Weaknesses

October 20 – From Pemberley to Milton

October 21 – Babblings of a Bookworm

October 24 – Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

Meryton Press iis giving away one ebook for one winner on this blog tour post. I will select the winner between the comments. The giveaway is international and it is open until the 23rd of October 2022 at 23:59 CET.

Comment on the book, or on the excerpt. What do you expect from A Dutiful Son? Have you read any book by Kelly Miller?

Winners of an ebook copy of “Elizabeth Bennet’s Gallant Suitor” by Regina Jeffers

Dear all,

Thank you all for commenting and giving so many insight too on your experience on horse races and also with the book.

The two chosen winners are: Glory and Jen D.

Please send me your email address, where you want to get your ebook, to myvicesandweaknesess(at)gmail(dot)com then I will pass them to Regina.

Best wishes for all of you,

Ana

“Elizabeth Bennet’s Gallant Suitor” by Regina Jeffers, Steeplechase, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

Welcome Regina Jeffers for the first time at My Vices and Weaknesses. You may have read some of her books as she has been writing for a long time. However, today she is telling us a lot about her latest published novel: Elizabeth Bennet’s Gallant Suitor. She has also shared an excertp where Darcy and C0lonel Fitzwilliam are pretty smitten 😀

Let´s start with a bit of history as it is something relevant on this excerpt and story.

Steeplechase has its origins in an equine event in 18th-century Ireland, as riders would race from town to town using church steeples — at the time the most visible point in each town — as starting and ending points (hence the name steeplechase). Riders would have to surmount the various obstacles of the Irish countryside: stone walls, fences, ditches, streams, etc.

As the name might suggest, that very first race took place in 1752 between two steeples in rural county Cork in the south of Ireland. These types of races are often called “point-to-point” races. At that time, church steeples were among the tallest buildings in the landscape. Two men, Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake, made a bet between them, to race from Saint John’s Church in Buttevant to Saint Mary’s Church in Doneraile, which was approximately 4 miles. However, it was 4 miles across the countryside, crossing rivers and streams and walls, etc. Although we do not know the winner’s name, he was to earn a prize of 600 gallons of port.

In 1839, the British Grand National race at Aintree was established, a race that is still run today over roughly the same distance of around 4 miles.

In my newest Austen-inspired story, Elizabeth Bennet’s Gallant Suitor, Bingley has taken Netherfield for the customary reasons of a “gentleman” owning an estate, but he is also developing a line of thoroughbreds (his real passion, not farming). He has had some hard times, of late, of which you must read the story to know something of their nature, for they are essential to the plot, but he has a chance to turn things around if his Arabian mare can win a race designed for fillies. In the scene below, Darcy and Elizabeth are attending the race. Earlier, they have instructed Bingley’s rider on how to approach the race.

Other Sources:

About Steeplechasing 

Britannica

The Course of Chasing

Queen’s Cup

Wikipedia 

Elizabeth Bennet will not tolerate her dearest sister Jane being coerced into marriage. Yet, how she will prevent the “inevitable”? Jane, after all, has proven to be the granddaughter of Sir Wesley Belwood, a tyrannical baronet, who means to have his say in Jane’s marriage in order to preserve the family bloodlines. When Colonel Fitzwilliam appears at Stepton Abbey as the prospective groom, Elizabeth must join forces with the colonel’s cousin, a very handsome gentleman named Mr. Darcy, to prevent the unwanted betrothal. 

Lacking in fortune and unconventionally handsome, Elizabeth Bennet is willing to risk everything so her beloved sister may have a happily ever after, even if Elizabeth must thwart all of Sir Wesley’s plans, as well as those of Mr. Darcy. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy meant to flirt with the newly named Miss Belwood himself to prevent the girl’s marriage to his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, but one glance to Miss Elizabeth Bennet has Darcy considering everything but his cousin’s fate. Miss Elizabeth thought him a wastrel, but when incidents throw them together, they must combine forces to fight for love for the colonel, for Jane, and maybe, even for themselves.

 Excerpt from Chapter Seventeen

He was about to go looking for Fitzwilliam himself when his cousin turned the corner with Miss Mary on his arm. Yet, Darcy’s gaze looked beyond the pair to the two women who followed his cousin, specifically to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Like it or not, his breathing hitched higher in anticipation of being in the lady’s company again.

However, before his cousin and the ladies reached him, he heard his name and turned to view Miss Bingley’s approach, along with Mr. Waverley. “Darcy, darling,” she cooed when the pair stepped before him. She caught his arm and rose up on her toes as if to kiss his cheek. Immediately, he stepped back and nearly took a tumble off the viewing stands. Yet, another’s hand grasped his firmly, and he quickly righted himself. “Thank you,” he said before realizing whose hand he still held, for a familiar “zing” slid up his arm, identifying the owner. Rather than release Miss Elizabeth’s hand immediately, he brought it to rest on his arm. “I thought perhaps you had become lost, my dear,” he said as he tugged her closer.

“The journey from the abbey took longer than we expected. The roads were quite crowded,” she explained.

“As long as you and your family arrived safely, I am well satisfied,” he declared without looking to Miss Bingley, whose irritation seemed to seep off her skin and fill the air with a foul odor.

As if Miss Elizabeth understood his purpose, she assured, “Mr. Farrin is a most excellent coachman. Thank you for the use of your carriage.”

“My pleasure,” he said and meant it. Unable to avoid Miss Bingley further, he said to Elizabeth, “Forgive me for my poor manners. You are, I understand, previously acquainted with Miss Bingley, but permit me to provide you the acquaintance of her betrothed, Mr. Waverley. Waverley, I imagine you know my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.”

Waverley bowed and Fitzwilliam simply nodded. From the look on his cousin’s face, the colonel did not approve of Waverley’s wayward eye as the man took in the figure of each of the Bennet sisters, including Miss Mary, whose fuller figure appeared to catch Waverley’s attention. Darcy nearly had forgotten to finish the introduction when Waverley also eyed Miss Elizabeth with a lecherous look.

“Waverley,” he said a bit louder to draw the man’s attention from the Bennet sisters. “These lovely ladies are Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, and Miss Katherine Bennet. They are cousin to the Fitzwilliam family, and, therefore, to me,” he said in warning tones. “In fact, we expect Lord Matlock to join us later. Fitzwilliam’s brother Lindale already makes up one of our party. He travels in a separate coach.” Having dropped enough names to steer Waverley away from the ladies, Darcy said, “As I know Bingley likely arranged for you to watch the race with him, we will wish your family the best for today. Thank you for stopping to greet us.”

“Naturally,” Miss Bingley said, with some sharpness in her tone as he returned her hand to Waverley’s arm. “Perhaps we will have time to converse later.”

“Perhaps,” he said cryptically.

With the lady’s departure, they all released a collective sigh of relief. Darcy glanced to Miss Elizabeth to note a smile of amusement upon her lips. “You possess my gratitude for keeping me from harm, my dear,” he said with a lift of his eyebrows in challenge.

Without guile, Miss Kitty said, “I thought Miss Bingley meant to kiss you, Mr. Darcy. Such would have been something, would it not?” She glanced to her sisters before adding, “A true lady would never be so bold.”

“Exactly,” he said. “Such is the reason I stepped away from her.”

Kitty meant to comment further, but Elizabeth diverted her attention. “Assist me in keeping an eye out for Lord Lindale’s party and for Papa.”

“Papa despises London because of how crowded it is. I am surprised he would agree to stop in St Albans,” Kitty observed.

“I believe he and Lord Matlock will travel together. Naturally, his lordship will want to speak to the colonel and Lord Lindale before they all travel to Stepton,” Elizabeth explained.

“Papa will also travel to Stepton, will he not?” Miss Kitty began to understand. “Does such mean we will be returning to Longbourn later this evening?”

“I imagine it will be tomorrow,” Elizabeth disclosed, and Darcy knew dismay equal to the one marking her younger sister’s features. He had always known the actual date of their parting, but the idea did not please him as well as he thought it would.

He was quick to say, “In addition to the race and the theatre groups we saw previously, I understand a gypsy troupe has set up beyond the city grounds. What say to a dancing bear and a man supposedly as wide as he is tall?”

The girl said in amazement, “I have never seen either, nor have I viewed a real-life gypsy.”

“The race will last less than an hour. We will have the remainder of the day to enjoy the entertainments,” he assured.

“Thank you, Mr. Darcy,” she said with a large smile, which reminded him the girl was likely Georgiana’s age. Her enthusiasm was more understandable in those terms.

Elizabeth instructed, “We should claim a place to watch the race. This crowd will be enormous and likely quite rowdy.”

“You three will remain between the colonel and me,” Darcy explained. “Keep your reticules in a pocket, and, if possible, tie it to your wrist. People will take advantage of the unsuspecting and those not aware of their surroundings.”

Miss Katherine’s eyes grew in size, but, ironically, neither Miss Elizabeth’s nor Miss Mary’s appeared frightened. “Prepared,” Miss Mary announced, as she noted the string about her wrist, and the colonel declared, “Such is my sensible lady,” although Darcy was certain his cousin wished to say something more personal of the young woman.

They moved around on the narrow viewing stands to sit in close proximity. When Miss Katherine turned to speak to Miss Mary and the colonel, Miss Elizabeth softly asked, “Did you encounter trouble last evening?”

“It was nothing,” he said in order to protect her, but the lady’s frown deepened in disapproval.

“From the beginning of our acquaintance, sir, we have each spoken from our heart, whether what we said was ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’ I would prefer you did not attempt to protect me now,” she argued. She removed her hand from his arm and meant to stand to leave.

Darcy caught her hand to prevent her from leaving his side. “I shot a man who meant to kill Fitzwilliam,” he rasped. The idea of what occurred still troubled him.

She settled again immediately and caught his hand in her two. Leaning closer, she said, “Tell me. If you do not speak of your terror, it will eat at your conscience.”

He nodded his head and turned so the others could not hear him. Perhaps if he took her advice, the nightmare from last evening would no longer trouble him. “A man broke into the stable. Fitzwilliam confronted him. Meanwhile, I was to the side and in the shadows.”

She caressed the back of his hand, and it was as if he could feel the warmth of her hand through the gloves they both shared. “Your actions were necessary.”

“I know,” he said with a gentle smile. It felt good to have someone to comfort him. It seemed since his father’s death, everyone looked to him for support, and being “strong” all the time, in his opinion, became old quick.

“Did you kill him?” she asked in concern.

Darcy chuckled. “The colonel says I closed my eyes, but I swear I did not respond as he described. I am certain I squinted to see better.”

Miss Elizabeth bit her lip in an attempt to keep from bursting into laughter, and soon, he, too, was suppressing his desire to laugh aloud. “I shot him in the arm, and he is in the local gaol,” he managed to say through several snickers.

“About what are you two talking?” Miss Kitty asked with a frown.

Miss Elizabeth giggled, and Darcy thought it was the most delightful sound he had ever heard. Here he was laughing at himself and how upset he had been, first, actually to have shot another person, and, secondly, to be upset with his cousin teasing him. He never laughed at himself: His parents often told him he was always too serious.

Miss Elizabeth explained, “Just how hard it is to hit a target with one’s eyes closed.”

“I do not understand,” Miss Katherine said.

Miss Elizabeth presented the girl a quick one-arm hug about her shoulders. “Neither do we, my pet,” she said. “We are simply enjoying the day and being together.”

Miss Kitty still looked puzzled, but she turned her attention to the paddock. “Look,” she pointed. “Is that not Toby speaking to Mr. Bingley? I did not know Toby was working for Mr. Bingley now.”

Not wishing others to know of their manipulation, Miss Elizabeth quieted her sister. “Toby is only assisting Mr. Bingley until Papa returns.”

“Why is he and Bingley’s T wearing crimson and gold?” she asked. “See the blanket on the horse and the shirt Toby wears.”

Darcy leaned around Miss Elizabeth to speak to the girl. “Mr. Bingley has registered his horse with The Jockey Club. Those are the colors associated with the registration. See all Bingley’s men have an armband of the same color, and, earlier, we noted Mr. Bingley wore a gold and red waistcoat under his jacket.”

When Miss Kitty turned to repeat some of what he had just shared to Miss Mary, Miss Elizabeth asked, “Is Toby too young? The other riders appear much older than he is.”

“The other riders did not have the care, the expertise, and the encouragement of Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” he assured privately. “The boy will become a man today.”

Miss Kitty made a totally unrelated observation. “Jane and Lydia and his lordship will miss the race if they do not arrive soon.”

The colonel said in a deadpan manner, “I constantly tell Lindale only Brummell spends more time before a mirror than does he. I have all this regalia to deal with and still manage to be on my second plate at the morning table before my brother makes a showing.”

All three women smothered their laughter behind their gloved hands, but quickly swallowed their mirth when Toby strode across the paddock to where Bingley’s T stood in majestic glory.

“He looks as if he is eager to begin the race,” Miss Mary noted.

One of Mr. Bingley’s grooms caught Toby’s bent knee and tossed the youth into the saddle, where Toby caught the reins from another groom’s hand and tapped Bingley’s T’s sides with his heels to set the horse in motion. Proudly, both the horse and rider moved together in perfect rhythm toward the starting line. Both held their heads high. It was truly a sight to see, and the crowd took note.

Two men dressed in bright red hunting coats stood on opposite sides of the track. Stretched between them, they held a long red ribbon, marking the starting line. Faster than expected, twenty-one fillies claimed places behind the ribbon. Some danced in place in anticipation of the start. Others stood perfectly still. Bingley’s T was one of the latter.

“Is she not magnificent?” Miss Elizabeth whispered.

Instead of the greyish-white Arabian pawing the earth, Darcy studied the myriad of emotions crossing the lady’s countenance. “Yes, truly magnificent,” he said on a poorly disguised sigh.

The moment all the horses had reached the supposed line, the two men dropped the ribbon, which was followed by an echoing “Hi-ya!” filling the air. Toby, as if in a well-practiced dance move mimicked by the rest of the field, brought his knees up higher, leaned forward over Bingley’s T’s neck, and pushed his weight into the stirrups to set the horse in motion.

A shout from the crowd announced the race had begun.

What do you think? First of all, you may know by now that I really enjoy when something like this is done to Miss Bingley. However, there is more! Darcy and Elizabeth, Colonel and Mary *sigh* I am interested in knowing how all of this has come to happen after reading the blurb, aren´t you?

Why not buying the book? I have ust bought it! It is free to read on Kindle Unlimited and below you have some links:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon DE BookBub

Regina Jeffers has two ebook copies of Elizabeth Bennet’s Gallant Suitor available for two winners from the people who comment on this post. Good luck!

The giveaway is worldwide and it finishes on the 11th of October.

“An Appearance of Goodness” by Heather Moll, travel, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very hapy to have again in my blog Heather Moll! She is bringing us her latest published book and it looks so so good! I am even more eager to read it after I have (finally!!) read her Nine Ladies. If you have read it, you know it is very different from An Appearance of Goodness, but it is a great read (like the other ones I have read by her).

However, we should focus on An Appearance of Goodness. What do you think of the blurb…

CAN A DERBYSHIRE MEETING LEAD TO LOVE OR
WILL PEMBERLEY BE PLUNGED INTO MYSTERY?

In the rainy summer of 1812, Mr Darcy returns to Pemberley with a large party in the hopes that coming home will help him recover from the disappointment of his failed proposal. He lost Elizabeth Bennet’s good opinion, but Darcy did all he could to rectify his errors. Meanwhile, Elizabeth hopes that travelling with her newlywed sister and Bingley will raise her spirits and distract her from thoughts of Darcy.
When a misunderstanding causes the Bingley party and Darcy’s to spend a fortnight together at Pemberley, both Elizabeth and Darcy wonder if the other could love them. When the season’s wet and cold weather causes flooding throughout Derbyshire, Darcy’s attention reluctantly shifts from his guests–and Elizabeth–to managing the tragedy.
But when someone drowns and Darcy refuses to believe their death was an accident from the storm, he and Elizabeth must work together to uncover the truth before his houseguests leave, and before anyone else gets hurt.

Content note: mature content, mild violence.

What do you think? Not only love but a mystery!

Let me (re)introduce you to Heather Moll. You can also follow her on social media or get her newsletter too (links below)

Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of An Appearance of Goodness, An Affectionate Heart, Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her
husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write.

Newsletter Website Facebook
Instagram Twitter Book Bub
Goodreads Amazon Link Tree (all her links)

Why did I put “travel” on the title of this post? Heather Moll is bringing us more than an excerpt, and what a lovely, cute excerpt! *sigh*

Welcome back, Heather!

Thank you for the warm welcome Ana! My P&P variation An Appearance of Goodness takes place in Derbyshire in the summer after Darcy’s failed proposal. I went to Derbyshire in the summer of 2019, and no trip to the Peak is complete without a visit to Dovedale—so of course Elizabeth and Darcy have to visit in the book.

The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Dovedale is a 3 mile section of the Dove valley—between the village of Milldale at the northern end and a hill called Thorpe Cloud at the south—that contains spectacular limestone gorge scenery.

picture from https://thirdeyetraveller.com/dovedale-stepping-stones-peak-district/

Although tourism to Dovedale exploded with the Victorians (they were the ones who put in the famous stepping stones) it was already popular with the Georgians. Tour guides were filled with details about what to see and where to stay, and when the Gardiners visit Derbyshire in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy persevere through an awkward conversation about Matlock and Dovedale.

Upstream from the stepping stones are large limestone formations with names like Dovedale Castle, Lover’s Leap, Tissington Spires, and Reynards cave. The caves have had human activity since 13000 BCE, and there’s evidence across Dovedale of Bronze age activity.

picture from https://peakdistrictwalks.net/dovedale-walk-bunster-hill-thorpe-cloud/

You get the classic view of the lower section of Dovedale from the top of Thorpe Cloud. A pivotal scene in An Appearance of Goodness takes place when Darcy and Elizabeth climb it.

In this excerpt, Darcy is taking some of his guests and his sister to Dovedale. There’s been terrible flooding at Pemberley and everyone has finally convinced Darcy it’s not the end of the world if he takes one afternoon off to have some fun. Hester is the sister of one of Darcy’s friends and Elizabeth is eager to grab a moment alone with Darcy to hint about how she feels about him now.

The road through the small village of Thorpe was along open pastures winding around the base of a mount that seemed to guard the entrance to Dovedale. Elizabeth raised her eyes to the perpendicular rocks across its summit. That would give a fine view of the Dove through the dale below.

“I was in hopes the road would be passable, but they tell me we cannot ford the river near Bunster Hill,” Darcy said by way of apology when they alighted. “The late flood carried away the bridge over which we were to drive and left a great hole in the bank in its place.”

Everyone declared that they had nothing to say against walking the last mile. They fell into pairs to walk along the margin of the river, with the Darcys insisting that she and Hester take the lead. The valley left room for little more than a channel of the river with a footpath along its banks. The wet season had caused the water to rise, nearly flooding the Staffordshire side and leaving only a small space to walk on the Derbyshire side.

The character of Elizabeth’s first view of Dovedale was pure grandeur. The hills swelled boldly from both sides of the river and their majestic summits seemed to be amongst the clouds. The river was still high, and they walked past a few intrepid anglers. It was a splendid scene, with water breaking over fragments of stone, and trees framing the river.

Near the same high hill she had seen from the carriage, they found themselves enclosed in a narrow and deep dale where the river bent sharply. Elizabeth and Hester stopped and raised their eyes to observe on one side many craggy rocks above one another to a vast height, and on the other an almost perpendicular ascent covered with grass and a few sheep.

“What do you think?” Miss Darcy asked her and Hester. “The area is celebrated for its wild and fantastic appearance.”

“Derbyshire is beautiful,” Hester said, breathlessly, turning to look to the other side of the Dove.

Elizabeth saw Darcy hiding a smile. Colonel Fitzwilliam laughed and stepped nearer to Hester. “It certainly is”—he took her by the shoulders and turned her to face the other side—“but that is Staffordshire. This is the Derbyshire side of the river.”

They all laughed, even Hester, and Elizabeth noticed that she did not shrug off Colonel Fitzwilliam’s hands or step away after he removed them.

The others talked of the rock formations farther upstream that they must see, but Elizabeth’s attention returned to the grand limestone hill.

“That is Thorpe Cloud,” Darcy said, coming away from the river to stand near her.

“Is it so named because it seems high enough to touch the clouds?”

He smiled. “No, sadly. Your reason would be more fitting for such a location. Cloud is simply a corruption of clud, an Anglo-Saxon word for a large rock or hill.”

“That is dull,” she said, turning to face him, “but we cannot blame it for its name.” She craned her neck to take it in again. “How high is it?”

“’Tis a moderate-sized hill.” He shrugged, looking at it with her. “Nearly a thousand feet?”

“For those of us from Hertfordshire, I would call that a mountain,” she cried.

Darcy laughed. “Then it is a shame you do not live in Derbyshire.”

He turned from looking at Thorpe Cloud to look at her, still with a smile on his face. Elizabeth thought of the unintended meaning behind his words. “Yes,” she said, looking into his eyes, “it is.” Comprehension seemed to strike him, and his amused expression turned tender. “I think,” she added softly so no one else could hear, “I could enjoy living here very much.”

Dovedale is a beautiful place, but you’ll have to read An Appearance of Goodness to see if the romantic setting pans out for Darcy and Elizabeth.

I like this excerpt and how Darcy can make fun or a little joke about Elizabeth not living in Derbyshire, and how she takes the opportunity to say what she needs and what he wants to hear.

What about buying the book? Some links where you can check it:

Amazon US Amazon DE Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon ES

Much more to discover on the rest of the blog tour. Have fun!

Heather Moll is bringing a worldwide swag giveaway!

A signed paperback copy of “An Appearance of Goodness”
Two stickers from Pemberley Papers
Pink Jane Austen notebook

How to participate?

The giveaway is open from 10/03/2022 through 10/12/2022.
Giveaway is open worldwide.
The winner will be announced on social media and Heather´s blog on October 13, 2022
Leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to my newsletter to enter.
Blog participants have the option of using the link to the giveaway form
on Rafflecopter, or imbedding the form in their post.

Rafflecopter – An Appearance of Goodness

“Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix” by Lari Ann O’Dell, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

Apologies for not having published this post on the day of the tour, but I simply lost track of time!

However, that does not make this book less interesting! Maybe even more because you are up for a treat! We have a short but juicy excerp!

A phoenix brings them together. Will a curse keep them apart?

When the hauntingly beautiful song of a phoenix lures Elizabeth Bennet to the Netherfield gardens, she has a vision of an unknown gentleman. He whispers her name with such tenderness that she wonders if this man is her match. Unfortunately, her gift of prophecy has never been exactly reliable.

Mr. Darcy is a celebrated fire mage, the master of Pemberley, and the man from her vision. But he is not tender; he is haughty, proud, and high-handed. His insult of her during the Summer Solstice celebration makes her determined to dislike him in spite of her love for Dante, his phoenix familiar.

After Mr. Darcy is called away by his duties, Elizabeth’s magic runs wild, and it is only their reunion at Rosings that offers her any hope of controlling it. They are drawn together by their love of magical creatures and their affinity for fire. But Elizabeth soon has another vision about Mr. Darcy, one that may portend a grave danger to his life.

Can Darcy and Elizabeth overcome misunderstandings, curses, and even fate itself?

He is in danger? Why? Who? I am not sure I like that part 😉

Lari Ann O’Dell first discovered her love of Pride & Prejudice when she was eighteen. After reading a Pride & Prejudice variation she found in a closing sale at a bookstore, she said, “This is what I want to do.” She published her first novel, Mr. Darcy’s Kiss, two years later.

Born and raised in Colorado, she attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing. After graduating college, she wrote and published her second novel, Mr. Darcy’s Ship. Her third novel, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, is her first supernatural variation, and she is working on two more fantasy variations. She is now back at school and pursuing a degree in Nursing. She adores her three beautiful nephews, Hudson, Dean, and Calvin. She enjoys reading, singing, and writes whenever she can. 

Why not following her and check what she is up to?

Twitter Amazon Author Page Goodreads Author Page

 Facebook Author Page

I’m very happy to be back at My Vices and Weaknesses to talk about my new fantasy Pride & Prejudice variation, Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix.

While I was writing this book, I decided to try something new. I am one of the moderators for the Fantasy Reads for Austen Fans Facebook group, and as a group, we decided to do a big reader giveaway. I gave away a cameo appearance to a reader. I had already had a minor character planned out in need of a name, so I was all set.

The character was a maid at Hunsford, who had previously worked at Rosings. She was part of a storyline that was ultimately cut from the final draft. The maid, Denisse, knew a terrible secret about Lady Catherine, and was sent away from the house because of her knowledge. Years later, she returned to Kent and sought a position at Hunsford with the goal of exposing Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine’s secret was supposed to be that she traded her daughter to the fay folk in exchange for a weak changeling. In the early drafts, the real Anne de Bourgh returned and wanted to kill her mother. She was going to work with Denisse the maid to do so. During this mission, she interferes with Darcy and Elizabeth as they are staying at Rosings and Hunsford. And it all came to a head in the climax. But this storyline was ultimately cut.

In the published version, Lady Catherine still has a secret, and her role in the climax stayed the same for the most part. However, with cutting the Anne de Bourgh as a changeling child storyline, I didn’t need Denisse.

Luckily, there was another character; a wood nymph who had a few scenes with Darcy and Elizabeth in Hertfordshire. I changed her name from Ivy to Whitley for my cameo, and altered her scenes slightly. She was a really fun minor character to write and I liked giving a cameo to one of my readers. It is certainly something I will consider doing in future books.

            Now I would like to share one of Whitley’s scenes. It takes place while Elizabeth is tending to Jane at Netherfield. Whitley and Elizabeth have some differing opinions of the gentlemen staying at Netherfield, and as always, the fay folk cannot lie. The gentlemen in question also make an appearance. I hope you all enjoy reading the scene.

The following afternoon, Jane urged Elizabeth to quit the sickroom and enjoy the fine summer day. Elizabeth was happy to allow her sister some time for solitude, and had been itching to stretch her legs.

            Miss Bingley had come to deliver another dose of the healing draught she had brewed. She spent an hour in conversation with Jane, only including Elizabeth when it was unavoidable. Elizabeth could not but find Miss Bingley’s behavior amusing, though what Elizabeth had done to earn that lady’s dislike, she could only guess. But even Miss Bingley’s supercilious attitude could not dampen her eagerness to enjoy an hour or two in Netherfield’s beautiful gardens.

            As she sat and watched the wood nymphs toil in the garden, she spoke to one of them, a delicate creature with pale green skin and golden hair, fluttering inches above the ground with iridescent wings. “Might I have a moment of your time?” Elizabeth asked, bowing her head respectfully. While mortals and fay were experiencing a time of peace, Elizabeth had been born in a year fraught with tension, and thus had been raised to treat the fay folk with due reverence and respect.

            “Aye, miss,” the wood nymph said in a high, tinkling voice, staring at here with wide amber eyes.

“Thank you. What is your name?”

“I am called Whitley. What can I do for you?” Nymphs tended to speak in cultured tones.

            “How do you like the new master of Netherfield, Whitley?”

            “I have lived at Netherfield my whole life, miss, and never have I met with a more pleasant human male. It is good to have a nature mage in residence again.”

            “And he treats the fay of Netherfield well?”

            “Indeed,” Whitley said, but then her eyes narrowed. “I cannot say the same for the ladies who accompanied him. They do not approve of us, though it is they who are the newcomers. We did not invade their home. We have seen many masters come and go.”

            “I am sorry to hear that,” Elizabeth said, but it was not wholly unexpected. “What of the other gentlemen?”

            Whitley tipped her regal head to the side. “The fat one pays us no mind. But the injured one is good company. He plays in the fountains with the young ones, using his power over water to entertain them. And the tall one—well, he is reserved, it is true. But he is master of the phoenix. His magic is old and revered. A phoenix would never bind itself to a man who does not have a deep respect for the fay.”

            It did not fit into the first impression she had taken of the high-handed Mr. Darcy. But the fay folk did not lie. It was not in their nature.

            “You do not believe me, miss,” Whitley observed. “You have resentment in your heart. You would do well to let that go.”

            Elizabeth gaped at the nymph, but Whitley only giggled. “He is very handsome, miss. More so than Mr. Bingley. And your magic echoes his.”

            Elizabeth did not understand how the nymph could possibly know that, but arguing with her was pointless. Not wanting to offend Whitley, she said in soft tones, “I appreciate your insight, but I have taken too much of your time.”

          Whitley smiled, her teeth brilliantly white. “It was no trouble, miss. But look, the tall one and his kin approach.”

            And indeed, the sound of hoofbeats pervaded the silent tranquility of the garden.

            “Miss Elizabeth!” cried Colonel Fitzwilliam as he dismounted. “How wonderful to see you. How does your sister fare this afternoon?”

            “She is recovering admirably. It is my hope that we shall not trespass upon Mr. Bingley’s hospitality for more than another day.”

            Colonel Fitzwilliam grinned. “Though I am not the master of Netherfield, I do not believe anyone could accuse you or Miss Bennet of trespassing. Bingley is thrilled to have you both as his guests.”

            “You are too kind,” Elizabeth said. “But I am sure my company is not tempting enough for everyone.” She glanced sharply over Colonel Fitzwilliam’s shoulder.

            Mr. Darcy caught her eyes, the briefest expression of guilt darkening his features. It was gone as quickly as it had appeared however, and he resumed his stoic mien. “Miss Elizabeth, I hope we find you well.”

            “Quite tolerable, sir,” Elizabeth said pertly.

            Colonel Fitzwilliam appeared embarrassed on his cousin’s behalf, obviously recalling Mr. Darcy’s words.

            “We shall not intrude upon your peace,” Mr. Darcy said.

            “No, no. You may stay in the garden. I should return to my sister, in any case. I shall see you both at dinner. Good day.” Elizabeth hurried off, the tips of her fingers tingling with energy. What was it about being in Mr. Darcy’s presence that aggravated her so? Whitley had called it resentment, but Elizabeth had never considered herself to be of a resentful temperament. She would have to calm herself before dinner. It would not do to lose control in company, and just now, she longed to cast a spell, though what kind and for what purpose, she knew not.

Thank you very much for the explanation about Whitley and I can see how funny she must be to write. I really like how clearly she gives her opinion!

What about buying the book? I want to read how Darcy insuled her, even if I can see it is the same or almost the same as the original. However, having Colonel Fitzwilliam there is a plus for me.

 Amazon US     Amazon CA Amazon ES

 Amazon UK Amazon DE Amazon IT

More of Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix on the other stops of the blog tour. Enjoy them all!

August 18 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

August 19 Austenesque Reviews

August 22 Babblings of a Bookworm

August 23 My Jane Austen Book Club

August 25 From Pemberley to Milton

August 26 My Vices and Weaknesses

August 30 Savvy Verse and Wit

Lari O’Dell is giving away 4 eBook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix. The giveaway is worldwide and will end at midnight central time, September 1st.

Click on the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix

“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!

 Blog  Facebook

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.

%d bloggers like this: