Winner of “When Charlotte became Romantic” by Victoria Kincaid

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

Apologies for taking so long to select a winner.

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

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley, excerpt and guest post

Hello to all of you!

Lately we have Charlotte as a main character and I am personally very glad about it. Although she may not be my favourite character from Pride and Prejudice (as if I could choose only one…), I definitely like Miss Lucas or Mrs Collins. However, when she is Mrs Collins I tend to pity her even if it was her choice. Apparently, Molly Greeley’s latest book may be more into the latter.

Let me introduce you to Molly Greeley, the author of the book I am presenting you today: The Clergyman’s Wife.

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents’ floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. A graduate of Michigan State Molly Greeley Author Photo 1University, she began as an Education major, but switched to English and Creative Writing after deciding that gainful employment was not as important to her as being able to spend several years reading books and writing stories and calling it work.

She lives in Traverse City, Michigan with her husband and three children, and can often be found with her laptop at local coffee shops.

Her first novel is forthcoming from William Morrow in December 2019. 

If you would like to follow Molly, you can do it here:

Website            Facebook          Twitter           Goodreads           HarperCollins

Let’s have a look at the blurb straightaway:

In this Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel, not everyone has the luxury of waiting for love.

Charlotte Collins, née Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine.

In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life  Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

What do you think? She is already married!! OMG! Is there a lot of angst? Is there a happy ending? Poor Charlotte!

Let’s see how you like part of the prologue of this book:

Excerpt

Prologue
Autumn 

Mr. Collins walks like a man who has never become comfortable with his height: his shoulders hunched, his neck thrust forward. His legs cross great stretches of ground with a single stride. I see him as I pass the bedroom window, and for a moment I am arrested, my lungs squeezing painfully under my ribs, the pads of my fingers pressed against the cool glass. The next moment, I am moving down the stairs, holding my hem above my ankles. When I push open the front door and step out into the lane, I raise my eyes and find Mr. Collins only a few feet distant.

Mr. Collins sees me and lifts his hat. His brow is damp with the exertion of walking and his expression is one of mingled anticipation and wariness. Seeing it, the tightness in my chest dissipates. Later, when I have time to reflect, I will perhaps wonder how it is possible to simultaneously want something so much and so little, but in the moment before Mr. Collins speaks, as I step toward him through the fallen leaves, I am awash in calm.

On the morning of my wedding, my mother dismisses the maid and helps me to dress herself. Lady Lucas is not a woman prone to excessive displays of emotion, but this morning her eyes are damp and her fingers tremble as she smooths the sleeves of my gown. It is only my best muslin, though newly trimmed at the bodice with lace from one of my mother’s old evening dresses. My father went to town the other day, returning with a few cupped hothouse roses, only just bloomed, to tuck into my hair this morning. He offered them to me, his face pink and pleased, and they were so lovely, so evocative of life and warmth even as winter grayed and chilled the landscape outside, that even my mother did not complain about the expense.

“Very pretty,” my mother says now, and I feel my breath catch and hold behind my breastbone. I cannot recall having heard those particular words from her since I was a small child. I look at my reflection in the glass and there see the same faults—nose too large, chin too sharp, eyes too close together—that I have heard my mother bemoan since it became apparent, when I was about fourteen, that my looks were not going to improve as I grew older. But the flowers in my hair make me appear younger, I think, than my twenty-seven years; I look like a bride. And when I look into my mother’s face now, I find nothing but sincerity.

My mother blinks too quickly and turns away from me. “We should go down,” she says. She makes for the door, then pauses, turning slowly to face me again. “I wish you every happiness,” she says, sounding as though she is speaking around something lodged in her throat. “You have made a very eligible match.” I nod, feeling my own throat close off in response, a sensation of helpless choking.

I am largely silent during the long, rocking ride into Kent. My new husband speaks enough for both of us; he has an astonishing memory for minutiae and discusses the wedding ceremony in such great detail that I find myself wondering whether he remembers that I was also in attendance. We left for my new home directly from the church; my family and a few friends all crowded, shivering in their cloaks and muffs, outside the entrance, waving as we were driven away. Maria, my sister, cried as I left; my brothers looked solemn, my father beamed, my mother smiled a tremulous smile. My friend Elizabeth’s smile looked as if it had been tacked in place, like a bit of ribbon pinned to a gown but not yet properly sewn on.

Mr. Collins’s awkward height is emphasized by the cramped conditions of the coach. His long legs stretch out before him as far as they can go, but he still appears to be uncomfortable. The hair at his temples is moist, despite the cold, and I have to glance hastily away, feeling a lurch in my stomach that has nothing to do with the jolting ride.

He is very warm beside me in bed. I watch him sleep for a time, tracing the relaxed lines of his face with my eyes and thinking how different he seems without the rather frantic energy he exudes in his waking hours. There is a tension about him, much of the time, that I did not recognize until this moment, until sleep removed it.

He introduced me when we arrived to the housekeeper, Mrs. Baxter, who is broad and pleasant, and to the gruff, graying manservant, John, whose powerful shoulders are built from years of labor. The parsonage itself is exactly as Mr. Collins described it: small, but neat and comfortable, with surrounding gardens that he assured me would be beautiful come spring. His eagerness to please me was matched by his inability to believe anyone might find fault with his home, and I found his manner at once endeared him to me and irritated me thoroughly.

Throughout the tour, he pointed out improvements here and there that had been the suggestion of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There were rather a lot of them.

At our bedchamber he paused with his palm against the door. “I hope . . . it suits,” he said, then opened the door and bowed me in.

The room was much like the rest of the house: comfortably furnished, if a trifle small. “Charming,” I said, and pretended not to notice the flush on his cheeks.

We ate dinner together. I had little appetite, despite the novelty of eating a meal in my own home that I had had no hand in preparing. Afterward, I considered suggesting we adjourn to the parlor but found I could not face the intervening hours between then and bed. Tomorrow I would unpack my books and my embroidery. I would write letters. I would meet Lady Catherine, for Mr. Collins assured me that lady had vowed to have us to tea when we returned to Kent; and I would begin to learn the duties of a clergyman’s wife. But tonight—I wanted only for tonight to be over.

“I am tired,” I said. “I think I will retire early.” Mr. Collins rose from his chair with alacrity. “A fine idea,” he said. “It has been a long day.” And to my consternation, he followed me up the stairs, his footsteps behind me a reminder that it will forever be his right to do with me as he pleases.

It is not so terrible, I think after, lying in the quiet dark watching my husband sleep. At my insistence, he allowed me time to change into my nightdress in private. And the rest was vaguely shocking, dreadfully uncomfortable, and far more mess than I had anticipated, but bearable. Mr. Collins, at least, seemed vastly pleased at the end, murmuring affectionate nonsense against my neck until he drifted off to sleep.

I wake before dawn, and for a moment I imagine I am still at home. There is a presence beside me in the bed, warm and heavy against my back, and I think it is my sister, Maria, until it lets out a gusty snore against the nape of my neck. My eyes open and I find myself staring at an unfamiliar wall covered in delicate floral paper. For a moment, I am held immobile by the weight of all the ways in which my life has changed. And then Mr. Collins— William—shifts in his sleep, one heavy arm reaching over my hip, his long fingers brushing my stomach, and I go rigid for the barest of instants. A moment later I force the stiffness from my body, allowing my spine to relax back against my husband’s chest. Exhaling the breath I had been holding, I wait for him to wake.

I will, no doubt, grow accustomed to mornings begun beside William. This is, after all, the life I chose.

If you are interested already on reading The Clergyman’s Wife, you can buy the book on:

HarperColllins           Amazon US     Amazon CA       BooksAMillion

Amazon UK (on pre-order, January for the paperback and March for the ebook)

Guest post

What does Molly say about The Clergyman’s Wife? Why Charlotte?

It took about a year of once-weekly writing sprints to finish my first novel, The Clergyman’s Wife, but the idea had been slowly germinating for a long time. I have, in fact, been thinking about Charlotte Lucas and her choice for more than twenty years, ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice. Back then I was ten years-old, and with a child’s understanding of what I read, my first and strongest reaction when Charlotte chose to marry Mr. Collins was complete revulsion. Mr. Collins was gross, and worse, he was a little bit stupid. Someone like Charlotte, who was friends with Elizabeth Bennet and therefore must be intelligent, would be miserable married to him. I agreed completely with Elizabeth’s first reaction to the news of her friend’s engagement: Charlotte had made a terrible mistake. But time, and many subsequent readings, softened my take on Charlotte’s decision, and as I grew up, she became the character in Pride and Prejudice who fascinated me most, her choice to marry Mr. Collins less horrifying than the circumstances that led to it.

Charlotte had neither money nor the means to earn any, and she had no beauty, which was, of course, its own form of currency. Even when she was young, the likelihood of attracting a husband equal to or above her in station was fairly slim, but as the years passed I imagined the constraints of her situation tightening around her like a net. The truly sad thing about Charlotte’s circumstances, I realized, was not so much that she married Mr. Collins but that she lived in a time when an intelligent, capable woman had only two choices: remain unmarried, and risk becoming a burden to her family, or accept the proposal of a man who could offer her security, even if he also happened to be a fool. Her story was all-too- common in Jane Austen’s time: the woman who married the most practical choice available, because a woman’s security, unless she was exceptionally fortunate, was always linked to the prosperity and generosity of the men in her life. The remarkable thing about Charlotte is that she set out to seduce Mr. Collins—not with her body, but with her attention and sympathy. Rather than wait passively for a man to notice her, she saw an opportunity and took it, and in doing so, she took charge of her own life in the only way available to her. I felt punched by the courage and, yes, selflessness of her decision, for in marrying the heir to Longbourn, she ensured that neither her parents nor her younger brothers had to worry about her future. We get so little of Charlotte’s inner world in Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted more.

The remarkable thing about Charlotte is that she set out to seduce Mr. Collins—not with her body, but with her attention and sympathy. Rather than wait passively for a man to notice her, she saw an opportunity and took it, and in doing so, she took charge of her own life in the only way available to her. I felt punched by the courage and, yes, selflessness of her decision, for in marrying the heir to Longbourn, she ensured that neither her parents nor her younger brothers had to worry about her future. We get so little of Charlotte’s inner world in Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted more. 

Austen tells Charlotte’s story mostly from Elizabeth’s perspective, with a few interjections from the novel’s nameless narrator, and Charlotte seems, above all else, calm, practical, and more than a bit calculating. But Elizabeth, as it turns out, is not actually the most astute judge of other people’s feelings and motivations. So I started thinking: what if Charlotte was just good at making the best of things, even if she didn’t feel as cheerful about them as she appeared? What if she was grateful enough for the security Mr. Collins offered her to be genuinely pleased with her new life when Elizabeth visited in Pride and Prejudice—but what if security was not enough to make her truly happy in the long run? What if she finally fell in love? Some of my favorite books take well-known stories and delve into the minds and hearts of characters who were peripheral to the original. Charlotte has never felt peripheral to me; even as a child, I couldn’t read Pride and Prejudice without having a visceral reaction to her story. It’s a story about a woman’s worth, a woman’s place in society. It’s about mothers and daughters, because it’s impossible to imagine Charlotte’s own worry about her prospects as the years pass without also imagining the strangling fear her mother must have felt, too. And it’s about love, or lack thereof, and what place it would have had in the lives of women who did not have a man with ten thousand a year waiting to rescue them from the terrifying uncertainty of the future. Such women, like Charlotte, had to rescue themselves.

Molly Greeley

I hope you have enjoyed Molly’s thoughts. What do you think about her?

Have a nice week 🙂

“When Charlotte Became Romantic” by Victoria Kincaid, character interview + giveaway

Dear all,

I hope you are doing well and looking forward to this interview! Victoria Kincaid is sharing her latest book: When Charlotte Became Romantic. Yes, Charlotte Lucas. Was she romantic after all?

In the original Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas marries the silly and obsequious clergyman, Mr. Collins.  But what if fate—and love—intervened?

Desperate to escape her parents’ constant criticism, Charlotte has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins despite recognizing his stupid and selfish nature.  But when a mysterious man from her past visits Meryton for the Christmas season, he arouses long-buried feelings and causes her to doubt her decision. 

James Sinclair’s mistakes cost him a chance with Charlotte three years ago, and he is devastated to find her engaged to another man.  Honor demands that he step aside, but his heart will not allow him to leave Meryton.  Their mutual attraction deepens; however, breaking an engagement is not a simple matter and scandal looms.  If they are to be happy, they must face her parents’ opposition, Lady Catherine’s disapproval, dangerous figures from James’s past…and Charlotte’s nagging feeling that maybe she should just marry Mr. Collins.   

Charlotte had forsworn romance years ago; is it possible for her to become romantic again?

Wait a minute… James Sinclair, who is him? What do you mean “cost him a chance with Charlotte”? I am bit stressed now. Let’s see if Charlotte can solve this mystery about Mr Sinclair. Enjoy the interview!

Q. Hello, Charlotte, it’s nice to meet you and congratulations on your engagement to Mr. Collins.

A. Thank you.

Q. Are you looking forward to moving to Kent and becoming a parson’s wife?

A. Of course. I am looking forward to establishing my own home and I hope to have many children.

Q. You’re not worried about how far Hunsford is from Lucas Lodge?

A. The distance is rather an advantage than otherwise.

Q. Interesting. And, tell me, how did Mr. Collins propose?

A. With a lot of words. He has quite a way with words.

Q. That’s one way to put it.Did he express his love and admiration?

A. Yes, of course.I believe he called me his petunia blossom. 

Q. And do you love him?

A. (After a pause.) I greatly admire and esteem him. I’m not romantic, you know.

Q. That’s an interesting claim. I was doing some research about your visit to Bath three years ago and I heard that there was a time in your life when you were quite romantic.

A. I do not know what you mean.

Q. I learned from a reputable source that you were once in love with a mysterious young man and accepted an offer of—

A. (Standing.) I will not answer that question!

Q. Will you just confirm or deny that—?

A. I was unaware that this was to be such a shockingly personal interview. You must write for a very disreputable publication.

Q. I’m sorry.I didn’t mean to offend you.  I simply wanted to know the truth about that visit to Bath three years—

A. This interview is at an end.(Gets up and leaves the room).

WOW! What has just happened? She just left the interview! She was not really receptive and pretty upset she went.

What do you think? Is she romantic after all? I know I already asked that question but I want to know more and the only way is reading When Charlotte Became Romantic.

You can buy this entertaining book on:

Amazon UK                Amazon US                   Amazon CA

For you to know Victoria a bit more, read the biography from her website:

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

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

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

If you want to follow Victoria Kincaid’s work, follow her on:

Website            Facebook           Twitter             Goodreads

time to give away winners

Victoria is kindly given an ebook copy of When Charlotte Became Romantic to a winner. This giveaway is international. To participate you need to comment on this post and you can get an extra point for each share in a different social media. The giveaway will end on the 8th of December at 11:59pm (CET). Good luck!

“The Watsons” by Rose Servitova, excerpt

Dear all,

I am glad to introduce you to a new author here at My Vices and Weaknesses, however, most of you may have read her before. Please, welcome Rose Servitova.Rose Servitova headshot

Irish author Rose Servitova is an award-winning humor writer, event manager, and job coach for people with special needs. Her debut novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr. Collins & Mr. Bennet, described as a ‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication in 2017. Rose enjoys talking at literary events, drinking tea and walking on Irish country roads. She lives in County Limerick with her husband, two young children and three indifferent cats. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Rose Servitova is presenting her latest book: The Watsons. She is completing this story that Jane Austen left incomplete and she has done a very good job. Just read this praise of the book:

“A gift for Austen fans everywhere – full of wit, informed imagination and palpable affection for Austen’s characters.” — Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society

“Very satisfying, sometimes moving and often laugh-out-loud hilarious.” — Jane Austen Regency World Magazine

For me these two opinions say loads, don’t you think? If you do not believe, reread those reviews again.

I will give you something else, here you have the description of the book:

Can she honour her family and stay true to herself?

Emma Watson returns to her family home after fourteen years with her wealthy and indulgent aunt. Now more refined than her siblings, Emma is shocked by her sisters’ flagrant and desperate attempts to ensnare a husband. To the surprise of the neighbourhood, Emma immediately attracts the attention of eligible suitors – notably the socially awkward Lord Osborne, heir to Osborne Castle – who could provide her with a home and high status if she is left with neither after her father’s death. Soon Emma finds herself navigating a world of unfamiliar social mores, making missteps that could affect the rest of her life. How can she make amends for the wrongs she is seen to have committed without betraying her own sense of what is right?

Jane Austen commenced writing The Watsons over two hundred years ago, putting it aside unfinished, never to return and complete it. Now, Rose Servitova, author of acclaimed humour title, The Longbourn Letters: The Correspondence between Mr Collins and Mr Bennet has finished Austen’s manuscript in a manner true to Austen’s style and wit.

Rose is inviting us to five into The Watsons a bit more with this interesting excerpt:

Emma looked in upon her father and found Mrs Ellingham quite at home in a low chair, wearing spectacles and reading aloud from a book.

“And now, Mr Watson, I will retire for a while to return to you later and finish this chapter.”

“Thank you Mrs Ellingham,” he replied. “You have been very kind.”

Placing a wick in the book to mark her page, Mrs Ellingham smiled at Emma before leaving the room and gently closing the door after her.

When he was sure that he heard her footsteps descending the stairs, Mr Watson began, “Really Emma, I do not know how you expect me to tolerate this woman? Is there any way to banish her from our home?”

“Father! It is only her second day. We believed you enjoyed her company. Has she been unkind?”

“Not unkind, if reading these dreadful novels is not considered unkind. I dislike them intensely. I had much rather be forever alone than in the company of a very bad book.”

Emma, relieved, laughed. “You must tell her, Father, and do so thoughtfully.”

“I did attempt to encourage her to read something from my own library but she found them dull and kept nodding off. So I have spent the past several hours in agony – hours that I have not to spare at this time of my life.”

“This would greatly injure her feelings. She has given her time to come here and cheer you,” said Emma while moving about the room, pushing back chairs and taking books from his bedside and placing them back on the bookshelf.

“And what of my time? Recall, my dear, what Shakespeare said ‘I wasted Time and now doth Time waste me.’ But, yes, yes, she is a kind and attentive old friend. And that being so, I had best find another way. I have been thinking, if I feel a little stronger tomorrow, I will come downstairs. In company, I should be safe. She will have no need to read to me. Yes, that is what I will do. I will listen to this hogwash this evening, while you are all at the ball and tomorrow afternoon, when you have returned, I will declare myself well enough to join you for dinner.”

“Father, such a scheme!”

“Illness is a dangerous indulgence at my time of life. My poor cousin! I no longer wonder at his moving onto his heavenly home at such a young age. The miracle is that he did not depart sooner.”

“I shall go now,” said Emma with a laugh, kissing him on his forehead, “and leave you to your fate.”

“Yes, you girls must go and enjoy your ball. I pray there will be a sufficient number of wealthy gentlemen who, in falling for your beauty, will kindly overlook your careless father’s inability to provide you with a dowry. You may tell me all on the morrow.”

Emma hesitated outside the closed door and sought to hear that noise which she had recently detected on leaving her father. It was the creaking noise of her father alighting from his bed, then moments later another creaking sound as he returned to it. She had learned that he regularly sought comfort from the log book which Emma had just now returned to the bookshelf. From his bed, she assumed, he would read with pleasure those entries which logged all his parish duties over thirty-three years and would be found later, lying on his coverlet, while he slept. Smiling at his mischievousness, Emma descended the stairs cheerier than when she had ascended it earlier and waited for the Edwardses’ carriage to arrive. (pages 100-102)

How are you liking it so far? Emma, but Watson this time, do not forget it!

If you would like to buy it, you can do it here:

Amazon US          Amazon UK         Amazon CA

Blog Tour

You are going to love this tour, please check the previous stops because it is very enjoyable!

November 18            My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)

November 18            Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

November 19            The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)

November 20            Austenesque Reviews (Review)

November 20            vvb32 Reads (Review)

November 21            All Things Austen (Review)

November 22            My Love for Jane Austen (Spotlight)

November 25            From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

November 25            Diary of an Eccentric (Interview)

November 26            So Little Time… (Excerpt)

November 27            Impressions in Ink (Review)

November 27            Babblings of a Bookworm (Spotlight)

November 28            More Agreeably Engaged (Review)

November 29            My Vices and Weaknesses (Excerpt)

November 29            The Fiction Addiction (Review)

“The Perfect Gentleman” by Julie Cooper, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all, please welcome Julie Cooper, the author of The Perfect Gentleman, a variation of the beloved Pride and Prejudice.

Julie Cooper, a California native, lives with her Mr Darcy (without the arrogance or the Pemberley) of nearly forty years, two dogs (one intelligent, one goofball), and Kevin the julie-cooper-photo-with-emmaCat (smarter than all of them.)  They have four children and three grandchildren, all of whom are brilliant and adorable, with the pictures to prove it. She works as an executive at a gift basket company and her tombstone will read, “Have your Christmas gifts delivered at least four days before the 25th.”  Her hobbies are reading, giving other people good advice, and wondering why no one follows it.

You can connect with Julie on Facebook.

I think the blurb of The Perfect Gentleman is going to be both confusing and, “I need the book now” at the same time. Enjoy!

’Tis no secret that Lizzy Bennet has dreams. The uniquely talented daughter of a woman with a dubious reputation, Lizzy knows she must make her own way in a world that shuns her. Fitzwilliam Darcy carries the stains of his family’s disgrace upon his soul and only by holding himself to the strictest standards has he reclaimed his place in society.

Now Georgiana Darcy has gone missing. If his fifteen-year-old sister cannot be found quickly, the scandal could destroy Darcy’s years of perfectbehaviour. Lizzy Bennet know just what to do to find Georgiana. She is willing to join the pursuit to get what she wants but will Darcy be willing to trust her with his secrets? And what will they do when the search for Georgiana reveals what neither expected to find?

The Perfect Gentleman is a romantic adventure so big it needs two volumes in one book. Follow the adventure in A Not-So-Merry Chase and discover the surprises and temptations that await at Pemberley in Love Wisely But Well.

What a twist, right? What do you think? Let me know on the comments. I am not sure how to analyse the blurb, even writing my “questions” seems lacking because the main one would be: what is going on with the disgrace and the dubious reputation???

Let’s get a bit more about this book… a lot more!

The Perfect Gentleman is the story, at its heart, of a man and a woman from separate social circles but with comparable inner-life experiences. This allows them to see each other differently than the rest of the world might. It does not mean, however, that they have an easy time convincing the world of the advisability of the match.

In this excerpt, we hear Charles Bingley, sent to play cupid’s assistant, try to explain to Lizzy’s family (who has always lived amidst scandal and scorn) a little bit about the great family she is marrying into, and how they might help prevent social disaster from befalling Our Dear Couple!

Excerpt from The Perfect Gentleman:
Jane looked up at him hopefully. “So…your friend, Mr Darcy…he is…a kindly gentleman?” she asked tentatively.

Charles’s brow furrowed. “Hmm. Kindly. Well, ’tis not that he is unkind. A right honourable gentleman, he is, but I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do.” His brow cleared. “Fret not. He is the busiest of men, terribly industrious, always doing three things at once. Excepting the Sabbath, of course. Which is why, if restlessness takes him, it happens then.”

“Oh, my,” Jane murmured.

He saw he had not achieved his object, which was to give a confident report of Darcy’s character. “Truly, ma’am, he is a splendid fellow.” He continued with a convoluted tale of how Darcy had walloped a regular bell swagger at Eton, thus rescuing the much younger Charles Bingley from a terrible drubbing. He noted she did not look much reassured, though he thought it a grand tale, himself.

“I say, don’t get yourself in a pucker,” he soothed. “I promise Darcy does not make a habit of getting himself yoked. He has had many an opportunity too, for he is known as one of the finest catches on the marriage mart. His uncle on his mother’s side is an earl, and the one on his father’s is the Bishop of Derby. No fears he cannot support her, what?”

“Oh, my,” Jane murmured again. “’Tis worse than I thought. I mean…not worse, precisely, but…our household situation is not quite…” She trailed off, plainly at a loss.

Charles was certain he knew the cause. “Darcy knows all about, um, your family history,” he said, unable to prevent his blush. He hurried on to the part of the plan he had practiced with his stepmother. “I have a letter here, from my mother-in-law. She is the sister of Thomas Bennet, which makes her Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s aunt, see?” he said eagerly.

Jane cautiously accepted the folded parchment, and smoothing it open upon her knee, read:

Longbourn House
Hertfordshire
28th May, 18—

Dear Mrs Bennet,

I send you the greetings of a long-lost sister. It grieves me to admit I only just learned of your marriage to my brother a few weeks past. The cause of said acknowledgement being a sad one, as Mr Bennet is ill, nigh unto death, and his marriage and most especially, his daughter, weigh heavily upon his conscience at the crossroads of his own mortality.

However, God works in mysterious ways. My son-in-law, Mr Charles Bingley, upon hearing the tale of your star-crossed marriage, sent his friend, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, who has relations in your city, to discover how you and your daughter fare.

I cannot say enough favourable regarding Mr Darcy. He is a prosperous gentleman, a great landowner, and true and faithful friend to my son since their days at Eton.

The situation, of course, is delicate. We would both, I am sure, wish to avoid any gossip attending the wedding of your daughter to such a great man as Mr Darcy. I feel confident Mr Bennet, were he well enough to understand the particulars, would acknowledge Elizabeth as he ought to have long ago. But he is not able to do much at present and it is left to us to settle what ought to be done now.

I beseech you: pray, come to Longbourn. I would beg a sisterly indulgence; except I have no right. I am sure you have suffered much as a result of my brother’s pride, but I will not hesitate to petition your mother’s heart, where pride has no place when it poses a barrier to the happiness of our children. Bring any and all members of your household, too, of course. But come quickly, for I know not how many hours Mr Bennet has left in this mortal realm, and I am certain reconciliation ought to be the dying wish of a father and husband.

Hopefully, Your Sister,

Margaret Bennet Bingley

Jane carefully refolded the letter. “Oh, my,” she said.

As is plain to see from this excerpt, challenges await our dear couple!

If you want to buy The Perfect Gentleman, you can do it, among other, here:

Amazon US        Amazon UK           Amazon CA            Amazon DE

Blog Tour

Enjoy much more about this intriguing book! Go and check the other stops on the tour.

the-perfect-gentlemen-tourbanner

time to give away winners

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on November 13th. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entries. Good luck!

“A Case of Some Delicacy” by KC Kahler, review + giveaway

Dear all,

I am glad to introduce you to a new author in My Vices and Weaknesses: KC Kahler. Although she is not a new author for me, as I have read some years ago, her first modern JAFF novel: Boots and Backpacks. A novel I found very interesting, not only because of the characters but also because of the descriptions and setting.

KC Kahler lives in northeastern Pennsylvania and works in online education, after having dabbled in sandwich making, bug collecting, and web development. She kckahlerdiscovered Jane Austen fan fiction in 2008 and soon began dabbling in writing her own.

KC blogs about Austen and other pop culture topics. In 2015 and 2017, her popular Austen + The Onion Headlines meme was featured in The AtlanticFlavorwire, and AV Club. In 2017, she made the requisite pilgrimage to Jane Austen country, where she took the waters in Bath, walked the lanes of Steventon, didn’t fall off the cobb in Lyme Regis, and stood awestruck in Chawton. 

KC’s first novel, Boots & Backpacks, was published in 2014. Her second, A Case of Some Delicacy, released in 2019.

If you are interested in following her, you can find her on so many different media:

Blog     Tumblr     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Goodreads    Amazon’s Author Page

What about knowing a bit about this novel? Here you have the blurb, a 150 words blurb that I hope intrigues you.

The heir of Longbourn offers his olive branch earlier…

Rumors of Jane Bennet’s impending betrothal to her cousin Mr. Collins are already spreading at the Meryton Assembly. But Elizabeth vows to prevent her dearest sister’s happiness from being sacrificed in marriage to the ridiculous parson, no matter how much Mrs. Bennet encourages the match.

A secret partnership formed…

After Mr. Darcy overhears an argument between Elizabeth and her father, he offers to help in her quest. She is desperate enough to accept assistance from the man who insulted her. They begin meeting secretly to strategize and, in the process, come to know and understand each other.

Eavesdropping abounds, cricket balls go astray, and romance blooms despite Mrs. Bennet’s poor matchmaking. All the Bennet sisters play roles in the altered events, some in surprising ways. Join the characters you already love on a fun romp in your favorite Hertfordshire neighborhood. 

Ready to buy it? You could do it on: Amazon US      Amazon UK      Amazon CA

Review

Cricket, that sport that I barely knew anything about until seven years ago. I still do not know much, although I kind of understand the 4s and the 6s but not much. Cricket, that sport that Mr Darcy plays as a pro! but also is played by Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr Bingley, and the Lucases, and Lydia Bennet too. What can a cricket game do to get one of our favourite couples together? It can do a lot of harm, mainly if a ball goes astray!

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Let’s start with the idea that “apparently” Mr Darcy abhors any kind of disguise… false! or at least, he should define “disguise” because he is pretty cheeky and a bit naughty in order to help Lizzie to help Jane. Let’s face it: Lizzie is quite oblivious to what she is getting into when she accepts Mr Darcy’s help, she seems a bit naive and he is far too keen to help. She thinks that this will be just something for him to entertain himself as he is not among the ton and the best society.

Things evolve easily, I really like how quick Darcy is and how he “organises” his help. Mr Collins is so obliged to him that he follows almost any advice that Darcy gives him, even if it includes being less time with his dear Cousin Jane.

A few things for you to know: cricket can be dangerous, going upstairs and downstairs with a twisted ankle can be entertaining, having Lydia looking up for a husband may be even beneficial, Anne de Bourgh can be really nice and understanding, Caroline Bingley is, as usual, annoying and Mr Bennet needs a good telling off.

Jealousy is a powerful tool, a very powerful one, it does not matter what way it goes. Misunderstandings are always going to be there for this couple and KC Kahler knows how to write them.

4.5out5 stars

Blog Tour

Really nice tour of A Case of Some Delicacy. Visit the other posts to get more opportunities on the giveaway but above all, to get to know much more about the book.

2nd of October Austenesque Reviews

3rd of October My Jane Austen Book Club

4th of October From Pemberley to Milton

7th of October Babblings of a Bookworm

8th of October Diary of an Eccentric

9th of October Savvy Verse & Wit

10th of October My Vices and Weaknesses

11th of October So little time

BlogTour

time to give away winners

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on October 18. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entries.

“The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion” by Don Jacobson, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very pleased for hosting Don Jacobson once more, and to reintroduce him to all of you. Don is a great author who has such an amazing mind that I cannot even imagine how all his ideas go around his brain and imagination without spilling out every five seconds. Don is back with his latest book on the The Bennet Wardrobe Series and I cannot be more excited. If you do not know what this series is about, let me try to describe it a bit: characters of our beloved Pride and Prejudice plus great new characters, time-travelling, strong family link, love and love and more love!

Do you understand what I mean? 😉 I am leaving you now with the blurb of The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion:

“My life has been very much like an unfinished painting. The artist comes to the portrait day-after-day to splash daubs of color onto bare canvas, filling in the blanks of my story. Thus grows the likeness, imperfect as it may be, which you see today.” Lydia Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock, letter to her sister Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, March 14, 1831.

Does it matter how a man fills out his regimentals? Miss Austen never considered that query. Yet, this question marks the beginning of an education…and the longest life…in the Bennet Wardrobe saga.

Lydia Bennet, Longbourn’s most wayward daughter, embarks on her quest in The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. This biography reveals how the Wardrobe helps young Mrs. Wickham learn that honor and bravery grow not from the color of the uniform—or the gender of its wearer—but rather from the contents of the heart.

In the process, she realizes that she must be broken and repaired, as if by a kintsugi master potter, to become the most useful player in the Bennet Wardrobe’s great drama.

The Pilgrim explores questions of love, loss, pain, worry, and perseverance. All of these are brought to bear as one of the silliest girls in England grows into the Dowager Countess.

This 151,000-word novel is the seventh, and next-to-last, volume in the Bennet Wardrobe Series. Each book along the way has revealed more about how the mysterious Wardrobe has led Miss Austen’s Bennets to learn that which they need in order to take part in its ultimate mission.

Lydia is pretty changed here, don’t you think? The fault is Don’s!

The Author

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series 

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)Don Jacobson Head Shot

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South due out in the Fall of 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and The Maid and The Footman” (2016) “Lessers and Betters” offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective.

He lives in the Las Vegas, Nevada area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.

His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days). Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

Excerpt

Chapter LIX

The Darcys and Lydia have repaired to Selkirk to attend the Matlock Harvest Ball some two weeks hence. As the guests arrive, they gather in the Great Parlor. Lydia has entered late, hoping to remain inconspicuous. There is, however, one guest, of great significance, who desires to make her acquaintance. 

The Countess took Lydia’s arm and led her toward the gathering at the room’s center, the crowds parting like the sea beneath Moses’ staff. At the end of the void rested a pair of chairs. In one sat Richard’s father, the Earl. In the other, though, reposed a man who, even sans regalia was clearly one of the leading men in the entire realm.

As the two ladies approached, he fixed Lydia with a hard stare and planted his cane vertically between his feet before clasping his hands atop its head to lever himself up to a standing position.

Lady Fitzwilliam at his nod initiated the British tradition, “My Lord, may I present to you Mrs. Lydia Wickham of Longbourn and Pemberley. Mrs. Wickham, may I present to you the Marquess of Anglesey, Lord Henry Paget. You may know of him, by his ancient title, as the Earl of Uxbridge.[i]

“My Lord, Mrs. Wickham is the widow of Captain George Wickham of the 33rd.”

Anglesey nodded, “My condolences on your loss, madam. As the Duke said, Wickham saved us all.

Lydia felt Richard arrive by her side. His presence comforted her, although she was quite taken with the handsome, if older, aristocrat standing before her.

Then the Master of Uxbridge snapped, genially, but ordered, none-the-less, “I fear that I am still uncomfortable on my feet for too long.

“Matlock, get yourself off. I would speak with Mrs. Wickham, but I need to sit. As yours is the only other seat up for bids, I declare the auction closed! Mrs. Wickham will join me. Only those of us who have marched to the drum need be here right now for a bit of private conversation. General…you may stay.

“The rest of you: begone.

“Maybe Miss Darcy might turn her mind to some lighter Scottish airs.”

Lydia smiled her thanks at the Earl of Matlock who grinned back at her as if he was in possession of some great secret.

The Marquess adjusted his seat, grimacing as he was forced to reach down to slide his right boot into alignment with his missing knee. Four years after that June afternoon and his stump was still bothering him. Lingering pain aside, he was proud of his fully-articulated prosthetic limb. With the knee joint unlocked and pantaloons—the modern styles were much to his taste—draped outside of his boot uppers, he could sit in company without anyone being forced to notice his amputation.

Three pairs of eyes were riveted by his bluff yet comfortable demeanor, awaiting whatever pronouncement he would make.

“You know, Mrs. Wickham,” the great man intoned, “I have made it a study of mine to explore what makes men behave bravely. Those musings also, I am convinced, allow me to comprehend what turns their bowels to water.

“You have offered up an interesting conundrum. You see, men would have it that they are the sole repositories of courage, ignoring, of course, Queens Judith and Boadicea. All too often, these self-same deep thinkers seek to ascribe the success of our greatest monarch, Elizabeth, to Drake or Exeter or Salisbury rather than to her political genius and ability to make the people believe in her cause.

“You, my good woman, have reminded me, no all of us, through your selfless act of saving General Fitzwilliam that resolve is neither defined by the color of the uniform nor whether a uniform is worn at all.

“Brave acts may be committed by the young or the very old. Here you are, a lady of but three-and-twenty, yet you acted without fear.

“You have also shown that one can do one’s duty without reference to the body within which the bravest of hearts resides.

“You have destroyed the myth that only men can commit daring acts and reverse the flow of history.”

By this point, Lydia was blushing fiercely, and she averted her eyes as Paget’s praise flowed deeply around her.

She made to demur, saying, “My Lord, I would wish that you would temper your compliments. They are undeserved by me. I acted without thinking, not heroically, like you who sat in the line of fire [that June] afternoon. I honestly can remember little of what happened on St. Peter’s Field this past August.”

The Marquess stopped her by grasping her right hand.

“Enough of that, Mrs. Wickham.

I am no hero. Oh, perhaps an argument can be made that I behaved like one because I did not flee the moment the Tyrant’s le brutal fired. But, remember that young Fitzwilliam along with the Duke was equally exposed. Both stayed in their place.

“However, I repeat…I am no hero because I sat on my horse and watched my cavalry troopers get ground up between the lines. That image of all those beautiful men vanishing into the smoke and never returning will haunt me to the end of my life.

“I am no hero. I sat and watched…watched men like your husband…long may his name rest upon the lips of Britons far and wide…put down that French dog once and for all.

“T’was hot work at Hougoumont, madam, and George Wickham did his duty without flinching, knowing that t’was his portion to hold that end of the line.

“Me? At Waterloo, I was unmoving, atop my beast, when the ball took my leg.

“You, in Manchester, showed that you were a queen defending her realm: regnant and glorious, shaped by Lord knows what forces.

“You say you acted without thinking. The greatest of champions act without thinking and, in those unconscious moments, show the depths of their character.

“But, whether reasoned or not, your actions saved my comrade-in-arms, my dearest warrior friend and brother, Richard Fitzwilliam.

“Your modesty does you credit, but do not debase your achievement. Like your sister, Mrs. Benton, you bear scars honorably earned.

“Just as King Harry said before Agincourt…

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day:[ii]

“And you, Mrs. Wickham will quietly bear up under the scrutiny of those who have no idea what it means to feel the ground tremble beneath the hooves of heavy cavalry. Yet, every year on the anniversary of Peterloo, you will nod to Mrs. Benton and then take a moment to reflect on all that you gained, not lost, on that August day in your youth.”

Scanning the chamber, Lord Anglesey pronounced what was the equivalent of a Red Judge’s decision,“I would have it known that I heartily approve of Mrs. Wickham. Her late husband saved the nation. His widow saved one of our greatest paladins.”

The Marquess stood, leaning heavily upon his Malacca cane. After bending to lock his knee, he extended his left hand to Lydia to help her gain her feet gracefully. Paget, still one of the most handsome men in the kingdom, rapped his wooden leg with his stick, the drum-like sound echoing across the parlor.

He continued, “Just as you ignore my leg, I would have you look at the whole woman standing beside me. She should be held up as an example to your daughters…and your sons…for she has shown that the willingness to sacrifice is not limited to one sex.

“Here is a promise made before all of you assembled here.

“Pon my honor, Mrs. Lydia Wickham will be welcome at any Paget home anywhere in the realm. Our bed and board shall be her bed and board. If she were not already honored by His Royal Highness with a widow’s annuity, I would enhance her dowry.

“If Mrs. Wickham so wishes it, and if the Countess of Matlock and Mesdames Bingley and Darcy countenance this next, my wife, the Marchioness, will sponsor her when she makes her curtsey before the Queen.

“In all of this, I will not be gainsaid.

“Oh, and Mrs. Wickham,” at this he speared Fitzwilliam with an icy stare that bespoke of get on with this, man, “our hospitality is not contingent upon the presence of any slow-witted, addlepated man in your party.”

Richard looked astonished at the Marquess’ outspoken declaration.

Lydia blushed again.

————–

[i]Henry William Paget (1768-1854) was Earl of Uxbridge when a bounding French cannon ball struck his right leg near the end of the Battle of Waterloo. He had been in command of Wellington’s cavalry, much as Major General Richard Fitzwilliam was leading the Allies’ massed infantry squares. Uxbridge was elevated to Marquess of Anglesey (1st) upon his survival and served a long career in the Army (ultimately as Field Marshal) and the Government.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Paget,_1st_Marquess_of_Anglesey
[ii]William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4 from Scene 3  http://shakespeare.mit.edu/henryv/henryv.4.3.html

I am very intrigued to know much more about this book. Not only what comes next, because we already know what is the next name of Mrs Wickham but also I am very intrigued of her brave character and what she has done. I think Don may have redeemed Lydia of any youth folly she committed.

Blog Tour Schedule

I am closing the tour but do not miss great posts, reviews and much more.

25th of September From Pemberley to Miltonlydia-blog-tour-banner-horzm

26th of September So Little Time…

27th of September Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

28th of September My Love for Jane Austen

30th of September Babblings of a Bookworm

1st of October Diary of an Eccentric

2nd of October More Agreeably Engaged

3rd of October My Vices and Weaknesses 

Interested on this book? You could buy it, among other, on:

Amazon UK           Amazon US              Amazon CA

time to give away winners

Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion to four lucky winner. Just clikc the link below and follow instructions.

Rafflecopter – Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion

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