“Unexpected Friends and Relations” by Jayne Bamber, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am happy to introduce you to Jayne Bamber and her newest publication Unexpected Friends and Relations. I would like to apologise to Jayne Bamber once more as I did not publish this post on time. Both of us had a hectic month of April and basically, life happened. However, there was an easy solution and here you have a post about a very interesting book.

I have not read many mash-ups with the character of Jane Austen. However, some that I have read are among my favourites, for instance Joana Starnes’ The Subsequent Proposal where Pride and Prejudice joins Persuasion. Therefore, I am convinced that I would love to read this book, the second one of the Friends and Relations series. 

Let me introduce you to the author:

Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.jayne-bamber-author-pic

Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.

After years of dating Wickhams, Collinses, and the occasional Tilney-that-got-away, Jayne married her very own Darcy (tinged with just the right amount of Mr. Palmer) and the two live together in Texas with a pair of badly behaved rat terriers, and a desire to expand their menagerie of fur babies.

Here you have the blurb of Unexpected Friends and Relations:

Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.

Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.

Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.

Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in the area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.

Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.

Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as well as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.

After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations pursue destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.

Let’s read what Jayne wants us to discover:

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Hi! I’d like to introduce my new release, Unexpected Friends & Relations, which is the second of a three-book series in which the characters from all of Jane Austen’s novels live in the same world. Their lives are intertwined through the bonds of family and friendship, and this results in some alternative romantic pairings that did not take place in the originals.

The first volume of the series, Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, is definitely a must-read before embarking on Book Two. Happier focuses primarily on the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, with romances for Colonel Fitzwilliam (now a viscount) and a widowed Marianne Brandon, and a shocking secret in the Darcy family.

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The story opens with a surprise villain and sets off a chain reaction that ripples across the story, which spans a full year. Elizabeth meets Mr. Bingley in London, where she isn’t the only one having difficulty with a sister, and she meets a couple of new faces – original characters – who change her life.

Darcy has more than one secret when he first meets Elizabeth, adding to challenges to their relationship that are only exacerbated by more than one death of a familiar character. The story takes Elizabeth from London to Kent, to Pemberley and Somserset before she and Darcy reach their HEA.

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The second volume of the series, Unexpected Friends & Relationsopens four months after the close of Book 1, and shows our beloved characters in London for Georgiana’s season, which is nearly ruined by whispers of the Darcy secret. Another scandalous secret is uncovered, bringing a new heroine into the midst of the extended Bennet-Darcy-Fitzwilliam clan.

Not all goes according to plan, and the characters break off into groups, with many traveling to Rosings Park in Kent, while others go to Highbury in Surrey and unleash havoc in the life of Emma Woodhouse. While Emma’s world is embroiled in romantic entanglements, the same is happening at Rosings, and the stakes are high for Georgiana, Caroline, Lydia, and many others.

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Volume 3 will be released this fall, shifting the action to Sanditon, at the behest of Sidney Parker. More familiar faces from the world of Austen will make an appearance, in the seaside village shrouded in mystery!

I will be doing more blog posts over the next few weeks, sharing details about Unexpected as well as excerpts, and will be drawing winners May 20thfor an e-book giveaway! For more info, follow me on Facebook!

 

Blog Tour Promo

 

For now, I’d like to leave you with an excerpt revealing one of the family secrets that will play a major role in Unexpected….

    On the first of March, Harriet was conveyed to London to meet her parents. The journey from Highbury was a short one, though the two hours felt like an eternity. She was grateful to her friend Miss Woodhouse, who had contrived for Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Weston to accompany her to Town; without their supportive presence, she was sure she would have fallen to pieces with anxiety.

     What would her parents be like? Though she had naturally wondered about them many times over the years, when faced now with the prospect of actually meeting them, she began to feel that she had not given it nearly enough thought. Certainly they must be very grand indeed, and she began to fear that they must be so high above her that she would inevitably be found wanting.

     Her companions were all patience and benevolence during the drive into Town. “You have nothing to fear,” Mrs. Weston assured her. “I am sure all of your family is very eager to have you amongst them at long last. Though we know none of the particulars as to why they should seek you out now, I am sure it will all be made clear in time. Your mother’s letter said they are a large family, and you shall have brothers and sisters and cousins very near in age to yourself. That shall be a blessing indeed for you!”

     “And you have a shared acquaintance with your friend Miss Woodhouse,” Mr. Knightley reminded her. “Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam is both your cousin as well as Emma’s. Certainly you shall discover some common ground with her. I believe Mr. Darcy’s younger sister is just coming out into society, as well, and I daresay you will find a friend in her.”

     “Quite so,” Mrs. Weston agreed. “I daresay you shall find my company quite unnecessary within a few days, once you have settled in. You shall see how they cherish you, and then we shall laugh about all this fuss over nothing.”

     Harriet doubted very much that this would be the case, for her apprehension only increased as they arrived at her parents’ stately townhouse in Mayfair.

     Mr. Knightley planned on staying near his brother’s house in Brunswick Square, and dropped Harriet and Mrs. Weston at the door of the grandest house Harriet had ever seen. They were greeted by the butler and housekeeper, both called Banks. Mr. Banks saw to their luggage while Mrs. Banks led them up to their guestrooms. Adjoining rooms had been arranged for Harriet and Mrs. Weston, and Mrs. Weston declared it very thoughtful of Harriet’s parents to have taken such a detail into consideration. “I am sure they must have thought of everything you may require for your comfort, Harriet,” she said as they were led upstairs.

     “Begging your pardon, ma’am, but her ladyship is most adamant that you shall want for nothing, Miss Sutton,” the housekeeper replied.

     Realizing that Miss Sutton was now how she was to be addressed, Harriet nodded and murmured some words of gratitude. Assuring them that their trunks would be brought up directly, the housekeeper took her leave, as Harriet took in her new bedroom in unreserved awe.

     It was like living in a palace! She stood in shock for several minutes, soaking in every detail of the very feminine bedchamber that was to be hers. All of this is for me? The room was nearly four times the size of her room at Mrs. Goddard’s, which she had never thought was wanting. This – this was beyond anything. A large canopied bed dominated the center of the room, with elegant linens in shades of pink and ivory – a princess might sleep comfortably there!

     There was a very stately vanity table with a large mirror on one side of the room beside a wide window with elegant damask drapes, offering a view of a quaint little garden beneath. On the other side of the room was a gilded wardrobe so capacious that she could not even begin to imagine ever filling it, though she supposed such things must be normal for ladies of her mother’s station. Altogether, the bedchamber looked as if it belonged to someone Harriet was not sure she could ever be.

     Mrs. Weston came through the adjoining door a moment later, smiling serenely. “What do you think?”

     “It is far too grand,” Harriet breathed. “Oh dear, do you think I shall ever grow accustomed to such finery?”

     “I am certain you shall, and sooner than you think. No one ever minds having what is too good for them, though I am of the opinion that there is nothing too good for a sweet girl such as yourself. It is a testament, I think, to how highly your parents must esteem you.”

     “Oh my, yes,” Harriet replied. “They must indeed, to go through so much trouble. But what if they think I am a very fine lady, and are disappointed to discover that I am not?”

     “Let us have no more of that talk,” Mrs. Weston said. “Your father is brother to Mrs. Goddard, to whom he entrusted your care, and therefore they must have perfectly realistic expectations for you. If they wish to raise your station, you must learn to accept their generosity.”

     “I suppose you are right,” Harriet admitted. Still, she was expecting every minute to wake up from nothing more than a very pleasant dream.

     A moment later came a knock at the door, and Harriet suddenly tensed up, fearing it would be her parents. It was only another servant, who introduced herself as Sally – she was to be Harriet’s own lady’s maid.

     “I’ve come to attend you. Your mother wishes to know if you require some time to freshen up before joining her in the drawing room.” Turning to address Mrs. Weston, she added, “I believe my sister Sarah will be coming to attend you, ma’am.”

     “Thank you, Sally,” Mrs. Weston replied, returning to her own room. A footman entered a moment later, bearing the trunk that contained all of Harriet’s worldly possessions. He set it down beside the wardrobe and left her alone with Sally, and Harriet regarded the little trunk fretfully; how small it looked, just as out of place in such a grand house as she herself must be.

What do you think? Harriet’s family is known at last! She is related to Mr. Darcy too! Very very interesting 🙂

time to give away winners

Jayne Bamber is giving away an ebook of Unexpected Friends and Relations. To participate click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Unexpected Friends and Relations

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“The Mist of Her Memory” by Suzan Lauder, except and giveaway

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton?

What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?

Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”

̶ author L. L. Diamond

What has happened? What’s up with Elizabeth?

Hello dear readers! I am pleased to have Suzan Lauder back with us. However, I am pretty intrigued with her new book. Even the title is intriguing: The Mist of her Memory.

This is Suzan’s fourth published book and I am expecting it to be really good. Just a few weeks ago, I read A most Handsome Gentleman and I enjoyed it a lot. If you do not know anything about this book, I will just point out that the handsome gentleman is Mr. Collins!! (among others).

Let me (re)introduce you to Suzan Lauder:

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.suzanlauder

She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzan.lauder.merytonpress.com, on her facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder, on Twitter @suzanlauder, and on Instagram as Suzan Lauder. She is a lifetime member of JASNA.

I hope you enjoy this brief excerpt that Suzan is sharing with us. I think that the description is great, the last paragraph is so good that I have imagined everything that he was listening to. Enjoy!

April 1813
Meryton en route to Derbyshire

After he refreshed himself with a quick wash and change of clothes, Darcy boarded his carriage once again and hastened to Longbourn before it was too late in the day for a call. This part of his agenda must not wait until the morrow to be completed.

As might be expected, Miss Catherine’s face peering through the window was the first sign of a Bennet at Longbourn. The delicate fabric of the curtain snapped back into place. They did not know him well, but the nervous, noisy chatter amongst them would not be restrained by lack of familiarity, and the younger Bennet ladies and their mother were famous for their inability to curb their tongues. He smiled to himself. If he were to take them on as family, he would have to become accustomed to behaviour he had complained about in the past.

But he did not come to call upon the ladies of the house, and upon admittance, Darcy requested an audience with Mr. Bennet. As expected, the gentleman was found in his library, his bespectacled nose in a book, when Darcy was announced. As he entered, the older man held up one finger as he finished whatever passage held his interest. While he waited, Darcy perused the room he had seen only briefly in the past. It was small but lined with rich mahogany shelves containing many books of high quality. In fact, there was a lack of space, and piles of volumes stood among those neatly shelved with stacks nestled in corners on the floor and upon the large desk of a library too small for its owner’s collection. The scents of leather, paper, and dust mingled in the air.

After a few moments, Mr. Bennet placed a leather marker at his page and closed the tome whilst viewing Darcy over the tops of his spectacles. Following Darcy’s bow and formal greeting, Mr. Bennet rose and offered his hand in a gesture of friendship.

“This is a gentleman’s library, not a parlour. We are less formal here,” the older man said with a mild smile as he waved the volume in his hand towards a chair.

“Are you enjoying your book?”

“Indeed. I am rereading an old favourite.” He passed the copy of Shakespeare’s plays to Darcy.

“Ah yes, a preferred book in my home as well. I also enjoy seeing the plays performed in the theatre.” Darcy returned the book to him.

“I am seldom in town, so I must rely upon my imagination for that aspect. I am not wistful about it, though. I do enjoy the country life in preference to all that noise and bustle,” replied Mr. Bennet. “So what brings you here so early this morning, sir, and without your friend? Though I suppose whenever you have attended with Bingley, it was while he was making eyes at Jane, and he no longer needs to come to Longbourn for such a thing.”

“I have come to ask your blessing on my engagement to Miss Elizabeth, who has consented to marry me.”

The older man’s bushy brows flew towards the receding line of his white hair, and his eyes became impossibly wide for a few seconds. “Oh!” was all he said before he peeled off his spectacles, bit the earpiece, and seated himself again behind the desk.

11 Darcy is Léon Riesener by Eugène Delacroix 1835.jpg
Darcy is León Riesener by Eugène Delacroix

Darcy started at the loudness of the exclamation then waited for a response, but Mr. Bennet sat silent. Darcy began to notice sounds in the distance that accentuated the absence of one gentleman’s much-desired reply: a clock, high-pitched voices, a service bell. All were muffled as if far away, yet they pierced his ears nearly as much as the one word full of emotion and surprise had done.

 

Who is surprised? Here we are reading that Darcy goes to Mr. Bennet to ask for the blessing to marry Elizabeth but he is on his way to Derbyshire… where is Elizabeth?

You may want to buy this book because with not a lot of information, this is getting bizarre and I have to say that the blurb itself would make me buy it straightaway. In case you may think that, you could buy it on the following links among others (check ebook or paperback):

Amazon      Amazon UK     Amazon CA     Bookdepository    Barnes & Noble    

Do not miss the rest of the blog tour, you will find very interesting post with guest posts, character interviews, etc.

7th May / Just Romantic Suspense/ Book ExcerptBlog Tour Banner Vert.

8th May / Austenesque Reviews/ Vignette Post

9th May My Jane Austen Book Club/ Book Excerpt

10th May / From Pemberley to Milton/ Guest Post

11th May More Agreeably Engaged/ Guest Post

12th May / Half Agony, Half Hope/ Book Review

13th May / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Character Interview

14th May Just Jane 1813/  Author Interview

15th May My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Excerpt

16th May / Diary of an Eccentric/ Book Review

time to give away winners

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Mist of Her Memory. The giveaway runs until midnight, May 19, 2019.

 Rafflecopter – The Mist of Her Memory

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

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

Blog Tour of “Obstacles” by Belén Paccagnella, review + giveaway

Dear all,

I am extremely happy to introduce a new author here in My Vices and Weaknesses. You may think that I am always happy to do that, and yes, it is true. However, I am even a bit happier this time as we have Belén Paccagnella, an Argentinian author, that’s it, a Spanish-speaking person! As a Spanish-speaking person myself, I am extremely glad to have even more people from other nationalities involved in JAFF. I know… we already have Rumanian, French, Pakistani and many other nationalities, which is awesome; but, as I said, this is the first Spanish-speaking author that I am introducing and I am excited!!

Too much preamble already, please welcome: Belén Paccagnella.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’sbelen work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development administration of shopping centres.

In 2001, she started writing both Regency and modern stories adapted from the Pride and Prejudice storyline, merging drama, humour, and adventure while creating  characters with unique traits.

Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where she shares her home with her daughter and her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing.

Belén is bringing us Obstacles, a modern Pride and Prejudice variation that I have enjoyed very much.

Follow Belén on: Meryton Press      Goodreads

Book description

Not all obstacles are restricted to the show-jumping arena… Though Elizabeth Bennet lives an uneventful life instructing young equestrians at Longbourn, the family farm, she dreams of winning a show-jumping competition on Liddy, her spirited mare. But her life is upended when a team of world-renowned riders arrives at Netherfield, the neighbouring estate, and uses it as their training headquarters. As she assists the newcomers and their prize-winning mounts, she meets William Darcy, a wealthy and arrogant—albeit talented—rider with Olympic aspirations. He first insults and then ignores Elizabeth, and her feelings teeter between disgust at his hauteur and admiration for his equestrian prowess. As she discovers first-hand the rigors of a world for the elite, will Elizabeth change her perspective about love, trust, and the foibles of her own family?

Originally known as Obstacles to Overcome, Obstacles pays homage to Pride and Prejudice in the highly competitive world of equestrian show jumping.

Do you want to buy the book? You could do it here:

Amazon UK     Amazon ES      Amazon US     Amazon CA

Review

Very entertaining modern variation of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is a top horse rider and Elizabeth is an amateur rider/trainer who actually starts working as a “stable boy” for Darcy when he and his team come to work near where she lives. As you can imagine: an insult here, ignoring there, Wickham over there and so on = Elizabeth hates Darcy.

The main theme here is horses and riding in the higher level of competitions, which is a topic that I knew very little and it is refreshing. Moreover, Belén Paccagnella shows us a very “funny” Bennet family. Jane is a bit more modern, she is heartbroken when Bingley leaves but she quickly recovers after all and takes the most of it. Mary is.. how can I say it… weird? extravagant? special? I am sorry for describing like that, I tend to like Mary, but I think you will laugh at her hobby that may become an occupation… Then we have Kitty, a bit Lydia-like if I may say so… Fanny Bennet is a bit more psychoanalysed and she has a really good moment before the epilogue. Thomas Bennet… hmmm… I have not really liked him. I imagine that Belén has redeemed him on the second part of the book when he is not really against the couple. Even though, I did not like his behaviour.

Spoiler alert!!

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there is a very nice happy ending with a lovely epilogue.

I have found this Elizabeth even more obstinate, headstrong girl on the first half of the book until they “solve” their problems and misunderstandings. She is extremely against Darcy. We could say that his first declaration of attraction was not only offensive because he talked badly about her family in negative terms… maybe, again, it was misunderstood.

Darcy is clueless and Elizabeth too when it comes to understanding each other and thanks to Ann(e) de Bourgh and Lady Catherine, sí sí (yes yes), thanks to them, everything starts to straighten out. I have enjoyed soooo much the scene with Elizabeth and Ann!! It is so well prepared, just remember: it is a trap!!

I would just point out that England’s Hottest Horseman (EHH) is really sweet although not always in the way that another person may expect.

Charlotte Lucas is more jovial and maybe Wilbur Collins is pedantic, but he is a good man… apparently.

George Wickham… despicable. Where you expecting something different from him?

Question: what if he is the one? just the one? no one else? I found this extremely sweet. (Are you a bit lost? Read the book 😉 )

5out5 stars
Blog Schedule

Do not miss excerpts, interviews and much more about Obstacles.

17th September / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

18th September / Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post

19th September / Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Postbanner

20th September / More Agreeably Engaged / Author Interview

21st September / So Little Time / Excerpt Post

22nd September / Just Jane 1813 / Guest Book Review

23rd September / My Love for Jane Austen  / Character Interview

24th September / From Pemberley to Milton / Excerpt Post

25th September / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

26th September / Babblings of a Bookworm / Vignette Post

27th September / My Vices and Weaknesses  / Book Review

28th September / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review

Time to Give Away

Eight eBooks copies of Obstacles!  The international giveaway runs until midnight, September 30, 2018. You do not have many obstacles to participate, just click on the link below and follow the steps. Please read the terms and conditions below. Buena suerte 🙂

Rafflecopter – Obstacles

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

 

Muchas gracias, Belén, por estar hoy con mis lectores, no son muchos de momento pero son fieles y muy simpáticos 🙂

 

Blog Tour of “The Darcy Legacy” by Joana Starnes, review and giveaway.

Dear all,

I am extremely pleased to welcome back, Joana Starnes. One of my favourite JAFF authors, an author who can write so well that it would like to read the unique Jane Austen.

Today, Joana is presenting us: The Darcy Legacy, her latest release. Read the description below about this book:

‘Pemberley’s ancient halls harbour many secrets. Which one will affect Fitzwilliam Darcy and the love of his life? How is Mr Bennet to enjoy the comforts of a well-stocked library, when his wife’s premature demise had left him with the task of finding suitable matches for their daughters? What of a misleading encounter on a muddy lane in Hertfordshire, that renders a country-town assembly rather more tolerable than some might have thought?

Shades of mystery, meddlesome relations – not least a drenched Adonis – raillery, old errors and a very recent union make for a challenging courtship when Fitzwilliam Darcy is not on his own ground. Yet when love is the reward, challenges make it more worth the earning. “A fraught courtship? So, let it be fraught,” Colonel Fitzwilliam said with a nonchalant flourish of his hand. “A good challenge never hurt anyone.”’

Yes, you read it right, Mrs Bennet is dead 😦 You may not be able to enjoy her outburst of happiness when her girls make lovely matches…

I have to say that this descriptions is more intriguing than revealing, it is not easy to be sure of what is going on. I will try to give you a bit more information in my review, but without spoilers 🙂

Let me (re)introduce you to Joana Starnes, a great and awesome novelist.

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.js-photo

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion,Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughterand The Darcy Legacy, and one of the contributing authors to The Darcy Monologues,Dangerous to Knowand the upcoming Rational Creatures (due in October 2018).

To connect with Joana:

Facebook      Website     Facebook – All Roads Lead to Pemberley     Twitter

Review

What would you say to having Lady Anne Darcy and Mr George Darcy as the masters of ceremony in this book? What would you say to a Mr Bennet who, after his wife’s passing, tries to give a better education for his five daughters? What would you say if the afterlife is actually, not that bad? What would you say if Lady Catherine remarries for the sake of Anne? What would you say to a murder at Rosings? What would you say… to me after all these questions?

You may be thinking: what’s wrong with you, Ana?! or, what are you talking about?! I know, I am giving you too many questions to think about and they may seem disconnected and not coherent, but I promise, they have something to do in a way or another with the book.

As usual, I do not know how much you have read about this book when you end up here at My Vices and Weaknesses. That is why, I cannot be free to review without spoilers. You know I do not like to give spoilers away but… I will give you my normal spoiler now

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yes, there is an ending that ends happily, a HEA!

I am going to focus mainly on Elizabeth and Darcy and I will mention a few more characters. Just for you to have into account: I do focus on them because there are few spoilers for me to reveal.

Do you remember the Meryton Assembly in Pride and Prejudice? Forget about it (just for a bit) because Joana has created a funnier and more entertaining assembly where Darcy is not as perfect as he normally is… I do not mean the insult to Elizabeth… that comes before the assembly!!! and what an insult/misunderstanding!!! [If you have watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and know what happens to Lizzie at the Meryton Assembly, you can have a mini idea of what could go wrong with Darcy in this one.]

Elizabeth and Darcy are separated for a few months after Darcy’s sudden removal of Hertforshire, where they share lovely time and conversation together. He goes away to Pemberley and London as he thinks he will forget his “infatuation” with a dark-eyed lady from Longbourn. He does not. Due to some events, he ends up at Rosings where the Bennet family can be found. As you may imagine, Lady Catherine is obnoxious as usual and keeps telling Darcy to marry Anne, who, by the way, feels better having so many people to pass the time. Both Darcy and Anne are of the same mind they do not want to marry each other. As you know, Darcy wants Elizabeth but he needs a bit of pushing to get to… declare himself? of make a fool of himself? or have a sunstroke? or… I will leave it there.

Who else must be mentioned? Everyone but I will not bother you with too much information in case you can read between lines…

If you are a reader who normally like Mr Bennet, I bet that you may like him a lot more in The Darcy Legacy, his wit and his sixth sense is well-developed and demonstrates great care of his daughters.

Anne de Bourgh, really nice character, we get to know her a little bit better and we understand a lot about her illness through Joana’s words. Anne is a nice friend to Elizabeth and even when her mother goes against her, Anne defends her as much as she can.

Miss Bingley, although her role and appearance in this book is very brief, I love it, mainly what w read about the last time she is mentioned or appears here. I am sorry for what I am writing next if you like Miss Bingley but, generally speaking, I am extremely happy when something not nice happens to her, or something that she deserves happens to her.

I have mentioned a couple of things on this review that may arise a couple of questions from you… I would love to answer them in the comments, just let me know.

4.5out5 stars

If you cannot wait to know if you are a winner on this giveaway, why not buying The Darcy Legacy now?

Amazon US    Amazon UK     Amazon ES     Amazon CA     Amazon FR

Joana, one question, what happened to the second letter?  😉

Blog Tour Schedule

Really good things to discover about The Darcy Legacy on the different stops of the blog tour:

2nd of July / Austenesque Reviews/Excerpt Post & Giveaway

3rd of July / Diary of an Eccentric/ Guest Post & Giveawaybanner-tdl

4th of July / More Agreeably Engaged/ Book Review & Giveaway

5th of July / Of Pens & Pages/ Guest Post & Giveaway

6th of July / So Little Time… So Much to Read/Guest Post & Giveaway

7th of July / My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

8th of July / Babblings of a Bookworm/Book Review & Giveaway

9th of July /My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

10th of July / Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

11th of July / Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

12th of July / Just Jane 1813/ Tour Finale & Giveaway

 

Time to Give Away

What a generous giveaway Joana is doing!

  • 10 kindle copies of The Darcy Legacy
  • 20 audiobook codes (of the audiobooks she already has)
  • 1 Amazon gift card of 25 dollars

As you can read, a lot of winners will be chosen through Rafflecopter, just click the link below and follow instructions:

Rafflecopter of “The Darcy Legacy”

The giveaway runs until midnight, 16th of July 2018.

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Blog Tour of “London Holiday” by Nicole Clarkston: guest post, excerpt + GA

Hello to all,

I am again glad to have Nicole Clarkston with us. The first novel I read by her was about North and South, although I have read other JAFF novels (that I love) by Nicole, today she is presenting us with her latest Pride and Prejudice novel: London Holiday: Pride and Prejudice Romantic Comedy. Who wants to have one? I mean a holiday in London? 😉 If you were thinking about the novel, yes, you can also try to win one during this blog tour!!

 

Hot air balloons… what about them? Maybe you do not know much about them but they must be significant in this story as one of them appears on the cover of this lovely book!!

Nicole is going to enlighten us with some part of the history of air hot balloons and I hope that you learn something from it, I was not aware of a few of these details.

One of my favorite scenes to write from London Holiday was the hot air balloon ride. It’s no spoiler, since it’s on the cover, but yes, our dear couple enjoy a flight together during their adventures. Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Regency airship.

The first recorded hot air balloon flights were in 1783, conducted by French scientist Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier. This first flight was reportedly piloted by a duck, a sheep, and a cockerel, and flew for fifteen minutes at the end of a 250-foot tether. Within a month, De Rozier and his team had succeeded in the first untethered, manned flight, which covered five and a half miles in twenty minutes and flew to an altitude of 500 feet.

These early flights were powered by burning straw, which eventually caught the balloon on fire. However, the builders were undaunted, and continued to refine their design. Only two years after the first flights, De Rozier attempted to cross the English Channel with a dual system, consisting of one hot air balloon and on hydrogen balloon. Unfortunately, half an hour after take-off, the craft exploded. Both De Rozier and his assistant were killed. However, later that same year, French balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries succeeded in the historic flight.

The British were not idle during this time. In 1784, Scottish aviator James Tytler flew a hot air balloon over Edinburgh. Shortly after this, it was an Italian diplomat named Vincenzo Lunardi who achieved the first flights over English soil. Launching a hydrogen balloon from London, he landed it safely in Hertfordshire with a dog, a cat, and a caged pigeon aboard.

In 1793, Americans got their first glimpse of a hot air balloon. Blanchard flew from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Gloucester County, New Jersey. Among the witnesses was George Washington.

Shortly after this, the hot air balloon entered the history of Vauxhall Gardens. The first regular flights began in 1802, as an additional attraction to entice guests. One of the more startling displays of aeronautics and pyrotechnics involved an unmanned balloon, a long fuse, and explosives. The fireworks shot off first, then the balloon itself was enveloped in a glorious fireball. The display was reportedly seen all over London and was a terrific promotional stunt for Vauxhall Gardens.

Although hot air balloons had their limitations as tourist draws—they could only fly in good weather with no wind–they remained a popular feature at Vauxhall until the Gardens closed in 1859. In fact, Vauxhall’s famous airship has its own claim to fame. Charles Green, already a balloon record holder, had taken over as the chief balloon operator for Vauxhall Gardens. He was known for experimenting with coal gas, as a safer and less expensive alternative to other fuels. He built the Royal Vauxhall Balloon for park owners in 1836, then purchased it back from them shortly after this.

That same November, Green set a record with the Royal Vauxhall by launching from Vauxhall Gardens and landing in Nassau, Germany the next morning. The balloon travelled approximately five hundred miles in eighteen hours and was rechristened The Great Nassau in honour of this achievement. Green and his Great Nassau would go on to set more records, and their names will forever be linked with Vauxhall Gardens.

Elizabeth and Darcy would not have flown on this Great Nassau in 1811, but balloons were certainly there, and already instilled in the popular culture. I hope you have enjoyed this brief history of our earliest flying machines! Now, treat yourself to a glimpse of the hot air balloon through Elizabeth’s eyes.

References: Clark, Liesl. “A Short History of Ballooning.” Nova, www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/short-history-of-ballooning.html – “History of Ballooning.” Virgin Air, www.virginballoonflights.co.uk/history-of-ballooning/ – “A Brief History of Vauxhall Gardens.” Vauxhall Gardens, www.vauxhallgardens.com/vauxhall_gardens_briefhistory_page.html

As Nicole has written… enjoy Elizabeth’s experience of a hot air balloon (excerpt from chapter 24).

They had some little difficulty in persuading the balloon master to an early departure. “First flight of the evening is at seven,” he had stated unequivocally. Until, of course, William had brandished several shining coins. These disappeared rapidly, and the man opened the gate to the basket.

It took only a few moments for the coal fire to be stoked to its proper heat, for the warming had already commenced some while before their arrival so the balloon’s impressive silk display could advertise the attraction all over the Gardens. When the man gave the signal for them to board, Elizabeth accepted William’s hand into the basket, then clasped the wooden railing. The little gate closed, bags of sand were hefted over the side, and the floor beneath her feet moved.

They had already agreed that from above, two passengers in a balloon were not terribly conspicuous. Anyone noticing their ascent would only be able to see them for a few moments before the greater height obscured their faces and granted a view only of the bottom of the basket. Those below, however, would be far easier to see. As a precaution in the early moments of their flight, William had arranged to stand behind her at the railing to conceal himself, but soon enough he should have the liberty to move about.

Elizabeth’s heart was thumping wildly. Two feet from the ground… three… six! She had not accounted for the rapidity of their ascent, nor had she considered how terribly unstable the floor would seem. Each shot of heat from the coal furnace, each jostle of passenger weight, served to rock the basket more than she had been prepared for. Her fingers tightened on the rail.

William was already craning his head about, searching at each change in elevation for whatever new angles of vantage the balloon could offer. “There, Burk and Johnson. And there is Turner. Two more there,” she heard him counting. “Blast. Two by the Kennington Lane entrance. I suppose all the gates are being watched.”

She closed her eyes and prayed for courage. She would look at the ground, she would! She swallowed, gulped a hasty breath of air, and tried to lean forward.

The figures below her swam into one dizzying blur. Her breath was coming in short, airless gasps now, and she felt herself growing faint. Oh, why had she thought she could manage this? She had enough trouble on fishing boats and horses! Wherever she could see the plane below her feet and feel movement that did not connect her to the ground, she had always felt ill. Carriages were little enough bother, for they were large, possessed a stable frame all around, and she could see only the horizon. That motion she had grown accustomed to, but this… this was beyond her!

“One by the orchestra,” William continued. “And the South pavilion… Miss Elizabeth, are your eyes sharper than mine? Is the light playing tricks on me, or is that another just there, near the first arch?”

He stepped to her right, leaning far over the edge of the basket, and the floor swayed with a sickening dip. “Miss Elizabeth, can you… Miss Elizabeth?”

The genuine concern in his voice was lost to her, for she could already taste the bitter tang in her mouth. In another half moment she was likely to mortify herself beyond hope of recovery, and if she tried to respond to him, she had not a prayer that she might be able to check the rebellion in her head and stomach.

“Miss Elizabeth, you are ill! We must set down immediately,” he called to the pilot.

She tried to shake her head, but she dared not. “No,” she managed thickly. “Still the north side!”

“Miss Elizabeth, we will find another way. I will not have you so distressed. Here, now, can you take a deep breath without difficulty?”

She clenched her eyes tightly closed and tried, but a gentle gust of evening air unsettled the basket. The breath she had tried to draw slowly came as an inward shriek and then was expelled just as rapidly in a cry of helpless alarm.

“Set us down at once!” William demanded again of the balloon pilot. “Can you not see, man? The lady is unwell!”

“I’m trying to, sir, but there’s a decent wind about just now. It will take some doing—ten minutes to the ground, at least. It will go faster if you help me to wind the rope.”

“Then allow me,” she heard him retort.

At once a stalwart strength left her, and she began to quake. She had not even realised that she had been leaning against his arm, and now bereft of that support, a new panic rose in her breast. No longer was she afraid of physical illness, but a mortal terror overtook her. She trembled from head to foot, and a series of frantic moans, wails, and sobs shook her.

“Miss Elizabeth!” William cried from half the world away, “You are only rocking the basket more. You make it far worse than it must be!”

She could not attend, however much she wished to. The music rising from the ground, so many fathoms below, told off the great measure of her fall, and nothing else could enter her mind. She knew she was shaking, desperately jerking herself about with her helpless spasms, but no force save the grounding security of firm earth could recall her.

“Miss Elizabeth!” William’s voice was near now, just at her ear, and she felt him pulling her hands from the railing. “Please, you must hear me. Can you listen? Squeeze my hand if you can.”

She could not. His presence was comforting—at least she would have someone else’s hand to hold as she plummeted to her death over the side, if it came to that—but she was no more in command of herself than she had been a moment earlier. She clung more tightly to the rail.

And I am so mean to leave you hanging there! My humblest apologies. -NC

If you are a bit mad at Nicole for leaving us hanging after reading this scene, you can find her and tell her off on:

Website        Goodreads Author Page       Goodreads Blog         Facebook

Amazon Author Page         Twitter

Let me (re)introduce you to Nicole Clarkston, author of among other books: The Courtship of Edward Gardiner , Northern Rain and These Dreams.

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.nicole-clarkston

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write four other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole contributes to Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through all the links below the biography.

Would you like to buy the book before trying the giveaway? Here you can do it:

Amazon US         Amazon UK       Amazon ES        Amazon CA   

Tour schedule

Great posts that we have had so far on this book tour and I am sure that the rest are going to be as good 🙂 Check them to know more about this story.

lh tour

7th June   So little time… – Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

8th June   Diary of an Eccentric – Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

9th June   Just Jane 1813 – Review, GA

10th June My life journey – Review, GA

11th June From Pemberley to Milton – Vignette, GA

12th June My Jane Austen Book Club – Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

13th June Half Agony, Half Hope – Review, Excerpt, GA

15th June Austenesque Reviews – Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

16th June My Love for Jane Austen – Vignette, GA

18th June Obsessed with Mr. Darcy – Review, GA

19th June My Vices and Weaknesses – Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

20th June A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life – Guest Post

Time to Give Away

8 ebooks! Nicole is giving away 8 ebooks of London Holiday to 8 different winners. Moreover, the giveaway is open internationally. You just have to click the link below to participate, just follow what Rafflecopter asks you to do. Please read the terms and conditions below the picture in case you are not sure how to get extra entries.

Rafflecopter – London Holiday

lh full cover

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries. A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of London Holiday by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

Blog Tour of “The Sweetest Ruin” by Amy George, review + giveaway

Book description of The Sweetest Ruin by Amy George to give you a clue of what I may be writing about.

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Amy George

Let me introduce you to the author of this book set in Las Vegas 🙂

“Amy George is a middle-aged woman who got rid of her old lady/grown up and has since purchased an unreasonably small car. She refuses to listen to its radio at a Amy George Author Photoreasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a small town in the Midwest where the bookstore and yarn shop are neighbors and most food is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.

She has been writing since she was a child and ran the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.”

Fun fact: My birthday is January 30th so this is like a big birthday party.

Contact and follow Amy on:

Facebook Page

Goodreads Author Page

Amy George at Meryton Press

Twitter: @authoramygeorge

Review

A few hours since you meet a gorgeous English man when you are working in one of the best casinos in Las Vegas and… you wake up to a crazy marriage to him. What should you do? Firstly be surprise (duh!) but then both of you talk about it and give it a chance.

Yes, give it a chance! If we would have been talking about other protagonists, it could be a bit weird but we are talking about Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy, so they are entitled to meet and start their relationship any way they want 🙂

They admit their supermegahyper chemistry since the first minute they saw each other, he is not a serial killer and she is not a gold digger, so at least they have a good beginning.

While in Las Vegas, they have a honeymoon for a couple of days and then her reality, as university student and waitress shows up but everything is fine and they keep knowing each other and falling for each other. However not everything is bliss and fireworks (trust me, there are a lot of fireworks between these two *wink wink*). Even if they are happy, friends and family from both sides may not be so happy about it and some problems must be faced: especially from the other side of the ocean. Let’s say that William’s little sister is not very enthusiastic about his brother’s impetuous and unexpected marriage.

Mr and Mrs Darcy face any problem coming along together but when a few months later they go to London to meet his family and also settle there, life gets much more complicated… extremely more complicated, particularly for Mrs Elizabeth Darcy. However, her love for her husband and also in a way her past and friends-family are key on her new role.

We could say that in this case Jane Bingley is not as sweet as we know her to be in the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We can read about characters with names from P&P but there are some “swaps” between personalities, although we always have ¨Cousin Richard¨!

A short novel that it is very easy to read and with some twists that are really nice, who are the family-friends that Elizabeth has? What complications apart from Georgiana they may have? Is Darcy always to be there? How is Elizabeth Bennet on her “role” of Elizabeth Darcy?

4out5 stars

Why not to buy this book as soon as possible? Or maybe you just wait for the giveaway (check it below) and if you are not one of the lucky winners, you can always go to:

Amazon US                             Amazon UK                           Amazon DE

Blog Tour Schedule

Do not miss the chance to discover more about Amy and her steamy book, follow other stops of the blog. Here you have the schedule:

January 29   Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post, Giveaway

January 30   My Jane Austen Book Club; Excerpt Post, Giveaway01CBD977-7F24-4F1E-8D3C-C56B0D24F8D5

January 31   Of Pens and Pages; Book Review, Giveaway

February 1  More Agreeably Engaged; Guest Post, Giveaway

February 2  Babblings of a Bookworm; Excerpt Post, Giveaway

February 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Book Review, Giveaway

February 4  My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, Giveaway

February 5  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

February 6  Margie’s Must Reads; Book Review, Giveaway

February 7  From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt Post

February 8  Savvy Verse and Wit; Book Review and Giveaway

February 9  Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway

Time to Give Away

Amy is kindle offering on her blog tour 8 ebook copies of her The Sweetest Ruin to eight different winners. Click the link below and double check the terms and conditions as well to know how to get more points:

Rafflecopter – ¨The Sweetest Ruin¨ by Amy George

Terms and Conditions of the Giveaway:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

Blog Tour of “These Dreams” by Nicole Clarkston, excerpt and giveaway

Hallo! I am super excited to present you this new book by Nicole Clarkston: These Dreams. The first thought will be: how does she dare to kill Mr Darcy!!!! Shall we forgive her? We’ll see 😉

Nicole Clarkston is a really good writer with so many good Pride and Prejudice variations but also, variations of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Go and check them because they are all great! I love The Courtship of Edward Gardiner and Northern Rain. Click on the titles to read my reviews or check the links below in order to buy them. All of them are highly recommended!

CreateSpace:

Rumours & Recklessness

No Such Thing as Luck

Northern Rain

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

 Amazon:

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Northern Rain

No Such Thing as Luck

Rumours & Recklessness

You may be thinking it, where are the links to These Dreams? I have not forgotten, you have them just below in case you cannot wait to know if you are one of the winners on the giveaway and you have to buy it! I completely understand you.

Amazon US              Amazon UK

TD Final Full Cover 090317 wobld M

 

In case you may not remember many things about today’s author, let me refresh your memory with Nicole Clarkston’s biography as there are a couple of important updates:

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.nicole-clarkston

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

 

I am not going to give you all the blurb of the book, you can check other stops in this blog tour to read it, I will just give you the first three sentences:

An abandoned bride

         A missing man

                   And a dream that refuses to die…

Nicole is sharing with us a excerpt where Caroline (Obnoxious) Bingley appears together with Colonel (so nice) Fitzwilliam. This excerpt is a bit more serious than other parts in the book but I am pretty sure you will like the conclusion of this scene.

Here we have Nicole introducing the excerpt and you may like her more than at the very beginning of this post 😉

This scene takes place in chapter 62. Darcy has returned by this time, but the fact that he is alive is not yet public knowledge. Colonel Fitzwilliam has gone to London to search independently for some answers to the puzzle of who had captured his cousin, and what they were trying to get from him. Darcy remained in Derbyshire when Richard left, but circumstances arose which caused him to follow, unbeknownst to the colonel. Richard has already spent the day pursuing dead ends, and is just coming back to Darcy’s townhouse when this scene opens.

It had been an entire day, and Broderick had been no help yet. Richard walked slowly up the steps to Darcy House, barely seeing the brick and stone as his mind turned over more prospects. Of course, he must give Broderick more time to find whatever answers could be found, but Richard could not afford to wait longer. He must confront his brother, but how to do it?

His heavy tread stopped on the steps, though the footman already had the door open. Perhaps he ought to go now, instantly, to Matlock house and declare his knowledge of events. Surely, his father would support him! The entire family must have been already apprised of Darcy’s return, and a conference with his father was only the proper thing to do. He glanced up at the door, hesitated, and had just resolved to return to his carriage when a voice hailed him from the street.

“Colonel Fitzwilliam! I declare, I had not thought to encounter you here in Town just now!”

Richard cringed in recognition. Caroline Bingley! His face twitching in feigned pleasure, he turned to offer her a polite bow. “Good afternoon, Miss Bingley.”

She bustled to the steps, her companion following quietly behind. “Such a lovely afternoon it is! Mrs Temple and I were just at the milliner’s, and now we are to the dressmakers, so you see, we have been all over Town today.”

Richard glanced up the street and, indeed, the Bingley carriage awaited at the corner. “Is there a shop in this neighborhood, Miss Bingley? I was not aware.”

Miss Bingley had sidled near to him now. “Naturally, no!” she laughed. “But I directed my driver to bring us through Grosvenor Square, though it was a bit out of the way. Some of these streets we are often obliged to pass through are most unsuitable for ladies to travel!”

“That is lamentable,” he agreed. “If you will pardon me, Miss Bingley, I am afraid—”

“Oh! Do not let me detain you. Far be it from me to interrupt a gentleman about his business. Perhaps I shall leave my card for Miss Darcy, for I should dearly love to visit her if she has returned to Town with you. You arrived only yesterday, did you not?”

“I am afraid she has not come,” he answered shortly, annoyed at the freedom the woman took in stalking him like a cat after a mouse. Had she not found someone better to her liking in the last two months? Apparently not, as she was batting her lashes and peering hopefully toward the house.

“Oh, that is a pity, Colonel. I am certain that Miss Darcy deeply appreciates your diligent assistance with all her affairs, so that she may not be bothered with trips to Town just now. Do you think she shall come out next Season? I am certain, Colonel,” here, she rested a hand on his arm and graced him with a knowing smile, “that she shall be a great success, particularly if properly guided.”

“I am certain she shall, and it is well that it shall not be for me to direct her. Another will undertake to support and guide her.”

“That is wise,” she comforted him, “for a young lady’s first season must be delicately planned so that only the most suitable gentlemen are permitted to pay court to her.” She touched long fingers to her breast and nodded modestly. “I am all too familiar with the struggles of a débutante, sir, so my thoughts go out to Miss Darcy as she prepares for the coming year. Oh, my,” she smiled and withdrew a fan from her reticule, “has not the day warmed rather unpleasantly? I should not have expected it for so early in the year.”

He glanced at the iron sky, the walks still damp from the morning’s rain, and cocked a curious eyebrow at her. “I do not find it warm at all, Madam.”

“Oh, but it is so humid! I declare, I think I shall stifle in this fur, if I am not permitted a moment or two to remove it and breathe properly!”

Richard closed his eyes briefly. How was he ever to be rid of the woman? “Perhaps you are in need of some refreshment?” he heard himself suggest, and wished he could bite out his own cursed, well-bred tongue.

“Colonel, you are too kind! Why, that would be the very thing, do you not agree, Mrs Temple?” She turned and fairly led him up the steps to the house, requiring no one to show her to the drawing room. Richard groaned inwardly and glanced at the clock. An insufferable quarter of an hour would pass before he could be back about something useful, and during that time he feared the woman would contrive some means of throwing herself upon him. Just to be safe, he took a seat as far from her as he could while her tea was served.

She prattled on mercilessly, telling him all the gossip of all the people he never cared a whit about. He struggled not to roll his eyes. What did she take him for, another woman? He swallowed his tea politely, trying not to let his smile freeze in place by occasionally repeating her own statements back to her.

“How interesting,” he forcibly enthused. “Viscount Malvern engaged to Lady Serena Ashby. A fine match.”

“Oh, but that is not the half of it!” she flipped her hand in his direction. “Why, I was speaking with Lady Matlock not two days ago, and she informed me that the Season shall see yet another great match before it concludes.”

“Another? You don’t say.”

“Why, yes, but it is all a great mystery! Simply everyone is talking about it. Apparently, the names of the parties are a marvellous secret, for it has not been made official, but a gentleman from a noble house is to wed a lady of good birth and over ten thousand per year! Everyone is simply beside themselves trying to guess who it could be. Personally, I think it must be Lord Wallace and Lady Blackthorne, but the Countess was rather close on those details, and I shouldn’t wonder! It sounds as if she is in the confidences of both, and it promises to be the wedding to end the Season.”

“Interesting,” he mused, and this time, he meant it.

“Well, I am afraid I must be going,” she preened. “My appointment simply will not wait, but it was so good of you to invite us in to refresh ourselves. I always say that it is the mark of true gentility, to be ready to receive guests at any time.”

“Not at all, Miss Bingley. I am glad to be of service,” he bowed, and as his head dipped, sighed in relief. At last, she was going!

“Oh!” she turned at the door, as if she had forgotten something. “Do give my regards to Miss Darcy. I fear I am quite in arrears with my letter writing, but I do miss her terribly.”

He nodded, trying to conceal his impatience. “Indeed, Miss Bingley, I shall convey the message.” He looked up to signal the footman to open the door, but the man posted outside was already opening it for someone mounting the front steps. Richard caught a sharp breath. That could only mean….

“Well, now, it has been such a pleasure, Colonel. I always said, did I not Mrs Temple, that you are the kindest gentleman of my acquaintance.”

Richard bowed one more time, but his eyes were not on the lady. The door was open fully now, and a tall, dark figure was silhouetted in its frame. It was as if he were watching a shipwreck unfold, seeing each moment pass before his eyes at the speed of eternity. Miss Bingley turned, and her hand flew to her mouth. Her knees buckled, and Richard caught sight of her wild, white eyes as her head and arms snapped back in the most impressive fainting fit to which he had ever borne witness. Half-heartedly, he took a step nearer to lessen her fall, but he was too slow, and her aim too precise, as she tumbled helplessly into the arms of the newcomer.

“Well, Richard,” Darcy frowned, shifting his weight to place the lady’s inert form into the footman’s arms. “I did not know you were in the habit of distressing the guests into unconsciousness.”

Richard merely turned and beat his forehead with the heel of his hand.

Time to Give Away:

10 ebook copies for 10 different winners! Nicole is giving these 10 copies during her blog tour of These Dreams. You can be the lucky one by clicking on the link below and please read the terms and conditions for the giveaway just below the link. Good luck!

 Giveaway link, click here.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

Blog Tour Schedule:

You are going to love this blog tour!

09/19   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, GA

TD Vert Blog Tour BannerM

09/21   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, GA

09/22   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/23   Just Jane 1813; Review, GA

09/24   My Vices and Weaknesses; Excerpt, GA

09/25   Babblings of a Bookworm;  Guest Post or Vignette, GA

09/26   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

09/27   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

09/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA

09/29   My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, GA

09/30   Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

10/01   Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, GA

10/02   Austenesque Reviews; Character Interview, GA

10/03   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review, GA

10/04   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, GA

 

Totally random, or not… but I had to leave you with the song that always comes to my mind when reading the title of this great book:

Eurythmics – These Dreams

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused