“Silver Buckles” by Grace Gibson, guest post + giveaway

Dear all,

How are you doing? How’s everything going? I hope you are still healthy and safe. In order to have a bit of a break, I am very happy to introduce you to a new author here in My Vices and Weaknesses and she is presenting her latest book: Silver Buckles. How much do you like the cover? I simply love it!

She staggered a great man. He was reeling. She was overwhelmed. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy, standing irritably at the edge of the Meryton assembly, declines to dance with Elizabeth Bennet. In a mood of revulsion, he rejects her without concern of being overheard. Country pretensions are always in need of squashing, and what better way to make clear he would not partner anyone outside his party? However, when he looks over at her, she does not appear humbled at all. She is secretly laughing at him!

Elizabeth is perversely delighted to encounter such an outrageous snob as Mr. Darcy. When he approaches her with a stiff, graceless apology, she coolly brushes him off, believing that, like most annoyances, he will go away when properly snubbed. But no! The man then puts out his hand and, not wishing to create a scene, compels her to stand up with him.

They go through the steps of the dance mutually disdainful and intent upon wounding each other. But by the time the musicians end their tune, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have traded barbs with such accuracy, they are unaccountably amused and engaged. Will this most inconvenient flirtation drive them apart—or, like silver buckles, are they a matched pair?

What do you think? I am really intrigued about that dance, about what they say, about what they think. Don’t you think that it may be really amusing to also be an outsider on this dance? Mainly if somebody has overheard his rejection.

You could tell Grace know your opinion about this blurb and about something else she is going to tell us today.

In addition to mosaic art, which I create at Studio Luminaria, my home-based glass shop in El Paso, Texas, I enjoy writing regency romance and Pride and Prejudice variations for pleasure.

Guest Post + Excerpt

Today you are going to enjoy a bit of history together with an scene. I am pretty sure that you will like the comparison 😀 Let’s read what Grace has to tell us about Black Annis.

We are too close to Halloween for me to pass up the opportunity to talk about Black Annis.

“Who is that?” you may be asking.

The question is answered in Silver Buckles, my Meryton Press debut novel, when Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam refer to the witch of lore. Here is the first mention of this frightening hag.

                                                                                                                                    Rosings Park

We made the turn from Hunsford Village to the gatehouse of Rosings and passed the parsonage on the left. Since I happened to be seated on that side of the coach, I saw Mr. Collins in his front garden bowing and waving like a pestilential flag. Next to him stood three ladies, and one of them, I would have sworn, looked like—

“What is it, Darcy?” Richard asked when I sat up abruptly on an inward-drawn breath and nearly hit my head on the roof.

I struggled to regain my composure. “Nothing—only my posterior is beginning to suffer from so much travel. I shall be very glad of a walk.”

“Which you will not get. We shall be dragged into the parlor to stand in front of Black Annis while she sharpens her iron nails.”

I remained unsettled, but Richard’s joke distracted me. When we were boys, we referred to Lady Catherine as Black Annis, a witch of lore who ate lambs and children and hung their skins outside her hut.

What? A witch who eats lambs and children?

This gruesome hag was said to live in an oak tree, and she went out hunting at night. After eating her young, tender victims, she was reputed to have tanned their hides and worn the skins around her waist. If that’s not horrible enough, legend has it that she snatched people out of their houses through their windows, and her howls could be heard as far away as five miles! Parents warned their children that Black Annis would get them if they didn’t behave, and I wonder if that wasn’t the most effective scare tactic ever conceived. It certainly would have frightened the life out of me! Our traditional witch with her frog’s blood and warts, riding her broom in front of the harvest moon, seems almost benign in comparison.

But let’s get back to Black Annis, er, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Our relation was, in truth, a self-consequent bore, and before I could think, we were making our bows in front of her as she sat in an elevated chair with a faded velvet footstool.

No sooner had we said what was required than our cousin Anne was called. She dragged herself forward with a great show of suffering before wordlessly sinking in her chair and looking at us in a pucker of resentment. Whether the girl was truly ill or only ruined by such a stupid mother I could not decide. In either case, she was an awkward occupant of any room, for she refused to speak if she could avoid it.

“I see you look at Anne, Darcy,” Lady Catherine said with satisfaction. “She has improved, has she not?”

Road weary as I was, I had not the temper to play this game. I turned to my cousin and said, “Have you improved Anne? Are you feeling stouter this year?”

This was not the improvement my aunt had in mind for me to notice, and she sought to bring attention back to herself by trying another tack.

“We shall have company for tea. My parson has married, and his wife’s sister and friend from Hertfordshire visit. With Mrs. Jenkinson and both of you, we shall fill out two card tables. I do not let Mr. Collins play. Darcy, you will sit at Anne’s table. Anne, you will play,” she said as she motioned for her butler. “Benson, see the tables put up before tea.”

Struck perfectly dumb, I sat for a quarter of an hour as mute as Anne, leaving Richard to shoulder the burden of entertaining my aunt. Once released to refresh myself, I staggered up to my room. My mind reeled, my body thrummed with anxious disbelief, and the words, “Elizabeth. Married!” ran round and round in my head.

Then I knew what I had refused to admit before. I harbored some idea of having the lady myself. Not only did I harbor this notion, I had come to regard it as a settled course, and worse, like any self-possessed savage, I had become overtly possessive of my woman.

I hope this Halloween treat sparks your curiosity about Silver Buckles, and Happy Halloween from Black Annis! Bwahaha! 

Blog Tour Schedule

I am pleased to have joined great bloggers in this blog tour and I highly recommend you to check the previous posts because you will get to know much more about this Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam.

16th of October Austenprose

19th of October  Babblings of a Bookworm

20th of October Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

22nd of October Diary of an Eccentric

23rd of October Austenesque Reviews

24th of October Donadee’s Corner

26th of October From Pemberley to Milton

27th of October My Vices and Weaknesses

Would you like to buy a copy? You could do it here among others:

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon ES Amazon CA

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Silver Buckles for 8 winner. You just need to click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Silver Buckles

“Rebellion at Longbourn” by Victoria Kincaid, excerpt, review + giveaway

Dear all,

How is the reading going? Mine has been for too long very slowly and even on the second week of my holidays, I have barely read anything. However, several weeks ago I read a very interesting book, Rebellion at Longbourn, with a twist that I really enjoyed to discover.

Have a look at the blurb and see what you think.
Elizabeth Bennet’s father died two years ago, and her odious cousin Mr. Collins has taken possession of the Longbourn estate. Although Collins and his wife Charlotte have allowed the Bennet sisters and their mother to continue living at Longbourn, the situation is difficult. Viewing Elizabeth and her sisters as little more than unpaid servants, Collins also mistreats the tenants, spends the estate’s money with abandon, and rejects any suggestions about improving or modernizing Longbourn. After one particularly egregious incident, Elizabeth decides she must organize a covert resistance among her sisters and the tenants, secretly using more modern agricultural methods to help the estate thrive. Her scheme is just getting underway when Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton.
Upon returning from a long international voyage, Darcy is forced to admit he cannot forget his love for Elizabeth. When he learns of the Bennet family’s plight, he hurries to Hertfordshire, hoping he can provide assistance. Sinking into poverty, Elizabeth is further out of Darcy’s reach than ever; still, he cannot help falling even more deeply in love. But what will he do when he discovers her covert rebellion against Longbourn’s rightful owner?
Falling in love with Mr. Darcy was not part of Elizabeth’s plan, but it cannot be denied. Darcy struggles to separate his love for her from his abhorrence for deception. Will their feelings for each other help or hinder the Rebellion at Longbourn?

Servants? Not following advise… how can Mr. Collins be so obtuse when he always followed Lady Catherine’s? (Is she around?) Darcy, really? Two years away and you expect to have forgotten her… as if! 😀

Let me (re)introduce you to the author of Rebellion at Longbourn: Victoria Kincaid.
Victoria Kincaid is the author of several popular Jane Austen variations, including The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & Proposals, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, When Mary Met the Colonel, and Darcy vs. Bennet. All of her books have been listed in Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Regency Romances. The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth was nominated for a Rone award and Pride and Proposals was recognized as a top Austenesque novel for 2015 by Austenesque Reviews.
Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.
She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, an excessively energetic dog, two children who love to read, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

You can connect with Victoria on: Facebook Twitter Goodreads or check her website here.

Excerpt

Hello Ana and thank you for having me back for a visit! Below is a scene from early in Rebellion at Longbourn when Elizabeth comes across the cottage of a tenant’s widow. Collins, now the landowner at Longbourn, has ordered the woman’s eviction. Enjoy!
Sam was lashing the last of the Wileys’ belongings securely to the cart.
“Hello, Sam,” Elizabeth said, striving to imbue her tone with warmth.
“Miss.” He nodded respectfully.
“This is a sad business, is it not?”
He hung his head. “It is indeed. I don’t like forcing a woman out of her house, but I don’t want the master to turn me out neither.”
“Of course not. Such a shame the family has nowhere to go but the poorhouse.” She opened her hand to reveal the coins, drawing Sam’s attention. “But I was thinking… There is an old cabin on the edge of the North Field, near the woods. Nobody lives there….The Wileys could inhabit it without disturbing anyone.”
Sam’s brow furrowed. “Would the master like it?”
“There is no reason he has to know. It would be a temporary solution,” she hastened to add. “Until I might find a new home for them.” Surely one of the local landowners would be compassionate enough to give them a cottage until John was of age.
Sam’s eyes focused on the coins, a month’s pay for him.
“You would be doing her and me a great favor,” Elizabeth said.
“But if Mr. Collins found out, he would toss me out for sure.” He scratched his forehead.
“Even if he discovers the Wileys, they will not say that you helped them.”
The man considered for a long moment. “Very well. It ain’t right to force out a family when the nights are still cold like this. I’ll take her things to the North Field cabin.”
Elizabeth poured the coins into his hand. “There is no road to the cabin,” she reminded him. That was why it had been abandoned.
“Yes’m, but I can drive the wagon to the Three Oaks clearing and carry her things the rest of the way.”
Elizabeth smiled. Carrying the furniture through the woods would reduce the chances of being discovered. “Clever man.”
He ducked his head and blushed. “Should I bring the Wileys, too?”
“No. I will escort the family by another route.” They could travel more inconspicuously across the fields.
“Very well. I’ll take my leave, then.”
“You are a good man, Sam White.”
He blushed again and then hurried to the cart.
Mrs. Wiley, with little Tom clinging to her skirt, and Mrs. Greeves emerged from the house just as it was rolling away. “Did he agree, then?” the widow asked, her eyes wide with amazement.
“Yes.”
“I thank you, miss. You worked a miracle for my family today.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “It was the least I could do. Longbourn owes you a deep debt. You deserve better treatment.” Her husband had died fighting a wildfire at Longbourn six months ago.
Elizabeth took the older boy’s hand. “I can lead you to the cabin and make sure you have a stock of wood for the fireplace. But this must stay a secret; Mr. Collins would be quite angry to find you living on Longbourn property. I shall attempt to bring you food directly, but I want to avoid rousing suspicion.” She looked questioningly at Mrs. Greeves.
“I can get her the food when you can’t,” the other woman said stoutly. “Nobody is watching where I go. And a few of the other neighbors can be trusted.” Mrs. Greeves would know which tenants would keep such a secret; no doubt most could. The tenants of Longbourn seemed to watch out for each other.
Elizabeth nodded. “I will send the food to Mrs. Greeves, then. Of course, this is but a temporary measure—until I might find another place for you.”
Mrs. Wiley wiped an errant tear from her eye. “I wrote to my brother in Plymouth, but I don’t know when we might hear from him. He’ll need to find someone to read the letter to him.”
This woman faced so many obstacles that Collins would never even consider. “We will find a place for you.”
“God’s blessings on you, miss. I’ll pray for you, I will.”
Elizabeth wished she could do more to earn such gratitude. “Let us go to the cabin now and have you settled by sundown.”
Mrs. Greeves embraced her friend. “I’ll visit you tomorrow, Kate.”
Elizabeth led the family toward the road, calculating a path to the cabin that would draw the least attention to the family. John made a small noise of distress. Elizabeth squeezed his hand. “Is this not exciting? You shall live in the woods!”
He gave her a tentative smile—rather brave under the circumstances. “Is it an adventure? Like in the stories?”
“Indeed, it is,” she said with a cheerfulness she did not feel. “Let us venture out and see your new home!”

Review

Let’s be honest among us, it is clear that years may pass and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is not going to forget her true love, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. However, stubborn and proud Mr. Darcy believes that going far away with Bingley and Georgiana is going to help his heart to forget her. Wrong! Two years away and in the first moment he learns that Elizabeth has lost her father, the fate of her sisters and that she is under Collins’ “protection”, he flies to Longbourn (if he could have done it literally, he would have taken an helicopter). It is endearing and funny to see how he makes up excuses for his behaviour and his reasons to be back so suddenly. Elizabeth is confused to say the least but she has more pressing matters on her hands, however, having the man who declared his love for her back, it is somehow distracting. Although, the wellbeing of the tenants and her sisters and mother are paramount for Elizabeth.

As you can read on the blurb, she will rebel agains the injustice, even if it is in the shadows. She spends even the little money she has to make Longbourn prosper. Together with her sisters Jane, Kitty and mainly Mary, they are able to hide from Collins their plans and the tenants help them because they are the first ones to benefit as their houses get repaired or there is enough food on their tables.

What happens when the “silly” Darcy gets to know this deception? Many many things that I am not going to spoil for you but you must know that Mr. Darcy will be a bit unrecognisable, mainly with some clover…

Spoiler alert (yes, one of my spoilers…)

.

.

.

.

There is a happy ending for everyone, even Mrs and Mr Collins! I think Mrs Charlotte Collins gets a good ending.

I really like how Darcy gets even more to Elizabeth’s heart with his kindness, although obviously the present is from Georgiana, ehem ehem! Nope, Elizabeth does not only love him for a present but I am not telling you what else he does for the family, you will have to read it.

4.5out5 stars

time to give away winners

Double giveaway!

Victoria is giving away an ebook copy of Rebellion at Longbourn and I am giving away one paperback, therefore, we will have two winners!
To participate (for a chance to win or the ebook or the paperback): one point will be given if you comment on this post and you can get an extra point for every share of the post on social media (do not forget to tag me on those posts).

The giveaway is international and closes on the 16th of July at 23:59 CEST, shortly after I will announce the 2 winners.

READ: For the paperback, it is likely that I will buy it on Amazon and send it to the address you give me, so you must allow me to share your address with Amazon to send you the book. I may use the Amazon on your country or amazon.com / amazon.co.uk depending on where you are in the world!

Edited (22nd of July): big apologies for not having drawn the winners yet, I will do it before the end of this week!

“Missing Jane” by Bronwen Chisholm, excerpt + giveaway

Hello to all of you! How are you? How is everything going?

I am still doing less reading that I wanted but maybe in a week or so I may have more time. Today, I want to introduce you to Bronwen Chisholm. I have reviewed one of her books previously but she is today with us! Let’s see what she has for us.

BCBronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

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

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

Hello Readers! I am so pleased to be here to share my latest book with you. Missing Jane is a low angst, sweet clean novella. So, without further ado, here is the blurb and an excerpt.

cover_missing_janeMr. Bennet is dead; his daughters “scattered to the winds,” according to Mrs. Bennet.

And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.

Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.

Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?

 

Darcy stood on the stoop of the Gardiners’ home in Cheapside. He had wrestled with himself all night. His cousin was still away, and therefore he had no one to speak to regarding what he had learned in Meryton. Instead, he had risen with the sun and made his way to Cheapside, where he questioned anyone he met until he located Elizabeth’s relations. He folded his hands behind his back as he waited for the door to open and wondered if Elizabeth would refuse to see him. He could not fault her if she did, but at least he would have tried.

The door opened and a young maid greeted him. He gave her his card and asked if the family was home.

“Mr. Gardiner is at his warehouse and the missus is inside with her youngest, who is ill. Miss Bennet has taken the older children to the park.” Darcy thanked her and instructed her not to disturb her mistress as he simply wished to leave his condolences.

He approached the young boy holding his horse and was about to mount when he glanced towards the park. Could he come this far and forego the chance to at least see her? Shaking his head, he quickly mounted, tossed the lad a coin, and rode to the park.

At first, he did not see her. He was about to admit defeat when her laugh arrested his progress. It rang through the air once more. Though it still held the same musical quality, the pure joy he remembered in Hertfordshire was missing. Darcy’s breath caught in his chest when he turned and saw the sun dancing off her auburn curls as she attempted to retrieve her bonnet from a young boy.

Darcy dismounted and crossed to them, removing his beaver while he approached her from behind. It was clear they were playing a game, and he could not suppress a smile as he thought of how she might have been with their children one day. “May I be of assistance, miss? Has this ruffian assaulted you?”

Elizabeth stiffened, startled by his voice. “Forgive me, Mr. Darcy. I was entertaining my cousins.” She blushed as she curtseyed, and Darcy was lost to her again.

“I saw.” Her gaze fell to the ground, and he shuffled his feet. “I had stopped at your uncle’s home and was told you were here. I have been to Meryton.” He paused, waiting for her to lift her gaze to him, but she continued her study of the path where they stood. “Please accept my condolences.”

She nodded and returned her attention to her cousins, who had continued their game.

“I did not know until Bingley returned to Netherfield Park.”

“Mr. Bingley returned to Netherfield?” She regarded him with an incredulous stare.

Darcy nodded. “A week ago.”

She shook her head and laughed bitterly.

“I never . . .” he began, but the expression on her face stopped him. Warnings shot from her eyes. He lowered his gaze, unable to meet hers. “I cannot imagine what you are feeling, losing your favourite sister so close on the heels of your father.”

“Jane is not dead!” she said between clenched teeth.

Darcy blinked repeatedly as he lifted his head. He did not believe she was one who could deny the loss of a loved one. It did not seem like her. “I do not understand. I was under the impression—“

“Who have you spoken to regarding my sister?”

“Bingley. He spoke to Mrs. Collins. I also saw your mother in Meryton.” He ran his fingers along the brim of his beaver.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “We are searching for her.”

“Searching?”

She sighed as she walked towards her cousins, who were beginning to wander away. He followed. “There was an accident. The carriage rolled. The servant who was travelling with Jane was found and said my sister had gone for help.”

“How long has it been?”

Elizabeth hesitated, but finally replied in a strained voice, “It has been just over a fortnight since she left London.”

Darcy slowly shook his head. “That is not what Bingley was told. He is devastated, thinking she has passed.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “There is a chance Miss Bennet is well and you simply have not been told.”

Elizabeth’s eyes beseeched him. “My uncle is doing all he can to learn what may have happened to her, but we are unable to leave London at this time, and his means are limited.”

Her eyes conveyed all her fears, and he fought the urge to draw her into his arms to comfort her. Swallowing hard, he softly replied, “Elizabeth, do not lose hope.”

She looked at him quizzically and he allowed his gaze to become more intense.

“I know I have never given up.” He bowed over her hand, before returning to his horse and mounting it. Their eyes met again just before he left, and he prayed he did not imagine the admiration he saw there.

This book has been such a joy to write. New characters and a new locale have been fun to explore. The Kindle version of Missing Jane is available HERE. I hope you will pick it up and love it as much as I do.

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

What do you think? How intense that excerpt is, right? At least I have read it with a heart full of fear for Jane and that struggle that Darcy has and that last bit of hope when he is leaving.

What on Earth has happened to Jane? Where is she? Is she really dead or is she lost somewhere? Poor Mr. Bingley too!

Do you want to know more about Missing Jane? Check the other stops on the blog tour:

Blog Tour Update

1st of July Austen Authors

6th of July From Pemberley to Milton

8th of July Diary of an Eccentric

9th of July More Agreeably Engaged

10th of July Babblings of a bookworm

11th of July My Vices and Weaknesses

13th of July Austenesque Reviews

14th of July Interests of a Jane Austen girl

15th of July Laughing with Lizzie

25th of July My Love for Jane Austen

 

time to give away winners

As Bronwen has mentioned, she is giving 1 ebook copy and I will choose 1 winner from the comments on this post. The giveaway is open until the 14th of July at 23:59 CEST. The winner will be announced on the 15th of July, Good luck to everyone!

“In Plain Sight” by Don Jacobson, guest post, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

It is always a pleasure to share the news of Don Jacobson’s latest writing, and this time he is bringing something else, it is not the “usual” Darcy and Elizabeth story, it goes beyond the cannon and I believe it may make us see them differently, with a new perspective. I wish you a great time reading In Plain Sight.

Here you have the blurb and see what Don is hinting:

“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

                                                      Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands

What do you think? I know it is not much but, how do you see Elizabeth? and Darcy and his inclinations? If you are confused you can blame this amazing writer.

Let me (re)introduce you to Don Jacobson:

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)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)Don Jacobson Head Shot

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, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) 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 the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

I think that it is worth reading what Don has to shared with us about this “different” approach to our beloved couple. I put the inverted commas on different because I believe that we are kind of used to having the same pattern even with variations. However, I am really looking forward to read In Plain Sight and learn more about these characters and how they can see their real world.

I wish to thank Ana for hosting me today. I look forward to engaging with each of you.

Classic Canon has Darcy’s head so high in the clouds of his status that he barely condescends to see those clustered around his feet. Canon also has Elizabeth reacting with impertinence and asperity against the man’s haughty nature and arrogance. That dynamic tension has been present for 200 years.

When I ventured to write my first novel which was Elizabeth/Darcy-centric, I resolved to create a work that would offer readers a fresh approach to the quandary that is the Eternal Binary. I am convinced that one of the reasons that I avoided ODC novels (in spite of Lory Lilian and Joana Starnes urging me to do otherwise) was that I was unwilling to compose another story that relied on plot devices used a dozen times over in JAFF.

Then, sometime in the middle of last year as I was writing The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion, something clicked. It may have been Lydia Wickham acting contrary to her nature Canonically memorialized as well as scorched across the pages of a thousand variations pushed out since about 2010. That sense of our core characters acting differently, assuming new guises, sent a glimmer into the darker corners of my mind where it muttered (and gibbered?) through the end of the Lydia book and the composition of my North and South story, Cinders and Smoke.

At some point in early-October, I turned to the idea that was to become In Plain Sight. Making the Lydia alterations my starting point, I asked myself ‘What must Darcy do to lose his pride and begin to appreciate the people around him if Elizabeth’s Hunsford rejection was not the cause?’ After considerable mulling, my search for a satisfying plot path hit a brick wall. I could not see a way that Fitzwilliam Darcy, master of Pemberley, could set aside his pride and become a fully dimensional person. And, there it was—right in the center of my problem. He could not as long as he was master of Pemberley. That man could only respond to the Hunsford disaster: the denial of his most cherished wish. I needed to have him become another, an inversion of the character with whom we are so familiar., in order to allow him to grow in the manner I would like to write.

Now, I am not a particularly religious man. Even though my books are replete with Christian and Eastern mystic references, these are artifacts of a Swedish Lutheran childhood. That said, our Nineteenth Century characters are people of faith and not Nietzsche’s children, and, thus, allusions to religion and faith are relevant.

As I began to look at inverting Darcy, I was reminded of the story of the Prodigal Son. By the time of George Darcy’s death, Fitzwilliam Darcy has risen to the top of the heap. He was in possession of his birthright at the age of twenty-three. How could this man learn what he needed to learn in order to become worthy of Elizabeth’s love? If Darcy was at the pinnacle, who would be at the absolute (white man’s) social nadir? Like the biblical young man, he would have to lose it all, to be stripped down to his barest essentials.

He would be convicted and relegated to toil, hidden in plain sight, from all of those who would have condescended to know him before.

Once I hit upon that solution, much more moved into position. Now that Darcy was invisible to everybody except the men to whom he was chained, how could he interact with Elizabeth? That forced me to consider the person of Miss Elizabeth Rose Bennet. As a gentleman’s daughter, what did she know and who did she see? Canonical readers and fans of #Austenesque works tend to pigeonhole Elizabeth as somewhat saintly and most certain without fault—except for her nasty proclivity to mimic certain Derbyshire gents in jumping to conclusions.

Yet, would not the daughter of Longbourn be equally susceptible to classism? While she is not of the first circles, are we to assume that those attitudes of superiority did not percolate downward toward the sparrows from the eagles? This gave me a mobilizer for Elizabeth and Smith’s relationship. She was in her own, as well as society’s eyes, so far above the convict as the master of Pemberley was above the second daughter of a modest country gentleman.

Now, Elizabeth had to learn that labels do not make the man. Does Collins become an exemplar of saintly rectitude simply because he is ordained? Much as Lydia discovered that the color of uniform does not define the valor of the man wearing it, so too will Lizzy Bennet find that checkered shirts and canvas pantaloons do not determine the inner qualities of the person before her.

In Plain Sight is, I believe, an honest work. It offers up our hero and heroine in a new light. It moves them through an unfamiliar word growing from the whole cloth of the great work. The novel tells the love story in a way that will be seen as unusual and stepping beyond the norm.

What are your thoughts? Both Don and I would like you to share your ideas, your opinions, your comments to his explanation and, if you keep reading below, to this excerpt where Elizabeth starts seeing…

Excerpt from Chapter 16, In Plain Sight

In the parlor of the Longbourn Dower House where Elizabeth Bennet watches over the unconscious foundling carried there by Mr. Fitzwilliam.

The past few days had been ones of harsh reality for Elizabeth Bennet. She had yet to fully appreciate what she had seen and felt.

Have I been so sheltered as not to understand the cruelties—both petty and great—that surround me? Upon what is my world built? Is it the sands of propriety or the sound stone of wide-opened eyes?

First the flogging of that poor boy.

Then came Mary’s betrothal when none of her sisters had even imagined that she harbored the ability to own such tender feelings.

Mr. Collins’s pique at being denied the £300 from Longbourn’s living showed me another side of placing the control of church offices into the hands of those who see themselves as betters. For their own purposes—to maintain their power—they would manipulate others of weaker spirit, unctuous men like my cousin, men who should only pay fealty to the Heavenly Father. Instead, they bow and scrape before unscrupulous men, moneychangers all, who prey on the fear and blindness of those for whom they are supposedly responsible. If I hear William Collins say the word ‘patroness’ one more time…

And now this poor fellow—Mr. Smith according to Mr. Fitzwilliam—lies with one foot in the grave. He was not condemned to the gibbet by a Red Judge. Yet, here he now rests: sentenced and punished by those not wearing robes of authority. But for what reason?

He rose against the cruelty of the barnyard, living that which we have been taught every Sunday. Did that warrant his death? Or is there a darker reason?

If it had not been for the long figure stretched out before her, Lizzy would have pulled on her pelisse, soiled or not, and launched herself into a pilgrimage across Longbourn’s fields toward Lucas Lodge. She needed Charlotte’s advice right now.

There was something about this man, something that led known—and unknown—bits of her body to warm and tingle in manners that were neither uncomfortable nor unwelcome. Her diet of novels that inspired romantic visions did not blind her to what was happening. Charlotte could help her sort this since Jane yet traveled.

She was attracted to this man, a convict, someone so far outside of her sphere and so wholly unsuitable to be the object of her ruminations as to be toxic to her wellbeing. Yet, there was a nobility about him that shone forth and led her to believe, to pray, that there was more to his tale than that which people would claim after seeing him labor under the watch of armed guards. Lizzy appreciated that he was a fine figure of a man and hoped to learn more. She was frustrated by his continued insensibility.

After Mary’s revelations, Elizabeth had decided to look beyond first impressions. That she had condemned her sister as being bedeviled by a poverty of spirit because Mary affected a dowdy façade was to her shame.

Now, she chose to look beneath, to peel back the layers of a person and seek the golden kernel hidden within. However, she could not ignore the fact that a lack of appearance and gentle behavior—her cousin Collins being a prime example—did predispose her to dislike persons who inflicted themselves upon her when she did not desire them.

Here before her was an early test of her new resolve.

Elizabeth could not believe that Smith was a common criminal. He was anything but ordinary. That bare minute in front of the Netherfield barn had shown Lizzy that he knew how a gentleman carried himself—or at least how she imagined a sophisticated man-about-town would seem: acting neither as rake nor rattle. He had stepped forward to end the outrage rather than holding back with the other convicts, content to bay like a pack of hounds when the Master of the Hunt held high the fox’s torn carcass.

Dependence upon appearance as the sole basis for ascribing character could lead to misunderstanding and prejudice. After all, was that not the case with King Richard III who was portrayed as a hunchback by the Bard, contrary to recorded history? The audiences in the pit easily understood that Henry Tudor, clear-eyed and upright, had earned the right to rule in place of the deformed usurper.

But Lizzy knew that she had little choice except to consider physical manifestations as the freshly wound ormolu clock chimed its way through the quarters while she sat there. She consoled herself with the thought that the poor man could barely speak when conscious, let alone engage in revealing conversation. Thus, she would have to use that which she could observe. Yet, her examinations of men as they slept were rightly limited to her father when she came upon him in his library after he had imbibed one too many brandies.

Even though she had never inspected any other men, she had, oddly, tried to sketch William Collins after he had brushed the crumbs from his black waistcoat and climbed the stairs to his chamber. Did he wash away the sweat of the day before he slid on his nightshirt?

Huffing slightly, she tried to expunge from her thoughts the repellant image of her cousin abed fast asleep. Even in repose, she shuddered; Collins’s inherent nature shone through, illuminating all in a greasy light that was roiled with his obsequious comments.

On the contrary, Lizzy felt that she could see a well-bred refinement shaping Smith’s somnolent features. While his closed eyes were marred by the black-and-blue of his beating, Smith’s aquiline nose—swollen—dropped from a broad forehead to end above his cracked and broken lips. Even these, when the swelling was ignored, may have been found gracing a likeness of an ermine-clad noble in a great house’s gallery.

Yet, Elizabeth Bennet had not been brought into the manor house only in the past week. She had become the family’s skeptic, especially as Meryton was changing with the influx of commerce in the form of Watson’s Mill, the Canal, and tradesmen attracted by the wartime economy. Her private mission was to protect her sisters’ virtues. She had never feared that Mary or Jane would have compromised bedrock principles, so Kitty and Lydia were her unwitting charges. To prepare herself, Lizzy had watched the militia officers stationed on the parade grounds above the Mimram. She had learned that an easy appearance coupled with gentle manners and a glib tongue could certainly hide a deficiency of honor and a wastrel’s inclinations. Too many of the town’s young women had been dispatched to “visit their widowed aunts in the country” for Lizzy to accept a redcoat’s blandishments toward herself, Kitty, and Lydia.

She contemplated the conundrum known as William Smith as he snored softly in his drug-induced torpor.

Yes, a judge had sentenced him to toil as punishment. However, she could not believe that he had fallen as the result of a terrible character defect. Likely, his perdition came about because of remarkable circumstances that overwhelmed engrained probity.

After all, even though he was nearly comatose when she discovered him, had he not urged her to abandon him by the roadside as anything less would have been a violation of propriety? This was surely a sign of a refined temperament. His simple act of defending a friend convinced Elizabeth that he had redeeming qualities that were the strakes atop oaken ribs that made up the man called Smith.

Papa once had counseled her—referring to the Biblical admonition—that one can never build a house upon a foundation made of sand. Men and women needed secure stone footings to build upright lives.

William Smith had shown underpinnings redolent of unshakable principles. Soon Elizabeth would discover whether his edifice was mansion or shanty.

Is it not very interesting? I know it is maybe a very simple idea what I am going to say but for me reading this excerpt and “putting myself” on her place, I just thought about the English expression of “the penny dropped“. What do you think? Let us know.

Do not forget that this post is included in a blog tour with awesome stops, go, check them and enjoy!

IPS Blog Tour Banner Horz M

June 17 Diary of an Eccentric

June 18 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

June 19 Austenesque Reviews

June 20 Donadee’s Corner

June 22 From Pemberley to Milton

June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 24 Savvy Verse & Wit

June 25 So Little Time…

June 26 Babblings of a Bookworm

IPS BlogTour Schedule M

Are you interested on buying In Plain Sight? Here are a few options:

Amazon US              Amazon UK                Amazon CA              Amazon DE

 

time to give away winners

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks for 8 winners of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson. Click the link below and follow instructions.

Rafflecopter – In Plain Sight

“Confined with Mr. Darcy” by L.L. Diamond, guest post. Help a house :)

Dear all,

How is it going? Are you still in lockdown? Have the restrictions changed a bit where you live? I hope that whatever the case, you are fine as well as all your loved ones.

I am very happy to introduce you to L.L. Diamond’s latest book: Confined with Mr. Darcy. Yes, confined, it is very appropriate for this time and that was the idea when writing it. Moreover, this book is not only a book but it is helping one of the most important places related to Jane Austen, I will let Leslie to tell you about it.

Have a peek of what the book is about but I am not even giving you all the description! I am only showing you the part about Darcy.

William Darcy has gone completely mental! Despite Elizabeth Bennet’s less than stellar opinion of him, some unknown force possessed him to invite her to Pemberley to wait out lockdown. Just because she’d be closer to her sister Jane, who’s isolated in the gamekeeper’s cottage with her husband wasn’t a legitimate excuse either. He’d invited Elizabeth—the only woman he’d ever really fancied—Elizabeth, who’d refused him without reservation at the Rosings Book Festival. Now, he spends part of every day in Elizabeth’s company while struggling to keep his feelings hidden from not only her but also his nosy sister and motherly housekeeper. What a bloody nightmare!

What do you think? Can you believe it? Confined with Mr. Darcy in Pemberley!! Take me, take me 😉

Let me (re)introduce you to L.L. Diamond, I am very happy that I can keep reintroducing you to her with so many of her books!

L.L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans before following her husband all over as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and now England have all been called home along the way.leslie

Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. Her most recent endeavours have included certifications to coach swimming as well as fitness instructor and personal trainer. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolour is her medium of choice with one of her watercolours featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Leslie also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!

Visit Leslie’s website lldiamondwrites.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @lldiamond2

Leslie has a fantastic guest post for us today and apart from Leslie, I will like to invite a lovely girl who shares my name: Ana Darcy 🙂

Thank you for having me today! I’m so excited at the response I’ve had to Confined with Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen House Museum has had a Covid-19 Survival Appeal since March, and I’ve donated but wanted to do more to help them reach their goal. I wrote the original short this book is based on, and someone mentioned possibly making it a longer story. That’s how Confined with Mr. Darcy was born. 50% of the first month’s royalties are going to the museum’s survival appeal, so if you haven’t read it, I’d appreciate you giving it a shot! You’ll be getting a fun book and helping a great cause while you’re at it.

I was struggling to come up with something for today, so I thought it might be fun to interview Ana, get her take on things—particularly her dishy brother.

Leslie: Hi, Ana, thanks for talking to me today.

Ana: No worries. I never thought I’d be interviewed for anything. Should be fun—like being on Graham Norton.

Leslie: Not quite the same as Graham Norton, but I’ll do my best. I definitely do not have a red chair, although I admit it would be fun to dump people over. I suppose let’s start with the easiest question first. Tell me about your brother. What would you say are his best qualities?

Ana: Oh! Fitzwilliam is simply the best! Since Mum and Dad died, he’s been there for me whenever I need him. He makes sure I go to the best schools and researched like mad to help me decide what sixth-form was best for studying music. He’ll do anything for his friends and family. I’ve never known anyone as loyal.

Leslie: He sounds ideal. So, why don’t you tell us about his worst qualities?

Ana: (giggles and rolls her eyes) Which ones? Fitzwilliam is brilliant when you know him, but he can be a bit of a bear when he’s in a personal-type situation with someone new. He’s so stand-offish and reserved at parties or anything social, really. I’ve always wanted him to find a girlfriend, but I can’t imagine anyone getting through his Mr. Hyde personality. Well, until now.

Leslie: His Mr. Hyde personality?

Ana: He hates it when I call him that. He’s usually so busy reading work-related material that hopefully, he won’t read this.

Leslie: Then let’s change the subject a bit. Tell me about Elizabeth Bennet.

Ana: Oh! She’s brilliant—absolutely brilliant. She’s certainly more outgoing than my brother, which is a good thing. He needs someone like her to drag him away from Darcy Publishing so he doesn’t spend all of his time poring over books. He works entirely too much. Her cat is lovely as well. Lately, I’ve found him cuddling up and purring against my stomach in the middle of the night.

Leslie: Elizabeth lets him out now?

Ana: She has to leave the door cracked. Once he was accustomed to Pemberley, he started scratching and begging to go out during the night. From what Elizabeth has said, he’s back with her by morning to give her kisses and cuddles. 

Leslie: Tilney is a dear. Now, I know your brother spends most weekends in Derbyshire so he can spend time with you, so you see him often. When did you first realize that your brother had fallen in love?

Ana: You know, I’m not sure. I do know that he’s been distracted for a while now. After the Rosings Book Festival, he moped around this house and drank entirely too much scotch. I noticed it on the weekends when I was home, but Mrs. Reynolds told me how he was the same during the week. She seriously considered hiding the Scotch in the cellar so he wouldn’t find it. I still can’t believe he spent the week working from Pemberley after Rosings. He never does that.

Leslie: Has he ever told you what happened?

Ana: No, but Elizabeth did. I can’t say I’m the slightest bit surprised. He can be such a daft prick when he wants to be. It seems she was completely clueless that he liked her, and he had no idea how to flirt or show her how he felt about him. I’m sure he deserved it when she ripped him a new one. I probably would’ve done the same if a boy behaved the same way towards me. Fitzwilliam would’ve probably told me to forget about him.

Leslie: Did you do or say anything to get them together?

Ana: Well, you know part of it since you wrote it into the story. I certainly told off Fitzwilliam for being so dense. He had this brilliant idea to invite her to Pemberley, then he goes off and hides in his study. Bingley’s suggestion to take her to Mum’s sculpture was well done, and Fitzwilliam seemed to gain some points from that, but he just had to go and offend her once he started making progress. I mean, Charles and Jane and I did the best we could to help them along, but the two of them are so bloody stubborn. Of course, my brother and his overblown sense of gentlemanlike behaviour didn’t do him any favours.

Leslie: I believe I can agree with that. You’re being very harsh, though. Don’t you think Elizabeth deserves some of the blame for them taking so long to get together?

Ana: Oh, definitely! She was exceedingly stubborn. There were times I wanted to knock her on the head so she’d finally see Fitzwilliam’s good side, but I knew forcing them wouldn’t put them together. They had to find one another on their own.

Leslie: That’s true. Thanks for talking to me, Ana. It’s been fun to get some of your perspective on William and Elizabeth’s romance during lockdown. Out of curiosity, what do you want to do first when you’re allowed to do anything or go anywhere?

Ana: I’m not sure. There’re so many places. I miss the cinema, school, and going to the café with my friends. Maybe a holiday somewhere warm. Fitzwilliam can take us to the villa in Santorini. That would be lovely.

Leslie: Sounds like paradise to me. Thanks, Ana.

Thanks again! If you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll check out Confined with Mr. Darcy! Now out on paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited!

How do you like Ana? I think she seems such a lovely sister!

I have purchased my copy of Confined with Mr. Darcy and I just need some time to read it, holidays are coming soon and then, I will devour this story!

More links to buy it:

Amazon US           Amazon UK         Amazon CA          Amazon ES         Amazon DE

Thank you very much, Leslie, for being with us today and sharing your latest book, I wish you all the best and many more of your books to share!

“Disenchanted” by Kara Pleasants, review

Disenchanted is a tale of wizardry, enchantment, disenchantment, the good and the bad, all thrown in with the characters of Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy, a renowned wizard, reluctantly joins his friend Mr Bingley at his country estate in Hertfordshire (a place that is not known for its magic). The gentlemen are lying low tracking the threat of a new dark wizard on the loose who is stealing people’s magic. Darcy is surprised to discover more excitement than he bargained for in the form of Miss Elizabeth Bennet who possesses a singular talent: she is not only immune to magic, but she can counter enchantments as well. Despite their initial dislike of each other, Darcy and Elizabeth are drawn closer as the threat of the Thieving Necromancer grows. As Elizabeth learns to unravel more and more complicated magic, she also uncovers dark secrets and breaks mysterious enchantments—but will Darcy ever discover the way to her heart?

Hello there! What do you think of this description? Do you like magic together with Pride and Prejudice? I do not mind it, mainly if I enjoy the reading as much as I have done with Disenchanted by Kara Pleasants.

Let me introduce you to the author for the first time in this blog:

Kara Pleasants lives in a lovely hamlet called Darlington in Maryland, where she and her husband are restoring an 18th century farm in Susquehanna State Park. They have two beautiful and vivacious daughters, Nora and Lina. A Maryland native, Kara spent a great deal of her childhood travelling with her family, and spent six years living in Siberia, as well as five years in Montana, before finally making her way back home to attend the University of Maryland. 

Kara is currently a high school English teacher at Parkville High School. She previously taught for Harford and Prince George’s County Public Schools, the University of Maryland, and Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Community Colleges. She will never forget the first ninth-grade English class she ever taught at Oxon Hill, whose courage and artistry might be the reason she still teaches today. Her hobbies include making scones for the farmer’s market; writing poetry; watching fantasy shows; making quilts; directing an Episcopal church choir; and dreaming about writing an epic three-part fantasy series for her daughters.

You can connect with Kara via Facebook.

Anyone else would like to try Kara’s scones? I think I will also be very happy to read the epic three-part fantasy series she will write one day for her daughters. I am sure that it will be a success.

If you would like to buy Disenchanted even before reading my review, you could do it here:

Amazon US           Amazon UK        Amazon CA           Bookdepository           Alibris

Review

This book has a lovely flow: the story runs smoothly, the characters are full and understood, the magic is easily explained and easy to believe, and the end is…

Spoiler Alert!

.

.

.

.

.

Happy!

What did you expect? 😀

Darcy and Elizabeth meet at the Meryton Assembly, he is rude and she is witty (he trips oops). This is the “normal” procedure for them in almost any JAFF story and then continues with the misunderstandings,  but in this story, we need to put MAGIC in many conversations and moments. Just an example: Jane does not fall ill because of the rain… however, she has to stay at Netherfield and her sister goes to nurse her. Nurse her very quickly!! Darcy is a very powerful wizard and his suspicion quickly becomes the truth: he knows of Elizabeth’s power and he is even more intrigued by this lady.

Yes, the militia comes and brings Wickham, I still do not like him in this story and things get more complicated between Darcy and Elizabeth (just in case you were wondering).

The Thief Necromancer keeps taking the magic from others, not killing anyone but perhaps soon? We will see. The most powerful and scholar wizards are trying to stop this thief and somehow Elizabeth is involved while in Rosings. I am sorry but I am not mentioning anything about Rosings or the parsonage. I will only say that this declaration of love and the refusal are direct and regretful at the same time but soon things need to change (not like accepting the proposal but to be civil to each other) because of the safety of many.

Mr Bennet is as usual, an enigmatic character who does not pay much attention to his family, does he? I like him, his story is a sad one but it helps seeing somebody else in a different light.

Do you remember that in Jane Austen’s book, Elizabeth visits Pemberley with her aunt and uncle? In Disenchanted, she also visits and, even if I have been at Lyme Park and Chatsworth House, I want to see what this Elizabeth has seen!!

I really enjoy the way to love and how blind Darcy is when Elizabeth is in his house, even Colonel Fitwilliam realises before he does! Elizabeth leaving Pemberley and going back to Longbourn and the rest of the story is a very enyojable journey!

By the way, I love code names.

I highly recommend you Disenchanted by Kara Pleasants.

5out5 stars

“Fortune & Felicity” by Monica Fairview, review

Hello to all of you!

I hope you keep being well and enjoying some hobbies that you may have had time to do if it were not because of the lockdown or quarantine we have in many countries. If you are looking for more reading, do not go anywhere, I have a great book for you to read: Fortune & Felicity by Monica Fairview.

You may know Monica Fairview as she has been around the JAFF world for quite some time and her novels are really good readings with lovely stories. Let me (re)introduce her:

Monica Fairview writes Jane Austen variations and sequels. After graduating from the University of Illinois, she worked as a literature professor and then as an acupuncturist in Boston before moving to London.

Monica loves anything to do with the nineteenth century, and obsessively follows every period drama she can find. On rainy days, she loves to watch ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (all adaptations), ‘North & South’, ‘Cranford’, or ‘Downtown Abbey’.

Among Monica’s Kindle best-selling novels are Mysterious Mr. Darcy, the Darcy Novels trilogy, two books in the Darcy Cousins series, and the quirky futuristic P&P inspired Steampunk Darcy. She has also published several traditional Regencies.

Apart from her avid historical interests, Monica enjoys reading fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels, but avoids zombies like the plague. She loves to laugh, drink lots of tea, and visit Regency houses, and she is convinced that her two cats can understand everything she says. 

Would you like to connect with her?

Austen Variations      Blog       Website       Facebook

As you can see, she does a bit of everything in JAFF, even a steampunk Darcy!

Ase you know interested on what is Fortune & Felicity about? It is not a steampunk, just for you to know 😉

Blurb

In this Pride & Prejudice variation, Elizabeth and Darcy have a second chance to get things right. Will they be able to come together this time, or will pride intervene yet again?

Seven years after Darcy’s disastrous proposal, Darcy is in need, not of a wife, but of a governess for his young daughter. Imagine his surprise when he discovers Elizabeth Bennet on the list of possible candidates provided by the employment agency. The question is, should he take her on as a governess, or would he be playing with fire?

Elizabeth Bennet is forced by her reduced circumstances to take on a position. However, when Mr. Darcy invites her for an interview, she is embarrassed and humiliated. How could she possibly live under the same roof as the man she had rejected so strongly seven years ago?

Whatever decision she makes, there will be a high price to pay… one way or the other.

Would he be playing with fire? What do you think? I will start with this bit on my review.

Review

As I said, the haughty Mr Darcy believes himself not in danger of this Mrs Heriot, née Bennet who captivated him so long ago. I would like look Darcy in the eye and tell him: really? Reeeeeally?

Just in case you have not realised, I have started with one of my spoilers! So, spoiler alert!!

.

.

.

The happy ending will be there, at some point, in time, slowly, annoyingly but it is so worth it!

After the proposal Rosings, they part ways and he gets married, and then she gets married too (you will know about these bits when you read it). She is helping her sister with her own children but there a lot of them and there is not much space, so she looks for a position as a governess.

Darcy is a widower now and he needs a governess for her daughter who is, in principle, not the most lovable kid because she learnt a bit from her mother and her treatment towards herself was maybe not the best one.

When Darcy realises that there is a Mrs Elizabeth Heriot that looks like it may be “his” Elizabeth, he has to interview her. Let’s say the interview is… interesting. All in all, she accepts and then they go to Pemberley.

Elizabeth realises that her charge, Kathy, may not be as “easy” to work with as her nieces and nephews, however, her courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate her, right? Her charge, for such a young girl, is very classist and insists on treating her as a servant even if her father has told her that Mrs. Hariot is a gentlewoman and as her governess she needs to be respected. The same is said to the servants in the house and Mrs. Reynolds is… Mrs. Reynolds (she is really good and protective as she is the “mama-hen”).

I know this may not be surprising but Mr. Darcy is: black and white, hot and cold, yin and yang, I do not know what other opposites to use, he is not able to decide how to treat her. Remember that he is NOT in danger… ha! You wish! Example: while taking her to Lambton, he does not open his mouth and I could feel that it was super tense because he has also “ordered” Elizabeth to go with him through a servant and he has not given her any explanation. However, this is a very interesting scene… and an important one. You can definitely imagine Elizabeth’s attitude when they finally talk!

I simply love how silly Darcy can be mainly when he is very “proper”, and how much conflict Elizabeth has to adapt to her new role in society.

But then… Georgiana appears! OMG! How much damage one can do when the aim is to be helpful!! That party, that dress… (I leave it there)

The story has a great pace, the biggest part shows their “job” life of him as a master and her as a governess. However, there is the introduction to know how they got to that point (a lot of pain for both), and of course, we cannot forget the coming together and the lovely epilogue.

The characters are very well developed and both the original characters and the new characters make your time so worthwhile! For instance, Jane is a great add to this story and not only because Elizabeth was living with her. A new character: Georgiana’s husband is a man who gave me a not-so-good first impression but then you realise that he is awesome.

If the five stars below are not enough, I will write it: I highly recommend this book for you to read.

5out5 stars

Do you want to but the book? Here you have some places where you could do it:

Amazon US             Amazon UK              Amazon CA               Amazon DE            Amazon ES

Blog tour

I highly recommend you to check the other stops of this tour, you will get to know much more about this Darcy and this Elizabeth.

blog-tour-banner-ff-with-dates

“Taken” by Mary Anne Mushatt, review

Dear all,

I hope you are doing well and your loved ones too. Have you been reading much? Fortunately I have, mainly during the two weeks of holidays, now that I am back with Distance Teaching/Learning I do not have so much time but I still enjoy some of the lovely JAFF authors, such as Mary Anne Mushatt and her second novel Taken. However, this is her first novel that I read and I am very curious to read Darcy and the Duchess.

Let me introduce you to Mary Anne Mushatt:

Mary Anne Mushatt a life-long writer relocated to New Orleans last century, where she earned an MFA and created a documentary of oral histories in the African-American and Native American communities along Louisiana’s River Road.  When the levees failed, exiling her family from their home, she discovered the community of Jane Austen acolytes and began writing novels placing the Pride and Prejudice’s beloved characters in innovative situations.  Taken is her second published novel.  As a result of one of her earlier novels, she works with a multi-disciplinary team aiding victims of human trafficking become survivors.

She lives in New Orleans with her husband, two sons and two dogs.

Connect with Author at Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneMushatt

What is Taken about? That title is somehow intriguing, isn’t it?

Taken from her home as a young child, Elisabeth Bennet’s sense of self is shaken when the mystery behind her true identity is unraveled.  Discovering her place as the daughter of a duke, she confronts reclaimed memories of her brutal abduction, while tackling the alien world of Regency England’s high society.  Facing the ton is the least of her concerns as her kidnappers remain determined to keep her from Fitzwilliam Darcy – the man who showed his love by first proposing she become his mistress.  Humbled by her refusal, he returns to win her love and respect.

Do you want to know a bit more about Mary Anne Mushatt and the Origins of Taken? Read it here.

Review

The daughter of a duke, after being taken from home and having had maybe not a perfect life… or half and half.

Who on Earth is stupid enough to take the child of a duke? or what reason? Not money because nothing was asked for the little girl. You will be surprised! The reason for this kidnapping is quite twisted.

However, let’s fast forward and talk about Elizabeth and Darcy. They meet when Netherfield is let at last and then Jane and Charles are about to get married. However, then for different reasons, Elizabeth has to almost flee Longbourn and she goes with her aunt and uncle to London. When Darcy sees her again, let’s say that Miss Bingley is odious here, and Elizabeth is seen in an appropriate light, which eventually leads to a massive misunderstanding where Darcy is pretty horrible (the first proposal on Jane Austen’s is sweet in comparison to what he does here). It happens twice!!!!

I need to do one of my spoilers, therefore, Spoiler Alert!!

.

.

.

.

.

There is a happy ending for these two characters 🙂

I have enjoyed the new characters: Julian (not telling you who he is), the biological fathers of Elizabeth, Admiral and Mrs Raleigh and Bingley’s aunt even if she is a minor character.

Characters that I have not enjoyed: Miss Bingley (although normally I do not like her 😉 ), Anne de Bourg (she is nuts!), Lady Cat, sorry Lady Catherine and some of his Fitzwilliam’s relations.

I find Taken an interesting story where there is a lot of love around Elizabeth. However, I believe that some stories around are maybe too long and somehow not as relevant, for instance Miss Bingley’s story gets too long and detailed for my taste. This story, for example, makes the book sometimes go from “too crazy” to “too sweet” when Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged.

However, I recommend this book and I would love to have your opinions shared on the comments.

4out5 stars

“Undoing” by L.L. Diamond, review

Dear all,

I am super glad to welcome again to my blog: L. L. Diamond. You may remember her from previous visits or because she writes beautifully!

If by any chance you do not know her, here you have a few interesting facts about Leslie:

L.L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans before following her husband all over as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and now England have all been called home along the way.leslie

After watching Sense and Sensibility with her mother, Leslie became a fan of Jane Austen, reading her collected works over the next few years. Pride and Prejudice stood out as a favourite and has dominated her writing since finding Jane Austen Fan Fiction.

Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. Her most recent endeavours have included certifications to coach swimming as well as a fitness instructor. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolour is her medium of choice with one of her watercolours featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Leslie also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!

Leslie’s books include Rain and Retribution, A Matter of Chance, An Unwavering Trust, The Earl’s Conquest, Particular Intentions, Particular Attachments, Unwrapping Mr. Darcy, It’s Always Been You, It’s Always Been Us, It’s Always Been You and Me, and Undoing, which was realised just yesterday.

Visit Leslie’s website lldiamondwrites.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Leslie has kindly asked me to review her latest book: Undoing and I could not say no as I have enjoyed her books for a few years now. I hope you like it when you get the chance to read it. Let me give you a bit of information about the book:

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet had always hoped to marry for love—that is until she surrenders to her mother’s demands and marries the handsome Duke of Leeds. Thrust into a society disinclined to accept a country nobody who somehow entrapped one of their most prominent members, Elizabeth holds her head high, ignoring their whispers and stares and a husband whose indifferent behaviour confuses her. Her marriage of convenience is nothing like what she expected.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a man torn. After meeting the Duchess of Leeds at a ball, he is fascinated by her intelligence and humour, but how does one maintain a respectable friendship with a lady—particularly when that lady is the wife of his cousin and godfather? His father and his sister both love Elizabeth, and he quickly realises he loves her as well, though not as one loves a cousin or even a sister. His feelings must stay hidden from everyone, particularly Elizabeth, but how is he to keep himself under such strict regulation when he is constantly thrown into her company? How does one prevent their own undoing?

Poor Darcy… Duchess! Her mother must be very happy 😀

Review

I do apologise but I need to start with one of my SPOILERS!

.

.

.

.

.

.

Undoing has a happy ending 😉

However, even as I knew this, it was a bit of a stressing reading. Not really angsty but stressing. There was no way I could see how the HEA was going to happen because when it seemed that it was there, zas! another problem that just delayed the inevitable… happy Ever After.

Anyway, let me tell you my opinion about the book: it is a delightful read. However, I need to point out that there are scenes with adult content, I do not mind them but I know there are people who do not like them.

Now… where was I? Yes, a happy ending. How difficult is to get to that point? Very.

Elizabeth marries a man who does not love her and who she does not love either but at least he is not a mean husband but, he hides a huge secret from her. She does her role, she is a Duchess and she behaves properly among the ton but she does not have a husband-wife relationship. He is not able to get her pregnant and she is alone. However, his family has liked her very much, both sides of the family and especially the Darcy branch: Georgiana Darcy and the old Mr. Darcy and his son Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, Fitwilliam Darcy is too attracted to her and he cannot avoid being near her even if it is not proper. Does she return her feelings? Who cares? Maybe but he cannot try anything. But what happens when somebody else takes the decision for you and forces situations against your will? Well, then you may be lost. However, eventually, with a lot of suffering and time it can be the best possible outcome.

I am aware that I have not told you much on that big paragraph but I cannot spoil the story.

However, if you want to fret about a happy ending, if you still want to read about a headstrong Elizabeth, about a passionate Darcy and a out-of-character Colonel Fitzwilliam (surprising but understandable when Leslie explains it), this is your book. You will like Jane and her husband… nope, no Bingley (oops sorry for the spoiler 😉 )

4.5out5 stars

Would you like to buy the book? You can do it on:

Amazon US          Amazon CA        Amazon UK          Amazon ES       Amazon DE

“Mr. Darcy’s Clan” by Lari Ann O’Dell, guest post, excerpt and giveaway

The upper echelon of English society—comprised of vampires, or Firstborn Sons—is a world Elizabeth Bennet has no desire to join. She has little exposure to Firstborn Sons until Mr. Bingley arrives in the neighborhood and falls in love with her sister Jane. His mysterious friend, Mr. Darcy, attracts Elizabeth’s attention, but she is convinced he is hiding a dark secret. In spite of this, powerful feelings draw her to him. She learns a shocking truth when Mr. Wickham appears, and disaster strikes at Netherfield. Forced into Mr. Darcy’s supernatural realm, a confusing new world of danger threatens their deepening love. How can they find eternal happiness when members of his illustrious clan are plotting her demise? Can Mr. Darcy rise beyond his past to save her or will he lose her for all eternity?

Hello, what do you think of this blurb? Yes, vampires! As you know I do not mind a Mr. Darcy-vampire because it seems that he is even “colder” and then I imagine that his love for Elizabeth is even stronger. Moreover, she is drawn to him too… What do you think so far? I hope you are intrigued as I am because apart from the topic, I am very glad to welcome for the first time Lari Ann O’Dell to My Vices and Weaknesses, and I hope it will not be the last time.

I have to admit that I did not know her until recently and she is not even a new author, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, the book she is introducing today is her third book already. In case you did not know her, let me tell you a bit about her. If you are one of the lucky ones who already knows her, maybe you will get to know a bit more about her:

Lari Ann O’Dell first discovered her love of Pride & Prejudice when she was eighteen. After reading a Pride & Prejudice variation she found in a closing sale at a bookstore, she said, “This is what I want to do.” She published her first novel, Mr. Darcy’s Kiss, two years later.IMG_6861

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

What do you think? Did something catch your attention? She is working on two more books!

I recommend you to follow her, and you can do it on different platforms:

Facebook            Twitter           Amazon-Author      Goodreads   Facebook Author Page

Sometimes I wonder how authors get such “crazy” and original ideas to mix something “normal” with fantasy. I actually like it but I marvel at their imagination. To help me with my doubts, Lari Ann will tell us a bit more about vampires and her vampires, and she is letting us have a look at Mr. Darcy’s Clan with a really nice excerpt. Enjoy!

Hello, dear readers. It is a pleasure to be here at My Vices and Weaknesses. I am excited to talk about my newest release, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, a vampire Pride & Prejudice variation.

So let’s talk about vampires. Throughout the history of film, television, and literature, there are hundreds of representations of vampires. We’ve all heard about the sparkly, vegetarian vampires of Twilight, the cheesy nineties vampires of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, of course, Dracula.

When I sat down to write this variation, I wanted to present my vampires in a new way. While I followed some tropes and vampire rules, there are others that I broke. My vampires cannot see their own reflections, which makes ladies’ maids and valets all the more important for the upper class. They do perish in direct sunlight, but as it is an established rule in my variation that there is no direct sunlight in England, that element does not directly come into play. My vampires are immortal and, of course, must drink blood to survive. Some vampires in my variation have the ability to enthrall people and bend them to their will.

But how are they different? I did not want my vampires to be the monsters in the night that everyone feared. I wanted to create a Regency world wherein vampires are fully integrated into society. Not only that, but they are respected and even revered. Naturally, it made sense to start with the English monarchy.

I have always been fascinated with Henry VIII and the Tudors. King Henry VIII’s struggle, and ultimately, failure, to provide a living male heir, his dissension from the Catholic Church, and his bloody history with his wives seemed an interesting jumping off point. So, I devised an alternate and supernatural history. This history is detailed in the Introduction of the book.

The next hurdle to overcome was how to integrate vampires, known as Firstborn Sons, into society. Vampires coming from the monarchy was a good first step, but it wasn’t enough. So, I established a code of honor, civility, and propriety for my vampires to live by. This set of laws is known as the Dictates.

The Dictates outlined in detail how a Firstborn Son of England would behave. These rules outlawed killing humans for sport, banned the Siring of vampires who were not Firstborn Sons or their chosen partners, and demanded that Firstborn Sons would only feed from the poor. These traditions allowed vampires to survive and thrive in English society.

My vampires are much more human in nature than other iterations of vampires. They are capable of deep, eternal love. They are capable of procreation. They comport themselves in a proper manner, with a few notable exceptions. (I am looking at you, George Wickham and Lady Catherine.)  Firstborn Sons do not go on killing sprees, only taking what they need to survive. Unfortunately, the poor are the main source of blood, a pathetic yet true reflection of the very strong division of classes in Regency England.

Firstborn Sons find their Eternal Partners through a phenomenon called the Call of the Blood. It is the vampire equivalent of love at first sight. When a Firstborn Son encounters his future mate for the first time, there is a primal sensation he feels, down to the very essence of his being; his blood. It is a sure sign that a vampire has met his perfect match.

We see this phenomenon very early with Darcy, when he first encounters Elizabeth Bennet at Lucas Lodge. Of course, part of Darcy’s struggle is his fight against nature. In this variation, the Call of the Blood is not known to be wrong. So when poor Darcy senses it for Elizabeth Bennet, who has no notable connections of fortune, he is mortified. He valiantly attempts to fight his vampiric instincts, knowing that as much as he despises his situation, he owes it to his family and clan to marry a woman of fortune. But the more time he spends in Elizabeth’s company, the more he comes to appreciate her charms, her wit, and her beauty. He begins to realize that she is the only woman with whom he wishes to spend an eternity. But by the time he accepts that he is in love with Elizabeth, he has already offended her and hurt her pride, and his journey to eternal happiness with Elizabeth is not an easy one. But rest assured, lovely readers, that Mr. Darcy’s Clan has a happily ever after.

The excerpt I am sharing today is when Darcy first feels the Call of the Blood for Elizabeth Bennet. One of my favorite scenes to adapt in any variation is Darcy’s famous declaration that Elizabeth is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him!

What was delightful about writing this scene was the fact that Darcy’s words were in such great conflict with his instincts. In this excerpt, we can already see him struggle to fight his attraction to Elizabeth. It results in him heedlessly stating words he will quickly come to regret and establishes his reputation in Hertfordshire as a man who is unpleasant, proud, and arrogant. And since Elizabeth has the misfortune of overhearing his slight against her, an unpromising beginning ensues.

——————————-

Gentlemen were scarce compared to ladies so Elizabeth was obliged to sit out for part of the dancing. Overall this was not much of a punishment. Elizabeth was quite content to observe as Jane danced with Mr. Bingley a second time. How unlike his friend he was! 

After that dance ended, Elizabeth observed Bingley crossing the room. She had not noticed that Mr. Darcy had removed himself from the hearth and was now only a few feet away from her. She was in a position to overhear a conversation she ought not to have heard.

***

“Come, Darcy,” Mr. Bingley said, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

Darcy was unmoved by his friend’s perturbed speech. “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. I have no desire to encourage Caroline’s wishes, and Mrs. Hurst is unavailable. It would be insupportable for me to dance with any other young lady here tonight.”

“I would not be so fastidious as you are for a kingdom!” Mr. Bingley cried. “I have never met with a more pleasant group of young ladies. The women of the ton care only about how they shall spend their Eternities. In this part of the country, the people savor every moment, for it is even more precious knowing that their time may never be infinite. You must dance.”

Bingley looked around the room, and his gaze landed on a young lady with dark hair and bright eyes. “There is one of Miss Bennet’s sisters, Miss Elizabeth. I daresay even you would find her very agreeable, and she is uncommonly pretty. Shall I make an introduction?”

Had Darcy’s heart been capable of beating, it certainly would have skipped a beat. He hesitated, then glanced over at Miss Elizabeth. Her gaze was lowered, but her lips were curved into a smile. Her bowed head gave him an excellent view of the ivory column of her slender neck, and Darcy was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to go to her. His blood sang for this woman, though she was unknown to him.

He turned back to his friend, attempting to look displeased. “She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was almost painful to say the words that contradicted his primal urges to such a degree. But he was enough master of himself to control his actions, no matter what his blood may be compelling him to do. “Go back to your Miss Bennet and enjoy her smiles for you are wasting your time with me.”

To Darcy’s great relief, Bingley turned away to seek Miss Bennet again. Darcy knew without question that he needed to get out of Miss Elizabeth’s presence. He would ride his horse back to Netherfield. It did not matter to him that this would reflect poorly on his character. He cared not what the people in Hertfordshire thought of him. There was one thing of which he was certain: Miss Elizabeth Bennet was a danger to him, and if he dared to spend time with her, that could ruin everything.

What do you think? He says the “tolerable” when he is already in danger! Is it powerful or not what he feels? Apologies, it looks like if I have forgotten Lari Ann’s explanations about her vampire-world and I have not, but you need to be honest and tell me that you did like that scene!

I appreciate having the fantasy part of the story described and clarified because as she points out, there are many different characteristics for the vampires. It is important to to mix ideas, her vampires do not glow in the sun because they cannot be in the sun.

What do you think so far of the book? If you are thinking on buying it, here you can find it:

Amazon US       Amazon UK       Amazon CA       Amazon DE

Blog Tour

You need to check the other stops on the tour, you will enjoy it immensely!

March 24 Savvy Verse & Wit MDC Blog Tour Banner Vert

March 25 Donadee’s Corner

March 26 Diary of an Eccentric

March 27  More Agreeably Engaged

March 30 My Vices and Weaknesses

March 31 So Little Time…

April 2 From Pemberley to Milton

April 3  Babblings of a Bookworm

April 6 Austenesque Reviews

 

time to give away winners

Why don’t you participate on the giveaway of 8 ebooks of Mr. Darcy’s Clan? Eight winners for this intriguing book.

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

Rafflecopter – Mr. Darcy’s Clan