Blog Tour “The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque” by Don Jacobson, excerpt, review and giveaway

Hello to all and I apologise about being MIA. My life since the end of March has been a roller coaster but it will soon be a bit calmer… I hope!

The important thing is that I am back to present you a great book, I have really loved it. Yes, this is a spoiler alert, so you can assume that you will see five stars below when you reach my review.

However, first things first. I want you to know a bit more about the book and the author and today I am glad to introduce Don Jacobson, author of today’s book: The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque.

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Don Jacobson Head Shot

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 published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.” Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a speciality in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilisation and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).

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

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

Amazon Author Page        Goodreads Author Page      Twitter

As you can read and as normally happens with JAFF authors, they are “all-terrain” as we say in Spanish, they do so many things that I wonder how they manage to write so well and so much 😛

This time I will not add the blurb of the book, I prefer you to read about the book from the writer himself.

Don’s words and excerpt

The Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Jane Austen Universe. While the characters are familiar, I have endeavoured to provide each of them with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional personalities, although not necessarily in the Regency period.  If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-travelling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.

The Wardrobe underlines my conviction that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back.

Would it have been possible for them to do so staying on the Regency timeline?

Perhaps. However, something tickled my brain—maybe it was the intersection between my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me.  Now my protagonists could be immersed in different time frames beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realise their potentials and in the process carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century.

Some Bennets will travel further and remain in the future longer than others. We may not be privy to accounts of all of the journeys they take. Rather, we may see whispers of those trips as they impact others.

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in which the Families discover that Miss Bennet has vanished from Matlock House.

Chapter XIX

Darcy House, Later that evening (July 4, 1891)

The noise level of chattering Cecils, Darcys and Fitzwilliams rose and fell much as the tide did on the beach by the House at Deauville. The discussion happily tended to be lighter than the bleak circumstances that had been bearing down on everyone in attendance. The family group was small and intimate: Eddie Darcy chaired the gathering from the head of the table in the small dining room with Ellie on his right and Lady Caroline and Lord John Cecil immediately to his left. Henry sat next to his sister and across from Lord John. Lady Elaine took over the mistress’ role and sat opposite Eddie.

All six looked up sharply when Mr. Hastings was interrupted by one of the footmen who purposefully strode over to the butler and whispered in his ear. Hastings’ eyebrows lifted as the message was passed. He nodded and dismissed his subordinate. At Darcy’s inquiring glance, the butler moved to his side. The two men stepped away from the table.

Within a few seconds, Darcy, a grim look on his now pale face, returned. In a worried voice he said, “We have just received an urgent message from Mrs. Brandon at Matlock House. It seems that Miss Bennet has gone missing.”

Five voices were clamoring for his attention all at once. Darcy held up a hand stopping the flow of questions.

“There is no indication about how long she has been gone. There is no news about what she may have done or, if she left the house, where she may have gone. All that the message said was that the entire house has been searched, and she is not to be found,” Darcy stated.

Henry threw his napkin on the table and rose from his seat, and, with the others following suit, called for his carriage to be brought around. In minutes, Darcy House was emptied of quality, leaving only worried servants to clean up the debris after yet another body blow dealt to the Five Families.

***

Henry, Eddie and Lord John stood in the center of Matlock House’s Gold Parlor staring at the letter that had been discovered by Kitty’s lady’s maid, Letty. The distraught girl was sitting on one of the sofas being comforted by Ellie. Letty’s gulping sobs served as a fitting backdrop for the somber scene. Lady Elaine and Lady Caroline sat together on a matching loveseat, holding one another’s hands trying to overcome their worry…one for a near daughter, the other for a grandaunt who had become like a sister.

Cecil spoke to the other two men, “You know Miss Bennet better than me. Does this sound like something she would have done? To run off to the Continent and visit a school friend on the Mediterranean? How could she even have hoped to pay for such an excursion?”

Fitzwilliam snorted a humorless laugh, “Cecil, you have no idea. Kitty is certainly impulsive. But this sort of activity is far beyond anything any of us could have ever imagined that she would do. She certainly could afford it. She has 8,000 a year now that she is of age.

“But she would never do anything that would worry Mother or distress Ellie and Caroline. The three young ladies have been thick as thieves ever since Caro married you, Cecil.  I have to believe that, at the very least, she would have revealed some of her thinking to those two if she had been upset enough to run off.

“She has not breathed one word about doing anything this far out of bounds.

“What bothers me is, according to the maid, she has not taken one jot other than the clothes on her back.

“Kitty is very peculiar about her clothes. Once it goes into her wardrobe or changing room, she is an absolute Tartar about upkeep. Nothing is disposable as far as she is concerned. Letty has had to split a seam with her bare hands in front of Kitty to be permitted to retire a garment.

“On top of that, Kitty absolutely abhors loaning anything. I have seen Ellie and Kitty arguing about a pair of gloves that my sister wanted to borrow before a ball. I thought Kitty was going to demand that she make a blood oath promising to return the gloves immediately after the dance.”

Eddie Darcy chimed in, “While Kitty is as fond of romance and adventure as any young woman, I could never imagine her placing a toothbrush in her handbag, catching a train to Dover, and then hopping on a Channel ferry to Cherbourg.

“No, this is quite out of character.”

They turned their attention again to the letter. Henry walked over to Ellie and held the missive out to her asking if she agreed that this appeared to be Kitty’s handwriting.

Ellie sighed and took the note from his hand.

“As I said before.  The letter certainly looks as if Kitty wrote it. It appears to be in her hand.

“Yet, this just does not sound like a letter Kitty would write to me. There is nothing personal. No shorthand comments that would mean something to me and nobody else. This letter has been composed to be clearly understood whether I am reading it…or Mama…or you.

“And if she had been planning to visit Hermione de Secondat’s villa on the Côte d’Azur, she would not have spelled out the entire family name.

“Hermione was one of the girls who shared our suite at school.  While not as close as Kitty and I, she remains, none-the-less, a dear friend. Kitty never would have written anything more than ‘Hermione.’

“She probably would have referred to her as “Boots” because that was our nickname for her. She loved to wear her riding gear whenever she could avoid Matron.

“I could not prove it, but while this letter looks as if Kitty did write it, I would wager my next quarter’s allowance that she did not actually do so. I cannot prove that fact. Maybe somebody else can.

“What are we to do, Henry? I am worried that something truly awful has happened to Kitty.”

Fitzwilliam cleared his throat, his Managing Director of the Trust look transforming his features as he began speaking.

“Let us begin with the assumption that Kitty has voluntarily left and is travelling, as the note suggests, to Nice.  That would necessarily focus our efforts in one direction, which may be exactly what is desired. While I am not inclined to believe that Kitty would abandon us without a word, I cannot ignore this avenue of inquiry.

“We left the house around three o’clock. That means she could have as much as a five-hour head start.

“The most we could hope for is to try to catch her at Dover or Cherbourg. But I think that we may be out of luck as her lead is too large. We should still alert the police to be on the lookout there and then again in Paris.

“If she is actually on her way to Nice, she will have to catch le Train Bleu and then change again in Mâcon. We can have the police check the train and all of the intervening stations.

“Then we will send a telegram to Mlle de Secondat’s home in the south of France. Her parents should be able to confirm with your friend if she is aware of Kitty’s plans.

“However, taking Ellie’s sense that the letter was designed to be a convincing misdirection, we cannot ignore the possibility that there are some darker forces at play here.

“Darcy, Cecil and I will engage a squad of private detectives to seek to discover Miss Bennet’s movements since this afternoon.  Assuming that she was not actually spirited out of Matlock House, we must believe that she left of her own accord only to encounter someone who engineered her disappearance.

“I fear that we may learn little, and, until we receive some communication from her captors, we will be like blind men tapping our way around an unfamiliar drawing room.  This reasoning suggests that Miss Bennet is being held by those who have pretensions of being paid for her return.

“Another bleaker line we must consider is that attractive as she is with her blonde hair, she could have been the target of white slavers. If that is the case, we may never find her.”

All of the women gasped at this terrifying pronouncement. Then each person subsided into his or her own private brown study as another mournful shroud descended over the room, layering over the others already being borne by its occupants.

In the midst of this silence, Letty gasped, rose, and curtseyed to the silent aristocrats and hurried out of the room. She was gone for only a few minutes when she rushed back into the room bearing a large hatbox.

She breathlessly exclaimed, throwing all sense of position to the wind, “I found…this…just…outside the…servant’s hall. It must’ve been…forgotten in the entire hubbub…about Miss Bennet. Mr. Anderton…says that it…was delivered this…afternoon. For Miss Bennet. From Harrods!”

Review

What do you think? What about Don’s words introducing the book? What about the excerpt? Where’s Kitty?

I would like to start stating that I have loved everything that happens in this book and to its characters. Maybe a few of you are thinking something like “but Darcy and Elizabeth are not the protagonists” or maybe something like “Kitty is not my favourite Bennet sister” but I can promise that The Exile goes beyond those thoughts. Obviously Kitty is the main character but there is so much more. As you have read above, it is the last years of the 19th century and Kitty Bennet is on the story, she has travelled on time until the decade of the 1880s and you can imagine how difficult it can be. However, with help from family, every obstacle can be overcome.

The Five Families, although it looks more like a mafia title, shows all the traits, strengths and personalities of the people that we know so well from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Five Families being: Fitzwilliams, Darcys, Bennets, Gardiners and Bingleys.

Don Jacobson creates like a parallel world, at least for me it has been something like that. I was reading about new characters or I was reading them but due to Don’s descriptions or the character’s words, I could see some of Austen’s characters reflected one way or another.

Kitty’s life in her new now has a bit of everything: self-discovery, friendship, misery, suffering, isolation, recovery and much more. I have really like the way she reflects in her life after some trauma that she experiences and how she matures. How she saw herself during her childhood, how her relationship with her sisters and parents was, etc.

I will not go on more detail about the events on Kitty’s life but I would like to mention some names: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, Winston Churchill…

As every good P&P JAFF book, we have a “Wickham”!! and semi-quoting Terminator: “he’ll be back”. He is a very dark and vengeful man.

5out5 stars

Time to Give Away

Don Jacobson is offering 8 ebooks of this great book!

To enter the giveaway, click here but please read the conditions below, not only to know the terms but also to know how to get extra entries 🙂

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 (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

However, do not lose the opportunity to buy it for yourself or as a present, check the links below.

Amazon US         Amazon UK

If you prefer to start with the first book of the series, you can buy The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey.

Amazon US         Amazon UK

Blog Tour Schedule – what has been said and what is going to be said about The Exile:

06/15   From Pemberley to Milton Guest Post, GA

06/16   My Jane Austen Book Club Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

06/17   Just Jane 1813  Review, Excerpt, GA

06/19   Diary of an Eccentric Excerpt, GA

06/20   Savvy Verse and Wit Guest Post, GA

06/21   Darcyholic Diversions Author Interview, GA

06/22   My Vices and Weaknesses Review, Excerpt, GA

06/23   Babblings of a Bookworm Character Interview, GA

06/24   A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life Guest Post

06/25   My Love for Jane Austen Vignette, GA

06/26   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl Review, Excerpt, GA

06/27   So little time… Guest Post, GA

06/28   Laughing With Lizzie Guest Post or Vignette, Excerpt, GA

REVIEW of “Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride” by J. Dawn King

Set in the USA in 1869, it is a very different premise from the JAFF that I normally read but I was intrigued after reading the blurb, you can read it here or carry on with my review.

Charles Bingley is lonely and there are not many single women in the west so he sets his cap on the older nice of a Mr Gardiner. However, Charles writes very poorly so he asks his friend Will Darcy to write the letters. Darcy helps him but he does not expect to fall in love with the person who writes those letters and he is also heart-broken as that lady is destined to his friend. Jane Bennet, the addressee of those letters, begs her sister Elizabeth to answer them as she is not able to imitate the quality and feeling of those missives. What happens next is that Elizabeth also falls in love with the writer.

Darcy is desperate and with the last letter, he proposes to Jane’s sister and he is accepted. Let’s say that the first impression is not good at all from both sides because Elizabeth has a little accident and she is not wearing her best dress. Moreover Darcy is just spellbound by Jane and does not pay attention to Lizzy at all. As it happens in Pride and Prejudice, Jane and Charles are made for each other, nothing can separate them.

Soon enough, Darcy and Elizabeth realise that they are the authors of those letters but it is not enough. The following day there is a quick double-wedding and they start the journey home.

Jane + Bingley = love at first sight, happiness

Elizabeth + Darcy = no talking unless is to argue

but…

the following day after their arrival at Pemberley, Darcy has an accident and his leg is broken and his back is painful so he has to be in bed for a few months. Elizabeth starts being the one who takes care of the state and the people in it. Darcy is very grumpy and crabby. Their relationship does not look good as he is not able to even realise everything his wife is doing for the state and for him. Do not forget that he cannot leave his bed at all… (at all, means that he cannot leave the bed at all 😛   )

I think that it does not help that the Bingleys are so in love. It does not help either having Darcy saying another woman’s name while sleeping. There are quite a few visitors like Georgiana, Caroline and a couple Miss Bennets to add up, and some danger… a fire, Wickham…

We can read about a strong Elizabeth with fears and worries that she wants to overcome. Darcy is still proud and has his ego converted to show a better side of him, although it takes time.

Spoiler alert!!

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Nevertheless, something must happen to make them happy, how they manage? Wait for it!! It is complicated, very complicated but it is very sweetly written and I promise you that you will enjoy it.

 

 

5out5 stars

Follow J. Dawn King on her website   Goodreads   Facebook   Twitter

You can find her books on Amazon UK   Amazon US   iTunes   Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour “Mistress” by Sophia Turner + Giveaway

The title may be a bit like “whaaaaaaaaaaaat?” but it is not exactly what you think even if you can read on the cover “A Pride and Prejudice variation, with parts not suitable for those who have not reached their majority”. Said that, in case someone does not believe that note, be aware that, yes, there are sexual encounters between our protagonists.

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I would like to introduce the author of Mistress, Sophie Turner:

Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.Sophie Turner

 She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.

 Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.

 She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.

Follow Sophie here:

Facebook   Twitter   Sophie Turner’s Blog   Goodreads   Pinterest   Amazon

Review

Mr. Bennet dies and then Collins is proposing to Elizabeth within the hour. She marries him, she does not have any other alternative because it is the day after the ball at Netherfield and Mr. Bingley has left the area. Elizabeth’s suffering is great indeed in every aspect of her life when married to Mr. Collins.

Darcy was far too late, or to be true, the wedding was far too soon. He has decided to be miserable because he will never love anyone else. However, fate can give you a second chance but not an easy one.

Collins dies and Elizabeth is free and Mistress of Longbourn. She does not need to worry more and she can heal her wounds now. Jane is married Bingley after all but he was a bit too late to save Lizzy.

Darcy goes back to Netherfield and he is a much in love as he was several years ago, he is still single, he cannot think about anyone else. But!! Elizabeth did not have a great opinion of him and it is not going to change easily unless he does something. He tries to help her with her state, giving advise, helping with some tenants, etc. They start a nice friendship but not everything is rainbows and butterflies even when friendship and esteem is on the way to… something more?

Elizabeth does not want to marry again, she suffered too much as a wife, especially the bed duties of a wife and she refuses to try again. However the heart is capricious and love is not rational.

After some time and after both of them have the same heart, Darcy proposes and she tells him a bit more about her marriage to Collins (she confides in him with bits and pieces during their friendship too) and why she will not marry him even if she loves him.

He is devastated, he proposes a “celibate” marriage because he cannot live without her, she refuses but eventually they reach a deal… she will be her mistress once and only once.

A lot happens next but I will not tell you more but just for you to know… spoiler alert!! there is a happy ending but… is it a celibate marriage? can Elizabeth have children because after three years with Collins she was never pregnant? can Darcy be trusted to have her once and that is? can Darcy make her trust him?

I have enjoyed this story and although on the title says that it is not for underage, I have to point out that there are a couple of words that I found a bit tasteless. I can read erotic descriptions and these ones are ok apart from the use of two words to name the male organ that I believe could have been avoided. However generally speaking the story is really good and shows Elizabeth and Darcy in a different light.

4out5 stars

Spotify Playlist

How is it to have a playlist for a book!!?? Sophia has created one for Mistress.

Click here to listen to the playlist.

Time To Give Awaytime to give away

Two e-books!! Sophie Turner is giving away two e-books here at My Vices and Weaknesses!!

If you want to participate, leave a comment about my review or the spotify list or ask any questions about the book. If you would like to have more than one entry, share this post and copy the link in the comments (one a day). Last day to accept entries: 1st April 2017 at 11.59pm (GMT)

Leave your email address as well.

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Blog Tour Schedule

March 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

March 19 / Of Pens & Pages/Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

MistressBlogTour2March 20 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway

March 21 / More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway

March 22 / A Lady’s Imagination / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 23 / Just Jane 1813/Guest Post & Giveaway

March 24 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

March 25 / My Love for Jane Austen/Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses/Book Review & Giveaway

March 27 / So Little Time…/Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 28 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 29 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette Post & Giveaway

Blog Tour “Caroline” by Sue Barr + Giveaway

Miss Caroline Bingley, our protagonist today. Hated by most, liked by a few. In Sue Barr’s Caroline you can discover a new Caroline…

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Let me introduce the author before I give you my opinion of the book.

Sue Barr

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/. You can also follow her on:

Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads    Pinterest   Sue Barr’s Blog

Review

Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley are engaged to two Miss Bennets and Caroline Bingley could not be more angry, disappointed and lost. Even after seeing the attraction that Darcy had towards “dear Eliza” or how happy his brother seemed with “dear Jane”, she kept thinking about herself and how she will conquer Darcy and become the next mistress of Pemberley. However, now everything is lost to her and she is lost.

I have a nickname for this book: “the penny dropper”. Caroline acts like a child and her brother explains very clearly what will happen if she dares to damage his relationship again.

In this book we read how her understanding of the world comes around. She still wishes to become a lady and get a rich husband and be an important part of society but maybe her feelings about that are not her only drive.

Caroline has never been in love before and therefore she does not understand how her body and her mind acts when she meets Lord Nathan.

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Lord Nathan is not exactly what he appears to be. he used to be a rake but now he is quite the opposite but at the beginning Caroline does not know. Their attraction is mutual but also their stubbornness and their different ways of finding happiness. They will evolve into new characters, the evolution is greater in Caroline but Lord Nathan with his faith will also have to realise what God has put in front of him and how his life outside the ton can be seen as a non-appealing one by Caroline.

So, can you see a nice Caroline? Can you believe that she will change completely? Do you think she is capable of love? What would you do if a new acquaintance is always following you thinking that you are about to do the worst? What if everything is misunderstanding? What is your “worst enemy” (Elizabeth Bennet) is your only person to ask for advise? What if love is more powerful than society but then you are actually rewarded?

4out5 stars

Here you have the links to buy this book, you may be surprised with this Caroline.

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA   Amazon AU

Time to Give Away

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Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. (All giveaways are open to international winners.) Click on the link below:

Giveaway of “Caroline” by Sue Barr

Tour schedule

Follow all the different entries already posted and more to come here:

Caroline Ver Final Banner (1) copyMarch 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway

March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway

March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 19/ Margie’s Must Reads Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway

“Darcy’s Hope”: double review and giveaway by Ginger Monette

Welcome to one of the stops on the blog tour of Darcy’s Hope at Downwell Abbey. This is the second book of Darcy’s Hope. It could be read as a stand-alone book but I highly recommend you to read first Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes as you may not understand some parts.

In such a lovely day as it is today, Saint Valentine’s Day, I am happy to share the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, this time in the context of the Great War or WW1.

I will review both books in this post and I can promise you that they are a great read. It is the first time I have read JAFF where Darcy and Lizzy are in this history moment of the 20th century and it has been very interesting and not only from the point of view of the love story. Please follow all the stops of this blog tour as you can find really good posts and different reviews that will reveal more details, you can see the schedule at the bottom of this post.

First of all, let me introduce you the author: Ginger Monette.3.1 Headshot .jpg

Winner of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 “Picture This” grand prize, Ginger lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Follow Ginger Monette on her Website, Facebook, Goodreads ot Twitter.

My review: DARCY’S HOPE: BEAUTY FROM ASHES

Sorry to start with a tiny spoiler but our couple finish this bo9-3-donwell-teaser-3ok happy but surrounded by a lot of dangers, treason and unknown. However, I will start with a bit of their story in this book before the happy ending. In Beauty from Ashes, Darcy is a Captain and together with his company take the dowager house at Longbourn state. Due to a lot of different events, including Mr. Wickham’s story, Elizabeth abhors Captain Darcy, her dislike of him is, I would say, even greater than in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. When she faces him professing his love for her together with some “unkind” words about her family, she is not to say the least pleased with him. After some tragedy in the Bennet family, Jane and Elizabeth are going to work as VADs, Voluntary Aid Detachment. Although Jane’s luck changes and she reunites with the man she loves, Bingley. In the meantime, Elizabeth goes to France to help in a hospital and she finds Wickham there who is as charming as usual and encourages her to go and be the personal nurse/assistant to an old Frenchman in a converted hospital for the British soldiers fighting only miles away in the front. For some reasons that I will not reveal here, Captain Darcy is sent to the same place and we could say that there is not a happy surprise or a warming welcome when they meet again. Elizabeth is still against him and he tries to distance himself from anyone. During this time, ups and downs between our two protagonists happen but not only on their relationships but with other characters too. They are together for a few months and there is a bit of a change from Elizabeth’s side but then they are separated as Darcy has to follow orders, do not forget he is a soldier.

There is danger, friendship, understanding, intrigue, treason and hope. Do not lose your hope while reading Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes because like the phoenix raising from the ashes, Darcy and Elizabeth will conquer their animosity and “beauty will rise from ashes”.

A teaser from a relevant character who appears in both books:

“Given y’er story with the captain, I suppose ya’ feel obligates to support him.”

She recoiled slightly. “I have no such obligation. In truth, i think him rather arrogant.”

Sapper laughed. “Maybe so. But lass, you’ve got firecrackers explodin’ for that man.” 

5out5 stars

My review: DARCY’S HOPE AT DONWELL ABBEY

Elizabeth is in England, in Pemberley, waiting for her fiancé Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy. She is happy and excited, she loves Fitzwilliam and he loves her back, still and after everything that has happened. However, one morning, the always lovely Mrs. Reynolds bring Elizabeth the newspaper and a letter from a “dear friend”. Everything changes, Elizabeth has to flee Pemberley to protect the man she loves. She devises a plan and borrows some money that Darcy told her to use if needed. She is thinking about boarding a ship and going to America but before that takes place, she finds herself helping a doctor who is recovering from some wounds and she lives at Darcy House in London!! She is conscious of the risks but as she is planning to go abroad to work as a VAD, she believes that everything will work for the best. She is wrong! She follows her employer to Donwell Abbey where she encounters Darcy!! Nevertheless he cannot recognise her, he is, hopefully temporarily, blind and deaf (read the book to know why). Against her better judgement, she stays to take care of him until she is able to go to France or Egypt to work. In the meantime she is Juliet Thomas and she avoids being discovered but always taking care of him, her love.

We have a lot of different characters that participate to make this story intriguing but I will mention a couple: Aunt Eliza, she is more annoying than Lady Catherine de Bourgh; or John Thornton, Darcy’s batman who has a broken heart… This book includes appearances by Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley, a very nice idea I have to say.

No, I have not forgotten that I was reviewing this book but I do not want to tell you anything else. Only one more thing, there is an epilogue where we discover Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam married but… what if Darcy falls in love with someone else before finding Elizabeth? What happens if Darcy touches the bottom of despondency? What if Elizabeth is still convinced that she has to flee? What if Darcy is not able to listen or see again? How does Darcy communicate?

5out5 stars

Time to Give Away

Downton Abbey Tea! Three lucky winners will each receive a tin of Downton Abbey Legacy Tea! (Open to US residents only) Click on the picture below to enter the Rafflecopter link:

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You can buy both books here: Amazon UK             Amazon US

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Here you have the schedule of the blog tour, we are more or less in the middle of it, so check the previous ones and do not forget the follow the rest of the tour as you will enjoy!

Feb 1  The Ardent Reader

Feb 2 From Pemberley to Milton

Feb 3 My Jane Austen Book Club

Feb 4  My Love for Jane Austen

Feb 5  vvb32reads

Feb 6  Just Jane 1813

Feb 7  Savvy Verse & Wit

Feb 8  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 9  My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

Feb 10 Babblings of a Bookworm

Feb 11  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

Feb 12  Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

Feb 13  Half Agony, Half Hope

Feb 14  My Vices and Weaknesses

Feb 15  Diary of an Eccentric

Feb 16  Every Savage Can Dance

Feb 17  More Agreeably Engaged

Feb 18  The Calico Critic

Feb 20  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 21  More than Thornton

Feb 22  Margie’s Must Reads

Feb 23  Delighted Reader

Feb 24  Becky’s Book Reviews

Feb 26  Linda Andrews

Feb 27  Every Woman Dreams

Feb 28  Tomorrow is Another Day

BLOG TOUR Stop of “A Lie Universally Hidden” by Anngela Schroeder – REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

A strange beginning of a post but I would like to start thanking Anngela Schroeder, today’s author, for sharing the blog tour of her last book with me and therefore with you, as well as Claudine Pepe for organising it. A blog tour full of great bloggers and reviewers, please check the schedule towards the end of the post because it is incredible! Do not forget to participate on the generous giveaway that Anngela has prepared.

A Lie Universally Hidden by Anngela Schroeder is a Pride and Prejudice variation where Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy knows he must marry his cousin Anne De Bourgh to fulfil his mother’s wish.

Spine-chilling and hair-raising, right?

Have a look at the book description and I will explain after this blurb a bit more about what you can expect :

“The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. It was the favorite wish of his mother…” —Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Fitzwilliam Darcy was raised to never stray from the path set before him: ensure the
continued prosperity of his estate, Pemberley, protect and educate his sister to become an accomplished woman, and marry the woman his mother chose for him—his cousin Anne
de Bourgh. With a letter bearing his late mother’s signature, Darcy presumes his fate is aluh-ver-bt-banner_edited-1sealed and prepares to wed one he does not love. However, his destiny begins to unravel when he glimpses a pair of fine eyes on a quiet, country road.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second daughter of a respectable though insignificant gentleman. She is flattered to have captured the attention of a local squire, a childhood friend, and everyone believes her path is secure—until a handsome, rich gentleman arrives at a neighboring estate. Happenstance begets the unlikely pair together, bridging a forbidden love long past a mere friendship.

In A Lie Universally Hidden, two of literature’s most beloved romance characters are destined to marry for fortune and obligation rather than love. How will Darcy and Elizabeth fulfill their true destiny under such circumstances? Shall honor, decorum, prudence—nay, a signed letter from the grave—forbid it?

A Lie Universally Hidden is a Regency Romance suitable for most audiences, teen and up.

My review

Darcy goes to Netherfield with his sister Georgiana just after his sister spent a short holiday in Ramsgate. They are a happy pair who meet the Bennet family but separately. Darcy goes with Bingley to Longbourn and has the “pleasure” of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as well as their three younger sisters. He is shocked, however this time his “haughty” manners are actually helpful, a new Catherine Bennet will appear and I must say that I really like her. On the other hand, Georgiana Darcy encounters Elizabeth Bennet when she is with Miss Bingley. Georgiana is amazed with Elizabeth’s lively manners and her ease of treating respectfully Miss Bingley when she is being slyly rude to her.

After both interactions, both Darcy and Elizabeth are thankful to each other even when they have not met.

When they met, friendship grows very quickly. We even have the appearance of the baddie per excellence: Mr. Wickham… seriously, he is very vexatious and sometimes I would prefer him not to be in some stories. However… at the end he has what he deserves after some mischief!! (just one detail: Bravo Lydia!, not as silly as usual)

Well, back to our pair of friends… both know that they are marrying someone else. Elizabeth is on the brink of being proposed and as you know, Darcy is engaged to Anne.

Nevertheless we are lucky to read beautiful moments between them where romance appears but obviously propriety is present. Their encounter at Ashby Park is very entertaining as well as their night out in Pemberley. Yes, Pemberley, Elizabeth and Kitty go with them. Kitty or Miss Catherine became best friends with Georgina Darcy and they are inseparable, going first to London and later on to Pemberley, but Elizabeth is always included. Since then Darcy and Elizabeth are a lot together and clever people like Colonel Fitzwilliam can perceive that Darcy has feelings for this interesting lady. Colonel tries to convince Darcy to forget about marrying Anne  because he does not love her and Anne does not love him either. Unfortunately Darcy is just following the wishes that her mother left written on her last letter.

 

Spoiler alert…

 

HEA is coming but how??? Let me leave you with a few questions to think about: what if Wickham’s plans are ruined by a sixteen years old?  What if a watch (yes, the one on the cover) can destroy any hope? What if Elizabeth does not have Darcy’s self-control? What if Lady Catherine’s doings caused her fall as mistress of Rosings?  What if we do not only have one love story to enjoy? Who proposes to Elizabeth and what happens with that proposal if Elizabeth actually never rejects it?

 

4.5out5 stars

Now the most important person on this post after Darcy and Elizabeth, the author 😉 Let her introduce herself:

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Anngela Schroeder

“I have a degree in English with a concentration in British Literature and a Masters in Education. I love to travel, bake, and watch college football with my husband of 16 years and 3 rambunctious sons. My goal in life is to make not only my children, but also my students feel that they are loved, and to bring magic into everyone’s world. My weaknesses are yellow cake with chocolate frosting, French bread with real butter, and my father’s Arabic food, namely grape leaves, and falafel. I live in California where I dream of Disney adventures and trips across the pond.”

Listen to Anngela talking about A Lie Universally Hidden on Good Day Sacramento.

To follow Anngela or buy her books, here you have some links:

Facebook                  Twitter                  Goodreads                 Amazon UK            Amazon US

What you were also waiting for… TIME TO GIVE AWAY!

Anngela is giving away two autographed hard copies (US mailing addresses only) 2 kindle versions (open to international winners), an autographed copy of Then Comes Winter (US mailing address only) and an autographed 5×7 of the A Lie Universally Hidden book cover. Click here to participate.

Blog Tour Schedule  ALUH Hor BT Banner_edited-2.jpg

January 16/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

January 17/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 18/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

January 19/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

January 20/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 21/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review

January 22/ Just Jane 1813/ Excerpt Post

January 23/Austenesque Reviews/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway

January 24/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 25/ Every Savage Can Dance/Book Review & Giveaway

January 26 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

January 27 / Austenesque Reviews/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 28/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Excerpt & Giveaway

January 29/ Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

REVIEW of “Loving Longest” by Lisa Van Gemert

Loving Longest by Lisa Van Gemert is a modern variation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion where we find:

  • Emma, a young widow and passionate English teacher and,
  • Adam, a police officer closed to trust or love

“Thanks” to a meth lab exploding in Emma’s neighbourhood, both characters meet, well, Adam meets a bleeding face, Emma’s face. As Emma lives alone, Adam has to track down from her home to her school and then to Emma’s sister Amy to find someone to take care of her. However, Adam eventually takes care of Barrett, Emma’s dog while she is in hospital. When Emma is back home, he offers to walk Barrett every morning as Emma is not able to do it, she agrees.

A strong attraction between them is forming and they start dating after being honest with each other and saying that they are not a full person to give. We know about Emma’s late husband, better said, at this point we know part of his marriage but we do not know anything about Adam’s past.

They fall in love and they are very happy although some days they barely see each other due to work, so they are just stealing moments to be together. However they are happy knowing each other and loving each other.

Before Thanksgiving, Adam asks her to spend the holiday with him and his family and she agrees. Barbara, Adam’s mother is not very welcoming, let’s say that everything she does or says looks like she hates Emma even when she has just met her. One of the afternoons they are in New York, Emma overhears a conversation between Adam’s parents and Adam where Barbara tries to convince Adam that Emma is not appropriate for him and she even implies that there might be something “dark”  on Emma’s husband’s death. Emma cannot believe what she is listening to and she is so shocked about Barbara’s implication that she almost misses the part when Adam declares that he is going to ask her to marry him.

Our Anne Elliot cannot think about having a happy marriage when her “mother-in-law” just hates her and she cannot put Adam on the situation where he has to choose between her and his family because part of his family hates her. Even when Adam keeps telling her that he chooses her. However, Emma cannot do that to him or to herself, so they break up.

A couple of years later, Emma encounters Becca, Adam’s sister, and Becca tells her about her teaching career and that she is going back to NY for his brother’s wedding. Emma’s heart breaks even more now because she knows that’s the end to any hope, Adam is lost to her.

Emma just needs to go on with her life: her job that she loves, her sister and nieces and nephew, her friends, her knitting and after some time she starts travelling as she does lectures on cruises. (I found this quite interesting!)

Six years after she met Becca, Emma is in a cruise around the British Isles and she has several presentations prepared about Jane Austen, George Elliot and Charles Dickens.

Her first conference is about Jane Austen and when she is reading Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne, a person comes in the theatre and locks eyes with her: Adam. OMG! Yes, it is Adam and he listens to her reading:”Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.

That cruise becomes extremely awkward because not only Adam is there, also his whole family… even Barbara. I need to say that (mini-spoiler) that Adam is not married! Becca has two brothers and she never specified nor Emma asked.

For the most romantic readers, this does not exactly become a Love Boat trip or at least it is not a love cruise where our protagonist end together… not exactly at least.

Our protagonists will have more heartache to live but…

Spoiler alert! 😛

happy ending will eventually arrive but it will be very difficult. There is too much complication for them and too much suffering even before they met.

Religion is a key part on the lives of Emma and Adam, I found it very nice but I know there are a few of you who do not like this topic on books. Trust me that it is not too much at all and I really enjoyed the wedding as Adam is Jewish and Emma Catholic. It is a lovely and funny wedding 🙂

4.5out5 stars

If you would like to buy the book, go to:

Amazon UK               Amazon US

Lisa Van Gemert is also a educator and she has her own website  dedicated to her job. As a teacher myself, I recommend it. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.