“As a Proper Lady Would” by Bronwen Chisholm, character interview + giveaway

Dear all,

I hope you are all well and ready for the weekend. In case you need some reading to do and you are not deciding what to read, I am glad to introduce you to Bronwen Chisholm’s latest release: As a Proper Lady Would. Let me give you the blurb in case you want to know more apart from the author and the title 🙂 Just to let you know that this is the first book of Defying Propriety Series (I love the title of the series!)

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.

All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.

In this first book of the Defying Propriety Series, we watch as Elizabeth and Darcy learn what society expects of them, while attempting to achieve what they truly desire in life. The well-known characters, as well as a few new ones, grow from childhood to a marriageable age; some reveal different facets of their personalities, while others are doomed to follow the same paths.

What do you think? I really like it! What society expects of them but what about their own feelings? Their own experiences?

AUTHOR

Let me (re)introduce you to the author of this great series:

Bronwen Chisholm has released seven Pride and Prejudice variations since 2014. 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

Please welcome Bronwen Chisholm and read what she is sharing with us. I hope you enjoy this interview!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be back visiting you here at My Vices and Weaknesses. The first novel in my Defying Propriety Series, As a Proper Lady Would, came out on October 1st on Kindle and in paperback.

As a special treat, I arranged for Viscount Grayson, Ashton Fitzwilliam, to join us. Lord Grayson, thank you for taking a few minutes to share with our readers today.

LG: Your request was intriguing. You say this is a for a blog? Sounds like a rather nasty term for some unpleasant affliction. But you say this is regarding Darcy so fire away.

BC: Yes, well, thank you. As the eldest of Darcy’s cousins, you have known him your entire life. What––

LG: Indeed. Darcy is a good man. A bit stiff in public, but my brother Philip and I did what we could to loosen him up. Elizabeth! Now she has done wonders for the man. She is truly a find. Darcy is damned lucky. Forgive me.

BC: Of course. I understand that you and your brother helped Darcy in social settings. Did––

LG: Philip and I developed signals to help Darcy know who to dance with and when. (chuckles) We always had him dance the supper set with someone who didn’t need assistance carrying a conversation. Poor man couldn’t have gotten a word in if he tried.

BC: You mentioned Elizabeth. Your family was accepting of her, even though she was not of the ton?

LG: My mother and father were pleased he found someone so well suited to him. I believe it is what his parents would have wanted. They would have liked her.

Now, my Aunt Catherine! That is another story.

BC: Yes, our readers are familiar with Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

LG: Lord, let us hope she does not learn she has gained notoriety. The woman is difficult enough now.

And that nauseous sycophant she appointed to look after the people of Hunsford! My father and I are looking into ways to have the man removed. He should not be responsible for a sheep let alone God’s flock.

BC: Yes, they know Mr. Collins as well.

LG: Uck! May we move on to more appetizing subjects?

BC: Of course. I have told several of my readers that you are the reason this one story became a series.

LG: . . . Is there a question?

BC: Forgive me, your lordship, you have not required a question before now. Are you pleased to have your story told?

LG: You wish to tell it. I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours.

BC: I believed the story was finished. You were the one who left the room when your father suggested you marry your cousin. Do you dislike Miss de Bourgh?

LG: You know that is not the case. When you come to know Anne, she is not so terrible. I had even considered . . . for a moment. If one cannot have what one desires . . . but . . . Forgive me, madam, I believe we are finished.

BC: Of course. Thank you, Lord Grayson, for taking this time to speak with us. I am certain the readers join me in hoping that you fine a happy ending as your cousin has been lucky enough to do.

LG: I thank you, no matter how unlikely that may be. Good day.

Lord Grayson is quite a character. I hope you enjoy As a Proper Lady Would and come back in December when I release Son of an Earl to get to know more about the viscount.

I think I like his lordship already even if I have not read anything else about him and I think it is promising we will know more on the second book of this series.

So, are you thinking on reading As a Proper Lady Would this weekend? If you want to, here you have some links to buy it:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

If you are not certain, I highly recommend you to check the previous stops of this blog tour and one more to come tomorrow (links below the picture):

Austen Authors
Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
Babblings of a Bookworm
Austenprose
From Pemberley to Milton
Probably at the Library
My Vices and Weaknesses
Laughing with Lizzie

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

Yes, as Brownen has said, one winner from this blog post will get an ebook copy. I wish you luck to all. The giveaway is international and open until Sunday, 10th of October 2021 at 23:29 CET. I will announce the winner at the beginning of next week.

“Blinded by Prejudice” by KaraLynne Mackrory, review + giveaway

Hello!


I am really happy to be back, I have not been reading much lately and I am super glad that I accepted to do a review for KaraLynne Mackrory’s latest publication: Blinded by Prejudice.

For those first words, you can imagine that at least I liked the book, yes, you are write but I will tell you a bit more later. Let me introduce you to the author. I have read almost half of her works and I recommend them all!

THE AUTHOR

KaraLynne began writing horrible poetry as an angst filled youth. It was a means to express the exhilaration and devastation she felt every time her adolescent heart was newly in love with “the one” and then broken every other week. As her frontal lobe developed, she grew more discerning of both men and writing. She has been married to her own dreamboat of a best friend, Andrew, almost 20 years. Together they have the migraine inducing responsibility of raising five children to not be dirt bags (fingers crossed), pick of up their socks (still a work in progress), not fight with each other (impossible task) and become generally good people (there’s hope). She loves escaping into a book, her feather babies (the regal hens of Cluckingham Palace), and laughter.

She has written five books, a novella and participated in many anthologies. Her works include: Falling For Mr. Darcy; Bluebells in the Mourning; Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship; Yours Forevermore, Darcy; BeSwitched; The Darcy Monologues; Rational Creatures; & Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer.

Anad what about her latest release? Blinded by Prejudice. You may get ideas and I am not sure if all of you would get who is blind(ed). Let me show you the blurb and then we chat a bit more:

Into what kind of hell had I emerged from under those ruins?

Elizabeth Bennet anticipated nothing more than a pleasant day among friends and relations when the pleasure trip to the ruins of Bodden Chapel commenced. But what began as mere diversion turns frightening when the walls of the ancient church tumble down around them, endangering lives, demolishing pride and propriety, and bringing a hero into focus. 

As the earth begins to tremble, Fitzwilliam Darcy sees Elizabeth Bennet is in mortal danger and acts on instinct to save her. But when the dust settles, there are unforeseen consequences to his actions, including a serious injury to his eyesight.

I could not be married to a man who could need me the rest of his life, but never love me.

Bound together under the most strained circumstances, Darcy and Elizabeth embark on a future neither one of them saw coming. Time can heal all wounds, but will time allow them to see through hearts made clear and eyes no longer blinded by prejudice?

What do you think? I can tell you that for me the blurb does not hook me as much as the reading. Yes, this blurb intrigues me but I am not expecting many things that will happen. After reading Blinded by Prejudice, I can see that writing these three paragraph must be a nightmare not to spoil bits of the story.

BLOG TOUR

Before reading my review, I highly recommend you to check the previous posts of this book tour. I hope you enjoy them a lot (and the ones coming!) Go and check the first chapter on Jane Austen State of Mind! and then keep reading on Probably at the Library!!

You can but the book here if you cannot wait 🙂

Amazon US Amazon ES Amazon CA Amazon UK Amazon DE

REVIEW

As you can imagine from the blurb, there is a big accident while in Bodden Chapel. I am not going to enter on details but the accident creates a change on the lives of Elizabeth and Darcy (or maybe more than one change!) However, one of the changes, due to society, cannot be forgotten. While they are being rescued, there are many bits that I love and I think that it reveals where Darcy is in relation to Elizabeth and his feeling. I am going to just point out that this happens before the Netherfield Ball, the Militia has not arrived to Meryton yet.

Facts: he likes her, no doubt there, or more. She is attracted to this handsome man but dislikes his personality.

How are we going to have… SPOILER ALERT!!

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a Happy Ending!

(I had to write my usual “spoiler alert”, it has been too long)

He does not seem the same person after the accident and she tries to be nice but she is pretty stubborn and closes her heart as she is, basically, afraid.

They spent some weeks of post-accident and get to know each other a bit more but, the stubborn lady thinks that this “new man” will disappear as soon as he heals. What happened? That the first encounter they had seemed to show that fact and she is not happy. He is not happy either after that encounter.

Let me tell you that, as it normally happens with these two, there must be a misunderstanding. An a big one! Elizabeth, as she is scared, she interprets whatever she wants from eavesdropping in a conversation between Darcy and the Colonel. This ends in a bad week for everybody, mainly two of the characters. How is it resolved? I will not tell you! This is the last bit I tell you about Darcy and Elizabeth.

I just want to inform you that there are another two couples formed after the accident, or during 🙂 One of the couple is not a surprise, let’s be honest but the other one, OMG! They are entertaining, I am not sure if that’s the word I want/need to use.

Golden moments for Mr Bennet and Colonel Fitzwilliam! (nope, I will not tell you why)

Quills & Quartos is giving an ebook copy of Blinded by Prejudice to one of the readers of My Vices and Weaknesses who comments on this post. It is an international giveaway and the winners will be announced at the Quills and Quartos Facebook and Instagram pages a week after the blog tour is over. 

Good luck!!

“The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy” by Christine Combe, guest post + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very glad to welcome Christine Combe to My Vices and Weaknesses with her upcoming book: The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy. I do not know about you but I already like the title and I would have come up with a few ideas of what the book is about and I would have not guess what Christine has written!

Let me introduce you to our author today: Christine Combe.

AUTHOR

Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen’s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.

Christine’s blog Christine’s Facebook

If I could go with her, I would tour those places without thinking. I have been in a few from the 1995 and 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptations and I would not mind to repeat and visit many more!

Let Christine Combe introduce her book and give us a really interesting excerpt! I will see you again at the end of the post!

Greetings, fellow Austenians! I’m so excited to be visiting My Vices and Weaknesses today to talk to you about my upcoming release, The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy. It’s my first standalone Austen variation, and I really hope you’ll like it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

In this new story, circumstances are vastly different for ODC: Elizabeth and her sisters are the daughters of a baronet, and Darcy has no fortune. But as always, the stars align and one of literature’s most beloved couples unite, determined to take on the world together!

In case you haven’t been following along as I posted the chapters at A Happy Assembly, here’s the second half of chapter 2:

***

It was a long and boring northwest journey. Darcy began to wish after the first hour that he’d at least brought along a book to read while there was light but it had not occurred to him, and so there was nothing to distract him from wondering as to the true purpose of the summons. They stopped twice, for an hour each time, to rest the horses and refresh themselves. Darcy wished it weren’t necessary, but the animals weren’t simple post horses that could be changed out in a quarter of an hour for a fresh pair at a coaching inn—they belonged to his uncle.

A sigh of relief escaped him when at last they pulled up to the stone edifice of Disley Court. Torches were lit at intervals along the outer wall, and he knew there would be more lighting the small stone courtyard beyond. Darcy resisted the urge to stretch when at last he had alighted from the vehicle, and he headed directly into the courtyard, leaving the footmen to deal with his single piece of luggage.

The front door opened before he could knock to reveal Sommerset; he had served the Disleys as butler at the Court about as long as Reynolds had been in the Darcys’ service. The servant’s quick response told Darcy that someone had been watching for him.

“Good evening, Mr. Darcy,” said the butler with a sniff through his thin nose.

Probably thinks I should have taken the time to have a shave and a haircut, Darcy thought, and he just resisted the urge to smirk at the man.

“This way, if you please, sir,” Sommerset said, then turned about smartly and led the way to the drawing room. There he found not only his uncle, who was reading a newspaper, but also his aunt, his youngest cousin, and his sister.

“Fitzwilliam!” Georgiana cried instantly on seeing him, then jumped up and ran over to throw her arms around him. Darcy returned the embrace tightly, eliciting a squeal from his sister. God, but it felt good to hold her in his arms. It had been far too long—well over a year—since he had last seen her.

A gentle clearing of her throat from the countess reminded the two that they were not alone. Holding Georgiana back from him, his hands resting on her shoulders, Darcy took a good long look at her as he said, “Bless my soul, it does me good to see you, dearest.”

She’d grown so much since last year; already the top of her head reached his shoulder—at only fifteen! She had filled out some, as girls were wont to do, and a surge of protectiveness rose within him at the thought of her receiving unwanted attention from males in the area.

“It does me good to see you as well, brother,” said Georgiana. “You’ve been away far too long.”

“I have,” he agreed. “I am sorry to make you miss me so. But rest assured, dear one, I have missed you a great deal, as well.”

Darcy lifted his head to find his aunt and uncle looking at him expectantly. He bowed his head to each in turn and offered a greeting, then looked to his youngest Fitzwilliam cousin, Cecilia. “Good evening, Cousin.”

“Good evening to you, Cousin,” said the young lady, who bore such a resemblance to her mother that the two might well be mistaken for sisters.

Darcy walked further into the room with Georgiana’s hand held in his own, his eyes on the earl. “Lord Disley, I believe you wished to see me about a matter regarding Pemberley?”

“Pemberley?” queried Georgiana, who looked to their uncle with a quizzical expression. “I had no idea—Uncle Richard only said that he was expecting you by supper.”

Lord Disley pulled a fob watch from his pocket. “Speaking of, it is about time for it,” said he, just as the housekeeper entered and announced the late evening meal was ready.

The earl folded his paper and set it aside as the three ladies headed out of the room. When he had stood, he stepped over to Darcy and said, “Let us have a pleasant meal with your aunt and the girls—business can wait until tomorrow, I daresay.”

As if he had any choice in the matter. Biting back a retort about having been summoned and then made to wait, Darcy gave a curt nod and followed his uncle into the small dining room, where the five of them sat down to a hearty beef stew. Georgiana and Cecilia regaled him with tales of their studies; both of them were becoming highly accomplished, with his sister preferring to play and his cousin to sing when it came to music. Lady Disley made a point of praising their needlework, noting that Georgiana’s embroidery skills were most impressive, and her husband then praised their daughter in lauding her skill with a paintbrush.

“We’ll be happy to show you some of our work later if you like,” said Cecilia.

“It’s late, Cessy. After supper, you and Georgiana will be heading to your rooms,” said her mother.

“Indeed, your cousin is likely fatigued from his journey,” added her father, “and no doubt desires a well-earned rest.”

What I desire is getting to the point of this excursion, Darcy thought sourly. Surely his uncle knew what anxieties he would have suffered on the road, wondering what he could possibly have to say about Pemberley that was best said in person.

When supper was done, Darcy escorted his sister to her room, which was connected by a sitting room to Cecilia’s; their cousin walked ahead of them. Georgiana chattered all the way, telling him more about her studies—she was enjoying learning Italian—and the horse that she had been gifted by their uncle for her fifteenth birthday.

“I believe I must have written you about dear Belle many times, but truly, Fitzwilliam, she’s an angel of a mare! So gentle, and so perfectly bred to carry a lady. And oh, the stunning color of her coat—”

“—the most incredible shade of brown, such as you are reminded of chocolate,” he finished for her.

Georgiana laughed as they stopped outside her door. “I see I have spoken to you of her. Well, you shall see for yourself tomorrow, I am sure. We should go for a ride together! You know that Cousin Theodore has a horse here still; I overhear the grooms all the time saying how it’s a shame he doesn’t get the same attention Cecilia and I give our horses.”

Darcy indulged in a wistful smile—he had heard of the horse she spoke of, as it had been Theo’s great joy to have secured the black beast’s purchase. It was a shame indeed that their uncle could not see to the stallion’s being exercised more often.

“I shall be glad to ride with you, Georgiana,” he said. “I don’t get to ride for pleasure very often.”

Her countenance revealed, for a fraction of a moment, how very sad his words made her. Darcy’s pride in her rose when she almost instantly returned his steady gaze with a wide smile. “Well, you shall tomorrow! Cecilia and I usually ride together in the mornings, but she does also like to lie abed later than usual on Saturday, so it is like to be just the two of us. And it is likely to be cold in the morning, anyway, but we can bundle ourselves quite well and endure at least half an hour’s ride, I think.”

Darcy knew this already from her many letters over the years but said nothing as he smiled indulgently. “Well, if she decides to ride with us, I shan’t mind at all. I have not spent enough time with either of you in these last eighteen months.”

“I do wish Theodore were here—we could have Philip and Sophia and little Julian come over from Rowarth Hall, and have a whole family party!”

“Not Lady Catherine and Anne as well?” Darcy teased.

Georgiana emitted a soft snort. “You would be gone by the time they arrived,” she said primly.

“Not to mention a family party wouldn’t be near half as fun if they were here!” cried Cecilia, who peaked out from the sitting room doorway. “Come, Georgie, let’s do a little work on our matching reticules before we ready for bed.”

“Coming, Cessy,” Georgiana replied, then reached out to her brother and embraced him again. “It really is good to see you, brother,” she murmured against his chest.

“And you as well, dear one,” Darcy replied as he returned the embrace, then released her and pushed her gently toward their cousin.

When the door was closed behind the two girls, he turned away and started for the guest wing. His aunt and uncle were just coming up the stairs then, and Lady Disley asked, “Where are you going, Fitzwilliam?”

“I am a guest. I assume my room is in the guest wing,” he replied flatly.

“Balderdash, boy!” cried his uncle. “Do not tell me that five years in the sun as a tenant on your own bloody estate has addled that brain of yours.”

“Richard, language,” admonished his wife softly. To Darcy, she said, “Though I do not care for how he said it, I do agree with what your uncle said. You’re a fool indeed if you seriously believed we’d put you in guest quarters. You are family, Fitzwilliam. Your room is in the family wing—in fact, it is the same room you always occupied whenever you stayed with us before.”

Darcy forced himself to relax. It had been so long since anyone but the Reynolds’ had treated him as one of their own. Of course, his exile had been of his own imposition; the earl, Philip, and even Theodore—to whom he had once been as close as a brother—had mostly left him alone, as he had requested. He’d done it because he’d not wanted them to see how far he had sunk in the world, nor would his pride allow him to be reminded of what he had lost whenever he was in their presence.

Releasing a breath, he said, “Forgive me, Aunt. Uncle. I am sure it is merely exhaustion which has muddled my thoughts.”

His aunt stepped up to him and took his hands in hers. “Then go on to bed, dearest, and get yourself a good night’s rest. Probably a better one than you’ll ever get in that cottage your uncle says you live in.”

As he had gotten used to the stiff, unyielding rope bed he’d been forced to accept upon his relocation to the cottage, Darcy thought it more likely that sleeping on the soft feather mattress that awaited him in his room was more likely to cause restlessness than abate it. He kept the thought to himself, however, and leaned to place a kiss upon his aunt’s brow, then offered a nod to his uncle before he turned back the way he had come. Like Georgiana and Cecilia’s rooms, his was one of a suite and shared a sitting room with his cousin Theodore’s bedchamber. It had once been Philip’s room when his elder cousins were young boys, but a significant row between them had led to Philip’s demanding a separate suite. As Darcy and Theodore had always gotten along better than the brothers (though they now loved and respected each other as much as a pair of brothers could do), they were paired together whenever the Darcy family visited Disley Court as soon as had graduated from the nursery.

In contrast to his assumption, however, the physical and mental exertions of the day led to Darcy falling asleep soon after his head hit the pillow.

***

Poor Darcy—summoned by the earl and then made to wait. Tell me what you think in the comments below to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy!

Contest open until August 14, 2021. Good luck!

***

However, you can always but this very interesting book as it will give you a few entertaining hours while reading it. You could buy it here among others, but you will need to wait until tomorrow as it is out on the 7th of August. However, here you have Christine’s Amazon Author Page.

 Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

What do you think about the Fitzwilliam’s issue? Well, the one that his father created. The steward? Leaving in a cottage? What is going on?

I do not know about you but I want to read about Elizabeth’s family, Mr. Bennet a baronet!! I hope he does not have many mirrors at home 😀

How is their relationship going to be? He is “below” her social position. However, it is not so easy to explain, is it?

I hope you enjoy today’s post and you do check the other entries of the blog tour!

“An Unexpected Harvest” by Cat Andrews, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I am very happy to show you this modern Pride and Prejudice variation. I am really looking forward to reading it because everything I know about it just tells me that I will definitely enjoy it. This variation is Cat Andrews’ latest novel: An Unexpected Harvest.

Have a look at it:

Elizabeth Bennet left her affluent New England home at the age of sixteen and never looked back. She’s built a fabulous life in Boston and loves everything about the city—especially her dream job as creative director at an advertising agency.

Will Darcy has never lived anywhere but in rural Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He lives the quintessential small-town life and loves everything about the country—especially his family’s farm, which he’s doing his best to modernize and return to prosperity.

When her older sister moves back to New England, Elizabeth reluctantly pays a visit to the hometown she left behind. Soon enough, the city girl meets the country boy and the insults and misunderstandings fly—but so do the sparks.

No one is more surprised than Elizabeth and Will when those sparks turn into a brilliant flame, and the 300 miles between them that once felt far too close suddenly turns into an unbearable distance.

The city girl and the country boy know a good thing when they see it—even if they don’t see it nearly enough. Can they overcome their greatest challenge and find common ground—and their happily-ever-after?

***

This novel is a modern variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but with a slight spin on the usual cast of characters. It contains adult content and is meant for mature readers.

I really love it, since the first time I read it, I cannot wait for the part “insults and misunderstandings fly”!!

I am glad to also have Cat Andrews for the first time in my blog as I still remember talking in the breakrooms with her in the JAFF Get-together last year. She seems like a lovely person, apart from a really good author. Let me introduce you to her:

Cat Andrews has always been an avid reader, but didn’t discover Jane Austen until her love of a certain British actor led her to the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, because she just had to know—why all the fuss over this Darcy guy? What followed her viewing of that glorious miniseries was an inhalation of and immediate fixation on all of Austen’s novels, though Pride and Prejudice remains her favorite.

Her discovery of Jane Austen Fan Fiction opened up a whole new world, and thus began her addiction, and months and months of sleep deprivation, as she immersed herself in JAFF. After reading a modern Pride and Prejudice variation that she fell in love with, she was inspired to begin a cautious but earnest foray into the world of writing.

In real life, Cat has spent thirty-plus years working in healthcare. She enjoys life on the shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she grew up, fell in love with her own Mr. Darcy, and raised a family (and a three-legged dog). More often than not, you can find her at the beach with a book in her hand and her toes in the sand.

An Unexpected Harvest is her second novel.

There are to many places where you can follow her, and among others, the pictures of Cape Cod are great!

Contact/Social Media:

Website: www.catandrews.com

Email: catandrews.author@gmail.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cat_a_auth

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cat.andrews.583

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/cat_andrews_author

EXCERPT

Enjoy!

Thank you so much, Ana, for welcoming me to My Vices and Weaknesses! I’m so glad you are a part of the blog tour for my new modern Pride and Prejudice variation, called An Unexpected Harvest.

I’m happy to share an excerpt with you today. This particular scene takes place at Pemberley, when the relationship between Will Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet has just begun to blossom. When they find themselves caught in the rain, they take refuge in Pemberley’s barn, and the peaceful surroundings provide the perfect setting for them to open up a bit more to each other about past behaviors—in particular, their ‘Hunsford moment’—and future desires. I hope you enjoy it!

***

Will made a quick trip into the house and ten minutes later, Elizabeth was dressed in a warm shirt that smelled distinctly like the man she was cuddled up to.

I’ve died and gone to flannel heaven. 

Will had been a gentleman, leaving her alone in the tack room so she could change out of her wet top. He’d arranged a couple of hay bales against the wall for them to sit on, facing the goats. His long legs were stretched out in front of them and one arm was wrapped snugly around her shoulders as he pointed out the mamas who would soon be having kids.

“Do you name them?”

“No. Well, unless you count hey you, pain in the ass, and damn goat as names. Those are the three I usually use.”

She laughed and watched as one stuck its wriggling nose through the slats of the pen. “They’re pretty cute.”

They sat in silence for a while, occasionally laughing at the antics of the goats, but mostly enjoying the sound of the rain on the roof and the contentment of being close. Eventually, Will spoke.

“I’m curious about something. What made you decide to come here that morning? Especially since we’d already said goodbye.”

She sighed. “There were a few reasons, actually. I’d had an interesting conversation with Caroline the night I saw you at Wild Thyme. She thought you were interested in me, and could clearly see I was interested in you, so… I sort of chewed on that for a couple of days. And then when I saw you at the library… Ugh, you had me so confused. You were teasing me one minute and then annoyed with me the next. I couldn’t figure you out.”

“That’s because I couldn’t figure myself out.”

“But then you called me Lizzy.” She batted her eyelashes, and he chuckled. “It was a simple slip of the tongue.”

“Simple to you, maybe, but not to me. You might as well have shouted it at the top of your lungs. It’s so ridiculous, but it made me feel absolutely giddy. I remember thinking, I am the spoon.”

His eyebrows rose. “What?”

She smiled. “Never mind. Anyway, I had a long conversation with Lydia that night, mostly about my father… She mentioned something about having the courage to go after what you want, and that was the tipping point for me. I was supposed to go skiing with her and Jane in the morning, but I told them I had work to do, and I went to see you instead.”

“And I blew it.”

“No! You didn’t blow it, I did. The things I said to you—”

“Have already been discussed and don’t need to be discussed again.”

She nodded. “Never again.”

They spent a little more time in the barn, visiting with Skip and Barnum, and when she checked her shirt she found it was still mostly damp.

His eyes traveled over her. “Just wear mine home. It looks good on you.”

“I don’t want to leave you minus a shirt.”

“Do you really think I don’t have plenty of these?” His hands rubbed up and down her arms and then wrapped around her waist. “Take it.”

She grinned. “Okay.”

He kissed her and she sighed into it, already used to the remarkable feeling of his lips on hers, the taste of his mouth, the brush of his beard against her skin…

She leaned back, and he eyed her curiously as she touched her chin. “I don’t want to look rashy when we go into the house.”

“Are you okay with going in?” He lightly stroked her cheek. “We can wait until another time if you want.”  

“I don’t mind. It would be rude if I didn’t.”

“I don’t think so, and my parents wouldn’t either.”

I would think so. Honestly, I don’t mind.”

He grabbed his hat and coat, and she took her vest and shirt from where they were hanging. Before they left the barn she took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of hay and animals.

“I’m glad we stayed out here today.”

“I am too,” he said, his eyes gentle on hers. “We got rid of all the bad mojo.”

She felt a sweet surge of hope. “Do you think so?”

He nodded. “We already have better memories. I mean, there aren’t many, but it’s enough for now. That’s what we’ll focus on, until we have the chance to make more.”

Oh, just take me right here and now. “You’re awfully sweet, you know.”

He shrugged. “I just don’t want to think about the lousy stuff anymore, not when there’s been so much good stuff already. And not when there’s so much more to come.”

What do you think?? Don’t you love it? Her “off-thoughts” are very interesting and how sweet! I have definitely been able to picture all the scene in my mind, even with the “hey you” around.

What about buying the book? Here you have a few links:

Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon UK Amazon DE Amazon ES

BLOG TOUR

Do check the great posts on this tour, you are going to enjoy so much!

June 1 – author’s blog

June 4 – Babblings of a Bookworm

June 7 – From Pemberley to Milton

June 9 – Jane Austen State of Mind

June 11 – Austenesque Reviews

June 14 – Diary of an Eccentric

June 16 – Probably at the Library

June 18 – My Vices and Weaknesses

Cat Andrews is giving away an ebook of An Unexpected Harvest to one of the readers who comment. Please, specify which Amazon account you use (US, UK, CA, etc.) It is possible that only Amazon US users are counted but I will talk to Cat as I may be able to help with other Amazon accounts. Good luck!

EDIT: apologies for not having said a deadline before. The giveaway is open until Monday 21st of June at 11.59pm EST.

“Parallels” by Linda Gonschior, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I am glad to have for the first time in My Vices and Weaknesses author Linda Gonschior. She is presenting her third book on the Reflections series and I hope you enjoy what she is sharing with you today.

Just in case you have missed the previous post, let’s have a look at the blurb:

Love, heartbreak, and self-discovery

are life’s greatest challenges,

no matter who your parents may be.

Will and Elizabeth Darcy faced those challenges twenty years earlier, yet marriage taught them patience, understanding, and most importantly, the irreplaceable value of one another. Now their children are about to embark upon that path, hopefully to learn those lessons more gently and avoid the mistakes of their parents.

This third book in the Reflections series brings to a conclusion the story of a couple whose love drew them together in spite of themselves and continues to test them when least expected.

I do not know if you have read the previous books but I would bet that reading this blurb makes you think “I think I should read the previous two”. On the other hand, if you have read the previous two books on the series, I can imagine that you cannot wait to see what is going on with the Darcy’s children. It is pretty appealing to read how they met, how they fell in love, got married and had their kids, don’t you think?

Let me introduce you to the author of this really good series:

Linda Gonschior has entertained the art of writing since elementary school but never allowed it to come to fruition until Pride and Prejudice lured her into deeper exploration of characters, relationships and ‘what ifs’.  Writing is not the breadwinner, however, as she has a day job and many other interests that compete for attention and time.  Still, she has managed to squeeze in several dozen stories – long and short – and there are many more in the ‘incomplete’ folder on the computer.  As retirement looms on the horizon, some may be dusted off to evaluate their potential to entertain those who share a fondness for Jane Austen’s characters and don’t mind straying a little off the beaten path.

Amongst her accomplishments Linda counts raising a son, stage managing live theatre productions, flower gardening, and website administration, but not netting purses or painting screens.

You can follow her on Facebook on her Author Page. Here you have her Amazon UK Author Page.

Linda is an accomplish woman, indeed! We can say that she reads a lot too 🙂

EXCERPT

Enjoy!! Darcy and Georgiana and then Darcy’s children. Any similarities? Any parallels?

Thank you Ana for this opportunity to share a little more from Parallels, the final book in my Reflections series! I’d like to talk a bit about the Darcy siblings’ relationships.

In the first two books the character of Georgiana Darcy played a significant role. The relationship between these Darcy siblings was strong, supportive and not without conflict at times. Georgiana was there for her brother in some of his lowest moments. She also let him know when he was thinking too much of himself and not others. In this excerpt from Parallels it is Will’s turn to bring his sister out of the darkness of grief, but can he?

**

There was no answer to his knock, but he hadn’t expected one. Pushing the door open slowly, Will peered around it to see Georgiana sitting in the window seat, staring towards the front lawn. He crossed the room to stand at her shoulder. For several minutes, he said nothing, but memories from childhood soon intruded. “I remember when Mum dressed you up for our family portrait and you escaped from the house, running across the grass to the pond on the other side.” He looked at her face for some reaction. “Do you remember, Georgie?”

A small smile appeared on her face, but Will suspected it was merely for his benefit. Her eyes still stared vacantly through the glass. “I was looking for you.”

“You thought you were the only one denied any fun for the sake of that portrait, but I was annoyed at having to be here instead of with my friends. You knew exactly where to find me.” He looked out the window too. “Despite your little adventure, the photo turned out to be excellent. We managed to clean you up before Mum and Dad realized you were found. Nobody even noticed the mud on your shoes.” Will turned to face her once more, taking one of her hands in his to squeeze it.

“Don’t, Will. Don’t try to make me feel like I’m still alive…because I’m not.” She whispered the words, her gaze out the window never wavering.

**

In keeping with the ‘parallels’ theme, Will and Elizabeth’s two eldest children also share a close bond. They tease and annoy one another, of course. And when one is in trouble the other is quick to act even if it’s unwelcome interference.

**

Anna wasn’t, by nature, particularly patient. So when Wednesday evening rolled around and she still hadn’t heard from her brother, she began to make enquiries. Since there had been no reply the dozen times she had texted and rung his mobile, she next called Robert Bingley, where Ben had last been.

“Sorry, Anna,” Robert told her. “I haven’t seen him since Sunday. He left here in a mood, and I doubt he’s coming back anytime soon.”

She thanked him and said goodbye, not wanting to spend too much time when she could be continuing to look for him elsewhere.

Anna and Ben had always been rather close. She tagged after him as a child, forever into her big brother’s toys and wanting to do everything he did. A pest she may have been, but Ben hadn’t minded altogether, and as they grew older, they had grown closer, which was why Anna was worried now. It simply wasn’t like Ben to hide himself away like this.

The quickest way to find him would be the university, she decided, and with that in mind, Anna didn’t waste any time. She drove straight to Cambridge and sought him out in class.

“What are you doing here?” Ben hissed as he joined her in the hallway outside the lecture hall.

“As if you have to ask!” Anna hissed back. “Where have you been?”

“Around.”

“Don’t be smart. Mum is worried sick about you. How can you be so inconsiderate?” Anna pulled on his arm, turning him to face her. “What happened on Monday, Ben?”

He looked away then brought his eyes around again to meet hers. “I made a right mess of things.”

“Oh, Ben.” Anna felt her brother’s pain just looking at his face. “Are you sure? Can’t you make it up?”

“I doubt it. I did everything I promised her I wouldn’t do. How could she trust me again?” Ben shook his head and started walking down the corridor.

Anna walked along beside him. “You can’t just give up, Ben. Isn’t she worth fighting for? Isn’t your relationship stronger than that?”

Ben came to a sudden halt and spun around to glare at his sister. “I don’t need any lectures from you, Anna! I feel like a daft plonker, and I deserve to feel that way. Don’t give me any condescending reassurances because I don’t want them. Just leave me alone.”

“But,” Anna began.

“I said to leave me alone!”

**

I hope you find these tidbits appetizing!

What do you think? I have really liked both bits and I want to know more. Why is Georgiana not feeling alive? What has Ben done?

If you want to buy the book, you could do it here:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

BLOG TOUR

Do not forget the previous post and the following ones, you are going to enjoy them and know a bit more about Linda and Parallels.

June 7 Donadee’s Corner

June 8 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 9 Diary of an Eccentric

June 10 From Pemberley to Milton

June 11 Babblings of a Bookworm

June 14 My Jane Austen Book Club

June 15 Probably at the Library

Meryton Press is giving away eight eBooks of Parallels. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends at midnight on the 17th of June or 12:00 AM on the 18th of June.

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

Rafflecopter “Parallels”

“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

“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!

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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!!

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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!!

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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

“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.

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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.

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“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

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