“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.

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“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.

——————————-

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon US       Amazon UK       Amazon CA       Amazon DE

Blog Tour

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

March 24 Savvy Verse & Wit MDC Blog Tour Banner Vert

March 25 Donadee’s Corner

March 26 Diary of an Eccentric

March 27  More Agreeably Engaged

March 30 My Vices and Weaknesses

March 31 So Little Time…

April 2 From Pemberley to Milton

April 3  Babblings of a Bookworm

April 6 Austenesque Reviews

 

time to give away winners

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

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

Rafflecopter – Mr. Darcy’s Clan

“When Duty Calls” by Belén, character interview

Hola a todos 🙂

I hope everybody is taking care and being safe at home. Let’s enjoy a bit more reading now that we have to remain at home and luckily we may enjoy a bit more of free time.

I am happy to welcome again an author with whom I share mother tongue but, I presume, loves reading anything austenesque in English: Belén Paccagnella. Belén is doing an amazing blog tour with her latest book: When Duty Calls. Let me talk about the cover of this book before getting into the story… in the hypothetical case that you have landed on my blog but have not read anything at all about this novel, what do you think about the cover? Yes, it is simply beautiful: the colours, the contrast of light and dark but.. they are kissing! That couple at the front is kissing! OMG! This is the first thing that may shout at you as “this book is promising”.

I know that a lot of JAFF readers only like clean variations and I totally respect that. I actually like almost any variation and, on my top 10 of JAFF books you can find clean versions, they tend to be very sweet. However, let me show you the description of this book and then we keep talking 🙂

The Netherfield ball brings about many changes for the population of Meryton, and more so for the female residents of Longbourn. Mr. Bingley’s departure leaves the eldest, Jane Bennet, heartbroken whilst Mr. Collins’s proposal induces Miss Elizabeth to make a hasty escape. During her flight, she happens upon Mr. Darcy, a gentleman she despises. A moment of solitude in the woods leads to rather improper behavior, and the couple departs with the promise they will tell no one about their minor indiscretion. When their secret is finally uncovered, marriage becomes the only solution to saving Elizabeth from social disgrace. Her other grudges against Mr. Darcy are amplified by resentment and the prospect of spending her life with a man she can never respect. Nonetheless, the marriage takes place, forcing the young couple to deal with their pride and prejudices as husband and wife.

Originally posted online almost twenty years ago, this Regency tale of redemption narrates the struggles of two people, their differences, and their rocky start. But will they succeed in overcoming lies, misunderstandings, and their own errors to finally find love?

So… improper behaviour? Noooo, it cannot be and they are going to keep it secret? I do not know about you but this blurb has totally hooked me because even if I do like a kiss before being betrothed or something similar, although the word “improper” sounds so bad! However, it may not be bad or yes or maybe… I leave it there.

Who is Belén Paccagnella? Let me (re)introduce you to her:

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

In 2001, she began writing both Regency and modern stories, adapting the Pride and Prejudice storyline to different backdrops, merging drama, humor, and adventure while creating characters with unique traits. Almost two decades later, she published Obstacles, a modern variation released in 2018 by Meryton Press.

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

If you would like to follow Belén, you could do it here:

Facebook           Twitter            Instagram

Character interview

I do not know how you would feel knowing that Belén is not doing the character interview 😉 Who will interview Mrs Elizabeth Darcy? I hope you enjoy this interview, it is refreshing and gives a few things away…

I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy six years ago, when she came first to Derbyshire soon after her wedding to our dear neighbour, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Elizabeth is a most intriguing character and a truly generous lady when it comes to sharing her thoughts regarding her life as a married woman. Being a fictional character myself, vaguely mentioned once in this Pride and Prejudice variation, I decided I was the right person to conduct this character interview, thus satisfying the readers’ rapacity for spoilers and my own dream of becoming a social columnist. Since Elizabeth’s youth and background has been explored thoroughly in the original novel, I shall focus my questions in her impromptu marriage to the Master of Pemberley and how it affected her life. Thank you, Ana, for hosting my humble attempt at journalism in your blog, My Vices and Weaknesses. Never a name so consistent with my dreams and expectations!

                                                                        Lady Eugenia Archer

     LEA: Fanfiction writers have adapted your story to almost every backdrop and timeline that exists. Their imagination knows no limits when it comes to narrating your love story with Fitzwilliam Darcy. I have read about you in the past, the future, in almost every known culture known or invented by men, either here on Earth or in space. How do you feel about your life and most intimate feelings being exposed or altered for other people’s enjoyment?

     ED: (laughs) Delighted! I truly enjoy being a literature icon. As long as I end the story married to my dear husband William, I don’t mind what obstacles these exceedingly creative writers throw in our way.

     LEA: Even if they marry you to Colonel Fitzwilliam first?

     ED: I would rather marry Richard than Mr. Collins, if you ask. I know there are a few of those out there. (shudders).

     LEA: It is universally known that he proposed to you. (arches a knowing eyebrow)

     ED: And it’s universally known that I refused him. Most emphatically!

     LEA: Which leads us to this particular story, a forced marriage scenario.  It starts with you running away from Mr. Collins after he proposes, and you happen upon Mr. Darcy in the woods. How do you feel about what happened between the two of you that day? Do you consider Darcy’s behaviour as faulty as yours?

     ED: The blame is almost entirely his. I say almost because William insists that I have been flirting with him since the beginning of our acquaintance.

     LEA: Were you?

     ED: At least not consciously! Men can be clueless at times and interpret women’s attitude to their own convenience. But, in his defence, I can say I had always enjoyed teasing him, stirring the hornet’s nest, if you understand my meaning. And considering how much he fancied me at the time, in retrospective, that might have given him the wrong impression. William is a very passionate man, quite impulsive, and sometimes he fails in reigning back that passion, like it happened that day. If you don’t believe me, ask Lt. Wickham. It was William’s incapability to withhold his temper what made him attend his own wedding with a purple eye. Which, by the way, became a fashion statement. I have been told it matched the colour of my sister’s gown.

     LEA: You’ll tell me about that later (smiles). We already know the author’s thoughts on forced marriage stories, since she shared them in Janet’s interview posted at More Agreeable Engaged. Would you like to tell me yours? How did you feel about being forced to marry a man you disliked so much?

     ED: I was very angry. I could not imagine how we would manage to achieve a decent degree of happiness with my hatred for him and his family opposing the match. The anger dissipated a bit during the engagement, but when I learned what he did to my sister, I was truly despondent. The first weeks of our marriage we were both immersed in great sorrow. At the time I felt I would be miserable for the rest of my life. Fortunately, all that was reversed as we became better acquainted. 

     LEA: I noticed there was something amiss between the two of you when I first met you, the night you dined with us at Thornaby Hall. That was quite early in your marriage. Although I did not perceive any particular animosity, there was a distance between the two of you that was unusual for a newly wedded couple.

     ED: We were just beginning to understand each other at the time. Although I was already in love with him, I had not made my feelings known to him yet. I was not certain about his sentiments either, so I was at loss of what to do. My thoughts at that time are reflected on the excerpt the author posted for the Valentine Special. Later that day, William, Georgiana and I happened upon Lord Archer on the streets of Lambton, and he invited us to dine at your home. That was a turning point for me.  Although unintentionally, that day William said something that broke my heart. It made me realize how much my words had wounded him. From them on, I tried my best to show him that I truly cared for him. It took us some time to finally become a couple in every sense, but that was the starting point for my change of attitude. Now neither of us can understand life without the other.

     LEA: Does your sister’s marriage to Lt. Wickham have to do with this delay?

     ED: Indeed! The news of Lydia’s elopement reached me the day we shared our first kiss after our wedding. Well, perhaps it was not precisely the first one. We had shared a couple of kisses before that one, but those were merely stolen kisses that took the other by surprise. I don’t think they count as the first kiss. Then he left for London for a fortnight, and I began to have doubts about how Lydia’s reckless behaviour would affect our marriage. At some point I feared he might—

     LEA: I must stop you here and say spoiler alert! Let us not give away too much of the plot, shall we? However, since this scene has already been posted online during the blog tour, at Savvy Verse & Wit, would you tell me the anecdote about Wickham’s blue eye? How did that happen?

     ED: (laughs) I cannot tell you much about it, for I did not have the pleasure of witnessing it, and William did not share with me the details of why he punched Wickham on the face. All I can tell you is of my husband’s broken hand. Which, by the way, earned him a lecture from his boxing master. He’s quite a conscientious teacher and never fails to chastise his pupil when he does something wrong. You can read more about my husband’s fondness for pugilism on the 8th stop of this blog tour, at Austenesque Reviews.

     LEA: One last question so the readers can learn more about you after the story ends. I heard the author decided not to include an epilogue for this published version of When Duty Calls, although I know there was one, originally. You are now reaching the end of your confinement. I imagine you must be exhausted, taking care of your husband and two children while assisting your sister Georgiana in the preparations for her wedding. How do you find the strength to do all that while keeping your fresh, beautiful countenance? What’s your secret? My feet were so swollen during my confinements that I could hardly put my shoes on!

     ED: (laughs along) Long walks and a loving husband who rubs my feet every night! And, of course, a battalion of servants ready to satisfy my every whim. Being the mistress of Pemberley has many benefits, and wealth is just one of them (winks and rubs her belly).

What do you think? Have you enjoyed it? I have really liked Lady Eugenia Archer’s interview to Elizabeth. I think it helps having another character who has been there, even if briefly.

I cannot wait to read about Wickham’s blue eye and about how they got to be forced into a marriage and, most importantly, how love was born!

If you cannot wait either, you can but the book on different places, such as:

Amazon US        Amazon UK          Amazon CA        Amazon DE

Blog Tour

If you have liked or loved this character interview as much as I have, in case you have not done it before, check the rest of the entries on this tour, they are awesome! If you do not know where to start, go back to the character interview and check all the blogs mentioned 🙂 (you have all the entries on the links below)

WDC BT Schedule M

 Diary of an Eccentric

So Little Time…

Austenprose

Babblings of a Bookworm

Savvy Verse & Wit

Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

Austenesque Reviews

More Agreeably Engaged

From Pemberley to Milton

My Vices and Weaknesses

 

time to give away winners

Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of When Duty Calls to eight fortunate winners.

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

Rafflecopter – When Duty Calls

“Sanditon” by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan, review

Dear all,

I am very happy to be able to share with you my opinion of Sanditon by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan based on Andrew Davies’ TV adaptation/continuation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel written in 1817. First of all, I have to admit that I have not read Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, therefore my review is purely about the book by Kate Riordan. Therefore, if you are a “purist” who does not like people to change Jane Austen’s words or characters or style, you will not like this book. However, if you are like me that you enjoy Jane Austen Fan Fiction, variations, what ifs, prequels, sequels, etc. give it a go!

Apologies for posting my review late, work this week was intense and I could not make it. Thank you to Kate Riordan and Grand Central Publishing for counting on me for this tour and for providing me with the lovely books: Sanditon and The Works of Sanditon: the official companion. Thank you Laurel Ann Nattress for organising the blog tour.

Enjoy the blurb of the book:

In the vein of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen’s beloved but unfinished masterpiece-often considered her most modern and exciting novel-gets a spectacular second act in this tie-in to a major new limited television series.

Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself… and ultimately find love.

Twists and turns of the plot indeed! 😉

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist from England. Her first job was as an editorial assistant at the Guardian newspaper, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the lifestyle section of London bible, Time Out magazine. There she had assignments that saw her racing reindeers in Lapland, going undercover in London’s premier department store and gleaning writing tips (none-too subtly) during interviews with some of her favorite authors. After becoming a freelancer, she left London behind and moved to the beautiful Cotswolds in order to write her first novel.

Want it already?

Here you can find some places to check it:

Blog schedule

Do not miss these great stops, you are going to enjoy a vast pool of reviews and excerpts.

January 13                Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog

January 14                History Lizzie

January 17                Babblings of a Bookworm

January 20                Confessions of a Book Addict

January 20                Living Read Girl

January 25                Margie’s Must Reads

January 26                My Jane Austen Book Club

February 03              The Lit Bitch

February 10              Unabridged Chick

February 10              Laura’s Reviews

February 13              Bookfoolery

February 14              Half Agony, Half Hope

February 17              Scuffed Slippers, Wormy Books

February 18              Impressions in Ink

February 23              From Pemberley to Milton

February 24              So Little Time…

February 24              Vesper’s Place

February 26              Austenesque Reviews

February 28              My Vices and Weaknesses

Review

Charlotte Heywood is a very naive girl but a bit outspoken, but not in a Lizzie Bennet’s way. By chance, she sees herself invited to stay in Sanditon, a town that is being remodelled into a top destination for holidays. Everything is new for her, from seeing the sea to being in a grand ballroom. Charlotte does not know the world and the vices that exist.

Sydney Parker, at the very beginning with his businesses and friends I was not sure what to expect but he then opened his mouth to talk to Charlotte… Even if she has a big mouth, he is not polite to her and his way of talking to her is more like the one of a brute than a gentleman. His animosity towards her is far too big because he is very kind to his family.

However, even when “angry” at each other, they keep talking, sometimes not very politely, some other in a more civilised way. She is open to the world, he is closed to some thing in the world. This is a recipe to catastrophe or perhaps not…

About the other characters, there is a lot to say but I will just mention general ideas to maybe pick your curiosity if you have not read the book or you have not watch the TV adaptation, here you have a few things to know: there is an obsessed man with an almost utopian town and her wife that could be seen as a saint; there is a Lady-Catherine-De-Bough-like woman who is a mean benefactress and childlesss rich woman, is she really mean?; there is a young enthusiastic man who wants to improve in life despite is origin; there is a rich heiress who just wants to be loved and be freed from the hypocrisy of part of society; there is also a pair of step-siblings whose relationship is not very healthy (worse than the Crawfords),;there is a man that wants to pursue a woman who completely ignores and “despises” him (I kind of like him though), etc. Did you understand anything that I describe? Maybe not everything but there is so much to read about.

Because of the story, the characters, the writing or whatever other reason that I can think of, I was hooked! I could not stop reading the book to see what was going on. I barely have time to read but I had to carry on reading Sanditon to see what else was there. I think I was as eager to read the book as Charlotte to know about the world.

To sum up: I have enjoyed the book, there are quite a few things that may not be very Jane Austen-like (e.g. the ending), the author may have taken a lot of liberties from a more “purist” viewpoint, etc. but what I need at the end of the day is a book that makes me feel. It can make me feel happy, or sad, or intrigued, a book that makes me escape from the “normal” daily life, makes me immerse in a different world and also makes me imagine these characters in different scenarios. Reading fiction for me is a way of relaxation even if that includes wanting to read all the time, when I do not have it!

4.5out5 stars

I have read some people stating that some of the topics on the book could have never been used by Jane Austen. I kind of differ, I am not a scholar on Jane Austen’s matters but only by reading her books you can see that she knew about her time. For instance, before even reading Mansfield Park, I watch two of the movies and then I read the book and we can see how Jane Austen writes about slavery or infidelity. She knows a lot and perhaps she may have not chosen to write a scene where one character is doing oral sex to another character and there is a third person who happens to see that something is going on (without knowing what is going on). I think that she may have not been totally naive, although unmarried, she was mainly a writer and, as far as I believe, a writer reads, a writer has curiosity, a writer does not shy from knowing. I agree with people’s opinion that the ending is not our cup of tea, I would have prefer something different (do not worry, I am not spoiling the ending). However, it is a variation, it is not Jane Austen writing (unfortunately) but I believe that authors can decide whatever they want. Yes, readers decide, we decide if we like it or not and a lot of authors try to only look for what their audience want. However, that is not a must, if I could write, I would write first for me and then for the readers. Once I would know what readers want, I could look for a middle ground but at the end of the day, an author writes for him or herself. Isn’t it? I may be wrong but I accept everybody’s opinion and I hope people accepts my opinion that Sanditon is a really good book. As I said, I was hooked and for me that is enough to make a novel a good one.

Now I need to try to watch the series 🙂

“Falling for Mr. Thornton” by various authors, review and giveaway

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is just a lovely read with two strong characters: Margaret Hale and John Thornton. And, yes, we are falling for him! If you read this blog, you know that I review or promote mainly JAFF but because there is also a lot of it. However, I love a good love story with angst and North and South Fan Fiction has it and in good measure!

Falling for Mr. Thornton is the first compilation of fan fiction stories of Gaskell’s well-know novel. I highly recommend it to you and you will read it below in my review, but let me show you the blurb:

Amidst the turbulent backdrop of a manufacturing town in the grips of the Industrial Revolution, Elizabeth Gaskell penned the timeless passion of Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale. A mixing of contemporary and Victorian, this short story anthology by twelve beloved authors considers familiar scenes from new points of view or re-imagined entirely. Capturing all the poignancy, heartbreak, and romance of the original tale, Falling for Mr. Thornton is a collection you will treasure again and again.

Stories by: Trudy Brasure * Nicole Clarkston * Julia Daniels * Rose Fairbanks * Don Jacobson * Evy Journey * Nancy Klein * M. Liza Marte * Elaine Owen * Damaris Osborne * Melanie Stanford ** Foreword by Mimi Matthews **

In case you do not know all of these authors, at the end of the post I am leaving their biographies and their contact and social media. I have read most of them in other occasion and, trust me, you should do it too!

There are so many great stories that I do not know where to start. I will give you the blurb of four of the stories that I have enjoyed:

On the Island by Melanie Stanford

Travel blogger Meg Hale doesn’t want to return to John Thornton’s resort. After all, another visit won’t change her bad review.

But the resort has changed—and so has John.

The more time Meg spends on the island, the more she realizes she may have made a mistake. A mistake that could cost John the resort, and Meg her heart.

Mistakes and Remedies by Julia Daniels

When John Thornton’s sister goes missing, he seeks help from the one woman he can trust—the one who still holds his heart. Saving Fanny is all he hopes for, until a tender friendship begins to flourish between him and the love he had thought lost to him.

The Best Medicine by Elaine Owen

What if Thornton found a way to change Margaret’s mind about him earlier in the story? Could helping Margaret’s friend Bessy be the way to winning Margaret’s heart? This is a short story with more than one happy ever after for more than one beloved character!

Mischances by Nicole Clarkston 

When the wrong person discovers Margaret in a compromising position, she is forced to decide who she really wants and just how much she can trust the one man who can help her.

Review

Love, misunderstandings, more love, friends, time-travelling, modern variation, more love, compromise and much more can be found in Falling for Mr. Thornton.

These 12 stories have very different endings and points of view. The way they want you to carry on reading is very different from one to another. Some of these stories focus solely on John and Margaret but some others also show other characters; some of them even have their happy endings.

I have enjoyed a lot the stories with John’s viewpoint and his struggle with his love for Margaret. However, the way that Margaret see her error and her misjudgement of John is also really nicely explained.

Above you have been able to red four of my favourite stories of the book but for different reasons.

On the island is a lovely story that it portrays exactly what happens in N&S but in a modern variation.

Mistakes and Remedies has Fanny as a main character together with the loved couple. I normally do not like Fanny, I still do not like her here but OMG! how can she be so stupid!

The Best Medicine: Best Higgins is on it and what a story and happy endings!

Mischances gets on my nerves because Margaret is about to surrender to someone, not John, for not trusting John!!

There are so many more stories that just because they are not here it does not mean that I like them less. I still recommend them.

5out5 stars

What about buying this compilation and having a great time?

Amazon US        Amazon UK           Amazon CA

Blog Tour Schedule

Great posts and a lot of information to make you like more this book or to make you more eager to buy it! Do not miss the posts!

14/11/2019 More Agreeably Engaged; Blog Tour Launch & Giveaway

19/11/2019 My Jane Austen Book Club ; Author Interview & Giveaway

21/11/2019 From Pemberley to Milton; Review & Giveaway

25/11/2019 So Little Time…; Guest Post & Giveaway

05/12/2019 My Vices and Weaknesses; Review & Giveaway

10/12/2019 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post & Giveaway

16/12/2019 Babblings of a Bookworm; Review & Giveaway

20/12/2019 Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post & Giveaway

time to give away winners

A great giveaway!

The authors are offering one big prize to one reader following the entire blog tour. This prize will contain 13 different ebooks, once copy of Falling For Mr. Thornton and one other ebook from each author. This giveaway is made through Rafflecopter, click the link below and follow instructions.

Additionally the authors would also like to offer 2 bookmarks of Falling For Mr. Thornton at each blog for two winners. This giveaway is sorted by me within the people who have commented. It will finish on the 10th of December at 23:59 CET.

Both giveaways are international. Good luck!!

Rafflecopter – Falling for Mr. Thornton

giveaway

 

Biographies of the authors

Damaris Osborne is an English author and lover of North & South, whose novella ‘North & Spoof’ is available from Amazon, and who is the author of a 12thC murder mystery series under another pseudonym. She says spoofing is her outlet for her ‘silly streak’, and her literary heroes are Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Georgette Heyer and Terry Pratchett.

Damaris Osborne’s other books include: North & Spoof

Amazon Author Page                 Goodreads

Don Jacobson has written professionally since his post-collegiate days as a wire service reporter in Chicago. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. Earlier in his career, he published five books, all non-fiction. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

Don turned his passion for reading The Canon into writing #Austenesque Fiction. He has published eleven works in the genre since late 2015. As a member of The Austen Authors Collective, Don joins (and he is modestly bowing his head to admit that he is the knave in this deck of Queens and Kings) other Janites who seek to extend the Mistress’ stories beyond the endings she so carefully crafted.

Don Jacobson’s books include: Miss Bennet’s First Christmas, The Bennet Wardrobe: Origins, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, Henry Fitzwilliam’s War, The Exile (Pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque, Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess, The Exile (pt. 2): The Countess Visits Longbourn, The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament, The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion), Lessers and Betters Stories, Of Fortune’s Reversal, The Maid and The Footman

Amazon Author Page            Goodreads                   Facebook            Twitter

Elaine Owen was born in Seattle, Washington and was a precocious reader from a young age. She read Pride and Prejudice for the first time in ninth grade, causing speechless delight for her English teacher when she used it for an oral book report. She practiced writing in various forms throughout her teen years, writing stories with her friends and being chief editor of the high school yearbook. She moved to Delaware when she married.

In 1996 she won a one year contract to write guest editorials in the Sunday edition of The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, and she continued her writing habit in political discussion groups and occasional forays into fiction.

In 2014 she began to write Pride and Prejudice fan fiction and decided to publish her works herself to see if she might possibly sell a few copies. Thousands of books later, the results have been beyond her wildest hopes, and she plans to continue writing fiction for the foreseeable future.

When she’s not writing her next great novel, Elaine relaxes by working full time, raising two children, volunteering in her church, and practicing martial arts. She can be contacted at elaineowen@writeme.com.

Elaine Owen’s other books include: Common Ground, Duty Demands, Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit, One False Step, Love’s Fool, and An Unexpected Turn of Events 

Amazon Author Page           Goodreads                 Facebook              Twitter

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, writes Women’s Fiction, an amorphous category of stories written mostly for women, from a woman’s point of view, as varied as that is. They can be romance, chick lit, or literary.

Evy has a Ph.D. in psychology so her particular brand of women’s fiction spins tales about well-drawn characters as they cope with the problems and issues of contemporary life. These stories explore the many faces of love, loss, second chances, and finding one’s way. Often, they’re laced with a twist of mystery or intrigue.

She’s also a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who wishes she lived in Paris where art is everywhere and people have honed aimless roaming to an art form. She has lived in Paris a few times as a transient.

Evy’s other books include: Margaret of the North, Hello, My Love, Hello, Agnieszka, Welcome Reluctant Stranger, Brief Encounters, and Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.

Amazon Author Page       Goodreads                Facebook

Julia Daniels loves to write happily ever after stories that warm the heart and make the reader satisfied. From rural and farm romance to historical western romance and even romantic mystery novels, Julia can spin a tale that ends in a happy romance. Her characters come to life on the pages, drawing the reader into the love story, making them want to stick around and see what happens.

Julia lives in Nebraska with her husband and two kids. In addition to writing, she designs counted cross-stitch patterns, sews, gardens and cares for an odd menagerie of animals, including chickens and goats.

Julia Daniels’ other books include: Milton’s Mill Master, Master of her Heart, Choices of the Heart, The Earl Next Door, Duchess on the Run, and Saved by a Cowboy

Amazon Author Page              Goodreads             Facebook

Kate Forrester lives in Shropshire, one of the most beautiful counties in Britain, with her family and other animals. She has worked as a nurse in the NHS for thirty years. About five years ago she stumbled across the c19 forum and was bitten by the writing bug. Since then she has written two novels Weathering the Storm and Degrees of Silence and is about to publish her third a Nightingale Sang.

Kate Forrester’s other books include: A Nightingale Sang, Degrees of Silence, In the Shadow of the Games, The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing, and Weathering the Storm

Amazon Author Page      Goodreads       Facebook

Liza Marte lives in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco in northern California. She currently works in an Accounting corporation. She has written 16 books, four of which have been self-published and can be found on Amazon.

Liza Marte’s other books include: The Whistle Echoes, A Drop of Red, Above the Roars, and More than Words

Amazon Author Page       Goodreads        Facebook

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

Melanie Stanford’s other books include: Sway, Collide, Clash, Then Comes Winter (Anthology) and The Darcy Monologues (Anthology)

Amazon Author Page       Goodreads        Facebook       Twitter

Nancy Klein: I have been writing fiction for quite a few years now, and surprise! I find I love it. I owe a huge debt of thanks to Trudy for reading what I write and offering incredibly helpful insights (and wonderful friendship). I am a writer and editor by trade, so I enjoy beta reading for other writers. Besides playing in Milton and Nottingham, I enjoy finding treasures at yard sales and auctions, running/hiking and race walking, working with dog rescue, listening to NPR (especially This American Life and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me), travelling, singing Broadway scores, reading, drinking good wine, and hearing a good joke.

Nancy Klein’s other book is How Far the World Will Bend

Amazon Author Page         Goodreads          Facebook

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book or a writing project.

Nicole Clarkston’s books include No Such Thing as Luck, Northern Rain, Nowhere but North, Rumours and Recklessness, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, These Dreams, London Holiday, Nefarious, and Rational Creatures (Anthology).

Amazon Author Page             Goodreads           Facebook         Twitter

Born in the wrong era, Rose Fairbanks has read nineteenth-century novels since childhood. Although she studied history, her transcript also contains every course in which she could discuss Jane Austen. Never having given up all-nighters for reading, Rose discovered her love for Historical Romance after reading Christi Caldwell’s Heart of a Duke Series.

After a financial downturn and her husband’s unemployment had threatened her ability to stay at home with their special needs child, Rose began writing the kinds of stories she had loved to read for so many years. Now, a best-selling author of Jane Austen-inspired stories, she also writes Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to finish her master’s studies someday. When not reading or writing, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and Romance Writers of America.

Rose Fairbanks’ books include: The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter, Letters from the Heart, Undone Business, No Cause to Repine, Love Lasts Longest, Mr. Darcy’s Kindness, Once Upon a December, Mr. Darcy’s Miracle at Longbourn, How Darcy Saved Christmas, Sufficient Encouragement, Renewed Hope, Extraordinary Devotion, Mr. Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride, The Secrets of Pemberley, Pledged, Reunited, Treasured, and A Sense of Obligation

Amazon Author Page             Goodreads             Facebook         Twitter

Trudy Brasure’s curiosity about life in past times and her fascination with the Victorian Era have been part of her since she was a small girl considering the ruins of her grandfather’s barn in rural Pennsylvania.

She began her own personal romance story with a whirlwind courtship. Her married life started in a picturesque colonial town on the coast of Massachusetts. With the addition of three children and several dogs, she currently lives in California.

As a hopeless romantic and a fervent enthusiast for humanity’s progress, she loves almost nothing more than to engage in discussion about North and South.

Trudy Brasure’s books include A Heart for Milton and In Consequence

Amazon Author Page         Goodreads           Facebook           Twitter

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

Dear all,

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

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

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

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

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

Blog     Tumblr     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Goodreads    Amazon’s Author Page

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

The heir of Longbourn offers his olive branch earlier…

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

A secret partnership formed…

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

4.5out5 stars

Blog Tour

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

2nd of October Austenesque Reviews

3rd of October My Jane Austen Book Club

4th of October From Pemberley to Milton

7th of October Babblings of a Bookworm

8th of October Diary of an Eccentric

9th of October Savvy Verse & Wit

10th of October My Vices and Weaknesses

11th of October So little time

BlogTour

time to give away winners

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

“The Journey Home to Pemberley” by Joana Starnes, guest post, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

What can I say about this book? To be honest, if it has the name “Joana Starnes” is going to be an awesome story. That is what has happened so far with The Journey Home to Pemberley, and, even if I have not finished yet, I am loving it at the same time as hating it. Joana makes me angry because she is such a great writer that you really want to get to the HEA, but she insists on making us suffer 😉 in a positive way always!!!

Let me (re)introduce you to Joana, this woman who always has me on a “half agony, half hope” mode while reading her books.

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

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of PemberleyThe Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s CompanionMr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacyand one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know, Rational Creatures and Yuletide). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

You can connect with Joana on:

Facebook           Website            Twitter             Instagram           Austen Variations

Let’s have a brief insight on Joana Starnes’ latest book through the book trailer (link) or the blurb below:

Book trailer of The Journey Home to Pemberley

A chance encounter in the wilds of the North brings more joy to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy than either of them dared hope for. But her world is rocked by blow after blow – and the truth would only cause him pain. ‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ is Elizabeth’s guiding precept, and she chooses her path. Yet time, circumstances and new acquaintances teach her she had made a terrible mistake.

How can she regain what she had lost and rebuild a future with the only man she will ever love, but for whom disguise of every sort is his abhorrence?

What happened? What blow was that? Why must she be cruel to be kind? (Sorry, I cannot forget to mentioned that when I read this sentence, Nick Lowe’s song comes to mind 😉 ) Is she cruel in the right measure??

Guest Post

Many thanks for hosting me today, Ana, on the blog tour for my latest book, released on 12 Sept. Unlike many of my other novels, The Journey Home To Pemberley is almost exclusively about Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. The other characters must take a back seat. So I thought it would be only fair for this guest post to be about someone whom we love as much as Mr Darcy (well, almost 😊). And that would be the dear colonel, of course.

Col Fitzwilliam Hunsford 2a

We picture him in many ways, but more often than not he is the brother Darcy never had – the teasing voice of reason that urges him to follow his heart.

But what if Mr Darcy does follow his heart and goes out of his way to win Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections, yet for a goodly while he seems to receive worse than nothing for his efforts? What if Colonel Fitzwilliam should see his cousin cast yet again into despondency? If his fiercely protective instincts should be awakened, I think the even-tempered and cheerful colonel would be formidable. And heaven help those who get on the wrong side of him!

CF library

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE JOURNEY HOME TO PEMBERLEY

Excerpt

As soon as he saw young Thomas emerging into the garden and advancing towards him with purpose, Darcy excused himself with a few words and a bow, left his three companions to stroll along the paths and went to meet his footman, a question on his lips:

“Yes, Thomas, what is it?”

“Colonel Fitzwilliam has just arrived, sir. Mr Howard saw him into your study as you instructed.”

With a curt nod by way of thanks for the intelligence, Darcy made his way in, only to be met with a wide grin and a cheerful, “You lucky devil! She is exquisite. Now I see why you left Heathcote hell for leather yesterday, and in such a state too. So, she said yes, eh? Praise be. So, come now, out with it, sly wretch. How did she come to be here? And above all, who is she?”

Darcy’s baffled confusion was short-lived. His cousin’s airy gesture drew his glance towards the window, and he glimpsed Arabella Monkford sauntering through the shrubbery hand in hand with her sister. Fitzwilliam’s misapprehension thus explained, Darcy hastened to correct it with a wide grin of his own, and with matching raillery.

“Judging from your reaction, I expect you will be pleased to hear she is not my betrothed. But pray have the kindness to put a damper on your unfailing charm, Richard. She deserves better than to have her head turned for your amusement.”

His cousin brought his hand to his chest with a look of mock dismay at an undeserved affront. “I could say my character deserves better too. Must you blacken it so? I have half a mind to demand penance for that ignoble speech. An introduction to the lady will do, for a start.”

Darcy rolled his eyes in feigned exasperation. “Ignoble speech, was it? I daresay you have just proven my point. Besides, the pair of you are acquainted already—”

“Impossible!” the colonel cut him off. “I would not have forgotten that turn of countenance unless… Oh, damme, pray tell me I was not three sheets to the wind on the occasion and disgraced myself!”

“No, nothing of the sort, rest easy. Back in those days, you had the good sense to set a decent limit to your libations,” Darcy chortled, but then took pity on his cousin and put an end to the good-humoured teasing. “You made her acquaintance some fifteen years ago. She is Mr Monkford’s eldest daughter.”

Fitzwilliam arched a brow. “What, that little imp? What was her name?” He frowned as he sought to remember. “Bea? Beatrice?”

“Bella,” Darcy said tersely, his feigned exasperation by now turning real. “Miss Arabella Monkford. Now, would you kindly spare me at least some of your attention? I wrote to ask for your assistance, if you remember.”

Suitably chastised and quick to acknowledge the justice of it, the other sobered. “Of course. Forgive me. How can I be of service?”

Darcy rubbed his brow. “I need to locate someone. With due discretion. I thought you would know best how I should go about it.”

“I see,” Fitzwilliam replied with a nod of appreciation for the tribute and the implied trust, then his steady gaze grew shrewdly speculative. “I take it this has something to do with your sudden betrothal and this mysterious lady of yours, still to be named?” he prompted.

“Indeed,” Darcy acknowledged. “And there is no mystery,” he began, only to see his cousin’s eyes widen in outright consternation. Instinctively, he darted a glance over his shoulder, half-expecting to see he had foolishly neglected to close the door firmly and that it had swung open to reveal Elizabeth making an appearance in the great hall behind him. But that was not the case. It must have been something else – something in his air or his tone of voice – that had triggered Fitzwilliam’s finely-honed powers of perception.

No,” his cousin said, the one-syllabled word stretched out into a long, shocked whisper. “You could not have been quite so feeble-minded as to be caught in her web again! Pray tell me you are not engaged to Elizabeth Bennet!” he spat. But he must have read the answer in Darcy’s countenance, because he threw his arms in the air in a gesture of disbelieving anger. “God’s teeth, you are nearing thirty! Do you still need a nurse to keep you from harm?”

Darcy reached behind his back to press the door into the frame for further safety, hoping against hope that his cousin’s outburst could not be heard beyond the study, for neither his urgent words of caution nor his vehement gestures were able to bring an end to the harangue.

“Is that what I should have done, appointed myself as your damned nurse?” the colonel lashed out. The rant was followed by a crude oath that belonged in sordid taverns or in a military encampment, and then a vicious, “What the devil do you see in her that another woman cannot give you? What cursed hold does she have on you, to render you so witless as to seek her out again?”

The look of incensed disbelief suddenly gave way to outraged comprehension, for whatever could be said of the colonel’s temper and his language, the sharpness of his wits had never been in question.

She came after you,” he hissed. “She is here, is she not?”

“Yes. She is,” Darcy confirmed, mightily struggling to keep himself in check despite the severe provocation, and not leap at his cousin’s throat, either verbally or otherwise. He sought to remind himself that it was fierce loyalty and affection that had sparked Fitzwilliam’s aggressive outburst and his highly objectionable remarks. Moreover, they had to talk, not tear at each other. “Pray do not fly into another fit of rage,” he sensibly urged, just as the colonel let out a fresh stream of invective. “Do still yourself and listen. Listen, Richard! You have no notion of what she has suffered—”

“What she has suffered?” Fitzwilliam snarled. “What of the hell she put you through for months on end? She deserves to—”

“Just hold your tongue and listen for a moment, will you?” Darcy burst out, at the limits of his patience.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I suppose it was just as well that Mr Darcy stopped him before the colonel could cross too many lines. Least said, soonest mended. Because bridges have to be mended, of course – Elizabeth has to be restored to Colonel Fitzwilliam’s good opinion. But I think we can trust Mr Darcy to do that.

Colonel Fitzwilliam!! I really like him, I am not sure if I have ever read a JAFF book where I do not like him. He is so caring of Darcy and everyone else that I cannot normally contemplate a story without his appearance, even a brief one.

Elizabeth, how much she has suffered?? What happened? How are they back together in the same place? How is Mr Darcy so dedicated? Too many questions that I want to know the answer to now! Unfortunately, I have little time to enjoy one of my favourite hobbies: reading.

As I mentioned before, I have not finished it, I am only on the 50% of the book but I am loving it and I already recommend it!

If you are interested on buying the book, you can find it on:

Amazon US         Amazon UK         Amazon CA

Blog Tour Schedule

You can get to know much more about The Journey Home to Pemberley if you follow the tour. You will not regret reading these entries 🙂

tjhtp-blog-tour-banner_m

time to give away winners

Click on the link below for a chance to win:

  • one of the 8 Kindle copies of The Journey Home To Pemberley
  • or a paperback copy
  • or a P&P and Austen-related goodie bag.

Rafflecopter – The Journey Home to Pemberley

The giveaway is international and it ends at midnight EST on 4 Oct 2019.

Good luck to all of you!