Book description of The Sweetest Ruin by Amy George to give you a clue of what I may be writing about.
Let me introduce you to the author of this book set in Las Vegas 🙂
“Amy George is a middle-aged woman who got rid of her old lady/grown up and has since purchased an unreasonably small car. She refuses to listen to its radio at a reasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a small town in the Midwest where the bookstore and yarn shop are neighbors and most food is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.
She has been writing since she was a child and ran the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.”
Fun fact: My birthday is January 30th so this is like a big birthday party.
A few hours since you meet a gorgeous English man when you are working in one of the best casinos in Las Vegas and… you wake up to a crazy marriage to him. What should you do? Firstly be surprise (duh!) but then both of you talk about it and give it a chance.
Yes, give it a chance! If we would have been talking about other protagonists, it could be a bit weird but we are talking about Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy, so they are entitled to meet and start their relationship any way they want 🙂
They admit their supermegahyper chemistry since the first minute they saw each other, he is not a serial killer and she is not a gold digger, so at least they have a good beginning.
While in Las Vegas, they have a honeymoon for a couple of days and then her reality, as university student and waitress shows up but everything is fine and they keep knowing each other and falling for each other. However not everything is bliss and fireworks (trust me, there are a lot of fireworks between these two *wink wink*). Even if they are happy, friends and family from both sides may not be so happy about it and some problems must be faced: especially from the other side of the ocean. Let’s say that William’s little sister is not very enthusiastic about his brother’s impetuous and unexpected marriage.
Mr and Mrs Darcy face any problem coming along together but when a few months later they go to London to meet his family and also settle there, life gets much more complicated… extremely more complicated, particularly for Mrs Elizabeth Darcy. However, her love for her husband and also in a way her past and friends-family are key on her new role.
We could say that in this case Jane Bingley is not as sweet as we know her to be in the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We can read about characters with names from P&P but there are some “swaps” between personalities, although we always have ¨Cousin Richard¨!
A short novel that it is very easy to read and with some twists that are really nice, who are the family-friends that Elizabeth has? What complications apart from Georgiana they may have? Is Darcy always to be there? How is Elizabeth Bennet on her “role” of Elizabeth Darcy?
Why not to buy this book as soon as possible? Or maybe you just wait for the giveaway (check it below) and if you are not one of the lucky winners, you can always go to:
Amy is kindle offering on her blog tour 8 ebook copies of her The Sweetest Ruin to eight different winners. Click the link below and double check the terms and conditions as well to know how to get more points:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.
would you like to celebrate with me and a bit of pink wine? We are celebrating the first book of Audrey Ryan: All the Things I know. A very nice modern variation of our beloved Pride and Prejudice.
Let’s then know a bit more about her: Audrey Ryan.
Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream. When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.
Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.
What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?
All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.
I have enjoyed the book very much and I recommend it as it is a read that I could not leave until I finished it. You will see a Lizzie with more fears than you may have seen before but with the same wit. Darcy is still aloof and very protective with the ones he loves. They really need to work on their conversational skills and they eventually do it after a lot of… steam!
The family relationship is surprising, Mr and Mrs Venetidis are not exactly what you expect but it is well written and all the feelings are well explained. Some names are changed but not many, however, I do not like the character who is called Colin! Andrea, why??? 😉 I don’t mind if it’s closer to the surname! :p
I will review the book as soon as I get a bit of time, until then: buy it and read it or try the giveaway and then you read it.
Now, what you were waiting for… the character interview.
For this character interview, I thought I would jump into Darcy’s head and fill in his version of the Proust Questionnaire. Lizzie’s version of the same Questionnaire was shared on Babblings of a Bookworm earlier in the blog tour. It is also featured in a scene early on in All the Things I Know — an excerpt of that scene was shared on My Jane Austen Book Club. Enjoy!
– What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Taking care of the people I love
– What is your greatest fear?
– What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I wish I was better in large social gatherings
– What is the trait you most deplore in others?
– Which living person do you most admire?
Is it cliche to say President Obama?
– What is your greatest extravagance?
My car. No one needs a brand new Tesla, but I love mine.
– What is your current state of mind?
– What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
– On what occasion do you lie?
Very rarely. I hate disguise. I would only ever omit the truth out of necessity instead of telling an outright lie.
– What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I haven’t really thought about it, honestly. I’m not really a self-conscious person.
– Which living person do you most despise?
I have very complicated feelings about this question. Can I pass?
– What is the quality you most like in a man?
– What is the quality you most like in a woman?
– Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’ve been told I overuse “um”s
– What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family. I wish I would have cherished my parents more while they were still around. My mom’s art is my haven in that sense.
– When and where were you happiest?
Quiet summer vacations with my family at my grandparents’ lake house when my parents were still alive and Georgie was young.
– Which talent would you most like to have?
Telepathy. Does that count?
– If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I were more sociable
– What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Continuing to build on my mom’s art collection. I feel like I could almost have my own museum at this point.
– If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
An evergreen someplace peaceful like Mount Rainier
– Where would you most like to live?
I think one day I would like to move back into the house I grew up in, but not till I’m ready to start a family. I think about it a lot though.
– What is your most treasured possession?
My mom’s art
– What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
– What is your favorite occupation?
Running along the Burke-Gilman as the sun rises
– What is your most marked characteristic?
Probably my height (I’m 6’3).
– Who are your favorite writers?
– Who is your hero of fiction?
– Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford)
– Who are your heroes in real life?
My dad will always be my hero
– What are your favorite names?
I like the idea of naming kids after family members, like my parents George and Anne.
– What is it that you most dislike?
– What is your greatest regret?
See the answer to the living person I despise.
– How would you like to die?
I haven’t thought about it. I suppose peacefully and not alone.
– What is your motto?
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
So? Do we understand him a bit better? Maybe… but he is Darcy!!
Blog Tour schedule
Follow the book tour if you are not doing it already because you have great entries. Below you have the schedule:
Andrea is giving away several ebooks during the whole blog tour. In order to participate click the link below. Do not forget to read the terms and conditions to be able to get one of this ebooks of All the Things I Know.
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
You may be thinking it, where are the links to These Dreams? I have not forgotten, you have them just below in case you cannot wait to know if you are one of the winners on the giveaway and you have to buy it! I completely understand you.
In case you may not remember many things about today’s author, let me refresh your memory with Nicole Clarkston’s biography as there are a couple of important updates:
Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.
Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.
I am not going to give you all the blurb of the book, you can check other stops in this blog tour to read it, I will just give you the first three sentences:
An abandoned bride
A missing man
And a dream that refuses to die…
Nicole is sharing with us a excerpt where Caroline (Obnoxious) Bingley appears together with Colonel (so nice) Fitzwilliam. This excerpt is a bit more serious than other parts in the book but I am pretty sure you will like the conclusion of this scene.
Here we have Nicole introducing the excerpt and you may like her more than at the very beginning of this post 😉
This scene takes place in chapter 62. Darcy has returned by this time, but the fact that he is alive is not yet public knowledge. Colonel Fitzwilliam has gone to London to search independently for some answers to the puzzle of who had captured his cousin, and what they were trying to get from him. Darcy remained in Derbyshire when Richard left, but circumstances arose which caused him to follow, unbeknownst to the colonel. Richard has already spent the day pursuing dead ends, and is just coming back to Darcy’s townhouse when this scene opens.
It had been an entire day, and Broderick had been no help yet. Richard walked slowly up the steps to Darcy House, barely seeing the brick and stone as his mind turned over more prospects. Of course, he must give Broderick more time to find whatever answers could be found, but Richard could not afford to wait longer. He must confront his brother, but how to do it?
His heavy tread stopped on the steps, though the footman already had the door open. Perhaps he ought to go now, instantly, to Matlock house and declare his knowledge of events. Surely, his father would support him! The entire family must have been already apprised of Darcy’s return, and a conference with his father was only the proper thing to do. He glanced up at the door, hesitated, and had just resolved to return to his carriage when a voice hailed him from the street.
“Colonel Fitzwilliam! I declare, I had not thought to encounter you here in Town just now!”
Richard cringed in recognition. Caroline Bingley! His face twitching in feigned pleasure, he turned to offer her a polite bow. “Good afternoon, Miss Bingley.”
She bustled to the steps, her companion following quietly behind. “Such a lovely afternoon it is! Mrs Temple and I were just at the milliner’s, and now we are to the dressmakers, so you see, we have been all over Town today.”
Richard glanced up the street and, indeed, the Bingley carriage awaited at the corner. “Is there a shop in this neighborhood, Miss Bingley? I was not aware.”
Miss Bingley had sidled near to him now. “Naturally, no!” she laughed. “But I directed my driver to bring us through Grosvenor Square, though it was a bit out of the way. Some of these streets we are often obliged to pass through are most unsuitable for ladies to travel!”
“That is lamentable,” he agreed. “If you will pardon me, Miss Bingley, I am afraid—”
“Oh! Do not let me detain you. Far be it from me to interrupt a gentleman about his business. Perhaps I shall leave my card for Miss Darcy, for I should dearly love to visit her if she has returned to Town with you. You arrived only yesterday, did you not?”
“I am afraid she has not come,” he answered shortly, annoyed at the freedom the woman took in stalking him like a cat after a mouse. Had she not found someone better to her liking in the last two months? Apparently not, as she was batting her lashes and peering hopefully toward the house.
“Oh, that is a pity, Colonel. I am certain that Miss Darcy deeply appreciates your diligent assistance with all her affairs, so that she may not be bothered with trips to Town just now. Do you think she shall come out next Season? I am certain, Colonel,” here, she rested a hand on his arm and graced him with a knowing smile, “that she shall be a great success, particularly if properly guided.”
“I am certain she shall, and it is well that it shall not be for me to direct her. Another will undertake to support and guide her.”
“That is wise,” she comforted him, “for a young lady’s first season must be delicately planned so that only the most suitable gentlemen are permitted to pay court to her.” She touched long fingers to her breast and nodded modestly. “I am all too familiar with the struggles of a débutante, sir, so my thoughts go out to Miss Darcy as she prepares for the coming year. Oh, my,” she smiled and withdrew a fan from her reticule, “has not the day warmed rather unpleasantly? I should not have expected it for so early in the year.”
He glanced at the iron sky, the walks still damp from the morning’s rain, and cocked a curious eyebrow at her. “I do not find it warm at all, Madam.”
“Oh, but it is so humid! I declare, I think I shall stifle in this fur, if I am not permitted a moment or two to remove it and breathe properly!”
Richard closed his eyes briefly. How was he ever to be rid of the woman? “Perhaps you are in need of some refreshment?” he heard himself suggest, and wished he could bite out his own cursed, well-bred tongue.
“Colonel, you are too kind! Why, that would be the very thing, do you not agree, Mrs Temple?” She turned and fairly led him up the steps to the house, requiring no one to show her to the drawing room. Richard groaned inwardly and glanced at the clock. An insufferable quarter of an hour would pass before he could be back about something useful, and during that time he feared the woman would contrive some means of throwing herself upon him. Just to be safe, he took a seat as far from her as he could while her tea was served.
She prattled on mercilessly, telling him all the gossip of all the people he never cared a whit about. He struggled not to roll his eyes. What did she take him for, another woman? He swallowed his tea politely, trying not to let his smile freeze in place by occasionally repeating her own statements back to her.
“How interesting,” he forcibly enthused. “Viscount Malvern engaged to Lady Serena Ashby. A fine match.”
“Oh, but that is not the half of it!” she flipped her hand in his direction. “Why, I was speaking with Lady Matlock not two days ago, and she informed me that the Season shall see yet another great match before it concludes.”
“Another? You don’t say.”
“Why, yes, but it is all a great mystery! Simply everyone is talking about it. Apparently, the names of the parties are a marvellous secret, for it has not been made official, but a gentleman from a noble house is to wed a lady of good birth and over ten thousand per year! Everyone is simply beside themselves trying to guess who it could be. Personally, I think it must be Lord Wallace and Lady Blackthorne, but the Countess was rather close on those details, and I shouldn’t wonder! It sounds as if she is in the confidences of both, and it promises to be the wedding to end the Season.”
“Interesting,” he mused, and this time, he meant it.
“Well, I am afraid I must be going,” she preened. “My appointment simply will not wait, but it was so good of you to invite us in to refresh ourselves. I always say that it is the mark of true gentility, to be ready to receive guests at any time.”
“Not at all, Miss Bingley. I am glad to be of service,” he bowed, and as his head dipped, sighed in relief. At last, she was going!
“Oh!” she turned at the door, as if she had forgotten something. “Do give my regards to Miss Darcy. I fear I am quite in arrears with my letter writing, but I do miss her terribly.”
He nodded, trying to conceal his impatience. “Indeed, Miss Bingley, I shall convey the message.” He looked up to signal the footman to open the door, but the man posted outside was already opening it for someone mounting the front steps. Richard caught a sharp breath. That could only mean….
“Well, now, it has been such a pleasure, Colonel. I always said, did I not Mrs Temple, that you are the kindest gentleman of my acquaintance.”
Richard bowed one more time, but his eyes were not on the lady. The door was open fully now, and a tall, dark figure was silhouetted in its frame. It was as if he were watching a shipwreck unfold, seeing each moment pass before his eyes at the speed of eternity. Miss Bingley turned, and her hand flew to her mouth. Her knees buckled, and Richard caught sight of her wild, white eyes as her head and arms snapped back in the most impressive fainting fit to which he had ever borne witness. Half-heartedly, he took a step nearer to lessen her fall, but he was too slow, and her aim too precise, as she tumbled helplessly into the arms of the newcomer.
“Well, Richard,” Darcy frowned, shifting his weight to place the lady’s inert form into the footman’s arms. “I did not know you were in the habit of distressing the guests into unconsciousness.”
Richard merely turned and beat his forehead with the heel of his hand.
Time to Give Away:
10 ebook copies for 10 different winners! Nicole is giving these 10 copies during her blog tour of These Dreams. You can be the lucky one by clicking on the link below and please read the terms and conditions for the giveaway just below the link. Good luck!
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
wait wait! First of all I want to thank you for commenting and sharing my stop in the Blog Tour of When we are married by Caitlin Williams. I hope all of you read it and enjoy it because it is worth it!
Without further ado, here you have the result of the randomiser that I have done with random.org:
Vesper, you are the winner! I will email Claudine right now and sooner than later, you will enjoy this book!!
If you are not Vesper, you can always buy this great book, below you have a few links that you could use:
Not many words from me today for When we are married as I want you to read first the book description and then we “chat”, here you have it:
Two sisters, one man. Someone’s heart is about to get broken.
Elizabeth Bennet quickly realises she has misjudged Mr Darcy. In Kent, she learns first impressions are not always accurate. His proposal is disastrous, insulting even, but when she reads his letter her heart begins to thaw, and her objections and prejudices start to melt away. Elizabeth decides to offer Mr Darcy a sliver of hope, an apology, and a second chance.
Yet when he begins to call at Gracechurch Street, determined to become a better man and humbled by Elizabeth’s reproofs, he unwittingly stirs the romantic hopes of another lady altogether.
Jane Bennet is bereft and confused, rejected by Charles Bingley. She is fearful of becoming an old maid and eager to fall in love with the very first gentleman who takes notice of her. Mr Darcy just happens to be everything her mother has wanted for her; rich and handsome, the perfect suitor.
Through crowded, industrious Cheapside, to the elegant ballrooms of Mayfair, Mr Darcy chases Elizabeth Bennet, unaware that the quiet unassuming girl who smiles too much, is fully intent on chasing him.
So… what do you think? The first thing it came to mind was:
Cat fight!! I cannot believe it! Jane, what are you doing?? but at the same time it is: “Ohh, you poor thing!” How on earth this is going to end well?!?! But I hope it does if not I will scream 😉 Lizzy and Jane cannot be at odds with each other, they are BFF apart from sisters. Well, let’s try to forget that part for a bit, my next question would be: how does Elizabeth offer a sliver of hope? because Darcy becomes a regular at Mr and Mrs Gardiner’s home…
Author: Caitlin Williams
Let me introduce the guilty person of this possible cat fight, Caitlin Williams. A really good author and a very nice person that I was glad to meet a few months ago. You may be surprised about her former job.
Caitlin Williams is the author of two novels, Ardently and the best-selling The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, both based on the characters from Pride and Prejudice. She’s a lifelong Austen devotee and lover of all things regency.
Originally from South London, Caitlin spent thirteen years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police, but is currently on a break from Scotland Yard so she can spend more time at home with her two children and write.
Follow Caitlin on: FacebookGoodreadsAusten VariationsTwitter
Her voice had given the impression of confidence, her reply had been laced with tartness, but as she moved away—still feeling Mr Darcy’s gaze upon her—Elizabeth’s spirits were in a flutter.
Why was she not angrier? No matter how solicitous and civil he was now—amongst the more personable and respectable members of her family—she could not forget how he had once derided and despised others she loved. His treatment of Jane, refusing to greet her when she had made her visit to the Hursts’, coupled with the deviousness he had shown in keeping Mr Bingley oblivious to her sister’s presence in Town; it all should have made him truly despicable in her eyes.
And yet…oh, curse the man. His owning it so openly, so freely admitting to his faults, was horribly disarming and his teasing was so unexpected. “When we are married.” The audacity! As she neared the tea table she found herself tutting and smiling at the same time.
“You were speaking to Mr Darcy for a good long while, whatever about?” Jane asked.
Elizabeth blinked, thought quickly, and gave a blithe answer. “We found you to be a decent topic, dear heart. You are held by Mr Darcy in the highest esteem. You will never have a better compliment. I should treasure it. I doubt it is a regular habit of his to bestow such generous praise.”
“Lizzy,” Jane said, in a whisper. “Do you not see how he desires to make himself agreeable…to us all, I mean? I beg you not to be churlish. His manners have improved, I think, since Hertfordshire, though you will remember I never found them as reprehensible as you did.”
“But you find nothing or no-one reprehensible. I daresay you would find Genghis Khan an agreeable dinner companion.”
Jane was tight-lipped in response.
“Which is to your credit!’ Elizabeth exclaimed. “You know I jest and long to be as good as you. Sadly, it is not in my nature. I am my father’s daughter. Two parts cynical to one part obdurate.”
“Our family has not always shown itself to him in its best light. Let us make a good impression now.”
Bemused by Jane’s solemnity, Elizabeth shrugged. “I will try my best. I shall even take him over his coffee, as a gesture of goodwill. Will that smooth away the line which has appeared between your eyebrows?” She put a finger to her sister’s forehead.
Jane pushed away Elizabeth’s hand and pursed her lips. She then lifted the heavy silver coffee pot and carefully poured the thick black liquid into a delicate bone china cup, making it rattle gently against its saucer.
“Black, with one lump of sugar.” They both spoke at precisely the same time and then looked at one another in surprise.
Elizabeth laughed. “There is so little in the way of amusement at Rosings that even inconsequential nothings became of note. Mr Collins, you know, takes his tea with cream and three sugar lumps, which perhaps explains some of his rampant excitability.”
Jane gave her a smile in return but when Elizabeth held out her hand for the cup, all joy faded from her sister’s countenance.
“I will take it, Lizzy.”
“No, here comes our uncle, who looks desperately thirsty, you must pour for him. I will take this to Mr Darcy.”
Elizabeth reached for the beverage, but Jane pulled it quickly back, unbalancing the load. Although the saucer remained in her hand, the cup toppled, fell, and spun in mid-air before landing on the rug between their feet. The liquid was thrown up, splattering the hem of Jane’s gown. It miraculously avoided Elizabeth’s.
Jane gasped and cried out, drawing the attention of the whole room.
“Are you hurt?” Elizabeth asked at once, taking hold of her sister’s shaking wrist.
“No, no, I am well…it is just…” Jane tearfully broke off from them all. Everyone was rushing to her assistance, but she wrenched herself away and made for the door.
Elizabeth followed quickly, assuring her aunt Gardiner, who started to trail after them, that she would send for her if she was needed. Her aunt went back to the drawing room while Elizabeth caught up with Jane in the hallway, taking her wrist once again to make her stop. “Come now, what is all this? ’Tis a small accident. It will be forgotten in a trice.”
“I have made a fool of myself and it is ruined,” Jane said, choking back a sob, nodding towards the hem of her gown.
“No, our aunt’s maid will soak it and it will be as good as new. Are you sure you are not burnt?”
Jane shook her head and was far more emotional than the accident warranted. Tears fell, much to Elizabeth’s astonishment. “Jane, this is not like you. Let me help you change.”
“I can manage, Lizzy. Go back in please. Go back and amuse everybody, as you always do. Make them laugh and smile. You are so good at it. You will make them forget my clumsiness. I will be back presently.”
The more Elizabeth pleaded to be allowed to help, the more her sister put her off and so she reluctantly went back to the drawing room.
Upon her return, Mr Darcy got so quickly to his feet and asked after Jane’s welfare in such earnest tones, even going so far as to offer the services of his own physician, that Elizabeth could not help but be amused at his seriousness. She made a very serious face of her own. “I am afraid my sister has suffered the type of wound that no lady should ever have to bear. Imagine, if you will, what terrible pain accompanies the belief that a favourite gown is ruined forever.”
Mr Darcy continued to frown for the briefest of moments before fully understanding her. “My surgeon is good with a needle but probably unused to satin.”
They were both amused then, and Elizabeth found herself lingering in front of him, wondering if he would say anything else. It was difficult, while under the spell of his smile, to remember why she had ever disliked him. But she grew conscious when he said nothing further and continued to just look at her, unabashedly, unashamedly—did he not realise he was staring?
And, oh dear, was it possible she had been staring back?
Time to Give Away
Caitlin Williams is offering one ebook copy of When we are married to one of my readers. To participate on the giveaway you only have to comment on this post and I would like to know what you think about this book and the excerpt. To get an extra entry you can tweet and/or share this post on Facebook in public mode (one entry per day, please copy the link on the comments). All entries before the 3oth July will be counted, GMT time. I will do my best to have the winner published on the 30th or 31st of July.
Hello to all and I apologise about being MIA. My life since the end of March has been a roller coaster but it will soon be a bit calmer… I hope!
The important thing is that I am back to present you a great book, I have really loved it. Yes, this is a spoiler alert, so you can assume that you will see five stars below when you reach my review.
However, first things first. I want you to know a bit more about the book and the author and today I am glad to introduce Don Jacobson, author of today’s book: The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque.
Don Jacobsonhas written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. He has previously published five books, all non-fiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series—The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series. Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.” Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a speciality in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilisation and Research Writing.
He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound. Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorise, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear. Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.
His other passion is cycling. Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills). He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days). Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).
As you can read and as normally happens with JAFF authors, they are “all-terrain” as we say in Spanish, they do so many things that I wonder how they manage to write so well and so much 😛
This time I will not add the blurb of the book, I prefer you to read about the book from the writer himself.
Don’s words and excerpt
The Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Jane Austen Universe. While the characters are familiar, I have endeavoured to provide each of them with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional personalities, although not necessarily in the Regency period. If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-travelling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.
The Wardrobe underlines my conviction that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back.
Would it have been possible for them to do so staying on the Regency timeline?
Perhaps. However, something tickled my brain—maybe it was the intersection between my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me. Now my protagonists could be immersed in different time frames beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realise their potentials and in the process carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century.
Some Bennets will travel further and remain in the future longer than others. We may not be privy to accounts of all of the journeys they take. Rather, we may see whispers of those trips as they impact others.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in which the Families discover that Miss Bennet has vanished from Matlock House.
Darcy House, Later that evening (July 4, 1891)
The noise level of chattering Cecils, Darcys and Fitzwilliams rose and fell much as the tide did on the beach by the House at Deauville. The discussion happily tended to be lighter than the bleak circumstances that had been bearing down on everyone in attendance. The family group was small and intimate: Eddie Darcy chaired the gathering from the head of the table in the small dining room with Ellie on his right and Lady Caroline and Lord John Cecil immediately to his left. Henry sat next to his sister and across from Lord John. Lady Elaine took over the mistress’ role and sat opposite Eddie.
All six looked up sharply when Mr. Hastings was interrupted by one of the footmen who purposefully strode over to the butler and whispered in his ear. Hastings’ eyebrows lifted as the message was passed. He nodded and dismissed his subordinate. At Darcy’s inquiring glance, the butler moved to his side. The two men stepped away from the table.
Within a few seconds, Darcy, a grim look on his now pale face, returned. In a worried voice he said, “We have just received an urgent message from Mrs. Brandon at Matlock House. It seems that Miss Bennet has gone missing.”
Five voices were clamoring for his attention all at once. Darcy held up a hand stopping the flow of questions.
“There is no indication about how long she has been gone. There is no news about what she may have done or, if she left the house, where she may have gone. All that the message said was that the entire house has been searched, and she is not to be found,” Darcy stated.
Henry threw his napkin on the table and rose from his seat, and, with the others following suit, called for his carriage to be brought around. In minutes, Darcy House was emptied of quality, leaving only worried servants to clean up the debris after yet another body blow dealt to the Five Families.
Henry, Eddie and Lord John stood in the center of Matlock House’s Gold Parlor staring at the letter that had been discovered by Kitty’s lady’s maid, Letty. The distraught girl was sitting on one of the sofas being comforted by Ellie. Letty’s gulping sobs served as a fitting backdrop for the somber scene. Lady Elaine and Lady Caroline sat together on a matching loveseat, holding one another’s hands trying to overcome their worry…one for a near daughter, the other for a grandaunt who had become like a sister.
Cecil spoke to the other two men, “You know Miss Bennet better than me. Does this sound like something she would have done? To run off to the Continent and visit a school friend on the Mediterranean? How could she even have hoped to pay for such an excursion?”
Fitzwilliam snorted a humorless laugh, “Cecil, you have no idea. Kitty is certainly impulsive. But this sort of activity is far beyond anything any of us could have ever imagined that she would do. She certainly could afford it. She has 8,000 a year now that she is of age.
“But she would never do anything that would worry Mother or distress Ellie and Caroline. The three young ladies have been thick as thieves ever since Caro married you, Cecil. I have to believe that, at the very least, she would have revealed some of her thinking to those two if she had been upset enough to run off.
“She has not breathed one word about doing anything this far out of bounds.
“What bothers me is, according to the maid, she has not taken one jot other than the clothes on her back.
“Kitty is very peculiar about her clothes. Once it goes into her wardrobe or changing room, she is an absolute Tartar about upkeep. Nothing is disposable as far as she is concerned. Letty has had to split a seam with her bare hands in front of Kitty to be permitted to retire a garment.
“On top of that, Kitty absolutely abhors loaning anything. I have seen Ellie and Kitty arguing about a pair of gloves that my sister wanted to borrow before a ball. I thought Kitty was going to demand that she make a blood oath promising to return the gloves immediately after the dance.”
Eddie Darcy chimed in, “While Kitty is as fond of romance and adventure as any young woman, I could never imagine her placing a toothbrush in her handbag, catching a train to Dover, and then hopping on a Channel ferry to Cherbourg.
“No, this is quite out of character.”
They turned their attention again to the letter. Henry walked over to Ellie and held the missive out to her asking if she agreed that this appeared to be Kitty’s handwriting.
Ellie sighed and took the note from his hand.
“As I said before. The letter certainly looks as if Kitty wrote it. It appears to be in her hand.
“Yet, this just does not sound like a letter Kitty would write to me. There is nothing personal. No shorthand comments that would mean something to me and nobody else. This letter has been composed to be clearly understood whether I am reading it…or Mama…or you.
“And if she had been planning to visit Hermione de Secondat’s villa on the Côte d’Azur, she would not have spelled out the entire family name.
“Hermione was one of the girls who shared our suite at school. While not as close as Kitty and I, she remains, none-the-less, a dear friend. Kitty never would have written anything more than ‘Hermione.’
“She probably would have referred to her as “Boots” because that was our nickname for her. She loved to wear her riding gear whenever she could avoid Matron.
“I could not prove it, but while this letter looks as if Kitty did write it, I would wager my next quarter’s allowance that she did not actually do so. I cannot prove that fact. Maybe somebody else can.
“What are we to do, Henry? I am worried that something truly awful has happened to Kitty.”
Fitzwilliam cleared his throat, his Managing Director of the Trust look transforming his features as he began speaking.
“Let us begin with the assumption that Kitty has voluntarily left and is travelling, as the note suggests, to Nice. That would necessarily focus our efforts in one direction, which may be exactly what is desired. While I am not inclined to believe that Kitty would abandon us without a word, I cannot ignore this avenue of inquiry.
“We left the house around three o’clock. That means she could have as much as a five-hour head start.
“The most we could hope for is to try to catch her at Dover or Cherbourg. But I think that we may be out of luck as her lead is too large. We should still alert the police to be on the lookout there and then again in Paris.
“If she is actually on her way to Nice, she will have to catch le Train Bleu and then change again in Mâcon. We can have the police check the train and all of the intervening stations.
“Then we will send a telegram to Mlle de Secondat’s home in the south of France. Her parents should be able to confirm with your friend if she is aware of Kitty’s plans.
“However, taking Ellie’s sense that the letter was designed to be a convincing misdirection, we cannot ignore the possibility that there are some darker forces at play here.
“Darcy, Cecil and I will engage a squad of private detectives to seek to discover Miss Bennet’s movements since this afternoon. Assuming that she was not actually spirited out of Matlock House, we must believe that she left of her own accord only to encounter someone who engineered her disappearance.
“I fear that we may learn little, and, until we receive some communication from her captors, we will be like blind men tapping our way around an unfamiliar drawing room. This reasoning suggests that Miss Bennet is being held by those who have pretensions of being paid for her return.
“Another bleaker line we must consider is that attractive as she is with her blonde hair, she could have been the target of white slavers. If that is the case, we may never find her.”
All of the women gasped at this terrifying pronouncement. Then each person subsided into his or her own private brown study as another mournful shroud descended over the room, layering over the others already being borne by its occupants.
In the midst of this silence, Letty gasped, rose, and curtseyed to the silent aristocrats and hurried out of the room. She was gone for only a few minutes when she rushed back into the room bearing a large hatbox.
She breathlessly exclaimed, throwing all sense of position to the wind, “I found…this…just…outside the…servant’s hall. It must’ve been…forgotten in the entire hubbub…about Miss Bennet. Mr. Anderton…says that it…was delivered this…afternoon. For Miss Bennet. From Harrods!”
What do you think? What about Don’s words introducing the book? What about the excerpt? Where’s Kitty?
I would like to start stating that I have loved everything that happens in this book and to its characters. Maybe a few of you are thinking something like “but Darcy and Elizabeth are not the protagonists” or maybe something like “Kitty is not my favourite Bennet sister” but I can promise that The Exile goes beyond those thoughts. Obviously Kitty is the main character but there is so much more. As you have read above, it is the last years of the 19th century and Kitty Bennet is on the story, she has travelled on time until the decade of the 1880s and you can imagine how difficult it can be. However, with help from family, every obstacle can be overcome.
The Five Families, although it looks more like a mafia title, shows all the traits, strengths and personalities of the people that we know so well from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Five Families being: Fitzwilliams, Darcys, Bennets, Gardiners and Bingleys.
Don Jacobson creates like a parallel world, at least for me it has been something like that. I was reading about new characters or I was reading them but due to Don’s descriptions or the character’s words, I could see some of Austen’s characters reflected one way or another.
Kitty’s life in her new now has a bit of everything: self-discovery, friendship, misery, suffering, isolation, recovery and much more. I have really like the way she reflects in her life after some trauma that she experiences and how she matures. How she saw herself during her childhood, how her relationship with her sisters and parents was, etc.
I will not go on more detail about the events on Kitty’s life but I would like to mention some names: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, Winston Churchill…
As every good P&P JAFF book, we have a “Wickham”!! and semi-quoting Terminator: “he’ll be back”. He is a very dark and vengeful man.
Time to Give Away
Don Jacobson is offering 8 ebooks of this great book!
To enter the giveaway, click here but please read the conditions below, not only to know the terms but also to know how to get extra entries 🙂
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
However, do not lose the opportunity to buy it for yourself or as a present, check the links below.
“He is not my Mr Bingley”… well apparently he may be 😉
Hello to all! I am very glad to introduce you Linda Beutler’s latest book My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley. For the first time I am not doing a review for a blog tour and I am very excited as I am going to share with you a great excerpt and a lovely and fun interview with one of the most beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, although taken from Linda’s book… none other than Colonel Fitzwilliam.
In the past few weeks my life has done a considerable change (more about it at some point) and I have barely had time to read at all. So instead of worry or fret about it, I decided not to rush and read this book in order to give you a few of my questions to pick your curiosity. I have read the first stops of this tour and I am sure I will really enjoy this book and I highly recommend it. When I read it, be sure that I will review it!! (you are warned!!)
Have a look at the cover and back cover with a nice blurb, but please, keep reading below the excerpt that changes a lot after Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that Darcy is a “great friend” after rescuing Bingley.
Here you have Linda introducing the excerpt, enjoy!!
Hi, Ana! Good morning and thank you, and your readers, for hosting a stop on the My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley blog tour! It is a pleasure to explore facets of the story a bit more in-depth. If you don’t mind, I thought I would interview everyone’s favorite colonel, Alexander Fitzwilliam (I swim against the time calling him anything but Richard, but my BFF nearly swooned in appreciation when I first suggested the name, and that’s endorsement enough for me!).
We’ll start with a snippet from the scene that takes place after he has walked with Elizabeth Bennet and inadvertently revealed Darcy’s hand in separating Bingley and Jane, which Elizabeth already suspected, as in canon. But unlike the original, in this story Elizabeth confronts the colonel on what he’s said.
From Chapter 12, entitled Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Advice
“Darcy…” The colonel rapped on his cousin’s dressing room door and entered before admission was granted. The sight before him would have been amusing under other circumstances. Darcy and his man were regarding two waistcoats hung side by side on two coat racks. The gravity of their study was unbroken by the entrance of Darcy’s cousin, except for the bow of the valet.
“Ah…Alex, which do you think Elizabeth Bennet might prefer? Has she expressed a favourite colour to you?”
The colonel was sorry for the necessity of crushing Darcy’s hopes. “I believe you could wear a Russian bear jacket and a moss merkin, and Miss Elizabeth would take no notice.”
Darcy turned in surprise. His valet quickly withdrew.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“I mean she does not like you.” The colonel decided a mortal blow was required. “No, I am not putting a sufficiently fine point on it. She loathes you and believes you do not care for her.”
Darcy barked a surprised laugh. “However would you know?”
“I have just been walking with her and thought it vital you know the truth before they arrive here or before you say something foolish.”
“You think I would offer for her?”
Darcy paused. “You have the right of it. I should not, but I might.” He smiled.
“Darcy…”—the colonel sighed—“did you not hear? She detests you. You have insulted her without apparent regret or apology.”
Darcy shrugged with a chuckle. “No, no… she and I have laughed about that.”
“Did you laugh, or did she?”
Darcy faltered and frowned slightly. “Splitting hairs.” He did remember her tone might have been called mocking whenever she mentioned being tempting or tolerable. But she had done it more than once, and she came near enough to mentioning his remarks at the assembly in front of Alex.
“And what of her sister? You might have mentioned that the plight from which you rescued Bingley had a name: Miss Jane Bennet.”
Darcy huffed. “For which I have apologised to the lady. I cannot think why she has not told Elizabeth or why her aunt in London has not written of it, but I can hardly boast of it myself!”
“Ha! Well, you bloody well might have told me! I could have boasted on your behalf, rare enough though that opportunity proves to be.” The colonel ran a hand through his hair. “Here I thought I was doing you a service by singing your praises for loyalty. It would help your standing enormously to admit you have tried to make amends. Was the apology not accepted?”
“The Gardiners dined at Darcy House, and Mrs. Gardiner related that Jane had written of her appreciation of my candour and would do all in her power to restore Bingley’s friendship.”
“Gardiner? Her family in town?” The colonel stared. This is a coincidence too great. Could they be my Gardiners? Surely not…Gardiner is a common enough name. The colonel turned away, pacing in the small room. After a moment, he began again. “She believes you disapprove of her family and finds your feelings offensive. She has caught you staring at her—you do, you know—and she assumes it is with the same sentiment that found her displeasing when you met. She believes you stare because you marvel at her faults.”
“By all the gods…” Darcy muttered, at last absorbing what his cousin was attempting to convey. He looked at him with a share of diffidence. “I…I want nothing more than to…” He did not speak aloud what he wished to do when Elizabeth Bennet was Mrs. Darcy. He said instead, “She makes me happy.”
“And I am telling you, you do not make her happy.”
What do you think? I have so many different feelings: “ohhh poor Darcy!”; “-you might? -who do you think you are?”; “she makes you happy *swoon*”; “jealous again of your cousin?, c’mon”, etc… Yes, my mind was a bit crazy but I really enjoyed this excerpt.
Let me introduce you to the author: Linda Beutler.
Linda Beutler’s professional life is spent in a garden, an organic garden housing America’s foremost public collection of clematis vines and a host of fabulous companion plants. Her home life reveals a more personal garden, still full of clematis, but also antique roses and vintage perennials planted around and over a 1907 cottage. But one can never have enough of gardening, so in 2011 she began cultivating a weedy patch of Jane Austen Fan Fiction ideas. The first of these to ripen was The Red Chrysanthemum (Meryton Press, 2013), which won a silver IPPY for romance writing in 2014. You might put this down as beginner’s luck—Linda certainly does. The next harvest brought Longbourn to London (Meryton Press, 2014), known widely as “the [too] sexy one”. In 2015 Meryton Press published the bestseller A Will of Iron, a macabre rom-com based on the surprising journals of Anne de Bourgh.
Now, after a year-long break in JAFF writing to produce Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis (Timber Press, 2016)—the third in a bouquet of books on gardening—we have My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley bursting into bloom.
After knowing a bit more about her, I will leave you with her interview with her Colonel Fitzwilliam from My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley.
I went for a walk with Colonel Alexander Lancelot Fitzwilliam at dusk, along the Willamette River. He was most favorably impressed with motorcars, and I had to pull him away from a large parking lot for a dog exercise area. Men!
LB: So tell me, Colonel, it must have been quite a shock for Elizabeth Bennet to jump down your throat and dance on your liver when you mentioned Darcy’s role in Bingley’s affairs!
CALF: Interestingly put, madam.
LB: Please! No need to be so formal, do call me Dear Author…
CALF (coughs into his hand): Ahem…yes. Well. To your home question, yes, I was taken aback to be outflanked by the typical Darcy reticence. He might have told me for once. But I confess the scene is rarely written with my being confronted. It was indeed a surprise.
LB: There is a great deal of conjecture in the JAFF world about your intentions toward Elizabeth Bennet.
CALF: Is there. (Quite clearly spoken as a statement, not a question.)
LB: This is your chance to confess, or set the record straight.
CALF: I leave it for your imagination. I could not possibly comment.
LB (a trifle huffy at the House of Cards reference): Yes, Andrew Davies wrote that line, too. I don’t recall writing you as such a prig!
CALF (looks crestfallen): My apologies. You see, it is simply that I feel I have no serious influence over Darcy. He can be so stubbornly blind.
LB: Perhaps he’s grown too used to being chased; he always assumes he’s wanted, and doesn’t see outside the bubble he has created for himself.
CALF (warming to the topic): Bubbles burst. Why do I protect him?
LB (laughing): Hey! Let me ask the questions!
CALF: You wrote the story, woman! It is a legitimate question.
LB (I take his arm, patting it, or perhaps petting it…) There, there. I could give you any number of motivations: he’s like the little brother you never had, you feel sorry for his family losses, you think Elizabeth suitable for him and don’t want to see him hurt.
CALF: Just say it. I’m a lousy wing adjutant.
LB (I stare): Nonsense. Well, maybe. But what about you—does Darcy ever act as “wing adjutant” for you?
CALF: I do not have the pleasure of understanding you. Do you mean does he run interference between me and romantic disaster? I give him no cause.
LB (shrugging): True enough; you are usually not given much of a love life, poor dear.
CALF (crossing himself): Blessings on Miss Austen for not including me in her epilogue. You modern authors so often foist me off on my cousin Anne, or worse, Georgiana! (He shivers.)
LB (patting his arm reassuringly): No worries with me, sir. In My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley there is a surprise in store for you, and I do not mean a relative!
We stop and he stares at me for a long moment. A faint smile begins with his eyes, the crow’s feet deepening.
CALF: You don’t mean…
LB (smiling): I shall leave you to your imagination, Colonel. I could not possibly comment!
And so we wander along the paths to Oaks Park and Oaks Bottom, him guessing and me never saying! He’ll find out his happy ending when your readers do! Thank you, Ana Darcy, for suggesting I spend some time with a man who definitely grows more handsome upon acquaintance!
Linda, yes, he is handsome and charming but my soft spot is still for Darcy 😉 I cannot wait to read about his happy ending and I can promise my readers that I will tease them unmercifully once I am reviewing the book. Thank you very much, Linda, for sharing so much with us. It has been a pleasure to discover and present a book to my readers before reading the book, it is a new way for me to learn about a book: following the stops on the blog and reading about it from someone else’s eyes is certainly very enjoyable.
Terms and Conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. (1 comment/blog post) Entrants should provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). You may enter once by following the author on twitter and once by following the author on Facebook.
Remember, tweet daily and comment once per post with a giveaway to earn extra entries.
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**NOTE: Ebook copies are available for 8 winners and the giveaway is international! 8 eBooks will be given away to 8 different winners.**
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