Hello all and welcome back to my desk for yet another book presentation! Today I am visited by a returning author, Riana Everly. This time it is a Pride and Prejudice/Shakespeare variation, which includes a blurb, a bit of chapter and a giveaway! Good luck! I am glad to welcome back, Riana!

Finding Balance in Much Ado in Meryton

Happy New Year, everyone, and thank you to Sophia for hosting me on this wonderful blog today. I’m always delighted to be here.

The storyline of my new novel, Much Ado in Meryton, is inspired by both Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and William Shakespeare’s wonderful play Much Ado About Nothing. I’m sure I don’t need to say anything about the former, but I’ll give a tiny bit of information on the latter.

In Much Ado About Nothing, there are two main story arcs, one of which involves the constant bickering between characters Beatrice and Benedick. In the play, it is implied that they have a past of some sorts, although we’re never told what it is, and that every time they are together, they can’t stop arguing and sending barbs at each other.

The two stories meshed so well, and Austen’s characters slotted perfectly into Shakespeare’s tale. Elizabeth Bennet makes a perfect Beatrice. She is witty and lively and very pretty, and she doesn’t always hold her tongue. Likewise, Will Darcy is a wonderful counterpoint to Benedick, Beatrice’s adversary. He looks at her with disdain and gives as good as he gets, although Beatrice usually has the last word. They are a great pair, trading zingers and insults until their friends decide to fix the situation by making each think the other is in love with him or her.

But this is where I ran into a snag. At first, I made Lizzy and Darcy a bit too adversarial. The snarky comments and invectives were there, and oh, they were so much fun, but my early readers suggested they were too bitter. I needed the couple to come together before too long, and there had to be an attraction underneath the squabbling, and my first draft was just too nasty.

I took a good, long look at what I had written, and went in with my red pen blazing. As the saying goes, I had to kill my darlings. So many clever quips and vicious retorts hit the cutting room floor. I might have cried a little bit, but the result was a better and more believable relationship between our beloved couple.

The other side of this, however, was to keep enough of the conflict going so the plot made sense and to keep with the spirit of Shakespeare’s play. We can’t have Lizzy and Darcy getting along too well at first, now, can we? Where is the fun in that?

Here is an excerpt from the finished story. Tell me what you think – too much snark, not enough, or a good balance?


From Much Ado in Meryton

[Darcy] stopped in his tracks. “Elizabeth? Elizabeth Bennet staying here for some time?” Oh Good Lord! This was not good news at all. He stifled a groan.

“You will try to be polite, will you not?”

The majestic head shook in offence. “I? Not be polite? I am a gentleman, the grandson of an earl. I am always polite.”

Bingley cocked his head and raised his eyebrows.

“Well, almost always. Bingley, that woman tears at me as if her words had claws. I cannot look upon her but feel the barbs in my skin. I often check my arms to ensure they are not bleeding when I leave her presence. She scolds like a fishwife.”

“Come, the wind is colder than I like. Let us return to the house. I do not understand you at all, my friend. I find her absolutely charming.”

“Charming? Hah! I would as soon call her a wit!”

The words were out before he could stop them, but that same shiver that had bothered him earlier thrilled through him now. She had a great deal of wit, that annoying creature. It was barbed and aimed at his pride, but she was clever and quick. And too pleasant to look upon for his comfort. He snorted again.

They had reached the terrace, and only now did Darcy notice that the window to the parlour was open. Was she still inside at her book? His answer came at once as her voice penetrated the air.

“Indeed, Mr. Darcy knows all about wit. He has a plentiful lack of it by the quality of his slander.” Bother. She had heard him, and he had insulted her again. Now she would, of course, let fly all her arrows straight towards him. Would there be no end of trouble with this annoying woman?

There was movement inside and in a moment she stood at the window, the better to hear and be heard.

“Please, Miss Bennet, do not vex my friend. He is not always at his finest in new company.” Poor Bingley sounded rather desperate and had Darcy not been so irritated at Elizabeth, he might have laughed.

“I shall stand down, Mr. Bingley. I have little desire to spar with Mr. Darcy, for his conversation has little of merit to it. I have better ways to pass my time.”


A tale of friends, enemies, and the power of love.

“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” – Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing, 5.2

Mr. Darcy’s arrival in Meryton raises many people’s disdain, and Elizabeth Bennet’s ire. An insult at a dance is returned in full measure, and soon the two find themselves in a merry war of words, trading barbs at every encounter. Matters go from bad to worse when Elizabeth and Darcy find themselves living under the same roof for a time, and their constant bickering frays everybody’s nerves.

Will a clever scheme by their family and friends bring some peace to Netherfield’s halls? And what of Mr. Wickham, whose charming presence is not quite so welcome by some members of the party? When the games get out of hand and nastier elements come into play, will everybody’s chances for happiness be ruined forever?

This clever mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing casts our beloved characters in fresh light, uniting Jane Austen’s keen insight into love and character, and Shakespeare’s biting wit.

Buy Link:



Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana’s blog at, and join her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!






And FINALLY the giveaway! Good Luck!


I am delighted to be giving away five eBooks internationally of Much Ado in Meryton. I have set up a Rafflecopter draw, but for anybody who cannot use the link, please email me your name and preferred email address and I will add you manually to the list for the draw. Good luck!

On a side note, I am announcing; Buturot as the winner of the giveaway for my blog from December 17th, Bronwen Chisholm and her Defying Propriety series.

6 thoughts on “MUCH ADO IN MERYTON

  1. Oh dear! More insults? Come on Darcy, make an effort to befriend Elizabeth rather than sparring with her! Hmmm I suppose that’s too much to ask for now but fingers crossed for sooner rather than later!
    No Rafflecopter for me I’m afraid!


  2. Oh, I have been meaning to read more Shakespeare. This inspires me to read ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ just so that I will understand the crossover when I read this one. Thanks!


    1. There is a terrific movie of the play with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. It’s well worth watching if you don’t have time to read the play itself. I hope you really enjoy the book!


  3. Looking forward to what arrows Lizzy will throw at him..Wonder if he will just catch or throw some more himself. Looking forward to your new book


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