Hello to all! Today I am hosting Lisa H. Catmull and her book, “Regency Therapy” and boy oh boy what chemistry and the flirting is on another level! It is a modern writers regency resort, between a team of western writers and regency writers. So hold on to your books, ladies and gentleman and follow me!
My publisher invited me to attend an all-expenses paid writing retreat at the posh new Hartfield Regency Resort in Loveland, Colorado. Carole isn’t nice like that—there must be a catch.
There is. His name is Ryder Hawk, the outlaw leader of the all-male Western writers who work for the same publishing company. He thinks he’s agreed to attend an all-expenses-paid week at a dude ranch.
Yeah, no. Carole has other ideas. She wants to break into the cowboy romance market. If I want to renew my writing contract, I have to do more than put up with Ryder and his gang of cowboy cronies for a week. We have to write together.
The problem is, Ryder and I have a history. And it’s more like war than peace.
Regency Therapy By Lisa H. Catmull
“Regency Therapy” is a modern regency romance set in Colorado at a newly opened regency themed hotel.
We follow Lucy and Ryder, both authors of romance and western books, and I felt that they were a modern Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The beginning was quite hard to get through for me, and it took me a while to start to like the characters. But the hilarious repartee between Lucy and Ryder, soon had me laughing out loud since I partly thought it was obvious, they were falling hard for each other, and partly because of the lines from A Few Good Men they exchanged.
Soon we all realise that the romance and western authors are at the regency resort, under false expectations from their publisher. And war almost breaks out between the romance and western writers, during their stay.
While all this is going on, the romance between Ryder and Lucy continues to develop from an enemies to lovers relationship. The plot was a little slow at the beginning but picked up soon enough.
It was quite fun to see their plot’s development as they each teach about the different parts in westerns and regency themed books, – and how to write it. The many clichés which was used in the sizzling chemistry between Ryder and Lucy was both hilarious and interesting, and I kind of wished they would just admit it already, that they were falling hard.
But since I am quite a regency reader, I had already seen the HEA, that was coming but what a surprising ending still or the way it came about. Let’s just say that Lucy and Ryder’s off page scripts turn into an extremely hot chemistry both on the page and off it. I would definitely give this book 4-⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I look forward to more from Lisa’s creative mind.
Lisa Catmull writes sweet contemporary romances and clean and wholesome romances in the Victorian era. Her books have been nominated for Swoony, RONE, and Whitney awards.
She taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. She currently lives between a canyon and a lake in Utah with her husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.
Her books can be found on Amazon and are always free for Kindle Unlimited readers.
Yet again I am glad to welcome back Amanda Kai and another new book, the second book in “Other path” series, namely “A Favourable Impression” – from what I have read/heard so far, it seems like Darcy and Elizabeth’s impressions of each other are much more, eh, favourable hehe
I have been allowed to give you all a bite of the book in an excerpt, so hereby I leave you in Amanda’s hands, or her words, I guess it should be, hehe.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a favorable impression goes a long way in securing the good opinion of another. Elizabeth Bennet’s opinion of Mr. Darcy was first formed during her tour of the beautiful house and grounds of Pemberley with her sister, aunt, and uncle.
In the past few weeks, they visited all the principal sights that the region had to offer. They saw the beauties of Dovedale and Matlock and the ruins at Kenilworth, climbed the Peaks, and toured Chatsworth and Blenheim Palace.
They reached the town of Bakewell and, over breakfast at the inn, discussed if there was anything worth seeing on their way to Mrs. Gardiner’s childhood home of Lambton.
“I believe we are quite near Pemberley,” Mr. Gardiner remarked, sipping his coffee.
“Indeed, we are!” his wife remarked. “I would very much like to see it again if it is not too much trouble.”
Mr. Gardiner consulted his map and determined that it would not take them more than a mile out of their way to see it.
“What do you recall of the place?” Elizabeth asked her aunt.
“I have not been there since I left to go away to school, but it was very grand. As beautiful as Chatsworth, if not more so. And the woods are some of the finest in the county. A river runs through the property and feeds its lake, which I am told boasts excellent fishing.”
“Well, in that case, we had certainly better go!” Mr. Gardiner chuckled. He was an avid fisherman, though he seldom had the opportunity to enjoy it.
Jane agreed. “It all sounds marvelous.”
With nothing to impede their plans, they set off immediately after breakfast.
“You know, Lizzy, I believe your friend Mr. Wickham spent his whole childhood at Pemberley. His father was the steward,” Mrs. Gardiner remarked while they were in the carriage.
Elizabeth felt her cheeks warm. Mr. Wickham’s good looks and charming manners made a fine impression on all the ladies of Meryton when he joined the regiment that was quartered there the past autumn. Elizabeth could not help but like him, also. He was friendly and affable, and though they had little in common, they always seemed to find plenty to discuss. But, though she found his company pleasing and thoughts of him made her heart flutter from time to time, she knew that her lack of dowry made it impossible for their relationship to evolve beyond friendship. Besides that, her youngest sister, Lydia, was hopelessly infatuated with him. They argued more than once when Mr. Wickham had given Elizabeth preference over Lydia at a gathering. Elizabeth hoped Lydia would realize, as she had, that there was little chance of either of them ever receiving an offer of marriage from someone as poor as Mr. Wickham.
Despite all this, Elizabeth was curious to see the home where Mr. Wickham grew up. The carriage passed over a bridge fording the River Derwent, and then the great house came into view, situated prominently on rising ground. The river wound through the property, feeding into a shimmering lake that enhanced the beauty of the mansion overlooking it. Pemberley House was a magnificent stone structure built in the Palladian style with a triangular pediment and columns gracing the front.
“I believe you are right, Aunt Gardiner,” Elizabeth said, “Chatsworth House has its equal in Pemberley.”
Jane suggested, “Perhaps the builders took Chatsworth as their inspiration for Pemberley.”
“Or perhaps Pemberley was the inspiration for Chatsworth,” Elizabeth countered. “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” She grinned.
Aunt Gardiner gave a little laugh. “I do not know which was built first, so I cannot say. But in my opinion, Pemberley is just a little more superior.”
“Who is the master here?” Elizabeth asked.
“Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy,” Mrs. Gardiner replied. “His father and mother knew my parents.”
“Have you ever met the son?”
“Just once, when he was a lad.”
The carriage pulled onto a broad, paved sweep. After requesting to see the house, they were admitted entrance. As they waited for the housekeeper, Elizabeth marveled at the hall. The ceiling, covered in a fresco depicting life-size angels and biblical figures in various scenes, rose two full stories. The walls, too, held several massive Renaissance-era paintings in the same style. The housekeeper entered, her heels clicking along the marble floors. Her graying hair peeped out from beneath her white mob-cap, and she bore a friendly expression. She introduced herself as Mrs. Reynolds.
They asked whether they might be given a tour.
“Oh yes, the master does not return until tomorrow, so I would be happy to show you the house.”
They followed her up a staircase lined with plush red velvet. The main floor of the house bustled with servants carrying on various tasks.
“You must excuse the state of things,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “The house has been vacant since last August. The master spends most of his time in London and other parts of the country. We only received word yesterday that he is arriving with a large party, so we are preparing everything.”
“We seem to have come at a bad time, then,” Jane said.
“Oh no, Miss, we have it all well at hand!” Mrs. Reynolds answered cheerily. “But it is well that you have come today, for much of the furniture was covered yesterday. The house is in a much better state today.”
She showed them the formal drawing room filled with Italian furnishings, a dining room decked in luxurious red carpets and curtains, an impressive library that made Elizabeth more than a little envious, and a music room with gilded walls that matched the gilded harp that stood as the focal point of the room.
“Who plays the harp?” Elizabeth asked.
“The master’s sister, Miss GeorgianaDarcy. She is a most accomplished musician. She plays the pianoforte and sings as well.”
“It is a pity that your master is not at home more often to enjoy such splendid surroundings,” Mrs. Gardiner said.
Mrs. Reynolds nodded as she led them up another staircase. “Indeed. If he were to marry, we might see more of him. But I do not know when that will ever be. Here is his picture now. This was painted only last year.” They reached a long gallery filled with paintings of members of the Darcy family. Elizabeth looked at the portrait of Mr. Darcy that stood before them. She judged him to be a young man, perhaps in his late twenties. He had dark, curly hair, a strong jaw, and a noble mien. His expression was somber, but the kindness in his eyes stirred her.
“What sort of man is Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth asked.
“Oh, the very best!” Mrs. Reynolds exclaimed. “I never heard a cross word from him, and I have known him since he was four years old. He takes prodigious good care of all the servants and tenants under his domain, and you never saw a more attentive brother– or a better friend.”
Mr. Gardiner’s head bobbed. “He seems quite a good fellow!”
“Indeed!” Mrs. Reynolds agreed. “I hope you have the good fortune to meet him one day.”
They passed a set of miniatures on display, and Mrs. Gardiner leaned closer to examine them.
“Here is one you might recognize, Lizzy and Jane.” She pointed to a small oval frame containing a portrait of a handsome young man. The artist had expertly captured his boyish smile.
“Why, it is Mr. Wickham!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
Mrs. Reynolds tilted her head in curiosity. “Do the young ladies know Mr. Wickham?”
They explained their acquaintance with him through his being quartered in their hometown.
“He was the son of our late steward,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “But I am afraid he has turned out very wild. Very wild indeed.” She shook her head with a frown.
Elizabeth wondered what she meant by that, but she did not think it proper to ask.
After they saw all the principal public rooms of the house, Mrs. Reynolds turned them over to the care of the gardener to show them the gardens and the grounds.
The beauty of the gardens was beyond anything Elizabeth had ever witnessed. Even the other great houses they had visited were no match. A rose garden with every color of rose you could imagine. Fountain gardens, a hedge maze, a cottage garden, kitchen gardens, and numerous flower gardens. Near the eastern side of the house was a long pool with a fountain springing from the center, in which you could see the reflection of the mansion behind it. All this in addition to the lake and the river and miles upon miles of wooded trails.
As they followed the gardener along the path that encircled the lake, Mr. Gardiner enjoyed the gleam of the trout, bass, and other fish leaping from the water.
Mrs. Gardiner teased. “You wish you could be lazing by the bank catching a few of these, eh?”
“Aye!” he chortled.
Hoofbeats echoed off the bridleway, precipitating the appearance of a rider through the break in the trees. He crossed over the same bridge that their carriage had passed earlier. As he neared the stables, he saw them and tipped his hat.
“That be my master, Mr. Darcy,” the gardener told them.
Elizabeth’s brow wrinkled. “I thought he was not due until tomorrow.”
“Perhaps he decided to come ahead of his guests,” Jane said. “We ought to offer our greetings and apologize for intruding on his land.”
The others agreed, and they walked toward the stables.
Mr. Darcy emerged a few minutes later on foot. He was even more handsome in the flesh than his painting made him out to be. His hair, damp with moisture from his ride, had curled into tight ringlets beneath his fashionable D’orsay top hat. He wore a well-fitting jacket that hugged his athletic form. Elizabeth forced herself not to let her eyes linger on the buckskin leather breeches that clung to his shapely thighs like a second skin but to keep her gaze fixed on his face. His perfectly bow-shaped mouth turned upwards at the creases when he looked at her, causing Elizabeth’s breath to quicken and her own mouth to break into a smile.
He greeted them, walking toward their group. His hailing them signaled that he was open to an introduction. Mr. Gardiner led the way, presenting himself, his wife, and their two nieces.
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Mr. Darcy bowed. “What brings you to this area?”
Mr. Gardiner explained that they had been touring Derbyshire the past few weeks and had wished to see the house.
“Of course, you are very welcome. The house and grounds are open to you. Where are you all visiting from?”
“My nieces reside in Hertfordshire,” Mr. Gardiner answered. “My wife and I live in London, but my wife grew up in this area, in Lambton.”
“In fact, I believe I met you once, sir,” Mrs. Gardiner said, “when you were just a boy. Though I doubt very much that you would remember me. I was Miss Andrews then.”
He asked her who her parents were and said, “Ah yes, I do seem to recall them, and I believe I remember you, ma’am. You came with the Davies and the Harris families for a picnic gathering. Charlie Davies and Rose Harris were there, and we all played hide and seek together in the hedge maze.
“You do remember!” Mrs. Gardiner exclaimed in delight.
“Yes, in fact, Charlie and Rose will both be of the party I am hosting this week. They are married now, if you can believe it.”
Mrs. Gardiner was overjoyed. “I have not seen either of them since before my days at school. I am sad to say that we did not keep in touch. I would love to see them again and revisit the old days.”
“In that case, I must insist that you all come to dinner tomorrow evening if you have the time. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than facilitating your reunion with your friends.”
His invitation was most agreeable to all. As he walked them to their carriage, Elizabeth said, “Our meeting you seems quite serendipitous, Mr. Darcy. I hope you know the joy you bring to my aunt by including us in your gathering. I wonder whether we have any other mutual friends in common who will be at your party.”
He smiled. “My sister will be there with her companion, along with several of my friends. Where did you say you were from again, Miss Elizabeth?”
“My sister and I live at Longbourn, near Meryton, in Hertfordshire.”
“Hertfordshire, yes. My good friend Charles Bingley leased a place in Hertfordshire last autumn. I believe it was very near to Meryton.”
Jane’s eyes shot over to them at the mention of that name. Elizabeth’s mouth parted slightly as she looked at her sister in response.
Elizabeth turned her face back toward Mr. Darcy. “We had the good fortune to become acquainted with Mr. Bingley during that time.” She forced herself to smile.
“Did you! As it happens, Bingley wrote yesterday that he and his whole family are to join our party. I rode out a day early to ensure the house was prepared for the additional guests. I am sure that he will be pleased to see you again.”
“I do hope so, Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth answered. Jane could only nod in response. Elizabeth took Jane’s hand and squeezed it before entering the carriage.
Mr. Darcy bid them all farewell. “Until tomorrow, then.” He tipped his hat.
“Until tomorrow, Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said through the open window as the driver shut their door and climbed up to his seat.
I think the book sounds brilliant, and I can’t wait to read this book! But I will, or so I hope *winks* Amanda always writes such excellent books, where Darcy and Elizabeth always is the turning point, and this time around it seems like Darcy is not putting his foot in his mouth around Elizabeth and her family.
A Favorable Impression is now available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
Amanda Kai’s love of period dramas and classic literature inspires her historical romances and other romances. She is the author of several stories inspired by Jane Austen, including Not In Want of a Wife, Elizabeth’s Secret Admirer, and Marriage and Ministry. Prior to becoming an author, Amanda enjoyed a successful career as a professional harpist, and danced ballet for twenty years. When she’s not diving into the realm of her imagination, Amanda lives out her own happily ever after in Texas with her husband and three children.
Hi all and welcome back! Today I am glad to present and introduce Kirstin Odegaard and her upcoming book, “P&P Lol” its a modern take on our much beloved book. The plot is seen through text messages, and I found it quite fun to be honest, if a bit out of my comfort zone. Imagine Mr Collins texting Elizabeth Bennet, that broke me down into a fit of giggles. Now help me to welcome Kirstin and her new book.
Welcome Kirstin! Welcome to the mad world of Austen and her readers 😀
Imagine Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice through the world of a cell phone…
What if the socially awkward Mr. Darcy tried to win Eliza’s heart through texts?
Darcy: You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Lizzy: Who is this?
Or what if Mr. Collins’ wooing weapon was his phone?
Collanytime: Hello Jane Bennet. My name is Jonathan Collins. Your mother believed that you and I would be a most compatible match. May we arrange a time to explore this together? Janie: I’m really flattered, but I’m seeing someone. Hope you find someone special!
Collanytime: Hello Eliza Bennet. My name is Jonathan Collins. Your mother believed that you and I would be a most compatible match. May we arrange a time to explore this together?
And then there’s Mama Bennet…what matchmaking adventures can she get up to when armed with a flip phone and full contact list? Lizzy and Jane, run now, while you still can.
Smart, funny, and unconventional, P & P & LOL! is a texting novella about learning to look past those glossy profile pics to find something a little deeper, a little more real, a little less, uh, shirtless. (Ahem, George Wickham.) Join Eliza and Darcy for a fast and witty adventure that’s full of LOL, smothered with ROFL, and topped with HEA!
INTRO BY AUTHOR;
Thank you, Sophia, for hosting me today. I’m excited to talk about my newest release: P & P & LOL: a Novella Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice…Through Texts!
When I first had the idea for an all-texting book, my husband said, “But you’re not into social media.”
This is true. I dabble, but I’m not convinced Mark Zuckerberg has my best interests at heart. I’m a little suspicious of all the tech giants, actually, but maybe that’s not fair. Maybe multibillionaires are perfectly normal people who just happen to need to own a rocket to feel complete.
But I love texting and how it’s refashioned the world so that I don’t have to actually talk to people, and my favorite part of writing is the dialogue. A texting, dialogue-only book felt like a match made in heaven.
I thought of the idea as a challenge: Can I really rewrite Pride and Prejudice using only text messages? My husband told me it sounded difficult, and I pretended to agree, but secretly I thought it’d be a cinch.
It was not a cinch.
These characters! Why don’t they ever put down their phones and talk to each other?
And their penchant for texting raised a lot of plot questions. Like—why is Darcy texting his proposal? Why is Mr. Collins texting his? And if Charlie all out ghosts Jane, why in the world would she ever take him back?
I had a lot of fun unravelling these problems. I hope you enjoy the answers I came up with—and watching Darcy’s awkward wooing through the screen of an iPhone.
The excerpt below is from the beginning of the novella, when Darcy and Charlie have just moved to town. Enjoy!
Friday, August 26
Lyds: Anyone seen the new neighbors yet? I heard its five guys and theyre all single and hot.
KittyCat: OHMIGOSH!!! FIVE???
Lizzy: Kitty, if there is ever a punctuation shortage, the world will blame you.
Janie: I met one of them. There are only two. And maybe another woman?
KittyCat: A WOMAN!!! OH THAT IS THE WORST!!! WHAT IF SHE IS A GIRLFRIEND?! WHAT WAS THE GUY YOU MET LIKE???
Janie: He was nice. Really nice.
Lizzy: Whoa. I’ll need to hear the rest of that story.
Janie: No story. Just, he was nice.
Lizzy: So you said. Hot?
Janie: I thought he was cute.
Lizzy: Rich, too, if that was his Porsche I saw earlier.
Janie: His name’s Charlie Lau. He invited me over to hang out with him and his roommate tonight. And I thought maybe you could come with me.
Lizzy: To his place? So he can hack us both to pieces?
Janie: He didn’t give me the hacks-people-to-pieces-vibe. But I guess we could meet somewhere else?
Lyds: Are you two having a private conversation without us again? That is SO RUDE.
Janie: Sorry! Just switching a load of laundry.
Lyds: As if anyone believes that.
KittyCat: WAS THAT HIS PORSCHE JANE???
Mary: We must concern ourselves less with the substance of his pocketbook and more with the substance of his soul.
Lyds: UGH, the substance of his soul. Where do you get these things? Do you write them down in some journal so you can tell them to us later? “Judgmental Thoughts for my Sisters” by Mary Bennet.
BUT REALLY JANE WAS THAT HIS PORSCHE???
Saturday, August 27
MamaB: did you girls go see those new neighbors last night kitty and lydia said you did were they nice did they ask you out are there five of them is the porsche theres
Lizzy: Do you think if we put Mom and Kitty together, they’d become one fully functioning, texting person?
Janie: You’re going to leave me to answer her again, aren’t you?
MamaB: why arent you answering i know you have your phones are you texting each other in a private conversation again stop it and talk to your mother right now
*Puts down the book* if I was Jane or Elizabeth, I would be scared of Mama Bennet and her phone! And what mischief the two sisters can accomplish with another two phones between them! I always saw them as immature kids, but with phones, wow that will be dangerous!
Kirstin Odegaard likes taking long walks on the beach, relaxing in a warm bath until the skin on her toes wrinkles, and sipping her tea while it’s still hot. But she has three kids, so she never does any of that. In her non-fantasy life, she’s into Lego battles, stuffed animal parties, and kiddie cuddles. When she’s not writing or with her family, she runs her tutoring center, where she advises students on how to solve for X and which date to take to prom. She fell in love with Pride and Prejudice with that first viewing of a dripping Colin Firth emerging from the lake. She is also the author of First Impressions: a Modern Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emily: a Modern Retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.
I’m giving one eBook away at each of my future blog tour stops. Follow me here on FB to find out where I am next.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this post and want to see more of what to expect in P & P & LOL, you can click here or here or here to read other texting posts I’ve written. Or click here to find this book on Amazon.
Today I am glad to welcome back, a much admired and much read authoress, namely Jayne Bamber. She has written several Austen variations the last few years, and each one has been brilliant, both as an ebook and as audio. So today I am glad to welcome her back, and leave you, dear readers in her capable hands. Welcome back, Jayne!
It’s great to be back at Interests of a Jane Austen Girl! Today I am here to share another excerpt of my new release,” Handsome, Clever, & Rich”, which is now available on Kindle Unlimited.
This Pride & Prejudice variation is a mash-up with another Austen favorite of mine, Emma. For those of you following my blog tour, my last blog post featured an excerpt revealing that the two heroines are actually sisters! That’s right, the Lizzy we love is a Bennet by marriage, and formerly known as Eliza Woodhouse! The sisters are reunited after Lizzy has bene a widow for four years, and this meeting isn’t the only one to bring back the folly of her youthful elopement and shake her resolve to remain at Longbourn forever… she also finds herself in a compromising position with Mr. Darcy while recovering from an injury at Netherfield.
While Darcy and Lizzy started off on friendlier terms in this retelling, they are definitely not without their problems, as you will see in the excerpt I am sharing today – Darcy makes a most unromantic proposal….
Darcy had spent a quarter hour pacing in the corridor before he was admitted to Elizabeth’s room, and once they were alone, every word he had rehearsed in his mind abruptly abandoned him. “Miss Elizabeth… Lizzy,” he stammered, staring at the resplendent beauty of the woman before him. Her face was streaked with tears and her eyes were glistening with emotion so powerful he was utterly speechless.
She wiped at her cheeks and shifted with embarrassment, thensquared her shoulders and arched an eyebrow at him. “Fitz?”
He gaped at her and began to laugh. He had told her it was what his cousins called him when they wished to vex him, and her delightful teasing was just the thing to dispel the inevitable awkwardness of such a moment as this.
“I hope you are not terribly cross with me. I am prepared to beg your forgiveness if I must, but I am only sorry if you are. That is, I only regret that I did not know you to be… that your judgement….” Darcy winced; this was not going well.
“Doctor Baxter ought to take up a career as a matchmaker, perhaps,” Elizabeth laughed. “His love potion is a potent thing, is it not?”
“Do you mean to say that you would not have… that you only….”
“I only wished to make you smile. You are so very handsome when you smile.”
Darcy immediately obliged her. “I might say the same to you.”
“Well then, I give you leave to go on, sir.”
“Your mother-in-law has told you what I mean to ask you?”
Darcy began to pace again, wondering at her tears. “I am sorry if I have caused you further distress – it is the opposite of what I would wish. You must think the worst of me.”
“Must I? You need not dissemble; I will say it, if you will not. I kissed you.”
Darcy was astonished that she should be so bold, but relieved that he had not imagined it. He would have happily accepted the full responsibility for what had passed between them, but it was encouraging indeed that she should speak so plainly. “I kissed you back – it is something I have imagined more than once since our first meeting.” He let out a sharp breath of frustration, trying to recall the eloquent speech he had prepared, but her bright eyes followed him as he paced, and he could not think straight at all. He ran his fingers through his hair, mortified he should appear so discomposed at what ought to be the finest moment of his life.
“Mr. Darcy, might I speak candidly?”
“You seem to have better success at such things than I,” he admitted, offering her another smile when words failed him once more.
“I have had a great many astonishing and emotional conversations today, sir. I am very happy that we made amends after our quarrel, truly. But I was not at all expecting to act as I did – and no, I cannot say I regret it any more than you do. I like you very much. I suppose there is no harm in admitting it now, however strange it may be to speak in such a way. But I must also tell you that this is by no means the most shocking conversation I have had today.”
Here Elizabeth gave way to merry laughter before she continued. “I have been reunited with an estranged sister I have not seen or heard from in five years, I have consoled my sister Jane, who continues to suffer at the hands of your friend, and I have heard such beautiful sentiments expressed by my mother-in-law just now that I must tell you, there is no need for any flowery language in your address. I hope this may give you some relief.”
Darcy marveled at this incredible creature, and felt himself a lucky man indeed to be on the verge of securing the lasting companionship of a woman so self-possessed and so intuitive, who could see through his struggle and wish to put him at ease after all the turmoil he had caused her. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire you,” he said.
“That seems to be a popular opinion, today,” she laughed. “However, I am perfectly ready to accept.”
“To accept… my words of praise? Or the offer of my hand?”
“Both, though you have yet to offer either, Fitz.”
The saucy minx! Darcy gazed at her in wonder, and felt his resolve returning. He strode across the room and knelt before her, just as he had done in the library – he could see how the recollection of it affected her as much as himself. “Elizabeth Bennet, from the earliest moments of our acquaintance, I have been captivated by your lively wit, your kindness and poise, and the very admirable devotion you have expressed toward those you love. I hope to one day be counted amongst them, and I offer you my hand with a promise that I shall be just as indomitable a protector toward you, as you have shown yourself to be toward those you hold dear. Please do me the honor of accepting my hand in marriage.”
Elizabeth smiled down at him, trembling with excitement as she began to lean toward him. She slipped her hand into his and murmured, “I will.”
Once again, her proximity was intoxicating, and Darcy parted his lips in eager anticipation of what must follow. This time, however, he was determined that he should have the credit of initiating a kiss more passionate than the first, and he took her in his arms at once.
While Darcy made no mention of love, there is certainly a great deal of attraction between the couple! How will this unexpected engagement affect Lizzy’s equally shocking reunion with her estranged sister Emma? And will any of Lizzy’s sisters also find love? With a matchmake in their midst, it seems inevitable! Find out by reading Handsome, Clever, & Rich – and don’t miss your chance to win a free digital copy of the book!
Well, well, well, I must say that Jayne has been very busy with her writing, and what an unromantic proposal, even if the chemistry is off the chart! I can’t wait to read the rest soon. But for now, I will go on with the contact information for Jayne, and her giveaway option!
I hope you all enjoyed Jayne’s visit and the news of her book! I sure did, and can’t wait to read the rest of the book, and listen to the audiobook, once that becomes available. I will be back soon, aka on the 19th with another P&P book, and an upcoming author. Tune in to read more. For now, cheers!
Hello all and welcome back! Today I am hosting one of my favourite authors, namely Don Jacobson, since he writes amazing Pride and Prejudice variations. So far I have read most of his books, including the entire Bennet Wardrobe series. So I am so pleased to be able to host Don again! There’s an excerpt, giveaway and a surprise!
The Naval Adventure Jane Austen Could Have Written!
Jane Austen’s greatest lovers come together to be tested in the crucible of war on the Mediterranean’s blue waters and in the smoky confines of a prestigious London gambling den.
TheSailor’s Rest is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and is set on the stage of Napoleon’s 100 Days. Discover how the two betrothed couples—Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, along with Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot—find their love tried by separation, battle, and deception.
The novel immerses readers first in a mystery, then a sea chase, and, finally, a satisfying comeuppance. From the tattered rooms of a waterfront inn to three frigates engaged in a deadly game of naval chess, readers will experience the yearning as four hearts come closer to one-another. Before the tale ends, the audience will step into the gilded confines of London’s preeminent card room.
The Sailor’s Rest uses the characters formed by Austen as a starting point in an Austenesque excursion that will leave readers both challenged and richer for the experience.
“Part mystery, part adventure – and all heart – This has the feel of a Hornblower epic.” – Alice McVeigh, author of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel.
AUSTENESQUE WOMEN AS ACTION HEROES
There are moments when reading JAFF and Austenesque fiction that I wonder if authors are not channeling Caroline Bingley—at least when it comes to their views of the women who populate the stories. As readers, we are presented with visions of young women and matrons in parlors, deeply mulling their lives—or not. We rarely are afforded a peek behind any eyebrows except those of the female protagonist. Almost every other woman is relegated to conversational exposition to reveal their thoughts. Otherwise, they rise to gaze wistfully out a window. The height of action comes when women repair to the wilderness with each other or—shiver—their loves. Mrs. Bennet steps off-stage to do whatever she does in the housekeeper’s office. I wonder if Jane or Mary would have chosen to walk into Meryton if not to supervise their energetic and youthful youngest sisters.
Have you ever had the urge to exercise your modern sensibilities and reach into the books to shake Fanny Price, Catherine Morland, or Elinor Dashwood and shout, “DO SOMETHING! MOVE!” Jane Bennet passively accepts her misery. Emma’s machinations are quiet, almost unseen. Jane Fairfax barely ripples the waters of the novel with her presence.
Elizabeth Bennet is held up as the exception because she treks about the countryside, earning the disdain of the refined ladies of her world. Catherine Morland’s solitary journey by post is seen as a near-tragedy (which it could have been) and then grudgingly morphing into an admired demonstration of almost-male bravery.
I will agree that the conventions of the time—1790-1820—called for women to be passive and cared for by the more ‘capable’ men surrounding them. However, is that a reasonable way to approach the writing of Austenesque fiction in the third decade of the Twenty-First Century? Are authors today required to channel the interpretive trope established by Barbara Cartland nearly 90 years ago? Must our female characters be meek blossoms? Is that which our mothers and grandmothers read in the repressed 1950s the requisite model for what we will write in the 2020s?
Indeed, the answer is, of course not. Read Maria Grace, Elin Erickson, Melanie Rachel, Leigh Dreyer, Katherine Cowley, and Nicole Clarkston (other friends, please forgive me—space constraints) to discover women of action. Publishers like Meryton Press are exploring genre expansions alongside more conventional offerings.
Women find themselves at the center of The Sailor’s Rest. Oh, they do have moments of quiet contemplation, but the deck of a frigate is not a drawing room. Not only does Elizabeth Bennet become even more Elizabeth, but Anne Elliot’s betrothal to Frederick clothes her in glittering resolve. She leaves her monochromatic and depressed world to join Elizabeth in the quest. Both women step outside their prescribed roles and into a man’s world, the Royal Navy. In the Napoleonic Wars, that can mean only one thing…
However, there are other women in The Sailor’s Rest.
As she passed behind Nate, she leaned over and whispered. “Once I get the maidens settled in Mrs. Croft’s care, I will return. You know, Nate, it is said that the female of the species is the deadliest. Mr. Foote tends to disagree but is too polite to say so to me.
“I imagine we will test the proposition in short order.”
Nate shivered, tipped sideways in the chair, and cast up his accounts. Annie Wilson adroitly sidestepped the splash. “Brigadier and admiral: I think he is ready.”
Anne Reynolds Wilson is but one of the decisive and, in her case, deadly women who stand aside Elizabeth and Anne. Mrs. Croft becomes the mother superior to this convent, including the young maid Sarah Small who attaches herself to Anne. She falls under Mrs. Wilson’s influence with predictable results. Later in the book, Maria Lucas drops her innocence to work alongside Elizabeth, Anne, Darcy, and her fiancé Henri Rochet to bring about the villain’s downfall.
Here is the essential point: in The Sailor’s Rest, the men fight wars and act in a sphere where Regency women cannot tread. However, the five featured women successfully negotiate a new space to show how they transcend the societal limitations imposed upon them. In the process, they demonstrate that they are equal partners with their men, be they a frigate’s captain, an estate owner, a coxswain, or an admiral.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from The Sailor’s Rest.
Anne vaulted the lashed railings as if she were a corsair looking to finish a fat Indiaman and carry away its treasures—silk, spices, slaves—to her galley and the Barbary Coast. She had stripped away her bloodied apron and skirts, freeing her slender legs to run to the center of her universe.
The canvas pantaloons Sophie’s four young charges had adopted along with her closely-cropped coiffure might have deceived a casual observer into believing Anne was one of the older ship’s boys or even a midshipman late to the fight. Her feminine shape straining her clothing as she muscled through the milling men denied that assumption. That she was following in the wake of Sophie Croft, a ship of the line, extended the nautical impression that she and Elizabeth were either sloops en flute or brigantines bearing the most potent of hoards: full measures of ardent love.
A hush had fallen over the crowd. Anne heard fragments of the threat laid against someone. The evil laugh that punctuated the word “swing” chilled her.
The sound of impending murder shrouded the noise of men no longer in a killing fever until a rumble cut across the horde like Alexander’s blade through the knot. “Ah think not, ye craven bastid.” The sharp click of a hammer pulled back emphasized the injunction and insult.
Anne pushed aside men—both in Breton stripes and English slops—to reach the front of the crowd. She discovered her Frederick on the deck with another pinning him like a specimen on a wax board with a long-barreled pistol aimed at his head. A shriek, two months in the making, distracted the assailant. “FREDERICK!” She threw herself between the hated muzzle and the beloved figure.
Anne’s appearance was the midpoint in the sequence. Tomkins enveloped the assailant in a bearhug and forced the weapon to point to the heavens, toward which it discharged. Sarah, carrying what appeared to be the bulk of Kellynch’s gunroom arrayed around her slim figure, straddled Wentworth and guarded Miss Elliot’s passion if not providing privacy for their reunion.
Anne caught the crimson stains on Sarah’s cuffs and sleeves nor the rivulet of blood running from a gash in her left eyebrow.
How changed we are by eight sennights of hard life! The little maid is no longer Sarah, Sar-ee, or whatever Mr. Green called her. No, she has become Boadicea. Yet that glance taken over her shoulder tells me that she would rather be a shield maiden like Freydís Eríksddóttir than a warrior queen.
I imagine Mr. Tomkins cannot help but be impressed by Miss Small’s courage and will shortly come up to the mark with her. Now I wonder if I can ever elevate Sarah to being just my companion. I do not doubt that the Wilsons will have a say in her future. Perhaps the best promotion for Sarah will be to be my friend.
And who is this creature that used to cower in her drab sadness? I can hardly recognize myself!
I can only say that Don’s latest book is definitely an epic! It had the feeling of a naval adventure, it had hints of Hornblower/Master & Commander in its naval parts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR;
Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years, 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 nonfiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. Since then, Meryton Press re-edited and republished Keeper and the subsequent six volumes in the series. In 2022, Meryton Press published the eighth and final book in the series—The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy. Other Meryton Press books by Jacobson include Lessers and Betters, In Plain Sight, and The Longbourn Quarantine. All his works are also available as audiobooks (Audible).
Jacobson holds an advanced degree in history. As a college instructor, he taught United States history, world history, the history of western civilization, and research writing. He is in his third career as an author and is a JASNA and Regency Fiction Writers member. He is also a member of the Always Austen collective.
Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the Austenesque world, Jacobson enjoys cooking, dining out, fine wine, and well-aged scotch whiskey.
His other passion is cycling. He has ridden several “centuries” (hundred-mile days). He is incredibly proud of having completed the AIDS Ride–Midwest (five hundred miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-a-Wish Miracle Ride (three hundred miles from Traverse City to Brooklyn, both in Michigan).
When not traveling, Jacobson lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife and co-author, Pam—a woman Miss Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize.
Miss Bennet’s First Christmas (2015)
The Bennet Wardrobe: Origins (2016)
The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)
Of Fortune’s Reversal (2016)
The Maid and The Footman (2016)
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)
Lessers and Betters (2018)
The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)
The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)
Cinders and Smoke in Falling for Mr. Thornton (2019)
Personally I am so thankful to Don for visiting my blog again and telling about his new book! Now, I have a surprise for Don! Since I finished his book quicker than expected, I have also written a small review.
REVIEW; It is a crossover of P&P and Persuasion, my favourite of Austen’s works. I have read nearly all books by Don Jacobson within the Austen genre. It felt so good to return to one of Don’s works and casts of diverse characters within the Austen universe.
This time the plot follows Elizabeth Bennet, newly engaged to Fitzwilliam Darcy, and Anne Elliot, affianced to Captain Frederick Wentworth. The two men meet at an inn on their way south/north. Soon though, their families know something is wrong when the two men do not appear for their engagements/wedding.
Soon Elizabeth and Anne are on the case, along with old and new friends. They set sail to find their men within the company of the Crofts and another known character, Vicomte Rochet. The mystery is that Darcy and Wentworth have disappeared together from their inn. What has happened to them? And why? Soon the game is afoot across the Mediterranean Sea.
I believe old enemies are part of the plot to keep the two couples apart. The book is a mix of romance, mystery and detective story, with adventure on the high seas included.
As Elizabeth and Anne find their sea legs, their two men are fighting to keep their identities hidden and bodies unmarked by punishments. Soon the most exciting sea battle I have ever read is underway between a french ship and the ship which hides Wentworth and Darcy, though their ladies are quickly coming to their rescue.
After the battle has concluded onboard, I had thought a HEA was closing in, but the drama continues in London to bring the real villain to heel, so our two couples can live happily ever after. I will admit to screaming at the book a few times, though mostly in surprise, “What?!” and “Don, what the hell…” etc. The book is an exciting, a little nerve-wracking, quick-paced book all around. The book is another great addition to my growing library of Don Jacobson’s books.
Hello to all and welcome back! Today I am hosting a new author and a new book; “The Bennet’s; Providence and perception” written by KC Cowan.
Either ignored or ridiculed by her family, Mary Bennet desires only happiness—
Poor Miss Bennet—with three sisters married, she will no doubt be left “on the shelf” unless she takes steps to secure her own happiness. So, with the arrival of Mr. Yarby, a handsome new rector for Longbourn chapel, Mary decides to use her Biblical knowledge to win his heart.
Meanwhile, her recently widowed father finds himself falling for the older sister of his new reverend. But Mr. Bennet is officially in mourning for his late wife—what a scandalous situation! Unfortunately, Longbourn’s heir, Mr. Collins, has the antennae for a scandal and makes blackmail threats.
Will an overheard conversation between the Yarby siblings break Mary’s heart? Or will it impel her to a desperate act that threatens everyone’s hopes for lasting love?
Mr. Collins was in a foul mood. Months of living with his in-laws had brought him to the sad conclusion that the optimism with which he had entered into his current arrangement as only a short break before moving to his next parish was not to be realized. He took a long walk across the fields one afternoon to think about how he might improve his situation.
Charlotte enjoys time with her parents and siblings, and I know it is a comfort to be near them while she awaits the birth of our child, although I have seen how she and her mother often huddle together for whispered conversations that always stop when I enter the room. No doubt, the two are complaining about my inability to secure a new location. I am doing my best, after all! Does she think I am happy with the way things are? I have no space of my own! I cannot share Sir William’s library. Our own bedchamber is quite small, and every other room in the house seems to be filled with people at all times!
Adding to his unhappy disposition, was a recent letter from Mr. Darcy informing Mr. Collins that, sadly, there were no livings available in Derbyshire and, further, that Mr. Darcy knew of no other potential positions.
“I wish you all the best, and be assured I shall certainly put your name forward should any suitable position come to my attention,” Darcy had written. All the proper words, but Mr. Collins could perceive no real offer of help in them.
Although he had no evidence, Mr. Collins was persuaded that Mr. Darcy’s inability to help was due to the influence of Lady Catherine. Could she have instructed her nephew not to assist him? He had had such hopes of help from Pemberley. Mrs. Darcy was his wife’s dearest friend, after all. Why had she not been able to do more?
“Bosh!” he exclaimed, abruptly striking a bush hard with his cane, causing the leaves to fly off. “She has poisoned his mind and heart against me, no doubt. What am I to do? What kind of a man cannot support his own family? Oh, the humiliation!”
He stood, fuming for a moment, and was about to turn back towards Lucas Lodge when he spied a couple crossing a nearby field. He squinted, trying to discern their identities. A man and a woman, that much was clear. And they were heading his way. For some reason, Mr. Collins felt an impulse to hide himself in a grove of trees off the main path. From there, he observed the couple strolling together, and snatches of a clearly comfortable conversation and laughter floated on the wind towards him. Still, he could not identify them.
The two reached the end of the field at the stile, and the gentleman—for it seemed apparent that it was a gentleman, Mr. Collins thought—gave his hand to assist the lady up and over the fence. The man then followed, jumping down beside her, laughing when he nearly lost his balance. Mr. Collins heard the lady join in with the merriment. Then the gentleman held his arm out, and she took it, but they did not continue walking at first. Mr. Collins’s mouth fell open as he watched the gentleman reach over to remove a bit of leaf from the lady’s bonnet near her face. He showed it to her, and she laughed again and took his hand, pressing it to her cheek.
The two turned towards the still-hidden Mr. Collins, and he gasped as their identities became clear to him.
Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Withers! Such intimate behavior between them. And him still in full mourning. Shocking! Well, well, well.
He continued to stay hidden as the couple walked up the path towards Longbourn, their hands just brushing each other as they strolled. When they were gone, he left the grove of trees, a small smile of satisfaction upon his face.
This might well be the answer to my securing a new position.
KC Cowan spent her professional life working in the media as a news reporter in Portland, Oregon for KGW-TV, KPAM-AM and KXL-AM radio, and as original host and story producer for a weekly arts program on Oregon Public Television. She is co-author of the fantasy series: Journey to Wizards’ Keep, The Hunt for Winter, and Everfire. The Hunt for Winter and Everfire were both awarded First Place OZMA citations from Chanticleer International Book Awards for fantasy writing.
KC is also the author of two other books: “The Riches of a City” – the story of Portland, Oregon, and “They Ain’t Called Saints for Nothing!” in collaboration with artist Chris Haberman, a tongue-in-cheek look at saints. She is married and lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Hello to all, personally I think this books sounds hilarious and still I feel so for Mary! To be left on ones own, and more or less ignored. I hope with reading further in the book, I will see a happy ending for Mary, and also to see just how devious Mr Collins can be… 😀 The idea that Mr Bennet will also fall in love sounds both incredible and a bit weird, but I can’t wait to see where this leads, my hope; a HEA!
Onwards to the GIVEAWAY!
Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook for each stop on the Blog Tour, for a total of six eBooks. Please leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. I will be drawing a winner from the comments, and let the author know, who will contact the winner and send the book along. There is both the mobi or ePub versions of this book available in the giveaway. Good luck all! I will draw a winner on the 30th of this month.
That was it, dear readers! Please check back in soon! I will be hosting a lot of authors and their books in the upcoming weeks, including Don Jacobson and his new book.
Hello to all, and welcome back to my desk and this weeks visit by a much beloved authoress and friend, Riana Everly! She has written another mystery where Miss Mary investigates alongside of her partner Alexander. This time around, it is Sense and Sensibility which is visited by a mystery. But now I will leave you in Riana’s capable hands. I will close off the visit at the end. For now, welcome Riana and her next book.
Thank you so much to Sophia for welcoming me once again to your wonderful blog. It’s always such a comfortable and friendly spot to visit, like sitting down to tea with a friend.
I’m most delighted to talk a bit about my newest mystery in the Miss Mary Investigates series, Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery. In this adventure, Mary Bennet meets and befriends Elinor Dashwood, whom we know from the pages of Sense and Sensibility. Both are in London for a while—Mary is staying with the Gardiners, and Elinor and her sister are staying with Mrs Jennings, a family friend. Mary becomes a frequent visitor at Mrs Jennings’ house and meets all of Elinor’s acquaintances. But then, to everyone’s horror, Robert Ferrars is killed, and his brother Edward is a suspect. When Mary’s friend Alexander Lyons is called in to investigate, Mary is pulled along into the mystery.
I had a lot of fun writing this book. It is partly based on some case law around inheritance issues, which was fascinating to dive into. It also takes place in London, which is one of my favourite places to visit. No matter how often I visit, I’m always amazed by the city, with its amazing wealth of history and its intriguing juxtaposition of the very old and the very new. On a visit last December, we stood by the 2000-year-old Roman wall, next to the 1000-year-old Tower of London, looking at the Shard, a modern skyscraper across the river, that is all of 10 years old.
One of my goals on that too-short and rather last-minute trip, was to find Alexander’s office. I had something in mind, something rather specific, and was determined to find the closest thing possible.
The building had to be very near Covent Garden, that storied area with the huge marketplace dating back centuries, where the glittering theatres and opera houses stood, and still stand, where the haut ton came in silks and diamonds to enjoy the latest theatrical entertainment. But this was also the Covent Garden that was on the edge of one of the most dangerous slums of the time, where just outside of the marquee glow, prostitutes stood in dark alleyways, where cutthroats stood lurking, where policemen wouldn’t go in groups fewer than four until near the end of the 19th century.
Alexander’s office isn’t quite in this pit of human despair. Like the man himself, his location straddles two worlds, so near the elegant world of the first circles and their theatre boxes, but definitely apart from it. Precariously close to the hell of Seven Dials, but not succumbing, on the edge of danger but not dangerous.
The alleyway also had to be close to the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, where the Bow Street Runners were born. This gave us a direction. Since Seven Dials is now a rather trendy area, festooned with lights and garlands, and home to upscale shops and chic restaurants. it was safe for me and my daughter to wander around. We started at Covent Garden, headed towards Bow Street by the Royal Opera House, and turned left.
You can imagine my delight when, just a few steps away, down Long Acre, I found exactly what I was looking for. Arne Street, barely deserving of the title, wide enough for a single car if the driver holds his breath. There stands an old building with a narrow doorway leading inside, up to whatever rooms and offices lie within. And, like Alexander’s unnamed street, it even has a bakery at the corner. This bakery is really a coffee shop, part of a large chain, but if it sells baked goods, it counts in my books.
I can just picture Alexander working away at his reports in his rooms up those stairs. I can picture Mary, being exactly where she’s not supposed to be, stepping beyond the safety of the popular market square and daring to do something just a little bit dangerous as she follows him, stepping out of her world, and maybe, towards her future.
A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.
When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.
Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.
From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.
Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.
Here is an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances.
Soon Alexander and Mary were walking back towards his offices. “It is getting dark soon. Your aunt and uncle will be worried about you.” He put his hand over hers where it rested upon his arm.
“They believe me to be with Elinor.” How unlike her this was, deceiving her aunt, running about the city like a hoyden. How she loved it!
Alexander’s expression was not entirely approving.
“Oh, she believes me with my aunt and uncle. And if Marianne should talk, well, the damage will already be done.”
“I see. And what do you propose to do until you return safely to Gracechurch Street?”
“Why, help you with the investigation, of course! What are we to do next? And we must dine. I have a small amount of money that should see us to some respectable food.”
Did Alexander roll his eyes at her? Ah, it was no better than she deserved! She, who had sermonised over the delicate nature of a woman’s reputation, she who had castigated her sisters on their shameful behaviour around men, was now enjoying an evening in the vastness of London, quite unchaperoned, with the one man who made her heart beat faster. She ought to be horrified at her own actions, and yet she was not. This sort of freedom was a little frightening, but it was also too exhilarating. She giggled at the impossibility of it all and followed him down the lane to wherever it was he was leading her.
“Here is the bakery where I often get my meals.” He gestured to a small establishment at an unprepossessing corner. Any other day she would have walked past it without a thought, but now her feet slowed. The aromas emanating from within were enticing, and whilst she was certain that anything purchased there would not match Mr. Darcy’s table in elegance, she was equally certain that the food would be quite tasty.
They made their selections to take for their meal: a chicken tart for Mary and a vegetable tart for Alexander. Next door they purchased a jug of lemonade, and a few doors further along, some cherries for pudding. The lot they carried with them up a narrow staircase to the space Alexander informed her was his office.
As Alexander placed their purchases on his large desk, Mary stared around the room. So this was where he did his work!
“Ach, you never have been here before! I had not realised it. Welcome, Mary.”
He walked around the desk, which took up most of the space, and threw open the window. The sounds and smells of London wafted in, but the air was cooler than that inside, and she welcomed it. He then found a cloth and some plates in a drawer in the corner, which he used to set the desk to form a table upon which to dine.
“I usually eat in my rooms upstairs,” he pointed upward with his eyes, “but even I cannot see myself to inviting a lady there alone.”
Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.
Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.
When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.
Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.
Her Miss Mary Investigates series has charmed both Jane Austen fans and serious mystery lovers alike, and readers are always asking when the next story will be available.
Last but not least, there is a GIVEAWAY chance! So leave a comment to get a chance to win a copy of “Death in Sensible Circumstances” Riana will choose a random winner from the comments which will be left here, five days after the blog visit.
I am delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog I visit. I will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. I’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. I will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure I have a way to contact you.
Well everyone, that was it for this time around, I hope Riana had you entertained and the book sounds like something for you, I wish you luck in the giveaway.
Riana, I am always so pleased to host you, and especially because of the kindness of your visits, it does indeed feel like sitting down with a friend and discussing books. Can’t wait to host you again soon. Cheers to all!
Hello to all, and welcome back to my desk, this time around, I am lucky enough to host a good friend and a returning authoress, namely Christine Combe. I am so glad to be able to reveal the wonderful cover to Christine’s new book! Another P&P variation, which promises to be yet another lovely book. For now, I leave you all in the creative hands of Christine Combe.
Hello everyone! I am so very excited to be returning to Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my latest Austen variation, Why I Kissed You! This is the fastest turnaround I’ve had going from one book to another—I just released Three Brides for Three Cousins on December 11th, which was only ten weeks ago. I began writing this new book a week after Three Brides was released, and I had it finished in the first week of February!
I have never written a book so fast before, but the words just kept flowing. I had a few struggles, but when I would write, I was getting out a chapter or more per day, which is incredible! Why I Kissed You is also the shortest novel I’ve written at just over 80,000 words (I typically go over 100K!). I suppose I could have written a few more chapters, but honestly… it just felt right to end it where I did.
And now onto the cover reveal!
Isn’t it lovely? The portrait is of Caroline Bonaparte Murat Macdonald, Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest sister. She went from being an Imperial princess of France to Queen of Naples after she married her first husband, Joachim Murat, who became King of Naples in 1808. In my research into this stunning piece of artwork, I could not find the name of the artist, but I did discover that she is the great-great-great-grandmother of the late actor René Auberjonois (known for his roles in TV shows like Benson, Boston Legal, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
Now to tell you a little something about Why I Kissed You:
Although she vehemently refuses the marriage proposal of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet soon learns that an unexplainable moment of passion that occurred between them has led a furious Lady Catherine de Bourgh to demand she be thrown out of Mr. Collins’ house!
Fitzwilliam Darcy, although his pride was wounded by Elizabeth’s rejection, finds he cannot allow her to be harmed by his aunt’s fanciful ambition for a marriage between him and her daughter. Fearing further action may be taken to damage Elizabeth’s reputation, he knows that marriage is the only form of protection he can offer her.
Elizabeth and Darcy travel to London to begin the arrangements for a wedding that for all intents and purposes shouldn’t be taking place. In the midst of shopping for wedding clothes, sharing the news with family, and meeting Darcy’s noble relatives, Elizabeth is coming to learn more about who Darcy really is than she ever knew before. At the same time, Darcy is navigating the intricacies of realizing how wrong it is to interfere in the lives of others and how to deserve forgiveness from a friend.
Though they act quickly to begin a new life together where one person is in love and the other now unsure of their feelings, Elizabeth and Darcy can’t stop one final attempt to keep them apart forever. But faith and love—and a little bit of luck—will play their part in determining whether there is a chance to pursue the happily ever after that both of them desperately want.
I do hope that blurb intrigues you! Now to further reel you in, here is the first part of chapter one:
Thursday, 16 April 1812
Who would have thought that an offer of marriage, followed by an unexpectedly vehement refusal, would lead to a kiss?
Certainly not Fitzwilliam Darcy, a gentleman who had long prided himself on his irreproachable character and excellent self-control.
But it did. He had asked Elizabeth Bennet to marry him, and she had rejected him. They’d argued over why. And then—when he intended only to bid her as polite a farewell as he could muster—the two found themselves suddenly and inexplicably locked in a passionate embrace, kissing each other with equal fervor. He could not have said then who had moved first, only that they were staring angrily into each other’s eyes one moment and pressing their lips together the next.
Their mutual passion lasted until a noise somewhere in the house startled them back to their senses. Elizabeth jumped back, her bosom heaving with the same shallow, breathless gasping as Darcy’s chest. In her eyes was now a different emotion, one he could not quite read, but beneath it all he knew there was attraction. Her response to the kiss at least proved one thing: that she was not as indifferent to him as she’d professed herself to be.
“Why did you do that?” she demanded. “I did not think the perfect Mr. Darcy capable of taking such liberties!”
“Why did I?” Darcy countered. “You kissed me, Miss Bennet!”
“That is absurd!” Elizabeth cried. “Why should I want to kiss the man whose proposal of marriage I have just refused?”
“And why should I want to kiss the woman who has just thoroughly refused me?” he rejoined. “Perhaps you kissed me because in your heart you wish you had accepted me.”
Elizabeth scoffed and turned away from him. Darcy pressed on. “You cannot be unaware of the immeasurable advantages that would be yours if you were my wife, of the increase in importance and connexions our marriage would be giving to your family.”
“Oh yes, the family which you had no scruple in disparaging only moments ago, reminding me even as you claimed to love me that we are beneath you,” Elizabeth retorted angrily. She crossed her arms and pointedly kept her gaze turned away from him. “I think it is best you leave, Mr. Darcy—or are you incapable of taking ‘no’ for an answer?”
Her words brought him up short. They were equally guilty of crossing the line of propriety, but she was refusing to admit her complicity. Very well. Darcy sighed in aggravation and did as he’d originally planned. He bowed, bid her a terse “Good day,” and after taking up his hat and gloves he departed in haste.
It was best, he thought morosely as he stalked away from the Hunsford parsonage, that he gather up Fitzwilliam and take his leave of Kent. He could not have Elizabeth—she had rejected him. Despite the enormity of his wealth, the additional consequence of having noble relations she could claim to be her own, and the honour of simply having been noticed by a man so superior to herself.
Darcy paused in midstride, suddenly struck immobile by one of Elizabeth’s angry speeches: “…your manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others…”
He supposed it was rather arrogant of him to have had no expectation of refusal and conceited to dwell upon how great his superiority was. But even after having his love spurned, he could not understand her rejection. He had everything to recommend him—wealth, property, connexions in the peerage, status in the first circle of society. Marriage to him could only be an advantage to a young woman like Elizabeth, whose father might well be a gentleman—
That must be part of it, he thought as his feet began to move again. Mr. Bennet was a gentleman every bit as much as Darcy was, having inherited a long-held family property. That made them equals, and Elizabeth was—by association as a gentleman’s daughter—also his equal. The only material difference was money. If Mr. Bennet’s income had been substantial enough to provide respectable dowries for his daughters, even the lack of connexions could have been overlooked.
But Darcy had not treated Elizabeth as an equal. He had spoken to her as though she ought to be groveling at his feet with gratitude that he had even deigned to speak to her. He slowly came to the realization that, in fact, her feelings hadn’t much entered into his mind at all—he’d assumed she liked him as much as any other young lady of his acquaintance without having taken pains to find out for certain, that she would indeed be grateful he’d taken notice of her, and that she would glory in her triumph over women ten times her consequence. He’d been more concerned with gratifying his desire of having the object of his fancy finally become his than he was with how he worded his proposal.
He paused again as he reached the top of the portico steps at Rosings and drew his hand over his face. Good God—had he really just told the woman he loved that members of her family were embarrassing, that their condition in life was decidedly beneath his own, and that marrying her would be a degradation? That he had fallen in love with her against his will, his reason, and even his character? No matter how natural and just these sentiments were, nor how right he was to have struggled against his inclination, was it possible that he had erred in the timing of his confession of those scruples?
Darcy had only wished to be entirely honest, to prove to Elizabeth that the obstacles which would undoubtedly arise at the announcement of their union were of little matter to him—that his love for her was such that having her for his wife was more important to him than any objection.
“…had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”
When had he not been a gentleman? Darcy wondered as he entered his aunt’s house. As he climbed the stairs and made for his rooms, he reflected on the whole of his acquaintance with Elizabeth—from the first moment of their meeting to the disastrous encounter at the parsonage…and he dropped heavily into the chair before the fireplace as he began to understand just what she had meant.
A gentleman would not have kissed a woman who had refused his offer of marriage even if she was an equal participant. Her weakness did not excuse his own, and ashamed hardly described how he began to feel about himself for taking such a liberty.
A gentleman would not have stated every reason he had for not marrying a lady during the proposal in which he asked for her hand. However justified his reservations, it was suddenly, mortifyingly clear that pointing out her family’s failings had not so much wounded Elizabeth’s vanity as it had deeply hurt her feelings. If she had spoken so of his relations to him—even the supercilious Lady Catherine—Darcy would have been equally offended.
A gentleman would not have said that a lady was only tolerable and not handsome enough to dance with—at least, not aloud. Darcy had been in a very ill humor that evening and had only wanted Bingley to stop pestering him about dancing; he’d been of no mind to appreciate the beauty of any of the ladies around him, let alone one of the local squire’s five daughters. He’d known Elizabeth was sitting nearby—Bingley had pointed her out when he’d suggested having his partner introduce them—but he had not thought her so near as to overhear his conversation with his friend. He began to suspect that she had heard him and could now understand why she had afterward seemed so determined to argue with him whenever they conversed.
If so, the proposal was not the first time he’d wounded her. That insult at the Meryton assembly had “formed that groundwork of disapprobation, on which succeeding events”—no doubt including his disinclination to socialize with Bingley’s neighbours—“have built so immovable a dislike” that even one as intelligent as herself had been vulnerable to Wickham’s poison.
Wickham. He could hardly think the name without wishing to throttle the man. Darcy’s behaviour—his uneasiness in the company of strangers, which even he recognized made him more likely to offend than recommend himself—had already alienated Elizabeth against him, but he felt almost certain that her dislike might have been overcome had Wickham’s lies and half-truths not given her further reason to think ill of him.
In that, at least, I might defend myself, Darcy thought, and he surged from the chair to cross over to the writing desk. There he took out several sheets of paper, ink, and a pen, and he sat down to write Elizabeth a letter. He would explain everything—his motivation for separating Bingley and Jane, the whole history of his relationship with Wickham—and though he knew he could have no chance now of making her his wife, he would be contented if Providence allowed the letter to aid her in one day thinking better of him.
Well now, what do you think of that—was it a good teaser? I certainly hope so! Thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks to Sophia for having me.
Why I Kissed You will be available from Amazon in eBook, paperback, and hardcover editions on Friday, March 3rd. Leave a comment on today’s blog for a chance to win your very own Kindle copy—and follow along on the blog tour for a chance to win a signed paperback! If for any reason you cannot comment on a blog, notify me (Christine) by email and I will be sure to add you to the drawing for the paperback.
Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen‘s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.