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 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! Today I am visited by a retuning author, MJ Stratton and her new book, “From Another Perspective” which is a P&P variation! I have graciously been allowed to present an excerpt and a blurb and, of course, a giveaway! I am quite intrigued with the idea of this book, of seeing P&P from another perspective, like say Mrs. Hill? Or Anne de Bourgh? Or even Mrs. Younge, or some of the lesser known characters. But for now, I will leave you in the hands of my visiting authoress.
The events of Pride and Prejudice are well known by those familiar with Jane Austen’s work, but what would we see if the minor characters told the story? What were Mrs. Hill’s thoughts on the heir to Longbourn? How did Anne de Bourgh feel about her cousin’s fascination with the guests at the parsonage? Did Mrs. Younge willingly help Mr. Darcy find Wickham? From Another Perspective follows the events of Pride and Prejudice as seen through the eyes of some of the lesser players found in the novel, along with some others of the author’s own creation.
Mr. Phillips walked a few steps behind Mr. Wright and Mr. Bingley. The former was a middle aged man with a serious expression and gray forming at his temples. The latter was a gregarious and happy man of some twenty-five years, with red-gold hair and a fine figure. His clothing was costly and it was obvious he employed a talented tailor.
Though the two conversed in quiet tones, Mr. Phillips could read the satisfaction on Mr. Bingley’s face readily enough. Mr. Wright, though harder to read, likewise seemed pleased with the property. Occasionally during the tour, Mr. Phillips was called upon to answer questions, which he did with alacrity.
The housekeeper, Mrs. Nichols also accompanied the party. She proved to be an excellent source of information and had managed the upkeep of the empty property remarkably well. Having been employed by Netherfield’s owner over ten years previous, she had shown her worth many times through the years.
At the conclusion of the tour, Mr. Phillips and his guests repaired to the steward’s offices on the estate. There they set about discussing the particulars of finalizing the lease.
“The lease is for a year minimum, with the option to extend when the year concludes,” explained Mr. Phillips. “There are no special conditions attached to the lease, just the expectation that the property be maintained and the tenants well looked after. The permanent staff are also to remain with the property and are not at liberty to be removed under any circumstances without the express permission from Netherfield’s owner.”
“Capital!” enthused Mr. Bingley. “I am eager to venture into the realm of property management. Would it be possible to finalize the particulars so I might take possession by Michaelmas?”
“I see no reason why they would not be,” said Mr. Phillips. “The house will need to be aired out and the covers removed from the furniture, but Mrs. Nichols will have that in hand without delay.”
“That is wonderful,” Mr. Bingley said.
“Have you any other questions at this time?” Phillips inquired.
“I have only one,” said Mr. Bingley. “Is the owner of the park against any redecorating of the house? My younger sister shall accompany me to act as hostess and will be eager to add her own touches to the rooms.”
“General repairs to the property are encouraged, but any major renovations to the rooms must be approved prior to the undertaking, I am afraid. Should your sister wish to purchase a new rug or chair, the ones belonging to the estate may be stored in the attic during the lease and replaced when you give up the estate,” was the reply.
“Those are reasonable stipulations,” Mr. Wright said.
“Indeed,” stated Mr. Bingley. “My sister will have to be content with them, as I am very pleased with Netherfield and will brook no argument in my taking the property.”
Mr. Phillips smiled at the man’s enthusiasm. “Then let us begin organizing the final details, gentlemen,” he said. And so the legal work commenced.
That night as he settled into his bed, Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. A new resident in the area, and a wealthy, single gentleman at that. He could almost hear his wife’s voice in his head, berating him for keeping this news to himself. Best he prepare his defense now. Michaelmas was only three weeks away and she was sure to hear the news within the next fortnight at the most.
Almost two weeks to the day from that night, his wife burst into his office with enough force that the door hit the wall with a thud. Mr. Phillips winced at the noise and turned his attention to his lady.
“My dear Mrs. Phillips!” he said. “What a pleasure to see you this fine afternoon. How may I assist you?”
“You can begin by apologizing for your infamous treatment of me, sir!” she exclaimed. “You have used me abominably ill, you know!”
How very like her sister, Mrs. Bennet, his wife seemed at the moment. “To what do you refer, my dear?” he said innocently, the twinkle in his eye giving him away.
“Netherfield Park is let at last!” she said shrilly. “I have just had it from the butcher, who heard it from Lucy Jones, who works as a chambermaid for Netherfield. The butcher has received a large order for next week to make ready for the new master, a young man they say is worth at least five thousand a year! And you, sir, have likely had this immense news for some time since you are the solicitor that handles the estate!”
His wife finished her diatribe and huffed. Martha Phillips was a good woman, a bit silly, but kind, and a veritable gossip. That her husband knew that Netherfield was to be let and had not told her must rankle fiercely.
“Martha,” Mr. Phillips said patiently. “You know I was not at liberty to say anything. It is the nature of my work.”
“Well,” she huffed again. “You might have told me.”
Mr. Phillips sighed. Had he told his wife, the entire shire would have known that Netherfield was let before the end of the next day. Wisely, he did not mention this to his lady.
“Now, now, my dear,” he said. “I shall soon make it up to you. Did the butcher tell you anything else about Netherfield’s new tenant?”
“No,” she said testily. “No one seems to know anything other than what Lucy Jones has related.”
“Then I may be able to assuage some of your curiosity, my dear,” he said. “Mr. Bingley is from the north and is young and amiable. His father amassed a fortune in trade and he is leasing Netherfield in an attempt to learn estate management.”
“Is that all? Nothing of his looks or manner of dress?”
“I can tell you that his looks are as favorable as his manners,” Mr. Phillips replied playfully. “It is not in my nature to assess the outward appearance of those I deal with in business. It is their inner nature that most concerns me.”
“I suppose I shall have to be happy with your assessment, then,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I shall see you for tea shortly, Mr. Phillips. After that, I must visit my sister and apprise her of this momentous news.”
With that, his wife turned on her heel and exited the room. Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. His brother Bennet would be inundated with requests from his wife to visit their new neighbor. Phillips had no doubt that Bennet would use this opportunity to toy with Mrs. Bennet and the rest of the ladies of the house.
Mr. Phillips noted the time before turning back to his work. Mrs. Phillips would expect him for tea and it would not do to lose track of time and leave her waiting, not after so recently returning to her good graces.
He chuckled quietly and picked up a quill. Yes, the next few weeks would prove to be very diverting indeed. Perhaps the new resident of Netherfield would take a shine to one of the local ladies and become a more permanent resident. But speculation on such topics was the domain of his wife, and his work was waiting. Mr. Phillips turned his mind to the documents in front of him and promptly forgot about Mr. Bingley and Netherfield Park amidst his other concerns.
Please all, here is the link for the giveaway, so good luck and I hope you win a copy of this unusual copy of a P&P variation.
MJ Stratton is a teacher turned writer. She lives in rural Utah with her husband and three children. MJ has written for years and finally published her first book last September. Her love from Jane Austen began at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice. Lost in Austen was the first Austenesque fiction she encountered and has been in love ever since. Along with writing, MJ loves to sew, cook, grow her garden, and tend her chickens.
Dear all, that’s it for now, I fear, but I will return shortly with a much loved and much beleaguered authoress, namely Joana Starnes and a review of her new book, “Snowbound.”
Hello all and welcome back! This time around, I am pleased to host Grace Gibson, another returning authoress to my blog. We are to read and see what kind of Pride and Prejudice variation, she has written this time around. I will promise, drama, heartache, stubbornness and a HEA by the end of it. I will also admit to some surprises along the way, so come along and see what happens.
Does it ever stop raining in Lambton?
Darcy and Bingley depart Netherfield Park, leaving Elizabeth Bennet acutely aware of the monotony of her life. Seeking a reprieve, she volunteers to serve as temporary companion to Mrs. Gardiner’s elderly aunt who lives in Lambton. Nothing turns out as Elizabeth expects, and she is forced to dig deep into her reserves of common sense, humor, and stubborn persistence to prove herself equal to the dreary circumstances.
Initially unaware that Pemberley is only five miles away, Elizabeth crosses paths with Darcy annoyingly often. When the gentleman rescues her from a shocking situation, Elizabeth faces some hard choices, at the same time struggling against the smoldering attraction that can neither be repressed nor fulfilled.
Mr. Darcy, meanwhile, in whose heart a fire has also been lit, is shocked by the lady’s stubborn refusal to accept his help. Alternating between alarm and begrudging admiration, he stands helplessly on the sidelines while she struggles to retain her independence. He, too, must make some hard choices in the end. Will he let her go?
The last house in Lambton By Grace Gibson
This book takes it beginning with the Netherfield Party has left Meryton and the whole town is upset about it. It was quite informative to read Elizabeth’s thoughts on the party and Collins.
As always a pleasure to read a known author, though I will admit I was quite surprised by Grace this time around, a book written in first person narrative, not something which is seen often, but surprisingly it worked well, as we follow along on Elizabeth Bennet and her adventures in Lambton.
As Elizabeth and Jane visits their aunt and uncle in London, Mrs Gardiner receives a letter from her aunt in Lambton, an elder woman, who simply can’t do without company while her housekeeper is away. But as Mrs Gardiner is busy with her children and life in London, Elizabeth suggests that she goes. Before she left Longbourn, Mrs Bennet had declared that Elizabeth would end her days as a drudge to Mrs Collins, and I will admit that insult stung me almost as badly as it did Elizabeth. But the words would come back to haunt Elizabeth.
As soon as Elizabeth arrives in Lambton, she is bombarded with information about her great-aunt, and not a maid to help her to change or settle in. Soon she discovers that her great aunt is quite elderly and quite without her wits, which we today would call dementia. I felt so bad for the woman, and felt even worse for Elizabeth as she ends up having to take control of the house, as both caretaker and housekeeper, a role she is little prepared for.
Soon she needs help, and seeks out the housekeeper at Pemberley. Here she once again encounters Darcy, who thinks Elizabeth is seeking him out but mistakes her interest which she has for Mrs Reynolds’ knowledge for interest in him. Oh gosh, it felt embarrassing!
I will admit to wanting to kick Elizabeth several times throughout the book, but I grew to love her and her great aunt as characters. Soon the drama reaches a high point, and Darcy comes to the rescue, – damsel in distress and all that. Not a role we are used to see Elizabeth in. This drama leads Elizabeth and her great aunt to move to Pemberley. Here Georgiana Darcy makes another appearance alongside of sweet kittens and an adorable little dog.
Soon feelings are developing between Darcy and Elizabeth – and then the story takes another turn as Mr Gardiner arrives.
But I do promise a HEA and a wonderful proposal, which made me sigh in contentment!
GUEST POST; Grace Gibson
For now I will leave you in Grace’s hands for a bit while she tells about some plot details, including a certain very cute dog!
Thank you so much for having me today, Sophia. I appreciate the opportunity to share news of my new release on your beautiful blog.
For those of you who enjoyed Bandit in Old Boots, I assure you that there is also a dog—Queenie— in The Last House in Lambton. She also plays a critical role in the stirring events that take place.
But for the sake of inclusion for the cat lovers out there, there is also a litter of kittens owned by Georgiana Darcy. Here is an excerpt, told from Darcy’s point of view, in which a handful of playful kittens help to set the scene:
Waking was painful as I am unused to brawling, and I ached from head to toe. And though I longed to stay in bed and indulge my pains, I could not do so without fueling speculation about where I had been all night. Besides, I had left Georgiana abruptly in the midst of a pleasant evening, and I wished to gloss over any appearance of irregularity.
Summoning the required stoicism, I managed to look a reasonable semblance of myself and went in search of my sister. She sat over a half-eaten late breakfast with two kittens in her lap and a third wreaking havoc on her braids from the perch of her shoulder.
“What a charming picture,” I said, as I sat down with my plate, noticing with a tinge of relief that my knuckles were only slightly reddened and unlikely to give me away. The cut on my lip was small enough that I hoped it, too, would escape notice, but I was prepared to blame Carsten for too close a shave if needs must.
Georgiana smiled wistfully, put her tormentors in the basket at her feet, and said, “You are hungry this morning.”
“Starving, in fact. What are your plans today?” I asked.
Rather than answer me, my sister spoke to her companion. “Mrs. Annesley, would you mind very much taking the kittens to Marie in the kitchen? I am sure that is where Buttons can be found, and she should be mothering her brood instead of helping with the cream buckets.”
She continued to pick at her breakfast, and I continued to devour mine, but I could not help but notice that the air in the room had changed—that my sister was oddly preoccupied. No sooner had the footman left the room with the tray of cleared dishes, than she confirmed my suspicion.
With uncharacteristic directness, she asked, “What happened last night?”
Uh-oh! Darcy brawling? Let us presume that Elizabeth Bennet had something to do with that cut on his lip, because—well, she is Elizabeth and he cannot help himself. If you are curious what could possibly make Darcy roll up his sleeves and break a nose or two, then enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Last House in Lambton.
In addition to mosaic art, which she creates at Studio Luminaria (her home-based glass shop in El Paso, Texas), Grace enjoys writing Regency romance and Pride and Prejudice variations.
Giveaway Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook for each stop on the Blog Tour, for a total of six eBooks. So leave a comment, and I will pick a winner on November 15th, and inform Grace about the winner, who will receive an E-book of “The Last House in Lambton” in either mobi or E-pub version.
For now, I will leave you all to your reading, and say, “I’ll be seeing you soon again.” Cheers and good luck!
Welcome back everyone, old and new readers! Today I am hosting a returning authoress, namely Kelly Miller and her new book, “A dutiful son”, its a Pride and Prejudice variation, and a very good one at that. But for now, I will leave you in Kelly’s hands.
What will Fitzwilliam Darcy do when his beloved father stands between him and happiness?
Darcy has always emulated his wise and honourable father, George Darcy. But following a sinister act of betrayal by a former family friend, his father rejects his most benevolent principles.
When Georgiana forms a friendship with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy convinces his father to allow the association to continue. However, Elizabeth soon presents a thorny problem: she entices Darcy as no other lady has before, and with his father’s current outlook, he would not approve of her as a daughter-in-law.
Still, Darcy’s problem may resolve in time: his father, after getting to know Elizabeth, is certain to recognise her many admirable qualities and change his mind. But what if he does not?
In this Pride & Prejudice Regency variation, Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught between the influences of love and duty. Which of these will wield the greatest power?
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Sophia! I have an excerpt today from Chapter 2 of “A Dutiful Son.” This scene, written in Elizabeth Bennet’s point of view, takes place the morning after Jane has taken ill and spent the night at Netherfield Hall. While on her way to the estate, Elizabeth encounters Georgiana and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who are both on horseback.
She exchanged greetings with Mr. and Miss Darcy. “I am going to Netherfield Park to see my sister. Can you tell me how she fares?”
Crinkles formed around Mr. Darcy’s dark eyes. “The apothecary, Mr. Jones, saw her last night. I understand she suffered from a fever at the time. He gave her a draught and will return to see her today.”
“Oh dear.” Miss Darcy’s forehead constricted. “A large section of the path we just crossed is completely covered in mud this morning. I do not recommend you take it on foot.”
“I suspected that might be the case. Our carriage was unavailable, so I had no alternative. But I have wended my way through mud before. I shall manage.”
“You need not do so on this occasion.” With a glance at Mr. Darcy, Miss Darcy leaned forward in the saddle. “I could ride back to the house with my brother upon Regal and you could ride Pansy.”
He nodded. “Yes, that is a good notion.”
“I thank you, but I am not dressed for riding.”
“Oh yes, I ought to have thought of that.” Miss Darcy’s smile faded.
“I see. Your skirt is too narrow.” Mr. Darcy rubbed a hand over his mouth. “You could sit sideways upon Regal and ride with me.”
She gaped at him. “I could not do that; it would not be proper!”
“It would be ill-advised if we were alone, but my sister will accompany us the entire time. The area overspread with deep mud is perhaps ten yards long and too wide for you to go around. Once we have crossed it, you could walk the rest of the way. I should hate for you to soil your dress when it can be avoided.”
Elizabeth pulled her lower lip between her teeth. To arrive with her petticoats covered in mud would provide fodder for the Bingley sisters to disparage her. But the magnificent black stallion made a far more imposing figure than Baxter. “Are you quite certain your horse will not object to carrying both of us?”
“You need not be concerned.” Miss Darcy glimpsed at Mr. Darcy. “Regal is devoted to my brother and trusts him implicitly.”
Mr. Darcy held her in a solemn gaze. “I should not have made the suggestion if I had any doubt for your safety.”
“Very well. I shall ride with you past the muddiest area and walk the rest of the way.”
He dismounted and waved her closer. “Stand here with your back to Regal.”
She followed his instruction and sucked in her breath as his hands closed around her waist. He raised her upon the animal’s back, appearing to expend no more effort than if he had lifted a doll. The celerity of his action prevented her from dwelling on the intimacy involved, yet fire seared her cheeks, and her heart surged to a raging rhythm.
“Hold onto Regal’s mane.”
Elizabeth twisted at the waist and grabbed the coarse black hair with both hands.
He mounted and sat behind her. “Are you ready to proceed?”
Mr. Darcy urged Regal forward. The steed maintained a walk, but without stirrups to steady her, the rocking motion of the gait pushed her back against the gentleman’s chest with each step—until she had the presence of mind to brace herself in a forward position.
She had never before been in such an intimate position with a man unrelated to her. Along with the smells attributable to the horse, another scent surrounded her that must have been Mr. Darcy’s—a pleasing mixture of aromas: pine, citrus, and others too subtle to identify. In her experience, males often had strong body odours that could be offensive. But his scent tantalised her senses, delivering a strange intoxicating effect.
The wisdom of the Darcys’ advice soon became apparent. On foot, she could not have avoided the extensive stretch of viscous mud ahead. Had she trudged through it, she would have been a sorry sight upon her arrival.
The mighty black steed took a faltering step into the worst section of mud. For a frightening second, she stilled. Would she, Mr. Darcy, and the horse all tumble down together?
“All is well.” His euphonious baritone inches from her ear restored her equanimity. The horse made a quick adjustment and continued without incident.
She took shallow breaths until they emerged from the sludge onto firm earth. “I believe I can walk from here.”
“Very well.” Mr. Darcy dismounted. Once again, he gripped her waist and lowered her to the ground in a smooth, easy motion.
Elizabeth’s anticipation of this contact—which lasted no more than a second or two—did nothing to lessen the impact. Mr. Darcy’s maddening touch stole her focus. After he released her, the heightened sensation of warmth at her sides lingered. At least her racing heart now slowed to a normal pace.
Thank you, Kelly for allowing us this view into your new book! It was a pleasure to read it, and of course, since I have read the book, I was quite pleased with it!
The story takes it start stright after the Ramsgate episode. And to my utter surprise George Darcy is still alive at this point, and therefore master of Pemberley, and Fitzwilliam only the heir.
With the Ramsgate incident, George Darcy goes back on his progressive ways and adopt a more traditional view of things; friendships with tradesmen and who to marry and why. This has quite a few good and bad consequences for both Georgiana and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Though the famous romance between Elizabeth and Darcy doesn’t change, much to my relief, – though they have a better start at the assembly in Meryton. This is where the first sparks are lit, and a friendship starts for the two headstrong characters.
During the visit to Meryton, Georgiana is also present, and she and Elizabeth forms a friendship, and Georgiana is also involved with getting Elizabeth back on her horse, quite literally, – she gets Elizabeth to start riding again on a very friendly horse, named Baxter. Elizabeth forms enduring friendships with both Baxter, the horse, Georgiana and Darcy which sets the tone for the book.
Much to my enjoyment and pleasure, Darcy FINALLY puts Wickham in his place by hitting him! I will admit to cheering, loudly! hehe
There was so many surprises throughout this story. Many of them I enjoyed greatly, some where I was shaking my head in denial, and again a few where I was ready to throw my kindle away, though the last ones where few.
By the end of the visit to Meryton, Georgiana invites Elizabeth to Pemberley for the summer, and then the drama begins. During the visit to Pemberley, Elizabeth is made aware that she has no hope of securing Fitzwilliam Darcy or his cousin, the former Col. Fitzwilliam as potenial husbands, even if Elizabeth has already developed feelings for Darcy. Meanwhile George Darcy makes his wishes clear to his son, that he marries a woman from their own circle, and Darcy tries to be a dutiful son, and follow his father’s wishes, even if his heart rebels.
An unexpected courtship and proposal takes place at Pemberley, while Darcy is trying to follow his father’s wishes and court Miss Talbot, a neighbour to Pemberley. As for the courtship/proposal Elizabeth is subjected to, I will admit that I was ready to throttle Kelly for allowing Elizabeth to be put in such a situation, but thankfully happiness prevails in the end and George Darcy changes his mind and blesses his son’s decision and happiness. The ending was satisfying, and lovely and made me shed a tear or two. A lovely book! Can’t wait for more books by Kelly.
Award-winning author Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their pets.
Hello to all and welcome back! Today I am again hosting an old friend and a much loved author; Riana Everly! She has written a new book, a modern Persuasion, and it is quite musical, or quite music inclinced. I will leave you in Riana’s capable hands and let her introduce you to her new book.
A heartfelt and absorbing modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Eight years of heartache…
Anne Elliot is a successful composer, a shining light in the world of music. But her heart still aches for the man who left her eight years ago when she was persuaded to put her career above her heart.
Eight years of anger…
Fred Valore has found fame and glory as a brilliant orchestra conductor. He has studied in Europe, travelled the world, but cannot forget how Anne rejected him eight years ago. And now he’s coming home.
Suddenly, Fred and Anne are living in the same city again, and forced to work with each other. Old feelings are hard to ignore, but now Fred is waltzing about town with an attractive musician, and Anne has caught the eye of a handsome businessman.
When a whirlwind of misunderstandings gets in the way of a tentative reconnection, is their long-lost love doomed to remain a thing of the past? Or can they somehow find a path back to each other to make beautiful music once again?
Set in the vibrant and arts-loving city of Toronto, Canada, Preludes is perfect for Austenites and Contemporary Romance lovers alike.
I quite enjoyed seeing Persuasion set in a town, I have visited and could see so clearly as I read the book! Many of the characters was fantastic in their modern setting and the way they felt, some I felt I could gladly have kicked *hides behind my computer* And of course some I loved!
The Importance of Place – Bath and Toronto;
This last summer, I had the great pleasure of spending some time in the lovely city of Bath during a visit to England. We wandered through the picturesque streets and marvelled at the lovely architecture, snapping photographs everywhere. We ate Sally Lunn buns for breakfast, saw the Pump Rooms and the Pulteney Street Bridge, with its row of shops on each side, and gaped at the abbey and Roman baths. It was not difficult to picture the city as it might have looked 200 years ago, with ladies in their elegant frocks and men in breeches and coats swanning about looking Very Elegant.
Sophia, who has welcomed me once more to her lovely blog, has shared some of her experiences and photographs from Bath, and all dressed up so beautifully in Regency fashion as well, from her visits during the Jane Austen Festival. Her pictures, as well as my own trip, really reinforce to me how important location can be in literature. I can’t wander through Bath without thinking, “this is where Catherine Moreland first met Henry Tilney,” or “that is where Anne Elliot ran into Captain Wentworth.”
Sorry to interrupt, Riana, but I can’t help but butt in, with one of my own photos from this years Jane Austen Festival, so our readers can get a little sense of your talk of locations.
(Just to make sure, credit of picture to the left; Sue McDine)
My new novel, Preludes, is a modern interpretation of Persuasion, and while it is not set in Bath, it is equally grounded in the city where it is set, in this case, Toronto, Canada, where I live. I wavered, at first, about how “real” I wanted my locations to be. My characters are involved with a fictional orchestra, but what about other places? What about the park where they walk, or the coffee shop they like, or the parts of town where they live?
In my first draft, I kept these locations very vague. I talked about “a large park near the lake” or “a trendy part of town,” although I’m not quite sure why I had that instinct. Perhaps I was cautious about identifying any one place too precisely, like “the Starbucks at the corner of Queen and John Street.” After all, I made up an orchestra to keep my characters entirely fictional.
But then, when I started on my second draft and edits, I asked myself why. Why be vague? If the story is set in Toronto, make it identifiably Toronto. Put in places that people who know the city can locate. Name that park, that neighbourhood, that building. I still avoided identifying specific existing businesses, but my husband kept calling out, as he read the final draft, “Oh, that’s THAT coffee shop,” or “They’re at our favourite restaurant!” Some of these might be little treats for folks whole love this city, but they are there for everyone to discover if they come for a visit.
Let me talk quickly about two or three of these places, and add an excerpt for each.
THE CN TOWER;
One of Toronto’s iconic pieces of architecture is the CN tower, a massive concrete communications tower with an observation deck near the top. It is probably the image that comes to most people’s minds when they think of the city, and it is the tall pointy thing in the middle of my book’s cover! Once upon a time, it was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and I made it up exactly once, when I was too young to say NO. Like Anne Elliot in my novel, I do not handle heights well, but Anne is braver than I am, and let her friend Jasmine convince her to go up again.
“You okay?” Jasmine squeezed her hand once, a reassuring pulse.
Anne nodded. “I think so.” Swallow. “I’ve just about convinced myself to have fun. But I might hug the ground when we get down.”
“Don’t worry. We’re not doing the glass floor or the walk around the edge, where they tether you to the building.” Anne felt her face go white. “Next time.” Jasmine giggled and Anne relaxed just a little more.
The ascent took only a minute. “…climbing at 22 kilometres an hour,” she heard the operator say. Soon the lift slowed down and in a moment the doors opened, spilling the travellers out onto the observation floor. Anne glanced down at her feet. The floor looked solid enough, so she stepped forward with what she hoped was confidence. Thank heavens they weren’t on the glass floor right now. Her stomach could not handle that.
Jasmine was right. The day was fine and the vistas glorious. Far below them, tiny toy cars scuttled along grey ribbon roads and highways, while the lake twinkled its deep blue around the islands protecting the city. To the other side of the observation area, the city’s grid of streets spread out in every direction, broken here and there by a river, a park, or some other feature natural or constructed. It was fascinating. Almost exhilarating.
Eventually, Anne relaxed enough to truly enjoy herself as she and Jasmine pointed out landmarks they knew and could identify from this enormous height.
“Look, there’s the University. You can see the music building, just past where the road circles around Queen’s Park. And there’s the concert hall, and there’s the park where we used to hang out.”
“Oh,” Jasmine added, turning a bit. “Can you see that way, past the river? Just by where the road crosses the Don Valley, that’s my old high school. I wonder if I can see my parent’s house.”
And so they went, laughing and reminiscing, until Anne felt quite comfortable despite her initial trepidation.
Toronto likes to call itself A City in a Park, and we do green space rather well, even in the built-up core of the city. One gem we all love is High Park, a 161 hectare (almost 400 acre) public park just west of the city centre, stretching 2 km from near the shores of Lake Ontario to one of the major roads that crosses the city. There are sports facilities, bike paths, an outdoor theatre, a zoo, and yes, the hiking trails where Anne Elliot and William Barnett have their first quasi-date. There is also a gorgeous garden full of cherry trees, where I love to wander in the spring and marvel at the pink blossoms.
They walked slowly, scanning the area for more things to photograph. A patch of moss on a tree branch, interesting shadows coaxed into existence by the setting sun, an unexpected patch of wildflowers complete with dancing butterflies.
“There. That’s the shot.” Anne put her hand on William’s arm. She pointed towards the pond, where the angled light was hitting the wind-ruffled surface, painting golden ripples across the surface of the spangled water. Two mallards floated on the small crests, black silhouettes against this display of light and water. The scene was made complete by a frame of leafy branches and artistically fallen logs.
He nodded and the two set about the task of selecting apertures and angles to capture the image. This might be one to enlarge and frame, if Anne’s expectations matured into reality. As the ducks floated up and down, in and out of the frame, they snapped dozens of shots each, moving this way and that, playing with angles, exposures, and other settings.
It had been a long time since Anne had felt so comfortable with a stranger.
By the time their walk was over, the sun had all but set. It was a beautiful time in the city. “Let’s get a coffee. My treat. Then, if you wish, I can drive you home.”
The idea was most appealing. “Thanks. That sounds lovely.”
They were soon settled on uncomfortable chairs in a noisy coffee shop, each with a cup of tea steaming in front of them. They discussed photo editing software, what sorts of adjustments and processing they liked, and then talked about setting up a Flickr account to share their finished images. William pulled out his phone and looked up apologetically.
“Do you mind? Normally I would never do this in company, and especially not such charming company, but…” he shrugged, the playful little boy appearing again. “I’m already on Flickr, to share photos with my brother, so this will just take a moment.”
“Of course. Don’t worry about it.”
This man could be very charming. He was attentive, considerate. So many people put their phones ahead of their in-person company and thought little of checking email and texting with others while supposedly out with a friend.
In a minute, he put the phone down and smiled. “There. That was easy. I’ve emailed you the link. Since we took photos of the same things, it will be interesting to see what sorts of differences there are in our pictures.”
“Here’s to photography.” She raised her mug in a toast.
“And to new friends,” he replied.
Okay, this isn’t IN the city of Toronto, but a short drive away is one of the loveliest parts of the world, the Niagara Peninsula. Everybody has heard of Niagara Falls, but there is so much more. Niagara hosts several world-class wineries and beautiful countryside, and you can bike (or drive) around the area past orchards and vineyards, tasting as you go. Afterwards, you can have lunch in the beautiful Georgian-era town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, or enjoy a picnic along the Niagara Parkway, which Winston Churchill called “the prettiest Sunday drive in the world.” In my novel, Anne and Fred go on such a bike adventure with their friends the Crofts.
The years and his time on a bicycle had added welcome bulk to Fred’s physique. He had always been attractive, but he was broader now, more solid, and his lanky arms and legs had become toned and nicely muscled. Not too much. Just enough. His legs, long and lean and beautifully shaped, pumped up and down on the pedals, and his calf muscles flexed and released in perfect rhythm, a magnet to Anne’s eyes.
She wrenched her attention back to the road and to the surrounding countryside. This was wine country. Field after field of vineyards surrounded them, the long straight vines sporting bright leaves and clusters of young grapes, broken up by orchards of tender fruit or tracts of hay and other farmland. There was something soothing and reassuring in the even spacing of the vines, like the regular harmonic progression of a Bach cantata, a walking bass line, predictable and comfortable, leading inexorably from tonic through a musical path back to the tonic.
But the leaves greening on their stems were something different again. Lush. Unpredictable. Growing where they wanted, a riot of life upon the carefully manicured vines. The exotic, free-flowing melody that crested and swept along, anchored by the harmony but not bound to it, moving where it would, twisting here and there, but always returning to its roots.
Yes. This was beautiful country indeed. Perhaps she should have brought her camera after all. Her phone would suffice but it was a poor substitute.
“Stop for a drink?” Jeremy called out from his bike.
The four pulled to the side of the road and dismounted for a moment. Anne pulled her helmet from her head to allow the breeze to cool her damp hair, and then took a gulp from her water bottle. Although the weather was pleasant, the sun was hot on her back and she was unaccustomed to this sort of activity. Fred looked cool and comfortable. Of course. After biking through hot Italy, this must be nothing to him. A mere bagatelle of amusement for an afternoon.
As if picking up on her thoughts, Jeremy turned to Fred and said, “You never did tell us why you’re back so soon. We’re thrilled you’re here, but we didn’t expect to see you till the end of the month.”
Fred rummaged in his backpack for his own water bottle. “It’s nothing, really. I did my final concert and was just packing up my flat. But I don’t have so much stuff. I was a student for a while, and then when I started getting engagements, it was a week here and two weeks there, and my flat in Rome was really just a place to sleep between gigs. It was like living out of page twenty seven of the IKEA catalogue. It’s not like I had anything—or anyone—to come home to.”
Now he sent a cruel glance towards Anne. He might as well have slapped her, and she looked down at her feet. White legs. Blue socks. Black running shoes. He must be congratulating himself for having avoided this ‘prize.’ She stepped backwards.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into some of the places my characters visit in my new novel Preludes. Letting them move about and interact with places that I know and that are real, where you can go yourself, keeps them real, like people you might meet while going for a walk or in line at the supermarket. If you read the novel, you can let me know your thoughts. And if you ever come to visit Toronto, let me know and I’ll give you the full travel itinerary!
Riana, thank you for visiting my blog, it was wonderful to read and see the locations from Toronto again, it was a lovely idea to set Persuasion in Toronto. I can’t wait to read further works from your hands! But for now, I leave you in Riana’s hands for the last and more practical informations; giveaways, buy links and so on. But for now, its Sophia signing off.
Award-winning author 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!
Preludes is available for purchase at Amazon, and is free to read on Kindle Unlimited. It is available as an eBook and as a paperback.
I am offering a gift copy of the eBook of Preludes, selected randomly from people who comment on this post within five days of it going live. For Oct 17, then, I’ll take posts up to midnight EST (North America) on October 21.
If you wish to participate, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.
I will give away one copy at each blog I visit until October 21, but I do not have all my blog tour dates yet. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for where I’m stopping next!
That’s it, folks! Check back on the 24th, when I am visited by yet another author and another book. Cheers.