If Mr. Darcy Dared tells us how the romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy could evolve if after a discussion in Oakham Mount Mr. Darcy reflected about Elizabeth’s criticisms, apologised for his rude behaviour at the Meryton Assembly, admitted his admiration for her and asked her for the first dance at the Netherfield Ball, where he kisses her in front of everyone.
Even though the Pride and Prejudice main plotlines are still present in this story, Elizabeth Ann West changed many small details, which made the book more appealing because we never knew if something would remain the same as canon, or if it would be subtly changed.
The premise is interesting, and I was initially drawn into the book, however, I didn’t feel the romance between Darcy and Elizabeth was built on love but more on lust, and that was a bit off-putting for me. Also, even though there is no anticipation of the wedding vows, they do have several encounters with sexual activities which I didn’t find romantic, on the contrary. Unfortunately these scenes, which didn’t add anything to the plot, gradually made me feel less and less involved with the story or the characters, decreasing therefore my enjoyment with it.
Another aspect that annoyed me in this book was Mr. Bennet’s obsessive and intransigent attitude. Even though an explanation towards this behavior is delivered at the end of the book, it seemed out of character, exaggerated and developped only to make the story going.
There aren’t a lot of internal obstacles towards Elizabeth and Darcy’s love in this story as they fall in love with each other early in the book, so readers who enjoy seeing this couple work their way to happiness together may enjoy this story, but I personally didn’t buy the behaviors of the main characters and there weren’t enough factors in the book that to compensate for the quibbles I had, so I cannot say I loved it.
Summing up, If Mr. Darcy Dared is an inventive book with several interesting details and a strong sexual component which may feel a bit out of character for some readers but may satisfy those who love to witness Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship grow based on lust.
Kitty Bennet’s Level
While Nina Price’s performance is very good in terms of cadence and character interpretation, her deeper tone of voice for male characters, especially Darcy, was a bit distracting and not overly agreeable. At times it even felt she was really struggling to be able to make these different tones of voices, and unfortunately, I cannot recommend this format to get into the story, I believe that maybe the paperback or ebook may be better options.
Today I have the pleasure to welcome once more Riana Everly to From Pemberley to Milton to talk about Death in Sensible Circumstances, book 4 in theMiss Mary Investigates series. This fourth instalment will take Mary and Alexander into a Sense & Sensibility setting, so I am very eager to see how this will play out!
Ms Everly is one of the authors I enjoy the most receiving at From Pemberley to Milton because she always creates very interesting guest posts, and today is no exception! Ms Everly decided to talk to you a little about London, and I hope her words will allow you to travel there 🙂
Thank you for visiting Ms Everly, it is always a pleasure to have you here and to read your informative posts 🙂
Thank you so much for welcoming me once more to your fabulous blog. It’s always a treat to share my thoughts with everybody here.
I’ve been talking a lot about London recently.
London is one of my favourite places to visit. Whether I want history, art, music, theatre, fun neighbourhoods, or beautiful parks, it has so much to offer. Every time I’m there, it’s never for long enough, and a too-short trip last December has left me wanting more. But while I can’t be there in person, I can travel there in my stories.
Unlike some of Jane Austen’s novels, Sense and Sensibility takes place, in part at least, in this very real place, and she gives us details. Norland might be entirely imaginary, as are Barton and Delaford (and Pemberley and Highbury and Mansfield Park), but London is real. The areas she names are real. The streets where her characters live are real. You can find them on a map, and you can walk their lengths.
My newest release, Death in Sensible Circumstances, takes place in that very city in the year 1814, as Mary Bennet and her friend, the investigator Alexander Lyons, are pulled into the world of Sense and Sensibility. When Mary and Elinor Dashwood meet and become friends in a bookshop, Mary becomes a frequent guest at the house on Upper Berkeley Street, where Elinor’s kind friend and chaperone, Mrs Jennings, lives.
Miss Austen knew what she was doing. Mrs Jennings, whose wealth comes from trade, lives in Marylebone. This area, north of prestigious Mayfair, was new and shiny, and at the time of this story, was still being developed. Likewise, Mrs Jennings’ wealth is new and shiny, and she carries with her the traces of her middle-class upbringing. She, too, is still being developed.
The Ferrars, on the other hand, have a house by Park Street, in Mayfair proper. This is where the haute ton lived. Dukes and Earls had their townhomes there. Likewise, surely, people like Mr Darcy, with his ten thousand a year. This is where old, established families lived. Perhaps the shine had gone off the family’s bank account, but if they owned a house there, they would be welcome anywhere in society. It was that sort of area. And the Ferrars were that sort of family. This is what Edward Ferrars was prepared to give up in order to be true to his principles.
The Steele sisters, Lucy and Anne, seemed to have no permanent home, but travelled about, taking advantage of the hospitality of this relation and that, all over England. In London, they stayed with the Richardsons, who lived in Holborn. Holborn was an older area, closer to the old Medieval centre of London, the City, what we might consider shabby chic. It was, in 1814, nice. But not fancy. It was respectable. But not elegant. It wasn’t embarrassing, but it wasn’t Mayfair. Lucy knows this, and she aspires to Mayfair.
And then there is Gracechurch Street, near Cheapside. Mary’s aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, are not part of Austen’s world of Sense and Sensibility, but there is no reason they could not be. Mary, after all, needs somewhere to stay as well. It is, as the Bingley sisters laugh, almost in sight of their warehouses, but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Here is a brief history of the area.
Cheapside has a long and prosperous history. The street itself takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “chepe,” meaning “market,” and it has been a centre of industry and trade for over a thousand years. It is situated well within the walls of the ancient Roman town of Londinium, running roughly from St Paul’s Cathedral to the now-buried Walbrook river, where the ancient Temple to Mithras stood (which you can still see in the basement of the Bloomberg headquarters). The first church of St. Mary-le-Bow was built on the street in about the year 1080 by Archbishop Lefranc, and there may have been an older church on the site. In the 12th century, it was probably more like a market than a street, at 62 feet wide, and jousting tournaments were held there, with the roofs of surrounding buildings providing stands for the crowds.
By the early modern period, the area had become a centre for the jewellery trade and most goldsmiths had their shops here, but it was all destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. St Mary-le-Bow was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1680, and its tower uses the ancient Roman roadway as its foundations. By the mid-1700s, the area had recovered from the devastation of the fire, and became prestigious once more. Caroline Bingley might have sniffed at it, but being situated in this part of London marked the Gardiners as being quite well off, even if their wealth came from trade.
Gracechurch Street itself no longer hosts rows of fine merchants’ houses, but is now the address of modern office towers and commercial developments. But this is still the financial heart of London. This is where business happens. This is where the money comes from.
As a side note, in 1912 some workmen uncovered a huge collection of early 17th-century jewellery in a cellar, which became known as the Cheapside Hoard. Mary and Alexander might have walked past this building every day and not known a thing about the treasures under their feet.
I’ve had to imagine what Gracechurch Street was like back in 1814. Leadenhall Market was nearby, the docklands not so far away, but the Gardiners had no cause to repine about their little part of London. Here is an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery.
The rap at the door came as the family were finishing their dinner. It was early by town hours, but the children must eat at a reasonable time. Mary heard the door open and the quiet tones of the maid, presumably requesting the visitor to wait in the front salon. Her aunt and uncle raised their eyebrows at each other, but concluded the meal as if nothing were amiss.
“Up you go.” Mary’s aunt kissed each of her children in turn. “Be sure to complete all your schoolwork and then you may read or ask Miss Boyd to take you to the square. I shall be up later.” The four young Gardiners responded in kind, hugging their parents before disappearing up the back stairs. This was an affectionate family, elegant and sensible. The oldest child, a girl of eleven, was a great reader already and she and Mary had spent a great many hours discussing all the books neither of them ought to have read.
When the children were gone, Mr. Gardiner stepped out of the dining room for a moment. “The visitor is for you, Mary. A young man whom I have seen before but not met, but who says he knows you. He calls himself Alexander Lyons. A Scot, by his hair and his speech. Are you willing to speak to him?”
Mary could not keep the smile from touching her lips. “Yes, I will see him.”
“And I shall sit in the corner,” her aunt supplied. “I will not have you returned to my sister with your reputation blemished.”
Mary hid a laugh. If only her aunt knew how many times Mary and Alexander had conferred completely in private, and for how long! Mary had previously mentioned her association with Alexander, for the tale of how Lizzy was absolved of a charge of murder was famous in the family now, but the details, well, those she preferred to keep private.
“By all means, Aunt. Please, allow me to introduce Mr. Lyons to you.”
The introductions were performed and Mary and Alexander made themselves comfortable before the bright window in the back parlour. Mary’s aunt sat in a chair on the other side of the room, working at some sewing. Her uncle was in his study, the next room over, with both doors open. Mama would be pleased at the prodigious care her brother and sister took of Mary’s reputation.
“Mary,” Alexander began, his voice low enough that his words would not reach unintended ears. The crease on his brow betrayed his unease. “How long have you been in London? Why did you not tell me you were here? I have done something to displease you, but I cannot think what. I thought we were better friends than this. Please, can we talk?”
Mary’s face grew warm. Her earlier feelings of injury had been tempered by Elinor’s words, and embarrassment blossomed where indignation had once been. She opened her mouth, unsure of what to say, but the sight of her aunt by the door stopped her attempts.
“Later. When we are alone.”
Alexander’s eyes flickered to their chaperone, and he nodded. “Yes. Of course.” The words were all but a whisper. Then, in a somewhat stronger voice, he added, “I have something else I wish to confer about.”
Mary let out a rush of breath. “Something about Edward Ferrars?”
“Just so.” The copper head bounced in a short nod. “How came you to be associated with him?”
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.
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.
You can contact her throught the following links, she loves meeting readers:
Ms Everly is delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog she visits. She will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. She’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. She will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure she has a way to contact you.
I hope this week will treat you kindly! I know I’ll have more busy days at work ahead of me, but on Friday I’ll finally take some vacation time, so I’m very excited this week has finally arrived 🙂
Today I am hosting for the first time at FPTM author KC Cowan and I am very happy about it, not only because she is a fellow reporter (I’m not a reporter anymore, but I used to be), but also because she is here with an excerpt of The Bennets: Providence & Perception, a P&P sequel that will give Mary Bennet her much deserved love story, or so I hope.
Mary Bennet is my favourite Bennet sister, after Elizabeth of course, and I am always eager to see new books developing her character and giving Mary her own story. This sequel also appears to give Mr. Bennet some relevance, and I have to say I will enjoy seeing him as a widow with a second opportunity to find happiness in his life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he found a more compatible match that would give him an heir?
My TBR is completely out of control nowadays, but this is certainly one book I want to read as soon as possible! And I hope that may be very, very soon because I am really very intrigued and interested in this story. What about you? Are you #TeamMary as well? I know most people love a Darcy and Elizabeth novel, but who can resist Mary? I can’t 🙂
I hope you enjoy the excerpt and that you join me in wishing Ms. Cowan a huge success with this release 🙂
That afternoon, Mary was resting in her room when she heard a soft knock at the door.
“Come in.” Expecting Mrs. Hill, or perhaps even her father, she was surprised and pleased to see Mrs. Withers enter her room. Mary quickly scooted off her bed where she had been curled up, tried to smooth her now rumpled dress, and put on her spectacles.
“Oh! I did not expect you, Mrs. Withers. Why did Hill not come for me?”
“Forgive me the intrusion, Miss Bennet, but my brother and I were visiting with your father and sister. When I did not see you, I asked Hill whether I could just slip up to check on you. The parlor is quite full of people just now, come to offer their sympathies.”
“Yes, word has reached most people in the village by now. I…I suppose I should go down to meet our guests. It would only be proper.”
“Kitty and your father are managing.”
Anguish washed over Mary as she spoke bitterly. “Naturally. I am not needed. Why should anyone wish to speak to me, after all?”
Mrs. Withers crossed quickly to Mary and took her hands in her own.
“Oh, that was not my meaning at all! Pray forgive me for distressing you.” She guided Mary to sit beside her on the bed. “I only meant you should go down when you feel up to it. I am certain your presence is greatly missed.”
Mary shook her head sadly. “And I am every bit as certain no one has even noticed my absence. You are too new to the area to know yet, but I am the unseen Bennet sister.”
Mary fumbled in her dress pocket for a handkerchief, wiped her eyes, and blew her nose. “Forgive me; I am quite ashamed of my outburst. The sharing of my emotions is ill-timed just now. My thoughts should be on Papa, Kitty, and the others—not on myself.”
“You may be assured of my discretion. As for your comments…well, doubtless it is the tremendous stress you feel. Certainly, once you are past the shock of it all, happier memories will surface to comfort you.”
Mary gave her a wry look. “Your optimism is duly noted.” She made an exasperated noise and shook herself. “Enough! I must go and do my duty as my father’s daughter. Shall we go together?” She began to move towards the door when Mrs. Withers gently put a hand out and stopped her.
“Will…will you allow me to assist you with your hair before we leave, Miss Bennet? It is a bit mussed from lying down. You wish to look your best, I am sure.”
Mary gave her companion a long look. “As if anyone would notice. Besides, does not the holy book warn against vanity? Our focus should be on higher things.”
Mrs. Withers simply smiled, steered Mary to the dressing table, and made her sit. Before Mary could say another word, the widow had undone her hair and was combing out the tangles. As she brushed and arranged Mary’s tresses, she kept up a quiet conversation.
“While undue vanity is a sin, I believe there is nothing wrong with trying to look our best while in this world. After all, does not our Lord wish all his creatures to be at their best? Why did he make flowers so lovely if they were not to be admired? I see no reason not to make the most of our physical gifts. No one would ever call me a great beauty, but I still do what I can with what the good Lord gifted me.” After pulling back most of Mary’s hair and securing it a bit loosely, she took the remainder and began to braid two thin side plaits and pin them in loops that framed Mary’s narrow face.
“Oh—I do not wear it that way,” Mary protested.
“But it will flatter your face—just watch.”
Too tired to argue, Mary let her continue. When Mrs. Withers was done, Mary studied her reflection. She had always just pulled her hair back somewhat severely from her face, never making the most of its natural wavy tendencies. But now she saw how this new style softened her features. Heavens! It made her look—well, if not handsome exactly—at least a little less plain.
“Oh my,” she whispered, leaning forward to see every detail in the mirror. “I look quite different…”
Mrs. Withers beamed. “You see? I did not have time to do anything very elaborate, but I think it quite pretty. Does that not give you a bit more courage to face the world?”
Mary blinked back tears, reached up, and clutched her friend’s hand.
“It does. Thank you.”
Together, they descended the stairs and entered the formal parlor. If anyone noticed Mary’s new appearance, the only one to comment was Kitty, who stared at her briefly before blurting out, “Good heavens, what have you done with your hair?”
Unable to think of a reply, Mary felt a surge of relief when Mrs. Withers, standing nearby, came to her rescue again.
“Is it not lovely? Your sister had truly been hiding her beautiful hair like a light under a bushel as it says in the Bible—but no longer.”
Stunned by all the attention, Mary allowed Mrs. Withers to take her by the arm and walk her towards a group of visitors.
“Do be so kind as to introduce me to your guests, Miss Bennet,” Mrs. Withers said in a low voice. “I am so eager to meet all who are a part of Robert’s new parish.”
The mention of the handsome rector gave Mary a brief start. Had he noticed how well she looked? She quickly gazed across the room where Mr. Yarby was speaking with her father. The rector glanced up and smiled before returning to his conversation. The briefest of looks—but Mary felt her heart swell. Then she found herself introducing Mrs. Withers to her aunt and uncle Phillips.
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 fatherfinds 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?
You can find The Bennets: Providence & Perception at:
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.
The blog tour for The Bennets: Providence & Perception was launched today so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn more about this book! Check out the remaining stops for more information, and more opportunities to enter the giveaways Meryton Press is offering 🙂
Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook for each stop on the Blog Tour, for a total of six eBooks, so if you’d like to enter the giveaway please leave a comment below and let us know if you are #TeamMary. The giveaway is open until the 31rst and the winner will be announced shortly after.
I hope you’re all doing well this week. I’m still very busy at work, but I am super excited about the post I have to share with you today. For those who haven’t heard yet, Don Jacobson will have a new book coming out on March 28th called The Sailor’s Rest. This will be published independently, and it is the author’s twelfth variation using Austen’s Canon as a basis for the story.
The Sailor’s Rest is a cross-over (not a mash-up) of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. For plot purposes, the novel is set on the Persuasion timeline in 1815. However, the age and plot constructs from Pride and Prejudice have been maintained to establish context.
As I am sure you know by now, these are my two favourite Austen books, so I am very happy to see another cross over coming out! And I am even more happy, and honored, to be the first to reveal to you the cover of this book 🙂 Cover Reveals are my favourite type of posts, and this book has a classical cover I adore! But I am getting ahead of myself, before doing the big reveal, I need to tell you more about the story, so I’ll let you read the blurb and a fabulous excerpt where you’ll find both Darcy and Wentworth 🙂 Yes, they are both in the same scene, how perefect is that?
Thank you so much for visiting Don! It is a pleasure to have you here! I wish you all the happiness with this book 🙂
The Sailor’s Rest: 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.
The Sailor’s Rest is set in the Persuasion timeline of 1815 but leaves in place the age and plot constructs established by Austen in Pride and Prejudice. This is a full-length novel of 115,000 words.
Part mystery, part adventure – and all heart – This has the feel of a Hornblower epic.
Alice McVeigh, author of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel
Wentworth swam to the surface as the fog beclouding his mind began to dissipate. Early on he imagined himself in his hanging bed aboard the Laconia. That notion quickly faded the more aware he was of his face scraping back and forth across the deck. If that was not enough, the press of another body against him, accompanied by stertorous snores leavened by moans, spoke volumes.
His ship master’s mind immediately ran through twenty years pacing Royal Navy quarterdecks. His intimacy with the unfixed terrain of the waters surrounding northwestern Europe led him to conclusions yet to be proven by observation. Must be working our way back toward France on a southeast heading if the way she works through the swell is any marker. Tacking across to gain easy passage past the Downs, Deal, and Dover. Need plenty of sea room to keep shut of those damn sucking sands. Wait…if I am down here, who has the watch?
Oh, this is not Laconia, but if not her, what ship? Feels like my old girl and neither larger like a lumbering liner nor a smaller sloop like my dear Asp. Has to be a frigate, and there are sore few on Channel patrol with most of the fleet paid off.
Ooooh, my head feels like I caught a block falling from the mizzen’s rigging.
And who is in here with me? Last thing I recall is dinner. Barton…Barton upon Humber! That’s it! I was at a table with a man, a gentleman! After that, though, darkness.
His nose provided a partial answer—at least to the ‘here’ part of his wonderings—as the oaky scent of freshly planed wood shavings mixed with shellack’s spice registered.
I remember this from when I was but a squeaker being sent to Chips’s locker to look for a ‘long yard.’
Then his ears promised more answers. His companion’s wheezes switched to low moans. Wentworth tested his limbs. Briefly surprised that his hands and legs were unbound—not as if I am going anywhere if we are cruising toward Brest, so why waste cordage—he slid his hands along the deck untilhe could lever himself upward and crouch on his knees. He knew better than to try his steadiness until his head cleared.
His neighbor joined him with a bout of coughing and clearing his throat. “Hello? Who is there?” A searching hand patted about until it hit Wentworth’s thigh.
Wentworth whispered, “Keep your voice low, mate, until we have sorted this out. I’m not sure what’s happening, but it cannot be good.” Then a name flashed before him. “Are you called Darcy? Were we dining together?”
Darcy rolled away and onto his side, “Yes on both counts. I am Darcy, and you must be that navy captain the innkeeper introduced: Wentworth. What sort of fiendishness is this?”
“Fiendish is correct, Darcy. I have heard of such things, but usually only in the Carib trade. A hostler will pocket silver to help a merchant captain man his ship by slipping his customers rum laced with something more.”
Darcy’s voice was stronger now but low in keeping with Wentworth’s injunction. “Illuminating, Wentworth, but it tells me nothing about why we were taken.”
“That remains to be seen. I assume our captors have other plans for us because we are breathing air and not North Sea brine,” Wentworth replied.
Darcy grumbled and began moving with purpose. “Well, you may be content to kneel here, but I am a Darcy, and I will meet whatever fate these dogs wish to mete out on my own two feet!” He began to stand.
Wentworth felt Darcy’s position change. “Wai…”
A solid thunk told the story. Darcy’s head slammed into a deck beam, and he collapsed with a groan. Pemberley’s master fell silent as he tried to shake away the starry blizzard blinding him.
Despite their grim situation, Laconia’s former captain chuckled at his companion’s plight. “If memory serves, Darcy, you are too long-boned for either a frigate or a sloop. Those of us bred to live on board ship quickly adjust to reduced leeway when walking about. Some argue that part of Lord Nelson’s success came from never scrambling his brains in his younger years. I once met the man and. I was but a stripling adolescent, and, even so, I bested him by an inch or two.”
Darcy’s introduction to their cell presaged the next event in their new life. The sounds of a heavy pin being removed and a stout hasp being pulled back disrupted their ruminations. A lantern’s light blinded them. They creaked to their feet, Darcy keeping bent to avoid another blow. Wentworth softly cautioned, “Follow my lead.”
“All right, ye two, get up and shift for yourselfs. Don’ know what pot ye was drinkin’ from, but ye wuz able ta take your bounty ta sign on. Can’t say but we be happy with a few extra hands. Th’ First wants ta see all volunteers afore they be read in so’s ta know who’s joinin’ th’ company. I be Bosun Tomlinson. And ye be?”
Darcy began his protest, but the words caught in his throat when Wentworth ground a bare heel on his arch. The captain’s laconic Bristol-accented reply—thicker and less cultured than when they had sat to dinner—was limited to a few well-chosen words. “Fred Tomkins, able, an’ Will Smith, landsman.”
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 Lessersand 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)
Before the big reveal, here is what Don has to say about the art cover 🙂
“The cover art is Shipping on the Clyde (1881) by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). I found this painting particularly evocative. The nighttime setting and the almost abstract treatment of the masts and rigging contribute to the tone I sought to set for the book. Many mysteries hide in the darkness…that gloom on a waterfront is even more lonely and profound.
That emotion characterizes the mystery and the chase. Both pairs (note, not couples) feel their loneliness and loss in their own ways. I would say that three of hem (Elizabeth, Anne, and Darcy) are most deeply immersed in their separation. Wentworth feels it, but aboard Persephone, his mind can turn to duty and a resolution of the situations where the others can only wrap themselves in their thoughts.”
And now…here is the beautiful cover of The Sailor’s Rest!
What do you think about it? Isn’t it lovely? I love the fact that the cover is a painting and I particularly like this style. The fire keeping the two people warm gave this cover a sense of warmth and coziness, and it made me feel right there with those two individuals. The cover transported me into a different era, and it made me immediately imagine several scenes occurring there, so it somehow made the book much more visual for me. Never underestimate the power of a cover in the readers immersion in the story!
I also think the colors and font style of the title give it that extra charm that really pulls readers into the book. Using two different fonts for the title and placing it in a beautiful and classical frame made it really appealing for me 😊
And you know I am a sucker for back covers because I think they are just as important as front covers, so I couldn’t do this reveal without showing you the full cover!
I particularly like the warm colours we see reflected in the sidewalk of the back cover, and how shiny it is. It demonstrates the rain is now gone and it gives it a feeling of hope. I also like how the spine colour binds itself so well with both front and back covers and the classy beautiful detail of the frame where the blurb is placed. Plus, there is a certain asymmetry but also connection between the front and back cover that works really well.
This is a beautiful work, and the designers deserve my congratulations! Not only the cover is beautiful, but it also reveals taste. Can you tell I really loved this cover?!
It is a beautiful cover and it will look really well on people’s shelves 🙂
Don Jacobson brings with him a very generous giveaway! He will be giving away 10 e-book copies of The Sailor’s Rest to randomly selected winners. Please use the link to Rafflecopter below. No purchase necessary.
Life has been very busy for me with lots of extra work this week, but I’m very happy to share with you today one of my favourite types of posts: an Interview!
Author Christine Combe has recently released Why I Kissed You, a Darcy/Elizabeth centric romance, and she answered a few questions to tell you more about it. I hope you like this interview and share your thoughts in the conversation with us. And if you’re curious about the book, don’t forget to check out the other blog tour stops 🙂
Greetings, fellow Austenians! I’m so excited to be visiting From Pemberley to Milton again. Today I’m here to brag about my newest release, 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.
Hope that blurb intrigues you! Now, I’m going to be answering some questions about the book and myself to help you get to know a little bit about my story and me.
This story is a variation that starts sometime after the original, correct?
Yes, it deviates from the canon in the immediate aftermath of the disastrous proposal at Hunsford. A lot of JAFF authors have started their story at about this point in the story, though this is the first time I’ve tried it.
What inspired you to choose this point to start?
I was working on my last book, Three Brides for Three Cousins. Habitually, I will play Austen films on another screen or classical music while writing to keep me in the right headspace for the Regency period. I prefer a little background noise while I write over absolute quiet.
Anyway, I remember I was writing away and had a P&P marathon going that day. I happened to look up at my second screen at the very moment in the 2005 movie where Darcy and Elizabeth have just finished arguing over the botched proposal and it looks like they’re about to kiss in spite of having just been fighting! I know the director did that on purpose, but I just remember having the thought “What if they did kiss?”
So, they do kiss in your new book?
Oh yes. More than once, actually.
Care to share any other changes you made?
Like in my other books, I tend to write Jane as less naïve and more sensible, and Bingley has a little more spine than in the original. I mean, he did walk away from Jane, but when he learns the truth himself, he’s a different Bingley.
Darcy and Elizabeth get their HEA, I hope?
Of course! I may challenge some JAFF standards—like Colonel Fitzwilliam’s first name or the name of his father’s title—but I am not fool enough to have Darcy and Elizabeth end up with anyone other than each other! I mean, they kiss more than once, why wouldn’t they get together? 😊
Tell the readers something about yourself. How long have you been writing JAFF?
2023 marks my sixth year as a published JAFF author. I started writing my first book, The Correction of Folly, in 2017, and published it in 2018. Why I Kissed You is my seventh JAFF novel. I will publish one more, possibly two more books this year.
Why I Kissed You is a P&P variation. Do you write variations for any of Austen’s other novels?
Not at the present, but I hope to in the future. My first book—actually the first in a series that will crossover all six major novels—was a Sense and Sensibility variation, which did not do quite as well as I had hoped it would. I will admit that I was very disappointed, and nearly considered giving up writing altogether since I had been self-publishing for several years and hadn’t had much luck at it. I figured, what was the point in writing a sequel if no one was going to read it? But I had met some really nice people on Facebook in various JAFF and Jane Austen groups, and they encouraged me to keep writing. It took me almost three years to finish Choice and Consequence, the second book in the series, which continued a sub-plot from the first book and focused on Pride and Prejudice characters. That book did so well that I very quickly realized Pride and Prejudice stories are the most wanted. So, I put the What Might Have Been series on hold and decided to focus on P&P variations.
How has that worked out for you?
Very well, actually. I made very good money on that second book, so was encouraged to try my hand at a standalone novel. The first standalone I wrote was an alternate history variation in which the fortunes of Darcy and Elizabeth were reversed called The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Each book since has done well, due in large part to their all being Pride and Prejudice variations. The money I have made since May of 2021, when Choice and Consequence was published, has been very much a blessing. I’ve caught up on bills, gotten myself out of debt, and improved my credit score, among other things.I don’t want anyone to think I’m throwing these stories out there just to make a quick buck, because I’m not—I care a great deal about writing a quality story. Besides which, if the stories were bad, no one would read them. Word spreads pretty quickly in the JAFF community, and readers are very particular about what they do and do not like. I respect that they want to see these beloved characters well treated, and I want to respect Austen’s genius in having created them. It’s just that I have learned what I need to do to make money at this, and I will keep doing it as long as I can.
Do you work outside of the home and write on the side, like many independent authors do?
I used to, but in November of 2022, I took the plunge and dedicated myself to writing full time. I don’t make Nora Roberts-level megabucks, but all my bills are paid, my pets and I have food, and there’s even a little extra left over for treating myself. Much as I wish I had a few million dollars to purchase an English country estate, I’ll be content with what I’ve been blessed with.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I have a couple of stories started on my hard drive. I am eight or nine chapters into another story under the working title The Safe House, and I am also considering what my next book should be about. I think I may have settled on something, so we will see what the future holds!
Why I Kissed You is now available from Amazon in eBook, paperback, and hardcover editions! 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.
I am very happy to welcome once more Ms. Cherith Boardman to From Pemberley to Milton. The last time this author visited my blog we did a fun interview where she talked about her book Total Want of Propriety and its connections to Portugal, so this time we thought you’d like something different that would you give you a taste of her recently released book Mistaken Premise, and it was decided that an excerpt was in order 🙂
I hope you all enjoy it, and that you share your opinion of it with us. Don’t forget that giving us your opinion of the excerpt will entitle you for the giveaway this author is kindly offering.
Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Cherith, it was a true pleasure to welcome you at From Pemberley to Milton, I hope to see you again soon 🙂 .
Tuesday, March 31, 1812Darlington HouseSt James’s-square
After dancing with the Marquess of Carnarvon, the heir to the Duke of Chandos[i], Lizzy was returning to Lady Dashwood when Lady Lavinia Casgen rushed to her schoolfriend, eyes glowing with excitement. “Oh, Liz— I mean, Lady Portencross, come with me to the retiring room, for I must share the most delicious news.”
Unfamiliar with Lady Darlington’s home, Lizzy clutched her friend’s hand as Lavinia deftly wended their way through the throng, heading towards the opposite side of the ballroom. She stopped short when her friend entered a room lined with bookshelves. “You must have missed it, Lady Lavinia; this is not the lady’s retiring room.”
“Oh, that is next door. I wanted to tell you my news first, and this room is quieter and affords more privacy.” The elder girl shepherded the future duchess further into the room.
Lady Portencross was young, but she was not stupid. Her dowry and future as the Duchess of Soloway made her the object of every fortune hunter, and the ridiculous hypocrisy of the ton rendered a young lady’s reputation the most fragile thing on earth. Lady Lavinia was a friend of long-standing, but Lizzy used her superior height to remain but three steps from the door. Morris has always taught me to trust my instincts.
Sure enough, Lady Lavinia’s eldest brother, the Marquess of Asal, stepped from behind a bookcase. “Good evening, Lady Elizabeth – if I may be so bold as to call you that, my dear, for you’ll soon be my bride.”
The moment the marquess revealed himself, Lizzy’s eyes blazed with fury at her so-called friend. The marquess drawled, “Leave now, Lavinny, and guard the door ‘til Father and Mother come.”
Lady Portencross had no intention of remaining. “Worry not, your ladyship; I was just leaving.”
Lavinia tried to stop her, but Lizzy positioned herself to use the defensive manoeuvres taught by Morris against the smaller Lavinia when Mr Darcy wandered through the still-open door. In his hand was a pocket-sized book, and he only looked up as he stumbled into Lady Portencross, who was nearest the door. “Oh, forgive me, your ladyships.” He bowed to both girls, then looked to the marquess. “You, too, your lordship – excuse my interruption. I wished to stave off a growing headache; Lady Darlington assured me this room would suit my purposes.”
Lizzy used this Providential opportunity. “You are interrupting nothing, Mr Darcy; in fact, I was preparing to leave, for my business here is finished.”
Anger, relief, and betrayal swirled through Lady Portencross’ moss-green eyes. Darcy had followed her, having seen Lord Asal – who had boasted an imminent unification of the duchies of Soloway and Oxford – slip into the hall but a few moments before Lady Lavinia approached Lady Portencross. After he and Milton had, by chance, extricated the young countess from the impositions of Musgrave at the Bertram’s ball, Darcy had taken to watching for other avaricious rakes importuning Lady Portencross.
Darcy offered his arm. “Allow me to return you to Lady Dashwood and Her Grace, your ladyship.”
Lizzy trusted Mr Darcy. He is a gentleman with too much principle to devise such a nefarious plot. Neither she nor Darcy took their leave of either Casgen as they passed into the hall. Once in relative privacy, Lizzy pressed his arm. “Thank you, Mr Darcy.”
Darcy traced a single finger along her gloved hand which rested upon his forearm. “Pray, mention it not, your ladyship. Be assured, I will not.”
By then, they had reached the ballroom, where Darcy wordlessly directed her into the forming lines of dancers.
Neither Lady Portencross nor Mr Darcy noticed the third person in the hallway. News of the Duchess of Oxford’s boasts that her daughter, Lady Lavinia, had befriended Lady Portencross to forward a match betwixt her brother, the Marquess of Asal, and the future duchess, reached the Marchioness of Westfall but the day before. Suspicious when the family spent the early part of the evening in confederation, she watched them. Their togetherness was most unusual, for the marquess rarely attended respectable gatherings such as tonight’s entertainment – no, the Cyprian’s Ball was his preference[ii]– and the duke and duchess had maintained separate households for the last decade.
The brother and sister had conferred together, then parted company with a nod: the marquess towards the ladies’ retiring room, and Lady Lavinia to intercept Lady Portencross. The Marchioness of Westfall liked the future duchess, delighting in the young lady’s independence of thought; she was a much-needed breath of fresh air amongst the stagnant and hackneyed circles of London’s Upper Ten Thousand. The Marchioness of Westfall was following the two young Ladies when Mr Darcy strode past her, heading in the same direction. They both hearing the Marquess of Asal’s admonition to his sister, and her ladyship watched as Mr Darcy removed a book from his breast pocket and entered the open door with the distracted air of a gentleman absorbed in his reading, astonishing his audience with his heretofore-unknown acting talent.
The Marchioness of Westfall stepped behind a potted palm as Lady Portencross and Mr Darcy exited the room, arm-in-arm, as Lord Asal and Lady Lavinia argued over who held the greater share of the blame for the evening’s failure. The Duke and Duchess of Oxford entered the hallway a few moments later, with Lord and Lady Rowcester – two of the prevailing gossips in the ton – in tow. “Yes, yes… come this way, and I shall introduce you to my son and heir. He is in the library.”
The duke and duchess stopped short upon discerning the open door, but the smooth politician recovered. “Erm, look! Here is our daughter, too!”
Lady Westfall remained behind the potted plant during the inane introductions, impressed by the Duke of Oxford’s family’s ability to put a pleasant façade on their thwarted plans. At length, Her Grace returned the Rowcesters to the ballroom, leaving her remaining family free to speak.
“Where is the chit?” the duke snarled.
“A gentleman she knew interrupted us… Mr Darcy, she called him,” Lady Lavinia explained.
“Then we shall publish in the papers that she was in the room alone with Asal, and this Darcy can confirm.”
“Won’t work, Father,” the marquess said in his lazy disregard for the King’s English. “Darcy ambled through an open door and saw Lavinny in the room. There’ll be no working on Darcy, either. He’s younger than me but is a sanctimonious prig – Lord Matlock’s nephew, and he shares his uncle’s and Lord Milton’s reputation for honesty. Should we publish the implication, Darcy would expose our plot of harming Lady Portencross – and we’d receive naught but hate, from both Society and the Crown, for daring to plot against their darling.”
With a nod of satisfaction – that was the first sensible thing the marquess has said all night – Lady Westfall, at last, left the hallway, confident that the future duchess’ reputation was secure.
[i] I have fictionally extended this line: Jane Austen was the great-great niece of the 1st Duke of Chandos, a title which was extinct by 1812.
[ii] The Cyprian’s Ball was an event where mistresses and prostitutes (sometimes called Cyprians during the Regency) searched for new patrons.
With everything in his favour, ’tis no wonder Fitzwilliam Darcy thinks well of himself.
The head of an ancient Norman family, Mr Darcy is the generous and revered master of Pemberley, a respected MP, and a valued friend and neighbour. The powerful Earl of Matlock, his uncle, and his cousin, Viscount Milton, ally with him in Parliament, increasing not only his political influence but his eligibility amongst the most sought-after bachelors of the ton.
Joining his schoolmate at the latter’s leased estate, Darcy knows there will be no one of any consideration in the world in the backwaters of Meryton, Hertfordshire.
But amongst these rustic savages, Darcy discovers a hidden treasure: a fine-eyed young lady of kindness and wit. Miss Elizabeth, the second daughter of Longbourn, is as open and amiable as she is graceful and intelligent, caring for the needs of the estate’s tenants and deflecting incivility with smiles and bon mots.
Yet notwithstanding Elizabeth’s many perfections, Darcy leaves her behind, for how can he damage the Darcy heritage by marrying the penniless daughter of an obscure country squire?
But Fitzwilliam Darcy shall soon learn… not everything is as he believes.
Mistaken Premise is a Lizzy coming-coming-of-age story as she grows from an idyllic childhood, through unforeseen turmoil that nearly costs her identity and her life, to ultimately finding her place in the world.
Mistaken Premise is a story of the healing power of love in the worst of circumstances.
Mistaken Premise is a 190,000 word novel using British and historical vocabulary and spelling.
Ms. Boardman would like to offer to one lucky reader an ebook copy of Mistaken Premise. Leave a comment on this blog telling us your opinion of the excerpt until the 17th of March to apply to it. The winner will be announced shortly after that.
Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment is a Pride and Prejudice variation where magic and faeries are real, but unlike many other fantasy novels, it does not simply add fantasy elements to a P&P variation, it creates its own storyline, rules and characters.
When fey attacks start occurring quite frequently, humans become concerned that a war between them is imminent, but Elizabeth Bennet discovers she has strong ties to the fey and together with Fitzwilliam Darcy tries to bring these two forces back together. They will get involved not only in this conflict, but also get caught in family secrets, dramas and schemes of powerful sorcerers.
As soon as I started listening to the audiobook of Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment I could tell this was a book written by a great writer because I am not overly enthusiastic about magical stories, but I was immediately interested in what was happening in this one. As the story progresses, and both fairy and human worlds are explored by both humans and fey, the multiple characters slowly unveil to others and to the reader the rules that exist in this alternative universe. Because the rules are explained progressively with the evolution of the story, it is easy for the reader to be immersed in this different world and to become absorbed with the tale.
I wouldn’t say this book is overly romantic but as always with Abigail Reynolds the tension between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is felt through the pages adding to the pleasure of getting engrossed in an epic storyline.
I particularly liked seeing so many new characters with their own backstory and interests. This book is not focused solely on Elisabeth and Darcy and even if I loved their scenes, I did enjoy having other characters to captivate me cheer for.
I also liked the fact that neither Elizabeth nor Darcy are incredibly powerful mages because that allowed other characters to come to life and gain a preponderance in the novel that was well deserved. It also allowed us to see several people using their skills and combine their forces in action packed scenes that could easily be part of an Hollywood production J I enjoyed the strategies these characters came up with, and especially the final resolution of the conflict that exposed the identity of their enemies. It was a very touching ending, and even if it made me cry, I really loved it.
Another detail I enjoyed in this book was Mrs. Bennet backstory, the explanation of her personality, and the transformations we saw occurring in her and those around her.
Summing up, Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment is an epic fantasy romance that will appeal to all who love magic and faeries. It is absorbing, entertaining and I recommend it to my fellow readers.
Elizabeth Bennet’s Level
I absolutely love Elizabeth Klett’s narration! She was incredible with this book and it wasn’t an easy task with so many different characters and accents. She did an incredible job not only with the pacing but especially with character differentiation, even giving the fae characters distinctive manners of speaking that made them come to life. I am sure she made the enjoyment I had with this story even greater than if I had read it so I highly recommend getting an audio copy of this book. I am certain it is the best way to get into this story 🙂
This year is starting well at From Pemberley to Milton with many guests visiting and bringing gifts with them, and it is time to announce the lucky winner of another one of those giveaways, an ebook copy of A Long Way From Clare, courtesy of Meryton Press Publisher.
Before announcing the winner, I would like to thank Robert W. Smith for his visit and his kindness in answering the comments of all who visited FPTM, Meryton Press for their generosity and Janet Taylor for asking me to be a part of this wonderful blog tour. Thank you all!!
Now without further ado, the giveaway winner is:
A Long Way From Clare
I would like to ask the winner to please send your email contact and the amazon store you use to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that the prize may be sent to you.
In this Pride & Prejudice novella Elizabeth and Jane Bennet are invited by the Gardiners to spend a few months in London during the winter, and this creates the perfect opportunity for them to reconnect with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. With valentine activities occurring in London soirees, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves in the middle of a valentines display that demonstrates Darcy’s romantic and passionate feelings, and Elizabeth’s strong convictions and will.
I loved the valentines they exchanged and the wittiness with which these characters were able to convey their messages. They are both interesting and intelligent characters in this novel and their valentines demonstrate exactly how well suited they are for each other. The valentines they wrote were a perfect and fun way to portray both the Hunsford marriage proposal and its refusal and are definitely one of the highlights of this book.
Despite the fact that Mr. Darcy’s Valentine is a novella, and therefore only has 166 pages, the author was able to add everything most P&P stories have without ever rushing events or character developments. Ms. Moll gave all these characters time to deal with all their feelings, allowed the plot to flow in a balanced yet exciting manner, and permitted Darcy and Elizabeth to have plenty of interactions and dialogues with one another, which was a feature I particularly liked.
I absolutely loved the story construction in Mr. Darcy’s Valentines which I believe demonstrated the authors talent to tell a story and immerse the reader in the pages of her books.
I also liked the little jealousy that was present in the book, the fact that Mr. Darcy had a rival, and the friendship Elizabeth and Georgiana developed. It is truly incredible how the author was able to add all these elements to the story without ever rushing it.
In short, Mr. Darcy’s Valentine is a beautiful and lovely seasonal novella that all P&P fans will adore! It is full of Darcy and Elizabeth scenes and I highly recommend it to readers.
Author MJ Stratton visits today with a guest post and an excerpt of From Another Perspective, a very interesting and original story that will be released on the 11th of February. I’ve seen many books that tell us Austen’s stories from a different POV, but this one appears to have many different POV’s from many different secondary characters, which is quite unique and interesting in my opinion.
Do you enjoy seeing familiar events from different perspectives? It always makes me think about human nature to see the same event described by someone with a different personality, so this is a story that intrigues me 🙂 But why don’t you take a look at the excerpt to tell us what you think of this idea? And don’t forget, there is a giveaway going on, so check it out too 🙂
I can’t remember the last time a story just poured out of my mind and through my fingertips. We made a last minute decision to go to visit my husband’s family just before Christmas. Their home is three hours from ours, and traveling with 4 children, three of which have special needs, is no picnic.
Everyone was asleep except me. The hotel room we were in wasn’t very big, and the bed was awful. My almost one year old had already woken up twice, and by the time I had her back to sleep, my brain was wide awake. So, I started filtering through different plot bunnies I had on the back burner.
I’m not sure what triggered the actual idea, but it suddenly occurred to my sleep-deprived brain that I had never seen a variation that told the story from the perspective of minor characters. And I’m not talking one or two minor characters, but 16. So, I pulled out my phone and there, in the dark, I wrote out a rough outline following the Pride and Prejudice timeline, assigning one chapter per character.
Over the next few days, I puzzled out a few things in my head. When we returned home, I started writing. The book came together in about two weeks. Many of my characters were rather fun to write. Anne de Bourgh was a surprise. She’s far from the insipid miss everyone thinks she is. Louisa Hurst was another one that surprised me. She has actually inspired a whole new story that I am working on right now. Another interesting character is Mrs. Hill. Her real role in the lives of the Bennets was enlightening.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this fresh take on Pride and Prejudice!
Mrs. Penelope Long was a quiet woman, who often faded into the background of social gatherings. The lady could be quite vocal with the right inducement and had many louder friends with whom she enjoyed gossiping about the latest news surrounding the environs of Meryton. It was in the home of Sir William and Lady Lucas, and in their happy company, that she found herself just two days before the assembly that was to be held in their dear village.
“Has Sir William been to call upon Mr. Bingley, yet?” Mrs. Goulding asked Lady Lucas eagerly.
“He has indeed!” Lady Lucas said. “Sir William finds the gentleman to be all that is pleasing. He has stated that Mr. Bingley dresses very well and wears his enthusiasm like a well-fitted coat!”
Mrs. Long smiled behind her teacup. The description was somewhat ridiculous and just what one might expect from the garrulous Sir William Lucas. He was a jolly sort, though perhaps overly impressed with his knighthood. Still, there was no harm in being proud of one’s accomplishments.
“Oh! I am all aflutter to think that such a fine man is in our midst,” came Mrs. Bennet’s shrill voice. “Though I am rather vexed. Mr. Bennet has insisted he will not visit Mr. Bingley. What will the residents of Netherfield think of such incivility?”
Again, Penelope mused to herself. It was likely that Mr. Bennet had already visited Mr. Bingley and the man had chosen to torment his poor wife by withholding the information. Such was Mr. Bennet’s way. The entire community was used to it, though that did not make it any less of a tragedy that one should treat his wife in such an infamous manner.
“My dear Fanny, Mr. Bennet will have to see him eventually, you know. I am sure that the party at Netherfield will be much involved in our little community and attend many soirees and evenings of fun,” Mrs. Phillips said soothingly. Mrs. Phillips had always had a way of calming her sister’s effusions, and this time was no different. Mrs. Bennet settled back into her chair and sipped her tea.
Mrs. Phillips had been quite put out that Mrs. Long had told her sister Bennet the news from Netherfield before she had the opportunity. Mrs. Long rarely had the village gossip first and had been pleased to relate it to Mrs. Bennet before her sister could. Mrs. Long had the news from Mr. Morris, the owner of Netherfield, quite by chance. Mr. Morris resided in London, preferring the bustle of the city to the country, and was returning to town after reviewing the accounts at Netherfield as he did once a year. She had encountered the gentleman at the Swan, a coaching inn just ten miles south of Meryton, on her own return from town. He had informed her there that Netherfield had been taken by a young man of large fortune, and that Mr. Bingley intended to take possession of the property by Michaelmas.
With much enthusiasm did Mrs. Long relate the latest gossip to her friend and Mrs. Bennet was suitably impressed by her knowledge. That Mrs. Phillips was disappointed her sister already had the news was an understatement.
Penelope came back to herself to hear Mrs. Bennet once again lamenting her husband had not yet visited Mr. Bingley. Mr. Long had visited the man within three days of his arrival; the Longs had two nieces to marry off, after all. Shirking such an acquaintance would never do. It pleased Mrs. Long that Mr. Bingley had returned the visit post haste and Penelope had had the pleasure of meeting him herself.
“I would be pleased to introduce Mr. Bingley to you at the assembly, my dear Mrs. Bennet,” Mrs. Long said when there was a break in conversation. “He returned my husband’s visit just the other day.”
Mrs. Bennet thanked her friend with a pinched smile. Penny could easily see what Mrs. Bennet was thinking. No doubt she thought Penny to be selfish and hypocritical, desiring Mr. Bingley for her own nieces.
No, Penelope could not deny that having one of her dear nieces married to Mr. Bingley would be grand, but she very much doubted such a thing would occur. It was not common knowledge, but Julia was being courted by a gentleman in London and Margaret was to spend the season there with her father’s sister. Mr. Bingley was safe from them.
In due course, the gathering broke up and the attendees returned to their own houses. The Meryton Assembly would shortly be upon them, and preparations would need to be undertaken for all to look their best.
Mrs. Long sat in her usual position along the far wall of the assembly room, waiting for the dancing to begin. The assembly had been due to start some fifteen minutes gone, but had been delayed in hopes that the Netherfield party would be there before the dancing commenced. There were rumors that Mr. Bingley brought a large party of ladies and gentlemen with him, exciting any woman with marriageable daughters and many of the single gentlemen as well. With many of the local boys off to fight on the continent, the young ladies often sat out in want of a partner.
Sir William, the master of ceremonies, finally called a start to the dancing. The first set formed and the musicians began to play. Penny watched the young ladies and gentlemen dancing with pleasure. Not one to dance herself since her youth, it gave her great joy to see the young people enjoying themselves. She could see the five Miss Bennets were all partnered and dancing. Her own nieces stood up with each other, and Charlotte Lucas danced with Mr. Tomlinson, an elderly widower who occasionally attended these functions.
It was nearing the end of the first dance of the set when the guests from Netherfield arrived. It was abundantly obvious that their group’s numbers had been grossly exaggerated; Penelope could easily see Mr. Bingley at the front of the party. With him were two ladies and two gentlemen.
Of the ladies, one could say much. They were dressed in the latest of London fashions. The shorter had dark brown hair and a slightly bored expression on her face. Her dress was of a color that indicated she was married, most probably to one of the other gentlemen in attendance. The taller lady also had dark hair, though hers had a hint of red that flashed when it caught the candlelight. This lady’s expression bordered on contempt as she examined her surroundings. Had her nose been any higher in the air, Penny might have been able to see her brain.
The two remaining members of the party were as different as night and day. The shorter, portly gentleman had the shorter woman on his arm. His expression was bland and his waistline wide. His eyes roved the room and landed on the refreshment table almost immediately; it was only his wife’s grip on his arm that kept him place, of that, Penelope was sure.
The other, taller gentleman was truly a sight to behold. He must have stood at least six feet tall,with dark curls and an unreadable expression. His eyes appeared dark from her vantage point, but Penelope would not have been surprised if they were blue, rather than the brown that they seemed from a distance. He stood tall and stiff and examined the assemblage with a tight expression on his face.
Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, was the same gregarious self Mrs. Long had met when he returned her husband’s visit. Sir William was greeting the group enthusiastically, introducing those around him to the party.
Penelope watched with amusement. It was as she observed the newcomers that she witnessed the exact moment Mr. Bingley first noticed Jane Bennet. His jaw went slightly slack as he spied Miss Bennet during the final dance of the set. He seemed to forget that Sir William was speaking to him for a moment before turning back to the man. It was no surprise that after the set concluded, Sir William led the party to Mrs. Bennet and her daughters, who were gathered near the refreshment table.
Mrs. Long soon lost track of the newcomers as she rose to stretch her legs and walk the room. It was on her circuit around the hall that she overheard the two ladies, who she had discovered were sisters to Mr. Bingley and called Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, speaking.
“Such a backwater, Lousia!” said the taller sister. “How Charles could let such a place without first speaking to me is beyond the pale.”
“It is not so bad,” Lousia said. “Charles needed to be close to town, and Netherfield suits that need. It is also of a size that Charles might learn from the steward to manage an estate without becoming frustrated as he is wont to do.”
“If Charles would just sell the remainder of his stock in Father’s company, he would not need to settle close to town at all,” the tall lady said vehemently. “Really, the continued ties to trade do us no favors in society.”
“But it does add to his fortune, which in turn will allow the purchase of a larger estate,” the one called Louisa said reasonably. “Though I do agree with you; there is no elegance here. Why, I have yet to meet anyone of distinction. Even Sir William is just a lowly knight.”
“Mr. Darcy must be appalled at being required to spend his time in such company,” the other lady said. “I feel for him. I see little beauty or refinement. Perhaps I will find him and be a balm to his misery.”
“You should, of course, Caroline,” Louisa said.
Ah, Caroline. So that was her name. It was amazing to Penny how unobservant people could be. Penny had stood within six feet of the ladies for more than five minutes as they conversed. Since she was no one of consequence, they chose not to see her. It was a pity the ladies already held such antipathy for the society they found themselves in. They would do their brother no favors with that attitude.
Mrs. Long watched the one named Caroline saunter (for no other word could describe her walk) across the room to the tall, handsome gentleman, who Mrs. Long now knew was called Mr. Darcy. As she approached, the man moved farther away from her to another part of the room. Anyone who had not been watching would not have seen what Penny did: Mr. Darcy had seen the lady coming and sought to distance himself from her. Penny was highly amused.
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.
You can find From Another Perspective in pre-order at:
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
MJ Stratton is currently offering 3 ebook copies of From Another Perspective.
To apply to this giveaway, all you need to do is click on this raffle link.