And the winners are…

Hello everyone,

Last month I’ve published my Author of the Month post featuring Caitlin Williams and with it I was offering a copy of The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, Ms Williams most iconic book. More recently I also hosted dear Lona Manning with an excerpt of Marriage of Attachment, her sequel to  A Contrary Wind. Ms Manning was offering a copy of each book, and today it’s time to announce the lucky winners!

Without further ado, the winners are:

The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet

*** WritindLynda ***

Marriage of Attachment

*** Agnes ***

A Contrary Wind

***  Sheilamajczan***

 

Congratulations everyone! I hope you enjoy your prizes 🙂 Please send me your address to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that I can send the books to you.

Happy Reading!!

 

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Being Mrs. Bennet Review & Giveaway

Alexa Adams is an author who never ceases to surprise me with unexpected yet incredibly well achieved plots, and Being Mrs. Bennet showed me once more how creative and talented this author is.

I’m not sure how to categorise this book in terms of sub-genre, but in it you will find a fellow janeite, Alison Bateman, who has a regular 21st century life until she suddenly becomes one of the characters of her favourite novel, Pride and Prejudice.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? But unlike most books or movies where this happens, she doesn’t become the heroine, she becomes none other than Mrs. Bennet!

Being Mrs. Bennet is the first book I’ve read where this type of plot is developed in a realistic and intelligent manner (if we consider this plot would be possible at all, of course). What I mean to say is that the know how of regency manners that Alison Bateman acquired while reading regency books her entire life doesn’t disappear when she becomes Mrs. Bennet, on the contrary, she doesn’t make a fool of herself because she knows how to behave, and discreetly learns the regency ways she is not yet familiar with. She doesn’t use modern language that could raise suspicions, she avoids activities that would reveal she is not the real Mrs. Bennet, like dancing at an Assembly, and the faux pas she makes, such as telling Lydia to wash her hands after dancing with someone who is sick, are perfectly understandable. This behaviour is exactly what I would expect from a fellow janeite, and not that horrible display we see Amanda Price doing in Lost in Austen, a story I hate precisely because I cannot believe someone so addicted to Austen’s work would make so many basic errors as that character does.

Alison Bateman, the main character in Being Mrs. Bennet, is a very likeable character who is intelligent and kind and with whom I believe most readers will relate. When faced with this new situation in her life, she does what every janeite would probably do, she tries to curb the unruly behavior of the youngest Bennet daughter and improve the attitudes of Kitty and Mary. What she doesn’t realise when she starts doing this with her motherly skills is what every JAFF author already knows, every small change in the characters or plot will have consequences on the romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth! When she realizes that her meddling may have consequences in that love story, she tries to do everything in her power to set things right, and that’s when everything starts leaving her control, however, unlike Lost in Austen, this character does not ruin the entire story, she is actually successful in leaving Pride and Prejudice just as it should be.

Apart from the main character, whom I really loved, the other aspect of this book I really enjoyed was the attention to details the author showed. I would expect someone who goes from our time to regency to notice some of the most obvious things, but Alexa Adams did a great job with the details such as the smell of people due to the lack of bathing, the effect of candles burning in a room, how uncomfortable regency clothes are, etc. These details made the story much more realistic and honest, it is not embellished to make us think everything is dreamlike, it is a real portrait of an era.

Another detail I enjoyed in this book was the reference to the Moonlight Sonata from Beethoven, which is my favourite classic music and I always love it when an author mentions it.

With Being Mrs. Bennet I realised how incredibly tiresome Mr. Bennet can be! I never thought about it because it was very funny to see him mock Mrs. Bennet, but when we see him do it to someone else (after all Allison perfectly understands his mockery), it appears to be very disrespectful, and now I understand Mr. Darcy’s opinion of him a little better. But I also realised with this book how one behaviour from one person can trigger a certain behaviour from someone else. In fact,  I believe this is what this book is all about, it delves on the impact people’s behaviour have on other people, and it was very interesting to see how small changes made the difference in the Bennet family.

I also loved the fact that JAFF is mentioned in this book, it’s not everyday that we see JAFF mentioned within JAFF!! It was thrilling to read that.

The second half of the book did not hold the same energy as the first one but the end is as unpredictable as it is perfect! I did not see that coming and I loved it! I cannot say much more because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I think you will also be surprised to see a certain character appear in this novel 🙂

I would certainly recommend this book to all janeites looking for an entertaining and funny book which focuses on family bonds, people’s behaviours and how our actions may affect others in unpredictable ways, but I have to warn you that there isn’t a lot of romance in it, so if you want to read a romance novel, this book is not for you. It is true that we see some romance between Darcy and Elizabeth, but that’s not the main focus of the book.

That being said, Being Mrs. Bennet is a compelling book that once more proves the author’s talent and ability to engage readers in an endearing novel with character development and introspection in the middle of a funny and light narrative. I took great pleasure in reading this book and certainly recommend it to my janeite friends.

You can find Being Mrs Darcy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


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Alexa Adams would like to offer one copy of Being Mrs Darcy to one of my readers. To participate in the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post until the 22nd of July and let us know what you think of this story.

The giveaway is international so all my friends across the globe can participate.

Good Luck everyone!

22 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

The 26th of November – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I’m welcoming author Elizabeth Adams to talk a little about her latest book, The 26th of November. Initially I asked her to explain to us how she got this idea as that’s always something I like to know about a book, but as we talked about how funny the book was, and how satisfying it was to read and write a few scenes, we decided to change the theme of this guest post a little.

In it, you will not only discover how this book came into life, but also get to know Elizabeth Adams as she talks about what she always thought people should be able to do, Mr. Bennet’s attitude, and of course, Lydia Bennet and how to tame her. I hope you enjoy it and that you join us in this conversation 🙂

 

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I wish I could say this story was the product of deep thought and detailed planning, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s what happened.

It was a Wednesday afternoon. I was getting ready to go to my daughter’s school where I was choreographing a few numbers for her chorus after classes. I got my music and notes together, grabbed my water bottle, and there it was.

All of a sudden, more than half the story was in my head. Just a regular sunny afternoon, going about my usual routine, and bam! I didn’t have time to write it down, so I hopped in the car and I wasn’t more than two blocks away when I knew I had the majority of the story—plot, characters, sequence—in my mind, ready to go. I was four blocks away when I called my graphic designer and asked her how quickly she could turn around a cover. After rehearsal I called my editor. Before I went to bed, I had the first chapter locked down and notes all over the place.

After that, I wrote a chapter a day. I had to pause to take my kids to Dollywood for a long-planned weekend away, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my story. Two weeks in and I was halfway through chapter ten.

Quick side note: I know many of you are not remotely impressed by this writing speed. Allow me to tell you that for me, this is incredibly quick writing. I normally write rather slowly, especially if I don’t have a solid idea of where I’m going (which is often). Usually I have a good idea for a scene, and I write that pretty easily. Then comes the next part. I sit. And I stare. I write something, delete it, start again.

This can go on for a while, usually until I get an idea for another scene. Green Card took FOREVER to write, in fits and starts over several years (I had a baby, finished my degree, remodeled a 90-year-old house, the usual). Unwilling was faster than that, but still a laborious process. The first half of On Equal Ground came quickly, the second half in bits and pieces. The Houseguest was more similar to this experience—I got bit pretty hard by a plot bunny and started writing. Every morning, I woke up curious to see where the story was going and what the characters would do next. Eighty percent of that book was incredibly smooth sailing. *insert nostalgic sigh*

But that was a long time ago now. The baby that was in my womb at the time is six years old. I haven’t experienced anything as smooth and complete as that since… until this last spring, when I was in the process of writing a much more involved, enormous beast of a story and this suddenly dropped into my head.

When I say the story was in my mind, I mean the germ of it, and some scenes, not every tiny detail. So I still had some work to do.

The beauty of the repetitive day theme, and why I think the writing came so quickly, is because Elizabeth can behave however she wants now that she is essentially in a world with no consequences. I have always wanted her (or someone) to tell Mrs. Bennet to shut up. Just stuff a sock in it. You’re embarrassing literally EVERYONE in the room. But no one can ever say that.

I’ve often thought this is an odd rule. To avoid offending one person, in this case Mrs. B, we will offend dozens of others because that is the polite way to do it. This makes no sense to me. Someone should have taken her aside years ago and told her what was what. But obviously, that never happened, or if it did, she ignored the conversation.

So in this story, Elizabeth finally gets to tell her mother how she feels. And she REALLY tells Lydia how she feels. More than once and in a variety of ways. But the lecture/dressing down in the library was one of my favorite scenes to write. It was something I’ve been wanting to say to Lydia ever since I first read the book.

I’ve always thought Mr. Bennet is incredibly dense or has entirely too much faith in his daughter when he sends Lydia to Brighton. Did he seriously think a young, vivacious, well-developed and pretty girl would find herself insignificant at a beach crawling with men in uniform? What rock was he living under? The men likely outnumbered the women ten to one. It was never going to make any girl feel insignificant, especially not one like Lydia. Why he thought it would teach her anything useful, and not leave her pregnant, I don’t know. He was likely just burying his head in the sand because he didn’t want to deal with anything difficult or have to tell his wife no and listen to her whining.

See, this is why it would have been helpful to tell Mrs. B years ago that she should be more mature and not put girls out at fifteen. Mr. B would have felt less hounded and more able to say no, Lydia would have more discipline, etc. It all circles round. But no one tells her, Mr. B is frustratingly uninvolved, and Lydia is so stupid it’s painful.

In this book, Elizabeth gets to tell her parents, her sisters, Caroline Bingley, and Mr. Darcy exactly what she thinks of their behavior and their personalities. She gets to have cat fights and say things in public or to her parents that she would never normally be able to. It is very cathartic for her as a character, and writing it was cathartic for me as a writer. I hope it will be for the reader as well.

So there you have it. There was an idea floating around out there, I suppose it saw me as an easy target, and a few months later, here we are. What I learned from this experience and others like it, more than anything, is to be open and ready for the muse at any time. You never know when it will strike (though it does seem to have an affinity for vehicles), and if you let it, it will surprise you beyond your wildest imaginings.

 


Elizabeth Adams is a book-loving, tango-dancing, Austen enthusiast. She loves old houses and thinks birthdays should be celebrated with trips – as should most occasions. She can often be found by a sunny window with a cup of hot tea and a book in her hand.
She writes romantic comedy and comedic drama in both historic and modern settings.
She is the author of The Houseguest, Unwilling, On Equal Ground, and Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride and Prejudice, and the modern comedy Green Card.
You can find more information, short stories, and outtakes at elizabethadamswrites.wordpress.com

 

 


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The Netherfield Ball: Classic. Predictable. Immortalized.

But, what if Elizabeth were forced to relive it over and over and over again? Night after night after night?

Elizabeth: Clever. Witty. Confident.

Suddenly, her confusion and desperation make her question things she long thought she knew.

Mr. Darcy: Proud. Unapproachable. Bad tempered.

In this world where nothing is as it seems, Elizabeth must learn to see through new eyes.

Including a man she thought she hated.

Let the hilarity ensue.

 

 

 

You can find the 26th of November at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 


 

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July 9 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

July 13 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post & Giveaway

July 19 / Of Pens & Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

July 20 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

July 21 / My Love for Jane Austen / Character Interview & Giveaway

July 25 / More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

July 28 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

August 2 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review & Giveaway

August 6 / Austenesque Reviews / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

August 8 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway

August 9 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway


 

Elizabeth Adams is offering five copies of The 26th of November, 5 audiobook codes, each one is good for one of her audiobooks and two autographed paperback copies of one of her books, readers’ choice from her catalog.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international, to enter it, click here.

Good luck everyone!

33 Comments

Filed under JAFF

The Darcy Legacy Review & Giveaway

 

Good evening everyone,

I am the last one reviewing The Darcy Legacy on its blog tour and as I am sure you’ve noticed by now Joana Starnes is one of my favourite writers, so I believe it comes as no surprise that her latest book is a 5 star read to me. I am not saying that because I have loved the authors previous books I will automatically love all her future books, but one of the aspects that makes me love Joana Starnes’s books so much is her writing style, the ability she has to touch my heart with every sentence and to feel absorbed by the book, and no matter what the plot is, she will always carry with her those characteristics because they are part of who she is as a writer and this book proved just that.

Another aspect I love about Joana Starnes’s books is the angst she brings to them,  but this time she decided to do something different, and you will find little angst in The Darcy Legacy. You will see the angst was replaced by humour and a little touch of the supernatural, which is also a favourite of mine 😉

If I would have to choose the one thing I loved the most in this book I would have to say it was the characters. Joana Starnes always portrays very realistic characters with qualities but also flaws, and she did that once more. I hate to read stories with perfect Elizabeth’s and even worse, perfect Darcy’s, and that is definitely not what you will find in this book. These characters are as true to Austen as they are realistic.

The secondary characters were also an incredible addition to The Darcy Legacy. The author brought some humanity to Lady Catherine, and once more made her a believable character with a deep affection for her daughter, even if not shown in the best of ways. I mean, why does Lady Catherine always has to be such a villain? I don’t believe that’s how Jane Austen saw her. An arrogant member of the aristocracy yes, but not a conniving villain. She believed herself better than other people, but let’s face it, that was the way of the world and even if we can criticise that attitude I think we cannot go so far as to make her a one-dimensional character with a propensity to evil. Joana Starnes excels at portraying characters exactly as they were developed by Jane Austen, no more and no less, and that is remarkably visible in this book.

Anne was definitely a favourite character for me and I liked to see that she was entitled to her own story,  Colonel Fitzwilliam was hilarious and Mr. Darcy senior and Mrs Darcy were also characters whose company I enjoyed in The Darcy Legacy. It was lovely to see how they finally learned to understand each other in the afterlife even if the love and tenderness for one another was already there.

In this novel Darcy’s love for Elizabeth is strong and intense and I confess I adored the chapters before and after their first kiss! I loved everything about this part of the book, the dialogues, the characters, the intensity it had, the romance, and even the tenacity of both characters.

I don’t usually care much about humour in a book, but I have to say that Joana Starnes’ venture into it was very successful, especially when the ghosts were involved (this is really no spoiler as you’ll know there are ghosts in the first scene of the book). The last chapters with the additional new characters and their interactions were also incredibly funny and added an interesting twist to the story.

The only quibble I might have with this book is that it is slow-paced compared to the authors other novels, especially in the end, but that also gives us more time with all the characters we love, so who can complain? This book is definitely different from Joana Starnes’s previous works but just as good and I highly recommend it to all Janeites.

You can find The Darcy Legacy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 


Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacy, and one of the contributing authors to The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know and the upcoming Rational Creatures (due in October 2018).

You can contact Joana through the following social media:

www.joanastarnes.co.uk

www. facebook.com/AllRoadsLeadToPemberley.JoanaStarnes/

www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes

www.twitter.com/Joana_Starnes

Joana’s books on Amazon.com

Joana’s books on Amazon.co.uk

Joana’s books on Goodreads

 


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Joana is offering 10 copies of The Darcy Legacy, 20 audiobook codes, each one is good for one of her audiobooks and a $25.00 Amazon gift card. The giveaway runs until midnight, July 16, 2018 and to enter it all you have to do is comment on this post and click here.

Good Luck everyone!

 

51 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, JAFF, jane austen, Joana Starnes, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

The 26th of November Review & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very pleased to open today the blog tour of 26th of November, Elizabeth Adam’s latest release.  Elizabeth Adams is not only a remarkable author but also a friend and when she told me about the premise of this book I was immediately captivated by it. I personally love this premise, and I think she could not have picked a better timing in the story’s narrative to develop it, so it is with great joy that I tell you today what I love the most about it! But first, I’ll share with you the book blurb, and hopefully you’ll get as excited as I was when I first heard about it.

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The Netherfield Ball: Classic. Predictable. Immortalized.

But, what if Elizabeth were forced to relive it over and over and over again? Night after night after night?

Elizabeth: Clever. Witty. Confident.

Suddenly, her confusion and desperation make her question things she long thought she knew.

Mr. Darcy: Proud. Unapproachable. Bad tempered.

In this world where nothing is as it seems, Elizabeth must learn to see through new eyes.

Including a man she thought she hated.

Let the hilarity ensue.


As you may have guessed by now this book is a bit of a mashup of Groundhog Day with Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth reliving the day of the Netherfield Ball over and over again.

As I mentioned earlier, I can think of no better time for this particular premise to take place because not only the day is full of events that make it interesting to read, but also it has numerous variables that will allow the chain of events to change which will make your reading experience exciting and unexpected despite the repetition of events.

I loved seeing Elizabeth going through a state of confusion, trying to understand how to stop this event from happening, attempting to change the course of the day, and finally relaxing and just trying to enjoy herself on the way to a self discovery path she never imagined she would go through. After all, there is nothing more liberating that being able to do what one wants without any consequence coming out of it is it?

After some time I started desiring that she would change everything, prevent Lydia from making a fool of herself, make Mary more desirable, get Mr. Collins attention to shift to someone else, controlling Mrs Bennet tongue, getting Mr Bingley to see Jane loved him, making Darcy realise how much he loved her etc, but if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be Pride and Prejudice would it? So Elizabeth Adams did the smart thing and stopped this day from repeating itself precisely when there wasn’t a big change in it except one very significant detail…which I will not reveal as it would be a major spoiler! Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to know what it was that could have stopped this madness.

This premise, and Elizabeth Adams writing, allowed us to see Elizabeth getting to know Darcy with each passing day, after all, he always asked for the fourth set and they must have some conversation. It was endearing to see how her own behaviour could make him share more of himself, and there was a point where I could not wait for another day to occur to see what would happen next and what they would talk about. Even though Darcy’s personality remained pretty much the same he did surprise me with a few stories.

As always Elizabeth Adams wrote something completely different from her previous works. That’s one of the things I love about her, she always comes up with different ideas and we never have a feeling we have read that before. This book is much smaller than her previous works and can be read in one afternoon, but I guarantee it will be a very entertaining afternoon as the 26th of November is incredibly funny and fast paced. I laughed out loud with some scenes but the book also made me sight with the tenderness of others. Above all I found this to be a page turner book! I could not wait to see what would happen next.

If you are looking for a light comedy romance, I highly recommend this book! You will not regret reading it, and be prepared for an unexpected and loving ending 🙂

 

You can find the 26th of November at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


 

This is just the first post of the blog tour, so please do not forget to follow it for more reviews, guest posts, excerpts and a chance to win one of the many prizes Elizabeth Adams is offering 🙂

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July 9 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

July 13 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post & Giveaway

July 19 / Of Pens & Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

July 20 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

July 21 / My Love for Jane Austen / Character Interview & Giveaway

July 25 / More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

July 28 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

August 2 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review & Giveaway

August 6 / Austenesque Reviews / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

August 8 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway

August 9 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway


 

 

Elizabeth Adams is offering five copies of The 26th of November, 5 audiobook codes, each one is good for one of her audiobooks and two autographed paperback copies of one of her books, readers’ choice from her catalog.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international, to enter it, click here.

Good luck everyone!

27 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

A Marriage of Attachement Excerpt & Giveaway

Good evening everyone,

I am very happy to bring you these weekly posts with reviews and news about JAFF literature, but I usually talk about books featuring the characters from Pride and Prejudice and it is very rare of me to talk about variations of Austens other novels. Well, today is the exception 🙂

Lona Manning as released the sequel to A Contrary Wind which was her first variation of Mansfield Park, and she is visiting today with an excerpt of that sequel. I am very happy to receive Lona, one of the few authors to write about Mansfield Park and a very pleaseant guess who is always incredibly sweet towards me 🙂

I hope you enjoy the excerpt, but first, take a look at the blurbs, they may help you situate yourselves 🙂

 

 

A Marriage of Attachment: A Marriage of Attachment continues the story of Fanny Price as she struggles to build her own life after leaving her rich uncle’s home. Fanny teaches sewing to poor working-class girls in London, while trying to forget her first love, Edmund Bertram, who is trapped in a disastrous marriage with Mary Crawford. Together with her brother John and her friend, the writer William Gibson, she discovers a plot that threatens someone at the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, Fanny’s brother William fights slavery on the high seas while longing for the girl he loves.

Filled with romance, suspense and even danger, A Marriage of Attachment takes the familiar characters from Mansfield Park on a new journey.

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You can find A Marriage of Attachment at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

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And because this is a sequel to A Contrary Wind, I think you should read the blurb too…

A Contrary Wind: Fanny Price, an intelligent but timid girl from a poor family, lives at Mansfield Park with her wealthy cousins. But the cruelty of her Aunt Norris, together with a broken heart, compel Fanny to run away and take a job as a governess. Far away from everything she ever knew and the man she secretly loves, will Fanny grow in strength and confidence? Will a new suitor help her to forget her past? Or will a reckless decision ruin her life and the lives of those she holds most dear?

This variation of Jane Austen’s novel includes all the familiar characters from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, and some new acquaintances as well. There are some mature scenes and situations not suitable for all readers.

 

 

 

You can find A Contrary Wind at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

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THE MONTH OF MAY brought Fanny’s friend William Gibson to London for the publication of his book, over which he had laboured in self-imposed exile in the countryside. His writing had appeared in print before, of course, in the pages of the Gentlemen’s Magazine and in the abolitionist newsletter, but nothing compared to the pride and wonder of visiting his publisher in the Strand and holding his first book in his hands. Even better was to read his name on the title page. Indeed, he would not have wanted his closest friends to know how frequently he opened the volume to admire those few words: Amongst the Slavers, being a narrative of a voyage with the West African Squadron, with additional remarks upon the customs, governments, and political economies of the African tribes, by William Gibson.

Mrs. Butters, already a warm advocate for the young writer, was eager to assume the rôle of literary patroness, and to help spread his fame. She held a reception at her home and bestowed invitations throughout her considerable acquaintance amongst London’s abolitionist set, including her friend and neighbour James Stephen. The fiery old man was a particular favourite of Fanny’s. As well, Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield promised to attend, Mr. Wilbraham Bootle and many other directors of the African Society accepted with pleasure; and there were a half-dozen clergyman from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

Fanny felt the most delightful sensations of pride and nervous anticipation as she sat in Mrs. Butters’ parlour, surrounded by so many eminent persons, as Mr. Gibson stood in the middle of the room and began to read aloud from his account of the adventures of the West African Squadron.

Mr. Gibson’s prose was direct and forceful, without excessive ornamentation or discursion, for he had the happy ability to invoke a scene with a few well-chosen words. Moreover, he read aloud exceedingly well, and although Fanny always kept a piece of fancy work in her hands, she was glad to have the excuse of listening as an excuse for looking at her friend without interruption. His figure was tall and slender, and his hands expressive and graceful. As an impecunious poet, he had not the means or the inclination to attend to dress or finery, but his posture, his movements, and his air, were all perfectly gentleman-like. For that matter, gaudy dress and an affected air of fashion was no recommendation to the people of this particular gathering. James Stephen’s wife, a sister of the saintly Wilberforce himself, refused to wear anything better than washer-woman’s rags; and gave all her monies to the poor, instead.

There was something peculiarly charming about Mr. Gibson’s countenance. His long face with its high forehead announced intelligence, but without pomposity or severity. His features were individually good. There was sometimes a tinge of sadness about his dark blue eyes, but his mouth, in repose, was always curved in a gentle smile. As he read his own words to the assembled party, his expression was one of diffidence mingled with quiet pride.

Mrs. Stephen, and all of Mrs. Butters’ guests, along with Fanny, were captivated by the power of Mr. Gibson’s recital. There were no fidgettings, no throat-clearings, no whisperings—a most profound silence was observed by all. When Mr. Gibson came to describe the interception of a heavily-laden slave ship, and the rescue of hundreds of shackled men, women and children from the miserable mid-Atlantic crossing and a lifetime of bondage, his hearers, including Fanny of course, were moved to tears by the power of his narrative.

Sometimes the doings of her own brother William were described and at such times, Mr. Gibson would glance over to the far corner where Fanny sat—his eyes, peering over his spectacles, met hers for a moment of silent acknowledgement of their shared affection for her brother. “Lieutenant Price” never appeared in the tale but to great advantage, and Fanny, in a glow of high spirits, imagined Mr. Gibson’s book being read with fascination by all of the Lords of the Admiralty, resulting in a resolution, taken at the highest levels, to promote that exemplary young officer to the rank of captain so soon as a good ship was available. She was also privately delighted that, in a room filled with so many eminent, accomplished, and powerful people—politicians, abolitionists, captains of industry—her friend had made especial note of where she was, of where she sat, so that his eyes could seek her out.


 

 

Lona Manning loves reading, choral singing, gardening and travel. Over the years, she has been a home care aide, legal secretary, political speech writer, office manager, vocational instructor and non-profit manager until deciding (in her late 50’s) to get an ESL teaching certificate and teach in China. Manning and her husband divide their time between China and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. She has written true crime articles for http://www.CrimeMagazine.com. “A Contrary Wind” is her first novel and she has now released its sequel,  “A Marriage of Attachment”.

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Lona Manning would like to offer to my readers the chance to win these books, leave a comment to be entered into a draw for both ebooks.

This offer is open internationally and it will end on the 19th of July.

Good Luck everyone!

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Author of the Month – Caitlin Williams

Good Afternoon everyone,

It’s the end of the month, so I’m back with my author of the month feature, and this month’s Author of the Month is Caitlin Williams, a very special writer to me.

Caitlin Williams has recently announced she will stop writing for a while because she wants to dedicate more time to her family, and even if I’m cheering for her, I was obviously a little sad with this surprising announcement because her writing is one of the best I’ve ever seen in JAFF, and she is one of those authors I always recommend to friends who want to read quality books with well-conceived plots and characters on top of an extraordinary writing.

My admiration for Caitlin Williams’ writing is not new, I was absorbed by Ardently when I read it in June 2015 and it was the third book I reviewed when I started this blog. The author captured my attention with an emotional and gripping story and three years later that book still remains one of my all time favourite books.

Caitlin Williams develops unique stories with incredible scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth that are hard to forget and that is one of the reasons why I love her books so much. She is not afraid to portray these characters in different stages of their lives, placing them in different environments and facing different challenges, but she is always faithful to their personality, to those traits that would always remain the same regardless of the time. Her characters are interesting because their life experiences have changed them into a different version of themselves but always true to Austen’s creations.

Apart from the innovation she brings into her works, her writing is absolutely exquisite! She doesn’t always have the same style but each of her books is beautifully written, engaging and touching. Caitlin Williams is unconventional and immensely talented, her compelling prose always finds a way to my heart and I always find myself wanting to devour her books and carve her words in my memory. I’ve said this before but she has a talent that cannot be taught, she surprises me with each book which is always a page-turner; Ardently was intense and romantic, The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet was edgy, When We Are Married was humorous and there are no words to describe the darker tone of The Events at Branxbourne, which is probably one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read.

Some people were meant to do specific things in life and Caitlin Williams was meant to write. She is a remarkable writer that I must recommend not only to a specific audience, but to everyone who enjoys a good book. She will pierce your heart and soul at every page and you will not want to stop reading her stories until the very last word. Even after finishing her books I believe you will want to go back and re-read many scenes because they are so incredible you just want to relieve them over and over again.

I wish I had the same talent Caitlin Williams has with words because if I did, maybe I could do her justice and describe how wonderful her books are, but with my poor writing skills I can only hope you have understood what my heart wants to convey: this author cannot be missed!

If you have not read anything by Caitlin Williams yet, please do, you are missing an unforgettable experience and I’m sure you will find a favourite, just like I did!

These are the books that made me choose Caitlin Williams as author of the month:

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com


My Review   Amazon.com


 

 

Caitlin Williams lives in Kent, England.

She fell in love with all things Regency as a teenager, but particularly admires the work of Jane Austen and the way she masterfully combines humour and romance, while weaving them through such wonderful stories and characters.

Pride and Prejudice is Caitlin’s favourite novel and she finds Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet so deliciously entertaining that she likes to borrow them from Ms Austen and enjoys the challenge of putting them in different places and situations.

She has written four variations of Pride and Prejudice, ‘Ardently’, ‘The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet’, ‘When We Are Married’ and ‘The Events at Branxbourne’.

‘The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet’ was a best-seller and was voted the readers favourite at Austenesque Reviews in 2016.

 


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It’s wonderful to be visiting at From Pemberley to Milton again. I am a late boomer in terms of JAFF. My first book Ardently was published in 2015, and as I have a couple of small, demanding children, I am quite a slow writer. I have written only one book a book a year since then and now have four published novels. I also have a short story included in Christina Boyd’s anthology The Darcy Monologues; a project it was an honour to be included in as it features some of my favourite writers.

All four of my books are very different from one another. I like to greatly alter the circumstances in which Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves in and likewise, I prefer the more outlandish plotlines in my reading too. I don’t mind Darcy being a pirate and adore it when Elizabeth is a governess. My favourite JAFF is of the really inventive kind; those big, brave, crazy stories, or ones where the story starts before Pride and Prejudice begins, or where there has been a big gap in time after the Hunsford Proposal.

The book I took the most pleasure in writing is The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet. I love the young Elizabeth Bennet in it. Some readers felt she was too much like Lydia, but she was not silly, or giggly, nor did she chase after soldiers, she was merely grief-stricken and impulsive and too young to face everything that had been thrown at her. I enjoyed exploring her character, writing it as it might have been before she grew into herself and found her maturity. A pompous young Darcy was great fun too.

As much as I love Darcy and Lizzy, I am currently taking a break from Pride and Prejudice. I am working on an Emma story for another of Christina’s anthologies, but after that I am going to relax and not write anything for a while. I’ll always have a million stories floating around in my head, but I need some time out to figure out which one inspires me the most.

I love to read, and I love films and music, gardening and decorating the house, and hanging out with my little people, so that’s what I am to do for the rest of year. It’s lovely to be author of the month. Thanks so much.


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It’s hard to choose a favourite book from Caitlin Williams but as The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet has a special place in her heart I would like to offer a copy it to one of my readers. To apply all you have to do is comment on this post until the 14th of July. The giveaway is international and all thoughts are welcome 🙂

Good luck everyone!

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The Deception at Lyme- Or the Peril of Persuasion

The Deception at Lyme is the sixth book in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries series but can be read as a stand alone, in fact it is the only one I’ve read, even if it will certainly not be the last one considering I was completely hooked with it.

This book is a mashup of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion bringing several characters from both stories together in perfect harmony. I bought it because these are my two favourite novels from Austen and am always eager to read books where these characters interact, but I was not expecting to love it so much!

The Deception at Lyme is a sequel to both stories with both couples happily married, but even though it is considered a astenesque story, the tone is so different from the romances I’ve been reading in the last couple of years that I was completely surrendered to it .

I can’t say I’ve read too many JAFF books because they are never too many, but when someone reads many stories which are very similar to one another, the details tend to blend in and when that starts to happen to me I crave for something new. That is precisely what I found in this book, an escape from the regular JAFF books, an encounter with the characters I love but that takes me into a completely different direction.

Not only this book brings to readers characters from both Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice but it also delivers very interesting original characters and it escapes the romance. This book has all our beloved characters in it, but it is not a romance, it is a mystery. I’ve read JAFF mysteries before but they all have some romance to it, The Deception at Lyme doesn’t. Its entire focus is the mystery and it caught my attention from page one until the end.

Darcy and Elizabeth are happily married and have a little baby girl but the book doesn’t focus on their relationship, it focuses on the mystery they are trying to solve and that involves the characters from Persuasion. Of course that while they are playing detective we can see how their relationship is, but that is not the focus of the author and I honestly found that refreshing. There is some romance between other characters that I enjoyed very much but it is not central in the book.

As the story progresses we understand there is not only one mystery but two that need to be solved and I liked to see that they seemed to be connected. The author excelled at linking all the dots making it a believable story and even leaving some room to interpretation concerning one of the characters (I chose to believe she is guilty 😉 ).

Before each chapter we have a Jane Austen quote that will somehow be related to the events of the following chapter, and I found myself eager to know which was the next quote the author was going to use because that would give me a hint on what to expect. It may seem a small detail, but I think it brought more quality to the book.

The Deception at Lyme is exciting from the beginning until the end and having Darcy and Elizabeth along with Captain Wentworth and Anne in the same book was magical, especially because I felt the characters remained very true to themselves despite their uncommon interactions.

I can’t recommend this book enough to all janeites, but I would like to reinforce that this is not a romance but a mystery, so if you only want to read romances in the genre, this book might not be for you, I say might because I usually only read romances and this one really got to me, so you never know, maybe you’ll love it too even if you usually prefer romances 🙂

 

You can find The Deception at Lyme at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

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Master of the Mill

In Master of the Mill Mrs. Hale dies before the family arrives in Milton and they are in a much more impoverished situation than they are in the BBC series upon which this book is based on.

The writing in this book is good and I believe the author has the potential to write a book that could have been to my liking, but unfortunately that was not the case with Master of the Mill. In it, we find a sexualized version of John Thornton, which would not have been as bad if it had not changed his entire personality. In this book Mr. Thornton keeps a mistress to answer to his sexual urges and is a self-confident man who believes he will conquer Margaret, who in turn is also a pale comparison to the character Ms. Gaskell created.

In this book Margaret also has  a stubborn and independent nature, but that leads her to start working at Malborough Mills disguised as a lower class lass.

As mentioned earlier, Margaret and Mr. Hale are poorer than in the original novel and end up living in the Princeton district. That is a little hard to believe because I do not believe Mr. Thornton would feel so fascinated by a lass living in the Princeton district and working at his mill.

This book has several sex scenes, including Margaret’s first time with Mr. Thornton which is very hot for modern standards but is completely wrong for the time it is set. It is also completely out of character because I don’t believe that either Mr. Thornton or Miss Hale would have their first time in such circumstances, not to mention that it is everything but romantic which is how I would imagine their first time. The scene was good if we were reading a modern romance, but I can’t accept that in a Victorian novel.

Henry is the villan in this book and even if I can see him as a rival to Mr. Thornton, I think he was also completely out of character with all the ville things he did. He was an evil and manipulative person who would consider only his own interests and I don’t believe that is how Gaskell wanted to portray him.

I believe readers more interested in a steamy novel, and who do not need to see the North and South characters in it, may enjoy this book as the writing is good and the story itself has some interest. It is fast paced and can be read in one day, but unfortunately it is not my cup of tea. I was looking for an interesting variation of North and South and I did not find that in this book.

 

You can find Master of the Mill for 0,99$ at:

Amazon.com

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The Meryton Murders Giveaway Winners

 

Hello everyone,

How are you today? Spring is finally here but summer is knocking at the door and today I was finally able to go to the beach for the first this year! Is it warm already in your part of the world? What do you like to do this time of the year? Do you also see the beach as a refuge?

I love the sun and the ocean and there is nothing like going to the beach to make me feel better, but it also has the advantage of giving me some reading time! Today, apart from that, I took the time to listen to an audiobook, or part of it, so I think it is only fitting that I announce to you the winners of the Meryton Murders Audiobooks whose giveaway was open until last week. These were kindly offered from narrator Erin Evans-Walker when I published the review of the audiobook, and I would like to thank her once more for the generosity!

Now, without further ado, the giveaway winners are:

 

 

*** Mary***

 

*** Anji***

 

*** Virginiakohl ***

 

Congratulations girls, I hope you enjoy your audiobook! Please send me your email contacts so that we can send you your gifts.

I usually wish you a happy reading, but I’m not quite certain how to say it this time…happy listening?


 

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