Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Will of Iron

a will of iron

I didn’t read the premise of A Will of Iron before reading it so for me this book was a very positive surprise.

What if Anne de Bourgh died a few days after the Hunsford proposal and Darcy along with Col. Fitzwilliam had to return to Rosings and into the company of Elizabeth Bennet?

And what if Anne had lived an unimaginable life and had kept all the details of it in several journals?

And what if these journals were to be read? Which would be the consequences?

From the beginning of the book, the writing and the characters were so good I felt Pride and Prejudice had merely changed the scenario and Jane Austen’s story continued in Kent.

Apart from that, the way the book is written is so entertaining I hardly noticed I had already read several chapters. Linda Beutler decided to integrate Anne’s diary entries in the story, so between the main tale that is occurring in 1812, we will read about past events in Anne’s life and those around her. For me this made the book very interesting, interactive, and captivating. It was something I hadn’t seen in a Pride and Prejudice fan fiction before.

I loved Anne’s remarks, and even though Anne is not usually a character I pay much attention to, I really wanted to read more about her. She is so interesting in this book that I felt I didn’t even need to have many interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth. The book does have these interactions, and some of them even show us a deep understanding and bond between them, but Anne’s character and life were so fascinating I didn’t long for them as I usually do.

The book was full of surprises for me as a reader. As I mentioned before it is really unusual and surprising for me to forget about Darcy and Elizabeth, but that was not even the biggest surprise! I don’t usually care much about humour in JAFF books. I enjoy it, of course, but I never take that into consideration when choosing a book to read, but A Will of Iron is truly amusing! I laughed out loud more times than I could count so I imagine that readers who do like and value humour in books will absolutely love and take pleasure with it.

I really chuckled with Jane’s teasing of Mr. Bingley. I loved her teasing manner and even though this is a feature we associate with Lizzie, Jane did it in a most delightful way.

I also laughed with the arrival of Mr. Bennet at Hunsford Parsonage. The entire scene is hilarious! This book has a great sense of humour and I loved it.

Mr. Bingley’s letter is another amusing detail that made me enjoy the book, as well as reading how both Darcy and Elizabeth ponder on the characteristic of Jane and Bingley and how they would not look for those characteristics in their partner for life. I believe this made even clearer how Mr. Darcy’s disposition is indeed the perfect personality to match Elizabeth’s as they are truly perfect for one another.

I wasn’t too fond of the idea of Darcy wanting Col. Fitzwilliam to court Elizabeth as I always prefer a version where Darcy cannot even imagine Elizabeth to be another man’s but it did not prevent me from enjoying the book immensely and I highly recommend it.

 

A Will of Iron is available at:
Amazon.com – A Will of Iron

Amazon.co.uk – A Will of Iron

Amazon.fr – A Will of Iron (English Edition)

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Filed under 4.5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

The Unthinkable Triangle Review + Giveaway

The Unthinkable Triangle_Final cover5 stars

I’ve read 3 of Joana Starnes previous books and loved them all, so the expectations for The Unthinkable Triangle were very high, and so was the excitement. I was counting the days for it to be released and was not disappointed when a few days later I finished reading it. I started reading the book on a Saturday morning, and despite being with my family near the beach (2 big distractions for me) I could not let it go. Even my husband, who is now very familiar with my dedication to books, and my constant sights while reading JAFF, was a bit jealous of all the time I was spending with Mr. Darcy this time. But how could I resist such a perfectly designed character? Joana Starnes made this Darcy honourable, loyal, intense, passionate, romantic, just…PERFECT. Truth is, I couldn’t do anything else the entire weekend apart from reading this book. The Unthinkable Triangle has a very similar premise to Victoria Kincaid’s Pride and Proposals (which I loved!) but it develops in a very different way. I was afraid the books might be similar, but they are as different from one another as they are passionate and intense. This book starts in one of my favourite scenes from Pride and Prejudice, during Darcy and Elizabeth’s conversation while she plays the piano at Rosings. It continues with Darcy’s decision to propose to Elizabeth, only to discover that Richard had proposed and was accepted, the day before his own proposal would take place. Can you imagine what Darcy must have felt? Can you imagine how his life would be if the only woman he could ever love would be married to his dearest cousin and best friend?

If you cannot imagine what Darcy’s heart must have suffered at this discovery, you have to read this book, because from that moment on, we will read Darcy’s torturous path from his own perspective, and even though I do enjoy torturing proud Darcy, I just wanted to read more and more to see when it would be over!

The book is so intense that Darcy’s angst and pain becomes our own, we can feel it deep in our hearts and it is almost unbearable until it reaches a point we just wish our dear Mr. Darcy won’t do something he will terribly regret!

Now, this is the part when all the “oh no!” begins! The plot pulls us into the book and I was so involved in the book that believe I even said a “oh no” out loud. At least I think that is why my husband asked me what was happening 🙂

This was something that really amazed me while reading the book. Joana Starnes was able to transmit such intense feelings that Darcy’s despair was my own at a certain point. I have read many JAFF authors, and obviously some of them stand out.  I have recently come to understand that the ones that do stand out for me, have a specific characteristic that I associate with them. Some are incredibly good at creating different scenarios, some have an exquisite writing, some never get it wrong no matter how many books they write, and some have this unexplainable ability to make us feel everything the characters feel, to make us feel we are actually in the book. Joana Starnes is this type author, apart from all the other characteristics that she also possesses, her writing transports us directly into the book and into the characters soul!

More than the plot what captivates me in a book, what makes me love or hate it, is what it makes me feel. When a book doesn’t make me feel anything, even if the story is interesting, I will hardly remember or like it. And Joana Starnes makes me feel everything Darcy and Elizabeth felt. The Unthinkable Triangle is full of feeling, and for that it, it is a book full of soul.

I am only sorry I do not possess Joana Starnes talent with words to describe how exquisite and wonderfully written this new book is. To describe how engaged we become when reading The Unthinkable Triangle and how sorry we are when it is over, and we can no longer be with this perfect Mr.Darcy who defends Elizabeth’s honour in a most passionate way, who cares for her when there is no hope to ever be the one with that responsibility and who pledges to be no one else’s but hers.

Joana Starnes appears to be one of those authors who cannot get it wrong, and this book is yet another proof of it. I highly recommend it to anyone who cannot get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth.

 

The Unthinkable Triangle is available at:

Amazon.com – The Unthinkable Triangle

Amazon.co.uk – The Unthinkable Triangle: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Amazon.fr – The Unthinkable Triangle: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (English Edition)

* * * *

Now, it’s giveaway time!

I‘m very pleased to be hosting Joana Starnes to From Pemberley to Milton with a guest post and a giveaway. To enter the giveaway all my readers need to do is comment either her guest post or my review. Comments from both posts will be considered, so if you want to increase your chances of winning, you can comment both 🙂

This giveaway is open internationally until the 1st of November and I will be announcing the winner on the 2nd of November. The best of luck to everyone 🙂

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Filed under 5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Guest post + Giveaway with Joana Starnes

 

Hello dear readers,

I am very honoured to welcome Joana Starnes to From Pemberley to Milton for a guest post on her recently released The Unthinkable Triangle. I had read 3 of her previous books and reviewed The Subsequent Proposal which I loved, so it is with great joy that I now participate in her blog tour with this guest post and a review to be published on the 26th. Mrs. Starnes was kind enough to propose a giveaway of The Unthinkable Triangle, so don’t miss the opportunity to win her wonderful book by placing any question or comment on her guest post and/or the review.

The Unthinkable Triangle_Final cover

* * * *

Thank you, Rita, for the wonderfully warm welcome to your lovely site! I was very taken from the very start with the name you have chosen for your blog, because North and South is one of my favourite adaptations, right up there with Pride and Prejudice 1995.

 

Mrs Gaskell’s novel is perhaps a tad too Victorian for me sometimes, in ways that Jane Austen’s ones could never be, but what I like best about North and South is that we are left in no doubt about what Mr Thornton is thinking. We are told nowhere near as much about Mr Darcy’s thoughts and feelings, which perhaps is one of the reasons why we are so very keen to find them explored in Pride and Prejudice variations. But Mrs Gaskell tells us plainly that Mr Thornton’s heart ‘beat thick with longing love’ when Margaret Hale comes to take her leave from him and his family and let them know that she would henceforth live hundreds of miles away, in London, with her aunt.

John Thornton

There are many reasons why I think the adaptation is even better than the novel, and the main one must be the unspeakably romantic ‘Look back! Look back at me!’ – the film-makers’ masterstroke, in my opinion.

 

I can easily picture Mr Darcy whispering the same, should Elizabeth be taken away from him, towards a life with his dearest cousin. Because this is the premise I have chosen for my latest book, The Unthinkable Triangle: on the day before the one when the infamous Hunsford proposal would have taken place, Colonel Fitzwilliam offers marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet – and is accepted.

Darcy_Pemberley

Unthinkable indeed, for Darcy to have his best friend as a rival. Too cruel, some might say. Too cruel to both. But it was incredibly tempting to pursue a path that would bring Elizabeth and Darcy constantly together. Not to argue this time, but to become closer and closer, as she grows to know and understand him. The fact that this is sheer torture to Darcy is, I believe, richly deserved to some extent. He should have proposed while he had the chance. He had met Elizabeth six months earlier than his cousin, and he should have seen her true worth sooner, rather than think of no one but himself.

 

And now he is forced to contemplate a future where Elizabeth would be firmly in his life, but never his. Worse still, no one can guess his feelings. Not his cousin – heavens, no! Not Elizabeth, that would be equally unthinkable. Not anyone else either. But some things go too deep for concealment. And before too long of course the truth would out.

 

The following excerpt shows a night at the opera, when the secret is revealed to a family member who has no love for either Darcy or Colonel Fitzwilliam. The man in question is the colonel’s eldest brother, who had for years envied their closeness and can barely wait to taunt them with what he had just learned.

Covent Garden 2

* * * *

 

Excerpt from The Unthinkable Triangle

 

“Darcy! How glad I am to see you,” he found himself greeted with unusual warmth.

He did not let his surprise show and merely nodded.

“Morton.”

“I see you have come to pay your respects to my mother. I was about to do the same. I came with Lady Grantley’s party, and oddly enough they insisted on hearing the first act. But I am positively thrilled they did. I would have been distraught to miss such a peerless occasion.”

Out of character as it might have been for his eldest cousin to enthuse over a musical performance, Darcy saw fit to civilly agree.

“The soprano is uncommonly good.”

“Oh, nay, nay, you mistake my meaning,” the other laughed. “I was not speaking of the opera, although it is pleasant enough, I grant you, for a production of a human composer sung by featherless bipeds, to quote the late Diogenes,” he drawled.

Darcy forbore to observe that it was actually Plato who had defined man as a creature with two feet and no feathers. Morton’s tenuous grip on the classics was none of his own affair, and he was about to bow and take his leave, when his cousin fixed him with a diverted stare.

“It was you, Darcy, whom I must thank for the best entertainment of the evening.”

“I have not the pleasure of understanding you.”

“Whereas now I can safely say the opposite. Oh, Darcy, this is priceless! My honourable cousin lusting after my dear brother’s woman. You could not take your eyes off her all night!”

Darcy’s hands clenched behind his back.

“You are mistaken,” he enunciated darkly.

“Oh, spare yourself the trouble to deny it. I saw you clearly. Does Richard know? Is this why he stormed away in such a haste? Oh, I could not have wished for anything grander! Mind, it explains your charming fit of passion at Netherfield, last summer. Pray tell me, how does it feel to know that your dearest relation will be the one to enjoy your best-beloved’s charms – indeed, that maybe he already had? And under your own roof, no less. Or are you and my brother still so close that you would share everything?”

The savage urge to maim and kill – kill with bare hands – erupted in him with the devastating force of a volcano. Under the thin veneer of civilisation, the primeval instinct of the wounded beast battered to break through – and it was terrifying, because the last vestiges of sanity screamed that this time he could not react. Not here. Not in the sight and hearing of so many people, who would delight in vicious gossip that would drag her through the mud. And since he would rather die than let that happen, he must find the strength to walk away.

Yet his feet would not obey him. He remained frozen to the spot and could not even stop himself from shaking. The only victory was that his hands were still clenched behind his back rather than strangling the living daylights out of Morton.

Oblivious to the risks, or perhaps perfectly aware of Darcy’s reasons for inaction, the other gloated.

“What, no bare-knuckle fights? No more threats of sending seconds? How very sensible of you. Let me assure you, I shall reciprocate. I will keep your entertaining little secret. I do not wish to spark a scandal that might let you have your heart’s desire. Nor would I help my brother out of the pit that he has dug himself into. No, let him marry her and starve. I am looking forward to us all gathering together at some time or other. Shall we say at Ashford next year for Christmas?”

With that parting shot and a scant bow, Morton walked past him towards his mother’s box, leaving Darcy to return in a dark trance to his own.

 

* * * *

 

I hope you have enjoyed the excerpt, even if Darcy certainly did not. If you would like to see what happens next, and indeed what bare-knuckle fight the dastardly roué was talking about, please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a Kindle copy of The Unthinkable Triangle, available internationally. In order to increase your chances, do be sure to also comment on Rita’s review, that will soon be published on her blog. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment and many thanks again, Rita, for having me as your guest, it was wonderful to be here!

 

About the author:

 

Joana Starnes lives in the South of England with her family. She has published five Austen-related novels, all available at Amazon in print and Kindle version:

 

  • From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley ~ A Pride & Prejudice sequel
  • The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion
  • The Second Chance ~ A Pride & Prejudice – Sense & Sensibility Variation
  • The Falmouth Connection ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation set in Poldark territory
  • The Unthinkable Triangle ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation, where loyalty comes at loggerheads with love

You can connect with Joana Starnes on http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk ; http://www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes ; http://www.twitter.com/Joana_Starnes or visit ‘The Unthinkable Triangle Facebook page’ for details of giveaways and lots of images that have inspired this story.

 

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The Last Waltz

last waltz4 stars

I had read Pat Santarsiero’s Thursday’s Child a while back, and even though it might be a controversial book, especially for Janeite purists, I really enjoyed it, I liked the way she developed the characters and the way she created their interactions.

I was, therefore, very curious towards The Last Waltz.

This book is not as controversial as Thursday’s Child, it is in fact very different, and so I think it will appeal to a wider audience.

In the Last Waltz Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy briefly meet in London when she is 15 and will re-encounter each other at the Meryton Assembly. The book will follow the course of events we see in Pride and Prejudice, but of course Mrs. Santarsiero’s premise will change the events we already know too well.

The incident that will change everything in the story is the carriage accident Elizabeth has after that brief encounter with Mr. Darcy, and that leaves her with a limp. This will change who she is, and those searching for playful and sociable Lizzy will not find her. This is something some people might not like. In this book we do not see the regular portrayal of our beloved characters. We see what their characters might have been if something with a considerable impact had affected them. I understand some might not enjoy this idea, but I surely do.

I enjoyed seeing the way Pat Santarsiero developed Elizabeth’s character. It is very interesting to see her overcoming some of her inner struggles, just as it is interesting to see it is Mr. Darcy who keeps wanting her to dance. I also enjoyed the way some roles were reversed, namely having Elizabeth suffer for what she believe is an unrequited love. Why should it always be Mr. Darcy suffering from this?

There are some very romantic scenes in this book that I enjoyed. I almost cried when Elizabeth first talked to Mr. Darcy after the Meryton Assembly and at the end of the book their dance was so romantic I wanted to re-read the scene several times.

I would have prefer if there were no intimate scenes in the book as I always prefer a version without them, but it was an important part of the book that made Mr. Darcy very romantic and helped develop the story line, so it did not prevented me from liking it.

I also believe their first encounter could have been more developed as it is very important in the course of the story and I personally do not feel that it could have made such an impression on all characters involved in it.

But overall I really enjoyed this book. I like the way the writer lets the scenes flow. Even though this book relates one year in the characters’ lives we never feel bored while reading it. Pat Santarsiero has what I believe to be a very good sensitivity to what the readers want to read, and so the scenes are always very well balanced and described in accordance to their own importance for the readers.

There was also something I really enjoyed in this book. There is another romantic pair in the book (that I shall not reveal to avoid spoilers) that is always a favourite of mine, so it was a plus for me 🙂

 

The Last Waltz is available at:

Amazon.com – The Last Waltz

Amazon.co.uk – The Last Waltz: . . . another pride and prejudice journey of love

Amazon.fr – The Last Waltz: . . . another pride and prejudice journey of love (English Edition)

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Filed under 4 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Getting inspired across the ocean

If you read my latest review, Mr. Darcy’s Voyage, you know that last week I embarked on an adventure I’ve planning and expecting to do for a long time. I’m doing a road trip through the west coast of the USA, and even though that means a lot of fun, it also means reduced Internet and no computer. As a consequence, I’m not able to post as much as I would like. I hope you will forgive me for being absent for a couple of weeks.

However, this trip has not taken away my passion for JAFF nor has it reduced my will to write about it, and even though I will not be able to post anything in the upcoming week, I believe Jane Austen has followed me across the ocean to inspire me to read and write.

In Oakland I stayed at a Victorian house with the most astonishing bedroom I could imagine! Don’t you think this is an inspiration to read?

image

 

And in San Francisco everything appealed to my reading habits 🙂

 

image Continue reading

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Darcy’s Voyage

darcys voyage5 stars

Darcy’s Voyage was one of the first and best Pride and Prejudice Variations I’ve read, and one I re-read quite frequently.

The plot is very different from anything I’ve ever seen in P&P variations, and the author must be praised for the originality. In Darcy’s Voyage, Elizabeth Bennet embarks on a ship that will take her across the ocean from the United Kingdom to America and it is on that ship that she will meet Mr. Darcy.

With such a long trip ahead and nowhere to go, you can imagine how this book has a great deal of Darcy and Elizabeth scenes. I was delighted by this! The book is a bit long, but not a bit dull with all the interactions between them. It is perfect for readers who can not get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth scenes.

The characters are true to themselves, their actions, temperaments, thoughts and words are so familiar to the ones Jane Austen described that we have no doubt we are reading a Pride and Prejudice inspired book. But despite this, the reader doesn’t need to have read Pride and Prejudice to fully understand and love Darcy’s Voyage, which is something I find particularly interesting considering most variations require some degree of knowledge of the story. This book stands out for itself, everything is very well written and described, the attention to details is astonishing and once again, Mrs. Louise did what in my opinion she does best: she created an unbelievably different scenario and developed a story than can be as loving and passionate as Pride and Prejudice itself.

I remember I couldn’t stop reading this book the first time I read it, I wanted more and more scenes between our dear couple, and every time I revisit this book I feel the same way. It is passionate, original and I highly recommend it!

I’m about to go on an adventure myself as I will be flying from the UK to the USA tomorrow. Thankfully I’ll be flying, so I won’t have to be confined in a ship for a couple of months as ELizabeth did. And I’m traveling with my husband, so I will not be meeting Mr. Darcy on my voyage either, but the coincidence made me want to go back on my memory lane, retrieve my review of the book, and share it with everyone, even if it is a very simple one.

 

Darcy’s Voyage is available at:

Amazon.com – Darcy’s Voyage

Amazon.co.uk – Darcy’s Voyage: A tale of uncharted love on the open seas

Amazon.fr – Darcy’s Voyage: A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas

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Filed under 5 stars, Pride and Prejudice