Monthly Archives: November 2016

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter – Giveaway Winner

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Hello everyone,

Yesterday I was happy to announce the winner of the giveaway of Joana Starnes latest release, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, however, the winner already had a copy of this book and that means a new winner had to be randomly picked!

This time, the lucky name that was picked was…

 

***Dung***

 

Congratulations Dung! Could you please let me know to which e-mail Joana Should send you the e-book? You can send me the details to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com.

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Giveaway Winners Announcement

Hello everyone,

This month I was honored to receive in my blog 2 wonderful ladies that I was lucky to meet face to face on a beautiful Sunday morning in the beginning of the year: Joana Starnes and Elizabeth Adams.

They are amongst my favourite authors and it was an honor to meet them, and of course, to receive them in my blog all these months later.

 

Elizabeth Adams released the audiobook for one of my favorite books: The Houseguest. To celebrate that I reviewed it in From Pemberley to Milton where I spoke both of the story and the narration.

Joana Starnes released a new book, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and I was very happy to be the first one to review it during the blog tour.

To accompany the reviews these 2 ladies decided to bring one copy of their books to offer to my readers, and today, I’m happy to announce the winners.

I would just like to thank the generosity of these authors and their presence in my blog, it is always a privilege to receive you!!!

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Thank you!!!

 

Now without further ado, the randomly selected winners are:

 

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter

***Carole in Canada ***

The Houseguest

***Nicole Barton Sasser***

 

Ladies, could you please send the e-mail addresses to which the books need to be sent to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com? Nicole, could you please specify if you prefer an ebook copy or the audible?

Thank you girls 🙂

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Meryton Vignettes Review & Giveaway

meryton-vignettes-cover4.5 stars

Hello everyone,

Meryton Vignettes is a compilation of six vignettes featuring several characters from Pride & Prejudice that took me completely by surprise.

First of all, I had never seen a book of vignettes. It is true that there are several compilations of short stories, but these are not exactly short stories, they are as the name indicates small pieces that could perfectly be integrated in a short story or novel. Now, you may wonder what are the advantages of reading just a vignette and not a full story, and I’ll tell you that apart from the delight of having just a glimpse of our beloved characters when we don’t have much time to read a full story, it is the possibility of having any kind of moment ahead of you and exploring many paths that would be blocked if the writer was writing a full story. The sky is the limit with vignettes and authors can write just about anything, that is precisely what Elizabeth Adams did.

Unlike all expectations, these vignettes are not centered in Darcy and Elizabeth. They do appear is some of the stories, but Elizabeth Adams choose to portray several other characters that are usually disregarded, and she did so in an astonishing way! She developed moments in these characters lives I never expected to read in any JAFF story, and to be frank, I don’t even think I will read some of these moments in the near future. She showed us a side of these characters that is usually not shown and they are not embellished to be part of a book, they are raw material, and I loved that!

But I will give you a brief description of the vignettes and my opinion on each one of them so you can understand what I mean.

 

Mistress of Longbourn

In this opening vignette, Charlotte returns to Longbourn 17 years after her marriage to Mr. Collins. I loved the tone of this vignette and to see everyone’s reaction to this event. It was the first time I read this particular moment occurring and it was interesting to see it from Charlotte’s POV.

There was one question that was left unanswered for me, but I have no doubts about Charlotte’s ability to become the Mistress of Longbourn, or Mr. Collins ability to become it’s master… Mrs. Bennet may have been a silly woman, but it will not be easy for Charlotte to fill her shoes as Mistress of one of the most proeminente estates in the neighbourhood 🙂

 

Life After Darcy

This snippet shows us Caroline Bingley’s life after Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding. We will go through her feelings of rejection, anger and injustice until she is ready to move on, and when she does, we will see her as she truly is, as the real Caroline Bingley. In this story she will find her match who will give her a valuable lesson! I loved to see Caroline Bingley finally understanding what is most important in life and this was one of my favorite stories in the book. I reckon everyone will like this one 🙂

 

First Attachments

In this story we will see Lizzy’s attachment and developing relationship throughout the years to Jack Turner, the son of one of her father’s tenants. She will remember all the important moments in their relationship and consider how a true affection feels like. It is an impossible relationship of course, and it never goes beyond a friendship, but still it bothered me a little to see Elizabeth caring so much for someone who is not Mr. Darcy.

 

To Do Her Duty

Mrs. Bennet is the main character in this vignette, and it was the first time I ever saw her taking the leading role!

The story is told from Mrs. Bennet POV which I absolutely loved and will show a side of her that is very rarely portrayed. It was the first time I saw her go through a pregnancy and it was so touching I actually cried!! I really did! It is among my favorites in this book 🙂

 

To Fool a Fool

Prepare yourselves, this vignette describes the wedding night of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Collins. You heard me right, Elizabeth Adams did create this vignette. Don’t you think it takes a lot of courage to do that? I was shocked and amazed with To Fool a Fool, and I doubt any author will venture on writing that particular night in any other book. It takes a lot of bravery to write that night and Elizabeth Adams was not intimidated. However, do not fear! I will not give any details not to spoil it for you, but it is not as bad as it may seem 🙂

It is a bit humorous and ridiculous at the same time 🙂

 

He Had it Coming

This is the longest story in the book and it will focus on Lydia’s life after her wedding to Mr. Wickham. There are some books based on Lydia’s character, but this was the first time I saw a story so advanced in time and so dark. Seven years after her marriage, and tired of suffering abuses from her husband, Lydia sends a distress call to her sister Elizabeth who will come to her rescue. As I mentioned this is the longest vignette in the book and many events will occur in it. I will not say much more because I truly do not want to spoil it to you, but this is also on my top 3 favorite stories in the book. It is very, very good. I liked that Elizabeth Adams didn’t take a soft approach towards Lydia’s life and that she was not afraid to show us how miserable it was. I loved to see the development of Lydia’s character and the ending of course 🙂 After so much suffering, you can hope for a happy ending 🙂

 

I believe this compilation of vignettes is something every Janeite will like because not only it will give us the company of characters that are often overlooked, but it is also completely innovative in the premises! I have read scenes I never expected to read in a JAFF book and was amazed, shocked, grieved, merry and content at the same time. This is a delicious book with an interesting concept that I truly recommend.

 

You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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***It’s giveaway time***

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the excertp post published on the 21st of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under 4.5 stars, giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Meryton Vignettes – Excerpt & Giveaway

meryton-vignettes-cover

Hello everyone,

Today I bring you an excerpt of the first short story in Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice which is Elizabeth Adams’ latest release.

This book is a collection of six short stories where we can see that the people of Pride and Prejudice move on, grow up, and explore paths not taken. Time leads these beloved characters down roads of self-discovery, courage, and heartbreak. And sometimes the journey takes them to surprising places.

I’ve started reading this collection and I’m loving it so far! I’ll review it next Friday, so if you are curious to know my opinion, and to know more about each story, stop by at From Pemberley to Milton.

But I don’t want to suspend the pleasure you’ll have reading this excerpt any longer, so here it is:

 

Mistress of Longbourn

Charlotte Returns

Charlotte ran her hand along the back of the sofa, her gloves skidding lightly along the upholstery. Her eyes scanned the room: the pair of chairs by the empty fireplace, the windows covered in lavender drapes, the aged mirror over the mantle.

Of all this, she was now mistress.

She gazed at the portrait of Mr. Bennet, painted in his prime, and remembered the man who had been her neighbor for twenty-seven long years, and who was now, by his failure to produce an heir, the means of her husband having his own estate. In a way, he could be credited with her having a husband at all. If he had not agreed to host Mr. Collins all those years ago, and supported Elizabeth’s refusal of her cousin’s proposal, Charlotte would have never met and married Mr. Collins.

And now, seventeen long years after her wedding, she was here. The mistress of Longbourn. Second only to Netherfield Park, it was one of the most respectable estates in the area, belonging to one of its oldest families.

And now, it was hers.

“Was your journey pleasant?”

Charlotte jumped and looked over her shoulder. “I didn’t hear you come in. Forgive me, Mary. How do you do?”

“As well as can be expected, Mrs. Collins,” replied Mary Bennet.

“Please, call me Charlotte. We are such old neighbors,” said Mrs. Collins kindly.

“I think not,” Mary said plainly. “Nearly everything is packed. We shall be gone tomorrow.”

Mary turned and left the room, leaving a bewildered Charlotte behind her.

Charlotte shook off the feeling of guilt that had tried to settle on her shoulders and went upstairs to see to her children. She did not particularly enjoy her husband’s company, and she found the act of begetting children quite off-putting, but the results of her endurance were more than adequate recompense.

“Mother, have you considered my request?” asked a voice to her left.

She turned and looked into the face of Charlotte Rose, her eldest daughter. She was quite a pretty thing if Charlotte could say such about her own daughter. She had the look of her Aunt Maria about her.

“I have, Lottie, and since you have been so helpful throughout this move, I have decided to grant your request.”

“Oh!” the girl squealed, jumping on her toes and clasping her hands in front of her. “May I choose my chamber now?”

Before her mother could answer, the eldest of the Collins children ran off and began opening doors and comparing views. Charlotte shook her head at her enthusiasm.

“Oh, to be fifteen again!” she mumbled to herself.

She went into the nursery to help settle in her younger daughters.

Two years after her marriage, she had been delivered of a girl, Charlotte Rose, Lottie to her family. Only eighteen months later she had born a son, William John. He was followed in two-year increments by Catherine Ann and Mildred Grace. Believing she had done her duty, and not wishing to die in childbirth as her years increased alongside her womb’s fecundity, Charlotte told her husband she wished for no more children. Having birthed four babes, he couldn’t possibly expect more of her.

Mr. Collins acquiesced as she knew he would and no more was said about it.

Unfortunately, when young William was but five years old, he succumbed to a fever and was buried in the churchyard. Charlotte was devastated.

Within a year of his death, at thirty-seven years of age, Charlotte was with child. When she delivered a boy, she thanked God she would be spared further confinements. Lying in bed exhausted and spent, so happy and relieved was she that she didn’t hear her husband clearly at first when he suggested a name for the babe. She cuddled the white bundle closer to her and asked again what he had said.

“William, after his father. It’s fitting, don’t you think?” Mr. Collins said with an ingratiating smile.

He clearly had no idea of his suggestion being denied.

“We already had a son called William. Do you not remember, Mr. Collins?” she asked, her voice calm.

She remembered perfectly. How his skin had felt so hot and yet so thin, his cheeks flushed and his forehead clammy. She remembered how he had struggled for breath as she held him, praying with every fiber of her being for God to spare her only son. How she had bargained with fate, promising to be the best mother, the best wife, if only her boy would live! And how lost she had felt when the last ragged breath had left his body limp in her arms, his eyes unmoving, his chest eerily still.

She had let out a mighty wail the likes of which Hunsford had never heard, lost to everything but the profundity of her grief. She had not been practical Charlotte in that moment. She had been nothing but a mother, deprived of her life’s greatest achievement and proudest joy.

Her husband’s idiotic rambling brought her back to the conversation and his insulting suggestion.

“Well, yes, but, as the boy is no longer with us, a man wants his name to carry on, that is, I am his father…”

He spluttered on and Charlotte settled her eyes on the window, the church just visible in the distance, and next to it, the churchyard that held her beloved boy in its peaceful clasp.

“No, Mr. Collins, we will not,” she said simply.

He looked at her stupidly for a moment, but her eyes remained fixed on the window.

“What was that, my dear?” he asked.

“We will not name him William.”

“But surely, I am his father, my name, I must—”

“No,” she said forcefully. “I have already birthed and buried a son called William. There will not be another.”

Mr. Collins stood gaping at her, his mouth opening and closing like a fish.

“I shall call him Lucas Adam, after my family and my grandfather.” She looked at the baby fondly. “He was always kind to me.”

Mr. Collins had left the room then, and she had written it in the family Bible before he could argue further.

 

***

What did you think of the excerpt? Did it foster your curiosity? I particularly liked the tone Elizabeth Adams chose to start this story, it’s contemplative and soothing. Having read the full story, I liked to see what Charlotte’s life was and how everyone reacted to her becoming Mistress of Longbourn. It’s not very common for authors to venture in this idea, after all, who likes to see Charlotte and Mr. Collins taking over Longbourn? But I did like to see their trials in doing so, and I particularly liked reading the end of the story which will demonstrate the position the Collins’s will have in the neighborhood.

But to know how they will be seen and how they will act, you’ll have to read the story 🙂

 

You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

***It’s giveaway time***

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the review I will post on the 25th of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter Review & Giveaway

5 stars

I’ve probably said this before but when I start reading a Joana Starnes book my question is not whether I’m going to love it, but how much I will love it. Her latest release, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, went off the charts and became one of my favorites from Joana Starnes. One would think she could not come up with something I would love as much or more than The Unthinkable Triangle, The Falmouth Connection or The Subsequent Proposal, but here she is surprising me once more!

Before going into many details I would just like to say that the only thing I don’t like about Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is that it is so good that my job at reviewing it becomes extremely difficult. Even so, it almost kill me to have to wait until today to review it, I’ve been eager to discuss this book with everyone else 🙂

I would also like to give you some advice: before reading this book make sure that there is no one in the house to interrupt you (you won’t want to stop until the end); you have some tissues near you (I doubt many people will not cry), chocolate is at hand (you’ll need it!) and that your heart is strong enough to survive intense emotions (this will be a hard one).

That being said, this is one of the best books Joana Starnes has ever written and I’ve loved them all, so that says a lot!

In this variation, while Elizabeth is at Kent and just before Col. Fitzwilliam reveals Mr. Darcy’s part in separating Jane from Bingley, Mr. Bennet has an attack that leaves him in a very bad state. Afraid that he will not survive, and knowing Mr. Collins will not be very welcoming to his family, Mr. Darcy decides to offer to Elizabeth to protect her from a most trying circumstance. He would propose on that day anyway, so he just anticipated the proposal a few hours 😉 Thinking of her family and the consequences to leave them unprotected against Mr. Collins entreaties, Elizabeth accepts Mr. Darcy’s proposal. This is a plot that we have seen quite frequently, but the way Mrs. Starnes develops it is quite unique!

Elizabeth marries without loving Darcy, but another thing Mrs. Starnes is an expert at is creating the most loving moments between our dear couple through the most simple and daily moments, so with time and despite their several discussions and differences, we see Elizabeth falling in love with her ever strong and caring husband.

In fact, the first half of the book will satisfy the need for romance and endearing moments between Darcy and Elizabeth. Yes, she will have her reserves, but Mr. Darcy will be the best husband someone could hope for, and he will be so happy that our heart will break just thinking that probably that happiness will be shattered once he realizes she doesn’t love him. Poor, poor Darcy! I love how Joana Starnes makes him suffer in the most agonizing way…but I digress.

I have always believed Elizabeth deserved to suffer as much or even more than Mr. Darcy, and I’m proud to say that I am a member of the “Lets Torture Elizabeth club”. I thought that Joana Starnes had done a pretty good job at it in Miss Darcy’s Companion… until I read Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. While reading the first part of the book I felt Elizabeth deserved to suffer a little, but after seeing her treatment of Mrs. Bennet, who was in my opinion marvelously developed by Joana Starnes, I no longer believed, but knew that she deserved to suffer. I mean, everyone had someone to give them comfort before and after Mr. Bennet’s death except Mrs. Bennet. She was always alone during this trial, with no one to protect or care for her so I believe Elizabeth could have been a little more understanding towards her mother who was only guilty of being herself. Taking this into consideration, when I realized Mrs. Starnes was going to make Elizabeth suffer a little, I was happy. When her suffering continued I thought Mrs. Starnes had overwhelmed herself in this book, and as I continued reading, something happened to me for the first time since I started reading JAFF: I wanted Elizabeth’s suffering to stop! I couldn’t take it anymore, it wasn’t poor, poor Darcy anymore, it was poor, poor Elizabeth, and that was when I realized this was clearly and without a doubt one of the best books Joana Starnes would ever write!

We all know Joana Starnes is the angst queen, few are able to do it so well as her, and In Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter we could see the clouds approaching, we could sense a storm was coming, but when it arrives, it is not just a few drops of rain, it comes as a full force Tornado!

 

“Sleep came at last, for both, and they drifted in soothingly calm waters, blissfully ignorant of the storms to come”

 

I believe one of my comments while reading this book has been shared with you, but taking the risk of repeating myself, I think nothing can describe this better than my thoughts at the time “It can’t get any worse than this!… Wait, it’s a Joana Starnes books, of course it can!”

This was such an anticipated book that most people have probably read it by now, but those who have not, prepare yourselves! Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is a roller-coaster of emotions, it will surprise you at every turn, make you turn the pages frenetically until the end and haunt you for days, until you give up and re-read it!

The raw emotions I have when reading a Starnes book always make me too emotional when writing the reviews, hence not very objective or straight to the point, but most works of art leave us speechless don’t they? So I hope you can understand through this disarray I’ve written how absolutely marvelous this book is.

You can find Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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*** Book Blurb***

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

 

***Author Bio***

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Joana Starnes is the author of:

* From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley’, a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ sequel

* ‘The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion’

* ‘The Second Chance’ ~ A ‘Pride & Prejudice’ ~ ‘Sense & Sensibility’ variation


* ‘The Falmouth Connection’, – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

* ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

*’Miss Darcy’s Companion’ – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

.

You can find Joana Starnes on:

Facebook: All Roads Lead to Pemberley/ Joana Starnes Facebook Page

Twitter: Joana Starnes/ Twitter

Goodreads: Joana Starnes Goodreads Author Page

Amazon:  Joana Starnes Amazon Author Page

 

***Blog Tour***

The blog tour is just starting so you will have a lot of opportunities to learn more about this book with the interviews, guest posts, excerpts and reviews that are to come.

Follow the several stops to be better acquainted with this story and increase your chances of winning a copy 😉

 

November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway

November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving

November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway

November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway

November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway

December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

 

***It’s Giveaway Time***

Joana Starnes would like to offer one ebook copy of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter to the readers of From Pemberley to Milton. The giveaway is international and is open until the end of the blog tour on December 2nd.

All you have to do is comment on this post and let us know your thoughts on this book or Joana’s previous works 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

 

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Filed under 5 stars, giveaway, Joana Starnes, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

The Houseguest Review & Giveaway

4.5 stars

Hello everyone,

I read The Houseguest when it was released in 2013 and absolutely loved it, so when the audiobook was released earlier this month, I knew it was the right time to re-acquaint myself with this story.

In this variation Georgiana begs Mr. Darcy to join him at Netherfield, and not wishing to disappoint his sister, he acquiesce. While she is there, she meets and befriends Elizabeth Bennet who is later on invited to spend a few days at Darcy’s London house while Mr. Darcy is out of town. But he returns earlier than expected and finding Elizabeth in Darcy House at his sister’s request, he has no alternative than to accept he will have to spend some time in her presence.

Both when I read and listened to this book I was immediately drawn into it not wishing to get away from the story. I always love books placed at Darcy’s house in London, there is a unique feeling to it and the coziness of this environment is perfect to allow Darcy and Elizabeth to develop a deep and strong relationship. And that is precisely what happens in The Houseguest.

Being forced to be in the same house for a few weeks, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth share several intimate moments and start to know each other much better. Their stolen moments at breakfast, the encounters in the library and the fight in the snow were breathtaking. I loved watching Darcy and Elizabeth in such intimate moments and having a prelude of how blissful their life together would be.

Through all this time we can feel the intensity of their relationship, and Elizabeth’s love when it starts to grow. Who doesn’t love to see Elizabeth gradually falling in love with Darcy? The moments they spend together are lovely and passionate but always within propriety, which is something I always appreciate, making this one of those love stories that sticks to my mind. (but don’t worry, those who love their passionate kisses will also find them in this book).

The characters are true to themselves, and some new additions are very interesting, namely Sir Malcom, Mr. Darcy’s rival. It was nice to see a rival for Mr. Darcy who was almost as perfect as Darcy himself. It was about time he had some real competition! But of course that Sir Malcom could never be Darcy, and after some turbulent times Elizabeth makes the only possible choice. I was only a little disappointed that Elizabeth was not more determined towards one of the two suiters and a little sooner. Of course she easily realizes who she really loves, but I wish she could have realized it sooner.

I didn’t remember the book had so many funny moments until I listened to the audiobook and some small details and inflections caught my attention. I also have to praise Brigid Lohrey for the merriment she was able to transmit in Elizabeth’s voice, she captured her teasing manner perfectly.

The Houseguest was very well written and I could easily imagine myself in every scene Elizabeth Adams describes. It has a low level of angst but enough to keep us turning the pages until the very end , and it is filled with romantic moments that allow Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to slowly build an intimate and deep relationship. I highly recommend this book to any JAFF reader in need of a good romance.

 

You can find The Houseguest at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

.

***

We often see the authors bio in guest posts but seldom remember to give the spotlight to the other people contributing to the success of a book. Many people are involved in the process of publishing a book but when it is released in audio version, the narrator is crucial to the success of the product, so we thought it would be interesting to let you know a little more about Brigid Lohrey who did a great job in narrating The Houseguest.

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***Brigid Lohrey’s biography***

brigid-lohrey-0670-colour-finalBrigid has always enjoyed reading classical literature. She loves Austen’s work, (and has even been to the Austen Museum in Bath!) and so jumped at the chance to narrate Elizabeth Adam’s The Houseguest as soon as she read it, as it was such a great story with colorful, quintessentially English characters which she loved bringing to life.

Brigid is a character actress and started narrating audiobooks three years ago. She began with the RNIB for whom she has narrated seven Australian titles from romances to psychological thrillers. For Spoken4 (available on Audible), she has narrated Kelly Rimmer’s When I Lost You and is also currently narrating Kelly’s latest book, A Mother’s Promise, which will be out in December 2016.

As well as audiobooks, Brigid has voiced commercials and corporate jobs for both the UK and Australian markets, as well as bringing characters to life in Radio Dramas such as the English rose Emma Finney in Dark Shadows: Beneath the Veil, and Dream Commando Wahn in Dr Who: Dreamtime with Sylvester McCoy for Big Finish Productions.

Find more about Brigid Lohrey at http://www.brigidlohrey.com or follow her on Twitter @brigidlohrey

 

*** It’s giveaway time***

To celebrate the release of The Houseguest on Audible, Elizabeth Adams would like to offer to my readers one audio or ebook copy of this book.

The winner can choose the format, and all we ask you to do is comment this post to let us know what you think of The Houseguest, or to share your good vibes with Mrs. Adams.

The giveaway is international and will end on the 25th of November right after I publish my review of Elizabeth Adam’s latest release: Meryton Vignettes.

Good Luck everyone!

Elizabeth Adams signing my copy of The Houseguest in London earlier this year…

I just couldn’t resist 😉

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Filed under 4.5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy’s Hope – Review & Giveaway

5 stars

 

Hello everyone,

I had never heard of Darcy’s Hope, I didn’t know author Ginger Monette, and alternate eras are not my favorite type of variations, so I wasn’t sure of what to expect of this book when I started reading it. Now that I’ve read it, I can honestly say Darcy’s Hope is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had while reading JAFF.

This alternate era variation will take us to the middle of WWI where Captain Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, after briefly meeting in Heartforshire, will be stationed at “The Ritz”, a private chateaux turned into a hospital, assuming their roles as a Captain of his Majesty’s army and VAT nurse. But do not be scared or alarmed if you think the surroundings of the war will be too harsh on our characters or inhibit the romance. They will not. Ginger Monette did a prodigious job at balancing the historical notions she clearly obtained during her investigation, and the romance we are so used to when it comes to JAFF. The synchrony between the historical aspects and the romance is perfect, giving the reader a pleasant reading experience.

The scenario was actually very comforting as we could clearly imagine the characters’ lives in the chateaux and surrounding fields, but not only did I love to see these characters living in the same place and having several opportunities to observe each other and learn to appreciate the other’s attributes, thus, slowly falling madly in love with each other, but also loved their interactions, their dialogues and arguments. They were mature and logical and I could clearly understand the points of view of both characters and imagine them saying those words and sentences.

The dialogues designed by the author were not created with the single purpose of creating conflict between the characters, they were true and very much in character with both Darcy and Elizabeth. The arguments they used while arguing showed a deep understanding of the others character and we could see them act, without even realising it,  as the others conscience, which was something beautiful to see. Both Darcy and Elizabeth opened the others eyes about their own behaviors and fears, and that knowledge of the others soul was magical. I particularly loved to see how, with only one sentence, Mr. Darcy showed Elizabeth that her father’s behavior shaped her view of man and life, and to see her recognize he was right and that her fears could be overcome and her life’s goals could be different if she conquered that inner fear.

I particularly loved this Darcy! He was not too proud or too distant, just enough to make him perfect! I felt he was a very balanced Darcy that fully corresponded to my ideals of him. I loved the struggles he had to overcome, and I’m not only talking about his feelings for Elizabeth, but also the fear of letting himself feel and open his heart to others after it had suffered so much with the impacts of war. Plus, I loved the militarized version of Darcy who could protect Elizabeth in every way possible, I thought it incredibly sexy.

The writing was very fluid and diversified and I was so immersed in the book that I spent my days eagerly waiting to come home, continuing reading it, and getting into this story and these characters lives. I impatiently anticipated the moment I could get lost in this story, and I think that says a lot about the quality of the book.

And of course, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that John Thornton had a cameo on this book! I absolutely loved seeing him with Darcy, and even if he has a small role in this book, I absolutely loved that he was the one opening Darcy’s eyes regarding a man’s worth. It was Thornton who made Darcy realize that a man’s worth is in his actions and his character and not in his station in life. I could not picture a better person to make Darcy realize that. I have often thought of how perfect it would be to have a crossover between Pride & Prejudice and North & South, but because the stories are in different eras it is difficult to create a story with all my favorite characters. This alternate era story allowed that to happen, and I can only hope that in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, I will have the pleasure of Darcy and Thornton establishing a more solid friendship!

Even if this book has a sort of happy ending, it does have a continuation and when I finished it I could not believe I would have to wait until January to read it! I’m really, really eager to read Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, so much, that it is even hard for me to read something else in between. I just wish I could read it straight away!

Summing up, I highly recommend Darcy’s Hope, it is an extremely well built and well written book full of history, intrigue and romance which captured my heart and mind to the point of not wishing to do anything else apart from reading it.

 

Darcy’s Hope is available at :

Amazon.com – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty From Ashes

Amazon.co.uk – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty From Ashes

 

I think you can tell by my review that I absolutely loved this book, so if my comments got you curious, you can find out more about this book through Lizzie’s Scrapbook where you can find the people and places Lizzie encountered through her time in the continent, the book trailer (yes, there is a video trailer, yey!), the audio excerpt (what if instead of reading an excerpt you could listen to it?) and the blurb.

Click here to see Lyzzy’s Scapbook 🙂

lizzies-scrapbook

And on the video below to see the trailer 🙂

 

But, if you prefer to read about the book instead of seeing the images or the video, there is always the blurb, of course 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

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Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You’ll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.

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1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet’s life in tatters.

Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!

But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives….

Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”

But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.

With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent? Darcy can only hope….

  • Cameo appearance by John Thornton (of Gaskell’s North & South).
  • Rated PG. Clean romance, mild language, some war scenes.
  • Darcy’s Hope has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, coming in January 2017. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple’s love will face a new, tragic test.

 

Would you like to listen to an excerpt of Darcy’s Hope?

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***Author Bio***

gingerThe teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she’s hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 Picture This grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.

Website: GingerMonette.com

Author’s Facebook: is here

Goodreads: here

Amazon Page: here

 

***It’s giveaway time***

With Darcy’s Hope set during the era of Downton Abbey and the tour being right before Christmas, Ginger Monette thought it would be fun to use Downton Abbey ornaments as the giveaway. Therefore she would like to offer seven ornaments of Downton Abbey.

The ornament giveaway is open to US residents in the continental US. The prize for residents of the continental UK is a Downton Abbey mug.

All you have to do to apply to the giveway is click here.

Entrants will get additional entries for commenting on this blog.

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***Blog Tour***

There are still many stops on the blog tour, so don’t forget to check all the other blogs for more information on this book and chances to win the giveway 🙂

tour

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Filed under 5 stars, giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Letter From Ramsgate – Giveaway Winners

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Hello everyone,

The Blog tour of Letter from Ramsgate has come to an end and it is time to reveal the giveaway winners.

I would just like to thank Janet Taylor for organizing such a wonderful blog tour and Suzan Lauder for putting so much of her efforts on this tour. I can honestly say this was one of the best blog tours I’ve seen, with many different and creative posts that kept my interest from the beginning of the tour until the end. Every new post had something that I found interesting and my interest in the tour never waved, so congratulation ladies!

Now, without further ado, the winners of the paperback and eBook copies of Letter From Ramsgate are:

 

Paperback Winners:

Becky Boerner

Margie Longoria

Michele

Raquel Muniz

Ebook Winners:

Glynis Whitelegg

Anji Dale

Vesper Meikle

Kirsten

 

Congratulations ladies! I’m sure your books are on your way already 🙂

If you have not been one of the lucky winners, you can always find Letter From Ramsgate at Amazon.com.

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Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter Cover Reveal & Giveaway

mbdd-nov-2-cover-reveal-br-ann_edited-2-1Hello dear readers

Today I bring you a very special post! Along with 9 other wonderful bloggers, I’m happy to reveal to all of you the cover for Joana Starnes newest book, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter!

Along with the cover, I would like to share with you some fun facts I discovered while doing my research for this post, the book blurb and…a giveaway sponsored by Joana Starnes.

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Joana’s new book has a very beautiful portrait on it’s cover, it is titled Portrait of Miss Frances Vinicombe, date unknown, and it’s an oil on canvas that measures 92×71 cm painted by John Opie, a Cornish historical and portrait painter.

He painted many great men and women of his day, including members of the British Royal Family, and others who were most notable in the artistic and literary professions. One of the people he painted was Mary Wollstonecraft who was an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.

marywollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft died at the age of 38, eleven days after giving birth to her second daughter, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts. This daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, became an accomplished writer herself, as Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.

I believe Mary Wollstonecraft’s life story and beliefs would make her a perfect Elizabeth Bennet, but John Opie painted her in a later stage of her life so the person on Joana’s book cover is not Mary Wollstonecraft but Miss Frances Vinicombe.

I tried to obtain more information on her, but I couldn’t find much. I know she was born in Devon, England ans she was painted in mourning clothes but everything else remains a mystery. I guess that is a good thing isn’t it? We will not have any prejudice concerning the cover as we will be left with only our own imagination and creativity. Every time we look at Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter we may imagine what type of live that beautiful woman may have had.

 

But I’ve been talking and talking (or writing) without even showing you the cover, and I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours, so you can find the cover below:

mdbb-final-6_9_m

What do you think? Miss Frances Vinicombe was a better choice for the cover wasn’t she?

I am very intrigued by the painting on the cover, especially by the clothes Miss Vinecombe is wearing. Why is she wearing black? Where was she when this portrait was painted? Who ordered this painting, and where was it kept? I’m not sure if I will ever know the answers to these questions, but at least some might be answered if I ever visit Russia. And, no, that was not a mistake, the painting is currently on display at The Hermitage Museum in Russia, so if you ever visit St. Petersburg, you’ll have a chance to look at the intriguing Miss Vinecombe.

You can also find in this museum paintings of some of my favorite artists such as Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, and Alfred Sisley, but also from Degas, Gaugin, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, , Kandinsky and so on.

Isn’t this a major enticement to visit St. Petersburg? Not that I needed another excuse to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world 🙂

portrait-of-miss-frances-vinicombe-by-john-opie-1790s

 

 

But I’m digressing and by now I already spoiled who Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is, but in case you are still wondering why Elizabeth Bennet is a Dutiful Daughter, please read the book blurb.

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***Book Description***

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

Available at: Amazon.com

***Author Contacts***

joana-starnesFacebook: All Roads Lead to Pemberley/ Joana Starnes Facebook Page

Twitter: Joana Starnes/ Twitter

Goodreads: Joana Starnes Goodreads Author Page

Amazon:  Joana Starnes Amazon Author Page

 

 

***Blog Tour***

This book will go on a tour, don’t miss the several stops to find out more about it, and have an extra chance at the giveaways!

 

November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveawaymbdd-blog-tour-banner-vertical_d

November 18/Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

November 19/Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 23/Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving

November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes

November 27 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway

November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway

December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

 

***It’s giveaway time***

 

Joana Starnes would like to offer our readers 3 copies of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. One reader will receive a paperback and two will receive an ebook copy. They will also receive assorted Austen-related mini-gifts. The giveaways are open to international winners.

Also, as a special bonus, all Rafflecopter entrants will receive an exclusive excerpt of the book that will not be included in the Amazon sample.

To enter the giveaway, just click here.

 

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Filed under Cover reveal, Joana Starnes, Pride and Prejudice

Vampire Darcy’s Desire

MDP Book Cover4.5 stars

Hello everyone,

How was your Halloween? Did you have fun?
Halloween is not an important tradition in my country, in fact, it is not a tradition at all, so I didn’t prepare anything special for this time of the year. However, I have been reading Regina Jeffers new edition of Vampire Darcy’s Desires and last night, of all nights, I had to stay up until I finished reading it. I could not just go to bed when my favorite characters were still fighting Wickham could I? I thought that spending the Halloween night reading this book had to mean something, and obviously, when I woke up this review was the first thing that came to my mind.

Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half human/half vampire dhampir, Fitzwilliam Darcy vows to  a solitary life rather than inflict the horrors of his life upon an innocent wife and his first born son. However, when he encounters the captivating Elizabeth Bennet, his will is sorely tested.
As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a different kind of “pride” and his enemy’s “prejudice,” while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love. Evil forces, led by George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, attack from all sides, and Darcy learns his only hope to survive is to align himself with Elizabeth, who is uncannily astute is how to defeat Wickham, a demon determined to destroy each generation of Darcys.”

I love the paranormal and was eager to read a book where Mr. Darcy is a vampire, but I didn’t read the blurb and my head was so filled with The Vampire Diaries books that I was completly caught by surprise. Vampire Darcy’s Desire is very original and different from what I was expecting. I expected a vampire Darcy who could not get old, who could not survive without human blood, and who would turn Elizabeth into a vampire so they could live an eternal live together. But that was not at all what I found in this book. I encountered a tormented Darcy cursed to live without love and family. A Darcy destined to fight George Wickham until the end of his live and without any human affection to console him. A man who has never known hapiness and peace, and worse than that, a man without hope…Until he meets Elizabeth Bennet, and suddenly hope arises in his heart and he finally allows himself to live and dream of hapiness.

I wasn’t truly convinced by the beginning of their relationship, it seemed too sudden and physical, but I’m glad this small detail didn’t stop me, because as I continued reading, I discovered in Vampire Darcy’s Desires one of the most compelling relationships I’ve ever seen of Darcy and Elizabeth. Their love was everything I imagine it to be: intense and transcendent. We will have plenty of Darcy and Elizabeth moments, and the time they spend together will allow them to see they were destined to be together, and to form a bond that life itself could not destroy. Elizabeth’s love and trust in Darcy is pure perfection, and I felt nothing could ever tear them apart. Regina Jeffers creates in this book one of the most beautiful and strong love stories I’ve seen of our beloved characters. It is even hard to put into words how much I loved the way she developed their relationship.

Darcy was not so proud as we are used to and had some insecurities, which makes perfect sense considering his background in this book, but he is a flirtatious, passionate and sexy Darcy to whom I would gladly surrender.

Elizabeth is witty, courageous, independent, strong minded, dedicated and utterly in love with Darcy. Together they become a force of nature, and a force of nature they need to be to conquer the curse that has afflicted Darcy’s family for centuries! This is another aspect of the book that I loved, it wasn’t only excellent in terms of romance, but also in terms of adventure and terror! Some of the scenes were so well written I actually felt afraid, and at a certain point I had no idea how D&E would defeat Wickham. I loved Wickham’s character as well, and even if he is pure evil, I confess that at times I felt sorry for him.

Other characters caught my attention and I wonder if we will not see them again in a continuation 😉

Vampire Darcy’s Desire kept me hooked from the beginning until the end, and I highly recommend it to anyone in need of a great adventure and romance! It was the first book I’ve read from Regina Jeffers, but it will certainly not be the last one. If this is how she portrays Darcy and Elizabeth, then I will surely become addicted to her books.

You can find Vampire Darcy’s Desire at:

Amazon.com – Vampire Darcy’s Desire

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Filed under 4.5 stars, Pride and Prejudice, Uncategorized