Monthly Archives: January 2017

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter III

Hello everyone,

This month hubby and I flew to London to attend the wedding of 2 of my best friends. The wedding was very special and took place in a beautiful house in St. James Square where I had one of the best nights of the last few months. My friends were incredibly happy and we had an amazing time with them and all the other guests, but obviously a trip to London means an Austenesque escape for me so after discovering Lyme Park was closed until March, I decided to visit Chawton and Bath one more time… After all, it is impossible for one to grow tired of Bath 🙂

This is the type of trip a girl doesn’t do alone, so I invited a few friends to join Rui Pedro (who was practically dragged) and me in this adventure,  and that is how I ended up visiting Chawton and Alton with Joana Starnes and Ana from My Vices and Weaknesses on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Bath and Lacock the following day with Joana and Mira from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy.

This small road trip started in London with Rui doing his best to drive on the “right” side of the road, changing the gear with his left hand and understanding the priorities in roundabouts, thankfully Ana was there to give him a hand because I just kept thinking we were going to crash. We were still in the highway when we got a call from Joana saying she was already in Chawton and Jane Austen’s House was closed. Can you believe it? I took a 2h30 min flight, rented a car, drove for 2 hours, but didn’t check if the house was open before doing all that. The truth is, I never expected it to be closed! But it looks good from the outside doesn’t it?

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I’ll have to post another chapter of My Jane Austen Road Trip anytime soon with pictures of the inside as well, luckily I had been there in 2015 and will be able to show you all the rooms next time 🙂

People say we have to look at the bright side of life, and in fact, this little lapse was the perfect opportunity to spend hours and hours talking about Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and JAFF with Joana and Ana 🙂 Rui just listened and waited with a patience of a saint 🙂 It also gave us some time to go to Alton and see some of the places Jane visited and it ended up being a perfect day!

Below you can see The Swan which was a coaching inn during Jane Austen’s life. She used the coach that stopped at this coaching inn when she travelled to London and I marvelled to think I was at another place she visited when she was alive. You can also see the site of the Bank of (Henry) Austen, Gray & Vincent between 1806 and 1812. Henry Austen was Jane’s brother and the bank handled some of her correspondence between Alton and London. It is not very impressive, but it has its significance for a Janeite like me 🙂

I truly did not want it to end! These ladies are amazing and I could talk and talk with them for ages! We hadn’t parted yet and I already wanted to repeat the experience…hopefully we will be able to meet once more this year, if not in the UK, maybe in Portugal 🙂 Seeing the places that marked Jane Austen’s life with these ladies was amazing, but the best part of the day was talking to them, and we can do that in any country :))

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I was sad when we parted but also expectante for the following day  which I hoped would be equally good 🙂

Monday morning I woke up in this beautiful but freezing scenery thinking that Elizabeth Bennet had to be nuts to regularly go on morning walks with the british weather, but I definitely recommend the hotel where we stayed (The Old Mill) for those visiting Bath with a vehicle. It is located in the countryside, 3 miles from Bath, and the peace and quiet we can feel there is enough to transport us back to the 19th century.

After a delicious english breakfast (I even had beans), I soon found myself in the center of Bath where I finally met Mira.

I have visited many places but none is like Bath, I absolutely love Bath!!! I loved it as much this time as the first time I was there and had the advantage of visiting it this time with true connoisseurs of Bath’s filming locations 🙂 We had not walked 500 meters when Joana pointed me the store where Anne and Captain Wentworth first see each other in Bath (swoon…), it looks very different and I didn’t go inside but it was nice to know that was the place. Now my imagination may drift to that store when I re-read Persuasion.

After a stop to take several pictures we headed out to the Royal Crescent were numerous more photos were taken and I imagined myself running towards Wentworth 🙂

This is probably one of the most known places in Bath, and I can see why. It is just astonishing! Pictures do not do it justice and they can only give a small idea of how beautiful and well kept this place is.

It was also one of the sites used for the filming of the 2007 Persuasion film, and even if I am on Ciaran Hinds team, and definitely prefer the 1995 version, everytime I see the Royal Crescent I think of this adaptation. Do you think there is a lot of discussion regarding favorite adaptations for Persuasion as well? I know there is a lot of talk regarding the favorite Pride and Prejudice adaptation, but what about Persuasion? Which is your favourite?

When I visited Bath in 2014 I didn’t enter the Assembly Rooms, so this time it was mandatory to see them. They were designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769 with the purpose of being a place for dancing and music. When they were completed in 1771 they were described as ‘the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom’.

During our guided tour I learnt they were bombed and burnt out during the Second World War and due to budget constraints the place was very close to become a parking lot! Luckily the funds were obtained in time and Sir Albert Richardson undertook the restoration of the building before it’s reopening in 1963.

The building has rooms arranged in a U shape and there are four main function rooms in the complex: the ballroom; the tea room; the card room; and the octagon, all of them absolutely stunning, don’t you think?

After a lot of time looking at the goodies in the shop and buying several things, we went to the Jane Austen Center. I had also been there in 2014, so we didn’t get inside the museum itself, we just stayed almost an hour in the shop buying more things and went upstairs for tea with Mr. Darcy 🙂

As I had been in Bath before and Joana and Mira visit it often, we accepted Joana’s suggestion to visit Lacock. I confess I didn’t know what Lacock was until she explained to me that it was Meryton!!! This was the village that BBC chose to portray the village of Meryton in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice adaptation, and where the Bennet sisters visited aunt Phillips,  sought the latest gossip, the latest fashions and the latest dose of attention from the officers.

The village is owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust and it felt like we were entering the 19th century due to picturesque streets and historic cottages untouched by modern alterations. How I wish we had preserved more places like this one!!! I spent a lot of time staring at the Red Lion and even made my own Mr. Darcy walk away towards it…he was just missing the Horse.

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Now without the car… and the horse 🙂

 

The Abbey in Lacock Village was also used for some of interior scenes, but we didn’t get a chance to visit it, which means there is a reason to go back 🙂

 

We were about to leave but Mira insisted we visited a bridge she spent 3 years looking for! Yes, 3 years, that is how much she loves Pride and Prejudice.

The landscape is beautiful isn’t it? But do you recognise it?

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It was another location used in the 1995 P&P adaptation. In it Elizabeth is forced to tolerate Mr. Collins ramblins on their way to Meryton…Poor girl 🙂

Looking at the size of this post, and the amount of pictures I shared, it may look like we did a lot of things, but in the end it felt that the time was not enough to talk about all the things we wanted to talk about, and it was very hard to say goodbye to these wonderful ladies!! Now we only have the internet to keep in touch and the hope of meeting again soon!

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But I can not end this post without sharing all the goodies I got from this trip :))) I hardly have a chance to buy these kind of things, so I tried to bring as many items as possible.

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If you are seeing anything you like, you can find them all in Jane Austen’s Center shop and The Assembly Rooms shop.

I hope you have enjoyed this long post and that you found these places interesting. If it has enticed you to see our favourite characters in all these places, there are plenty ways of doing so, not only you can buy the DVD’s of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and watch them a dozen times a year (if you don’t have them and don’t do that already!), but you can also watch them through Amazon Prime Video. This is an option I don’t have in Portugal, but I think it is just awesome!

Until my next Jane Austen Road trip, happy reading everyone! Or should I say enjoy your tv adaptations?

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Legally Darcy – Giveaway Winners Announcement!

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Hello everyone,

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. William Darcy of Darcy and Associates and sharing with all of you an excerpt of Legally Darcy, Denise O’Hara’s latest release. This was a fun experience which I hope you all liked as much as I did, but apart from the joy of interviewing such a character, I also had the joy to share with you Mrs. O’Hara giveaway of 2 ebook copies.

All my readers had to do was comment the blog post and the 2 randomly selected winners were:

 

***Ginna***

***Dholcomb1***

Congratulations ladies! Could you please send me na e-mail to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com to confirm to which e-mail Mrs. O’Hara can send you the ebooks?

Thank you and Happy reading!

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Audiobooks Giveaway Winners Announcement

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Hello everyone,

I started this year with the pleasure of interviewing Stevie Zimmerman and learning a little more about the audiobook business and the narration process. I was also very lucky to receive as my guests Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J.Dawn King who shared with us their working experience with Stevie and also some news regarding their recently released audiobooks! J. Dawn King announced the release of The Abominable Mr. Darcy audiobook on the same day the post was released and Nicole Clarkston announced that The Courtship of Edward Gardiner would also be narrated by Stevie Zimmerman and released this month! In fact, the audiobook is already out, and to celebrate it, Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one copy of it to an additional winner !!! So today we’re announcing 9 lucky winners who will hopefully spend several hours listening to Stevie narrate the stories of our favorite characters 🙂

But before announcing the winners, I would just like to thank these wonderful authors once more for their kindness and support on this post and for the generosity to my readers. Ladies, you are some of the nicest people I have met in the JAFF community and I am blessed to have had an opportunity to get to know you 🙂 Thank you so much for all your support and friendship!

Now, without further ado, the winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – The Pemberley Library

Accusing Elizabeth – Anji


Rumours and Recklessness – Elizabeth Ehinger

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Northern Rain – Kneyda


Compromised – Daniela Quadros & Darcybennett

 

The Abominable Mr. Darcy – Maureen C & Jessica Washer

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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Eliza

Congratulations everyone! Can you please send me your e-mail addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so we can send you your audiobooks?

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Filed under Audiobooks, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Darcy Monologues

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Hello everyone,

I’m very happy to share with you today an interview with editor Christina Boyd where she speaks of a project I absolutely loved!! When I heard about it I could not believe I would still have to wait several months for it to come out, but I’ll let you hear all about it through Christina’s words 🙂 Who better than her to explain what The Darcy Monologues are all about?

 

***Interview with Christina Boyd***

 

There are many well-known names behind today’s exciting announcement in the JAFF community and the one person at the center of it all is here today to share this news with us; the lovely Austenesque editor, Christina Boyd.

Christina, there’s a buzz going around the JAFF community that you are heading a new project and it’s a pleasure to have you visit so many Austenesque blogs today to share your big news!

Can you share with us what you’ve been working on behind-the-scenes?

Thank you for hosting and shining your light on this project. I am excited and not a little proud to announce “The Darcy Monologues”—a short story anthology with sixteen of my very favorite Austenesque writers. I doubt anyone will be surprised by my list—authors I’ve either enjoyed working with and admire their work or authors I have simply fan-girl’d over for years: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

 

Wow, that is an exciting line-up of talent!

“The Darcy Monologues” sounds like such a fitting title for this anthology. Would you share with us how it was selected as the title, especially with so many authors involved in this project?

This project is collection of stories all told from Fitzwilliam’s point-of-view—set in Regency, contemporary, as well as other eras. Because the stories are strictly from his eyes, I felt it imperative we find a title that clearly illustrated the book would be more than one tale but all from his point-of-view. In an e-mail from “The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy” author, Sara Angelini, she mentioned how she had long wanted to write a story titled “The Darcy Monologues” or something like… So, in presenting the idea to the group, other ideas were thrown about. After a quick Google search, we learned there was a short story on Derbyshire Writer’s Guild by Judy-Lynne with the same title. She had written a short story described as six “extemporaneous rants” expressed by Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not one to be a copycat, we moved on to other names. But as time passed, nothing resonated with me as much so I felt incumbent to ask Judy-Lynne if she would be offended if we used the same title. Unfortunately, she is rarely on the fanfiction sites anymore and everyone I asked claimed they did not know how to get in touch with her. Finally! Finally, I connected with her through “A Happy Assembly” and asked her about the title use, she accepted, and I asked her if she was still writing and would she be interested in writing a short for the anthology. She said she wasn’t writing but agreed to the challenge. And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

How does this project differ from anything you’ve worked on before?

I’ve worked on two other anthologies, published in 2015 by Meryton Press: “Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer” and “Then Comes Winter.” Both were set-up as writing contests with a panel of judges reading and selecting the submissions. This project, I am self-publishing and have assembled my own dream team.

 

At this point, what can you share about your experiences working with so many talented Austenesque writers?

I feel lucky! Blessed. Not only that these talented writers have all graciously committed to this project—some having not written anything Austenesque in years—but have over a short period of time become so dear to me on a personal level.

 

What can readers expect from this anthology?

The authors have all committed to write a short piece from Darcy’s point-of-view, between 5000-15,000 words, and must have romance—but no scenes that I wouldn’t be able to share with my teenage daughter or eighty-year-old mother-in-law. Even with that last tenet, I am amazed how these writers can turn up the heat in a room. Have your fans handy—and even a few tissues!

 

It seems like we just can’t get enough of Mr. Darcy! What’s his appeal, Christina, 200 years later?

“Pride and Prejudice” is told in the third-person narrative, limited omniscient, from Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of-view. In my fiction, I have always had a weakness for the rich, powerful, noble, and handsome man who changes his ways for love, and a woman worthy of his efforts. I’ve long dreamt of putting together a collection of stories all from my favorite Austen hero’s eyes. Yes, “Pride and Prejudice” has been told before from Darcy’s point-of-view by the talented Pamela Aidan, Stanley Hurd, Amanda Grange, Janet Aylmer, and Mary Street, to name a few—but with all the amazing “Pride and Prejudice” re-imaginings out there, I wanted to read alternate stories in his own words.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today about The Darcy Monologues?

The anthology is scheduled for release May 22, 2017 and we have a few promotions planned in the coming weeks as we finish the editing process to spit and polish the collection.

 

Before we part, Christina, I hear you have some rather thrilling news to share with us on a personal level, which was just announced early this week. Care to divulge the details here too?

Well… I can barely believe it myself but…I won—I WON, the Omaze “Champagne Toast with Henry Cavill on the London Eye” experience! (Fundraiser to benefit the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.) You read that right. I won. I’m flying to London to meet my all-time favorite book boyfriend, the very talented British actor, Henry Cavill. I have never been to England, except layovers in Heathrow—which doesn’t count—so I feel like the French teacher who has never been to France. And here I get to go, stay in a luxury hotel, explore London, and have a champagne toast with Henry Cavill. Pinch me! And yes, if he is willing, I do hope to have him sign some swag for “The Darcy Monologue” giveaways—after all, he is my book boyfriend.

 

biography

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Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist under her own banner, Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

 

 

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We are giving away some really fun prizes to three lucky winners! One winner will receive a stash of gifts to enjoy with his/her own significant other. These treats include assorted British food and beverage snacks and a Mr. Darcy quote mug.

(This prize is open to a winner with a U.S. mailing address only)

Another winner will receive two stories from the anthology; a Regency story and a contemporary or alternate era short story. The winner will choose his/her prize stories based on the authors in this anthology. These stories will be distributed to the winner on March 15, 2017.

Our third prize winner will receive a walk-on role in one of the stories in this anthology. That’s right…This winner will have a piece of the action in one of our stories, which means having a character in one of these stories in the anthology named after her/him.

This is something every JAFF reader dreams about, isn’t it?

These giveaways are open for entries from Friday, January 20 until midnight, ET, on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

To enter these giveaways click on the image below:

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A Lie Universally Hidden Review & Giveaway

alieuniversallyhiddenebook-cover4.5 stars

In A Lie Universally Hidden Mr. Darcy receives a letter with his mother’s signature stating it is her wish that he marries his cousin Anne. This may seem a small detail, but the truth is, it will have an enormous impact in the story and in Mr. Darcy’s personality. Not that he becomes someone unrecognizable to us, by the contrary, he will remain the most honourable gentleman anyone in Hertfordshire has ever seen and bound to family duty,  but because of his mother’s wish he will not go against his aunt, nor will he be haunted by matchmaking mamas. It is known everywhere that he is engaged to his cousin and that gives him further liberty to pay attention to other women without raising expectations. Of course that despite this Mr. Darcy never pays attention to anyone… until he meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

As it is known Mr. Darcy will marry someone else, he is at ease to develop a friendship with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, knowing that no one will consider it more than a mere friendship, but that will allow them to talk, spend time together and of course fall madly in love with one another.

This is a very clean story but filled with romantic moments between Darcy and Elizabeth; I loved their dialogues, the time they spend together at Mr. Hamilton’s estate, their stolen glances and the intimacy they created with one another. I loved their chemistry at the theatre and must confess I loved the reference to The Taming of the Shrew which is my favourite Shakespeare story.

The relationship the author built was absolutely wonderful and I loved every single minute of it, just as I loved the characters themselves. Elizabeth was everything I imagine her to be, and her reaction to Mr. Hamilton’s accusations proves that she is that obstinate, headstrong girl Lady Catherine accuses her of being 🙂

The book is not very angsty because they both accept they will marry someone else and the author doesn’t explore the angst in their feelings, but at a certain point we just want them to be together and for Elizabeth to know who the watch’s original owner was! Even if the angst is not too present on the book we do have some moments when we wish they would just tell the other what they feel. That eagerness to see them happy made me turn the pages at the speed of light until I finally saw them happy 🙂 I only wish the author would have given us more of their bliss in the end of the book as it seemed too little time to enjoy their happiness after such a long ride.

There is another love interest in the story that I also enjoyed, and I would not mind seeing another book or even a vignette being developed about it 🙂 And of course, I can not forget to mention how I loved Kitty’s character and the reason why she changed her behaviour.

When I look back and think about this book, there are too many things I loved and I can’t point them all out but trust me when I say this book is incredible, full of romance, intrigue, good dialogues and well developed characters and scenes. I can not imagine a JAFF reader who will not like it, so this is definitely one book I would recommend to anyone.

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com – A Lie Universally Hidden

Amazon.co.uk – A Lie Universally Hidden

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***Book Blurb***

“The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. It was the favorite wish of his mother…” —Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Fitzwilliam Darcy was raised to never stray from the path set before him: ensure the continued prosperity of his estate, Pemberley, protect and educate his sister to become an accomplished woman, and marry the woman his mother chose for him—his cousin Anne de Bourgh. With a letter bearing his late mother’s signature, Darcy presumes his fate is sealed and prepares to wed one he does not love. However, his destiny begins to unravel when he glimpses a pair of fine eyes on a quiet, country road.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second daughter of a respectable though insignificant gentleman. She is flattered to have captured the attention of a local squire, a childhood friend, and everyone believes her path is secure—until a handsome, rich gentleman arrives at a neighboring estate. Happenstance begets the unlikely pair together, bridging a forbidden love long past a mere friendship.

In “A Lie Universally Hidden”, two of literature’s most beloved romance characters are destined to marry for fortune and obligation rather than love. How will Darcy and Elizabeth fulfill their true destiny under such circumstances? Shall honor, decorum, prudence—nay, a signed letter from the grave—forbid it?

“A Lie Universally Hidden” is a Regency Romance suitable for most audiences, teen and up.

 

 

***Author Bio***

71z-7noet1l-_ux250_-1I have a degree in English with a concentration in British Literature and a Masters in Education. I love to travel, bake, and watch college football with my husband of 16 years and 3 rambunctious sons. My goal in life is to make not only my children, but also my students feel that they are loved, and to bring magic into everyone’s world. My weaknesses are yellow cake with chocolate frosting, French bread with real butter, and my father’s Arabic food, namely grape leaves, and falafel. I live in California where I dream of Disney adventures and trips across the pond.

Author contacts:

Facebook

Twitter: @schros2000

Goodreads

Amazon

You can also see  an interview Angela did on Good Day Sacramento. It’s a nice opportunity to see another side of the author 🙂

 

 

***Blog Tour***

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January 16/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

January 17/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 18/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

January 19/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

January 20/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 21/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review

January 22/ Just Jane 1813/ Excerpt Post

January 23/Austenesque Reviews/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway

January 24/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 25/ Every Savage Can Dance/Book Review & Giveaway

January 26 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

January 27 / Austenesque Reviews/ Book Review & Giveaway

January 28/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Excerpt & Giveaway

January 29/ Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

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***It’s Giveaway Time***

 Anngela Schroeder is giving away two autographed hard copies (US mailing addresses only), 2 kindle versions (Open to international winners), an autographed copy of Then Comes Winter (US mailing address only) and an autographed 5×7 of the A Lie Universally Hidden book cover.

To enter the giveaway click on this link.

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The Best Part of Love Review & Giveaway

best-part-of-love-front-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

The Best Part of Love is everything but canon and it contains several aspects I usually dislike on a JAFF story: Elizabeth marries someone else, has a child from that marriage and worse than that, she actually loves her first husband! These 3 facts alone would lead me away from this book and I confess I would not have read it if I had not heard so many good comments about it. But I did read it and ended up considering it one of my favourite reads from 2016! And why is that, you may wonder? The Best Part of Love portrays one of the deepest and strongest love stories I have ever seen developed in JAFF, plus, it has an enormous amount of angst which is always a favourite of mine 🙂

When I started reading it I could not stop thinking that the author would have to be incredibly good to make me love this story, but the book is quite long and before I knew it Darcy and Elizabeth were spending time together and gradually falling in love with each other, well…at least for Elizabeth it was gradual, so I had not finished reading it and I already wanted to re-read it to go back to the small details from the beginning that were no longer in my memory.

With several new characters, plots, conspiracies and historical aspects we soon forget that Elizabeth deeply loved her previous husband and has a child, instead, we start focusing on the love she is growing for Darcy and all the beautiful moments they spend together.

I don’t want to say too much because knowing what may happen and especially when it happens may spoil the book for you, but let me just tell you that Elizabeth’s love for her previous husband will pale in comparison to the love she has for Darcy and that is just what I needed to overcome my initial worries. Elizabeth realises that what she felt was not exactly love, not quite…at least not an epic love, not the love she could only have for Darcy! Seeing her come to this conclusion was one of the best rewards I could have in this book.

The book is long but not slow paced and the story and character development kept me interested from the beginning until the end. In fact, the book truly needed to have this length or it would not be as good. We needed to see the characters go through a certain path to understand how strong and deep Darcy and Elizabeth’s love is.

The angst was expected and on several pages I kept thinking, “don’t say it, don’t say it, please just don’t say it”, of course they all said what I didn’t want to hear, so I just started thinking “this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening”. But it was happening and getting worse, with more moments than I can count when I felt like tearing my poor heart out! I don’t know how Darcy survived this, or Elizabeth! So when it comes to angst this book hits the charts and I just love that 🙂 If like me you love angst, this book is for you, but be prepared, some moments are just heartbreaking and you will probably cry a river.

Summing up, The Best Part of Love is a roller coaster of emotions that will keep you reading from the first page until the end. It has romance, adventure, mystery, angst but also several rewarding moments throughout the book that culminate in a happy ending that will give the readers an enormous satisfaction. It’s a different, interesting and hard journey, but in the end it will all be worth it 🙂

You can find this book at :

Amazon.com – The Best Part of Love

Amazon.co.uk – The Best Part of Love

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***Book Blurb***

Avoiding the truth does not change the truth

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.

When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.

In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?

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***Author Bio***

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

aidorazio-11-2016Contact Info:

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook: Amy D’Orazio

Twitter

Instagram: amydorazio

Pinterest

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***Blog Tour***
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  6 Jan My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

  7 Jan Just Jane 1813; Review

  8 Jan Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway

  9 Jan Every Savage Can Dance; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10 Jan Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

11 Jan Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway

12 Jan Half Agony, Half Hope; Review

13 Jan Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

14 Jan Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

15 Jan Delighted Reader; Review

16 Jan From Pemberley to Milton; Review  

17 Jan A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life; Guest Post   

18 Jan Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

19 Jan My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice; Vignette, Giveaway  

20 Jan Diary of an Eccentric; Review

21 Jan More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

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***It’s Giveaway Time***

To enter the giveaway, click here!

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Filed under 5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Legally Darcy – Character Interview & Giveaway

Good afternoon fellow Janeites,

My guest today is  Mr. William Darcy of Darcy and Associates. Those who have heard about Legally Darcy from Denise O’Hara probably know who he is, and those who haven’t, will soon get to know him 🙂

Mr. Darcy became famous in the social media due to a situation that occurred in Las Vegas recently, and even if what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas I decided to take my chance and invite him to speak about it and clarify the rumours that have been going on. He is a very reserved person so I was surprised that he agreed to visit From Pemberley to Milton, but he did, so today you will find out a little more about “the Vegas issue”.

First of all, thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to stop by today Mr. Darcy.

William Darcy – You are very welcome.

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FPTM – So Mr. Darcy, let’s get right to the reason you’re visiting us today. In view of your recent experience, you’re here today to share what can be done if we find ourselves receiving negative attention through social media. First of all, can you explain how you found yourself in this situation?

W. Darcy  – I was attending a large conference in Las Vegas, at which I was one of the guest speakers. I was surrounded by both my peers and others in various aspects of our line of work. On the last day of the conference, I was, for lack of a better way of putting it, slipped a mickey, as was the woman in the photos that later went viral. Evidence we have uncovered strongly suggest it was done with malice, with the intention of harming my reputation.

 

FPTM -I understand that your team was able to track down the person or persons, who were responsible for drugging you and then posting the pictures we’re referring to. Why weren’t any charges filed against them? You are after all a lawyer.

W. Darcy  – First, I’d like to make it clear than the two events, drugging myself and the woman involved, and the posting of the pictures later taken, are two separate events. We do not believe that the young woman who took what she saw as humorous photos was in any way working with the unscrupulous individual who was solely responsible for slipping a drug into our drinks. The person who took and posted the photos has expressed regret for her role in the embarrassment caused by her actions. She has removed her posts. The other individual was very clever in disguising his crime. It would have been difficult to prove his involvement. However, as with most criminals, he later made a mistake involving another matter and is incarcerated at this very moment, awaiting a hearing. So in the end we believe justice will be served.

 

FPTM – I’m glad the matter was resolved. But, still, you had to take measures to defend yourself from the backlash of other people’s actions. What did you learn that may be of benefit to others who find themselves in a similar situation, Mr. Darcy?

W. Darcy  – I was given sound advice which I followed. The main two points I took away are:

One, it was an unfortunate incident. But I want to stress that it was just an incident. While it can be a challenge to recover from, it’s by no means impossible. First and foremost you need to plaster your web presence with our own pictures and information about all the positive aspects of your life.

Second, try to find out who posted and ask them to take it down. It’s already been downloaded by a large number of other people but it’s still important to stop it from spreading at the source. In my case, as is true in the majority of cases, the motive was to get a laugh, likes and shares on social media. To strong-arm them, use intimidation is usually not the best way to react.  You’ll get better results by appealing to their good nature and a small token of appreciation afterwards is usually well-received.

 

FPTM – Practical advice, Mr. Darcy. But while we have you here, we’d like to find out a little more about one of the best legal minds in the country. The law firm Darcy and Associates was actually started by your Father, the late Mr. George Darcy. Is that why you decided to become a lawyer, to follow in your father’s footsteps?

W. Darcy  – While I certainly have followed in his footsteps in respect to my choice of profession, I wouldn’t say that was my motivation. My father had a successful practice long before I was born and as a result, I was exposed to the world of the law. I can remember being quite young and seeing my father being interviewed on television about a very high-profile case. I was intrigued, not by the fact that my father was on tv, but rather by the details of the case. I had endless questions for him from that moment on. I enjoyed few things more than discussing nuances of the law with my father and any of his associates that came to our home, Pemberley.

 

FPTM – Interesting. One might say you basically cut your teeth on the law. That explains why so many consider you to be the go to man when they need the best of the best defense lawyer. So, what do you consider to have been your greatest achievement?

W. Darcy  –  Well, without a doubt that would be in successfully raising my sister. She was just eight years old at the time of our father’s death and I only eighteen. Georgiana’s turning out to be a happy and well-adjusted adult has been my single greatest achievement.

 

FPTM – And your greatest regret?

W. Darcy  –  Certainly I have regrets that are a result of my own making, but I regret more than anything that I had so short a time with my dear mother and that my sister had none. Mom was an extraordinary person.

 

FPTM – I’m very sorry for your loss. She would have been very proud of both her children. I understand your father was, by all accounts, a big sports fan. Do you share that same passion?

(here Mr. Darcy grinned)

W. Darcy  – I’m afraid not. Growing up, my cousin, Richard, was always perplexed by how someone of my height could be so inept at basketball. My father loved to watch sports, especially football. I could never really understand the attraction. However, I have always had horses and riding has been and remains a great joy of my life.

 

FPTM – You have some beautiful animals. Perhaps if you lived in Europe, instead of America, your sport would have been polo.

W. Darcy  – Yes, now that is a sport I could get behind.

 

FPTM – So, if you don’t enjoy sitting down to watch sports, do you enjoy watching? TV or movies?

W. Darcy  – I’m not a big tv watcher except for Fox News. But I do enjoy movies. I have fond memories of going to the movies and theater with my parents, a tradition I kept up with my sister.

 

FPTM – And what is your favorite movie?

W. Darcy  – My all time favorite movie is Hombre, with Paul Newman. The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are at the top of my list as well.

 

FPTM – Ah, so you’re an old movie buff then?

W. Darcy  –  You could say that, yes. However, sometimes I go for a good action hero movie. I like the no nonsense approach of Tony Stark.

 

FPTM – That’s very interesting to know. In fact, it has been interesting to know the man behind the pictures, would you mind answering a few fast questions? I’m sure my readers would love to know more about one of the most interesting bachelors in the country 🙂

(and here words did seem to fail him…I love to put people in awkward situations)

W. Darcy  – hum…well, I don’t have much free time left, so if they are really fast questions, I can still answer before leaving.

 

FPTM – Thank you Mr Darcy. I promise not to take much more of your time. I know you love reading, what is your favourite book?

W. Darcy  – Anything Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the sky, the Foundation series. I’ve read them all many times.

 

FPTM – Favourite music?

W. Darcy  – Classical piano.

 

FPTM -Favourite city?

W. Darcy  – New York will always feel like home to me, but Paris holds a special place in my heart now as well.

 

FPTM – Brunettes or blondes? (told you..love awkwardness…)

W. Darcy  – Blondes for sisters, and a brunette for everything else.

 

FPTM – Good answer! Left me thinking on the everything else though…Coffee or tea?

W. Darcy  – Well, I had many long nights as a law student, you know. So black coffee it is.

 

FPTM – Well, thank you for stopping by and answering a few questions, Mr. Darcy. I understand you have a lunch appointment with your Aunt, Catherine de Bourgh, which you cannot be late for?

(Mr. Darcy chuckled)

W. Darcy  -You’ve had the pleasure of interviewing my aunt on several occasions, so you understand, she is not one to be kept waiting.

 

FPTM –  Yes, she’s always a delightful guest. Please send my regards.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this interview, I surely enjoyed doing it, but my curiosity regarding “the vegas issues” was not yet satisfied, so Denise O’Hara decided to share with me na excerpt portraying Darcy and Elizabeth in the sin city. I’m sharing it with you as well, and I want to hear all your thoughs on it afterwards 🙂

 

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***Book Excerpt***

On their last night there, after the conference was officially over, it seemed like practically everyone in attendance was ready to have some fun, and take advantage of what Vegas had to offer. Elizabeth wasn’t interested in their kind of partying and slipped out on her own. She made her way to the in house restaurant and took a seat at the bar.

“What can I get for you, Miss?”

“I would like something decadent, creamy and delicious, but not too strong.  What do you recommend?”

“For a limited time we have an Italian eggnog martini to die for, complete with peppermint stick garnish,” the bartender suggested.

“Oh yes, that sounds perfect. And what kind of appetizer would you pair with that?”

A voice behind her answered her question. “I believe I can recommend the spiced banana nut crostini or the cheese straws.”

Elizabeth didn’t need to turn around to know who was speaking. Taking a stool next to hers, he said, “Hello Lizzy. It’s been awhile.”

“It has. How have you been, George?”

“Great, just great. Very well rested after falling asleep through most of the lectures this weekend,” he joked. “How about you? Still hitting the books hard?”

“Oh yes. I must admit I’ve been looking forward to having some time off to sleep in and be lazy.”

“Well, you certainly are looking fantastic. I sure have missed my favorite intern. How about grabbing a bite after drinks?”

“Um, I really can’t. I’ve got my heart set on seeing Celine Dion’s show. I heard it’s fabulous. Listen, can I leave my drink here while I go freshen up?” she asked the bartender. “And I’ll go with the crostini please. Goodbye, George.”

George watched her until she turned the corner and was out of sight.

“Can I get anything for you, sir?”

“Yes, I’ll take a dirty martini please.”

“Coming right up,” the bartender said as he turned to gather the ingredients. Scanning the area to make sure no one was looking, Wickham took the opportunity to slip a little something into Lizzy’s drink. Well Lizzy, I don’t think you’re going to make that show tonight, he thought smugly.

As the bartender set his drink in front of him, Will took a seat a few chairs down. Not noticing anyone other patrons at first, he ordered a seven and crown before looking around, and spotting Wickham. George raised his glass in greeting. Before Will had time to react, a group of attendees entered the bar area.

“Well, if it isn’t Will Darcy!” one of the men in the group said loudly.

Ignoring George, Will answered, “Oliver! I didn’t know you were here. How are you, my friend?”

“Oh, I can’t complain. Guess I could, but what’s the fun in that, right?” he gave a hearty laugh. “Let me introduce you around, though I think you know most of these thieves in lawyers clothing. Say, how about joining us for dinner and catching up?”

“I’d love to,” Will answered, ready to get as far away from Wickham as possible.

“That’s great; man it’s good to see you! Come on looks like our table is ready.”

“Sir! Sir!” the bartender called after Will, who was following the noisy group into the main dining room. “He forgot his drink,” he offhandedly commented to George.

Elizabeth walked up, disappointed to see George still sitting there. She had been joined by a couple dozen from the firm George worked for. “Look who we found,” Stacey from accounting said. “First this one,” indicating Lizzy, “and now Georgie boy! Come on you two, the conference room is set up with a complimentary bar. We’re headed there now.”

“I really can’t, I have other plans,” Elizabeth begged off.

“Then I do too,” George answered giving Elizabeth a look she understood completely.

“I’ve already told you no once, George,” she said firmly. “I haven’t changed my mind.”

Taken aback by her cold reply and with Stacey pressing him to join her, he quickly weighed his options. He couldn’t afford to get on Stacey’s bad side. George stood up to leave. “Well, it was good seeing you again, Lizzy. Enjoy Celine.”

The group lingered, some noticing Elizabeth for the first time, stopping to chat and inviting her to join them. Remembering Darcy’s drink, a delightful thought occurred to George. He made his way over to where Will had left it and with all the commotion going on and the bartender at the other end waiting on other customers who had come in, George slipped the rest of what he had on him into the drink. Looking around, he spotted a hostess and made his way towards her.

“Excuse me Miss, but my friend left his drink at the bar. Would you be so kind as to bring it to his table? He’s with the large party at the round table in the center there. He’s the one with the red tie.”

“Of course,” she answered and hurried off to fulfill the request.

George stepped back and watch as Darcy took the drink from the young woman, thanked her and took a sip. Ha! Now let’s see what your admirers think of you when you start to slur your words and get drunk on one drink, Mr. High and Mighty!

George went back to the group and left arm in arm with one of his coworkers, grinning from ear to ear and congratulating himself for his cleverness.

After finishing his drink, Will placed his order for a glass of wine to be served with his food before excusing himself from the table, and headed to the restrooms. He glanced at the bar to see if Wickham was still there, but to his shock, he saw Miss Bennet instead.

He hesitated for an instant but decided he wanted to speak to her more than he wanted to avoid her.

She looked his way as he approached.

“Mr. Darcy!”

Seeing those eyes looking at him he faltered. “Miss Bennet. Have you been enjoying yourself? At the conference, I mean?”

“Yes, very much, thank you. I didn’t know you were here. There is quite a crowd this weekend, much more than I expected.”

“Yes, I believe it is the largest attendance there’s… um, excuse me, I think I need to sit down for a minute. I believe they must make their drinks rather on the strong side here. Then again, I haven’t eaten anything today, which may have something to do with it.”

Elizabeth nodded a bit too enthusiastically in agreement and said in reply, “I’m finding the same thing. Though I rarely drink, so that must be the reason I’m feeling the effects already. Your tie is very red.”

“Yes, it’s a power color,” Will replied. “And your family, they are well?”

“Oh, you know…” was the only answer she managed.

“I’m feeling rather flushed. I think I need to cool off in the fountain,” Will said as he stood with difficulty.

“Now that’s an idea I can get behind,” Elizabeth said before she burst out laughing.

Will began to laugh with her, first softly then so hard he had trouble catching his breath.

“Let’s go then,” he said, taking her arm to help steady her and himself.”

When they reached the fountain in the expansive lobby, Elizabeth said with slurred words, “That beautiful.”

“You are beautiful, Elizabeth.”

“So are you, Mr. Darcy.”

***It’s Giveaway time!!!***

legally-darcy-cover-final

Denise O’Hara would like to offer 2 ebook copies of Legally Darcy to my readers. All you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts with us.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 26th of January. The winners will be announced shortly after. Make sure you visit From Pemberley to Milton to see if you were one of the lucky winners or follow the blog to receive directly in your e-mail the posts announcing the winners.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF

Interview with Stevie Zimmerman & Audiobook Giveaways

Hello Dear Readers,

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in traffic and as I’m not a particular fan of the radios we have nowadays I started buying audiobooks to have some distraction, and of that, I did become a fan. It started as a way to get distracted, but it proved to be a wonderful way to get to know more stories and to relive some of them in a different way. I started enjoying audiobooks so much that I no longer listen to them only in my car, now I listen to audiobooks every time I’m cooking, cleaning and even running (I couldn’t do it without audiobooks to distract me).

When my husband started to notice I was listening to books he found it strange as he had no idea this was such a common entertainment. Our discussions led me to investigate a little about audiobooks and I was surprised to discover that they are not as recent as I though going back for several decades.

I also found some interesting articles which told me that the audiobook releases are now almost always simultaneous with the publication of the printed book, and that we see around 36 000 new titles released per year. If you are curious about the growth of this industry, you can find our more in this Publishing Perspectives article about the FutureBook conference that took place in London a couple of months ago. I found it very enlightning and interesting.

As you may imagine most of the audiobook I listen to are JAFF and one of my favourite narrators is Stevie Zimmerman. When I heard she would be narrating The Courtship of Edward Gardiner this year I though it would be the perfect opportunity to interview her and get to know a little about the other side.

I’m sure some of my readers will be as curious as I am regarding audiobooks and Stevie, so today I’m sharing the interview with you. You can read it along with some author testimonials below:

 

***Interview with Stevie Zimmerman***

 

headshotCan you tell us a little about you? Who are you, what are your interests, your professional background etc?

I come from England and moved to the US when I married – my husband is an orchestral conductor and is half English half American. I have two children, both in college now. I am a theatre director and had wanted to be an actor when I was in school and college. I quickly discovered I didn’t have “it” to be a successful stage actor and when I started directing I felt really at home. For a few years I didn’t work while I had to make ‘real’ money, and then to bring up my two children. Over the last ten years I have been able to take on more work in both the theatre and the voiceover world and now it is a great balance.

 

And how and why did you start narrating audiobooks?

I stumbled into a night class on voiceovers several years ago and really enjoyed it. The teacher of the class said I could get work because of my English accent – and offered to help me for a rich fee! I decided to try it on my own. At first I was just doing short commercials and then got into some longer narrations for e-learning. Then a few years ago I found out about a website where authors and narrators could meet and produce audiobooks without going through traditional publishers who usually want to use famous names for their audiobooks – which I am not. Yet!  ; ) My very first book remains one of my best sellers and it was a regency romance so that became my main niche.  I’ve done other genres but the period romance is by far my most popular.

 

How do you prepare the narration of an audiobook?

I must be honest – I do not read the book ahead of time. The main reason for this is that I like to go on the same journey as the reader. Obviously there are certain things I need to know ahead of time so I ask authors if they have specific requirements in terms of accent and class and so on. There have been a couple of times when an author doesn’t reveal “James’ wonderful Scottish burr”  until Chapter 4 – and that is a pain! But otherwise I like to uncover the characters and story along with the reader. I don’t want to know at the outset that this person turns out to be evil, because if the characters and the readers don’t know I don’t want to put it into my characterization.

 

It’s interesting to know you don’t read the books before narrating them, I thought you did to choose which ones you would accept and which you would not.

When it comes to choosing which books to do, rather than read them ahead of time, which would probably be impractical as the audition process implies interest in a project before you get to see the full manuscript, I do some research on Amazon. I look at reviews, and sales, and I can judge the quality of the writing from the audition sample usually. There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve wished I’d been more cautious in auditioning for a title  – when I end up being a sub-editor for a book that has been badly written and lacked an editor. And sometimes reviews can be good even when the story is ridiculous. But I think I’m getting better at choosing! Certainly, Nicole, Jennifer, and Joy have well written and carefully edited books thank goodness!

 

What’s the hardest thing about narrating an audiobook?

It’s kind of a lonely occupation. I get caught up in the books and keep narrating for as long as my voice holds up – or until my dog Charlie grumbles about being ignored. But that can mean I spend several hours, as I put it – ‘in the basement talking to myself’.

 

When did you first heard of JAFF? And when and how did you start narrating JAFF?

I’m not sure but I think I first realized there was this whole genre when I was offered my first JAFF audiobook. I had been aware that there were spinoffs of other classic books like the really well known prequel to Jane Eyre – Wide Sargasso Sea – although I’ve not read it. But I had no idea there was such a huge interest in retellings and expansions of Austen’s books.  It’s a funny thing in a way, to look at a story that is so well known and retell it even though the outcome is inevitable. But I always think about Romeo and Juliet. Even if you were in the audience at the very first performance the ending is revealed in the prologue of that play, so the fact that we know what is going to happen doesn’t have to mean the story isn’t compelling and rich and enjoyable.

 

Who’s the most challenging JAFF character you’ve ever had to interpret while narrating a book? And why?

With most of Jane Austen you’re dealing with a large number of female characters, many of whom are of similar age and class. Look at  P&P – you’ve got five Bennett daughters, two Bingley sisters, Charlotte, and then the other female characters, Mrs B, Lady Katherine, Anne, and the other townsfolk. So that’s really hard, to come up with distinguishing vocal features without making caricatures.  That’s true of the men as well, but there aren’t quite so many of them. But the most challenging one I think is Mr. Collins. Finding a way of communicating his obsequiousness and social ineptitude without making him entirely ridiculous is tough. Some JAFF authors do write him to be ridiculous and that’s fun, but after all, we love Charlotte don’t we and we don’t want her married to a complete idiot. I must admit I like the P&P variations where she ends up with someone else.

I’m intrigued more authors haven’t expanded or retold other of the novels . It’s really more P&P fan fiction than Jane Austen. It’s the most popular of course. But I love the others too. Persuasion has always been my favourite.

 

Persuasion is a favourite of mine too, my second favourite Austen novel, but I’ve got another one in my heart and that is North & South. You’ve recently narrated Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston which is a N&S variation. Did you find it too different from P&P in terms of narration? I’m assuming the working class is a little harder to narrate, but I might be mistaken 🙂

I loved reading Nicole’s Northern Rain. I had actually listened to Juliet Stevenson reading North and South so I had her in my head a lot. It was a very different book from P&P variations as there was almost no comedy and, although it is at heart a romance, there is a lot of social history and political observation that marked the original too. The challenge with this book was to have a range of accent levels to reflect class and education, some accents very broad and others slight. And of course a large number of men to do! I hope I managed to distinguish between the various men of industry in the north, as well as the working class men and women.

 
Stevie thank you so much for your time! I really enjoyed talking to you and have only one more question: why should people listen to audiobooks?

I think the right narrator can bring a book to life like nothing else. If you’ve got multiple characters and you listen to a narrator with great acting chops you’ve got a movie in your head. I love listening to books on long drives, on walks with Charlie in the woods, when I’m tidying the house, times when I couldn’t read a book. It’s not a replacement – it’s a different experience. I hear from listeners who both read and listen to the same book and they say it gives them a new take on the book either way. Unfortunately the wrong narrator can kill a book. I’ve started several that I just couldn’t go on with because of the performance not the writing. But the right one! Wow! I listened to Dan Stevens (who was the romantic lead at the beginning of Downton Abbey) read a really long, complex historical novel that I might have struggled with on the page and he gave every single character the most wonderful, defined quality. I’d listen to almost anything he narrates.

 

Do you want to know more about Stevie? Check out her website: http://steviezim.wixsite.com/stevie-zim-voice

 

author-testimonials

Stevie is so well liked in the JAFF community that some of my favourite authors agreed to talk to us about their experience with her.

Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J. Dawn King are my very specials guests today as they share their experience with Stevie, the narration process and the auditions.  They also bring several gifts for many of my readers as an incentive to started listening to books and share with all of us some very hot news!!!

 

authorwebJennifer Joy

There’s a reason why Stevie is so busy. It’s because she’s one of the best JAFF narrators out there! On the two occasions I’ve had the privilege of working with her, she’s always made the process easy with her timeliness and professionalism. Not to mention her narrative talents! The range of voices give each character a distinct sound— which is so important for audio listeners. We can’t have readers confusing Mr. Collins with Mr. Darcy, now, can we? With Stevie, that’s never an issue. (And she does an amazing Lady Catherine!) As an author and reader, I’m a fan!

 

 

Nicole ClarkstonNicole Clarkston

I first “met” Stevie through an audition she submitted to produce Rumours and Recklessness. For some reason, I was not getting notifications from ACX (Audible’s publishing platform) and I had forgotten to log in to check new auditions. Therefore, by the time I heard her sample, it was already a few days old.

I had no idea at the time what an honor it was. All I knew was that her voice was exactly what I had been hearing in my head as I wrote. She was so “light and pleasing,” to paraphrase Austen. You could hear the restrained laughter as she voiced Elizabeth, and the coiled agony in “Darcy’s” tones. No further auditions were necessary!

Stevie is a busy lady, so by the time I heard her audio sample she had already accepted some other projects. I was content to wait for her, it was well worth it. I still giggle when I hear her voicing Lydia, and Lady Catherine absolutely sent me into hysterics! No character was too small for special attention, and I was impressed that one person could so beautifully bring to life so many different people.

It was truly her take on Darcy which took my breath away. I was so impressed that her natural tones could take on a deep richness without sounding like “a woman trying to play a male part.” She is just fabulously talented in that regard. She has played Darcy in so many other JAFF books that she has a real handle on him.

When I published Northern Rain, I knew right away I wanted to see if Stevie was interested. Ana Clements had produced No Such Thing As Luck (with the same characters from North and South) for me and has done a spectacular job, but her career was taking a path away from audiobooks. I was thrilled beyond words when Stevie accepted the project, and giddy  every time she sent me a new file to preview. These characters were new to her, but she captured them beautifully. John Thornton’s voice was key, and she crafted him perfectly.

Stevie is a joy to work with. I enjoy chatting with her as she is working on a project, and she pays close attention to detail. When an author hands their baby over to a publisher or audio producer, there is a hope and a trust that the original vision will not be lost, but brought to life. I have learned I can depend on Stevie to catch the heart of the characters and create a wonderful listening experience for the “reader”.

Rita, can I make a little announcement? Stevie will be producing The Courtship of Edward Gardiner early this year!

 

a1i6hm0desl__ux250_Joy King

I have used three different narrators for my audiobooks and all three were excellent to work with. When I first place a book up for auditions, my nerves take over. (Yes, I become Mrs. Bennet.) I think to myself, “what if nobody wants to produce my story” and “what if nobody wants to listen to it.”

Catherine O’Brien produced ‘A Father’s Sins’, ‘One Love, Two Hearts, Three Stories’, and ‘Yes, Mr. Darcy’. Her ability to differentiate between characters by changing her voice is incredible. When our schedules didn’t work for the next project, I listened to many samples of other narrators and contacted Stevie directly. Within a few weeks, she had produced ‘Compromised’. As she posted each chapter and I listened closely to her reading, I was again reminded of how much theatrical skill a good narrator needs. Like Catherine, her characters are a pleasure to listen to. She has also produced ‘The Abominable Mr. Darcy’  which was released in Audible today!!

My latest project, ‘Love Letters from Mr. Darcy’ was narrated and produced by Jannie Meisberger. Like the others, she was an absolute delight to work with and was equally as quick.

Rita, these women are true professionals. They edit their own work carefully before returning the files to me. The challenge for an author is to wiggle our projects into their already tight schedules. All three of them are in high demand so it is a privilege and honor to be accepted by them.

My next audiobook I will be posting for auditions is ‘Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride’. This will be my first audiobook where the narrator needs an American accent. I’m considering a male voice and have two in particular I’d like to pursue to produce the project.

I’m always excited to hear my stories come to life at the hands of a capable narrator. The first time I listen, I follow along with the manuscript to check for errors. I find few. Then I listen to it again with my eyes closed to see how closely the character voices fit. The last time, my eyes still closed, I listen solely for enjoyment.

The demands for audiobooks has grown so I cannot imagine not having my Jane Austen fan fiction stories produced in this format. With the help of Catherine, Stevie, and Jannie, I truly believe these become the best they can possibly be.

 

giveaway-time

These authors are so generous they decided to start the year by bringing lots of goodies to my readers!

Jennifer Joy would like to offer a copy of Love Never Fails (one of my favourites from 2016) and Accusing Elizabeth.

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer a copy of Rumours & Recklessness and Northern Rain (yes, another favourite).

And J. Dawn King would like to offer two copies of Compromised and two copies of the just released The Abominable Mr. Darcy’

Let us know if like me you are a fan of audiobooks, and when/where do you listen to them, or if you are not yet convinced with audiobooks, and why not?

Every opinion is accepted and we would love to hear your yours 🙂

Let us know in your comments which audiobooks you would like to receive. If you are uncertain as to which you would like, you can always visit the authors Amazon Page and check the description of each book:

Jennifer Joy

Nicole Clarkston

J. Dawn King

The giveaway is international and is open until the 22nd of January, to be eligible all you have to do is participate in the audiobook discussion by commenting this post.

Good luck everyone!

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New Year, New Look

Hello everyone,

Usually a new year starts with resolutions and changes but I have never been in the habit of establishing resolutions or expecting many changes with the coming of the new year… until 2017 that is 🙂

This year I have established 3 goals I would like to achieve:

1 – Lose some weight and actually do some exercise. Trivial, I know, but I’m starting to feel more like my mother than myself and that will not do! Let’s face it, I’ll never be a model and that is definitely not my intention, but continuously buying new clothes because the old ones are too tight cannot continue to happen, my budget won’t allow it!

2- Spend less time at the office, and obviously gain more time to read, sleep, write and whatever gives me pleasure 🙂

3 – A very personal goal I will disclose with you if I do achieve it 😉 I know it sounds superstitious, but we never know 🙂

As for changes, I’m not changing my hair color, buy a new house or find a new job, but…I will change the face of From Pemberley to Milton!

I started this blog more for myself then for others, so I never really thought about getting a special e-mail address, twitter account or Facebook page. I’m still not doing that because my readers already know who I am, how to contact me etc,  and I’m not someone who likes major changes, I’m a “fear the unknown” kind of girl, but there was something that kept bothering me and I’ve finally decided to do something about it. From Pemberley to Milton didn’t have a logo!

So my big change for 2017 was to get a logo that would be the face of From Pemberley to Milton.

I came up with the idea, but I’m not that good with editing programs, so I asked my brother in law to help and he actually presented me with the logo in no time. He was impeccable and I couldn’t have done without him, so thank you, thank you, thank you David!

But I’ve been talking about it (or writing if you wish) and I haven’t even shown you the logo, so without further ado, here it is the new look of From Pemberley to Milton:

logo_from-pemberley-to-milton

What do you think about it? I so hope you like it! I personally love it and I think it has everything to do with my blog, but I truly wish my readers will like it too and that you will remember it when thinking of From Pemberley to Milton. As I said, I’m not a big fan of changes, so I might not change it in the near future…or ever 🙂

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2016 Favourite Books & 2017 TBR list

favorite-book-2016-copia

Good Morning fellow Janeites,

Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton’s first post of 2017!

I hope you all started this new year with your right foot and that you are as excited as I am to discover which new books our dear authors will present us with this year.

2016 was a particularly hard year for me in terms of time. I had an increase of activity at the office in the middle of the year that consumed much of my free time, so I could not dedicate as much time as I would like to From Pemberley to Milton. On the other hand, the increase of work stress led me to take reading as a refuge that allowed me to relax, so I pretty much read in every  single moment I had free, meaning I ended up reading more than I thought I would.

I’m probably not a fast reader, and certainly I’m not capable of reading as many books as most of you, but I’m quite proud of myself for finishing 2016 with 45 new books read. I re-read some great books this year, but I’m not including them on this list.

 

2016-year-sum-up-copia

Just like last year, I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to some of my favorite books from 2016. This list is not based on published books in 2016, but on the books I actually read in 2016. I thought this would be fair because I don’t always read books on their release year, and it would not be fair not to include them amongst my favorite just because their publication year was prior to the year I read them. Unfortunately I decided I would only select 10, or I would have no criteria whatsoever, but it was hard and some books that are not in this list come immediately to my mind as The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, Northern Rain, Miss Darcy’s Companion , Shadows Over Longbourn and A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories. But I should stop, or I’ll just continue mentioning books I loved… So, without further ado, my favourite 2016 reads are, without no particular order, the below:

favourites-list-final

 

darcys-hope-favouriteDarcy’s Hope – Ginger Monet

Publication year –2015

Number of Pages – 278

What I loved about it – The writing, the surroundings, the historical aspects, the romance, the intensity, Darcy and of course, Thornton 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

mbdd-favourite-2016Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter – Joana Starnes

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 322

What I loved about it – The growing stout love, the intimacy, the intensity, Darcy and of course, the angst!!!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

tcoeg-favouriteThe Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 182

What I loved about it – Little Lizzy, Little Fitzwilliam, Little Bingley and Madeleine! Overall the entire feeling the book transmitted 🙂

Review link – Coming soon…

Amazon link

 

 

 

darcy-by-any-other-name-favouriteDarcy By Any Other Name – Laura Hile

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 662

What I loved about it – The humour, the complicity and intimacy, the romance, Darcy and angst! OMG, the angst!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

elizabeth-papers-favouriteThe Elizabeth Papers – Jenneta James

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 210

What I loved about it –The writing, the writing and the writing! I love the tone Jenetta James transmits in her books and this one was just breathtaking!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

love-never-fails-favouriteLove Never Fails – Jennifer Joy

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 348

What I loved about it –The intensity and sadness of the first chapters, the humour in the next chapters, Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

remembrance-of-the-past-favouriteRemembrance of the Past – Lory Lilian

Publication year – 2011

Number of Pages – 432

What I loved about it – ODC’s journey throughout the book, Darcy’s honour, Darcy himself and Elizabeth’s jealousy 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

when-mary-met-the-colonel-favouriteWhen Mary Met the Colonel – Victoria Kincaid

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 98

What I loved about it – Mary, Mary and Mary! And the Colonel of course 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

nstal-favouriteNo Such Thing as Luck – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2015

Number of Pages – 326

What I loved about it –The entire journey, but the ship scenes…sigh… They were worth the entire book! I should say that this is a favourite “in exequo” with Northern Rain, but I could only add one 😦

Review link – Coming Soon

Amazon link

 

 

best-part-of-love-front-favouriteThe Best Part of Love – Amy D’Orazio

Publication year – 2017 (I read the ARC copy)

Number of Pages – To be disclosed

What I loved about it – The stout love, the intensity and the angst!! I’m ready to re-read this book and I just finished it last week 🙂

Review link – Coming soon

Amazon link – Coming Soon

 

 

 

Are any of these amongst your favourites too? And which amazing reads am I missing? I have seen some people talk about their favourites in the last days and I know for sure that I probably didn’t read some truly good books that are amongst the hearts of my fellow Janeites, so any suggestion is welcome 🙂

2017 will be a true challenge because I don’t think I will be able to read as many JAFF books as I did this year, especially because I do want to read other genres this year, but I’m also very curious to see what is coming, and which books will carve my soul 🙂

I have a TBR pile that keeps growing, particularly because every time someone suggest a really book I tend to read it leaving my TBR pile exactly as it was, so this time I decided to make it public! Maybe this way I will feel obliged to stick to it and actually read the books I had chosen to read 🙂

So, you are all my witnesses, this year, I must read these books:

To Be Read JAFF & NSFF

Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept – Brenda Webb

Sketching Character – Pamela Lynn

Pulse and Prejudice: The Confession of Mr. Darcy Vampire – Colette L Saucier

Love Letters from Mr. Darcy – J. Dawn King

Master of Her Heart – Julia Daniels

The Rainbow Promise – Lory Lilian

The Darcy’s of Pemberley – Shannon Winslow

The Sheik of Araby – Lavinia Angell

***

To re-read JAFF & NSFF

Disappointed Hopes – Cassandra Grafton

The Second Chance – Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy’s Diary – Amanda Grange

A Heart for Milton – Trudy Brasure

***

Non JAFF:

The BookThief – Marcus Zusak

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George

Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

Bucky F*cking Dent – David Duchovny

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

 

What about you? What are your reading plans? Would you like to suggest anything, JAFF or Non-JAFF?

I know this was an extensive post, but I hope you have liked it and that you’ll keep visiting and talking to me about JAFF 🙂 I have some news that I’m looking forward to share with you, so speak to you soon 🙂

 

 

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Filed under 2016 Favourites, Favorites, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice