The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Review & Giveaway

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Good evening dear readers,

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston was one of my 2016 favorite books, so you may imagine that I’ve been eager to review it and today I’m finally doing it!

In this Pride and Prejudice prequel, Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet with little Jane and Lizzy are traveling north to visit Mr. Bennet’s brother when Jane becomes sick. Because of that, they are forced to stop at a small town to allow Jane some time to recover, and while her father continues his trip to visit his dying brother, her uncle Gardiner stays behind to look after his nieces. This small town is none other than Lambton, and it is here that Mr. Gardiner will meet Miss Madeline Fairbanks, who will help him take care of Jane during her illness.

Mr. Gardiner’s relationship with Miss Fairbanks is an endearing and adorable one. He finds in her a mixture of the best attributes in Jane and Elizabeth, and discovers she is everything he could ever desire in a woman; she is caring, dedicated to her loved ones, gentil, but also smart, humble, and used to aid her father in his business, which shows him, she is the perfect partner in life for a tradesman.

Madeline Fairbanks’ impression of this young man from London is not the best at first, but soon she discovers he is everything a man ought to be, and it doesn’t take long for her to fall in love with him.

I loved seeing a younger version of Edward Gardiner. I am used to see him as a knowledgeable uncle and not as an insecure young man still trying to make is place in the world. I also liked seeing a younger version of aunt Gardiner who still blushes at some remarks made from a certain young man and finds herself accepting marriage advices from Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Bennet!

But the Gardiners are not the only P&P characters in this book, by the contrary, and that was one of the aspects that surprised me the most. We will find small versions of Lizzy, Jane and Georgiana, teenagers Darcy, Bingley and Wickham along with their fathers, and even Lady Catherine and Anne make an appearance! Seeing younger versions of all these characters was absolutely amazing, it was a very different approach that could not have given me more joy while reading the book.

I also adored how Nicole Clarkston linked Pride & Prejudice’s story with this prequel, it is as if all details are in place and everything was thought through to make us feel we are reading the same book. I could easily imagine this book as a prologue of Pride and Prejudice itself,

Not only all characters are pretty much the same in temper and personality, but we get to see how and why they became the adults Austen developed. It is interesting to see, for example, how Madeline Gardiner’s influence had a great impact in Lizzy’s behaviour, how Darcy’s father’s contributed to his sense of duty and honor and how Darcy and Bingley’s friendship started.

But the character’s personality and background is not the only connection between Pride and Prejudice and The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, if in P&P the Gardiners are essential to bring Elizabeth and Darcy together, in The Courtship of Edward Gardiner it is Lizzy who contributes to the happiness of the older couple.The reversal of their roles was just an example of Nicole Clarkston’s ability to play with words and situations, and bring to life a story that is perfectly harmonised with Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is a light, endearing and funny book that is the perfect company for an afternoon in the couch. You will laugh to see Jane compared to her mother, to see Mrs. Bennet called a sensible woman and Lady Catherine accused of being afraid of 8 year old highwayman.

Additionaly, Nicole Clarkston’s writing is fluid, agreeable and enticing. She makes us feel among the characters, and we can clearly picture every scene and every dialogue in our head. I was not expecting to love this story because it is not a Darcy/Elizabeth romance, but the story is so good and so well written that it captured my heart and ended up being one of my favourite books from 2016.

The book ends with an epilogue that I loved as we see Mr. and Mrs. Darcy remembering everything that happened in Lambton during the courtship of Edward Gardiner.

Last year I read the book but this year I had the pleasure of hearing it’s audiobook version and was impressed with Stevie Zimmerman’s narration once again. I already had a very good opinion of her, but I was amazed with the wide variety of voices she can make in this book. She is able to replicate not only the voices of male and female characters without sounding fake, but also small children and teenagers. If there is any doubt she is a great narrator, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is the best example to convince anyone otherwise. I highly recommend not only the ebook and print versions, but also the audiobook, which is the perfect company for your commutes.

You can find The Courtship of Edward Gardiner at:


Nicole Clarkston would like to offer my readers the chance to get to know these characters a  little better by offering one ebook and one audiobook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner.

To enter the giveaway comment this post and let us know if you would prefer the ebook or audiobook copy.

The giveaway is international and is open until Valentine’s Day.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

52 responses to “The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Review & Giveaway

  1. writinglynda

    A nice review! I would prefer an ebook copy if I am the winner (though you do make the audio sound enticing). Thanks for the giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teresa Broderick

    Just wanted to say I LOVED this book. Two of my favorite characters from P&P. Lovely well written story. Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I already own it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura Capio

    I’m dying to read this, would love to win the ebook!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karylee Marin

    Your glowing recommendations of the book and its audio performance make me long to hear it that way. Winning my own copy would be a delight! Thank you for the swell intro to the book, and for the opportunity! Good luck with sales. Karylee

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would take either ebook or audio! This sounds great, I always loved the Gardiners and I think it is a new take on P&P 🙂 Thank you for the review! Erika Messer hopefuldelights1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just put it on my to get list. Thanks so much for telling about it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sophia Rose

    Oh, I do like what you say about the personage of the younger Uncle Gardiner and how the book dovetails neatly into P&P. Nice review, Rita.

    Please do not enter me. 🙂


  8. this is on my TBR, no need to count me for the win



  9. Carole in Canada

    Lovely review Rita on a wonderful book! I read it last month and loved it!!! Don’t enter me in the giveaway as I already own the e-book!


  10. Glynis

    I loved this book even though like you Rita I was a bit reluctant to read it as it wasn’t a Darcy and Elizabeth story, but I am so glad I did as it was a wonderful prequel to P&P. As you say the characters are all perfect in regards to the way they are portrayed. Edward and Madeleine make a lovely couple and I love Lizzy. Thanks for this great review and please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I already have the ebook and don’t have audio books.


    • Thank you, Glynis! It was fun to peel back the years of maturity and the influence of Mrs G which marked the Elizabeth we meet later. What might a tough, clever girl raised by Mr and Mrs Bennet look like? It was even more fun to peek at a young man who was at that arrogant age when The Rules dictate everything, and to see him properly shocked by a girl who stoutly disagreed.


  11. Lovely review, Rita. The Gardiners, along with the Crofts, are one of my favourite married couples from Jane Austen’s books. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

    This book is sitting right on the top of my physical TBR pile waiting for me to finish my current paperback, so I don’t need to be entered into the draw for the ebook, but would love to be put in for the audiobook. I’m currently listening to Nicole’s Northern Rain, also narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, one of my favourite audiobook narrators. I’m loving what I’ve heard so far, especially her voice for John Thornton.


    • Oh, the Crofts! They are lovely, are they not? I hope you enjoy Edward and Madeline. I’m so glad to hear that you are loving John Thornton. Didn’t Stevie catch him beautifully? *Sigh* I told her she had me drooling when I listened to the proof files.


  12. Oh, oh, i love prequels! ^_^
    An ebook would be perfect for me, as I tend to wander away with audiobooks and not get much in while listening.
    This does sound lovely, I am quite taken with the idea of little Lizzy and Jane 😀


    • That’s funny. I lock myself into another part of the house and “clean something” when I listen to an audiobook. I’m awful, I never come up for air. At least with my Kindle I can put it down quickly when I am caught! Good luck in the drawing!


  13. me

    Lovely review Rita – I could almost picture it and I am most intrigued. The lovely Nicole does have a knack for writing prequels to beloved books – I loved the excerpt from Northern Rain – and I would LOVE to win an audiobook, since I have trouble reading ebooks (head and neck issues). Wonder what teenage Darcy and Bingley are like. If anyone can create the perfect young P&P characters, it’s Nicole.


    • That is a high compliment indeed! Thank you very much. You might enjoy the next N&S project I have in the works, it is actually a spin-off of those vignettes from the Northern Rain blog posts. My muse is thoroughly entertained with Darcy and Lizzy at the moment, but when I get it to behave once more (a laughable goal) that one will be finished. This year, it’s happening this year. Some time. 😉 Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’d love to read the ebook! The Gardiners are such loveable characters & I’m intruiged by their personal love story 🙂


  15. I really enjoyed this book, too! It was nice to see the Gardiners in the spotlight and to see a young Darcy and Lizzy.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Anna! I am so glad you enjoyed it. I think people had at least as much fun with Darcy and Lizzy as children as they did with Edward and Madeline. Their little tiff and chess match were such a treat for me to write. Some things never change. 😀


  16. This sounds like a very enjoyable read. And as I enjoyed Rumours and Recklessness so much I’m sure I’ll like the writing style. If I win I’d prefer an ebook. Thank you for the lovely review and the giveaway.


  17. Mary

    Just dropped by to urge anyone who hasn’t already read this wonderfull book to remedy that straight away!!

    Like you said,this is a beautifully written book,a labour of love,that will bring a huge smile to your face as you engage with a vivacious Lizzy,the intrigued future Master of Pemberley and a host of our beloved characters.

    Not forgetting the central characters,Edward and Madeline,and their brief but all too sweet courtship. I guess when you know,you know!!

    Rita,I know you loved this story as much as I did!! Great minds and all that!!
    😌 Loved reading your thoughts!


  18. Great review. If I win, I would prefer the ebook. Thanks for the giveaway!


  19. Loved loved LOVED this story and everything I read by Nicole Clarkston so far! Heartwarming and full of tenderness, just as every moment with Edward Gardiner and his future wife promises to be 🙂 And I loved young Darcy, young Bingley, their first meeting, their interactions with their fathers, snippets of Lady Cat, Mr Bennet, Mrs Bennet – just perfect. As for the impish young Lizzy – you’ll just have to read and see 😀

    Thanks ever so much, Nicole, it was pure delight! So glad to hear you felt the same about it, Rita! But no big surprise, we do love the same books 😉 Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, just wanted to pop by to say how much I enjoyed reading it.


    • Oh, Joana, thank you so much! ❤ I am glad it could make you smile. You, on the other hand, are causing me some indigestion these days. I love your Mrs Gardiner in The Daughter, she is so true to herself! It seems she always is, is she not?


  20. kneyda

    Love the review, though I skimmed it to avoid spoiling the book. I love this author and will put this on my list to read! If I am lucky enough to win, could I please get the ebook if possible? Thanks for the give-away.


  21. Theresa M

    I always wondered what the Gardiners back story was….Mrs G is such a kind loving aunt to Lizzie. Thanks for the story….another for my tbr pile!


  22. Sheila L. Majczan

    Just dropping by to say I read and loved this book…and did post a review. Love the Gardiners! Lovely review.


  23. Charlotte

    What a great idea to write the romantic story of Edward and his Mrs ! Please count me in for the ebook, thank you 🙂


  24. BeckyC

    Wonderful review. Nicole’s books are always a must read for me. I would be thrilled to win either ebook or audio book. Thank you for the giveaway.


  25. Thank you for this review – had no idea this book existed and excited to know about it! I’ve always wondered about the Gardiners, as they seemed to have the only healthy marriage in P&P as an example for the Bennett sisters. Looking forward to finding and reading a copy 🙂


  26. Pingback: Author of the Month – Nicole Clarkston | From Pemberley to Milton

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