Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pulse and Prejudice 

I love vampire stories and I think that Mr.Darcy has everything to be the perfect vampire, so when I heard about Pulse and Prejudice I added it immediately to my TBR pile. I have finally read it and thought that Halloween was the perfect time to post the review of this book. In Pulse and Prejudice I found exactly what I was expecting. Mr. Darcy is the perfect vampire as his condition explains much of his taciturn and reserved behaviour and increases the interest of the story.

In this book he has a strong personality and that is always something I really love. However, it has a lot of similar scenes to Pride and Prejudice and some readers may not enjoy it so much due to the similarity. In fact, the story is almost the same as the original which made it a little dull for me because I already knew what would happen next and who would say what. There are a few exceptions like the maze scene at Pemberley and the moments when Darcy entrances Elizabeth, but these scenes were very few in my opinion.

There was also a detail in the end of the book that spoiled it for me, and purists like myself may feel the same way, but readers who enjoy more steamy romances may find it quite appealing.
Poetry plays a big part in the book and that is a very interesting detail especially for readers who enjoy the literary genre. It was also very interesting to see Lord Byron as an actual character and not only as a literary reference.

Some aspects such as Amadeus’s reactions left me very curious and I would like to read the sequel to understand them. I also believe the sequel has potential to be a very good book because the author will not be able to follow the original story anymore and will have to be more creative with the plot. As that was my main issue with this book, I think I’ll like Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth.

You can find Pulse and Prejudice at:



Filed under 3 stars, JAFF

A Most Handsome Gentleman Review & Giveaway

After the angsty variation Letter From Ramsgate, Suzan Lauder decided to venture into comedy and developed an unthinkable premise based on Mr. Collins character. She didn’t go so far as to make him witty and interesting, but she made him A Most Handsome Gentleman, or as everyone keeps saying in the social media #HOT Collins.

The changes in his appearance, along with his own foolish character, were sufficient to change the behaviour of many P&P characters towards him, which created the funniest dialogues and situations you can think of. Can you imagine the impact of a good-looking man coming to Longbourn in search of a wife?

I confess I was impressed with Mr. Collins because I can imagine some situations that would render Mrs. Bennet speechless but none that would have the same effect on Lydia, and that my friends, was Mr. Collins greatest achievement in this book! Well…maybe not the greatest. His impact on Lady Catherine’s behaviour was both unexpected and hilarious, so the first place in the podium may go to that feat.

Both scenes made me laugh really hard, but they were not the only ones. The verbal discussions between Mr. Collins and Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins comments on Elizabeth’s skinny appearance, his attraction to Charlotte and the scenes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth see on the fields behind Longbourn are amongst my favourite moments in this book, but it’s hard to highlight only some scenes because the entire book is incredibly funny. I could not put it down!

I also enjoyed the fact that despite all the craziness that involved Mr. Collins’ presence in Meryton, Elizabeth remained true to herself and was not easily taken by her cousin’s good looks. He may be good-looking, but he’s still a fool, and if I may say, an even more annoying one, so I was really glad that to see that Suzan Lauder didn’t include Elizabeth in the group of ladies who would faint at the sight of Mr. Collins.

I had a great time reading A Most Handsome Gentleman and could not recommend it enough for those who want to relax and enjoy a good comedy. It is a highly entertaining book that will make readers laugh out loud from the first page until the last.

Suzan Lauder took a risk by venturing into this new subgenre but she nailed it! Congratulations!


You can find A Most Handsome Gentleman at:



A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman is the fourth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet, a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, and the dramatic tension filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate.

She and Mr. Suze split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead, on her Facebook author page, and on Twitter @suzanlauder.

Contact Info:


Goodreads Author Page



Amazon Author Page    




10/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Character Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/21   My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/22   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

10/23   Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

10/24   Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

10/25   Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/26   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway

10/27   Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

10/29   My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/30   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

10/31   Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Giveaway

11/01   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

11/02   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

11/03   Margie’s Must Reads; Review, GA



Suzan is offering 8 ebook copies of A Most Handsome Gentleman on this blog tour.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!



Filed under 4.5 stars, giveaway, JAFF, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

President Darcy Giveaway Winner

Hello everyone,

One of the things I love about Victoria Kincaid is that she keeps trying different approaches in JAFF, she has written romantic variations such as The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, humourous variations such as Chaos Comes to Loungbourn, secondary character stories such as When Mary Met the Colonel, seasonal stories such as A Very Darcy Christmas and now she has ventured into modernizations with President Darcy.

She visited my blog with a guest post last week and brought along an ebook copy to offer to one of my readers. Today I’m happy to announce that the lucky winner is:


*** Laura Capio***


Congratulations Laura!! Can you please send me your email address to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that we can send you the ebook?

Happy reading!


Filed under JAFF

Teaching Eliza – Guest Post on Regional Accents & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today I’m sharing the stage with debut author Riana Everly, someone I loved chatting to in the last couple of weeks and whom I will love to get to know better in the future.

She has just published Teaching Eliza, a mash up of Pride and Prejudice and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and while discussing her book a few weeks ago, we realized how much we both loved regional accents. One thing led to the other, and she ended up writing a very interesting and original guest post explaining the different accents in the United Kingdom. She even added some information and a video for my friends who love North and South and I hope you like to re-watch the scene she chose as much as I did! (and yes, she was the one chosing it, the subtitles are just a curious coincidence).

It would also make me happy to know that we are sharing something new with you, that you enjoy knowing more about all these accents and that you get interested in perusing the novel.

But I will leave you to it, have fun!



A tale of love, manners, and the quest for perfect vowels.

From a new voice in historical romance comes this sparkling tale, wherein the elegance of Pride and Prejudice and the wit of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion collide. The results are clever, funny, and often quite unexpected….

Professor Fitzwilliam Darcy, expert in phonetics and linguistics, wishes for nothing more than to spend some time in peace at his friend’s country estate, far from the parade of young ladies wishing for his hand, and further still from his aunt’s schemes to have him marry his cousin. How annoying it is when a young lady from the neighbourhood, with her atrocious Hertfordshire accent and country manners, comes seeking his help to learn how to behave and speak as do the finest ladies of high society.

Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the professor since overhearing his flippant comments about her provincial accent, but recognizes in him her one opportunity to survive a prospective season in London. Despite her ill feelings for the man, she asks him to take her on as a student, but is unprepared for the price he demands in exchange.

“With her clever mash-up of two classics, Riana Everly has fashioned a fresh, creative storyline with an inventive take on our favorite characters, delightful dialogue and laugh out loud humor. Teaching Eliza is certain to become a reader favorite. It’s a must read!” – Sophia Meredith (author of the acclaimed On Oakham Mount and Miss Darcy’s Companion)

Teaching Eliza is a full-length novel of about 110,000 words.



You can find Teaching Eliza at:







“It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.”
George Bernard Shaw, Preface to Pygmalion

The linguistic landscape of England is distinguished by different accents that identify not only region of origin, but also social class. This is the crux upon which Shaw’s play Pygmalion – and consequently my new novel Teaching Eliza – is based. Henry Higgins, the male lead in Shaw’s play, is a professor of linguistics who claims to be able to identify a person’s place of birth to within a few miles, or a few blocks in London. He attributes his skill to the science of phonetics, or the study of spoken sound. He also claims to be able to teach anybody to speak like the highest-born of society, which is where Eliza Doolittle comes into the picture. She wants to learn to talk like a lady in a flower shop, and Higgins decided to teach her!



I must admit to a fascination with accent and dialect. Having moved to Canada as a child, I was always very aware that I spoke differently than my new friends and classmates. Sometimes I was teased for this, sometimes I was admired. (“You have such a pretty accent!” goes a long way to ingratiating yourself with me. Offerings of coffee and chocolate also work.) But it is something I have always been conscious of.

Chatting with the charming Rita about this blog post, we discovered a common interest in language and accent, and I thought it would make a fun topic to look at for a moment. In my story, Teaching Eliza, Elizabeth Bennet discovers that she is marked by her Hertfordshire accent, and seeks the help of an expert to learn to sound like the ladies of Town. That expert, conveniently, is Professor Darcy, who has all of Higgins’ skills and expertise, and equally all of his arrogance!

But what are the differences in accent? Some are easy to hear and describe, others are more subtle. There are far too many local accents to talk about in one short blog post, but here are a very few examples of what you might find in different parts of the country. Of course this is far from complete, and within each region, there will be further differences that might not include some of the characteristics I mention. Still, for a linguist wanna-be like me, it’s fascinating stuff.



This is one of the more distinctive regional accents. Mr. Bingley worked hard to rid himself of his accent, but in truth, I find this a lovely and lyrical accent.

Some identifying characteristics include the following:

  • short ‘u’ sound in ‘cup’ is pronounced more like the vowel in ‘book’ or ‘put’;
  • short and rather pretty ‘a’ differs very little between words like ‘cat’ and ‘glass’;
  • long ‘a’ that is a monophthong (not blending with an ‘i’ or ‘y’ sound at the end, so ‘take’ sounds somewhat like ‘tek’;
  • ‘ng’ often becomes ‘n’, so giving sounds like ‘givin’;
  • in some areas, the vowel in ‘heard’ or ‘nurse’ is the same as the vowel in ‘dare’, but the ‘r’ is rarely pronounced;
  • a unique and rich local vocabulary, some words dating back to Saxon and Viking days. How fun is that!


West Country

The West Country accent is influenced by the proximity of the region to Wales, and it carries some echos of Welsh. It is distinguished by the even rhythm of speech and the retention of the ‘r’ sound after vowels. In the 2009 miniseries Emma, Mrs. Elton speaks with a West Country accent.

Some identifying characteristics include:

  • rhotic vowels. This is fancy talk for “pronouncing the ‘r’ sound after vowels in words like ‘carpet’;” most other English accents lost this historic sound, but it continues in North American and Irish accents;
  • the ‘a’ in words like bath, grass and path is flatter and more forward than in the London accents;
  • frequent metathesis where there is an ‘r’ before a vowel. So ‘great’ becomes ‘gurt,’ and ‘children’ becomes ‘chillurn’;
  • the continued use in some areas of the second person singular pronoun ‘thee’ and ‘thou,’ as well as the use of the verb ‘bist’ in place of ‘are.’


The London area, including the Estuary

This is the accent heard in the south-east of England, especially along the Thames estuary and the area around London. It shares many features with both the Cockney and RP accents (more on RP in a moment). Lizzy Bennet would have spoken a version of this in her village of Meryton, for Hertfordshire is not so very far from London. I have imagined Meryton in the western part of Hertfordshire, where there would be some influences of the Buckinghamshire accent. This accent would not have been very different from what was heard in London, but this is where class differences come into play, for the higher classes would have spoken with Received Pronunciation, and would have been horrified to be confused with a mere provincial tradesman or farmer!


Some identifying characteristics:

  • a definite distinction between the ‘a’ sounds in ‘trap’ and ‘bath’. This is known as the trap-bath split and it characterizes many southern English accents;
  • the use of a glottal stop to replace a ‘t’ at the end of syllables, such as ‘foot’ or ‘what’;
  • the replacement of a final dark ‘l’ sound (like at the end of ‘ball’) with something that’s almost a ‘w’;
  • intrusive ‘r’, which joins words ending with a vowel, so ‘India and China’ sounds like ‘India-r-and China’, and ‘Law and Order’ sounds ‘Law-r-and Order’.


Received Pronunciation (RP)

This is the ‘Queen’s English’, the accent spoken by the highest social classes, including Professor Darcy and his noble relations. It is taught in the best schools, and is the sign of education as well as class. Today, only 3% of the population speaks with this accent, and it is not identified with a region of England. This is what Lizzy hoped to emulate, so she might be accepted by the ton as one of their own.


Some characteristics include:

  • non-rhotic vowels. You never pronounce the ‘r’ in ‘parcel’ or ‘bird’;
  • the use of the aspirated ‘h’. “In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.” Each ‘h’ is sounded distinctly.
  • words such as ‘dune’ and ‘stupid’ have a y-sound before the vowel, so ‘dune’ and ‘June’ sound very similar;
  • weak vowels are still distinct and have not all blended to a schwa;
  • Mary, marry and merry all sound quite distinct

To play around with some different sounds, check out this cool site:

For a linguistic journey through Britain, check out this marvelous video:

Here is a clip from North and South, where you can swoon at the wonderful ending… I mean, where you can hear the different accents spoken by John Thornton and Margaret Hale. Listen to his closed vowels, compared to her open ones, and the different ways they pronounce similar letter combinations. Then you can swoon.


In this passage from Teaching Eliza, Mr. Bingley teases Professor Darcy about accents. Check out the rest of the book to see how Lizzy gets on with her own lessons. Enjoy!


The professor looked down his patrician nose at her and replied in haughty tones, “We are at the dawn of a new age, Miss Elizabeth. Times are changing, and men who might begin in Kentish Town with twenty pounds a year can end in Park Lane with twenty thousand.” His eyes darted quickly towards Mr. Bingley, whose own fortune of a hundred thousand pounds, Lizzy knew, was achieved in just this fashion. “These newly wealthy men want to drop Kentish Town, but they give themselves away with every word. Now, I can teach them, through my art and skill, to speak not as they were, but as they wish themselves to be. I can teach them to move in society.”

“Is that true?” These were the first words Mr. Hurst had uttered all night, so enraptured did he seem with the ragout set before him.

“Indeed it is,” replied Colonel Fitzwilliam with the enthusiasm of one fully apprised of the professor’s abilities. His own beautiful voice was surely approved of by his haughty cousin. “He has a remarkable history of success with people from all walks of life. I recall one young man, hardly a man, dragging himself up from the gutter and with an accent and vocabulary to match, and you would scarcely know him now! In fact, you have almost certainly heard his name, but would never know his origins.”

“Do say more, Professor Darcy, for I am most intrigued,” said Elizabeth.

“I see no reason to hide my talents,” he preened. “I can take ever so lowly a creature, a flower girl for example, with her kerbstone English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days, and within three months pass her off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.”

Arrogant, insufferable man! thought Lizzy, but she held her tongue and said only, “How fascinating!”

Mr. Bingley now took over the conversation and spoke volubly on his own great success as a student of the professor, recounting how he had learned to replace the broad and limiting sounds of his native Yorkshire accent with his current cultivated tones.

“Oh Lord, how dreadful it was at that,” the professor laughed. Lizzy realised she had never before heard anything resembling joy or playfulness from him and was stunned by the sound. “The challenge we had, eh, Bingley, forcing those troublesome vowels backwards and eliminating the glottal stop from the middle of words.”

“Oh, how true, Darcy! Even wairse,” he intentionally reverted to his previous pronunciation, making the professor groan, “was leernin’ to put oop with yair insistence tha’ I add in them pesky consonan’s at the ends o’ wairds.”

“‘Words,’ Charles, ‘wuhhhhds.’”

“Aye, Dercy, ‘wairds.’”

Bingley smiled impudently and the colonel roared with laughter, provoking disapproving glares from Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst.


Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!




Oct. 19 From Pemberley to Milton

Oct. 23 Babblings of a Bookworm

Oct. 24 So Little Time… So Much to Read!

Oct. 25 Diary of an Eccentric

Oct. 27 Savvy Verse and Wit

Oct. 28 My Love for Jane Austen

Oct. 30 More Agreeably Engaged

Oct. 31 Savvy Verse and Wit

Nov. 1 Austenesque Reviews




Riana Everly giving away five copies of the ebook to blog readers through a random drawing on Rafflecopter.

The giveaway is international and to enter it you can click here.

Good luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

President Darcy – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today I’m welcoming one of my favourite JAFF authors to talk about her latest project, which is both surprising and exciting for me. Victoria Kincaid joins me at From Pemberley to Milton to discuss President Darcy, a modernization of Pride and Prejudice, and brings with her an excerpt and giveaway!

I would like to ask you to join me in congratulating Victoria on this new release and wish her the success she deserves with it 🙂



A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

President William Darcy has it all: wealth, intelligence, and the most powerful job in the country.  Despite what his friends say, he is not lonely in the White House.  He’s not.   And he has vowed not to date while he’s in office.  Nor is he interested in Elizabeth Bennet.   She might be pretty and funny and smart, but her family is nouveau riche and unbearable.  Unfortunately, he encounters her everywhere in Washington, D.C.—making her harder and harder to ignore.  Why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Elizabeth Bennet enjoys her job with the Red Cross and loves her family, despite their tendency to embarrass her.  At a White House state dinner, they cause her to make an unfavorable impression on the president, who labels her unattractive and uninteresting.  Those words are immediately broadcast on Twitter, so the whole world now knows the president insulted her.  Elizabeth just wants to avoid the man—who, let’s admit it, is proud and difficult.  For some reason he acts all friendly when they keep running into each other, but she knows he’s judging her.

Eventually, circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to confront their true feelings for each other, with explosive results.  But even if they can find common ground, Mr. Darcy is still the president—with limited privacy and unlimited responsibilities—and his enemies won’t hesitate to use his feelings for Elizabeth against him.

Can President Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find their way to happily ever after?




You can find President Darcy at:





Although President Darcy is my first modern Pride and Prejudice variation, the idea for it has been germinating in my brain for a long time.  Still, I wasn’t prepared for how different it would be to write a version set in the present day.  I thought it would be easier; after all, I didn’t need to worry about violating some obscure Regency tradition or describing a carriage by an incorrect name.  What I found, however, is that modern variations are difficult in other ways.

When I write a Regency era adaptation, one of the challenges is to stay true to Austen’s characters and world while writing something new.  The modern setting gave me more freedom to stray from Austen’s original concepts, but that also meant I had more latitude to alter other things in the book.  In other words, there were more choices to make—and everything still needed to fit together as it did in Pride and Prejudice.

In a modern context it didn’t make sense for Collins to be a clergyman, but what profession would work for him?  Catherine de Bourgh couldn’t be a Lady, so what reason would she have for feeling superior?  But other elements of character needed to remain the same.  Collins might not be foolish for precipitously proposing to Elizabeth, but he needed to be foolish in other ways.  Wickham can’t claim Darcy denied him a “living,” but he needed to be aggrieved for another reason.  As I began to write I realized every character in the book needed a new profession and new motivations for their actions.

Another challenge was finding modern day equivalents for Regency customs and institutions.  For example, today we’d go home or to the hospital if we got sick at someone else’s house.  But Jane needed a reason to stay overnight in the White House—and to require Elizabeth’s company.  The Gardiners and Elizabeth aren’t going to drop by for a tour of Pemberley (now a house in the Hamptons), so they needed some other way to encounter Darcy and get invited to see the house.  Wickham can’t cause a scandal just by spending a night with Lydia in a hotel; they needed do so something much more shocking.

However, what I found was that when I solved these issues, it usually enriched the story and took it in a new and better direction.  For instance, Collins became an employee of Catherine de Bourgh’s who is slavishly devoted to her office supply company.  His self-importance manifests itself in long-winded discussions of hole punches and the relative merits of different kinds of number two pencils.  He sees himself as the crown prince of staplers.  Not only did that make Collins up-to-date, but he was still stupid.

I have tried to remain true to the spirit of Austen’s book—to find modern equivalents for her brilliant characters and plot points.   When you read President Darcy, I hope you feel that I succeeded.


Hilliard scanned his iPad.  “How about one of the Bennet girls you just met?  Elizabeth Bennet? Her father donated to your campaign.  She’s pretty, and you seemed taken with her when you shook her hand.”

Elizabeth froze in horror while Lydia and Maria shot her amazed looks.  Would he tell Hilliard about the broom closet?

President Darcy snorted.  “Ha!  I don’t think so.  You didn’t have to speak with her.  I don’t think there’s anything going on upstairs.”  He tapped the side of his head.  “Intellectual lightweight.  And she’s not that pretty.”

Elizabeth stumbled further into the alcove until she couldn’t see the men anymore.  Lydia convulsed in silent laughter, her hand stuffed in her mouth to muffle the sounds, while Maria gaped at Elizabeth, wide-eyed.  Elizabeth reviewed the words in her head, but they remained the same.  Yes, the president—the president!—thought she was ugly and stupid and had voiced the sentiment out loud.

She heard President Darcy blow out an exasperated breath.  “Bob, I know you have my best interests at heart, but would a few dances with some wallflower from a nouveau riche family make much of a difference to your average voter?”

Elizabeth peeked around the corner again in time to see Hilliard sigh and tuck the iPad under his arm.  “Will you at least dance with someone?  Pretend you’re having a good time for a few minutes?”

“Fine,” the other man muttered.  “I’ll dance with Caroline again, okay?”

“Caroline is not an ordinary Amer—”

“Enough, Bob.” The president’s voice brooked no disagreement. The conversation was over. He straightened his jacket.  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some governing to do.”  As the president started to walk, the whole group of men moved en masse down the hallway.  Soon they were gone.

Elizabeth remained frozen in the alcove, plastered against the wall.  She probably should have bolted for the exit, but her muscles felt loose and unattached as though she might fall to pieces if she tried to move.

Finally, Lydia grabbed her arm, pulled her through the ladies’ room door, and pushed her up toward the sinks.  “OMG!  You just got dissed by the president!” she laughed.

Maria viewed Elizabeth with a kind of awe.  “Presidential dissing.  Executive dissing.  Wow.”

Elizabeth fell onto the padded bench and drew her knees up to her chest despite the tightness of her dress.  “Can’t we just forget it—?”

Eyes glued to her smartphone screen, Lydia interrupted.  “Nah. It’s too good.  I already texted Amy about this. She’ll scream.”

“Please don’t!” Elizabeth pleaded.

Lydia regarded her sardonically.  “Yeah, uh, that’s not going to happen.”


“She’s not that pretty.” Maria imitated the president’s precise tones perfectly.

Lydia giggled.  “I’ve got to send it to Jordan, too!”

Maria nodded vigorously.  “Ooh, ooh!  And Olga!  It’ll crack her up.”

First the closet, now her father, and then this… Was it possible to induce a heart attack through accumulated mortification? Her chest ached, and she couldn’t catch her breath.  “What did I do to deserve that?” she wondered aloud.

Frantically texting away, Lydia snorted. “Some people get presidential pardons.  You get presidential shade.” Her phone buzzed.  “Ryan thinks you should get a picture with him.  Then we could add speech bubbles and…”

Great.  The group of people in the know included Ryan, whoever he was.  “Maybe we should go back to the East Room.  Dinner will be ready soon,” Elizabeth said.

Perhaps she should slip discreetly out the back door, but that seemed cowardly like she was allowing his rudeness to chase her away.  Instead, I should stay and show the president I’m not vapid and unattractive.  Even if he doesn’t know I overheard him.  As revenges went, it was rather feeble, but it was all she had.

“Ooh!  I wonder who I’m sitting with!” Maria exclaimed in a too-loud voice.  “I bet they’ll think it’s hilarious.”

“By all means, tell everyone you can find,” Elizabeth remarked dryly.

Lydia gave her an ironic salute.  “I’ll do my best.”

As they opened the bathroom door, Elizabeth scanned the corridor, but it was empty. “You don’t really mind if we tell everyone, do you?” Lydia asked breathlessly as they hurried toward the East Room.

Elizabeth’s feelings were moot at this point, so she bit back an angry retort.  Being a good sport would give her family less fodder for future teasing.  “Nah.  It’s kind of funny,” Elizabeth said through gritted teeth.  “It’s not like he knows me.”

“Yeah,” Maria agreed absently as she thumbed another message into her phone.  “I mean, you’re not as pretty as I am, but you wouldn’t make someone lose their lunch or anything.”

“I feel better already,” Elizabeth mumbled.

“I’m glad you’re being so mature about this,” Lydia said in all seriousness as they reached the entrance to the East Room.  “’Cause I already posted it on Twitter, and it’s been retweeted 168 times already.”

“Twitter—!” Elizabeth sputtered.  But Lydia and Maria had already disappeared into the crowd, no doubt in search of a greater audience for the tale of Elizabeth’s humiliation.

Elizabeth ambled around the edges of the room, avoiding eye contact and seeking a dark corner.  It’s not like I ever thought of myself as a great beauty, so that part shouldn’t rankle. He doesn’t know the first thing about my intelligence or conversational abilities. He’s just making assumptions. Most people would get tongue-tied when caught in a White House broom closet. Arrogant jerk.  

Of course, most people wouldn’t get caught in a White House broom closet.  Maybe that did say something about her….

No.  It would be stupid to get upset.

Just stupid.



Victoria Kincaid would like to offer 1 copy of President Darcy to one of my readers.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post until the 22nd of October. The giveaway is international and the winner will be announced shortly after.

If you don’t want to miss the announcement of the winner, and therefore miss the opportunity to see your name there and seek your prize, please follow From Pemberley to Milton. By doing so you will receive an email every time a new post is published and will not miss your prize if you are the lucky winner.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

On Equal Ground -Winner Announcement 

Hello everyone,

This quarter of the year is a big time for Elizabeth Adams with the re-release of her modern story Green Card coming up and the success of her recently released regency variation, On Equal Ground.

I am currently reading Green Card and had the pleasure of reading On Equal Ground last month. When I published its review, she offered to give away one ebook copy to my readers, so today I’m happy to announce that the lucky winner is:

*** Vesper***

Congratulations Vesper!! Can you please send me your email address to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that we can send you the ebook?

Happy reading!


Filed under JAFF

Mistaken – Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today Jessie Lewis is stopping by with a very interesting guest post that made me want to read Mistaken asap! I had read about the book before, and I knew what it was about, but it was this guest post that convinced me this book is just my cup of tea! I have never been a part of team Elizabeth because I always considered her as proud as Mr. Darcy and just as flawed as he was. She was merely lucky to have the story told from her point of view, but what if the story was told from other people’s point of view? Would we still think her the perfect heroine? Maybe most of us would not think so badly of Mr. Darcy in the first part of the book. Well,  I hope you enjoy this guest post as much as did, and that it makes you wonder as it did me 🙂

Thank you so much for your visit Jessie, and best of luck with your new release!!



Fitzwilliam Darcy is a single man in possession of a good fortune, a broken heart, and tattered pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a young lady in possession of a superior wit, flawed judgement, and a growing list of unwanted suitors. With a tempestuous acquaintance, the merciless censure of each other’s character, and the unenviable distinction of a failed proposal behind them, they have parted ways on seemingly irreparable terms. Despairing of a felicitous resolution for themselves, they both attend with great energy to rekindling the courtship between Darcy’s friend Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane.

Regrettably, people are predisposed to mistake one another, and rarely can two be so conveniently manoeuvred into love without some manner of misunderstanding arising. Jane, crossed in love once already, is wary of Bingley’s renewed attentions. Mistaking her guardedness for indifference, Bingley is drawn to Elizabeth’s livelier company; rapidly, the defects in their own characters become the least of the impediments to Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness.

Debut author Jessie Lewis’s Mistaken invites us to laugh along with Elizabeth Bennet at the follies, nonsense, whims, and inconsistencies of characters both familiar and new in this witty and romantic take on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.

You can find Mistaken at:



Thank you so much, Rita, for inviting me to talk to your readers about my new novel, Mistaken. As the title suggests, there is a fair amount of misunderstanding in the story, and I thought it would be fun to give some insight into the writing methods I used to achieve the layers of confusion between all the major protagonists (and occasionally the reader, too).

Of course, the idea of these characters being mistaken is not unique to me; they were all pretty clueless in Austen’s wonderful original. Elizabeth, Darcy, Bingley and Jane all mistook one another’s personalities, motivations and feelings. In writing Mistaken, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the psyche of each character, to get up close and personal with their inner thoughts in a way Austen chose not to, and explore what those misconceptions really meant to each of them. To do that, I had to write in a style different from Austen.

Pride and Prejudice is written using omniscient narration, meaning Austen has the power to tell us everything that’s going on. Being such a wonderfully sly author, she uses her powers only occasionally. For the most part, the narration is limited to Elizabeth Bennet’s point of view. Only now and again does Austen dip into the thoughts of other characters to alert the reader to important events—such as when Darcy begins to find Elizabeth attractive. On a couple of occasions, Austen even speaks directly to the reader, reminding us that she is the one pulling the strings and will tell us only what she chooses us to know.

“It is not the object of this work to give a description of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remarkable places through which their route thither lay; Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth, Birmingham, &c. are sufficiently known. A small part of Derbyshire is all the present concern.” –P&P, Chapter 42

The result of this cleverly selective omniscient narration is that readers are all inadvertently placed on “Team Lizzy” from the outset, since it is predominantly her story. We might be clued in to what Darcy is thinking when he’s in the same scene as her, but there is no guarantee of that, and we are never told what he’s thinking or doing when he’s off stage. We’re left to guess, along with Lizzy, and we feel her anguish when she’s forced to wait for news.

The thing with omniscient narration is that, by and large (though by no means always), the narrator is reliable. Austen might not tell us everything, but when she says Darcy has begun to notice Elizabeth’s pleasing figure, we believe her. When she tells us we don’t need to know about the passing scenery, we trust she knows her business. In Mistaken, the opposite is true. One cannot be mistaken if one is in possession of all the facts, thus the narrators (and there are more than one) are very deliberately not omniscient. They are human: biased, fallible, unreliable.

Instead of one narrator stating that Darcy admires Elizabeth, Mistaken readers are told a plethora of different things. Bingley believes Darcy disdains Elizabeth’s inferiority. Jane asserts that Darcy disapproves of Elizabeth’s impertinence. Lady Catherine insists Elizabeth makes Darcy miserable, and Lady Ashby is convinced Darcy will lose patience with Elizabeth’s flirting. Armed with the knowledge of each character’s misconceptions, whose judgement ought the reader to trust? By using more than one narrator, each presenting his or her own opinions as the truth, the reader is required to more consciously choose whose team they want to be on—and if I’ve done a good job, they will hopefully change their minds more than once over the course of the story.

To achieve this multiple view of events I used a technique called “deep point of view.” With this method, instead of one overarching storyteller choosing which bits of the story to tell us, the characters become the narrators and the story is told through their eyes. The reader sees, hears, feels and knows only what the character “narrating” sees, hears, feels and knows. This type of narration takes the reader deep into the character’s mind, giving access to far more of their thoughts and motivations than they’d usually be privy to with omniscient narration, though it doesn’t guarantee the same certainty. Though the point of view switches between the four protagonists and a few peripheral characters, allowing the reader to build up a larger picture of the truth, the reader is nonetheless only as knowledgeable as the characters narrating—and therefore just as susceptible to being mistaken.

Dramatic irony (when the reader knows something the characters don’t) is rendered defunct when every perspective provided is liable to be biased, badly explained, or deliberately misleading. If a character has lied, the reader has no way of knowing it, unless the lie is admitted or discovered by another character (whose “discovery” might also be mistaken). If a character simply isn’t given the chance to narrate a particular event, the reader cannot easily judge the veracity of the viewpoint they’ve been given. Moreover, it is not only the characters’ prepossessions the reader must contend with but their own.

Being based on Austen’s original, it is to be expected that readers will come to the story with preconceived ideas of how the characters ought to behave. It is because of the pervading influence of Austen’s seminal narration that most readers are predisposed to take Elizabeth’s side. Despite almost every character in Mistaken—from Mrs. Gardiner to Lady Catherine, from Jane Bennet to her mother, from Lady Ashby to Elizabeth herself—telling the reader that Elizabeth is flawed, readers will more often than not choose to believe Darcy when he says Elizabeth “has no imperfections.”

This leaves readers with an unpleasant choice because, as those familiar with the story know, to exonerate Elizabeth of blame for events in the book requires that the fault be laid at the door of other, equally popular individuals. What might otherwise have been vaguely unpalatable behaviour becomes an egregious offence in characters readers are predisposed to hold in high regard.

Thus, abetted by some fun storytelling techniques, mistakenness pervades the story at every stage, drawing attention to (and taking advantage of) people’s tendency to misunderstand one another—because, as Austen tells us, “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” (Emma, Chapter 49)

Thank you, everyone, for popping in to From Pemberley to Milton today to take part in the Mistaken blog tour. Feel free to ask me any other questions in the comments below, or you can interact with me on Twitter (@JessieWriter), FaceBook (@JessieLewisAuthor), or on my blog, ( I’d love to hear from you!


I’ve always loved words—reading them, writing them, and as my friends and family will wearily attest, speaking them. I dabbled in poetry during my angst-ridden teenage years, but it wasn’t until college that I truly came to comprehend the potency of the English language.

That appreciation materialised into something more tangible one dark wintry evening whilst I was making a papier-mâché Octonauts Gup-A (Google it—you’ll be impressed) for my son, and watching a rerun of Pride and Prejudice on TV. Fired up by the remembrance of Austen’s genius with words, I dug out my copy of the novel and in short order had been inspired to set my mind to writing in earnest. I began work on a Regency romance based on Austen’s timeless classic, and my debut novel Mistaken is the result.

The Regency period continues to fascinate me, and I spend a good deal of my time cavorting about there in my daydreams, imagining all manner of misadventures. The rest of the time I can be found at home in Hertfordshire, where I live with my husband, two children, and an out-of-tune piano.

You can check out my musings on the absurdities of language and life on my blog, Life in Words, or you can drop me a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on my Facebook page, Jessie Lewis Author,  or on Goodreads, Jessie Lewis.



10/03   My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, Giveaway

10/04   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

10/05   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

10/06   Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/07   My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/08   Of Pens and Pages; Review, Giveaway

10/09   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/10   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

10/11   Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, Giveaway

10/12   So little time…; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/13   Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway

10/14   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Giveaway

10/15   Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/16   Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, GA



The blog tour comes along with a giveaway, readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Mistaken by Jessie Lewis. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

To enter the giveaway, click here.

Good luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

Written in the Stars – Launch Post & Promo

When the muse strikes some authors are just unable to stop writing and I believe Jennifer Joy fits perfectly in that category. She started out by writing JAFF romances, specialised in mystery novels within the genre, ventured into the modern cozy mysteries and now she is starting a whole new sweet contemporary romance series called the Starlight Terrace Proposals.

These new books are not Jane Austen Fan Fiction but P&P inspired novellas that the reader can enjoy in a couple of hours. They are perfect for those who do not have much time to read, but want to relax with a sweet clean romance.

The first book in the series, Written in the Stars, was released last Thursday  and to celebrate this she launched the book at a discounted price so that readers can steal it for 99 cents. This promo will be live only through this weekend, so grab your copy fast! Sunday night the sale ends and it’ll go back to $2.99.



The book is available at:





But I bet you want to know more about this new project so I’ll let you read Jennifer’s post where she describes where her inspiration came from and what readers can expect from this series.



Inspiration is everywhere. One of the most frequent questions I get as a writer is: Where do you get ideas? In this case, it came from one image in a scene of a movie I’d seen dozens of times.

If you’ve seen the movie, The Bachelor, with Chris O’Donnell and Renée Zellweger, then you’ll know which scene I’m talking about. It’s the one where our hero takes an elevator to the Starlight Room in San Francisco with several other gentlemen looking uncomfortable and nervous in their suits and ties. The elevator dings, the door opens, and each of them step out to embrace the woman he will propose to that night.

That’s when inspiration hit me! I wanted to tell the stories of the men in the elevator; of their struggles to propose to the women they love. Unlike the movie, I wanted these men to want to propose, but to show how much they loved their would-be brides by overcoming the obstacles thrown at them (sorry to give you so much trouble, guys) before they could achieve their ultimate goal.

And so The Starlight Terrace was born. Being a Pacific Northwesterner, I changed the San Francisco setting to one I’m more familiar with — Seattle, and I pieced together my idea (Thank you, Pinterest!) of a perfect, romantic restaurant with candlelight, spectacular views of the Space Needle and Puget Sound, soft jazz from a live band surrounded by twinkle lights, a menu to rival the finest five-star restaurant, and champagne.

For the first book, I turned to my favorite characters: Darcy and Elizabeth. My modern-day Mr. Darcy became Will Donovan, a talented writer who usually says the wrong thing when under pressure. (Sound familiar?)

Elizabeth Bennet became Liz Benetti, a boisterous book blogger who loves to give voice to her opinions and discuss her favorite books with readers of her growing blog. It so happens that Benetti’s Italian Restaurant was the restaurant to go to where I grew up, so I had Liz come from an Italian family in the restaurant biz.

It was fun to write Will and Liz in love from page one, but I used her tendency to misunderstand him to advantage in this novella. She doesn’t see his proposal coming.

Lovers of Pride & Prejudice will find lots of little gems hidden in the manuscript. Can you find Lady Catherine and Mr. Bingley? They make cameo appearances!

Future novellas in the Starlight Terrace Proposals will feature a variety of personalities and professions … everything from an accountant to a policeman … until the elevator to the Starlight Terrace can’t hold any more. Or until I find a new restaurant for the women! Ooh, now there’s another idea!

Thank you for inviting me today, Rita! Liz loves your blog!



Thank you for stopping by Jennifer! And thank you for letting me know Liz loves my blog, it’s a great compliment to have such a renowned blogger admitting she loves this small corner in the internet 😉

While I was reading your post I could not stop thinking about similarities of The Bachelor and Pride and Prejudice in terms of proposals. I mean, who ever said that Darcy ruined everything by making the worst proposal ever has probably never seen this movie! You’ve got to admit he has some competition going on when it comes to bad proposals…

Don’t you agree this one was also quite horrible? I wonder how Will Donovan will propose to  Liz Benetti in Written in the Stars! Is it even worse than what we just saw? Well..I guess I have to leave my computer, grab my kindle and start reading this novella to find out!!!



Meet … fall in love … propose. Easy, right?

Will can write a best-selling novel.
But can he write the perfect proposal?

Will Donovan, a literary author whose novel has been nominated for its film adaptation at the Sundance Festival, writes what he can’t articulate.

In the romantic Starlight Terrace, he plans the perfect proposal for Liz Benetti, an outspoken book blogger and talented voice-over artist, only to learn that she’s close to uncovering a secret he’s worked hard to keep quiet.

Can Will keep his secret and Liz’s heart or will his perfect proposal mean the end of his career?

Written in the Stars is the first in Jennifer Joy’s new series set in the romantic Starlight Terrace, where soft jazz, sparkly champagne, and the finest food in the Pacific Northwest inspires proposals and new beginnings.

If you like sweet romances with happy endings and a touch of humor you can read in one sitting, you’ll love sharing in the most significant night of these men’s lives as they struggle to propose to the women they love.

Read Written in the Stars to satisfy your craving for clean, sweet contemporary romance today!


You can find Written in the Stars at:



Filed under JAFF

The Goodness of Men – Guest Post & Giveaway


A Lie Universally Hidden was one of the best books I’ve read this year, so it was with great joy that I heard that Anngela Schroeder was releasing a new book called The Goodness of Men.

I am currently reading it and it does not appear to be at all similar to her previous JAFF endeavour, which is always a good sign because I love diversity! And that is precisely the word of order today. We wanted to present to you on this post something different than usual, so instead of bringing Darcy or Elizabeth for an interview, we decided to talk to the wildest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia.

I hope you enjoy her antics in this interview 🙂



Interview with Lydia Bennet-Candy

Miss Lydia, thank you for joining us today.

What? Oh, yes. You are welcome.


I understand you have a trip to Brighton coming up.  What are you most excited about?

I am so pleased to seek out adventure while my sisters cannot.  I will be surrounded by officers, and attend balls and plays. I will be the most desired partner on the dance floor. And me only fifteen!


Why do you love a man in the militia? Is it because of their duty to the country?

Duty to the country? I guess I never thought of it that way. No, I have not. I like a man in the militia because their uniforms make them look so smart.


What is your relationship like with your sisters? Harriet Forester?

My sisters are all envious of me, especially Kitty and Mary. I am the prettiest besides Jane, but she is still unmarried at three and twenty… or is she two and twenty? Never mind, but I am the one who all the officers pay the most attention to.

Harriet Forester is my most particular friend. She and I are so similar. She is what I hope to be- young and beautiful and married to some dashing fellow. But, my sights are higher than an officer or regular Colonel.


Where do your sights lay?

I will be married to a man who not only wears the colors of an officer or Colonel, but also has money and possibly a title.


What is your opinion of Mr. Wickham?

Mr. Wickham is a good sort of man for fun, but not someone I would want to marry. He has no title; no estate. My mother has told me I deserve that, and she is never wrong.


What is your opinion of Mr. Darcy?

I have no opinion of Mr. Darcy, because then I would have to think about him. (Peals of laughter break forth). He is handsome and rich to be sure, but who would want to marry such a droll man? It would be the same as marrying my cousin Collins!


Who is your favorite sister?

If I had to choose one, I would say Jane, because she is quiet and leaves me alone.


What type of relationship do you have with your parents?

What does that mean? Relationship with my parents? My father is my father. He gives me pocket money and I live in his home. My mother does whatever makes me happy.


Your sisters are always telling you to behave.  How do you feel about that?

Lizzy and Mary hold themselves to highly above others. They think everyone should behave like they do, and I think that is so boring! I cannot wait to marry and leave Longbourn.


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ten years? La, I don’t know! Somewhere having fun, I guess!


From her youngest days, Elizabeth Bennet’s ability to accurately judge the character of others has been recognized and noted by those around her in such a consistent manner as to lead her to believe it herself. The misfortune of meeting Mr. Darcy, a wealthy landowner from the north, only solidifies this belief.
The memory of his disapproval of her family, proves his character is lacking and sadly unlike his childhood friend’s, the charming and affable Mr. Wickham, who is esteemed by all he meets. Although her opinion once lost is not lost forever, the effort to regain her favor is great.

With Elizabeth’s youngest sister fortunate to be in company with Mr. Wickham in Brighton since the spring, and her own travels to Kent cancelled, she must await the pleasures of a summer holiday to the North with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. However, it is there that she is once again thrust into Mr. Darcy’s presence and must determine if he is truly the architect of the many wrongs she has laid at his door.

Fitzwilliam Darcy cannot exorcise Elizabeth Bennet from his thoughts. A chance meeting at the estate of his friend reignites all the flames he has attempted to suppress since their last meeting. Believing in her partiality, he is stunned to overhear her true estimation of him and is determined to change her opinion.
Battling with memories and secrets from his past, Darcy must fight against his natural reserve to win the heart of the woman he loves.

Will the unexpected appearance of a stranger encourage Elizabeth’s change of heart? Might an episode from Mr. Darcy’s past force Elizabeth to see the man within? Can one man have all the goodness and the other only the appearance of it?

You can find The Goodness of Men at:


Anngela Schroeder lives in California with her husband of 16 years and her three rambunctious sons. She has a degree in English with a concentration in British Literature and a Masters of Education. She has a mild obsession with Jane Austen, and enjoys traveling, baking and making her family’s world a magical place.

She is the author of: A Lie Universally Hidden, Affections and Wishes: A Matter of Chance, The Quest for Camelot, The Goodness of Men and contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter.



We are only in the beginning of the blog tour, so please do not forget to follow it for more information on this book 🙂

September 29/ Just Jane 1813 / Book Release & Excerpt Post

October 2 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt Post

October 3 / So little time… / Character Interview

October 4 / Obsessed with Mr Darcy /  Book Review

October 5 / From Pemberley to Milton / Character Interview

October 10 / Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post

October 11 / Every Savage Can Dance / Book Review

October 12 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

October 13 / Austenesque Reviews / Book Review

October 14 / Laughing with Lizzie / Excerpt Post


Anngela Schroeder is offering 2 kindle copies (international) and a signed hard copy (USA only) of The Goodness of Men.

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment this post and click here.

Good Luck everyone!



Filed under JAFF

These Dreams – Guest Post & Giveaway


These Dreams is a very special book to me for a million different reasons, some of them you’ll understand when reading this last post of the blog tour, and it is to me a great honor and joy to be closing the tour of such an incredible book from a kind, talented and genuinely good person as Nicole Clarkston.

On this last post you’ll read about the Portuguese connection in These Dreams, and I would love to read your opinion about it. Did you like the Portuguese scenes, or was it too hard to bear? Did you start hating the Portuguese characters when you saw what they were doing to Darcy? Or did Amália got to your hearts immediately ? What about her love story, what do you make of that?

I know I’m filling you with questions, but I would really love to hear everybody’s opinion about the Portuguese connection and characters, especially after you read this post. I hope you enjoy it!!!




Nicole: Part of the inspiration for These Dreams came about a year and a half ago, during a chat with Rita about Colonel Fitzwilliam. She said she always wished she could see him fall in love with a Portuguese girl, but no one (that she knew of) had played with that idea. As I was not familiar with Portuguese history, she began telling me of the complicated relationship between the English and the Portuguese during this time.


Rita: Portugal was Britain’s oldest ally in Europe and in the beginning of the 19th century, Britain was finding new opportunities for trade with Portugal’s colony in Brazil and the Royal Navy used Lisbon’s port in its operations against France. This was obviously a great problem for Napoleon, as he wanted to deny the use of the Portuguese fleet to the British, so on July 19, 1807 he ordered Portugal to declare war on Britain, close its ports to British ships, detain British subjects on a provisional basis, and sequester their goods. Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I, declined to join the emperor’s Continental System against British trade, and that was the starting point of the Peninsula War— a military conflict for control of the Iberian Peninsula between Napoleon’s empire and the allied powers of Spain, Britain and Portugal that took place between 1807 and 1814.

Portugal was able to defeat the French with the assistance of the British troops. In fact, the Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen. William Carr Beresford, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese royal family. Beresford fought as part of a combined Anglo-Portuguese army under Wellesley.

However, the connections between Portugal and Britain do not end there. The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability, and economic stagnation that was in part created by the political and economic agreements Portugal made with Britain. The war with the French was over, but a new war over political and economical power was starting in Portugal, and the former ally was now Portugal’s greatest enemy.


Nicole: Our villain was an important character, and his development was integral to the plot. Some of what Rita told me about Portugal’s history and economy gave me some ideas and places to start digging for motives. I wanted to create a man with real and perhaps even admirable ambitions. He wanted to help his country and he wanted to set right what he perceived as an injustice, but his conscience was so twisted that to him, the ends justified the means. (Just to balance him out, there was a British character with even less conscience.) What Vasconcelos wanted was “good,” and he would stop at nothing to achieve it.


Rita: The aftermath of The Peninsula War signified Portugal’s traumatic entry into the modern age and the rise of several nationalist movements that wanted to defend the country against the British military intervention in our politics, and fight the economical impositions that were beneficial to Britain but detrimental to the Portuguese economy. When Nicole started talking about a Portuguese villain I thought that this scenario would be perfect for the rise of man such as Vasconcelos whose patriotism would go too far due to everything he was witnessing in his country. I can even relate to him as I am very patriotic myself and the British imposition was truly devastating to Portugal. Who would not want to defend his own country from a foreign power?

The nationalists started to have a voice during the Peninsula Wars and were involved in the liberal wars that started in 1820, which opposed the absolutists to the liberals. I like to think that Vasconcelos was a crucial player in these wars and that his fervent nationalism placed him in an important position amongst the absolutists who supported D. Miguel.


Nicole: After Rita gave me some interesting points in the history, a plot was starting to develop in my mind. I had already decided that Darcy and Elizabeth would face a heartbreaking separation, and Portugal seemed like a great place to send him. The next challenge would be to craft more believable Portuguese characters. I started with Colonel Fitzwilliam’s love interest, and even her name was carefully chosen.


Rita: I suggested a couple of names that could have been used on the 19th century and amongst them were my mother’s name, Amélia, and a very similar name which was the name of the most known portuguese Fado singer and national icon, Amália Rodrigues. Nicole wasn’t too fond of Amélia, but she loved Amália and from the moment she chose that name I created a vivid image of the character in my mind that was precisely the one I saw described in These Dreams.

Below you can see both Amália Rodrigues and Maria Amália Vasconcelos, or the representation of the character that Nicole chose…which reminds me we didn’t even talk to you about how she chose the lady that would portray Amália! I guess we will have to leave that to another time, but I also had a tremendous fun looking at paintings and telling Nicole which ladies could have been Portuguese and which were clearly British… She ended up choosing this beautiful lady and I think she is the perfect Amália!! There is a fierceness in her eyes that I find enchanting! And she is a bit similar to Amália Rodrigues too, isn’t she?

Speaking of Amália Rodrigues, as I mentioned before, she is a national icon due to the influence she had in our musical culture. She dramatically changed Fado by bringing lyrics from famous portuguese poets into the musical genre, creating her own emotional lyrics and working along with talented musicians, such as Alain Oulman, who modernised the national musical genre. Me and Nicole would like to share with you one of her musics, it’s not her best for sure, but it is called Fado Amália, and speaks of who she was and what she was doing in this world. I hope you like it 🙂


Nicole: We agreed that Amália should be strong, ladylike, a dutiful daughter, and enough of a spitfire when provoked to fight for what was right. What she lacks in Elizabeth Bennet’s delightful sense of humour, she makes up for in sheer backbone. She reminded me quite a bit of Margaret Hale; a lady in circumstances not of her choosing, who sacrifices for honour and justice. Amália endures quite a bit of her own grief during the story, so her character needed to reflect enough depth that she could believably stand, yet tremble because she is, after all, human.


Rita: To me Amélia is a much sweeter name and I’m glad that Nicole didn’t chose it because Amália is much stronger and fits perfectly in the character. She is my favourite original character in JAFF literature, and the perfect match for our good Colonel.


Nicole: Thank you, Rita, that means a great deal to me! Amália’s brother was our means of introducing her to Colonel Fitzwilliam. He was a soldier in the Anglo-Portuguese army alongside “Major Fitzwilliam,” in 1809-1810 we decided, and their history in battle had made them trust one another. I wanted to paint a noble Portuguese soldier, a character whose role is like Georgiana in the original; not central, but pivotal. His name was special to me as well, because I wanted a very traditional sounding name which could be shortened to a more intimate one.

Col. Fitzwilliam


Rita: The curious thing is that we found the perfect name! Rodrigo was a common name at the time, and it was shortened to Ruy, which is the name of my husband, even if nowadays it is spelled Rui, so this could not have been more perfect!


Nicole: I loved this name! It’s both dignified and playful.

After we had the characters fixed, the next challenge was manners and language. There were a few mannerisms I had to ask about (i.e. would the Portuguese greet one another with a kiss as some cultures do?) but the larger challenge was the language. I have a fair bit of experience with Latin and French, so several of the Portuguese words appeared to be cognates, but the usage was another matter. I wanted authentic, natural sounding speech, and that is something you just can’t get from Google Translate. There are a few key Portuguese phrases smattered about the book, and some of them are very special.


Rita: I was in a dreamlike state when I started seeing Nicole venture into the Portuguese language. I could not believe I was reading sentences such as “tive saudades tuas” and “Eu Amo-te Richard Fitzwilliam.”

Tive saudades tuas is not possible to translate because there isn’t an exact equivalent to the word saudade (saudades is plural). The word reflects the feeling one has when they miss someone or something, it doesn’t just mean we missed someone, it translates a feeling and it is very powerful in the Portuguese language.

Amo-te (I love you) is also very special because unlike English, Portuguese people do not use this word lightly. Amo-te is only used toward people and when the feeling is really strong. It would never be used in sentences such as, “I love this bonnet,” for example. In a sentence such as that, a Portuguese person would use the word “like” and not “love,” which makes the word really special.

These are just two examples, but Nicole used many more Portuguese expressions and words throughout the book, many of them were written by Nicole herself, and I can tell you she was really good at research. Google only mislead her a couple of times. 🙂


Nicole: Wahoo! Props to the programmers!

Another detail I wanted to get just right was the pattern of speech which would be natural for a Portuguese speaker who is not absolutely fluent in English. I made the assumption that, being a lady, Amália would have had a little bit less practice than her father who does business with the English all the time, or her brother who sat in army camps with English soldiers. Naturally we wanted her to be fluent, but we intentionally built charming little patterns into her speaking which give her away as a non-native speaker. I chugged right ahead by using the patterns I would have assumed for a French speaker, and Rita had to correct me in nearly every instance.


Rita: The masculine/feminine use of words was the most frequent mistake as it is one of the biggest differences between English and Portuguese, and things like Meu flôr, became minha flôr, but also the use of the word yes when making a question. A portuguese would most likely use “no” to end the question instead of the “yes”. And in the end we actually ended up using a mistake I sometimes make when I speak English as a way to “imperfect” Amália’s speech. It is something I know that is incorrect, and I never make the mistake when I’m writing  but when I’m speaking really fast my Portuguese brain makes me say things like “I did heard you” instead of “I did hear you”, that is also because of the differences between the languages, which I find really interesting.

Working on the Portuguese with Nicole was one of the things I loved the most during our collaboration, she is a very curious person who is always willing to learn but also share a lot of knowledge. We had lots of fun discussing linguistics and cultural references 🙂


Nicole: That was my favourite part, too! I was thrilled that Rita was willing to take the time to offer constructive feedback and to help me get the details right. We both wanted to honour Portuguese language and culture in this small way. We ended up knowing much more about each other and it was a joy to share both the differences and the similarities of life in modern Portugal and rural Oregon.

I suppose, in the end, those are some of the things Richard and Amália learn to negotiate as well, when they decide that those barriers between continents and people really don’t matter that much.

Thank you, Rita, for your friendship and for the heart you have invested into bringing this book to life.


Rita: I’m the one who should thank you for the friendship and the opportunity to work on such a beautiful project with you Nicole! 

I think it is befitting that we close this blog tour with the final moment of the writing process, the memorable moment when Nicole Clarkston wrote Fim (tTe End).

Nicole: That was the most satisfying word I have ever written! This book was a long journey, and it challenged me in new ways. I am delighted to know that it has touched so many already. For me, it enriched so many relationships, from my collaboration with Rita on the plot, with Janet on the stunning cover and many of the emotional elements, with Debbie and Don and Joy and Joana on the read-through process, and with all the lovely bloggers who opened up their pages. I have been blessed with new friends as well, and to everyone I express my most heartfelt gratitude for your support.



An abandoned bride

    A missing man

        And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy

is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far

from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear,

only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley,

and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared,

Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her

from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and

questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past.

An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under

mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and

another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might

have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain

and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.


If you can’t resist and want to purchase the book immediately, you can find at:

Barnes & Noble



Nicole Clarkston is offering a giveaway of 10 eBook copies of These Dreams to readers commenting the posts throughout the blog tour. This is the final stop, so don’t miss this last chance to participate in this international offer.

To enter the giveaway comment the post and click here.

 Good Luck everyone!


Filed under Amalia, giveaway, Guest Post, JAFF, Nicole Clarkston, Pride and Prejudice