Monthly Archives: February 2018

Author of the Month – Nicole Clarkston


Good Afternoon everyone,

We are reaching the end of the month and that means it is time for my author of the month post. In 2018 I created this new feature, which started with Joana Starnes as author of the month in January, and was very happy to see that you welcomed the initiative.  Your incentive gave me the inducement to keep going, so today I’m bringing you the author of the month for February.

This month I would like to give a shout out to Nicole Clarkston!

Nicole Clarskton caught my attention back in 2015 because she was the only author I knew who wrote both P&P and N&S variations. Nowadays there are more authors who are venturing into N&S variations but Nicole Clarkston continues to be the one I consider a true expert in both genres. I must say that as a reader I’m very demanding when reading a North and South fan fiction book, and sometimes North and South variations disappoint me, either because they are unable to keep me interested in the story, or because the characters are too different from what Gaskell presented us with. I have often seen less experienced authors make Mr. Thornton too similar to Mr. Darcy and I know it may be hard to differentiate both heroes when writing a romance, but knowing both characters very well is essential to pull it off. Nicole Clarkston masters this art of differentiating.

Even though she writes both genres, her deep knowledge of the stories and the characters is visible in her books and I have never felt someone was out of character in her stories, it always feels I’m visiting old friends whom I know quite well. Her Mr. Thornton is indeed Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale is not one bit like Elizabeth. I love that! I do love variations from both Pride and Prejudice and North and South, but I am expecting to find different characters (even if some traits may be similar) and that is what I find in Nicole Clarkston’s books. She shows a true understanding of each characters traits and past story, how they got where they are and what we expect from them in each new situation, this knowledge produces perfect books because she remains true to Austen and Gaskell’s characters and uses her creativity in her original new characters. This is a perfect as it gets in my opinion because it gives us the best of the two worlds: authenticity and creativity.

I cannot tell if I prefer her North and South or her Pride and Prejudice variations, in my opinion they are all equally good, and that is not something easy to achieve, particularly when one is writing the stories simultaneously as she usually does, so congrats Nicole!

Apart from being the only author who continues to consistently write both P&P and N&S variations, which by itself and considering the theme of my blog would be enough for me to give Nicole a shout, she writes stories with a perfect balance. In my perspective, she has the right quantity of everything, her books are perfectly balanced in terms of pacing and in terms of sweet romance vs. angst which always makes the reading experience very pleasant to me.

She has written variations, prequels, gone abroad to Spain and Portugal, created new characters, developed more than one love story in the same book… She keeps challenging herself and it is refreshing to see and read that, hence my shout out 🙂 Thank you for providing me with so many wonderful reading hours Nicole!

Below you can see the books that made me love Nicole Clarkston:


Rumours & Recklessness – A Pride & Prejudice Variation

My Review (coming soon)


These Dreams – A Pride & Prejudice Variation

My Review


The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – A Pride & Prejudice Prequel

My Review


No Such Thing as Luck – A North & South Variation

My Review


Northern Rain – A North & South Variation

My Review


But these books aren’t enough for me so I keep asking Nicole when will she release her next work, what is she working on etc. I affraid that she may get a little tired of all my insistence, but when I told her about this post she was happy to share some news with me and my readers, so if you’re curious about what she has been doing after the release of These Dreams, you can hear it directly from her 🙂

Below she explains what she has been working on and shares some exclusive excerpts 🙂


I have always had a pattern of working on more than one book at a time, so I’m currently writing two. True to my pattern, one is a North & South, and the other is a Pride and Prejudice. The North & South book, still tentatively named Nowhere But North, began back in July of 2016, on the heels of the blog tour for Northern Rain. It started as a prequel/sequel, kicking off the very first scene with an uncomfortable marriage ceremony. The story moves forward but is enhanced by a series of flashbacks which contrast and flow with the main story line. This book got put on hold so I could finish These Dreams, and it is proving to be just as much of a monster as that story was. I hoped to have it finished by this month and ready for final edits, but I am afraid I have a couple more months ahead of me (sniff!) This scene is relatively early in the book, just as Margaret and John have begun to reconcile their feelings toward one another.

Exclusive Nowhere But North Excerpt

“Love, are you well?” John tugged at her hand as they moved to abandon the dining room. Hannah had already left them behind, and they had lingered for a few stolen moments in privacy before John returned to the mill for the afternoon.

Margaret hesitated, then turned back to him. The empty quality her eyes had taken on in the few seconds she had looked away fully terrified him. Grief was a fickle tormentor – raising its hideous aspect whenever it pleased, crushing any budding hopes of happiness beneath waves of guilt and remorse for aspiring to such. Well did he know the conflict which bound her within its grasp. Her entire future – their future – hung on what measure of courage and faith she possessed to face her sorrows. She had begun to confide in him, but it was not yet with the strong force of habit which could break through the darkest melancholy.

“Margaret?” he touched soft fingers to her cheek. “What is it?”

She lifted her shoulders and her mouth worked helplessly. “It is nothing of any consequence, John. You mustn’t be troubled… Dixon is to arrive this afternoon – I will be grateful to have her company. I shall be well.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Am I to understand, then, that you have not found my mother’s company very satisfying?”

She swallowed, and her gaze dropped to his waistcoat again.

“Margaret,” he touched her chin, and those clear eyes braved his once more. “I know how she can be. You frighten her, you know,” he murmured softly.

Astonishment swept over her face. “I, frighten her? How is that possible?”

“Because you are yourself – my strong Margaret,” he smiled, a little teasingly.

She shook her head, brushing off his words with a dismissive little laugh. “I feel that I am neither myself, nor strong of late, John.”

He pulled her close to press a loving kiss to her forehead. Had he perceived the unbearable frissons his breath sent through her hair and down her back, it is likely that he would not have returned to the mill at all that day. From him, at least, the gesture was one of innocent comfort. “You will grow strong again, Margaret,” he whispered. “It is your nature, and she knows it as well as I.”

She sniffed a little and turned her face into his shoulder. “I do not understand why that should trouble your mother. She could not respect me otherwise, could she?”

“No, but neither would she be threatened by you. She likes her own ways, and has been left untroubled by contradiction for too long. I never questioned her domestic arrangements, and in late years she has had every resource and influence her heart could desire. All of that has changed, for everything that was hers is now yours.”

“And I am undeserving! You need not say it, for I know that is how she feels. I never meant to displace her,” her mouth tugged ruefully, “either in her home or in your affections.”

“And you have not done so,” he insisted, tugging a little on her hips. “You have only brought to this home what has long been missing. It will take time for her to learn to trust in you as I do, Margaret.”

She drew a long breath and shone a grateful smile. “Perhaps I will sit with her this afternoon, instead of….” She halted.

“Instead of going to the kitchen to visit Bessie Higgins?” he guessed.

She blinked a few times, then her old boldness made a little gasp of reappearance. She lifted her chin. “I had intended to do so, yes. I regret if you are displeased.”

“Not in the least. I was about to offer to escort you, but of course if you desire to remain here with my mother….”

She studied him for a moment in puzzlement. “You would not feel it immodest of me, or a defiance of your authority, if I desire to pay social calls on one of the workers?”

“You would not be my Margaret if you did not defy me whenever the fancy strikes you!” he laughed. “I think I can withstand the shock – to be quite truthful, I have lately missed locking horns with you.”

“John!” she protested. “I beg you would not speak of me in such a vulgar way.”

“Vulgar! I suppose it was, but apt, nonetheless. What amusement would there be in a wife who did not keep me on my toes?”

She frowned, but it was more playful than chagrined. With a little hitch of her chin and a flash of her old hauteur, she surveyed him through lowered lids. “I ought to have expected you, of all people, to thrill in such a challenge. You have ever carried your way against those who wish to come against you.”

“Not always. I suspect you will have the better of me yet, but I plan to enjoy the battle. And, since we are speaking of differing opinions, there is one contrary old fellow who has been asking after you for days. What would you say to a brief tour of the mill before I walk you to the kitchen?”

Her eyes lit expressively, and it was the only answer he required. He leaned down to kiss her once more – a soft brush, a secret pledge of later delights. “I will wait for you to make yourself ready,” he whispered against her lips.

As she turned away, her steps once more sparkling with energy, he gazed after her with the admiration of one who has found his greatest treasure. She disappeared, and he tapped his finger pensively against the leg of his trousers. It was an opportune moment to visit with his mother, to salve her fears that he was lost to her, and to explain to her in detail that cryptic conversation with Henry Lennox.

He found her not in her sitting room as he had expected, but in a small little alcove of the stairwell, the window of which looked out to the mill beyond. “Mother?” he greeted her softly, when she did not seem to hear his approach.

She did not turn immediately, but when she did, he detected a redness about her eyes. Her thinned lips quivered, and her arms were crossed defensively. “How long have you known about Margaret’s brother?” she demanded in a fragile voice.

“She told me yesterday,” he confessed, tugging his fingers through his unruly hair in that way he had when he was troubled. “You may well have guessed that it was he who was walking out with Margaret at the station after Mrs Hale’s death.”

She turned her face back to the window, verifying his words with only a slight lift of her chin. “And what are these heinous charges she spoke of?”

“The Navy considers him a mutineer. Margaret tells me that his captain, a man named Reid, had gone mad – had antagonised and persecuted his men to the point of exhaustion and the limits of physical impossibility. The mutiny itself was instigated by the senseless death of a crew mate falling from the yard arm when he feared punishment by the captain. Frederick Hale is said to have restrained the men from hanging Reid there next. The captain and his officers were instead set on a boat, which was found some days later. They all survived, but the mutineers took the ship to South America, where most of them scattered in fear of their lives. Some of the poor devils were caught and hung regardless, and mad Captain Reid given his old command back.” He sighed in sympathetic exasperation. “I cannot condone the mutiny, but there seems little justice in the matter.”

Hannah had tilted her head back over her shoulder as he spoke, the infamy of it all registering as shock over her stark features. She did not answer when he had finished – instead, her eyes drifted slowly to the floor. Margaret had borne more than she, in her unawareness, had accounted for, and the harshness of her own assumptions chastened her most uncomfortably.

“Mr Lennox spoke of a cousin,” she at last ventured in a subdued voice.

“Yes. Margaret grew up with her in London. She married Lennox’s brother, a captain in the Army, just before the Hales moved to Milton. She has gone with her husband to Greece. They have a child by now, I understand, and are expected to return to London sometime later this year. When they do, Mrs Hale’s sister – a Mrs Shaw – will likely return as well. The last word Margaret had placed her in Paris.”

She rounded fully on him at last, the full weight of these tidings sinking in to her astonished thoughts. Margaret’s revealed family, the previously unknown opportunities she had forsworn, and the sudden devotion she had glimpsed in the young woman’s eyes for John – it all began to make sense to her. “She loves you,” she whispered.

The Pride and Prejudice book is still under pretty tight wraps. I’m not even publicly sharing the title yet because it would be too much of a spoiler. I will say that this plot idea had been jingling around in my head for almost 2  years, but I had other books lined up first and I wouldn’t let myself touch it. I had intended to be truly mean to my muse and make myself finish the North & South book first, but the Muse threw a crying temper tantrum over that edict. After the heavy, angsty These Dreams and the dark, personally challenging scenes I was coming back to when I picked up Nowhere But North again, it was a breath of fresh air to play with something that was just for fun. All I will share so far is that the book is unrepentantly lighthearted and irreverent, and will be chock full of page time for ODC. I’m hoping to have it finished by late spring, possibly even scheduling a simultaneous release with NBN.


Exclusive Excerpt

Colonel Fitzwilliam was, indeed, at his flat. He was in the habit of rising early from his long days in the army, and even when off duty, he could scarcely remain abed after seven of the clock. He was already up and enjoying a cup of coffee—no tea for him in the mornings—when his batman informed him that he had a visitor.

“So early! Perhaps a friend ran aground at the gambling tables last night, eh? Well, show him in, Jenkins, show him in.”

“Colonel, it is Lady Catherine de Bourgh who wishes to speak with you.”

Fitzwilliam nearly spit his coffee. He managed to salvage his dignity in that regard, but could not avoid spilling a few drops as he set it on the saucer. “My aunt! What in blazes could she want? Nevermind, Jenkins, of course, you could not formulate the answer to that. That would imply reason on my aunt’s part, and I suffer under no illusions that she has submitted to such an authority. Well, show her in, and I shall make myself presentable.”

He stood, inspecting his coat to be certain that no crumbs besmirched it. Lady Catherine descended upon the apartment like a thunderstorm, cracking and pouring down the force of her displeasure. What he had done to merit this personal call at his humble abode, he could not say, but like enough, it had something to do with Darcy.

He was right.

“Fitzwilliam, where are you keeping him?” she demanded at once.

“Him… forgive me, Aunt, but I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Good morning to you as well, by the by. There is no one here, save Jenkins and myself. And my housekeeper, of course, but….”

“Fitzwilliam Darcy! He has come here, has he not?”

“Darcy? I beg your pardon, Aunt, but I last saw Darcy a fortnight ago. I have only just gone on a short leave, do you see, but I intended to call upon him this morning.”

She stalked nearer. “Do not play coy with me, Richard Fitzwilliam. What has he arranged? I must know all his plans.”

“I would certainly reveal what I knew, Aunt, but Darcy is not here, nor have I had word from him. Perhaps he is paying a call on some friend or other.”

“You and I both know that Darcy never pays social calls at such an hour, and apart from yourself, there is only that tradesman whom he might have gone to for an informal visitation.”

“Bingley? He is not in Town at present. Have you truly not seen Darcy since last night?”

She drew herself up. “Of course I have, and that is the subject of my desired conversation with him.” Lady Catherine seemed to pause. “You will swear that he did not come here… perhaps this morning?”

“Unless I was still abed, Aunt, which is unlikely. May I ask, why the urgency? If I am not mistaken, you are his guest at present, and he will only naturally return to the house when his errands are complete. Has something happened?”

She pursed her lips. “Indeed, something has happened. He has ruined my daughter. Compromised her, beyond hope of recovery, and practically before my very eyes!”

“No! I cannot believe this, Aunt. Darcy would never… and Anne! I find it difficult to credit, Aunt.”

“She was in his bed this morning,” asserted the lady. “I would have him found at once so that the settlement can be drawn up and the wedding might be arranged. As you cannot testify to his whereabouts,” here, she smiled faintly, “I shall speak with him once he has returned to the house. I shall depend upon your support to ensure he behaves the gentleman toward his cousin hereafter. I shall call next upon the earl to discuss the matter with him. Good day, Fitzwilliam.”

Colonel Fitzwilliam stood aghast as his aunt departed in a sweep of black and an irregular tapping of her cane—a means of expression, rather than a necessity for mobility.

Darcy and Anne! If his aunt had not sworn to it, he could never have believed it. Darcy could have any woman he wanted, as a wife or even a mistress, but Anne? Apart from a sickly, unappealing person, there was the matter of her mother. No man in his senses would touch her, least of all Darcy! The man must have been desperate… or intoxicated. After seven and twenty years of celibacy—as far as he knew—perhaps it was a little of both. Besides, any man would be driven to drink with their Aunt Catherine as a guest.

Fitzwilliam shook his head and sighed. Well, Darcy could step into the hornet’s nest if he wished. He wanted no part of it for himself.



What did you think about Nicole’s news and excerpts? After reading these I’m really eager to get her new novels on my hands. I confess I’m more excited about Nowhere But North but that is only because I’ve known about the plot for quite some time and I find it fascinating! Also, there aren’t as many North and South books out there, so I’m craving for a new one 🙂

Until Nowhere but North comes out, I would like to offer to one of my readers the opportunity to read one of the best North and South variations I have ever read: No Such Thing as Luck.

I’m offering an ebook copy to an international reader and all you have to do to participate is to leave a comment on his post. If you share this post on any social media you’ll get another entry to the giveaway, but please let me know in the comments that you have done so.

The giveaway is open until the 9th of March and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under Author of the month, JAFF, Nicole Clarkston, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Countess Visits Longbourn – Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton for a new post on Don Jacobson’s blog tour of The Countess Visits Longbourn. This is Don’a latest release on the Bennet Wardrobe Series and I’m thrilled to be sharing with you an excerpt that reveals the first moments after The Countess has confronted the street rats assaulting two soldiers (Sergeant Wilson and Corporal Tomkins) in the mews behind Madras House. T’is here that Wickham steps into the frame and joins, for a time, the household of the Dowager Countess of Deauville.

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn” is the fifth book in the Bennet Wardrobe Series, and if you haven’t read them all yet, you can find information on each one of them below:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn


I would like to thank Janet for all he hard work in putting this blog tour together, and to Don for once more allowing me share wonderful excerpts with my readers. I hope you enjoy it 🙂



“I have been shaped by the events of over forty years. The world is a nasty place full of awful persons, Mr. Wickham, and does not get any lighter through complaining or blaming.”


The Countess: An Enigma? A Mystery? Or a young girl all-grown-up?

Kitty Bennet, the fourth daughter of the Master and Mistress of Longbourn, had spent far too long as the shadow of her youngest sister. The all-knowing Meryton chinwaggers suggested that young Miss Bennet needed education—and quickly.

How right they were…but the type of instruction Kitty Bennet received, and the where/when in which she matriculated was far beyond their ken. For they knew nothing of that remarkable piece of furniture which had been part of the lives of clan Bennet for over 120 years: The Bennet Wardrobe.

Forty-six years from when she left her Papa’s bookroom, the Dowager Countess of Matlock returned to that exact same moment in 1811 to tend to many important pieces of Family business.

In the process, Kitty Fitzwilliam helped her youngest sister find the love she craved with the hero who, as the Duke said, “saved us all.”

Who can resist the magic of time-travel? Pages of worldwide history rustle back and forth between Regency grand salons, Napoleonic battlefields and more recent conflicts as, guided by Don Jacobson’s masterful pen, the Bennet sisters grow as people and come into their own. ‘The Countess Visits Longbourn’ is a wonderful new instalment, and we cannot fail to revel in the excellent writing and the abundance of detail as the mysteries of the Wardrobe continue to unfold. This captivating series, that brings together real and much-loved fictional characters from all walks of life, is one to savour, and I will revisit it again and again.

Joana Starnes, author of Miss Darcy’s Companion 



Chapter XV


Like a tableau staged by the ladies after dinner at any of a number of country estates dotting the landscape, figures were frozen in place throughout the small square. The only sounds were the dying notes of a brassy ting-ting as something tiny and metallic bounced on the paving stones. The two soldiers were huddled by the wall of what was clearly the laundry shed. The two remaining criminals stared at their fallen leader, mouths agape at the sudden punctuation that signaled his end. The lady stood at the bottom of the back stairs, arm outstretched with smoke rising from the pistol’s muzzle, her whitish hair escaping from beneath its protective kerchief. Her eyes, too, were locked on the corpse, a darkening pool spreading from beneath the edge of its immobile torso. Finally, there was Wickham, in the act of drawing his blade, one leg forward at the very beginning of his charge.

For a moment, the only movement was made by the shadows thrown by the actors, cast as they were in the guttering orange glare of the pitch-fueled torch.

The officer was the first to break his pose. He strode into the arena directly behind the two attackers who were only just beginning to consider their three options: continue the attempt on the woman; continue the attack on the soldiers; or begin their flight.

The unmistakable sound of Wickham’s sword being hauled into the chill air clarified everything in the assailants’ minds. They spun as this new threat pressed upon them.

Wickham allowed his cloak to fall open as he waved the pewter grey length of steel from man to man, mesmerizing each like a fakir charming a snake far more deadly than either of the muggers. The buff lapels of his uniform cemented the impression that he, unlike either of his opponents, was a trained killer. They had no way of knowing that Wickham had never served outside of the country. However, in spite of this ignorance, they easily concluded that there was no way past the sword or its bearer—no escape back into the sewers from which they had risen.

Both men spread their arms away from their sides and dropped their weapons—one a makeshift dagger, the other an iron-studded truncheon—to clatter upon the slick cobbles paving the rear area.

Flashing a sardonic smile at the unfortunate pair, Wickham spoke softly, using every ounce of his inner Darcy, recalling that Fitz’s threat increased the more the tone of his voice decreased. George had heard that awesome tone of Darcy’s voice only twice in his entire life in spite of all the years the two had aggravated each other—first in Ramsgate and then, later, upstairs at Mrs. Younge’s boarding house. That he had been on the receiving end of both addresses…and that both had been because of injury he had inflicted upon women dear to his god-brother…helped him direct the present fury that inexplicably boiled up inside of him.

These pustules on society’s arse forced her hand.

I would gladly skewer one and fillet the other but for the fact that this lady has undergone enough.

She has yet to move. Likely she is trying to comprehend what she has done. Women do not kill. They made her do so. And, it is clear that this woman is no mere maid of all work. She is quality of the rarest kind!

“Pick him up. Go ahead. Pick him up. He cannot stay here.”

They bent and grabbed the body by the armpits. When they had managed their burden, Wickham spoke in the same awful and quiet manner.

“Lest you think to improve your lot by extorting an advantage from the lady, know now that this house is under my protection. While I imagine she can amply fend for herself, I would not have a gentlewoman of her standing sully herself with the likes of you.

“I can assure you that all you ever will receive is the full attention of my little friend here.

“Now, take your trash and disappear.”

He stepped to one side to make way for the procession. Once they had clearly vanished into the alleyway, he turned back toward the woman.

Her arm had dropped to her side, but George Wickham was no fool. He knew that she could very well perceive him as a threat. Whatever she held in her hand was powerful and lethal. He could not bank that it was some sort of single-shot lady’s pocket pistol. Sheathing his sword, he offered soothing sounds as he began to approach her.

“My Lady? My Lady? My name is George Wickham.” At his name, her gun hand jerked upward, but swiftly sagged down again as if she were grasping a twelve-pound cannon ball rather than a compact firearm.

He had halted his gradual movement when she reacted, but now began again, slowly coming within five feet, then three.

“I am a lieutenant in His Majesty’s Army. The attackers have fled. You defended your house and these unfortunate soldiers. For that I must thank you.

“Perhaps, though, you should allow me to relieve you of your burden.”

He made to reach for the pistol. Concerned, her eyes flashed up at his, something crossing beneath her brows that confused Wickham. T’was as if she recognized him in some manner. Then the look vanished as all of her features smoothed. She firmly moved the weapon back behind the skirts of her housecoat.

In a well-modulated voice betraying the slightest accent, she said, “Ah, Lieutenant…Wickham…is it? Thank you for your concern. I assure you that I am trained in the use of my pistol. I will not involuntarily puncture that fine uniform jacket of yours. However, I do believe that I would feel more comfortable retaining control of it right now.

“You, though, might be better served in seeing to your men,” she suggested in a tone which left no room for dispute.

Wickham began a snappy retort, “They are not…” but broke off when her china blue eyes flashed in anger. Officers in the British Army care for all men in the ranks once the battle is finished; quarters for them before officers, likewise food.

He sheathed his sword and moved over to where the sergeant was trying to tend to his comrade.

“Sit back, Sergeant. Allow me to use the light to assess your companion,” Wickham ordered.

Used to—and therefore quite comfortable with—an officer leading the way, the Sergeant rolled away to sit with his back against the wall of the wash shed, his breathing became ever more regular as the battle fever was washed from his bloodstream. His long legs were bent at the knee, and his feet were flat on the ground. Beneath a scarlet tunic, faded to near pink from months in the Iberian sun, stained pantaloons stretched like drumheads across his massive thighs. His lower legs were encased in fine French dragoon boots—spoils of successful combat—rising from his soles to above his knees. Near white, but still blonde, hair covered the crown of his head, exposed now that his shako had been knocked clear as he sought to defend his file-mate. Everything about him shouted soldier, and a successful one at that…except for the grimy bandages covering his eyes.

Wickham gently rolled the supine soldier over onto his back. A large knot graced the left side of his head, a tiny trickle of blood losing itself into his short brown hair. A moan escaped his lips as his eyelids fluttered in a sign of returning consciousness. Shortly his eyes blinked open, and he tried to rise.

“Easy man. You took quite a knock to your noggin. Move too fast and you are liable to puke up your last meal if you could get upright, let alone to your feet.

“But, I need your report, soldier. So just lie there and answer my questions. Who are you two, and what is your mission?”

The lieutenant turned and looked in appeal to the lady.

“Ma’am…while I talk with these men, might it be possible for you to find two trusted men to assist us. We need to move them inside. I fear that this one may be concussed. The other is rather obvious,” Wickham asked.

Kitty nodded and turned on her heel, mounting the stairs and disappearing through the kitchen door.

The Sergeant waited until the lady’s footfalls had vanished. The he spoke up.

“Excuse me, Lieutenant, sor, but I am the senior subaltern present. Tomkins is but a corporal.

“Mr. Wickham, I am Henry Wilson, Sergeant, and my companion is Charlie Tomkins, a Chosen Man. We serve in the First Battalion, South Essex Regiment under Mr. Sharpe. The Cap’n detached Tomkins and me after I was injured in a skirmish with the Frogs about a month back. Some idiot of an artilleryman dropped his slow match into the powder limber when he was retreating.

“Blew him to Hell and back, it did, sor. I got caught by the edge of the blast and my eyes were hurt sore bad. Tomkins has been trying to lead me back to his former establishment here in Town—Cecil House. He was a second footman there. His brother is in service to the Cecils as well. We were hoping to find a night of bed and board, but got caught out by the distance.

“Been walking and hitching rides for four days from Portsmouth, sor.”

Wickham looked with pity at the big man. His future as a blinded veteran was bleak. Better if he had died in the explosion.

As if reading Wickham’s mind, the Sergeant said, “Worry is not part of the way I am made, sor. I know that the good Lord will know what to do with Henry Wilson. I just want Charlie to be all right and be able to drop me at the depot in Colchester. Then the regiment can muster me out and get me my back pay.

“But, I want to tell you, I think the Almighty may be deciding if he wants me back in Portugal. I’ve been seeing flashes of light behind my bandages for past three or four days.”

The return of the lady and two men, one older accompanied by a larger younger man, cut short any further thoughts the Sergeant may have offered.




Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books Of Fortune’s Reversaland The Maid and The Footman.”

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).

He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.

His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

You can contact Don through the following social media:


Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page





Feb. 14 Austenesque Reviews;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

Feb. 15 My Jane Austen Book Club;  Guest Post, GA

Feb. 17 My Love for Jane Austen;  Character Interview, GA

Feb. 19 So little time…  Excerpt, GA

Feb. 20 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl;  Review, GA

Feb. 21 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, GA

Feb. 23 More Agreeably Engaged;  Review, Excerpt, GA

Feb. 25 Darcyholic Diversions;  Character Interview, GA

Feb. 26 From Pemberley to Milton;  Excerpt

Feb. 23 More Agreeably Engaged;  Character Interview, GA

Feb. 28 Just Jane 1813;  Review, GA

Mar. 2  Diary of an Eccentric;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

Mar. 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, GA

Mar. 5  Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, GA



Don Jacobson is offering 12 books,  10 eBooks and 2 Paperbacks, to readers following his blog tour. The giveaway is international and to enter this it you can click on this link.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity Review & Giveaway

I didn’t know the plot of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity but from the moment I read its first page I knew I would love it. It turns out this book had all the ingredients I require to be completely immersed in the story: Darcy and Elizabeth love each other but can’t be together which creates the most delicious angst possible, their interactions are romantic and intense but bear that little taste of angst that I can’t resist, their feelings and belief in each other are stout, the secondary characters pull me into the story, the writing is incredibly good and the characters have several layers that make them real and believable.

I could go on, but maybe I should tell you a little of the story first. In this book Darcy and Elizabeth get engaged when they meet at Pemberley, but when Jane’s letters arrive announcing Lydia ran off with Wickham, Mr. Darcy isn’t there and not only Elizabeth doesn’t tell him what happen, but breaks off the engagement. The reasons behind this decision are not immediately disclosed and I loved the fact that when we do learn about them, they are not obvious.

The book starts at Netherfield, a year after these events take place and where the happily married Jane and Bingley receive several distinguished guests at their home with some matchmaking plans. Two of the guests are Darcy and Elizabeth who had not seen or heard of each other since the broken engagement. From this moment on the reader will go on an emotional  roller coaster ride that will not stop until the very last pages.

As much as I loved Darcy and Elizabeth in this book there were times when I really wanted to kill the Colonel, spank Georgiana or cheer for Anne de Bourgh which reveals how engaged I was in this story. In fact, the characters are a big part of why I loved this book so much. After reading a couple of books with superficial characters who are merely a caricature of what Austen created, it was refreshing to read something with a true character depth that makes me think and analyse the human behaviour.

I may have been influenced by my personal experience with the loss of my own father, but I felt Elizabeth’s internal struggles very real and with a depth I was not expecting to find.

Apart from the characters, I enjoyed Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship which is not only based on an incredible stout love but on trust and friendship making the story even more powerful, and even if the angst was at times almost unbearable, the Darcy/Elizabeth moments are definitely worth it.

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity is gripping, character driven, intense and will for sure be on my 2018 favourites list. There were so many quotes I wanted to take from this book that at a certain point I had to stop doing it or I would not progress in the story.

This book is a page turner that I could not stop reading until the very end when Amy D’Orazzio surprised me once more with a very shocking disclosure. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy angsty story and are not afraid to wait for the HEA.

You can find A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity for sale or on Kindle Unlimited at:


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.

Amy D’Orazio’s Facebook Page

Amy D’Orazio at Meryton Press

Amy D’Orazio Goodreads Author Page

Twitter:  @AllAbtAusten


The blog tour is just beginning, so please do not forget to check the other stops and learn more  about this wonderful book:


February 21 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

February 22 From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

February 23 Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & Giveaway

February 24 My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

February 25 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

February 26 Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

February 27 Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

February 28 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 1 So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

March 3 Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview

March 4 Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

March 5 Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 6 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway


8 eBooks of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented and are valid until midnight ET on March 8, 2018.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and announced shortly after the deadline.

To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under 5 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Author of the month – Winners Announcement

Good Afternoon everyone,

Last month I decided to start a new feature called Author of the Month where I chose one author and give him/her a shout out for his/her work.

My first choice of Author of the Month was Joana Starnes who had released a new audiobook narrated by Stevie Zimmerman. The release of the audio version of The Subsequent Proposal was not the only reason I choose Joana to be the first author to receive this “shout out”, she was chosen because she has the ability to portray Elizabeth and Darcy just as I imagine them to be, and because while doing so, she inspires so many intense feelings in me that I cannot stop reading her books once I start. I know for a fact that if she releases a new book I’ll love it, and I know I’ll have to start reading it on a weekend because I will not be able to stop. But I digress, and you can read why I love her books so much in the January Author of the Month post. For now, I’m sure you want to know who the winners of the giveaway that came along with it post are. So, without further ado, the winners are:


***Revised Paperback***

Sophia Rose



Eva Edmonds






Ladies please send me your e-mail contacts until the end of the month so that you audiobooks can be sent to you. If I don’t hear back from you until the 28th of February, I will unfortunately have to choose other winners, so please hurry up 🙂

Until then, happy reading!


Filed under JAFF

The Sweetest Ruin Excerpt & Giveaway


Good Afternoon everyone,

Today is my turn to host author Amy George on her blog tour for the recently released The Sweetest Ruin. When I read the blurb of this book, I got really excited. I know the book is a modernization, which is not usually my type, but the Vegas scenario has something that I find very appealing and I am really looking forward to read this book.

Until I catch it up on my TBR list, I’ll have the many guest posts of the tour and the reviews to cheer me up. I hope that you have enjoyed the several stops this author has already made in the tour, and that the excerpt she brought to From Pemberley to Milton is equally satisfying.

I would like to thank Claudine from JustJane1813 for organising this wonderful tour, and to Amy George for taking the time to visit my blog.


Good day, Rita. It’s a pleasure to share my final excerpt from the blog tour for my book, The Sweetest Ruin. I thought this piece shows the more humorous side to my story because we know Jane Austen also had a wicked sense of humor!

I look forward to reading the responses from your readers at From Pemberley to Milton.



Jane and Georgiana both met her furious gaze.

“Listen, I can’t say it any plainer. William and I got drunk, we got married, and then we fell in love. Is that the way either of us planned to do it? No. Are we concerned with what any of you think? That’s a very obvious no. However, we’re family now—except for you Bingley people; I don’t know how you fit in other than as business partners—and we’re going to have to accept each other. Capice?”

From behind her, Richard applauded.

Georgiana stepped closer so that she was toe to toe with Elizabeth. “I don’t have to accept a bloody thing. I will not play nice with you because I think you are bad for my brother.”

“Georgiana, that’s quite enough,” William said, his voice deep and rife with anger. “You are my sister, and I love you, but you will not talk to my wife in that manner. Elizabeth has never asked for anything from me. She’s never needed to. She was not raised the way you and I were, and she enjoys the simplicity of that. However, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spoiling my wife every now and again.”

“You’re a fool, Will,” Georgiana muttered.

“Why can’t you just be happy for me? Six months ago, you were complaining because I didn’t have a life outside my office. Now I have a whole new reason to live, and you’re unhappy! What the hell is wrong with you?”

She shook her head, and her eyes glimmered with the slightest bit of shame. A moment later, it was gone.

“You just wait until Aunt Cate returns to London. She has some choice words for you,” Georgiana said darkly.

The blonde girl at the end of the room stood. She moved toward the angry siblings and pushed them apart to stand before Elizabeth.

“I’m Carrie Bingley, Charles’s sister. To answer your earlier question about why my family is here, it’s because we are family, even if it isn’t by blood. I’ve known William all my life and have never known him to make a poor decision, so I believe his faith in you is justified.”

“Thank you,” said Elizabeth, fighting the tears welling in her eyes. “I remember William mentioning you now. He said he considered you another sister.”

“Yes, so forgive me for saying this, but if you hurt William, I’ll make sure to return the favor.”

Elizabeth grinned. “You’re all right, Carrie.”

Carrie turned to face the hostile crowd. “As for you lot, please remember that you’re all adults and should act accordingly. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have to get back to campus to take a Maths quiz. Elizabeth, I’ll ring you, and I hope we can set up a lunch date.”

“I’d like that.”

The girl left quietly. Her presence had calmed the room temporarily, but now tension began to waft through the space again. Before it could settle, Eve stepped forward.

“I think we’ve all said enough for today. Shall we continue this discussion some other time?”

Without another word, Georgiana left the room.

“It’s nice to have you home, Will,” Jeremy said, patting his brother-in-law’s shoulder. His voice dropped to a whisper as he leaned close to Elizabeth. “Nice to meet you.” He hurried out in search of his wife.

Jane followed suit, and Charles Bingley, looking miserable, followed silently.

“Anybody for a whiskey?” Richard flopped down on the couch. “How about a homicide?”

Elizabeth sighed, and only William raised his hand.



When William Darcy suffers a sudden health crisis, he immediately realizes two things: his sister will continue to nag him about his nonexistent social life, and he won’t stand for it. How can he possibly escape Georgiana’s good intentions or the watchful gaze of Aunt Catherine, his assigned babysitter? Cue a midnight getaway to the tackiest place he can think of. Lounge singers, booze, and women of loose moral fiber—Las Vegas, here he comes!

Elizabeth Bennet lives a quiet life as a UNLV student and a popular cocktail waitress in one of the nicer casinos in town. Though content to see her best friend, Thad, in a blissfully happy relationship, she has no desire to complicate her own life with what will undoubtedly result in a broken heart. Then she serves a drink to a devastatingly handsome Englishman, and all bets, as they say, are off.

This is a modern what-if of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. It is intended for an adult audience.




You can find The Sweetest Ruin at:






Amy George is a middle-aged woman who got rid of her old lady/grown up and has since purchased an unreasonably small car. She refuses to listen to its radio at a reasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a small town in the Midwest where the bookstore and yarn shop are neighbors and most food is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.

She has been writing since she was a child and ran the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.

Fun fact: Amy’s birthday is January 30th so this is like a big birthday party for her, I hope you all join me in wishing her a belated Happy Birthday!!!

Contact Links:

Amy George Facebook Page

Amy George’s Goodreads Author Page

Amy George at Meryton Press

Twitter: @authoramygeorge





There are two more stops in the blog tour, don’t miss them!


January 29  Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post, Giveaway

January 30  My Jane Austen Book Club; Excerpt Post, Giveaway

January 31  Of Pens and Pages; Guest Post, Giveaway

February 1  More Agreeably Engaged; Guest Post, Giveaway

February 2  Babblings of a Bookworm; Excerpt Post, Giveaway

February 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Book Review, Giveaway

February 4  My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, Giveaway

February 5  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

February 6  Margie’s Must Reads; Book Review, Giveaway

February 7  From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt Post

February 8  Savvy Verse and Wit; Book Review, Giveaway  

February 9  Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway



8 eBooks of The Sweetest Ruin are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

To enter the giveaway, click here!

Good Luck everyone!!


Filed under JAFF

The Darcy’s Hope Saga – Interview with Ginger Monette

Good Afternoon everyone,

The Darcy’s Hope Saga books were a very pleasant surprise for me when I read them a couple of years ago because I’m not usually fond of books that are not placed in regency, but these were so captivating that they earned a place amongst my favourite books both in 2016 (volume 1) and 2017 (volume 2).

Because I loved these books so much and they were recently released as one single volume, I thought it would be a good idea to invite the author, Ginger Monette, to talk a little about the Saga so that those who have not yet read these books may have a chance to get acquainted with these characters and their background.

I hope you get to know a little more about these stories and enjoy the interview 🙂


Ginger currently writes riveting romances inspired by Donwton Abbey and Jane Austen. Her use of compelling plot, vivid historical detail, and deep point of view has earned her stellar reviews for her Darcy’s Hope saga and a grand prize for flash fiction. Living in Charlotte, NC, Ginger enjoys Pilates, period and Turkish dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.


-Facebook: If you love Period Drama, Downton Abbey, or Jane Austen, join Ginger on Facebook at Ginger Monette Author.


Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton Ginger! First of all, can you please let us know what exactly is the Darcy’s Hope Saga?

The Saga retells Pride & Prejudice but is set during the era of Downton Abbey. It’s a single ebook volume that includes two full-length novels: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

Readers can enjoy their beloved characters in a storyline that is familiar, yet very fresh and different.


What inspired you to catapult Jane Austen’s famous Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s?

Downton Abbey! It was remarkable to me how little British culture had changed from the Regency Era to the Edwardian Era. Darcy could have dined with Lord Grantham at Downton Abbey with little change in decorum. I was also fascinated at how the war affected everyone’s lives and how wealthy English families offered their lavish homes as hospital facilities during WW1.

I began to imagine Darcy and Elizabeth’s “explosive” relationship unfolding on the Western Front. Then asked, what if Darcy had his own wartime tragedy that required him to be hospitalized at a country home like Matthew Crawley? I’m thrilled that the resulting Darcy’s Hope Saga has been such a big hit among fans of both Pride & Prejudice and Downton Abbey.


Did the stories require any research? If so, what kind?

This was one of those topics that the more you read, the more you realize how much you don’t know. I devoured nurse-assistant diaries, a soldier’s diary, memoirs of two orderlies, books on surgery, war wounds, hospital administration, and a LOT more. Then I watched hours of documentaries about everything from battles, to the food and uniforms of British soldiers. I studied six hours a day for nine months and found the history fascinating and the people inspiring!


How were they inspiring?

Machine guns, poison gas, airplanes, and tanks made their debut in WWI inflicting destruction and horrific wounds on an unprecedented scale. Men lived in squalid trenches and saw their comrades dismembered and slaughtered on a daily basis, yet they remained cheerful and self-sacrificing.

And everyone did something to aid in the war effort. Hundreds of women volunteered as nurse’s aides, others wrote letters, sent care packages, and knitted socks. Men too old to serve as soldiers became stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers. They fashioned splints from scrap metal, turned church halls into hospitals, and emptied bedpans. These small acts of kindness repeated over and over made an enormous difference. As a result, I am challenged to be cheerful amidst trying circumstances and to offer my own small acts of kindness even when they seem insignificant.


Did your research inspire any of your scenes?

Absolutely. First, I allowed the characters to be molded by the culture and the war itself—just like the real people I read about. I cast Elizabeth Bennet as nurse-assistant, which was a common role for high bred women during the war years. Similarly, I made rich young landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy a captain in the army. Though the saga is first and foremost a romance, much of the richness of the story comes from the hero and heroine both being deeply affected by their experiences during this turbulent time.

There are other elements I lifted straight from the pages of history as well. The chateau-turned-field-hospital in my story is based on one that actually existed. Darcy’s “going over the top” at the Battle of the Somme, an explosion at Messines Ridge, and a chaplain serving in the operating room were real historical events. And finally, I have a colorful Scotsman tell two outlandish stories that are true as well.

What would you say to romance readers who “don’t do war stories?”

I would say the Darcy’s Hope saga isn’t a war story. It’s very much a romance in a wartime setting. Just like Downton Abbey, the war provides a dramatic backdrop against which the romance blooms. The war’s fast pace and ever-changing situations meant that nothing was predictable, and things could (and did) change in an instant. Readers have commented that they couldn’t predict where either story was going, and much of that is due to the volatile nature of the setting.

Did you face any particular challenges in writing the Darcy’s Hope saga?

Yes! In Beauty from Ashes, weaving a romance into a complex setting unfamiliar to most readers, with both the hero and heroine experiencing significant character evolutions, all in the context of a mystery was quite a feat. Donwell Abbey wasn’t any easier. Writing to accommodate the tragedy that befalls Darcy was an enormous challenge. (I can’t tell you what the injury is or the accommodation it required or I would be giving away a major spoiler!)


Now that the Darcy’s Hope saga has received such glowing reviews, does it make it all the research and hard work worth it?

Yes. Hearing that readers love it on so many levels is immensely gratifying. The frustration and angst of three years of hard work fades away.


Do you have any final thoughts for readers?

As the world is commemorating the hundredth anniversary of WWI, I would challenge you to pay attention. Watch documentaries or even read books like my Darcy’s Hope saga to glimpse into the past for a better understanding of what our great-grandfathers experienced and the sacrifices they made. Each soldier, stretcher-bearer, doctor, and nurse has his or her own interesting story. And although my Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are fictitious characters, if you have any fondness for Downton Abbey or Jane Austen’s works, I think you will find their story as told in The Darcy’s Hope Saga not only fascinating, but riveting and moving as well.


Thanks for hosting me today!



Escape to the era of Downton Abbey with Lizzy and Darcy!

Immerse yourself in a sweeping romantic and drama-filled saga that includes two full-length novels—both Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes and Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.


~Volume I: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes

Heartbroken. Devastated. WWI Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy was rejected by the woman he loved and vows, “No more sentimental entanglements!”

But an undercover assignment at a field hospital brings him face to face with his beloved Elizabeth—who’s working with a dashing American doctor and a prime suspect in the espionage plot.

Forced to grapple with his feelings for her, Darcy has only a few months build a lasting bridge to her and uncover the truth before she’s condemned to a traitor’s noose.





Available at





~Volume II: Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey


Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she vanishes.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy attempts a heroic feat and only survives by the daring rescue of his faithful batman John Thornton.

But the damage is done. Darcy is plunged into a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse determined to teach him how to live and love again. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth.

His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But a secret at Donwell Abbey just might change everything…





Available at





Praise for Darcy’s Hope


A 2016 favourite of two blogs: Just Jane 1813 and From Pemberley to Milton

-A Top 10 Retelling  ~Austenesque Reviews

– “A tender romance fraught with danger in this exciting and suspenseful novel set in the midst of World War I.”  ~ Jan Hahn, author of An Arranged Marriage 

“…. An engrossing read.” ~Jack Caldwell, author of The Three Colonels and The Plains of Chalmette

“…a stellar example of fine Austenesque literature. …an exceptionally moving story complete with a compelling plot, danger, mystery, action, introspection, vivid detail, and an emotionally wrought romance.” ~Austenesque Reviews


The Saga is now available in one single volume at





Filed under JAFF