Monthly Archives: January 2019

A Very Austen Valentine Vignette, Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon dear readers,

How are you today? My week is starting with a pleasant surprise, I just got home from work and had this beauty waiting for me in the mail, isn’t that great?

It could not have been a bigger coincidence because today I’m scheduled to receive Robin Helm with a guest post of A Very Austen Valentine and share a vignettte of a sequel she wrote for her story I Dream of You as well as  an excerpt from Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile.

I already started reading this book and I’m loving it, but it will be even better to finish reading it in the paperback format. I expect to bring a review to you shortly, but until then, I hope you enjoy what we brought to you today.

I would also like to thank these incredible authors for putting together another lovely anthology and for visiting today, may we get together to celebrate many more A Very Austen anthologies 🙂

 


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Six beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels.

Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.

Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile
Faced with a lonely future and finding himself strapped for cash, Persuasion‘s Sir Walter Elliot manfully decides to marry again. But his careful plans go sadly awry! A lighthearted Valentine mash-up featuring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs.
 
My Forever Valentine by Wendi Sotis
Jane and Charles Bingley have married, even though Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains certain Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy gave his best effort to keep them apart. After Mr. Darcy refused to stand up with Bingley and did not attend the wedding, she despises the gentleman more than ever and finds his company intolerable. How will she endure her visit to Kent if Mr. Darcy turns up everywhere she goes?Pretence and Prejudice by Barbara Cornthwaite
A chance encounter with a handsome stranger forces Elizabeth to resort to subterfuge in order to discover his true intentions.My Valentine by Mandy H. Cook
Little Charlotte was always determined and independent, traits which served her well as she battled a serious childhood illness and later as she took on Polite Society. Will those traits now deprive her of true love? Or would her lifelong Valentine win her heart?

The Lovers’ Ruse by Susan Kaye
In this Persuasion alteration, Anne is so altered by Wentworth’s love in the summer of 1806, she refuses to give him up when both her godmother and father try to persuade her. “The Lovers’ Ruse” follows Frederick and Anne through their whirlwind courtship and their secret engagement. When Wentworth returns for his Annie girl, the cat comes out of the bag.

You can find A Very Austen Valentine at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

 

 

 


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The Good Doctor – Thaddeus Beckett

By Robin Helm

 

I must admit to being a huge fan of my original character, Lord Thaddeus, better known as the epitome of male beauty, the heartthrob physician, hero who flouts convention, Thaddeus Beckett.

I first wrote him as Darcy’s competition in More to Love, which I hope to release in February or March. Elizabeth called Beckett an angel, and then referred to him as Apollo, the Greek god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more, I readily admite, for a good while, I wanted him to win Elizabeth’s heart. However, I knew that would raise a storm in JAFFdom, so I relented. Poor man was called away on an emergency. As he wasn’t there to press his suit, Hercules (Darcy) swooped in, claiming the advantage, and won in the end.

Then I re-introduced Beckett as a love interest for Mary in my work-in-progress Maestro, but I fear he may not win her hand, either. Alessandro Landini, the devastatingly handsome Italian musical genius will be tough to beat. Mary, after all, loves music above all else, and Landini is her pianoforte teacher. Maybe if Landini slips up, Beckett can take his place. It would help if he could play and sing. I’m going to work on that.

Beckett has had a bumpy ride as my alternative to Darcy and Landini. More to Love was originally intended to be my story in A Very Austen Valentine, but Laura Hile insisted it should be a full-length book. So, I put aside Beckett and More to Love to start writing Maestro for the anthology. Same thing happened. Once more Laura said, “That’s a book. Not a novella.”

Therefore, I started writing I Dream of You for A Very Austen Valentine, using one shots and shorts that I wrote long ago. Again, the good doctor, Thaddeus Beckett, was mentioned, but he didn’t make an actual appearance (though I did introduce another original character – Mr. Anderson).

Since I can’t seem to let go of the tall, blond, handsome doctor, I’m going to give him a book in 2020. His story will be the first in The Beckett Brothers series.

Until then, I have written a vignette for the good doctor, giving the lovely man a sighting at the end of I Dream of You. His services will be needed for a most important medical procedure.

Perhaps it’s time for you readers to get to know Beckett. I promise, you’ll love him.


 

The first excerpt we are sharing today is from Robin Helm’s sequel vignette of I Dream of You, but before you starting reading this vignette, please be aware that this is only the part 2 of the excerpt, if you want to read the entire vignette, please stop by at  My Love for Jane Austen where the first part was published on January 12 🙂

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Sequel chapter to I Dream of You – Part 2

 

The colour drained from Darcy’s face; however, he took his wife’s arm as she requested, assisting her to her rooms.

While the men waited outside the bedchamber, Elizabeth’s maid helped her to don a nightgown and get into her bed.

Beckett put a hand on Darcy’s shoulder. “Perhaps you should send word to the Bingleys, apprising them of the situation. I feel certain Mrs. Bingley would want to be with her sister, and Bingley can keep you occupied until this is over.”

Darcy raised both eyebrows, and his tone brooked no opposition. “Occupied? I shall be occupied, for I fully intend to be with my wife until she is safely delivered.”

“You cannot mean that. This may take a few hours or a full day. Each birth is a bit different,” replied the physician. “Go to your chambers and rest or back to the parlour to read a book. Elizabeth may not wish for you to see her like this.”

“First,” said Darcy tersely, “her chambers and mine are the same. Second, I cannot rest or read a book while my wife is birthing our child. My place is with her. If you are able to see her like this, I certainly am.”

Beckett shook his head. “As you wish, but if she asks you to leave, you will do so. Agreed?”

Darcy frowned, but nodded his consent.

When the maid opened the door, telling the men her mistress was ready, Beckett entered, followed closely by Darcy.

Beckett examined his patient, and then retired to the couch.

While Elizabeth was initially surprised by her husband’s presence, she soon made it known that she liked the idea of his being present for the birth of their child.

“Shall I read to you, my love?” he asked. “Perhaps it will distract you.”

She smiled, and he picked up the book on the table.

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded? Samuel Richardson is a bit dull, but the moral is good,” he said, moving a chair to the side of the bed. “I should not be surprised you would enjoy reading about a brave, intelligent, rather sassy woman.”

He sat down and began to read.

After a few hours, the maid came in with tea. Elizabeth sipped a bit, but would take no food, though she insisted both men should eat. Before the maid left, Beckett told her to bring plenty of clean towels and hot water.

Darcy soon noticed that her pains were occurring ever closer together. He left his chair to stand by the bed. “My darling, shall I rub your back?” he asked, removing his tailcoat, throwing it over a chair.

“Yes, please. Help me turn to my side.” She grunted as he moved her.

Beckett looked up from his newspaper, watching the couple.

Darcy noticed the movement and glanced at him. Is that envy on his face? Because I married the woman he loved, or because he wishes he were married? Perhaps I am too hard on him. He is very likely lonely. I have a wonderful wife who loves me, and we shall soon have a child. He goes home to relatives and servants, but no wife. His sister and her family love him, but that is hardly the same.

For several more hours, Darcy ministered to his wife, noticing her discomfort, trying to help her bear it, whispering encouragement to her.

Beckett removed his tailcoat and waistcoat, then took over reading duty while Darcy continued to massage her.

She groaned more and more as the time passed.

He rolled her to her back and used a cloth soaked in cold water to wipe the perspiration from her face and neck. “You are a champion, my strong, fearless wife. You must do this, and you shall. If I could, I would gladly do it for you.”

“If I could, I would let you,” she replied, attempting a smile.

He did his best to chuckle, but he could not.

Finally, her pains were nearly constant, and Beckett came to the side of the bed. “I think your baby shall arrive very shortly. Darcy, are you certain you wish to stay for the birth? You have surprised me by the way you cared for your wife during labour, but the birth itself is quite different.”

The gentleman did not look away from Elizabeth. “I helped to deliver colts, calves, and lambs at Pemberley when I was a lad, and I know what it is. I am fully prepared. I shall not leave Elizabeth.”

“You did not love the mothers of those animals. ’Tis truly not the same.”

Darcy bent over to look into her eyes. “Elizabeth, do you want me to stay?”

She grasped his hand with both of hers, squeezing until his eyes watered. “Yes,” she said, gripping him even more tightly.

Beckett walked to the nightstand, rolled up his sleeves, and lathered his hands and arms with soap, rinsing and drying them before returned to the bedside. He lifted the covers from her feet and legs, folding them until they settled on her thighs. After giving her a cursory examination, he turned to Darcy. “Wash your hands and send for more hot water. Take off your waistcoat, and use soap up past your elbows. Cleanliness is next to godliness. There is a reason that phrase has been quoted since ancient times, even if other physicians do not subscribe to it.”

Darcy kissed his wife’s cheek and hurried away to complete his tasks.

“I can see the crown of the head,” said Beckett. “Hold her knee aside. She is fighting me.”

For the next half hour, Darcy assisted Beckett, speaking to his wife from time to time, assuring her all was well.

And at the end of that time, he helped to wash his baby boy before he wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in the arms of his exhausted mother. She kissed his forehead and motioned to her husband to join her.

Thaddeus Beckett smiled at the little family as he cleaned himself up and dressed. He left, promising to return the following day to make certain mother and child were well.

Darcy climbed into the bed with his wife and son, kissing each of them gently. He was too exhilarated to sleep, so he watched them until his eyes grew heavy. Carefully, he lifted the baby from Elizabeth’s arms and laid him between them. Then he fell into a shallow sleep, awakening each time either his wife or child stirred.

William Alexander Darcy, his head full of dark curls, spent his first night being adored by his elated father.

Fitzwilliam Darcy was a happy man, indeed.

 

The End


 

 

 

EXCERPT from Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile

 

Sir Walter Elliot’s Valentine card was sent by mistake to the wrong Lady Catherine, a faux pas of monstrous proportions. However, after seeing Rosings Park pictured in his copy of The Grand Estates Guidebook, Sir Walter journeys to Hunsford to investigate. As luck would have it, he is asked to dinner by the rector.

Mr. Collins was happy to talk—about nothing and everything. Apparently the man was extremely fond of food. He carved the roast with gusto and described for Sir Walter’s benefit each dish that was brought to the table. He ate and he ate, until Sir Walter feared the buttons on his waistcoat might pop off!

On the other hand, his unrelenting praise for the provider of his living gave Sir Walter much useful information.

“In point of fact,” he confided to Sir Walter, after the meal was finished and they were alone at the table with a bottle of port, “Mrs. Collins chose the excellent joint of beef we enjoyed tonight because of her ladyship’s kind suggestion.”

“You don’t say,” said Sir Walter politely.

“Indeed, yes. She noticed it in the butcher’s shop and knew it would be just the thing for us. Lady Catherine de Bourgh watches over those living on her estate with admirable care.”

Which only showed how hideously bored she must be. The poor woman needed a change of scene.

“As further evidence of her generosity,” Mr. Collins went on, “you have only to observe the wonderful renovation of our parsonage. When you come again, Sir Walter, I will take you through every room. The improvements are most extensive.”

Sir Walter smiled, but could not enter into Mr. Collins’s enthusiasm. This was, after all, a small and commonplace house. But because he wished to hear more about Lady Catherine, Sir Walter adroitly exchanged his full wineglass for Collins’s empty one. “I take it she has made similar improvements to the mansion?”

Mr. Collins’s pink cheeks grew pinker still, and he described at length the excellent renovations made to the kitchens. Sir Walter passed the wine bottle, and Collins again refilled his glass.

“And,” he added muzzily, “you will not believe the new shimney-peach in one of her drawing rooms. Eight hundred pounds it cost,” he added, “and not a penny lesh.”

To Sir Walter, this was a truly thrilling detail, for it indicated good taste as well as largesse. Any woman who would spend that much for a chimney-piece was just the wife for him.

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We are right in the middle of the blog tour, so please keep following it to find out more about this anthology 🙂

 

01/06 Just the Write Escape; Guest Post, Giveaway

01/07 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Giveaway

01/08 So Little Time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

01/09 Babblings of a Bookworm; Author Interview/Character Interview, Giveaway

01/10 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

01/11 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

01/12 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway

01/13 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

01/14 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Review or Vignette, Giveaway

01/15 My life journey; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

01/16 My Vices and Weaknesses; Guest Post or Vignette. Excerpt, Giveaway

01/17 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

01/18 Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

01/21 Austenprose; Author Interview

 


 

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These talented ladies are offering a very generous giveaway during the blog tour, they are offering ten eBooks of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2. This giveaway is international and all you have to do to apply is click here.

They are also offering a US only paperback copy of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2. You may click on the same link, but don’t forget this will only be valid it if you have a US address.

Good Luck everyone!

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Darcy and Deception, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am! I have finally bought an embossing machine today and started playing a little bit with it, I’m just getting started and I’m not that good with arts and crafts but I was even able to make this postcard, what do you think? Do I have any hope of doing something cool in the future?

I’m eager to learn everything about this machine and start making really cool postcards to send to all my friends, so fingers crossed! Let’s hope experience will allow me to improve 🙂

As you can see my afternoon was not literary and I haven’t really read anything, but I hope to make it up by hosting one of my favourite authors today and bringing you an excerpt of her latest novel. Please join me in welcoming Victoria Kincaid and enjoy her guest post and excerpt of Darcy and Deception 🙂 And don’t forget, there is a giveaway 🙂

 


Happy New Year, Rita, and thank you for having me for a visit!  I always enjoy learning about the Regency era when I’m researching my books, and the writing of Darcy and Deception was no different.  Most of the novel is set in Brighton, home of the iconic Royal Pavilion.  While the building is mentioned in the story, it would not have appeared in 1813 the way it does today.  Still, I found the story of the Royal Pavilion to be fascinating.

The Prince of Wales visited Brighton in 1783 for the first time—having been advised that seawater would be good for his gout.  At the time seawater was believed to benefit many different ailments and this helped to fuel the growing popularity of Brighton as a resort.

In 1786, the Prince rented a farmhouse in Brighton that faced the Old Steyne—a grassy promenade that was the center of a fashionable neighborhood.  The house also happened to be a convenient location for the prince’s liaisons with his mistress Maria Fitzherbert.

In 1787 the prince had architect Henry Holland design an addition to the existing building. It became one wing of what was now dubbed the Marine Pavilion. Decorated in a neoclassical style, the Pavilion contained three main rooms: a breakfast room, dining room, and library, flanking a rotunda. In 1802 the Pavilion was further enlarged with a new dining room and conservatory.  The prince bought the surrounding land and had stables built to house 60 horses.

  Marine Pavilion before 1802

It was not until 1815 that work on the final design phase began—based on plans by John Nash.  This construction (finished in 1822) gave the Royal Pavilion its distinctive façade and the Indian/Chinese/Islamic flavored architecture that seems so out of place in an English town.  It is considered excellent example of the exoticism that was an alternative to the Regency’s more predominate classical style.

 Royal Pavilion today

Unfortunately, because Darcy and Deception is set in 1813, Darcy and Elizabeth do not get to visit the Royal Pavilion in all its exotic splendor.  But the building does play a role in the book, and the Prince Regent makes a guest appearance near the end of the story.  Still, it’s fun to imagine what they would have made of such fanciful architecture.  I suspect Elizabeth would be delighted by the whimsy, and Darcy would be appalled by the lack of neo-classical design elements.

Below is an excerpt from Darcy and Deception.  Please enjoy!  .

 


 

 

  “Darcy, sit down.  Simply watching you makes me restless!” Bingley complained as Darcy made his seventh or eighth lap across the drawing room floor, seemingly attempting to wear a path in Netherfield’s carpet.

Darcy threw himself into a chair.  “I should have departed tonight.  Waiting was a mistake.”

Bingley rolled his eyes.  “Once again I remind you: the journey to Brighton is long—and dangerous on a moonless night.”

“Imagine if Jane were in Brighton with that blackguard!” Darcy growled.

Bingley pressed his lips together until they turned white.

“He could compromise her—make her marry him.  Or force himself upon her!”  Unable to contain his energy, Darcy launched himself from the chair and resumed pacing.

“She is with Colonel Forster and his wife,” Bingley pointed out for at least the third time.  “They will protect her.”

“Have you met the colonel’s wife?” Darcy asked.  “She may be all of eighteen years, and a strong wind would carry her away.  She could not be trusted to protect Elizabeth from a sparrow.”

“Well, the colonel is a level-headed man,” Bingley said.

“He has other duties; he cannot watch her all the time.”  Darcy’s hands clenched into fists as if preparing to fight.

Bingley shifted on the settee.  “Have you considered your actions upon arriving in Brighton? You must have a plan.  You did not part on the best of terms with Miss Elizabeth.”

Darcy ran both hands through his hair.  He had done nothing but think on that question in the past few hours but had discovered no satisfactory answer.  “I will reason with her.”

Bingley’s brow furrowed.  “She may not be disposed to heed your reasoning.  If she refused to read your letter, she may refuse to listen to your words.”

Darcy ground his teeth.  Naturally this had occurred to him.  “I will make her listen!”  He could hear the desperation in his own voice.  “She will not be able to ignore me.”

“An auspicious beginning to a courtship,” Bingley remarked dryly.

“Knowing the truth about George Wickham is more important,” Darcy bit out.  “More important than her feelings for me.  Her safety is paramount.”

“But surely you will agree it would be best if she were not further disaffected from you.”

Darcy sighed.  What a muddle!  “Yes, of course.”

“Have you considered that she might be in love with Wickham?”  Bingley spoke slowly and carefully.  “People in love can be blind.”

Darcy had exerted tremendous effort to banish such thoughts.  “She cannot be in love with Wickham!” he said savagely.  Bingley said nothing, waiting for his friend to grow calmer.  “But I can woo her away from Wickham.”

Bingley raised an eyebrow.  “Have you ever courted a woman before?”

“Of course.”

“Ladies have pursued you.  It is not precisely the same,” his friend said with a grin.

“It cannot be that difficult,” Darcy grumbled irritably.

“It would not be difficult if you were not the last man on earth she would ever consider marrying.”  Bingley shrugged.

Of course, Bingley was right.  Who was Darcy fooling?  He and Elizabeth had parted on the least amicable terms imaginable, following the world’s most disastrous offer of marriage.  Sinking back into his chair, Darcy closed his eyes and dropped his head.  “I would welcome any advice you might have on the matter.”  He had no pride remaining when it came to Elizabeth Bennet.

After a moment Bingley shook his head.  “I have none to offer, my friend.  I have properly bungled my courtship with Jane.”

“She appears to have forgiven you.”

“Yes, as long as I make no more blunders.”

Darcy would give anything to be in his friend’s place.

“Are you certain you do not wish me to accompany you to Brighton?” Bingley asked.

The offer was tempting, but Darcy shook his head.  “You must remain here and woo your lady.  I will either stand or fall on my own merits.”  He fervently hoped she would listen to reason—that her future happiness did not rely on Darcy’s paltry courtship skills.

“I have all the confidence in the world,” Bingley said with a hearty smile.  “Just be yourself.”

Darcy snorted.  “That is what created this mess.”


 

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Returning home from Kent, Elizabeth Bennet is still distressed over Mr. Darcy’s insulting marriage proposal.  However, her attention is diverted by the local militia commander who asks her to observe Wickham, now suspected of being a French spy.  Pretending to be besotted with Wickham, Elizabeth accompanies the regiment when they relocate to Brighton. 

Darcy arrives at Longbourn with the intention of making amends to Elizabeth, only to discover that she is now at Brighton with Wickham.  Desperate to save her from the scoundrel, Darcy follows her to the seaside, where he hopes to woo her away from the other man.   

Deception piles on top of deception as Elizabeth attempts to carry out her mission without betraying confidences—or breaking Darcy’s heart.  However, the French plot runs deeper than she knows; soon she and Darcy are plunged into the confusing and dangerous world of international espionage.  Can Darcy and Elizabeth escape with their lives and their love intact.

 

You can find Darcy and Deception at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 


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Victoria Kincaid would like to offer one ebook copy of Darcy and Deception to one of my readers, the giveaway is international will end on the 16th of January. Winners will be announced shortly after that 🙂

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on the excerpt Victoria shared with all of you.

Please do not forget to check the blog to confirm if you were the winner 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I’m very happing to be wrapping up the blog tour for The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament, by Don Jacobson. It is always a pleasure when Don Jacobson is my guest because he is a very interesting person with a lot of know how always brings lots of information to share with my readers 🙂 Today he isn’t bring any information resulting from his research, he brings an excerpt from the last book of the Bennet Wardrobe series and I hope you like it 🙂

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Chapter XXXIII

Netherfield Park near Meryton, October 22, 1948

 

Sol’s rays, burning now for only ten-and-a-half hours as the great orb took its ever-shortening transit across the southern skies, had played obliquely on the banks and barrows that lined many of Hertfordshire’s remaining farms. Late blooming purple Gentians angled their petals toward the increasingly scarce, yet still life-giving, liquid gold that poured down upon them. Hives sent out their riders to collect these last bits of Ceres’ pollen-laden bounty before the venti of the North brought the killing whiteness.  The county was lowering itself into its winter’s bed.

T’was one of those rare autumn evenings where Nature’s perfume hung in the cooling night air. The warmth of the day had activated the aromas of now-fallow fields and rain-dampened soils lining the lanes around Meryton. The scent of dried leaves carried on the night’s zephyrs was accentuated by a smoky back tone carried by the thready columns of a hundred pyres fueled by the barley and wheat straw leavings after another successful harvest.

The great drive winding from the London-Meryton Turnpike, long superseded by the great lanes of the A1, was well-marked in the traditional manner: pitch-fueled torches spaced every seventy-five feet or so. They flickered and guttered, creating giant orange splotches that left retinal after-images hearkening to night-blooming sunflowers beaming from atop six-foot stalks that might have been laid down by Oberon to lead his Titania home.

Yet, none of this was the work of wood sprites or faeries, but instead the product of the combined efforts of two Countesses, a Gräfin, and a baronet’s wife.

While any of the four ladies might have planned this by herself, the women found pleasure in the shared activity, jointly digging into bags of individual accomplishments to bring them to bear on problems not dissimilar to what Overlord’s planners faced, albeit on a smaller scale.

For example, food supplies were a great concern in rationing-era Britain. Lizzy Schiller leaned on dozens of school friends for leftover coupons. The year since Princess Elizabeth’s wedding, a national event which had employed a similar appeal for her wedding dress and cake, had seen a reappearance of partially-used ration books. Like loose pence and shillings gathered in a saucer in a dressing room, these flecks of gold dust were once again piling up in the kitchens and pantries of Austerity Britain’s upper-class homes. Unimportant and of little use when taken individually, these remaindered points collectively were destined to be turned into salmagundi salad, white soup, collar’d beef, raised pies, shining galantines, crystalline bowls filled with trifle, and, for the sweet lovers, mounds of rout cakes and marzipan.

However, her stroke of genius came when she realized that she could command a great draft of ration points held by members of the Five Families if she could discover a way to get enough of them out of Britain for at least a month, allowing a legal bequest of entirely unused coupon books. In pursuit of this idea, Lizzy contacted a Bingley cousin in Florida who readily agreed to host a month-long house party at her Palm Beach mansion. The Hollywood branch of the Gardiners opened their Bel Aire home with the additional promise of a week taken at the new Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. A Family-chartered section of the Canadian-Pacific’s Dominion run enticed the travel-minded with a trip across the northern nation, kicking off in Vancouver and broken by multi-day sojourns at the Banff Springs Hotel and Le Château Frontenac, ending in the Maritime Provinces.

The triumph of this unique strategy was realized when a courier delivered what Family money could not purchase: fifty pristine coupon books for meat, fats, and sugar.

The two Countesses conspired to manage personnel…in other words, they handled the guest list. Their combined decades at the top of British society gave them a clear perspective of the A– and B-Lists that delineated and filtered interactions in class-conscious Britain. While Labour had been in power for over three years, the long-held, if not cherished, distinctions that had defined the British Body Politic for 450 had yet to be erased. Mrs. Cecil-Darcy and Mrs. Fitzwilliam, in their guises as the Countesses of Pemberley and Matlock, navigated  the perilous shoals that could have led to the foundering of the enterprise by basing their campaign upon the recognition that there were social sparrows and eagles. While eagles were certainly fearsome birds of prey and needed to be carefully massaged, a flock of agitated sparrows could be equally dangerous.

Thus, Georgiana and Anne mobilized their London townhomes and great houses at Pemberley and Selkirk for teas, dinners, soirees, musicales, and house parties. Assiduous application of notices in the agony columns of a dozen DBE British and continental newspapers along with Mr. Fleming’s intervention with his master’s print holdings, inflated bruised egos and soothed jealous outrage over sad discoveries that the morning post did not include the most coveted invitation of the season.

The most common reaction was one of appreciation that the Countesses and their husbands, long acknowledged as among the wealthiest after the Crown, none-the-less cared enough to show more distant connections a level of notice that others might not have. Their four-week operation cemented their place as leaders not through the application of fear, so often used by the successors of the Patronesses, but rather through the demonstration of a solicitude and social consciousness worthy of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.

Yet, if there was a first amongst equals, t’was The Founder’s wife. Into her hands the other three entrusted the critical decision of the theme for the ball. All agreed that logic called for a harvest-centered festivity. Beyond that, though, few suggestions piqued the interest of anyone…until Mrs. Bennet looked at the others and exclaimed, “It must be a costume ball!”

That outburst did little to excite until Fanny explained herself to the nonplussed group.

“Ladies, I am not suggesting dress-up as children might do to entertain themselves of a summer’s afternoon or even what the Americans do on All Hallows’ Eve. And no masks. Our guests must not be like those decadent Venetians. They must know with whom they are dancing!

“No, I am thinking of something which will have meaning to us as the Five Families. And something with which I can assist because of my discerning eye.”

Georgiana, Anne, and Lizzy all chuckled into swiftly raised teacups, so familiar they had become with their Grandmother’s idiosyncratic outbursts.

Mrs. Bennet then settled them with a quelling glare saying, “Oh, you three may laugh, but think for a moment where all of your wealth and privilege found its roots: back in my day after my Mr. Bennet created the Trust!”

Her enthusiasm took root as she warmed to her argument, “I know…I know. The Darcys were already amongst the richest landowners in the kingdom. And, yes, the Matlock earldom traced back to the War of the Roses and enjoyed great wealth, too.

“However, without the unification of Darcy—land—and Bingley—trade—money in 1812 in the Trust under my brother Edward’s guidance, t’is possible that all of the Five Families would have faded into obscurity. They would have pridefully clung to the old ways of wealth: even Bingley who, after all, was struggling to become part of the landed gentry. Little did he realize that he was not dissimilar to the last few first-class ticket purchasers on the Titanic.

“Thus,” she said with a winning smile, “as I am the oldest and the only one of this group who has had to find the ready for not one, but five gowns while fending off the predations of Lady Lucas and Mrs. Long who had their own females to parade in front of the men of the neighborhood, I get to decide the theme!

“And, the prospect of showing that upstart Caroline Bingley how to decorate Netherfield Park is a prospect which has me simply salivating.”

This last exclamation had her comrades once again finding their teacups to be of enormous interest.

“The Netherfield Harvest Ball must be a Regency gathering, as if the brightest jewels of the ton had launched it in the Little Season!”

Mrs. Bennet took a refreshing sip from her own cup and set it down on an adjacent table before continuing in a determined voice. She was all-business without any of the legendary foolishness and nerves so often described in a particularly-popular and well-read family history.

“Now that the theme is settled, you and our guests must consider me a resource. While my husband frequently has despaired of my exhortations about lace and fashion, he would, I imagine, not argue that I always have had excellent taste especially when considering women’s clothing of my time.

“Who amongst you have any knowledge of what we wore during the Prince Regent’s reign? Georgie, Annie, and even you my impertinent Lizzy: I would wager that the best you could do would be to dash into your portrait galleries. Even then you would only be able to see what your ancestors chose to wear for a sitting with Sir Thomas Lawrence and not something they would have had made up for a ball.

“Do you have any idea how I would have arrayed my daughters if we were in Town for the Season? For that matter, how would Mr. Darcy or Colonel Fitzwilliam have prepared themselves?

“I know because I saw them. I am able to provide first-hand knowledge: something which modern fashion scholars are unable to offer.”

And, thus, Mrs. Bennet spent the intervening weeks prowling the workrooms of London’s couturiers, discarding and approving offerings as if she were the editor of La Belle Assemblée. Her softly uttered “How unique,” when faced with a theatrical interpretation of her vision, sent worried designers and cutters scurrying to pull fresh bolts of sarcenet, muslin, and gauze down from groaning shelves to earn the lady’s smile and approving nod.


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Bennet looked at his wife’s swollen lips, softly bruised from several deeply loving kisses, and her flushed complexion, as alluring when gracing the countenance of a woman of four-and-forty as that of a girl of nine-and-ten. He was one of the lucky few to have fallen in love with the same woman at both ages.
Thomas Bennet, Master of Longbourn, had always counted himself amongst the few educated gentlemen of his acquaintance. But, he had to travel over 120 years into the future to discover how little he knew about the woman sharing his life.
Once again, the amazing Bennet Wardrobe proved to be the schoolmaster. Tom Bennet’s lesson? Mrs. Bennet had been formed especially for him. Yet, t’would be the good lady herself who taught him the power of the Fifth and Sixth Loves: Redemption and Forgiveness.
Fanny Bennet also would uncover deep wells of courage and inspiration as she stood by her man’s side in the bleak years after World War II. Together they would lead their descendants in pursuit of the beast who had wronged every member of the Five Families.
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The Bennet Wardrobe series stands alone
The Avenger takes us on a new journey through The Bennet Wardrobe – an alternate universe rising from Don Jacobson’s vivid imagination and based upon the immortal Pride and Prejudice. The Avenger is another important step leading to the culmination of this enchanting trip: one that has drawn us into its reality to travel side-by-side with richly sketched characters. Each book has left us wanting more.
The Bennet Wardrobe series stands alone as a unique result of originality focused on beloved characters as they move—and grow—through surprising plotlines.
                                                Lory Lilian, author of Rainy Days
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You can find The Avenger at:

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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 Reversal” and “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).
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Today is the last stop, but you can still go back to the below blogs to read more about Don’s latest release 🙂

12/28 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

12/29 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Giveaway

12/30 My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway

01/03 My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, Giveaway

01/04 So Little Time…; Guest Post, Giveaway

01/05 My life journey; Review, Excerpt Giveaway

01/07 More Agreeably Engaged; Character Interview, Giveaway

01/08 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Giveaway

01/09 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Giveaway


 

Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament, the giveaway will end in 8 hours, so if you still want to apply comment on this post and click on this link.  This will be your last chance to participate.

Good Luck everyone!


 

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Recognizing Love

I hadn’t read a book like Recognising Love for some time and I believe this one is perfect for those who are just now starting to read Pride and Prejudice variations, or for those who want to go back to the simplicity of the genre because it is a clear example of a sweet and romantic what if variation. There are no kidnappings, carriage accidents, marriages with other people, time travelling events or anything of the sorts, it starts with only a small difference in the story and focuses on interpersonal relationships with a simplicity that is beautiful!

The story starts at Pemberley when Mr. Darcy finds Elizabeth visiting the estate with Mr. and Mrs Gardiner. The initial chapters of the book give us a glimpse of the several moments and conversations they might have had during those days until Elizabeth receives Jane’s letter, that is when the “what if” enters this story. So, what if Mr. Darcy didn’t let Elizabeth think he had left her because he no longer wanted an association with her? What if he could not bear to see her suffer like that and told her the truth about his intentions to help find Lydia? What if the Gardiner’s, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy all travelled to London together? What would change if Elizabeth was perfectly aware of Mr. Darcy’s intervention?

After saving Lydia from Wickham, and thinking that by now Elizabeth already loves him, Mr. Darcy proposes for the second time and unlike the Hunsford proposal, this one has a positive outcome. Elizabeth accepts because she believes she will love him with time and is afraid he will not ask a third time, but she is unsure about her feelings and is not able to tell him the truth. From this moment, we will see a lot of Elizabeth’s introspection as she will continuously analyse her own feelings for Mr. Darcy, and that will be the hot topic in the entire novel.

The first part of the book is more slow-paced and I confess that Elizabeth’s uncertainty about her feelings was starting to get to my nerves, especially because I believe that she was already in love with Mr. Darcy at Pemberley, but the second part of the book is more fast paced with several events occurring, including our dear couple coming together to achieve a common goal.

The story becomes more and more appealing to the reader as it progresses and Mr. Darcy’s family becomes a point of interest. I kept thinking what each one of them would do or say, and I was very pleased to see Lady Matlock’s reactions as well as Richard’s and Anne’s. These two were a wonderful surprise and I was happy to see the writer bringing them into the story. Lady Catherine on the other hand was as annoying as she could be, but if it wasn’t for her our dear couple would not have come out of this story with a love so strong, so I have to thank her for that 😉

This book is a clean and very sweet story where Mr. Darcy’s devotion will captivate most readers, he truly is the best of men, and readers who enjoy sweet romances will certainly fall for him 🙂 Recognising Love is proof that simple changes in the story are enough to make readers enjoy the book and I recommend it to those looking for a romance without major angst moments.

 

You can find Recognising Love at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

 

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Lizzy Brandon would like to offer one e-book copy of Recognising Love to one of my readers, the giveaway is international will end on the 15th of January. Winners will be announced shortly after that 🙂

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts about this story with us.

Please do not forget to check the blog to confirm if you were the winner 🙂

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And the winners are…

Hello everyone,

Announcing giveaway winners is an excellent way to start the year, don’t you think?

It makes me very happy to know that my first 2019 post will bring joy to many readers, but before making some of you happy, I would like to thank Victoria Kincaid who visited From Pemberley to Milton with an Excerpt of her Christmas at Darcy House novel to celebrate the release of the audiobook version narrated by Julia Eve. I haven’t hear the audiobook yet but I read the book and I really loved it! I’ll have to post the review closed to next Christmas 🙂

I would also like to thank Cinnamon Worth for the opportunity to read The Taming of Elizabeth, her mash up of Pride and Prejudice and The Taming of the Shrew, and for the generous giveaway she brought along with her for my review post. This was her first visit to From Pemberley to Milton but I hope it is not the last.

Last but not least I would like to thank all of you for your participation and thoughtful comments during these author visits and giveaways 🙂

And now, without further ado, the giveaway winners are:

 

Christmas at Darcy House

*** Faith hope and cherrytea ***

 

The Taming of Elizabeth

*** Jennifer Redlarczyk***

*** Rellaenthia ***

Cinnamon Worth’s book of choice

*** Shelley Hoisington***

*** Carla Santos***

*** Debbie Fortin ***

 

Congratulations everyone! I hope you enjoy your prizes 🙂 Can you please send me your addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that your prizes may be sent to you? If you have won the Cinnamon Worth’s book of choice please do not forget to mention which one you would like. If you don’t remember all her portfolio, you can see it along with my review post.

Happy Reading Everyone!

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