Monthly Archives: June 2020

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow

Murder at Northanger Abbey is the perfect sequel to Northanger Abbey with a well written story full of mystery, some gothic elements, and an impressionable Catherine Morland, well, Catherine Tilney now.

Before reading this book, I thought it was time to re-read Northanger Abbey and I’m very glad I did because reading one book after the other made me realise how wonderful Shannon Winslow’s writing is. The transition to this sequel is natural and written in such a tasteful and smooth manner that it felt I was reading Austen’s penned sequel to Northanger Abbey.

The story starts right after Catherine’s marriage to Henry Tilney, and we find the newlyweds living happily at Woodston Cottage until an invitation arrives from General Tilney. The General invites them to attend an All Hallow’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Northanger Abbey, and the couple decides to accept the invitation in an attempt to solve the breach that was caused due to the General’s treatment of Catherine.

At Northanger Abbey the Tilneys reunite with Elinor and her new husband, with Captain Tilney, and a few original characters, but this is a gothic mystery so we couldn’t just have a happy reunion could we? Everything seems quite normal, and even the General’s temper is as predicted, until a murder occurs at the Abbey. The magistrate is called, people are interrogated and someone is arrested to be taken to trial. This sequence of events will finally give Catherine Tilney the opportunity to live her very own gothic novel. She will remain at the Abbey investigating the murder, and she will not rest until she finds the culprit, the question is: will she let her imagination take over her senses once more? Has this character learned from past events? Will she mistrust her own judgement because of the events that took place at Northanger Abbey when she was single? Catherine is Catherine, and you’ll see the author was faithful to her personality.

What impressed me the most about this book was the similarity to Austen in terms of writing and character traits. All characters remain very true to themselves, and I could have easily believed that Jane Austen had written this story herself.

The book is also very well balanced in terms of pace which allows the reader to have an agreeable reading experience. At first we feel compelled to read the book because we feel too attached to these characters and we want to know more about their lives, and at a later stage we just want to know who was the murderer, so we may say this is a real page turner. Another fact that contributed to this effect was the addition of small cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, who can stop reading when the chapter ends with something shocking?

Murder at Northanger Abbey also brings a touch of innovation that I’m sure readers will appreciate. It does not have one ending, but two! Shannon Winslow decided to add an alternative ending as a bonus to her readers, so if you’re not quite satisfied with the first, you can read the second one and simply choose which one you love best. I personally prefer the first ending, and I would not miss the second if it was not there, but it’s undeniable that this is a great addition to the book and that many readers may prefer the second ending and the excitment to read a different outcome.

Summing up, Murder at Northanger Abbey is the type of book you will not want to miss. It is extremely well written, in a style very similar to Austen’s, and will provide readers who crave for more adventures of Catherine Morland an opportunity to finally see this heroine solving a true murder taken place at a gothic Abbey. It is full of mystery, a bit of humour and it even shows us a little romance between Catherine and her Henry. If you like Northanger Abbey, you will love this one for sure.

You can find Murder at Northanger Abbey at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

If you liked this review, don’t forget to check social media for more posts on this book’s blog tour.

11 Comments

Filed under JAFF

The Giveaway Winners are…

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you’re having a great weekend! The weekend has been pretty good to me so far, but my life has been a little hectic these last 2 weeks so I didn’t have much extra time for my blog, which means I am a little late in announcing the winners of some giveaways we hosted here this month. But hopefully, better late than never, so today I’m announcing the winners of A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes and So This is Love by Laura Hile:)

I want to thank these two authors for their generosity towards my readers and for visiting my blog. It is always a huge pleasure to receive these two ladies whose books I love so much!

I would also like to thank each and everyone of you who used some of your precious time to leave a comment and share your enthusiasm about these books with us! 

Now, the giveaway winners are:

A Timely Elopment

*** LoisF***

***Writinglynda***

So This is Love

*** J. W. Garrett ***

Congratulations everyone! As always can you please contact me throught e-mail ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so your prizes may be sent to you? Please provide me with the email address to which the ebooks may be sent to you, and the Amazon store in which you have an account.

Happy Reading everyone!

9 Comments

Filed under JAFF

Who is Alix James?

Happy Friday to all!

Can you tell how happy I am that the weekend in knocking at the door? I honestly could not be more relieved that this week has come to an end, but that is not the only reason why I am so happy today, I’m also very excited because today we will finally reveal who Alix James is!

Yesterday we announced here at From Pemberley to Milton that Alix James was the pen name of a well known writer within the genre, and we gave readers a few tips to try to figure out who that author was, the answers were quite similar at first, with Nicole Clarkston getting on the lead, but then we started seeing new names appearing like Gigi Blume, Victoria Kincaid, Florence Gold, L.L Diamond, Caitlin Williams, P.O Dixon, Lory Lilian and Jann Rowland. Seeing all these names appearing and the rationale behind your choices was way too fun, and I had to control myself not to give too much away. Some of these names perfectly fit in some of the tips, remember them? Let’s take a closer look and see the possibilities 🙂

 

1. In one of the author’s books, Mr. Darcy travels overseas. Because Mr. Darcy lives in England, and England is an island, that trip could be anywhere really…so start thinking…How many books have you read where Mr. Darcy has travelled into a different country? 

It could be Victoria Kincaid with The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, or Caitlin Williams with The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet or even Nicole Clarkston with These Dreams.

 

2. This author writes mainly stories where Darcy and Elizabeth take the stage, but the author has also written at least one story where the main character is a P&P secondary character.

It could be Gigi Bloome with Driving Miss Darcy: Pemberley for Christmas, or Victoria Kincaid with When Charlotte Became Romantic, it could also be P.O Dixon with Lady Harriette: Fitzwilliam’s Heart and Soul, L.L. Diamond with Particular Attachments or Nicole Clarkston with The Courtship of Edward Gardiner. You weren’t expecting so many authors to have books focused on minor characters, were you?

 

3. ODC always has a happy ending and the author writes the most beautiful scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth, but this author has already created a story where Mr. Darcy has married someone else prior to Elizabeth. 

What about this one? It could be Florence Gold with Mr. Darcy Got Married, Jann Rowland with Cassandra, and Nicole Clarkston even has two books that fit this category! Nefarious (which by the way is on sale for 1,99, so go for it!!) and The Rogue’s Widow.

I have kind of given it away by now, haven’t I? So I’ll  just just probably go ahead say it:  

.

Alix James is Nicole Clarkston!

.

People say that where there’s smoke there is fire, and it wasn’t because of pure luck so many of you named her! She does fit all categories,  Mr. Darcy travels overseas in These Dreams (well, he is kind of abducted and brought to Portugal…but he is overseas nonetheless), The Courtship of Edward Gardner is focused on a P&P minor character and she married Darcy to someone other than Elizabeth twice! Nefarious and The Rogue’s Widow saw this wonderful man married to women most decidedly beneath him (see what I did there?).

The first person to guess Alix James identity was Ceri, so she will get a bundle of all 4 Alix James Novels plus one of Nicole Clarkston’s books at her choice. But Alix james…or, should I say Nicole Clarkston is a very generous person, so she decided she would present all other readers who believed it was her with an audiobook code, so congrats everyone! You’ll be able to choose any of Nicole Clarkston’s or Alix James’s audiobooks! Just let us know which one you want and if you want a US or UK code, mail me that information to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com, and we’ll send them through.

And of course, congratulations Ceri! You were spot on!

Now, do y’all want to know why she decided to write under a pen name? I’ll let her explain that to you 🙂


Alix James was born last October. Alix is a play on my daughter’s first name, while James is one of my sons’ middle names. 

The idea of trying novellas came when I was in my post-partum dumps after the Falling for Mr Thornton project. I was trying with all my might to get back to Tempted, which had been in the works since April of 2018, but I just could not get my head into a writing mode. The truth was, I was wanting to write another Nefarious, and there could only be one of those.

My history has always been to alternate projects. In the beginning, I was alternating North and South variations with my Pride and Prejudice ones. Later, I started switching out the angsty stories like These Dreams with the frothy ones, like London Holiday. It kept my writing brain fresh, and it kept me from falling into depression because every story was so heavy! One of my dearest friends, Joy King, suggested that I try something funny, sweet, and short. Really short.

Entirely on a whim one evening, I started. Love and Other Machines was silly—ridiculous, actually—but fun, and it was just the kick in the drawers I needed as a writer to get my juices flowing again. The Rogue’s Widow, which I published as a Nicole Clarkston book, actually started life as an Alix James novella, until I realized I had too much plot for 20,000 words. 

But why write under another name? Well, Jeanne Garrett said it perfectly yesterday in her comment. It gives me the flexibility to try different styles, different plots, without bringing along all the preconceived expectations that readers bring to my other novels. As Alix James, I can take risks and play with off-beat plots I would not normally do with my established name, and I can write in a lighter, more modern style. As only one detail, I traditionally write in British English for my variations, but with Alix James, I went to a more modernized style of writing (I had to because of word count) and I used American spellings. I must say, this has been a learning curve for me, because I always strung out my phrasing and plots as long as I wanted to, but writing extremely tight has taught me a lot about craft.

As for the future, YES, I plan to keep publishing books under both names! I can usually manage about two full-length novels a year, and my goal is to maintain that number as Nicole Clarkston. However, the Alix James books are so fun and light-hearted for me to write that they fill neatly into the cracks. They give me some giggles and keep my brain spinning on something new all the time.


Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book or a writing project.

She has written: Rumours & Recklessness, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, These Dreams, London Holiday, Nefarious, The Rogue’s Widow, No Such Thing As Luck, Nowhere But North, Northern Rain and participated in the anthologies Falling For Mr. Darcy and Rational Creatures.

You can visit her at www.nicoleclarkston.com

And Alix James is her pen name, with which she writes clean Regency Variations of approximately 20,000 words. She has written Love & Other Machines, Indisposed, Spirited Away and Unintended and you can visit her at www.alixjames.com 

30 Comments

Filed under JAFF

Alix James – New Book & Identity Reveal

Good Afternoon everyone, 

How are you today? I am a little worried with new restrictions being applied to my area of residence due to a covid spike, but very excited to bring to you some important news today!

First of all, I would like to share with you that a new Alix James novella is coming up! That’s right, this author is about to release new clean regency short story named Unintended which is already available for pre-order, and you can find the blurb and cover in first hand at From Pemberley to Milton.

Is this an author you’ve been following? Have you read anything from her? Well…I’m sure you have, but I’m getting ahead of myself…I’ll have further news to share with you on that regard a little later, but for now, I’ll let you look at the beautiful cover and read the blurb of this new story, which I’m sure will make you wonder who Mrs. Ashton is.

What if… the person who caught you in your most embarrassing moment is also the one your heart was meant to find?

It was never supposed to happen. Elizabeth Bennet never planned to get trapped in a ridiculous situation, and she certainly never intended for the person who found her to be a dizzyingly handsome… tall… and odiously haughty man who seems to regret ever meeting her.  The only thing to do, naturally, is to tease him about it, and try not to let him under her skin. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy wishes he could erase that whole morning–especially the part where he laid bare his… well, it is hardly worth repeating. For a surety, he would rather forget about the temptingly pert lady who had borne witness to his blunder. The only trouble is, he keeps being thrown into company with her. Every encounter brings a new brush with calamity, and he is beginning to wonder if he will survive their acquaintance.

When Lady Catherine asks Darcy to pay her respects to a Mrs. Ashton, an elderly neighbor in Meryton, he discovers a friend where he least expected it. But is Mrs. Ashton who he thinks she is? And what is he to do when the very woman he is trying to forget has entirely the wrong impression of him? He would ignore her, but she keeps wandering into his path with comically unlucky results. And when the rest of his family becomes suspicious about the reasons for his sister Georgiana’s low spirits, the best way to protect her reputation is to bring her to Netherfield—into the vicinity of George Wickham, the man who broke her heart.

Darcy must find a way to keep his wits about him, keep his sister’s reputation safe, and keep Elizabeth Bennet from becoming something she was never supposed to be… his intended.

Unintended is available for Pre-Order at Amazon.com and will be delivered directly in your kindle on June 29th.


So, what do you think? Isn’t the cover beautiful? I always love to see silhouetes on covers, they are a favourite of mine. And didn’t you think it was funny for the author to choose to mention this story is a Pride & Prejudice …Accident? Something tells me there is going to be humour on this one too. 

What about the blurb? Was I right? Did Mrs. Ashton’s identity spike your curiosity?

What about Alix James’s identity, have you ever wondered who was the face behind this author? I mean, she isn’t someone we usually see on social media, or is she?

Have you ever read anything from Alix James yet? If you have, you’ve probably noticed how this new author who specialises in novellas has a huge talent, and writes extremely well. That is not a coincidence, in fact, Alix James is a well known author with many published books and a lot of experience! So in fact, you’ve probably spoken to her on social media before 🙂

The identity of this author has remained hidden, but now we are about to reveal it! But first, we’re going to make you guess…I mean it wouldn’t be as much fun if we went right ahead and told you who she is, would it?

If you’ve read any of her 3 published novellas: Spirited AwayIndisposed or Love and Other Machines, have you may have been able to identify her writing style, and if you have some suspicions, we will give you some help to try to guess correctly. You’ll only have one chance to get it right, so think hard about this, and maybe do a little research too 🙂

But don’t worry, we’re not just distributing some work, we will also be distributing a nice reward for the first person who correctly guesses the identity of Alix James (by commenting on this post the name and why you think this is the right person). The prize will be a bundle of all of Alix James novellas, including Unintended which will only be released next Monday and one book from the author’s other pen name at your choice.

But how can you guess? We’ll help, Alix James is a renown JAFF author, and here are some tips, that may help you:

  1. In one of the author’s books, Mr. Darcy travels overseas. Because Mr. Darcy lives in England, and England is an island, that trip could be anywhere really…so start thinking…How many books have you read where Mr. Darcy has travelled into a different country? 
  2. This author writes mainly stories where Darcy and Elizabeth take the stage, but the author has also written at least one story where the main character is a P&P secondary character.
  3. ODC always has a happy ending and the author writes the most beautiful scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth, but this author has already created a story where Mr. Darcy has married someone else prior to Elizabeth. 

So, do you know who the author is by now? Care to guess? Comment on this post and let us know who you think the author might be! Remember the first person to guess it right will win a bundle of books.

We will do the big reveal tomorrow, so until then, we won’t confirm any suspicion 🙂 But make sure you stop by tomorrow to know who Alix James really is, and to get to know this author a little better. We will also announce who the winner is tomorrow, so stay tuned 🙂

Good luck everyone!

39 Comments

Filed under JAFF

In Plain Sight – Guest Post by Don Jacobson

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you are all in good health and that you’re keeping safe on your side of the globe. 

Things are starting to get back to normal in Portugal, but my area of residence is one of the few that has been seeing more and more cases lately, so we had extra confinements measures been announced today. I wasn’t happy to hear this, but that means more time at home, and that means more time for my blog and for reading. Maybe this will help me decrease my ever growing TBR! Speaking of which, I have a new book in it, it’s In Plain Sight, Don Jacobson’s latest book.

In case you’ve missed it, I revealed the cover for this book a week ago, and at the time I had a chance to look into this book more carefully and got very curious. I’ve read 3 books from the Wardrobe Series, so I know Don Jacobson is a natural storyteller, and this new book is totally focused on Darcy and Elizabeth, with a very different premise, so based on those two aspects alone, I know I am in for a treat. 

What about it? Aren’t curious about this book? Have you read it yet? In case you haven’t heard much about it, I’ll leave you with the blurb and Don’s guest post. I hope you enjoy 🙂


“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

         Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands

 

 

 

You can find In Plain Sight at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

.


 

Looking For the Helpers

Thank you, Rita, for hosting me today on your wonderful blog. I look forward to replying to your readers’ comments. DJ

American television personality Fred Rogers related that his mother gave him some essential advice as a young boy: Look for the helpers. This simple recipe distills the essential nature of well-functioning human societies. Persons we would consider “helpers” are those who act to relieve life’s pain, to bring people to a better place, to soothe and comfort.

Oddly enough, the man at the center of Pride and Prejudice was not someone who would ever actively seek out assistance. Darcy was far too confident in his abilities that he was constitutionally unable to ask anyone for aid. When his natural shyness was factored in, his self-assuredness often was construed as arrogant pomposity.  This attitude, of course, was deployed by Austen as a device to set Elizabeth Bennet’s teeth on edge and send events cascading throughout the book. 

Would that Darcy could have been more like Bingley, but then we would not be here today!

The novel grew from my sentiment that Darcy could be taught to set aside his insufferable pride at being Darcy of Pemberley independent (at least in is essentials) of the fraught love for Elizabeth. To do that, I had to strip away that cloak of wealth and invincibility. He could no longer be Fitzwilliam Darcy, one of Derbyshire’s greatest landowners. He had to become what he earlier would have seen as nobody, invisible to any who mattered. Fitzwilliam Darcy had to disappear before the man himself could discover how to be worthy of the name.

He, of course, could not do it alone. Nor, could he accomplish this solely through Elizabeth’s good offices. While her love would redeem him, he needed others to get him to the place where that force could be usefully applied.

As I wrote In Plain Sight, I found myself surrounding Fitzwilliam Darcy with a cloud of helpers. This grew from the essential inversion of Darcy’s position in the world: no longer was he the helper, but rather he, in his guise as Smith, was the helpless. No longer was he an independent actor. Instead he, as a convicted felon, was utterly dependent upon the whims of his warders, men who determined his work, his home, his food, and, most tellingly, his punishment.

In the Canon secondary characters often become grace notes: useful to amplify plot details or to establish the nature of other individuals, but not required to be painted in the same detail as Darcy or Elizabeth. Given the task assigned to them, In Plain Sight’s extra characters had to be deeper and richer so that readers could watch them help the solitary man, the prodigal. Thus, I had to build the supporting cast layer-by-layer as we move through the book.

Others may come to the forefront in the novel, but here are some supporting individuals I directed toward the rehabilitation of William Smith. Please note that I am not forgetting the essential nature of Elizabeth’s love for the convict Smith as being the ultimate force that eases his path back to Pemberley.

Henry Wilson: The youthful convict provides us with the power of Smith’s innate character. His backstory as one who formerly would have been ignored, if tolerated, by Fitzwilliam Darcy ignites the first central plotline. Later in the book, Wilson’s marriage to a young Darcy House servant, Annie Reynolds, moves the tale forward at Hedgebrook House where he has risen to under-steward and Annie, as Mrs. Reynolds’ niece, to under-housekeeper.

Mary Bennet and Edward Benton: The story of this young couple serves to educate Elizabeth while also working in concert to help Smith reclaim his honor and freedom. Benton stands as the antithesis to William Collins. Benton’s nobleness of character shows us that the man who had captured Mary’s heart was more than a simple country vicar. Likewise, his shining standard shows us that Mary has scruples and approaches life much like her older sisters. Mary creates an interesting counterpoint to Elizabeth deep in the novel when she, herself, hides in plain sight to avoid the seekers.

Richard Fitzwilliam: Delegated by the court to leave the army and assume Pemberley’s proprietorship, Fitzwilliam does much of the heavy lifting on Smith’s behalf in Book Two, being forced to behave much like the original Darcy. He also removes the threat to both Smith and Lizzy in Book Three. His sardonic sense of humor provides some comic relief (Many readers have enjoyed his conversations with his stallion, Imperator. My personal favorite was his tête-à-tête with Mr. Bennet at the Dower House.) to relieve the tension inherent in the novel. 

Mr. Bennet: In brief, Longbourn’s master becomes the savior of Henry Wilson, William Smith, and Elizabeth Bennet. He confronts and delays the book’s villain, Sir Thaddeus Soames as the reader transitions from Act Two to Act Three. He throws off his cloak of indolence (see the aforementioned confrontation with Richard Fitzwilliam) to stand astride the resolution of the Meryton side of the story.

I sought to avoid creating caricatures as I built the supporting cast. I will admit to leaving Mr. Collins much as we have come to see him. The power the helpers, though, brings a richer feeling to In Plain Sight by offering relatable and believable persons who can exist outside of the confines of the novel. 


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 began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories. 

 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 the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

 

You can contact Don through the following media:

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)

Author Website 

Twitter  (@AustenesqueAuth)

.


The blog tour for In Plain Sight is right in the middle, but you can still go back to check all the previous stops. You can find the schedule below:


Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson. To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment this post and click on this link.

25 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Confined With Mr. Darcy by L.L. Diamond- Outtake

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am very happy to receive at From Pemberley to Milton author L.L. Diamond who is visiting with an outtake of her latest novella, Confined With Mr. Darcy. 

This book has got to be a must read in 2020! The premise is everything perfect and the book could not have been released at a better time. What could be better during a pandemic confinement, than reading a P&P modernization where Elizabeth gets confined with Mr. Darcy? How perfect is this? Plus, have you looked at the cover? I was in love the second I put my eyes on it! You know I have a thing for covers, and this was definitely a MUST have, so I didn’t resist and got myself a paperback copy 🙂 I was also tempted to get an ebook copy because Leslie has kindly decided to donate part of the profit of these sales to the Jane Austen House Museum, but apparently my contribution was not necessary because, so far, she has been able to donate a very good sum 🙂 Anyway, if you haven’t got this book yet, consider it! The story seems amazing and you would be helping the Jane Austen House Museum 🙂

I won’t keep you much longer, I only wanted to thank Leslie for visiting today, and I’ll release you to read the outtake. I know you want to 😉


William Darcy has gone completely mental! Despite Elizabeth Bennet’s less than stellar opinion of him, some unknown force possessed him to invite her to Pemberley to wait out lockdown. Just because she’d be closer to her sister Jane, who’s isolated in the gamekeeper’s cottage with her husband wasn’t a legitimate excuse either. He’d invited Elizabeth—the only woman he’d ever really fancied—Elizabeth, who’d refused him without reservation at the Rosings Book Festival. Now, he spends part of every day in Elizabeth’s company while struggling to keep his feelings hidden from not only her but also his nosy sister and motherly housekeeper. What a bloody nightmare!
When William Darcy showed up on her doorstep, the last thing Elizabeth Bennet expected was an invitation to Pemberley, yet she now lives in the poshest of rooms and can walk the extensive gardens and the forests without limits. Even Tilney, her timid Maine Coon cat, is willing to brave strangers to explore his new surroundings, but Elizabeth has no idea how to behave around Darcy. If no one can say when lockdown will end, she could be living at Pemberley indefinitely. How do you live with a man you’re attracted to, but who tries your every last nerve? How is she supposed to stay confined with Mr. Darcy?

.

You can find Confined With Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


.

Thank you so much for having me today, Rita! Confined with Mr. Darcy has been such an amazing experience. As of Tuesday, we’d reached $450 for Jane Austen House Museum and the donation is still growing. I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s response to not only JAHM’s Covid-19 Survival Appeal, but also this attempt to furnish them some much needed funds to continue the work they do every day to preserve Jane Austen’s home and legacy. Thank you to everyone who has read or purchased a copy. If you’ve read Confined with Mr. Darcy on Kindle Unlimited and loved it, consider adding it to your personal collection, leaving a review, recommending it to a friend, or even giving it as a gift. Every dollar will add up!

For today’s guest post, I have one more outtake for you!! This is one someone said they wanted to read when I previewed chapters from the novella. It’s not crazy long, but I just figured I’d give you the crux of the situation. I think everyone has some idea of the past from their initial meeting that I wrote first, to the dinner scene, and now we have Rosings—yes that Rosings! Buckle up your seat belt! I don’t think Elizabeth is going to be very nice about things. Do you?

 

***

 

Elizabeth sighed and sank back into the comfy chair while she enjoyed the view of the water from her hotel room window. Yes, she’d hidden in her room rather than going to the dining room for dinner, but she’d been enduring Darcy’s company the entire weekend. He’d shown up at every single talk as well as dinner every evening. He’d even happened upon her at breakfast this morning. She simply couldn’t tonight.

It wasn’t like she’d wanted to spend nearly every moment of the event with Darcy. She certainly hadn’t even thought about him when she’d signed up, but the problem was she’d been too much of a chicken to tell him. Instead, she’d gritted her teeth, drank entirely too much wine, and bore it with as much grace as a pigeon hit by a car. Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic. She only felt like a pigeon that’d been hit by a car.

A loud knock nearly made her fall out of her seat. She watched the door for a moment like it might explode. What if it was him? A part of her didn’t want to answer it in case it was, but what if it was her uncle at the door? When she’d texted her uncle that she was going to miss that last event, she’d mentioned she had a headache. He might’ve come to check on her.

After blowing out a noisy breath, she approached the door and touched it gingerly when she opened it. Her stomach dropped to the floor when it was Darcy on the other side. She should’ve gone with her gut!

“The rep. at the Gardiner table said you have a headache. Are you okay? Do you need something? I can get you some paracetamol. I think the shop in the lobby has some.” He stepped through into the room while he spoke, and she glanced back and forth between the hallway and him. He couldn’t have waited for an invitation?

“No, I already took some. Thank you.” She hadn’t really, but if she sent him out for paracetamol, he would come back. She just wanted him to go.

He scratched the back of his neck and looked around the room for a moment, his eyes settling on the room service cart before he looked back at her. “Hopefully eating helped.”

“A little,” she said, watching him stand there in the most awkward manner.

He cleared his throat and opened his mouth twice before he blurted, “You must know how much I like you by now. I mean, I tried not to—I really did, but I couldn’t help it. Despite your horrible mother and your younger sisters, who behave like they’ve shagged half the county, you’ve fascinated me. From the first moment I saw you, I’ve fought with whether I should tell you how I feel. How much I enjoy being with you—talking with you. This weekend has been amazing, but I really want us to spend more time together. I thought maybe we could get away. I have a flat in Paris. We could go next weekend? We could take the Eurostar on Friday evening and return late Sunday. Think about it. We could walk along the Seine, go to the Louvre and the Musèe D’Orsay, eat croissants and crepes and drink champagne.” When his long and rambling speech ended, he simply stood there, his eyebrows high on his forehead.

“You’re mental,” she said. “Absolutely mental.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You’ve liked me since the first moment you saw me? Really? Do you remember what you said that evening, because I do? I remember every bloody word!” His mouth opened and closed, but she really didn’t give him time to answer. “I believe your exact words to Charles were, ‘Look! I’m not going to ask her to dance. I said she’s okay and I meant it. She’s not the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen.’” Elizabeth had dropped her pitch so her voice was almost as deep as she could make it. “And even if you’d apologized for saying that, there’s still what your cousin told me about you.”

“My cousin?” He frowned and stepped forward. “Which one?”

“The one who owns the biomedical company. What is his name: Robert …Richard? If you don’t remember, he was as pissed as a parrot by the end of the night. After he asked me to dance, he proceeded to tell me all about how you’d tried to break up Charles and my sister. What has my sister ever done to you?”

She paused for a moment, but again, left him no time to speak. “I can answer that because it’s nothing. She’s never so much as hurt a fly, but you wanted to break her heart. Very nice, Darcy. And now, you seem to think that you can waltz in here and sweep me off my feet by telling how much you like me—even though you don’t want to, and how my mother is so horrible. Oh, and let’s not forget my sisters, who’ve probably shagged half the county by the way. Let me tell you something. Regardless of what they do with boys their age, they are my sisters. They sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but I still love them.”

“I didn’t think—”

“That much is obvious. You always stand there like a stuck-up prig, staring, and passing judgement on everyone.”

He flinched as if he were pinched. “Is that really what you thought?”

“What else was I supposed to believe? You said I wasn’t pretty and then glared at me whenever we happened to be in the same room.”

“But you invited me to dinner…”

“No, you’d always have some excuse or another to ask to sit with me.” Her hands clenched so tightly at her sides that her fingernails dug painfully into her palms. “Believe it or not, I don’t like to be rude, so I let you. I couldn’t understand why, when we’d never had anything other than an awkward conversation, you wanted to eat together much less pay for my meal but you kept coming back. I’ve drank more in the past few days than I usually do in a fortnight. You are the rudest man I have ever had the misfortune to meet—”

“I’ve heard enough,” he said in an almost tired voice. “I understand that I was mistaken. Forgive me for taking up so much of your time.” Without another word, he strode through the door, letting it slam shut behind him.

Elizabeth dropped onto the bed and put her hands over her face, but quickly pulled them away. They were damp. When had she started crying? “Okay, he’s gone, Elizabeth. You can relax and let your hair down.”

She looked out of the window before peering back at the door. His expression right before he’d walked out made her chest hurt, but why? Since when did she care whether she’d hurt Darcy’s feelings?

“Oh bloody hell,” she said, picking up the phone and dialing the number for room service. “Yes…this is room 311. Could you please send up a bottle of Prosecco?”


L.L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans before following her husband all over as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and now England have all been called home along the way.
Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. Her most recent endeavours have included certifications to coach swimming as well as fitness instructor and personal trainer. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolour is her medium of choice with one of her watercolours featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Leslie also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!

Visit Leslie’s website lldiamondwrites.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @lldiamond2


13 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Giveaway Winners are…

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am the bearer of good news! During the last few weeks we’ve been hosting several giveaways at From Pemberley to Milton and today I’m very happy to announce the winners of Chasing Elizabeth from Jennifer Joy and Rebellion at Longbourn from Victoria Kincaid. 

I wanted to thank these two authors for their generosity towards my readers and for visiting my blog. It is always a huge pleasure to receive these two ladies here 🙂

I would also like to thank each and everyone of you who used some of your precious time to leave a comment and share your enthusiasm about these books with us! I always love to know what you think about these new releases. But now, the giveaway winners are:

 

Chasing Elizabeth

*** Anna***

***Wendy Essenburg***

***Fawn George***

***Lis Batten***

 

Rebellion at Loungbourn

*** Maomac ***

 

Congratulations everyone! As always can you please contact me throught e-mail ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so your prizes may be sent to you? Please provide me with the email address to which the ebooks may be sent to you, and the Amazon store in which you have an account.

Happy Reading everyone!

7 Comments

Filed under JAFF

So This is Love – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you today? I am very happy to receive at From Pemberley to Milton Laura Hile, an author who has marked me forever with one of my all time favourite books, Darcy by Any Other Name. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! But today she is not here to talk about that book, she is visiting to share with you an excerpt of her most recently release novel, So This is Love

I am currently reading this book and I’m really enjoying it, in fact, the excerpt we are sharing today is precisely the point where I stand in the book, and I am looking forward to see how the romance between Charlotte and Captain Blunt will evolve. 

I used to only read Darcy/Elizabeth centered books, but after reading so many stories, one cannot help but feel the need for something different, so secondary based novels now hold a new appeal to me. 

So This is Love is certainly holding my attention, and I hope you like reading the excerpt as much as I am enjoying reading the book. And there is a giveaway, so don’t forget to comment 🙂 Let us know if you are only interested in Darcy/Elizabeth stories, or if like me your tastes have changed over time. If so, is Charlotte one of your favourites? Or is she a character that holds little appeal for you? I’m looking forward to read your opinion, but now I think it is time to let you read the blurb and the excerpt 🙂


“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”

Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.

But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?

Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely.  She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.

.

You can find So This is Love at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


.

Excerpt Introduction (general): Mr. Collins is little more than a stranger when Charlotte Lucas agrees to marry him. This is a prudent choice, given her situation. But when Mr. Collins crosses the line, something in Charlotte snaps. How dare he be so familiar, so shamelessly forward! It isn’t as if he loves her!

Come with Charlotte as she breaks the engagement, is sent away to her father’s relations, and discovers a future that is vastly different from the one she envisioned.

Because “I am not romantic” is anything but true. Charlotte simply hasn’t met the right man.

In this story, she will.

****

In Chapter 6, the coach in which Charlotte and her brother are traveling is robbed by highwaymen. Now she and her handsome rescuer must ride double on his horse.

With a nod to the passengers, Captain Jack Blunt took the reins and led the horse down the coaching road at a walk. Once out of sight, he stopped and looked back at Miss Lucas. “The trouble is this: because of an injury my foot will not bear me the full two miles. I’ll mount up behind you now, and we’ll ride together.” 

“I’ll gladly dismount and walk.” 

While he appreciated the spirit of her offer, Jack was not about to allow a woman to walk while he rode. “After twenty-odd hours cramped in that coach?” he countered. “Without sleep? I have traveled like that many a time; it is brutal.”

“Brutal is certainly the word.”

“It will be easier this way.”

“Easier for your pride!”

“How well you understand me! We’ll bring this off, trust me.” 

“I have no choice but to trust you, Mr. Blunt. I’ll have you know,” she added, “that although I am no horsewoman, I am not a coward.”

“Assuredly not, merely worn to the bone. You gave as good as you got back there.” 

Blunt swung into the saddle behind her, and after a bit of adjustment, they settled in. Never mind that she was half sitting on his lap! He shifted the hilt of his sword so that it did not dig into her side. 

“That was a bad business you were witness to,” he remarked, as he urged the horse forward. “I regret having to shoot that fellow, but there was nothing else to be done.”

“His flintlock had already been fired, hadn’t it?”

“It had,” he said grimly, “but at the time I did not know this. Moreover, he threatened to shoot you. From my vantage point, it was likely that he would. Barring that, he’d bludgeon you on the temple, possibly killing you.” 

“That is just what you did to the other man!” 

Blunt hesitated. He would never make her understand. “It was the easiest way to disable him. It makes no difference; he’ll hang soon enough.”

He felt her stiffen. “These are not novices or innocents, Miss Lucas. They have been robbing travelers for many weeks; I cannot fathom why there was no guard today. You saw Marlow’s cheek where the bullet grazed him.”

“Yes,” she said quietly.

“You do understand,” he added, “that last week another driver was shot and killed along this same stretch of road?” 

He sensed her discomfort. Apparently she did not know. 

“Highwaymen are romanticized by women and fools. Any one of you might have been killed today, including your precocious brother.” He paused. “Now, unfortunately, Johnny will think highwaymen rob with empty flintlocks and are easily mastered.” 

“Thank you,” she said stiffly, “for coming to our rescue.” 

“You are welcome. Your uncle was, ah, disinclined to accompany me due to his gouty foot. A pity; a second horseman would have been useful.”

Miss Lucas slewed round. “You talked this over with my Uncle Allen? Do I know you, Mr. Blunt?” 

“Perhaps you have heard your parents speak of me,” he said gently, “as Captain Blunt.” 

It appeared that she had heard of him after all. “Forgive me, but you introduced yourself as Jack. I have always heard you called Jasper.” 

“I prefer Jack,” he said grimly. 

“And I prefer Diana,” cried Miss Lucas, “for it is a lovely name and she, unlike me, is beautiful. But my name is Charlotte. Plain, ordinary Charlotte. Wishing a thing were different does not make it so.” 

Blunt’s response was to laugh. “There is nothing of the ordinary about you, Diana.” 

“That shows how little you know.” 

Again he laughed. Poor Miss Lucas was out of her element entirely. Now when would she realize that she was leaning against his chest?

Presently she did become aware, and she pulled herself rigidly upright. Her traveling bag made this an awkward maneuver. Jack put a hand to her shoulder and gently drew her back. “It’s easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Miss Lucas.” 

“That,” she muttered, “is an outright lie. What a wretched day!”

“It is indeed. Go ahead and have your cry,” he offered. “Don’t mind me.” 

“You are as stupid as you are ignorant, Captain Blunt,” she said. “I never cry. Not in front of people.” 

“But there is only me. You have rightly characterized me as stupid; I cannot be said to count.” 

“Crying solves nothing. For me, it only makes everything worse. Besides, I am not pretty enough to cry.”

“What nonsense is this?” 

“It is very true. In my family, I am the sensible one. When I cry, I never get my way, nor do I get sympathy. People become upset, and sometimes they become angry.” 

He leaned sideways to look at her. “Angry?” 

“It is easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Captain Blunt.”

That scotched him! “Aye, aye, ma’am,” he said meekly. 

They lapsed into silence. “Look,” said Jack suddenly. “Everyone cries. Even battle-toughened men on a warship. Even me, and I am as hard as they come. Not in the heat of battle, mind, but after. When I read the service for the deceased, and we send crewmen to their watery graves, I weep. We all do. There is not a dry eye on deck.” 

She appeared to consider this, but no tears came.

“You’ve had quite a day. Bounced inside that coach for hours on end, covered with dirt from the road, robbed at gunpoint, witness to a killing—” 

“And deprived of food and drink,” she added. “Johnny ate most of the food Mother sent.” 

“Did he now? Johnny deserves to be flogged.” 

“It is not his fault, poor boy. He is growing and is always hungry.” 

Blunt dug in a pocket for his flask and uncorked it. “Here,” he offered. “Sip cautiously.” 

She sniffed it. “But this is …” 

“Cognac from your uncle’s cellar. Otherwise known as brandy.” 

She took a tentative sip, closed her eyes, and then took a larger swallow. 

“That’ll do, Diana.” Blunt removed it from her grasp. “Just enough to take the edge off.” He eyed the flask and then took a swallow for himself. 

He heard her sigh. “It’s only a swallow,” he protested. 

“That’s what they all say.” 

Blunt gave a shout of laughter. What an unusual girl! 

He stole another look at her; her eyelids were at half-mast. “I recommend you settle in and take a nap.” 

Of course she was horrified; it would be no fun if she were not. “I could never! And if I did, I would fall sideways. You would have to catch me, which you couldn’t do because I am so heavy. We would both end up on the road.” 

“Egad,” said Jack, grinning. “I’d not thought of that. Stay awake, by all means.” 

Which meant she would be asleep within the quarter hour. 

Sure enough, Captain Blunt was right.


 

Encourager. Believer. Author. Teacher. Friend.
By day, Laura Hile teaches at a Christian school. By night—or rather, in the early morning when she can think! —she writes Jane Austen and Regency romance with laughs and happy endings.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with middle school students!
She enjoys gardening (she is a weed warrior!), choral singing, and having coffee with friends.
Laura lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with her husband and a collection of antique clocks. One day she hopes to add a cat or three.

Other books by Laura Hile: Darcy By Any Other Name and the Mercy’s Embrace trilogy. She is a regular contributor to the A Very Austen anthology series.

Connect with Laura:

Website: https://laurahile.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraHileAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2967234.Laura_Hile

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraHile

 


Laura Hile is offering one ebook copy of So This is Love to my readers. To apply to it all you have do to is comment on this post and let us know if you are a team Charlotte kind of person. The giveaway is open until the 22nd and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

25 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes – Review & Giveaway

A Timely Elopement is the perfect summer read, it is a fast paced yet romantic story which is extremely well written and captivating.

The book is told from Darcy’s POV and starts with the well known Hunsford proposal, but the author stopped him from ruining the most perfect love declaration of all times, by having Colonel Fitzwilliam entering the Collinses’ parlour after the “you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”. 

The Colonel’s interruption is to announce that Anne has eloped with none other than Mr. Wickham, and I loved this premise because it allowed Elizabeth to know the truth about Wickham’s character before defending him before Darcy. I always dislike scenes where she does that, and I was happy to see the author prevented it from happening. 

This unexpected elopement puts Rosings in an uproar and everyone travels to London to try to prevent the disgrace. Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy rush to find the runaway couple, and Elizabeth accompanies Lady Catherine who refuses to be left behind under the circumstances. The story will progress from there and will take us to London, Longbourn and even Pemberley in the epilogue.

A Timely Elopement is a very sweet story without the angst we are used to in this author’s books, but many of the traits we usually see in Starnes work are still present. It is visible she knows these characters like no one else. Both Darcy and Elizabeth remain true to themselves, and their traits are not exacerbated to make the story more interesting because the author is able to capture readers attention with well thought of scenes and riveting dialogues. Darcy and Elizabeth’s imperfections are not removed for the sake of the story, and Darcy learns along the way that his pride should be re-checked, and that his opinion of the Gardeners was far from the truth. 

I found the beginning of this story very amusing, particularly the scenes with Lady Catherine, and that was a good starting point for what was coming ahead. The following chapters show us Darcy at his best, capturing Elizabeth’s heart by revealing to her how he is amongst family and friends, and even surprising her with his ability to flirt. Their scenes are like all of Starnes scenes, intense, romantic and swoon worthy. However, I would have liked to see more scenes that would allow me to feel Elizabeth falling in love with Darcy. There are several moments in his house and even at the Gardiners where we see her challenging her previous opinion of him, but I would have liked to see her developing more intense feelings for him throughout the story. 

Towards the end of the book we get to see Darcy’s jealousy which was one of my favourite aspects of this book. Unlike other works from this author, this jealousy does not create much angst and is soon resolved, mainly due to Elizabeth’s wit, which was just perfect! I hate to see a silly Elizabeth misinterpreting everything that is said, and that never happens in this story due to the authors profound understanding of her character.

Summing up, A Timely Elopement is not the typical Starnes book but it is just as good as her previous releases. The book is extremely well written and captivates readers attention from the beginning until the end with its witty dialogues and romantic interactions. I highly recommend this one to all my readers, because as usual, Starnes’ talent does not disappoint.

You can find A Timely Elopement at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


Joana Starnes is kindly offering 2 ebook copies of A Timely Elopement to my readers. To apply to the giveaway all you need to do is comment on this post and let us know what you think of this new release. The giveaway is open until the 18th and the winners will be announced shortly after that.

Good Luck everyone!

42 Comments

Filed under JAFF

In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson – Cover Reveal

Hello everyone,

How are you this week? I have travelled south and am currently spending a few days in sunny Algarve. The weather is great, the beaches are incredible and the company could not be better, so I can’t complain about June so far 🙂

On the literary side, I’m very happy to receive Don Jacobson today who is releasing a new book with Meryton Press, and guess what? It is a stand alone completely unrelated to the Wardrobe Series! 

This full length romance takes a different take on Pride & Prejudice with the social roles being flipped. But I’ll let you read the blurb in a second, I just wanted to say what an honour it is to once more reveal a cover designed by the wonderful Janet Taylor. I love every single cover she works on and this one is no exception! I’m thrilled to share it with you today, and I am very curious to know your opinion about it.


“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

         Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands


Curious about the cover? Here it is:

What do you think of it? I bet this isn’t what you were expecting, is it? This is definitely not the usual regency cover we often see in JAFF books, and I love the choice the author and the designer took to differentiate it based on the story itself. These workers will be pertinent to the story and it is up to your imagination to discover how…But could they represent someone that might be in plain sight, but not recognised? One name in particular comes to my mind 🙂

I love the detail that Janet always puts in her covers, and the palette of colours always seems to captivate me, this one in particular reminded me of my favourite painter, Vincent Van Gogh. I’m very curious about this book and I cannot wait to read it, the cover did that to me 🙂

But you haven’t seen the back cover yet, you probably know that my love for back covers is equal to the one I have for front covers and this one kept me thinking..

So, what is your opinion? I am very curious to know why we see different social classes on the front and back cover. Why do we see workers in the front and the gentry in the back? Does that mean anything? I love looking for clues in the covers Janet Taylor works on. She usually adds something of significance in the cover, and it has become a habit of mine to try to find it. Also, have you noticed how the woman sitting on the last row is looking back at that gentlemen as if they are discussing something of import? What could they be talking about? And why are the ladies in the back trying to listen to their conversation? Where are they looking?

Don Jacobson gives you more intel on the cover in the following guest post, and he even answers some of my questions, so if you’re curious, don’t skip it 🙂


 

Thank you, Rita, for hosting the cover reveal for my latest novel, In Plain Sight. The book is a Pride and Prejudice Variation of about 120,000 words in length, soon to be published by Meryton Press.

I am absolutely in love with this cover. Of course, having the amazing Janet Taylor at the drawing pad (oh, do not pick on me for being a throwback!) makes all the difference. Her superb eye finds the essential “it” in every piece of art. Her touch is evident in each element of the wrapper…front/spine/back. Nuances of added color draw the viewer much like Darcy passing Elizabeth through the line of dance: gently and elegantly with supreme confidence. 

As with many of our collaborations, I suggested the front cover artwork to Janet.  La Seconde Récolte (~1879) by Julien Dupre spoke to me of the whole idea that most of the population of Regency Great Britain was hidden in plain sight from the elites. My interest in this unseen (and the vast majority) group led me to consider using this as a device to explore the complexities of the Darcy and Elizabeth dynamic. After all, those of us in the enlightened 21st Century recognize that all individuals—rich or rude—have the desire to be loved and the capacity to love. Dupre’s harvesters are from the lesser classes. 

The back cover artwork is one of Janet’s discoveries and demonstrates the inverted lives of the ton when compared to that of the farmworkers. The painting also recalls the crux event in the book. I hope that readers will appreciate that this was the froth that was the lives lived by the upper reaches in counterpoint to the gritty reality of the existence of the lessers.

Many readers have engaged in my work through either The Bennet Wardrobe Series or the Lessers and Betters stories. All of those books feature secondary characters in the P&P universe. Truthfully, I did not have the courage earlier in my career to offer an original ODC story. However, I was never allowed to rest and continue delving into a world with which I was familiar. N-o-o-o-o, my good writing friends, Lory Lilian and Joana Starnes, pestered me every time a Bennet Wardrobe book published. When are you going to write a Darcy and Elizabeth story? When will we see how you would do it? Don’t you think you would enjoy writing an ODC?

Well, dear friends…thanks to you I did it. I found a way to overcome my fears, and I never would have done it without you, Lory and Joana, as well as the fine folks at Meryton Press. I am proud of In Plain Sight. Its truth resonates and has an authenticity that, I hope, will offer a different experience for fans of #Austenesque fiction.


On Oakham Mount, October 1, 1811

Elizabeth clutched her pelisse about her as the breeze cut to the bone. As the gusts increased in intensity, thickening strati scudded above. Dark clouds raised their hunched shoulders above St. Albans to the north. Hertfordshire weather, capricious as always, was changing its mind yet again.

The young woman—her decision made—stood and, bowing her head, made her way toward the point where the trail down to Longbourn cut through the turfy cornice crowning the peak, although only in rolling Hertfordshire would this hump be counted an alp. For as long as she could remember, this trailhead had been marked by an overhanging gnarled elm. As she approached the small gully cut through the rim, the tree, which had been swaying wildly, gave up the effort to retain its grip in the over-soaked soil. It tipped and, with a resounding crash, ripped free of the hillside and plunged into the path, its root ball exposed to the heavens and blocking any access to the route.

Even so, Elizabeth Bennet was not daunted. She was thankful that she had not been seconds faster on her feet. There was another footpath that dropped down the hill’s southwest slope toward the Mimram circling its base. This track was less well traveled.

While ’tis longer, what is an extra mile or two when my only alternative would have been to sooner endure Mama’s fulminations and Collins’s attentions? I can follow the river road back toward where it passes through Meryton and intersects Longbourn Lane. I shall be home in time to closet myself with Papa and devise a strategy to keep the peace while thwarting both Mama and Mr. Collins.

Gathering her skirts, she sped across the grass, splashing through day-old puddles and dampening her half boots until she reached the other path’s entrance. Lizzy peered downhill with rising dismay. Clearly, few if any employed the track connecting the river road and the summit. The way was overgrown with hawthorn brambles and weed stalks. Furthermore, it dropped into the shadows of woods that had not seen a forester in decades—if not centuries. The dimness beneath the overhanging boughs left Lizzy with a fell sentiment knotting her stomach.

Yet, there was nothing for it. With a last look behind her at the gray wall sweeping southwards toward her, Lizzy plunged downward.

As she moved through the forest, though, Lizzy did as she always had when rubbing shoulders with nature. She gave voice to her joy at being free of Mama’s glowering. Surrounded by the wonders of Hertfordshire’s varied countryside, Elizabeth sang and reveled in the way her rich soprano echoed off Oakham Mount’s southern ledges.

She hurried to make up for the time that was sure to be lost with the extra mile added to her walk. Elizabeth was aware of the opprobrium her mother would heap upon her shoulders for her tardiness. Haste, though, was not to be the enemy of good sense. Lizzy placed her feet with care lest she also have to explain to Mama why her skirts were coated in muck from hem to hip and not just the six inches the laundry maid had come to expect.

However, as Robert Burns mused about the best-laid plans

As the forest brightened, indicating her approach to the road, Lizzy relaxed for a moment, looking up to gauge the remaining distance before she would be on a graded surface—at which point, her foot caught an exposed root, sending her tumbling head over heels down the hillside.

As she rolled off the path and onto the roadway, Lizzy’s bonnet flew free as it was caught by a gust, and it landed in the opposite ditch.

Huffing in disgust as she hauled herself to her feet, Lizzy realized her headgear had gone missing. Scanning the area around her, the bonnet was not immediately visible. Rather than abandoning the wayward chapeau—and aware that a vision of her hatless self would set tongues to wagging—young Miss Bennet widened her search.

After a brief reconnoiter, her eye was attracted to a flash of color on the far side of the ditch. Her bonnet rested brim-down on a dry patch of grass, looking none the worse for wear. The sounds of the rushing Mimram, hidden from view by the far bank, drowned out the wind moving through the trees. 

Already a sodden mess, Lizzy shrugged, clambered down the embankment, and gingerly stepped into the weedy pool filling the sump. She focused on shuffling through the murk to avoid a freezing dunk. The water passed her half boots, filling them, and swirled up her calves. The discomfort quickly surpassed the inconvenience of wet feet. Throughout all of this, her eyes remained glued on her prize.

Biting her lower lip to stop her teeth from chattering, Elizabeth snagged the errant bonnet and clamped it over her unruly hair. She swiftly tied the ribbons beneath her chin and steeled herself for the return trip.

Then, from corner of her eye, she caught a slight movement amongst the grassy sedge about ten feet to her right and just below the road’s verge. Scoffing at the way she had jumped, Lizzy dismissed the rustling as a chance zephyr stirring the plants rather than evidence of anything more substantial…and dangerous.

She had almost calmed herself when the foliage, about two feet tall, shook with such violence that Lizzy let out a squeak and propelled herself across the mire and up onto the roadway. Her eyes never left the spot where the movement had originated.

Like a filly not only aware of the bridle in her groom’s hand but also entranced by the apple slice proffered by the other, Lizzy skittishly approached the trough’s lip. As she carefully looked down into the gully, she apprehended nothing…at first.

Then the brush was parted by a pair of hands followed by a face, misshaped by a rictus of unaccountable pain, surging up the slope toward her. The man’s gasp of inhaled breath—for ’twas a man—painfully conquered the river’s roar.

Like a castaway rising from the surf, he collapsed about three feet short of the rim, a wine-dark stain coloring his forearm.


The blog tour for In Plain Sight will begin in a few days and Don will be visiting again on the 22nd of June, so stop by to know more about this book. And of course, don’t forget to visit all the other blogs, each stop will have different information 🙂

32 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice