Monthly Archives: July 2020

Madness in Meryton – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you today? Can you believe July has come to an end? I did a lot of different things in July, but I still can’t believe that half of the summer has already past. I just hope August will move at a slower pace so that I may enjoy more beach reads 🙂

Today I am very happy to welcome once more author Jayne Bamber at From Pemberley to Milton. The last time she visited I was completely amazed by the cover of her book Outmatched, and this time it was the premise of her new book that captivated me. Madness in Meryton is influenced by Groundhog Day, and in it Elizabeth will relieve the same day over and over again. It is not the first time I see this premise on a P&P variation, but a Groundhog Day novel is always different and irresistible! At least for me, because  I am a sucker for Groundhog Day stories 🙂

Jayne Bamber decided to have Elizabeth repeat the day after her and Jane’s removal from Netherfield and I need to tell you, I am eager to read this story!!! But before I do read and review it, I’ll leave you an excerpt where Mrs. Bamber proves that alternative pairings are also her specialty 😉

Enjoy, and don’t forget there’s a giveaway 🙂

Thank you for visiting Mrs. Bamber, and the best of luck with this new release.

 

When Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their unruly younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and the tedious Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.
That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.
The next day, the same thing happens again.
And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the budding romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.
As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she soon realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….
Elizabeth must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

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You can find  at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 


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Hello, readers! It is a treat to be back at From Pemberley to Milton with an excerpt my upcoming release, Madness in Meryton. This is my sixth novel, and has proved to be the wildest ride yet – Groundhog Day meets Pride & Prejudice.

The day being repeated is the day that Elizabeth Bennet meets George Wickham and hears his slander of Mr. Darcy. There are plenty of romantic moments between Darcy and Elizabeth over the course of the story, but as many readers already know, I LOVE alternate pairings, and this time around I have pushed the envelope with my side characters, as you shall see in the excerpt below…. 

***

Richard knew he would need to prepare for what was to occur that evening, but there was something else he wished to do first. It was probably folly, but he was like a moth to the flame.

Caroline was on the swing again, and he crept up behind her as he had done the day before – she was crying again, and this time he rather pitied her. “Miss Bingley?”

She spun around and looked up in alarm. “What do you want?”

He shrugged. “Pleasant company.”

Caroline gave him a delightfully rude look. “If you are come to laugh at me, I beg you would go away.”

“I am not,” Richard replied, offering her a handkerchief. “I do not think so ill of you – perhaps you also need some pleasant company. May I sit with you?”

“I cannot think why you would wish to, but it does not matter,” she said bitterly, dabbing at her eyes.

She had not actually said no, and the swing was wide enough to admit two, so Richard sat beside her, obliging her to slide over and make room for him. His feet planted on the ground, he gave the swing a gentle nudge, and for a moment they sat in silence, swaying together. 

Caroline offered him his handkerchief back, but he pressed it into her hand. “Keep it. Every lady must have some memento of her admirer.”

“Do not tease me.”

Richard leaned closer as he looked at her. Her hair was even messier than it had been the last time, but he feared that if he reached out to touch it she would flee. Caroline Bingley was beautiful even when she was vexing – and very vexing when she was beautiful. Seeing her in such a state was disarming, but he could not let the moment pass. “Tell me why you are crying.”

“I am not crying,” she hissed.

He gave her a playful eye roll. “I have never understood why you dislike me – but I had not imagined you thought me stupid.”

She laughed in spite of herself and shook her head. “Nobody ever does.”

Richard smirked. He was daft indeed where she was concerned. “So, which of the two engagements are you not crying about? Does your brother’s choice give you pain – or Darcy’s?”

Caroline ignored him and leaned against the rope of the swing, staring out into the distance as tears slid down her cheeks. “We should never have come to this wretched place. What a horrid nightmare.”

“Such an opinion of country life will hardly endear you to a man of property,” Richard observed. Still she made no reply. “I wonder, Miss Bingley – you were so determined to have Darcy – what will you do now?”

She drew in a sharp breath and wiped at her face before turning to gaze at him, her head tipped sideways with a hint of challenge. “Colonel, I have no idea why you would say such things.”

Richard leaned closer to her, wishing to affect the same magnetism upon her that she aroused in him. “Because, I wish to discover what is going on behind those pretty blue eyes.”

His face was inches from hers, but Caroline did not recoil – she tipped her chin up, moving her mouth a little closer to his as she whispered, “If you kiss me, I will hit you very hard.”

A sly smile crept across his face. “Worth it.” He closed the distance between them, and gently brushed his lips against hers for a brief moment. Her body was very still, but her lips moved against his for just long enough to excite him – and then she sprang to her feet and slapped his face before running away. It stung a little worse than he had expected.


 

Jayne Bamber is offering one ebook copy of Madness in Meryton to my readers. To apply to it please click on the Rafflecopter link.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

So This is Love by Laura Hile Review & Giveaway

So This is Love is a Pride and Prejudice variation that focuses on Charlotte Lucas, but if you think this will not be a romantic book, you are very mistaken as this is one of the most romantic books I’ve read this year!

After accepting Mr. Collins proposal, Charlotte is faced with the intimacies an engaged couple is entitled to, and one second is all the time it takes for her to realize that she is not able to go through a marriage of convenience after all. 

Charlotte Lucas is sent to her Aunt’s house, as far away from Meryton as possible, to let the rumours of her broken engagement with Mr. Collins die down, and after realizing her mistake, she is prepared to live a lonely life as a governess, or teacher, but what she was definitely not expecting, was to find a dashing captain who would show her that Elizabeth Bennet was right all along, and that love and respect is everything that matters in a marriage. 

So This is Love will mash up some characters of Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey, and I loved Mrs. Allen presence in this novel, she brought a touch of humour to the story that made it more appealing, but I confess the the original characters, namely Captain Jack Blunt, were the ones who stole my heart. From the moment this character saves Charlotte from highwayman, to the flirtatious conversations he has with her in Mrs. Allen’s house, to the beach walks they have in his property, and the encounters on the cave, Jack Blunt did not seize to amaze me with his charms. I fell completely in love with him. He is the perfect romantic hero, and what is best, is that he is nothing like Mr. Darcy, he charms readers because of his funny, flirtatious and strong character, not because he resembles someone else. I couldn’t get enough of this character, everything about him was perfect, even if he was not a perfect man, but he is truly irresistible and Charlotte is a very lucky lady.

The romance that Laura Hile developed between this couple was as intense as many I’ve seen portrayed between Darcy and Elizabeth. Not only their love story is interesting, but also their insecurities and especially their dialogues that kept me reading in hopes to have more of their banter. 

Another aspect I loved about this book was the setting! I would give everything to see Captain Blunt’s house! Laura Hile’s writing skills transported me right into Dorset with her wonderful descriptions of the cliffs, the beach, the cove and even the great house, which were all very fitting to the story and to Charlotte’s state of mind. 

All I can say is that a sequel of this book is something I will look forward to for a long time! I would love to see the Darcy’s visiting this wonderful place and getting along with the Blunt’s, and let’s face it, I want more of Jack Blunt! Have I mentioned how much I loved his character?

Summing up, So This is Love is a wonderful book full of romance, a bit of action and humour which presents readers with an unforgettable romantic hero. It has all the ingredients of a great novel that is unputdownable and I cannot recommend it enough! This romance is so good, you won’t even miss Darcy and Elizabeth, I know I didn’t. 

You can find So This is Love at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


Laura Hile is generously offering one ebook copy of So This is Love to my readers. Want to know why I fell for Jack Blunt? Comment on this post and let us know why you would like to read this book. We will randonly pick one of the comments and offer the ebook to the winner. The giveaway is open until the 6th of August and the winner will be announced shortly after.

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The Giveaway Winners are…

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you’re having a great weekend! Mine has been very relaxing, and today I was even able to read an entire book! Well, a novella…but still, that made me really happy 🙂

Today I would like to announce the winners of 3 of the giveaways that were held here at From Pemberley to Milton in the past weeks, the ebook of Missing Jane from Bronwen Chisholm and the audiobooks of Longbourn: Dragon Entail and Netherfield Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace. These authors were very kind to visit and offer my readers a chance to read or listen to their stories, so I would like to thank them both for the generosity 🙂 I hope to receive you at From Pemberley to Milton again soon.

As for the winners, here they are:

Missing Jane

*** Maomac***

Longbourn: Dragon Entail

*** DarcyBennett***

Netherfield: Rogue Dragon

*** Cindy Henry***

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 books may be sent to you, and the Amazon store in which you have an account.

Happy Reading everyone!

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Love Unsought by Kay Bea

Love Unsought was one of my favourite books this year and it took me back to the time I stayed up until dawn to finish reading a book because I couldn’t get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth. The writing is very good and keeps the reader engaged throughout the story with the perfect balance of romance, intrigue and action. 

The story starts with a prologue that takes us back to 1808 and reveals us a side of Darcy we don’t frequently see in other books. This initial chapter is very engaging and made me want to read this book non-stop. Apart from a facet of Darcy that was charming to see, we are introduced to a character whose existence made the story even more appealing. Readers will love to hate this character and will rejoice with Elizabeth’s last interaction with her 🙂

After the prologue, the story starts right after the Hunsford proposal, and from here the differences in the plot are very small, a feature I absolutely loved. Kay Bae was able to pick up a simple, uncomplicated premise, and turn the story into a completely new and unpredictable book. I confess I sometimes get tired of reading books where either the plot is completely different and often unrealistic, or when it is so close to canon that I already know which events will transpire. In Love Unsought Kay Bae found a perfect balance and developed a story that is believable, enticing and unpredictable at the same time. 

In this book Mr. Darcy is very close to the Colonel and Anne, so when he returns to Rosings after the proposal, he tells them exactly what happened and hears their opinion on the matter. Faced with the rudeness of his proposal, Mr. Darcy is convinced by his cousins to remain at Rosings and properly court Elizabeth, from here the story will take a completely different path.  

Because of this simple change, Darcy and Elizabeth will spend a lot of time together and develop a trusting and strong relationship. I was very happy to see that the author didn’t create unrealistic insecurities or misapprehensions between the couple. It was very easy to go down that path and Kay Bae was always faithful to their love and trust in one another. I absolutely loved that fact and readers who do not like angst will be very pleased by it too. The relationship that was developed in this book and their journey into happiness was pure bliss and I have to highlight their first kiss, it was perfect! And Elizabeth’s letter? It was the cherry on top of the cake. 

I only had a couple of quibbles with this book, namely the amount of time ODC spends together at the end of the story without bringing up the elephant in the room, and Mrs. Bennet’s character who was too mean and narrow minded, but these aspects worked out perfectly in terms of romance, so it did not affect my enjoyment with the story, even because I was happy to overlook these details given the accuracy in Elizabeth and Darcy’s characters.  

On the other hand a character I really loved was  Lady Winslow. She was a believable villain who added an element to the narrative that I loved, she didn’t quite create some jealousy, but her presence, and competition of sorts, gave the book a spicy feeling I always like to see.

Something else I loved about this book was the developing relationships between the characters. Anne and Mary’s friendship was something I really enjoyed, and even if this is to be expected, their adventures in the end were not, and I liked it. I also loved to see Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet give more attention to Kitty and Mary while simultaneously becoming closer to these sisters.

Love Unsought is a page turner, it starts with the refusal, their coming to know one another better, which has all the romance readers wish for, and then their separation, and the events that will make the story going, bring all the angst I was looking for. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend you moving it up on your TBR pile and making it your next read. 

Love Unsought is a story full of romance and intrigue that will captivate your heart and surprise you at every turn. Do not miss it!

 

You can find Love Unsought at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

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When Mary Met the Colonel – Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello dear readers,

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ve probably noticed that I started by reading regency variations focused on Darcy and Elizabeth, and only started diversifying my reading habits and including secondary character stories and modernizations after a while. When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid was one of the first secondary character stories I read, and I loved it so much that it was part of my 2016 favourite books list competing with all the other Elizabeth and Darcy centered stories.

Mary is my favourite female secondary character, and the Colonel is my favourite male secondary character, so Victoria Kincaid hit the jackpot when she decided to pair the two of them. The story is very short but a lovely read that I truly recommend. If you want to read the review I published 4 years ago, you can find it here 🙂

Today When Mary Met the Colonel is once more featured in this blog, this time to celebrate the release of the book on Audible, and I must say I’m very happy to hear about this release because the narrator is Stevie Zimmerman who happens to be one of my favourite narrators. I haven’t heard the audiobook yet, but having read the book, and having heard Stevie Zimmerman’s narrations before, I am confident to vouch for the audiobook. Today we bring you an excerpt and a giveaway, I hope you enjoy this scene, and if you’d like to apply to the audiobook giveaway, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post 🙂


Without the beauty and wit of the older Bennet sisters or the liveliness of the younger, Mary is the Bennet sister most often overlooked. She has resigned herself to a life of loneliness, alleviated only by music and the occasional book of military history. Colonel Fitzwilliam finds himself envying his friends who are marrying wonderful women while he only attracts empty-headed flirts. 

He longs for a caring, well-informed woman who will see the man beneath the uniform. During the wedding breakfast for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, a chance meeting in Longbourn’s garden kindles an attraction between Mary and the Colonel. 

However, the Colonel cannot marry for love since he must wed an heiress. He returns to war, although Mary finds she cannot easily forget him. Is happily ever after possible after Mary meets the Colonel?

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You can find When Mary Met the Colonel at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

on Kindle Unlimited and Audible.


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Hi Rita and thank you for having me back for a visit!  I am pleased to announce the release of my audio book of When Mary Met the Colonel, narrated by the inimitable Stevie Zimmerman.  As a bookish woman I have always sympathized with quiet and bookish Mary Bennet—as I’m sure many readers of Pride and Prejudice do. It was great fun to give her a happy ending—in my very first non-Darcy and Elizabeth variation.  Below is an excerpt from near the beginning of the book.  This is the Colonel and Mary’s second encounter—near Oakham Mount.  I hope you enjoy it!  

~~~

Mary shrugged. “Lydia is Mama’s favorite, and Elizabeth is Papa’s, so they will both have to settle for us.”

The colonel seemed a bit taken aback at her frankness. Why do I say such things? He has no desire to hear about my small troubles when he will soon be returning to the field of battle.

She opened her mouth to apologize, but then he spoke. “Forgive me, but why are you not someone’s favorite? You should be!”

He was well-versed in flattery, just as all gallant gentlemen, but the words still warmed her heart. “That is very kind of you to say.”

He frowned. “I do not believe in idle flattery.”

Mary restrained an impulse to shake her head. Perhaps he believed what he said, but she could not allow herself to credit such words—although part of her soul wished to soak them up as the ground soaks up rain.

“Are you close to your sister, Miss Kitty?” the colonel asked.

“We are only a year apart in age,” Mary responded, knowing that was not what he meant.

“Are you good friends?” he persisted.

Mary pressed her lips together. She did not wish to complain, nor did she wish to lie to this dashing young man. What could I say? Silence stretched between them.

The colonel gave her a sidelong glance, and Mary suppressed a secret thrill. “Perhaps you and Kitty will be closer now that Lydia is gone.”

Mary stopped briefly to pluck a wild flower from the side of the road. “We are quite different in temperament.”

His gaze returned to the road before them, but a corner of his mouth quirked up. “Indeed.” Silence reigned as they continued their stroll. Finally, the colonel said, “Perhaps you will not be at home long. You are of marriageable age.”

Why did her heart leap to hear such a commonplace observation coming from this man?

Her hand crushed the petals of the flower. “I do not have any expectations in that regard.”

“Why not?” He looked genuinely perplexed.

She had been overly candid with him; why stop now? Most likely she would never see the man again. “I am plain, quiet, and dull—with no dowry to speak of. I expect I will never marry.”

The colonel stopped so suddenly that it startled her, and he seized her arm. “Plain! Plain? And dull? Of all the—do not say such things about yourself! Why, you are one of the prettiest, most interesting women I have had the pleasure of encountering in my life.”

Mary’s mind was blank for a moment. Could he possibly believe what he said? Or was it more empty flattery? He seemed genuinely distressed that she disparaged herself, but nobody had ever said such words to her. She had expected to live her entire life without hearing such things.

No, I cannot afford to believe such compliments; it is too dangerous to nurture any hopes. Mary gave a short laugh and turned her gaze away.

He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to gaze into his eyes. “Listen to me, Mary Bennet! You may not be conventionally beautiful, but you are quite pretty enough to attract your share of attention—particularly if you take more care with your appearance. Certainly men who seek an empty-headed chit would not be interested, but you would be wasted on such men!”

He released her abruptly and stalked down the road toward Longbourn, kicking up a cloud of dust from the road. Mary stood frozen, her feet—and whole body—unable to move. Do I dare believe he is in earnest? There might be one man—a handsome, intelligent man—who found her attractive and interesting? She wanted to believe, but belief was so dangerous. However, she did know that she must speak with him.

His long strides had already carried him quite a distance; she raced to follow. She was panting by the time she caught up with him. “You-you do not mean that!”

He turned his head sharply. “Do I not?” His tone was almost angry. But then he stopped, lowering his head and taking a deep breath. “I must marry a woman of means. I am a second son.” Mary nodded, not sure where his conversation was leading. She had expected as much. “But if I did not—if I were Darcy or Bingley—I would consider paying court to you, Mary Bennet.” Mary gasped.

His fingers reached up and gently caressed her cheek. She closed her eyes, savoring the soft touch on her skin. When she opened them again, he had stepped away.

“You should be proud of yourself! Show others the best of yourself!” His voice was fierce and commanding, reminding her forcefully that he was indeed an army officer. His gaze was uncompromising. “Promise me!”

Mary blinked rapidly, feeling as if she dare not disagree. “I-I promise I will try.”

His body lost some of its tension, and his shoulders slumped. “Good. That is all I can ask.”

 


Victoria Kincaid is offering one audiobook copy of When Mary Met the Colonel 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 Mary kind of person and if you have a US or UK Audible account. The giveaway is open until the 31rst of July  and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

23 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion – Guest Post & Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

If you’ve been following my blog for the past weeks you’ve noticed that I’ve dedicated most of July to Dragons. I’ve read Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon a while back and despite the fact that I do not like fantasy novels I ended up loving the book. I was intrigued and amazed with the entire new world and secret society Maria Grace was able to create, which led me to read and review the second book in the series: Longbourn: Dragon Entail and finally Netherfield: Rogue Dragon, the last book of this first story.

I thought that would be it. I thought the adventure of Dragons in Regency was over, but I was surprised to hear that in fact, there is more to come! Maria Grace started another story, this time based on Persuasion, which, if you think about it, is perfect to place these Dragons (if you’ve read any, you know what I’m talking about).

She is here today to talk about those books, and to share an excerpt too, so I hope you enjoy 🙂 And please do let us know what you think about this innovative idea of bringing Dragons into the JAFF World 🙂


 

Rita, thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m excited to share the newest books in my Jane Austen’s Dragons series with your readers!

You can blame my three sons for this adventure. We were having lunch at the local pizza buffet one day and started kicking around ideas and we hit on ‘what if dragons lived during the Regency…’ Well before I knew it, we’d hammered out an entire dragon culture and the story potentials went WILD. So much fun!

So, here’s the premise:

England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind.  Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet—and now Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth—are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.

I grant you, it might sound a little farfetched at first, but if you take a glance at English mythology, it is full of dragons. Seriously, they are everywhere. Don’t believe me? Here’s just a partial list if dragon myths: the Lambton Worm, the Dragon of Mordiford, the Dragon of Unsworth, the Dragon of Wantly, the Dragon of Longwitton, the Dragon of Loschy Hill, the Bisterne Dragon, the Worm of Linton, the Stoor Worm, the Sockburn Worm (or Wyvern), Blue Ben, and the Lyminster Knucker. With dragons just about everywhere in English myth, it seems likely that Jane Austen herself had to have been familiar with many of these dragon legends.

Add to that a smidgen of research on dragon mythology in Europe and you find creatures like the tatzelwurm. (I didn’t make this one up! In fact, nearly all my dragons are based in world dragon mythology.) In Alpine folklore, the tatzelwurm  is a creature, often described as having the face of a cat, with a serpent-like body which may be slender or stubby, with four short legs or two forelegs. Tales describing encounters with the creature can be found in several areas of Europe, including the Austrian, Bavarian, French, Italian and Swiss Alps. Needless to say, my imagination went into overdrive. Is it any surprise that I have several of these ‘cat-dragons’ sprinkled through my series?

From there, it wasn’t much of a leap to start thinking about the nautical tradition of ship’s cats. As far back as 900BC, onboard Phoenician ships heading out in search of new trading partners, sailors brought cats on board. Since then, the ship’s cat has been a common feature on many tradingexploration, and naval ships providing vermin extermination and companionship for the sailors. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a sailor around in need of a ship’s cat…

No doubt you can see where this is going! So, here’s a sneak peek of Wentworth and his faithful ‘ship’s cat’ who is quite more than he appears to be—from Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion.

Late June 1814

Twilight. 

The last vestiges of sunlight hung low over the ends of the earth as mild salty air kissed his cheeks. Educated people laughed at the thought the world was flat. But here, in the middle of the open sea, bobbing with the restless waves, and no shore in sight, it looked, it felt, otherwise. There on the western horizon, the sun dipped down to hide its light—maybe to rise again the next day. But then again maybe not. Just because it did so every day before was no guarantee it would do so ever again.

The future was as unfathomable as what might lie beyond the line that divided heaven from earth.

“Mrrrow.” A large, black furry head rubbed against Wentworth’s leg.

How did Laconia always know when his thoughts had turned maudlin? The tatzelwurm spring-hopped to the railing, lashing his tail tight around it. Only one other on the ship knew the secret of Laconia’s legendary balance as he tiptoed on the ship’s rails and rigging surefooted as a mountain goat. The rest simply considered him quite the luckiest ship’s cat in the history of the navy. 

Since the ship’s namesake arrived, their prizes had grown larger and more frequent and their casualty rate diminished. Laconia was to thank on both counts. Small sea dragons proved only too willing to reveal the location of valuable prizes to Laconia for the promise that Laconia’s sailors would leave them and their hunting grounds in peace. Only a very little bit of persuasion was necessary to convince superstitious sailors to mind their ship’s cat’s signals. All told it was almost too easy.

He scratched behind Laconia’s tufted ears. What a marvelous sound, that rumbling purr. It did something to one’s soul. Almost as healing as that steel-rasp tongue of his. According to the ship’s physician, tatzelwurm tongues had special healing properties. Wounds they licked were apt to heal quickly and cleanly. Wentworth’s shoulders twitched as he kneaded the scar on his forearm. 

That cut could easily have gone septic; the tatzelwurm’s ministrations had been a test of Wentworth’s mettle—entirely worth enduring to be sure, but a test nonetheless. He chuckled under his breath and moved to Laconia’s favorite spot under his chin. Laconia rose up on tiptoes and arched his neck for more.

That episode earned Laconia a near reverence among the sailors—no persuasion necessary. They almost fell over themselves to curry favor with him. Moreover, the crew was profoundly defensive of their lucky charm, and rejected any man who did not revere him appropriately. Though it proved a mite difficult on his ego that the ship’s cat was possibly more popular than himself, the crew’s unity that came with it was valuable. 

One more benefit the little dragon had brought into his life.

 “You are trrroubled.” Laconia rumbled, looking up at him, great gold eyes gleaming in the moonlight. He pressed his head hard into Wentworth’s hand and leaned his furry shoulder and all three stones of his weight into Wentworth’s chest.

Laconia’s powerful purr reverberated through Wentworth’s ribs. “Five years we have been together on the Laconia, my friend.”

“I am able to watch stars as well as you. I know how long it has been.”

“Of course, you do. You know we are sailing for England now.”

Laconia chirruped. “And my directional sense is flawless. Why all the useless words?”

“I suppose I am philosophic right now, and you know philosophy uses a great many useless words.”

Laconia snorted; the tip of his tail flicked against the wooden railing. It would not hurt the young dragon to learn a little patience.

“You know I will likely be beached when we anchor in Plymouth. With Napoleon safely in exile, there is far less need for ships on the sea.”

“That is what troubles you.” Laconia pushed the side of his face against Wentworth’s chin. Long prickly whiskers tickled Wentworth’s nose as the edge of one fang scratched his cheek.

“Of course, that troubles a sailor. Poor Benwick—he only just made captain on the Grappler, and now this?”

“To take half pay as a captain instead of a lieutenant, without having hardly done the work for it does not sound like such a bad thing.” Laconia licked between the toes of his oversized thumbed paw. Could he make his disdain for Benwick any clearer?

“But what does one do on the land? I have been at sea for so long—where do I even begin?”

“With the Blue Order.”

Oversimplifying things as usual. “What would they want with me?”

“Modesty is not always a desirable quality in a warm-blood.”

“More than once I have heard you say it would be helpful in a dragon.”

“Dragon pride is more difficult than warm-blood pride—you are not apt to eat offending creatures.” Laconia licked at a loose scale on his thick black tail. It pulled off and fluttered to the deck, twinkling in the rising moonlight as it fell. “You are well known among the sea dragons. They ask for you by name now. Most of those around the English coast and in the Mediterranean know the Laconia by sight and see your arrival as a boon.”

“I will miss the many dragon friends we have made. But what has that to do with anything if I am to be beached?”

“As I understand—and I understand a great many things more than you realize—” Laconia pulled back slightly to look Wentworth square in the eye, “—the Order has no liaison to maritime dragons. Perhaps it is time for one.”

“They have done without for what? Five hundred years more or less. Why would they need one now?”

“Times change. Men change. The war with France has changed things, no? The Blue Order must change with the times or the Pendragon Accords will become meaningless, and all that has been accomplished will be for naught. Even if they do not want a Maritime Officer, the Dragon Sage can always use those who can assist in dealing effectively with dragons. None can match your ease with sea-faring dragons.”

The Dragon Sage was a woman. Wentworth rubbed the back of his neck. That would be interesting. Taking orders from a woman. The whole notion did not seem to bother dragons, but it would take some getting accustomed to for a military man. “Even if I should work for the Order, what else shall I do? Not even the highest officers of the Order spend all their hours working.”

“You need a mate.”

The word hit like the pelting, stinging rains of a winter gale. 

“Your sister and her mate—”

“My sister is a rare and unique woman. Croft is very lucky to have her.”

“I have seen. You would benefit to be in the same way as he.”

“I dislike the notion of marriage.” 

Laconia leaned in a little closer, nose nearly touching Wentworth’s. “You are still resentful.”

Wentworth grumbled under his breath and stepped back slightly. “I have a very great deal to resent. She rejected me.”

“Can she hear dragons?” Laconia stretched out, impossibly long, to press his paws to Wentworth’s shoulders.

“I never asked.”

“You cannot tell?”

“No, it is not apparent to most warm-bloods. She never mentioned it.”

“Did you?”

“No! Without a landed dragon, why would it matter? I did not have you then. I had little to do with the Order. Hearing dragons was hardly something I considered significant in a wife.”

“Perhaps you should have. You certainly must now.” Laconia’s fishy breath curled his nostrils.

“You live here amongst an entire crew who cannot hear dragons—save Rylie of course. And you manage quite well indeed. Does it really matter?”

“Here I am a lucky omen, a ship’s cat. I will lose that on land—I am told some there dislike cats, and even more black ones. I must have allies I can trust.” Laconia shrank back a little. For all his boldness in his home territory, he still—and probably always would—carried with him a not-quite-timidity, but a caution perhaps?—born of his perilous hatching.

“Do you wish to stay with the ship?” The words barely escaped in a hoarse whisper.

“Do you want me to?” Laconia’s head and shoulders drooped.

“Do you wish to stay? I have no desire to compel you against your will.”

“You are my Friend, my particular Friend. I do not wish to separate.” Laconia’s paws inched higher on Wentworth’s shoulders, and he leaned his weight into them.

“I am glad to hear that.” Wentworth wrapped his left arm across Laconia’s shoulders and scratched behind his right ear.

“So, your mate must be able to talk to me. And she must like me.”

“Why would someone not like you?”

“It happens. I will not live on land with someone who does not like me.”

“I would not ask you to do so.”

“Perhaps she could hear dragons.”

“Who? Anne?” God above, it should not be so hard to say her name now.

“Perhaps that was why she rejected you. She could hear, and you did not tell her you could as well. Their estate has a dragon. It only makes sense that she can hear.”

“Perhaps, but I still do not think so.”

“You should find out.”

“Why? It is nearly eight years since I have seen her—I expect she is married off and has a houseful of children by now.”

“And if not?”

“She rejected me. I have no desire to see her.”

“If you still resent her, you have feelings for her. You should see her.” Laconia jumped off the railing and spring-hopped off, disappearing into the deep night shadows.

Stubborn, stubborn creature. 

But perhaps he did have a point. Marriage and a proper home, with the proper woman, not Anne Elliot, might not be so bad a thing. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

Is it a little off the beaten path for Austenesque fiction? Absolutely! But what better time to try out something entirely new and different than a year like 2020?

If you’d like to have a peek at more previews, check them out on my website, RandomBitsofFascinaion.com.  The Dragons of Kellynch and Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion


Dragons of Kellynch   

In order to secure her future, a young lady must marry well.

One would think Anne Elliot, a baronet’s daughter, would find the marriage mart far easier to navigate than a more ordinary woman. One would be wrong.

After refusing a poor, but otherwise perfect sailor, on the advice of her friend Lady Russell, Anne finds an unhappy choice before her: marry deathly dull Charles Musgrove or hope against hope that another suitable proposal might come her way before she becomes a spinster on the shelf.

Anne’s disgracefully independent choice to refuse Charles’ offer turns her world entirely arsey-varsey and not in the expected  turned upside down sort of way. She begins to see things … hear things … things like dragons. 

And once one sees dragons, one talks to them. And when one talks to them, nothing is ever the same again.

Must a young lady marry well if she hears dragons?

https://books2read.com/DragonsofKellynch

 

Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion

Keeping a hibernating dragon should have been a simple thing.

Should have been, but it was not. Apparently, nothing involving dragons was ever simple, at least not for Anne Elliot, junior Keeper to dragon Kellynch. 

With the estate in debt, Anne’s father in denial, and the dragon’s treasure missing, Kellynch’s awakening was shaping up to be nothing short of catastrophe. Not to mention there was the pesky matter of her own broken heart and resentment against the old friend who had caused it.

Captain Frederick Wentworth had spent his life making something of himself in the Navy. With the  war that kept him employed at an end and a small fortune in prize money, he found himself beached and at loose ends. What was he to do with himself now—take a wife like Laconia, his dragon Friend, insisted? Not when none compared to the woman who had broken his heart.

Working as an agent of the Blue Order, managing dragon matters across England, seemed a much better alternative. At least until investigating one such matter sent him directly in the path of Anne Elliot, the woman who had ruined him for all others.

Now a royal dragon rages, a sleeping dragon lurks, and too many treasures have gone missing. Can Anne and Wentworth lay aside resentment, pride, and heartbreak to prevent Kellynch’s awakening from ending in bloodshed—or worse?

Jane Austen meets Pern in a fantastical regency romp bound to delight readers of Jane Austen and Anne McCaffrey alike. 

https://books2read.com/KellynchDragonPersuasion

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Six-time BRAG Medallion Honoree, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time. 

She writes gas lamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction. Her books are available at all major online booksellers.  

She can be contacted at:

author.MariaGrace@gmail.com 

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Netherfield: Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace Review & Giveaway

The third installment in Maria Grace’s Dragon series picks up right where Longbourn: Dragon Entail left off and it was equally exciting, especially because we are finally introduced to Netherfield, a new Dragon that was unknown until now, and who proved to be one of my favourite characters in the entire series. 

Netherfield: Rogue Dragon has more adventure and mystery than the previous books in the series, with kidnappings and secret tunnels making Elizabeth’s life harder, but it also offers the reader more scenes of Darcy and Elizabeth which was something I really appreciated. Even though this fantasy series is not a romance, I do like to have ODC at the center of the stage, and this is what we had in this book where Mr. Darcy comes to Elizabeth’s rescue and offers her his full support. In this third book Elizabeth is lonelier than ever with Longbourn cutting ties with her and finally banning her from the estate, so it is only natural that her fiancé is now the person she goes to for support. But Elizabeth’s relationship with Darcy was not the only reason why I found the the arc of Elizabeth’s and Longbourn’s relationship so interesting. I also liked to see Elizabeth grow as a human being, accepting she may have been wrong and apologising for her mistakes. 

Elizabeth was not the only character I liked to see growing in this novel, one of my favourite aspects in this book was the continuing development of Longbourn’s personality and his eventual redemption, I wonder how his relationship with Netherfield will evolve and how Mr. Collins will be able to handle him. Will he ever love Mary as much as he loves Elizabeth?

The Bennet sisters continue to play their role in this story, and Mary in joined by Lydia in this adventure. Unfortunately Lydia is Lydia, so her involvement will only cause trouble, but I liked the way Maria Grace developed the events in which Lydia is present. Jane is another Bennet sister I would like to mention, she is not a favourite of mine, but I found it strange for her to be continuously absent from these stories, and this may be one of the few details that got me thinking. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and the ending Maria Grace gave to this series. It was the perfecting ending and an incredible ride I never expected to enjoy so much. I highly recommend it.

 

Audiobook Narration:

Elizabeth Bennet’s Level

This was the second audiobook from Benjamin Fife I heard and once more I was amazed by his style of narration. Every single dragon was portrayed in a different manner and in this book he created the voice I loved the most in the entire series: Netherfield. Benjamin Fife’s interpretation of this character was incredible! My absolute favourite! Not only the tone of voice was enchanting, but the accent was equally interesting. After having heard is narration of these books, I honestly cannot think any other narrator for this story. 

Benjamin Fife was the best narrator Maria Grace could have chosen for these stories, and I hope he returns with the new Kellynch books.

 

You can find Netherfield: Rogue Dragon at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

and on Audible


Maria Grace would like to offer to my readers one audiobook of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon and another one of Longbourn: Dragon Entail. 

To apply to this giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment on each review I’ve published. In case you’ve missed the review of Longbourn: Dragon Entail, you can find it here

Let us know what sparks your curiosity about these books and which audiobook you would like to get. Comments on both reviews will enter the giveaway which is open until the 24th of July. The winners will be announced shortly after. 

Good Luck everyone!

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Longbourn: Dragon Entail by Maria Grace

I absolutely love sci-fi stories but I’ve never been much into fantasy so I was a little skeptical when I read Maria Grace’s Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon. But this lady does know how to tell a story and how to invent an incredible new world, so I ended up loving it (check my review here). As that was only the first book in the series, I had to read the following books, and Longbourn: Dragon Entail was the next in line. Because I love audiobooks I decided to listen to Benjamin Fife’s narration instead of reading the book, but I’ll get into that in a bit.

Longbourn: Dragon Entail follows the story of little Pemberley  who is harder to manage then Mr. Darcy anticipated, but even though this is the dragon that once more brings Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth together, Longbourn is the one who will take center stage in this story. Longbourn is yet another dragon who refuses to be separated from Elizabeth, so he insists she must marry Mr. Collins who will inherit the estate, but stubborn as she is, Elizabeth does not accept to be persuaded and her reaction will generate a roller coast of events.

This book is full of mystery and action and is a true page turner. I could not stop listening to the narration because I just wanted more and more of it. I wanted to know all the little secrets or suspicions that arose in it, and I wanted to know more about the Blue Order. In this book Maria Grace gives us more insight into this order and I loved that fact. Everything is perfectly integrated in this story and I felt transported into this dragon world.

One of my favourite aspects about this book was to see how similar the dragons are to their owners because that was too fun to see. I particularly liked to get to know Kate and Rosings, and Pemberley was just adorable in this novel! Have you ever imagined a dragon baby? One word: Adorable!

Mary Bennet was also a wonderful surprise and probably my favourite aspect about this book (even if there are many to choose from). It is no secret she is my favourite secondary character in Pride & Prejudice, and I was very happy to see her playing such an important part in this story. Mary Bennet is a wise young lady who showed a lot of insight and maturity by providing good advices to Elizabeth and by handling Mr. Collins in the best of manners. With her insight Mary was able to show the reader a different view of Mr. Collins which was more favourable than the one Elizabeth decides to pass along to us, and that was really interesting to see. I know we all have the same opinion of the man, but have you ever stopped to consider that it is Elizabeth who influences our opinion of him? What if someone else showed you a different view of the man?

I loved Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon, but I believe Longbourn: Dragon Entail is a better book at engaging the reader, and I highly recommend it to readers who are looking for a page turner which is able to combine action, humour and interesting human interactions. If you like fantasy, you’ll love this book! And if you don’t, you’ll probably love it too. I know I did 🙂

 

Audiobook Narration:

Elizabeth Bennet’s Level

I confess that when I started listening to Longbourn: Dragon Entail I seriously considered stop listening to it. Benjamin Fife’s narration is completely unexpected and a little hard to get into. But when we move past the surprise of what we are hearing, we realize that his narration is actually the best narration someone could make of this book. He interprets each Dragon differently using high pitch notes for smaller dragons and low voices for bigger dragons. He also brings their personality into the voices he creates, and therefore brings a new life into the story. The beginning is a shock, for sure, but at the end of the book I was completely surrendered by his narration. From April’s high pitch, to Longbourn’s seriousness, to the adorable and cute interpretation of baby Pemberley, Benjamin Fife made me connect with these dragons and love the story even more. I believe he is partly responsible for the enjoyment I had with this book and I cannot imagine any other author narrating this series now. I am truly impressed, and have to clearly consider him on Elizabeth Bennet’s level.

 

You can find Longbourn: Dragon Entail at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

and on Audible

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Missing Jane – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone, 

I hope you’re all staying safe and busy reading because I am here today to share with you a deleted scene from a book you’ll want to add to your TBR pile. There are so many variations nowadays that it is not easy for me to be intrigued with a plot that is not out of this world. I mean, I get surprised with all the mashups that are coming out lately or with stories that involve unexpected creatures etc, but it is not everyday that I get intrigued with a regular regency variation. Missing Jane had that effect in me and I definitely want to read this one. Bronwen Chisholm is here today to talk to you a little about this book and to share a scene that was never added to the book. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Thank you for visiting Bronwen! And best of luck with this book 🙂 Something tells me it will be a success.


 

Hello! I am so pleased to be back at From Pemberley to Milton. My latest novella, Missing Jane, releases this week and I wanted to stop by and share a deleted scene with you. Before we begin, here is a bit about the book.

Mr. Bennet is dead; his daughters “scattered to the winds,” according to Mrs. Bennet.

And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.

Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.

Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?

 

When I began writing this story, it started out from Elizabeth’s point of view. I reworked the first chapter several times before I realized that it just wasn’t needed and decided Darcy would begin the story instead. Because of this, the scene below was deleted. Several other books have addressed what might happen to the Bennet ladies should anything happen to Mr. Bennet. Here is how it played out for the ladies in Missing Jane. (Since it was deleted, it was not edited; so please forgive my errors.)

It truly was amazing how quickly everything was decided. What with their friends so nearby, it was agreed Mrs. Bennet would stay with her sister in Meryton and, the Phillips never having had the children they planned upon, there was sufficient room for Kitty and Lydia to live there also. Charlotte offered for the three older sisters to remain at Longbourn, but Elizabeth and Jane refused after thanking her profusely. Mary, on the other hand, agreed to stay at least for a short while.

When Uncle Gardner arrived to attend the funeral, he announced that, though they would love to have both Elizabeth and Jane come stay with them, his business had taken a turn and he feared it would be a bit of a strain upon them.

“Uncle, please do not worry for us. I have written to Papa’s aunt as he suggested and am waiting to hear from her. I anticipate a reply within a day or two.”

Her uncle nodded, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth. “I am sorry, Lizzy.”

She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I am sure it will be well.” She smiled. “You must think of your family, sir. With four children, two of whom are growing boys, we cannot expect you to take on the expense of two young ladies.”

“But I would if I could, Lizzy.”

“We know,” she assured him as she patted his arm.

The day after her uncle returned to London, the letter arrived announcing their aunt, Mrs. Sedgwick Branston, was in need of a companion to read to her and keep her company. She was anxious to meet one of her nephew’s daughters and anticipated her being the perfect fit for the situation, instead of hiring a stranger to fill the role. Elizabeth was about to accept when Jane took the letter.

“Mrs. Branston lives quite far from here, Lizzy.” Her eyes scanned the lines before she met her sister’s gaze. “I believe I should like to make the journey.”

Elizabeth’s jaw fell open. “But Jane, why? Do you not wish to go to London? I am certain you could meet a nice gentleman there who would fall madly in love with you.” She smiled but noted the seriousness in her sister’s features.

“No, Lizzy. I have had enough of company for a time. I wish to go somewhere I am not known. New scenery and fresh faces might be just what I require.” She glanced about. “There is nothing for me in Hertfordshire or London.”

“I do not agree,” Elizabeth stated as she placed her hands on her hips.

Jane’s smile was sad and weak. She slipped an arm about her sister’s shoulders and hugged her tightly. “Oh, Lizzy, you have always been the one to travel and see the countryside. Our aunt resides nearly in Wales. I believe I would like to see that bit of the world. Perhaps after a time, I will tire of it and we might exchange places. For now, I wish to be far from here.”

Reluctantly and after much discussion, Elizabeth agreed, and the sisters began packing their belongings and preparing to separate.

Poor Jane. She has yet to recover from her heartbreak before her father passes and her world is upended once more. I can easily relate with her desire to leave it all behind, at least for a time. The Kindle version is available for pre-order HERE and will be released on July 10th. I hope you will pick it up and love it as much as I do.


 

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com

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And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Rita will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Missing Jane. Good luck! And I hope you enjoyed our visit as much as I did. I can’t wait to read your comments.

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The Companion of His Future Life by Jack Caldwell

Have you ever thought about the ramification Pride and Prejudice could have if Mary was Mr. Collins’ first choice and he married her instead of Charlotte? Jack Caldwell started The Companion of His Future Life with this premise and I admit I quite liked the idea.

In The Companion of His Future Life, instead of Lizzy visiting Hunsford alone, she is accompanied by Jane and that changes all the interactions in a very interesting manner. Apart from Jane being at Hunsford when Mr. Darcy proposes, she is also present when Colonel Fitzwilliam talks about Darcy’s interference in Bingley’s love live, and that will obviously have a big impact. This is not often seen, and I really liked the change.

In fact, one of my favourite aspects of the book was Jane and Bingley’s relationship, and the fact that she was also responsible for his growth and change. We all expect Jane Bennet to act in a certain manner, but I was positively surprised by her actions in The Companion of His Future Wife.

I loved Mary and Anne’s characters and their unexpected friendship. I believe these characters deserve more than soulless characterizations and Jack Caldwell gave them a much deserved attention and depth.

Mary’s character was funny, interesting and refreshing. Her relationship with Collins was not what one would expect either and I am really happy Jack Caldwell took them in this new direction.

Throughout the story there were a few matchmaking attempts, or at least assistances in the happy turn of events, and none of them came from Mrs. Bennet, which is also something new. In this case, let’s just say that both cousins tried to help one another, and luckily for the reader, both were successful.

The Companion of His Future Life is an interesting book with many appealing romances. Darcy and Elizabeth’s story was not the one I loved the most, but I loved the book regardless of that fact. I recommend it to any Janeite who liked to see different and interesting character developments.

Audiobook Narration:

Kitty Bennet’s Level

This is the first narration I am rating as Kitty Bennet because even if the interpretation of Mr. Collins was the best I’ve ever heard, the other characters didn’t feel true to themselves, especially Elizabeth. The female characters sounded a little silly to me, and it appeared the narrator was not as knowledgeable of these characters as many others I’ve heard.

 

You can find The Companion of His Future Life at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Audible

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