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?
You can find When Mary Met the Colonel at:
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!