Monthly Archives: May 2021

Sanctuary by Cat Andrews

sanctuary5 stars

Sanctuary is one of those books that has been on my TBR since it was released. I heard nothing but good things about it, and it seemed to be a favourite for everyone last year, so I was super happy when I was finally able to start reading it this month.

As expected, the story did not disappoint and the cosiness of the setting, along with a very natural writing style, made me completely rendered to it.

Sanctuary takes place in modern Maine and I wouldn’t consider it a modernization of Pride and Prejudice but more of a P&P inspired story. The book focuses on Darcy and Elizabeth who have moved into Great Diamond Island in Maine for a fresh start after having have been through difficult moments in their lives. Elizabeth is coming out of an abusive marriage and Darcy is a single father whose wife died in a car accident a few years prior. The author doesn’t reveal much more about their backgrounds with the story starting almost with their first encounter in the island, and one of the aspects I loved the most about the book was how the events that took place in their lives are slowly unfolded as the story progresses.

Cat Andrews doesn’t describe everything that happened to the main characters, instead, she naturally adds details of that past to the story through the characters dialogues or reflections. The fact that the reader slowly unfolds what happened is part of why the book is so addictive. We want to keep reading just to understand exactly how their lives were before they moved to Maine, and what made them the person they are today.

Another aspect I loved about Sanctuary was the feeling of cosiness it provokes. I wouldn’t say the book has a small town feeling into it, but it certainly transports us into a different reality and a relaxed and happy environment. I would love to have a house in Great Diamond Island, which I’ve googled a thousand times after reading the book, and I would certainly love to have the life its inhabitants have.

The fact that Darcy is a single father was another endearing aspect of the book. I have seen books where Elizabeth has children, but it is not usual to see Darcy as a single parent in modern times, and I loved to see how he decided to raise his kid. I was also happy to see that even if his son Jack is present in a great part of the book, and we start to see the proximity Elizabeth develops with him, he doesn’t steel the spotlight from our dear couple.

It was also fun to see a new secondary characters coming into scene because familiar names would appear with a completely different connection to Elizabeth and/or Darcy, and a completely different posture and personality. The reader never knows what to expect when a new character appears, especially because the plot is completely different from canon, which means that familiar characters have a different relevance in the story.

The romance between Darcy and Elizabeth is endearing as this is clearly a slow motion and low angst story, and even if it felt a bit juvenile at times, I loved seeing how this couple helped one another overcome their traumas and slowly grow as a couple. Sanctuary is a three-volume book and I cannot wait to see how the story will progress in the next two volumes. I am convinced the author will deepen the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth as well as their relationship with Jack (Darcy’s son), but I also believe we will also see them overcome some obstacles to find their HEA, and I am very curious to see what is coming in their way and how they will manage it.

Summing up, Sanctuary is a Pride and Prejudice inspired story that takes its time to develop the characters relationships, daily lives and inner struggles. It is a low angst romance with a relaxed and happy vibe that I recommend to readers who are looking for sweet modern story depicting Darcy and Elizabeth.

If you are interested in these type of stories, you may like to know the author is releasing a new novel tomorrow called An Unexpected Harvest. The book is a city girl/small-town boy romance and I must confess I absolutely love these stories! I’m not even sure if I’ll read Sanctuary: Volume 2 first, or An Unexpected Harvest…decisions, decisions 🙂

You can find Sanctuary at:

and on Kindle Unlimited



Filed under JAFF

Mr. Darcy’s Decision by Juliette Shapiro

One of my goals this year is to read more books that were released prior to 2020, so I decided that Mr. Darcy’s Decision from Juliette Shapiro would be a good option.

In this sequel, Mr. Darcy is happily married to Elizabeth, but Wickham and Lydia will once more cause havoc precipitating some controversial decisions from everyone, but particularly from Mr. Darcy.

The book begins with a description of the events that took place in Pride & Prejudice and it’s slow pace along with the page time dedicated to secondary characters, made me feel a little detached from the narrative in the beginning.

As the story progresses, there is less description and more dialogue which makes the book more interesting, however, I still felt that Darcy and Elizabeth where the secondary characters in this story whose focus was spread out among Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, Lady Catherine, Mary, Caroline Bingley etc. I do enjoy books that develop secondary characters, but in Mr. Darcy’s Decision, I felt the attention was too spread out among the characters to allow a true character development. In fact, one of the aspects that I didn’t enjoyed about it was the incoherent attitudes from many of its characters, but especially from Mrs. Bennet who is at first very focused on pleasing Mr. Darcy, and later, has no problems at all in imposing her will upon him by decreeing he raises Wickham’s son as his own.

Mrs. Bennet’s demands are not the passing act of a woman taken by her nerves. In fact, it will become the entire storyline of the book, hence the title,  and that was another aspect I could not enjoy in this story. The plot was neither believable, nor pleasing to me. Lydia is abandoned by Wickham and flees to Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet believes she will be disgraced because she is pregnant, even though she was married, and demands that Mr. Bennet writes to Elizabeth to tell her she and Darcy must receive Lydia at Pemberley, hide her pregnancy and then raise the child as their own. Elizabeth shares that with Mr. Darcy and he accepts to pretend the child is his own. I will not reveal how the rest of the story progresses because I don’t want to give any more spoilers, but I must say I was also extremely disappointed with the resolution of the conflict in the story. The villain’s redemption seemed sudden and arrived without anything triggering it, making me feel the entire story didn’t have any meaning apart from showing how altruistic Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth can be by taking that decision.

Because the story was solely focused on Darcy’s Decision to take Wickham’s child as his own, the appearance of the secondary characters seemed a bit forced with too many comings and goings at Pemberley. Everyone seemed to find their way into Pemberley: the Gardiners, the Bennet’s, the Bindley’s, the Collins’s, Lady Catherine, etc., and all of this was not very believable in my point of view either.

I also didn’t like all the dynamics surrounding Lady Catherine’s character, from her behaviour at Pemberley, to her tutelage of Mary Bennet, her dismissal and then forgiveness of the Collin’s and finally her friendship with Caroline Bingley seemed either unnecessary, or out of character.

I really wanted to like Mr. Darcy’s Decision, but unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea. Because it is a sequel, and we do see how our beloved characters’ lives progress and witness as the remaining Bennet sisters find their happiness, I think some readers will still enjoy it, but this one was not to my taste.


Audiobook Narration:

Kitty Bennet’s Level

Unfortunately I cannot recommend the audiobook version of Mr. Darcy’s Decision, it is one of the worse I’ve heard and I believe it may even have affected my enjoyment of the story. Many of the voices portrayed by Polly Lee are mechanical and monotone, and for Darcy’s character, that made him sound as a machine without any feelings whatsoever. Lady Catherine’s voice was interesting and I did like that, but it was not enough to make me enjoy the rest of the narration.


You can find Mr. Darcy’s Decision at:

 and on Audible


Filed under JAFF

Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words by Shannon Winslow – Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope this week is starting well for all of you. Mine has been terrific, I know it’s only been one day and I probably should not jinx it but I’m finally back in the office, and it feels really good to be back to a routine and to see all my colleagues, well…some of them anyway 🙂

I am also very happy to start the week with Shannon Winslow visiting From Pemberley to Milton as she is an author I truly admire. In case you haven’t noticed, she has released a new book called Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words, and this retelling is not only a different POV story, but it also brings new characters and plot twists always under Mr. Darcy’s perspective, so I believe this is something you will all enjoy. 

Now, I cannot ask you to read the excerpt we are sharing today without mentioning the cover. OMG, isn’t it beautiful!!! You know I am a sucker for covers, and this one is just terrific! I absolutely love it! Congratulations on such a beautiful cover and on this new release Shannon, and thank you so much for visiting us today 🙂



Thanks so much, Rita, for welcoming me to From Pemberley to Milton again to share a bit about my new novel: Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words!

This is the first time I’ve written a Pride and Prejudice book that completely overlaps the original, and so it presented an entirely new set of pleasures and challenges. The greatest pleasure was to experience my favorite story all over again, almost like for the first time, because it was through fresh eyes: Darcy’s. The new challenge was deciding how much and which bits of the original dialogue to include, and how precisely to quote it.

The excerpt I’ve chosen for you today is a good example. Although there’s no point in repeating everything in P&P word-for-word, we certainly can’t have Darcy’s first meeting with Elizabeth at the Meryton Assembly without the infamous “She is tolerable, I suppose” statement. So the question is, how much of the rest is essential?

Since Darcy is relating the story in His Own Words, it’s ultimately his decision! He shares the actions and snatches of dialogue he believes are important and necessary, along with his perceptions and thoughts at the time. Of course his perceptions of what’s going on are rather different from Elizabeth’s, which is kind of the point!

You can’t fully understand a complex love story if you only hear one side of it, can you? So that was my focus – not reiterating what we already knew (Elizabeth’s perspective) but filling in what was missing: the other side of the story. In Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, therefore, you’ll find some but not every bit of delightful dialogue Jane Austen wrote in her original novel, some but not every one of her perfectly turned phrases. Instead, you’ll find a rich mixture of the original and the supplement to it.

I hope you will enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it! To whet your appetite, here’s a bit of the Meryton assembly – Darcy’s version:


Now, however, I come to the most infamous portion of the evening, notorious both for my ill-considered behavior and for its unanticipated and lasting effects. In Bingley’s determination to engage my interest in what the assembly had to offer, he drew my attention to another young lady.

“There is one of Miss Bennet’s sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say, very agreeable.”

“Which do you mean?” I asked, turning round to see for myself. The dark-haired young woman to whom Bingley had referred was indeed reasonably pretty, I decided, at least to a certain taste. She had a cherubic face set with chestnut eyes that sparkled like jewels. I had in fact noticed her before, her light figure and gracefulness of movement as she danced earning my mild approbation at the time. Still, I observed little of fashion or manner to admire in her.

Meanwhile, Bingley had continued. “Is it not a shame – a clear injustice, even – to see so fair a lady sitting down in want of a partner? Now, be reasonable, Darcy. Do let me ask Miss Bennet to introduce you, so that you may invite her to dance.”

I was unlikely to allow myself to be goaded into doing something I had already decided against for good reason. And when I momentarily caught the lady’s eye, it hardened my resolve, for she seemed to be laughing at me, or perhaps it was a look of challenge. Neither sat well with me. In that instant, I realized that she must have been over listening our conversation as well. She had heard Bingley’s compliments to herself and his offer to me of an introduction. Just as her friends and neighbors about us had already judged me that night, this Miss Bennet was now waiting to hear and to criticize whatever I might say.

So, allowing my distain to show, I withdrew my eye and gave her something to hear that she would not like. “She is tolerable,” I began in a tone of hauteur, “but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

It was entirely true. It was also unforgivably rude, of course, and no matter what the circumstances, a gentleman should never be that. My conscience smote me at once and repeatedly thereafter, both for my questionable assumptions about the young lady and for my childish response. However, I was hardly so repentant as to not resent Bingley’s provoking me to act in such a way, to act against my own principles.

As for the lady I had supposedly injured, however, I could not detect that she suffered one jot for what I had said. In fact, she could not seem to suppress her merriment at being so well entertained. When she presently left her seat and walked by, she gave me a look – such a look! – and a saucy smile to be sure I knew she had heard me and did not care. Next, she went to her friends, who all then seemed to be laughing with her, looking at me and enjoying a good joke at my expense. I could have been wrong about this assumption as well, but I did not think so.

Consequently, my discomfort grew still more pronounced. I endured the balance of our time at the assembly in a heightened state of mortification, nurturing an overpowering wish that I should never be forced into company with the laughing lady or her friends again.

What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia?

With “Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words,” the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between.

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Darcy’s point of view – a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us. As it happens, Darcy’s journey was more tortuous than she let on, his happy ending with Elizabeth in jeopardy at every turn in his struggle between duty and his heart’s desire, between the suitable lady he has promised to marry and the woman he can’t stop thinking about.

You can find Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words at:

on Kindle Unlimited




Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Giveaway Winners

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m super late in announcing the winners of the latest giveaways that took place at From Pemberley to Milton in the last couple of weeks, but hopefully I’m still on time to bring good news to three people 🙂

I was really happy to welcome Maria Grace, who joined us with an excerpt of Dragons Beyond the Pale, and M Verant, a new author to this blog who brought us an excerpt of Miss Bennet’s Dragon. I would like to thank both authors for their visit, their patience with me and their generosity! May this year be a great one for dragons 🙂

I will also take this opportunity to announce the winner of my April Book Mail Giveaway. Thank you all for participating here on the blog and on Facebook 🙂 I hope to see you all on the next Book Mail Giveaway 🙂

Without further ado the winners are:

Dragons Beyond the Pale

*** Luthien84***

Miss Bennet’s Dragon

*** Sheilalmajczan***

April Book Mail Giveaway

*** Jennifer Redlarczyk***

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

Happy Reading everyone!


Filed under JAFF

Faults of Understanding by Jennifer Altman – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How have you been? I am happy to say that I am finally over my reading slumber and I am back to daily reading 🙂

Today I bring to you an excerpt from a book that I haven’t read yet, but that seems absolutely marvellous! I am talking about Faults of Understanding, Jennifer Altman’s second novel which will be released on May 27th. 

The excerpt she brings us today depicts Darcy’s proposal and I couldn’t think of a better scene to have here at From Pemberley to Milton. 

Thank you so much for visiting Jennifer, and best of luck with your new book 🙂



Hi Rita! Thank you for hosting the fourth stop on my blog tour for my upcoming release, Faults of Understanding. If you’ve been following the tour, you may have already read the prologue and the beginning of Chapter 1, but today I thought I’d skip ahead a bit with an excerpt from Chapter 2, featuring Darcy’s proposal. 🙂 But just to catch you up, if you haven’t already read my previous excerpts: Darcy learns at the Netherfield ball that Mr. Collins is planning to make an offer of marriage to Elizabeth Bennet and decides to pre-empt him with a proposal of his own. Prior to the excerpt below, he has already visited Mr. Bennet, and Mr. Bennet has communicated Darcy’s intentions to Elizabeth. This scene begins shortly thereafter. 




An hour later, Elizabeth was no closer to a solution to her conundrum about Mr. Darcy when she made her reluctant return to Longbourn. This was an unfortunate occurrence, as she had no sooner entered the lane that led to the house when she became aware of a tall black stallion approaching from the opposite direction. Dread twisted her stomach as she recognized the rider, but she grudgingly halted her steps, waiting as the horse drew near. 

When he gained the drive, Mr. Darcy neatly dismounted, leading his horse the remainder of the way before removing his hat and offering her a formal bow.

“Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth murmured.

“Miss Elizabeth.” 

The two stood in silence for several minutes before Darcy continued, “I trust your father has spoken with you?”

“He has, sir.”

Darcy nodded, and Elizabeth watched as he shifted his hat from one hand to another. 

“I had thought we might take some time to discuss my proposition. Shall we return to the house? Or a walk, perhaps?

Elizabeth hesitated. She would greatly prefer to speak with Mr. Darcy outside, where they might be assured of more privacy, but she had already been gone for some time. Besides, she was confident that Mr. Darcy would also prefer to speak outside the house, and a certain perverseness made her not want to make things any easier on him.

“You may accompany me back to Longbourn if you wish. I am sure my father will not object to our making use of his book room.”

Darcy nodded, his expression pained, and they moved into the yard. One of the grooms approached to take the horse, and Elizabeth led Mr. Darcy through the gardens to the side entrance she had used earlier. She was not surprised when her father met them in the corridor, having seen them approaching from the window. After briefly informing Elizabeth that her mother and sisters remained above stairs, and that Mr. Collins was still out, he ushered them into his library with a wry smile before quitting the room, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Elizabeth took a seat by the window, folding her hands demurely in her lap and watching as Mr. Darcy paced about the room, finally coming to stand several feet away.

“Your father has shown you the papers I drew up?” he inquired abruptly.

“He has, sir,” Elizabeth answered before adding, “I suppose I should thank you. The settlement you proposed was very generous.”

Darcy dismissed her words with a wave of his hand. “It is no more than you deserve. There is very little I would be unable or unwilling to provide you with, once we are married, but if there is anything in particular you would like outlined in the articles, you need only ask.”

Elizabeth murmured her thanks, and the room grew quiet.

 “No doubt you were surprised by my intentions,” Darcy eventually stated.

“Indeed. I was quite astounded.”

“Yes. I must beg your pardon for taking you unawares. Given the disparity in our stations, I can see that this must come as a shock. In truth, I had not made up my mind to offer for you until last night.” 

Elizabeth could feel the heat building in her cheeks, but she somehow managed to answer serenely, “Disparity? Forgive me, I do not understand. You are a gentleman, and I am a gentleman’s daughter. So far as I can see, we are equal.”

Across from her, Darcy’s eyebrows lifted. He opened his mouth and closed it again several times, before finally saying, “I beg your pardon. What I meant to say is that it would not have been appropriate to give rise to expectations by showing any partiality to you before such a time as I had determined to pay my addresses. However, when I came to understand that an offer of marriage was soon to be made to you by Mr. Collins, I knew I must act with all due haste.”

“I see. And pray, tell me, Mr. Darcy, what concern is it of yours whether I should marry my cousin, or any other gentleman for that matter?”

Elizabeth watched as Darcy’s entire body stiffened. “I had the misfortune of spending almost twenty minutes in conversation with Collins last evening, and it took less than five of those minutes to know that it would be a degradation for you to wed such a man! He is not your equal in intelligence or wit, and I must add that his lack of decorum was truly shocking. You are his superior in every way. I do not believe your cousin could ever make you happy, nor give you the life you deserve. Marriage to him would be a misery for you!”

Despite her intention to remain detached, Elizabeth’s eyes grew wide at Darcy’s impassioned speech. Could it be that the gentleman had formed some sort of attachment to her after all? Elizabeth flushed at the thought. To keep herself from dwelling on such a notion, she responded in a way she knew must provoke him further. 

“Nevertheless, he would be a prudent match for me.”

For a moment, Mr. Darcy looked physically ill, before his expression softened and he leaned forward, addressing her earnestly, “Aye. And that is why I knew I must speak. I am aware that your father’s estate is entailed upon your cousin, and as such, you may feel it would be pragmatic to accept him, for the sake of all your family. But now you see, you have another way. I know I cannot give you Longbourn, but should you agree to marry me, your family will always be provided for. On this, I give you my word.”

Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She had promised her father she would not make any hasty decisions regarding Mr. Darcy’s offer, but she could not in good conscience allow him to continue if his sole motive was to save her from a marriage to her cousin. 

“Mr. Darcy, I thank you for your concern for my welfare, however, you may rest easy, sir. I have already decided I will not be accepting my cousin’s proposal of marriage, should he see fit to make one. So you need not worry for my future, and as such, you should feel under no further obligation to me. You have made me no formal offer, and I understand that you will have no wish to make your addresses now. We may both continue on as we were before.”

Darcy’s thick brows drew together, and he studied her for a moment before he spoke. 

“While I am gratified to know you have decided against attaching yourself to your cousin, pray, allow me to correct your misapprehension as to my desires. I have no wish to withdraw my offer. I have made my intentions known to your father, and it would be dishonorable to back out now. However, you are correct that no formal address has been made. I hope you will allow me to correct this oversight.” 

To Elizabeth’s horror, he dropped to one knee, taking up her hand. “Miss Elizabeth, will you do me the courtesy of becoming my wife?”

An unexpected jolt traveled up Elizabeth’s arm at the warmth of Mr. Darcy’s fingers on her ungloved hand. Quickly, she stood, breaking their connection and forcing Mr. Darcy to rise. Pacing several steps away, Elizabeth stared through the mullioned glass before turning back to face her unexpected suitor.

“Mr. Darcy, I hope you do not think I spoke in such a way to entreat you to make your proposal. I was in earnest when I offered to forget the entire situation.” 

“I am well aware of your intentions.”

“Then you are saying you still wish to marry me?”

“I do.”

Exasperated, Elizabeth threw up her hands. “But why? I have already told you I do not intend to marry my cousin and that I have no expectations of you!”

Mr. Darcy’s eyes widened, clearly taken aback by her outburst. 

“Is it so surprising that I would wish to marry you?”

At such a remarkable question, Elizabeth could not help quirking one eyebrow in surprise. “I believe I have already stated as much. And as you can no longer claim Mr. Collins as your motive, I should like to know why you would wish to make me your wife. We have scarcely known each other a month, and as you have so helpfully stated, we are not of the same circles.”

“Yes, of course you are correct. And while I realize our acquaintance has been of a brief duration, I assure you, I have given this matter a great deal of thought. We get on satisfactorily. We are well matched in intelligence, if not in temperament. I believe you would be an admirable mistress for my estate, and a worthy example to my sister. Are these not all respectable reasons to marry?”

Elizabeth released a frustrated sigh. This was not going at all as she had planned. 

“Yes, I suppose they are. But you must wish for something beyond all that? Certainly, you could find someone more… more…” Her voice faltered and she drew a breath before changing tactics. “In any case, I was under the impression that you were already promised. Are you not betrothed to your own cousin?” she asked archly.

“My cousin?” Darcy repeated.

“Yes, Miss de Bourgh. I believe she will have a very large fortune, and that it is the wish of both your families that you unite your two estates.”

Inexplicably, Darcy’s lips tightened as he ground out, “I am not engaged to Anne. And you would do well to avoid listening to idle gossip.”

Elizabeth looked away in embarrassment. He was right, of course. But before she could formulate an adequate apology, Mr. Darcy continued in a gentler tone, “It is true that when my cousin and I were children, our mothers spoke of our one day growing up to marry, but it was merely an idle wish. It was never anything more than that. Had my matrimonial interest veered in that direction, I assure you, Anne and I would have wed some time ago.” 

Elizabeth nodded. “Very well. I accept your assertion that you are not promised to Miss de Bourgh; however, I am still not convinced I would make you a good wife.” 

Darcy looked momentarily startled, but answered smoothly, “Is this your only objection? If it is my feelings you are worried for, I have already told you it is my belief that you would suit me quite well. However, if I can say anything further to put your mind at ease, I am happy to do so.” 

Elizabeth paced to the window, drawing back the curtain. Once again gazing out into the garden, she attempted to bring order to her jumbled thoughts. She did not know how long she stood there before she felt the light press of a hand upon her shoulder and heard Mr. Darcy’s deep baritone speaking softly in her ear.

“You must know that I will treat you with kindness, Miss Elizabeth. I realize I am asking you to take a leap of faith, but I promise you will want for nothing. Whatever is in my power to give, you shall have.”

Elizabeth turned away from the glass and gazed up into Mr. Darcy’s warm brown eyes. He stared back at her, and Elizabeth saw a host of emotions written across his features. Without conscious thought, her eyes dropped to his lips, which were full and looked surprisingly soft. Before she knew what she was about, she heard herself speaking the question that was at the forefront of her mind.

“You would want a child, I imagine. A son and heir for your estate.”

She could see him start, but after a brief hesitation, he answered carefully, “Pemberley is not entailed, so if we do not have a son, a daughter may inherit. And if for some reason we are not blessed with children, the estate would pass to my sister’s offspring. But to answer your question: Yes, I do want children. Not for the purposes of the estate, but because I would wish to have a family one day.”

Elizabeth turned away, surprised by how strongly both his words and the tenderness of his gaze had affected her. At her back, she heard Darcy clear his throat.

“Do you not… that is… are you not fond of children?”

“Oh, no. I am very fond of children,” she answered, shifting to face him again.

Darcy nodded, appearing somewhat uncertain. “Good. That is… good. I am glad to hear it.”

Elizabeth stepped away, crossing to the far side of the room. If she was going to maintain her composure, she needed to put some distance between them. Darcy followed her with his eyes, but remained standing where he was. 

Clearing her throat, Elizabeth began, “There is one more matter I think it imperative that we discuss. What have you to say of Mr. Wickham?”

At the mention of Wickham’s name, Mr. Darcy’s spine stiffened and his countenance, which had been so animated only a moment ago, turned cold. 

“I have nothing whatsoever to say on the subject of that gentleman. What has he to do with this?”

Elizabeth lifted her chin. “I believe he has everything to do with this. Your ill treatment of him speaks to your character.”

“My ill treatment?” Darcy virtually spat, crossing the floor in quick steps before turning back and pacing in the opposite direction. When he finally stopped in front of her, his eyes were hard and his voice when he spoke had a frosty edge. “As I have already stated once, you would do well not to believe everything you hear. There are, after all, two sides to every story.”

“Very well. Then I am willing to listen to yours.”

Darcy was silent, but Elizabeth could see the tic of a muscle in his jaw.

“I see,” Elizabeth eventually answered. 

“If you are hoping for a proposal from him,” Mr. Darcy said darkly, “you are bound to be disappointed. Wickham will marry a woman of means, if he marries at all.”

“And whose fault is that?” Elizabeth cried. “You are the one who has reduced him to his present circumstances. Had you provided him with the living promised in your father’s will, he would not be forced to live in comparable poverty even now. It is because of you that Mr. Wickham cannot marry where he chooses.”

“Is that what he told you?” Darcy turned away, muttering under his breath, “Good God. The man will stop at nothing to blacken my name.” When he moved to face her again, Elizabeth could see him struggling to regain control of his emotions. 

“I cannot divulge all of my dealings with Wickham, as there are others who would be harmed by my disclosures. However, I can tell you that Mr. Wickham lies as easily as he breathes. The living in question was rejected by him. Instead, he requested monetary compensation, as he did not think himself suited to the church—a sentiment with which I whole-heartedly agreed—and instead I paid him three thousand pounds, in lieu of the living. This was in addition to the one thousand pounds left him by my father. So, if Mr. Wickham currently finds himself in precarious financial circumstances, you might ask yourself why that is.”

Elizabeth stared back at Mr. Darcy, fully feeling the shock of his declaration and the humiliation of her misplaced conviction. When she did not speak, Darcy continued, “If you doubt my words, I can summon more than one witness to speak to their veracity. I assure you, Mr. Wickham cannot say the same.”

“No,” she murmured, a flush warming her cheeks, “that will not be necessary. I believe you.”

In an instant, Darcy’s expression softened, and his anger seemed to dissipate as quickly as it had come. 

“I beg your pardon. It was not my intention to cause you distress. But I am glad to have had an opportunity to speak to you on this matter. I hope you will heed my warning and stay far away from Mr. Wickham. He is not an honorable man.”

Elizabeth offered him a shaky nod before saying, “You have given me much to think about, Mr. Darcy, and I hope you understand that I can give you no answer today. I must first speak to my cousin, and then I would like some time to consider the matter. This has all been rather… sudden.”

“Of course,” Darcy answered quickly. “I will importune you no further. But I hope you will permit me to call on you tomorrow?”

Elizabeth nodded, and Darcy bowed slightly at the waist before turning towards the door, but Elizabeth’s voice halted his progress.

“You will remain at Netherfield, then?” she asked.

Darcy turned. “I will. Bingley has been kind enough to allow me the use of the house for as long as I should require it.”

“Then it is true… that he has left the neighborhood? My sister had a letter from Miss Bingley earlier today.”

“Yes, I believe he had some business in Town.”

“And… will he return? When his business is concluded?”

Darcy shrugged. “With Bingley, it is hard to say. His sisters, I know, would prefer to remain in London, and Bingley is always happiest wherever he is—as I think he remarked once when we were together at Netherfield.”

Elizabeth nodded slowly, and with another bow, Darcy quit the room, leaving her with much to ponder about the man she was so certain she despised.


I hope you enjoyed that little sneak peek! The book releases one week from today, on May 27th, but the ebook is available for pre-order now:


“I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding.” – Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice


When Fitzwilliam Darcy makes an impetuous offer of marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, he is convinced they have as good a chance as any for a harmonious life together. That is, until an overheard conversation changes everything, and Darcy realizes he is now joined in perpetuity to a woman who loathes the very sight of him.

Elizabeth Bennet’s expectations for matrimonial accord were never very high, having accepted Mr. Darcy’s proposal in a fit of pique, not love. Still, she is determined to make the best of her situation, despite having tied herself to such an arrogant, disagreeable man. 

But life at Pemberley is not at all what she imagined, and Elizabeth soon finds herself with more questions than answers about the enigmatic gentleman she agreed to wed.

Trapped in a marriage founded on misunderstandings, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy struggle with deepening attraction while confronting self-doubt and old betrayals. But is love enough to heal the wounds of the past? What will it take for two people bound by duty to find their way home to one another?

JenniferAltman_Faults of Understanding_FINAL_COVER




You can find Faults of Understanding on pre-order at:






Jennifer Altman is a novelist, an anglophile, and a lover of all things Regency. After a long career in the television industry, Jennifer shifted to book publishing in 2016. She currently works in the corporate division of a large publishing company. Jennifer makes her home just outside New York City, where she lives in a compact apartment with a considerable collection of books. When she’s not writing, Jennifer can be found reading, watching British period dramas, and not cleaning her house. Her debut novel, To Conquer Pride, released in 2018.

NEW blog tour

The blog tour is almost over, but you can sill go back and read all the wonderful informations Jennifer Altman has released so far 🙂

April 29th – Austenesque Reviews: Cover Reveal, Giveaway

May 6th – Austen Variations: Excerpt, Giveaway

May 14th – Babblings of a Bookworm: Author Interview, Giveaway

May 20th – From Pemberley to Milton: Excerpt, Giveaway

May 27th – Austen Variations: Book Release, Excerpt, Giveaway

As part of my blog tour, Jennifer Altman will be giving away one copy of the ebook. To enter the drawing, simply comment below. The winner will be chosen on May 27th

Good Luck everyone!



Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds

Mr Fitzwilliam darcy the last man in the world4.5 stars

The opening scene of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World was incredibly powerful and revealed Abigail Reynolds’s talent for writing.

I have read many forced marriage scenarios before, but none like this, where Elizabeth herself felt forced to accept Mr. Darcy in order to save her reputation. After proposing, and believing Elizabeth can only accept his proposal, Mr. Darcy kisses her and that kiss is seen by Colonel Fitzwilliam and a few Rosings Park workers. Because of that, Elizabeth sees no other option to save her reputation, and the ones of her sisters, then to allow Mr. Darcy to believe she did in fact accept him. Unfortunately, her deception remains after her marriage and when Mr. Darcy discovers it, it is heart breaking.

The idea behind this variation was simple, but Elizabeth’s feelings were so powerfully presented that one cannot stop reading to know how she will act in her role as Mrs. Darcy.

Elizabeth’s deception is understandable to a point, but if this is a quibble for you, rest assured that after getting to know Mr. Darcy, and realizing he is in fact the only man in the world she could ever love, her devotion to him is endearing. Elizabeth even comes to his defense while arguing with Mr. Wickham at the end of the story, and that scene is priceless. 

In this book, our characters will have to face and fight against the feelings of loneliness, betrayal and hopelessness as they grow in their marriage, but also come to learn to trust in one another and in their respective feelings.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World has it all, the romance, the character growth and the action necessary to make the book move forward at the perfect pace. It does not have unnecessary page time filled with descriptions or repetitions of the characters feelings. It goes straight to the point and provides the reader everything a book should. If you are looking for an engaging and well written book, this may be it.


Audiobook Narration:

Elizabeth Bennet’s Level

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World was narrated by Rachel E. Hurley at a time when not many Austenesque books were getting released on audio, and even if the narration is somewhat different from later narrations we are getting used to, it is very pleasant to hear her tell us this story. I do recommend the audio version if you like audiobooks.


You can find Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World at:

Kindle Unlimited and on Audible


Filed under JAFF

Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking by Sarah Courtney

plots ploys and the art of matchmaking4.5 stars

It is very common to see books mentioning matchmaking mamas, but I never saw one where the main characters were a pair of matchmaking Papas! Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking is a very original and funny story that I do not hesitate to recommend to those looking for a good time spent in the realm of Pride and Prejudice. 
In this book, Mr. Bennet and Lord Matlock met at school and remained very close friends through out the years. Their families share a special bond and everyone is very used to their pranks and bets, however, when they get together in Hertfordshire, and decide Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth must fall in love and get married, some family members start to realize they need a lesson of their own. These gentleman may like to have some sport at the cost of their families and neighbours, but they will certainly get what they deserve as well.

Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking is told from the point of view of various characters and combines humour with some romance, as the main characters find themselves more often than not, trapped in a closed space together.

I appreciated the different tone I found in this book and consider it very refreshing. As mentioned above, we still have some romance in this book, especially towards the end of the story, but it is not the usual austenesque romance because of its humoristic approach. I laughed out loud in some parts with Mr. Bennet and Lord Matlock’s pranks towards one another, with their ineffective matchmaking efforts, and was also pleased to see their influence on Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as they started to orchestrate pranks of their own.

Elizabeth’s dry humour and response to the gentleman’s ploys was one of my favourite aspects of her personality, and also one of the reasons Mr. Darcy found her so confounding. I loved her resignation towards her father’s antics and her practical approach to all of their plots. As to Mr. Darcy, he proved to have a sense of humour Elizabeth was unaware of, and to be the perfect gentleman and hero in every single situation. If you think these plots and ploys take place only in libraries and carriages, as we are led to believe in the beginning of the story, you are very wrong. Our dear couple will face some challenges and dangers during this story and Mr. Darcy raises to the occasion! I bet you will never see his love declaration coming, and never imagined he would do it in such a circumstance.

For a long time, it appeared Mr. Bennet and Lord Matlock’s ploys were ineffective towards Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but they are very good at the art of matchmaking, and I laughed and loved all the couples that came out of their pranks.

Another aspect I loved about in this book was the difference in Mrs. Bennet’s character and the close connection both families have. Of course Mr. Darcy cannot be as prejudiced towards the Bennet’s when they are close friends to the Earl’s family, but Sarah Courtney found a way to have him antagonise Elizabeth so that the story is appealing to the reader from the beginning to the end.

The entire book has a very light feeling and the perfect length to read during a lazy weekend. If you are looking for a humorous story that will make you laugh along with the characters from Pride and Prejudice, I recommend Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking. This book was certainly different and I loved it!


You can find Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking at:

Kindle Unlimited 


Filed under JAFF

Freebies & Books on sale

Good Afternoon everyone, 

I was perusing amazon today and saw there were several books on sale that I had not seen before, so I thought it would be helpful to put them all together in a list once more.

As you know, these are not all the books that are currently on sale, just the ones I could find on my search.

If you know of any other books on sale please do not hesitate to share them with us 🙂

Jane Austen Fan Fiction currently FREE

Bewildered – FREE

Book Blurb: 

While Elizabeth Darcy is suitably happy in her very fortunate marriage, she cannot help but feel as if something is missing.
When her husband comes to her with an interesting plea, she cannot help but be curious herself.
Bewildered is the first in a new series of intimate and sensual short stories by Grace Reeve. A sequel to Pride & Prejudice, the series will follow Elizabeth and Darcy as the newlyweds become acquainted with one other and learn how to be the sort of spouse the other deserves.

An Austen Masterpiece – FREE

Book Blurb:

An art major with a focus on graduation, a psychology major hoping to get into grad school, and the relationship that wasn’t in the cards.

Lily has a history of men leaving her life, just like her latest boyfriend, Wes, who took off to Florida with some girl he met at a club. When her roommate, Meg Austen, tries to set her up with the quiet guy from her psychology class, she’s not jumping at the chance.

Ben is waiting to hear back from master’s programs he’s applied to as he works through his last semester for his bachelor’s. He’s the typical nice guy, who gets set up by everyone back home. Now Meg wants him to date her roommate and they couldn’t be anymore opposite.

When he receives some acceptance letters to school outside of Boston and Lily gets the internship she always wanted, it seems their relationship can’t continue.

Can they get over their past fears and make it work?

Sincerity of Heart – FREE

Book Blurb:

SINCERITY OF HEART – A collection of modern Austen inspired short stories, themed around different holidays and seasons. Melissa Buell has taken her HOLIDAYS WITH JANE stories and compiled them into one anthology. Sweet, clean romance!

Jane Austen Fan Fiction on Sale for 0,99$


Writerly Ambitions: An Elizabeth and Darcy Story – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

In this story Mr. Bingley only takes Netherfield years after he did in the original novel. Mr. Darcy has spent these years determined to find the perfect wife, attending every ball at Season, and dancing every dance. But each girl he met lacked something. His friends don’t believe him anymore when he insists he wants to marry.
Elizabeth Bennet started writing novels after she was banished to London following an unfortunate incident. Her literary endeavours proved popular, and now she has a modest independent income, and a determination to never depend on anyone.
They become friends quickly when they meet at the assembly ball, Elizabeth is amused by Darcy’s arrogance, and he is kind to her and charmed by her charming and mischievous manner. But Mr. Darcy has a list of features a wife must have, and Elizabeth does not meet them. And for her part, Elizabeth is determined to never marry…
A romantic story with lots of laughs and a little angst

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth: Breathtaking – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

Elizabeth Bennet and her family remove to Brighton after her youngest sister receives an invitation to travel with the colonel of the militia and his wife. All seems well, but when Mr. Darcy unexpectedly arrives from Pemberley, he reveals that things in Brighton were not quite as they had seemed. Drawn to Mr. Darcy in their mutual quest to restore balance and safety to both their families, Elizabeth finds herself struggling to recognize the man who had insulted her in Hertfordshire and Kent. So much has changed—yet can she rely upon the change? And will he still love her and wish to marry her when he sees her family and its folly fully unleashed in Brighton?

The Tree on the Green – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

“I know what my behavior has been to you, but believe me when I say my wishes have never wavered.”

Love at first sight—it is what both Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy feel after meeting under an oak tree in Derbyshire in a set of highly unusual and precarious circumstances. Elizabeth’s usefulness to Mr. Darcy and his sister Georgiana recommend her to them both, while the manners of both brother and sister make Elizabeth highly interested in knowing them better. It seems a gift of providence, therefore, when Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy among a party of visitors to her neighborhood in Hertfordshire two months hence. The couple feel an instant attraction to each other, raising expectations among their neighbors and friends of a mutual attachment.
However, Mr. Darcy soon discovers that there is more to Elizabeth than meets the eye. While he has no objections to her, he is astonished at the bad manners of her family and the lack of sense they often display. Feeling insecure and conflicted following the recent betrayal of an old friend, he feels unwilling to risk a connection with someone so unknown to him. A withdrawal of his attentions is the ultimate result.
Elizabeth, confused and irritated, wants to forget Mr. Darcy and move on. However, despite all his resolve, he cannot seem to stay away from her. Being found irresistible by a man like Mr. Darcy cannot fail to flatter her—but is such attention enough to prove he is truly worthy of her love and trust?

Tempt You to Accept Me – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

What if Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy decided to ignore the voices warning him of the dangers presented by a certain young lady? Would he be able to accept her relations whose condition in life was so decidedly beneath his own? This story begins after the Netherfield party returned to London. A clean Regency romance. (Darcy’s point of view.)

Barely Bethrothed to Mr. Darcy – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

Miss Elizabeth Bennet is pleased with the state of her life. She lives with her sister and her sister’s husband, Mr. and Mrs. Bingley, and she dotes on her niece and nephew. She doesn’t long for a husband or children of her own. To do so would only bring her misery.
Then news reaches them which tears Elizabeth’s contentment to shreds.
Mrs. Caroline Darcy is dead. She’s drowned herself.
Everyone has long observed the late Mrs. Darcy’s dissatisfaction with her loveless, childless marriage, so the news, while tragic, is not entirely surprising. Elizabeth knows that Caroline trapped her husband into marrying her by falsely accusing him of a compromise that never occurred. Of course, that truth has never mattered, nor has the fact that Mr. Darcy is still in love with Elizabeth and that she is in love with him.
Now, Mr. Darcy is free, but propriety dictates that he cannot remarry immediately. A quick marriage would court scandal and it would wound Caroline’s brother, Mr. Bingley, who is also Mr. Darcy’s dear friend. So, though Elizabeth knows that Mr. Darcy will be hers eventually, they cannot be officially engaged yet. Now, they must wait.
For these two who have waited so long for each other, the waiting will prove to be the hardest part.

An End to Estrangement – 0,99$

Book Blurb:

When Fitzwilliam Darcy travels to Hertfordshire with his friend, the last person he expects to see is Elizabeth Bennet, the young woman who broke his heart in London four years previously…
Book 1 in a fun new Pride and Prejudice variation series. Romance and Reconciliation what if Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet met long before the Meryton Assembly…?

One Minute More – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

“If I do my duty as a gentleman, I shall have to marry a woman who prefers you. How is this fair?”
It has been a miserable few weeks in Meryton. It was not enough that Fitzwilliam Darcy has had to tolerate the attentions of his best friend’s sister. Now he must deal with his cousin’s disastrous romantic alliance and his own unfortunate attraction to the intriguing and elusive Elizabeth Bennet.
Caroline Bingley’s life-changing mistake has landed her the wrong groom and a temporary exile to Longbourn. She packs her temper along with her gowns, ensuring no one is happy about their houseguest. Especially Elizabeth, who not only gives up her bedchamber to her adversary but becomes the focus of Caroline’s scheme to attach her to Mr Collins.
So much has happened in so little time. What can happen in one minute more?

Through a Different Lens – 0,99$

Book Blurb:

A tale of second glances and second chances
Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy since he insulted her at a village dance several months before. But an unexpected conversation and a startling turn of phrase suddenly causes her to reassess everything she thought she knew about the infuriating and humourless gentleman.
Elizabeth knows something of people who think differently. Her young cousin in London has always been different from his siblings and peers, and Lizzy sees something of this boy’s unusual traits in the stern gentleman from Derbyshire whose presence has plagued her for so long. She approaches him in friendship and the two begin a tentative association. But is Lizzy’s new understanding of Mr. Darcy accurate? Or was she right the first time? And will the unwelcome appearance of a nemesis from the past destroy any hopes they might have of happiness?
Warning: This variation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice depicts our hero as having a neurological difference. If you need your hero to be perfect, this might not be the book for you. But if you like adorable children, annoying birds, and wonderful dogs, and are open to a character who struggles to make his way in a world he does not quite comprehend, with a heroine who can see the man behind his challenges, and who celebrates his strengths while supporting his weaknesses, then read on! You, too, can learn what wonders can be found when we see the familiar through a different lens.

Dating Mr. Darcy – 0,99$

Book Blurb:

Pride and Prejudice meets The Bachelor in this laugh-out-loud rom com from USA Today bestselling author, Kate O’Keeffe
Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl must compete on reality TV to win a modern-day Mr. Darcy’s heart?
Emma Brady is having doubts about how far she’ll go to promote her new activewear line. Sure, being on a reality show could be the big break her business so desperately needs, but is putting up with a Mr. Darcy wannabe worth it?
Sebastian Huntington-Ross is straight out of an Austen novel. But it’s hard to focus on his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders, and wickedly sexy accent when all Emma can see is his pride, arrogance, and smug demeanor.
Sparks fly when Emma realizes Sebastian has his own agenda for being on the show. Will Emma hold fast and keep the aristocratic Sebastian at arm’s length? Or will she put her reservations aside when the lines between reality and “reality show” start to blur?

Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a dragon.

Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley has the good fortune to be in possession of the first English firedrake egg laid in a century. Or, at least, he was until some miscreant stole it.
Mr. Darcy tracks the thief to Hertfordshire. Catching the thief, however, proves to be an entirely different kettle of brimstone, especially when he encounters fellow Dragon Keeper, Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn.
Elizabeth Bennet’s deep connection to dragons and remarkable grasp of their lore make her the ideal companion for finding the egg. It’s too bad that from their introduction she finds Darcy arrogant, conceited, and selfishly disdainful of the feelings
of others.
Time is running out for Darcy to win Elizabeth’s trust and recover the precious egg before it hatches, and the fragile peace between humans and dragons is lost forever.
Meryton meets Pern in a fantastical regency romp bound to delight readers of Jane Austen and Anne McCaffrey alike.
Book 1 in the Jane Austen’s Dragons series.

The Most Interesting Man in the World – 0,99$

Book Blurb: 

Charles Bingley is a man who relies on Darcy’s judgment in all things yet understands very little of it, at least when Darcy is speaking Greek to a horse who only understands Latin or staring at the quick-witted sister of his own angelic Jane Bennet. What was happening behind the scenes at Netherfield, Pemberley, and Darcy House, and just what did those men talk about over billiards and brandy? A generous, kind, and always hungry Bingley sheds a little light on keeping company with the most interesting man in the world, and shares his thoughts on puppies, his dreadful sisters, and the meaning of happiness.
This Pride and Prejudice variation contains scenes from the mind of Charles Bingley which are not found in Jane Austen’s original tale.

Jane Austen Fan Fiction on Sale for 1,99$

Mendacity & Mourning – 1,99$

Book Blurb: 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gossip in possession of misheard tales and desirous of both a good wife and an eager audience need only descend upon the sitting rooms of a small country town in order to find satisfaction. And with a push from Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins sets alight a series of misunderstandings, rumours, and lies that create obstacles to a romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
This slightly unhinged romantic comedy follows Darcy as he sets off to find himself a wife and instead finds himself pulled into the mire of his aunt’s machinations and his own fascination with Elizabeth, whom he believes betrothed to another. As Meryton judges him the grieving groom of Anne de Bourgh and a caddish dallier with the hearts of others, Darcy must ferret out the truth behind his cousin’s disappearance, protect his sister from the fretful fate of all Fitzwilliam females, and most importantly, win Elizabeth’s heart.

A Searing Acquaintance – 1,99$

Book Blurb: 

Elizabeth Bennet, saddled with a difficult family, dull dating prospects, and a mundane marketing job, had never met a man like Fitzwilliam Darcy, the wealthy and remote British-American heir to a family famous for both style and tragedy. The aspiring novelist finds herself intrigued yet aggravated by the enigmatic businessman who never imagined thinking about, let alone falling in love with a woman as conversant in Looney Tunes and Yogi Berra as in literature and Greek poets.
When they’re thrown together for a weekend in the country, they find themselves of like mind and lust. Confessions are made and secrets exchanged until misunderstandings and angry feelings overtake the intimacy they shared. Things only worsen when George Wickham stirs up an emotional tempest with tales of the Darcy family’s unhappy history and laces Elizabeth’s book project with traces of legal impropriety.
Marked by their painful pasts, their acquaintance sears them both with anger, yearning and confusion.
Can Elizabeth reconcile her distrust of unconditional love and lasting relationships with Darcy’s need for trust, forgiveness and enduring love? She expects to have expressions of love laughed away; he never anticipates receiving them.
This contemporary variation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice sweeps the couple through Darcy’s heartbreaking background and Elizabeth’s ongoing family complications as they duel over everything from college football to the Social Register.

I Hope this has been helpfull everyone!

Happy Reading!

Disclaimer: The Amazon links used in this post are affiliate links.


Filed under JAFF

Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson – Spotlight

Good Afternoon everyone, 

I hope you’re all well this week and that you’re stacked with good books to read 🙂 As usual, I have more on my TBR pile then I can read, and a few interesting books remain unread. One of them is Isabelle and Alexander, a new Poper Romance novel from Shadow Mountain that reminds me a lot of North & South, and that I would really love to read! If days had 48 hours I would be here with a review of this book, but unfortunetely with a full time job during the day, and only a few hours available to read and blog, all I can bring you at this moment is a bit more information about this book. 

What do you think of the blurb? Is this story appealing to you? Doesn’t it remind you a little of John and Margaret?

I’ve read a few reviews on Amazon and readers are not only loving it, but also mentioning that it does indeed have a few similarities with North & South:

I absolutely loved the moody North and South vibe in this book! ~Amazon reviewer

While it compares in some ways to the classic North & South in setting and contrasts of the hero and heroine’s personality, its plot is distinct ~Amazon reviewer

If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, also known as the BBC film of the same name starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, then Isabelle and Alexander is something you’ll most likely want to read ~Amazon reviewer

With comments as the one I quoted above, this book is definitely on my TBR! Is this a book you’d like me to review? Let me know in the comments as your opinion may move Isabelle and Alexander up or down in the TBR 🙂

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.



  • Title: Isabelle and Alexander (Proper Romance Victorian)
  • Author: Rebecca Anderson
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Victorian Romance
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (May 4, 2021)
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (368) pages
  • Tour Dates: May 3-16. 2021


Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson 2021


You can find Isabelle and Alexander at: 

and on Audible




Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel. 

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.



Rebecca Anderson aka Becca Wilhite headshot


Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Dragon’s Beyond the Pale by Maria Grace – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone, 

It is dragon week and today I have another excerpt involving dragons to share with you! This time it is a passage from Dragon’s Beyond the Pale, Maria Grace’s seventh book of the Jane Austen’s Dragons series.

If you thought this series would end with Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion you were very wrong! Not only Anne and Frederick Wentworth are back to find their way into the Blue Order, but also Dragon Sage Elizabeth Darcy and Sir Fitzwilliam Darcy are present in this story to enter into another adventure. I love the fact that Maria Grace decided to keep both couples in her stories, I love Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion mash ups 🙂

I have read five of the seven books in this series and loved them all, so I honestly cannot wait to listen to the audiobook of Dragon’s Beyond the Pale. I am not sure if we will get and audiobook, but I am hoping Maria Grace will once more collaborate with Benjamin Fife to release an audio version.

Have you listened to any of the previous audiobooks from this series? If not, have you read the books?

I hope you like the excerpt Maria brought us today, and don’t forget to comment the post for a change to win a copy of this book.



Good morning, Rita! Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to share an excerpt from my newest Jane Austen’s Dragons book, Dragons Beyond the Pale


Chapter 2 

January 11, 1815, Kellynch-by-the-Sea


The sun hung midway between dawn and noon, steadfastly refusing to deliver enough warmth to vanquish the prevailing chill. Anne rubbed her gloved hands over the arms of her navy-blue wool pelisse and pulled the heavy basket closer to her chest. 

Would she ever become accustomed to the near-constant sea breeze buffeting her every time she visited Kellynch’s lair? Probably no sooner than she became accustomed to being addressed as Lady Wentworth—it was still difficult not to look for some dowager lurking in the shadows when she heard the name. 

Perhaps Kellynch was right; using the dragon tunnels from the house to the lair would be more comfortable. If only they did not remind her of the dark alley behind the Bath Assembly rooms—and Mr. Elliot.

Thankfully, Wentworth understood and did not insist.

She sucked in cold, salt-tinged air as she looked over her shoulder and across the open—empty— meadow. Mr. Elliot and his cockatrice Friend Jet were safely ensconced in a Blue Order prison. Even if they managed to escape, Kellynch would not tolerate them anywhere near Lyme. With as many friends as Kellynch had made among the local minor dragons, and one other major dragon in the vicinity, Mr. Elliot could not possibly conceal himself anywhere near Lyme. 

She smoothed the prickled hair on the back of her neck. An assault to one’s person was not easily dismissed, even when one had been rescued by the man she loved. Yes, that was the part of the story she should dwell upon.

“Kellynch? Kellynch?” She stepped into the dim stony lair, dank and smelling of dragon musk. How much warmer it seemed now out of the wind.

“Come in.” The space filled with the sound of scales scraping stone. “Have you brought their majesties, my wyrmlings?” 

“Of course I have. They would not miss a chance to visit with you.” She set the basket on the floor. Corn, the black and white tatzelwurmling with white tufty ears and blue eyes, and Wall with the black nose and green eyes, tumbled onto the dusty limestone floor. They bounded down the tunnel, chirruping with glee as Kellynch’s long, toothy grey-green head came into view.

He rumbled something almost like a great purr, which she felt in her chest more than heard. The wyrmlings pounced on him, licking his face and climbing onto the ridges above his eyes. Not the way one was supposed to greet their laird, but as long as they were all happy with it, what harm could it do?

Who would have ever thought Kellynch could be a happy, easy-going dragon?

“When will you allow them to visit me on their own? I do not get to see them often enough.” Kellynch muttered, slithering closer, careful not to dislodge Corn and Wall.

She crouched to scratch the itchy spot between his eyes, just able to make out his pout in the meager light. “They are still small enough to be carried away by the local predatory birds. When they are big enough to no longer be prey, then they can visit whenever you and they wish.”

“They could use the tunnels.”

“Not until I am certain they will not lose their way. They are still very silly little babies and have occasionally lost their way in the house.” She ruffled Corn’s ears. Wall nudged her hands with his nose and demanded the same.

Kellynch sighed and snorted.

“Besides, you visit with them in the cellar nearly every day. You cannot be that lonely.”

“It is not the same as having them in my lair with me. I have been alone so long—”

She sat tailor-style on the floor beside him, her hand on his scaly snout. “I know you have. In fact, that is what I need to talk to you about. Are you certain about us traveling to London, and you remaining here, alone?”

Kellynch grumbled, his lips working in little waves that rippled along his jaw. “Not really.”

Finally, he confessed to the obvious truth. “Then we will inform the Order that we will take the house that boasts a lair with tunnel access to the Thames. That way you will be able to join us easily.”

One brow ridge rose. “Wentworth says the house is not as pleasant as the other you were considering.”

“It is a little enough thing to part with in the interest of your comfort.” She scratched the ridges along his snout as he snuffled appreciative sounds.

“Is it true that I might attend the Cotillion whilst in London? I have never been to the primary Blue Order office.” 

“Indeed. The official invitation includes dragons with new Keepers. The three of us are expected to be presented at the Cotillion.”

Presented by the Dragon Sage. She swallowed hard. Was it a privilege or a punishment to have such a prestigious sponsor? Certainly, the expectations of society upon her would be higher because of it. Father would approve, if he were not banned from all Blue Order society events. 

Was Lady Elizabeth trying to mitigate the repercussions of Father’s ignominy by her show of support? If only she and not Lady Matlock had written to her to tell her of it, it would be easier to judge what to make of it all. 

If only Father had seen fit to have her come out to the Order when she began to hear and allowed her to attend a Keepers’ Cotillion as a young woman. At least she would know firsthand what to expect now. If only he had not fallen from Blue Order society in disgrace, she would not be establishing herself while trying to overcome the huge hurdle he had raised before her. Yet more ways in which she was still paying for Father’s failures.

Kellynch nudged her with his snout and trained a piercing look upon her. Could he tell what she was thinking or only how she felt about it? Who would have guessed he was such a perceptive creature?

“I should like to see such an event, if it would not be burdensome on you.” How polite he was trying to be even though his longing to attend shone clear. He would love the attention and notoriety it would bring him. So like a true Elliot he was. 

“I will consider it an honor for you to be there with us.” 

Kellynch rumbled happily. Corn and Wall purred along with him, though they had little understanding of why. His pleasure was enough to make them happy.

“You will bring their majesties?” He crossed his eyes trying to focus on the wyrmlings perched on his nose.

“Of course, they cannot be left alone.”

“Good, good. I shall go out and have a good feed now so I need not worry about fishing rights whilst I am there.”

How much had Kellynch changed since that day in court? He seemed like an utterly different dragon to the angry, hibernating, threatening sea serpent he had been.

“That seems a sound plan. I am sure Wentworth will agree. I will take their majesties back to the house now and get them ready for traveling in the morning.” She called Corn and Wall back to their basket. Though they lingered in their goodbyes to Kellynch, they did as they were bid. Someday, when they were grown, they would—hopefully—have the good sense of their sire, Laconia. But for now, they were silly, shatter-brained—if very dear — little creatures.

Despite the wind, she took the long way home. Kellynch-by-the-Sea was so different to Kellynch where she had grown up. How could she not miss the spreading old trees, the farmlands, the fields of sheep? The coast was not without its beauties—and it made Kellynch and Wentworth so very happy—but sometimes it still caught her off guard not to see her mother’s gardens, or Lady Russell’s.

A dozen, no there were more than that, small and moderate-sized white rent cottages lined the main road from the manor to Lyme Regis. Several more were set back from the road with small lanes or footpaths leading to them. So many people looked to her as the mistress of Kellynch-by-the-Sea. It could be daunting some days, more so than at Kellynch where she was only standing in for the mistress of the manor.

On the whole, the tenants were pleasant and good-humored, many of them dragon Friends who were quite astonished that Kellynch enjoyed the company of the minor dragons on his estate. 

Despite all the new friends, Kellynch did not neglect Uppercross. Dragon tunnels linked the two estates, and they exchanged regular visits. Uppercross was developing a taste for fish, which Sister Mary definitely did not approve of—it left his breath quite frightful!

According to Lady Elizabeth’s last letter, their whole relationship was very unusual among land dragons. But perhaps not so among marine creatures? She still hoped to visit them soon and learn more about England’s only marine wyrm.


When had Laconia come upon her?

He bumped up against her leg, all three stones worth of fluffy, black tatzelwurm jolting her from her reverie. “Wentworth wonders where you have gotten to.”

“I told him I would be checking on Kellynch. Is he very worried?” She glanced past Laconia as a gust of chill air raced down the neat line of cottages.

“He is accustomed to having all his sailors at an easy distance.” Laconia glanced over his shoulder and backed up two steps, a very odd movement for a tatzelwurm.

“And I am out of range of his spyglass, I suppose?” 

“Come back to the house with me.” An odd note of concern tinged his voice as he turned for the manor.

She followed. “Is there something wrong?”

“It is difficult to say. A cockatrice messenger from the Order arrived not very long ago.”

Merciful heavens!

Anne increased her pace to a near run; Laconia spring-hopped to keep up.


Anne stopped in the study’s doorway and stared at an unfamiliar hawk-sized cockatrice, red-brown and a bit weather-beaten, wearing a small pack embossed with the signet of the Order strapped to his back. He stood on Wentworth’s desk, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

Wentworth did the same as he stood, a mite awkwardly, at the far side of the desk.

He still had not got the room quite arranged to his liking. Long and narrow, he complained there was both too much room and not enough at the same time. Too big to be compact and efficient like the accommodations on his ship, but not spacious enough for the desk that had been shoehorned in and the three leather-covered chairs that seemed to take up the remaining floor space. A bookcase lined the long wall, opposite the windows, lacking both enough books to look scholarly and sufficient bric-a-brac to appear well traveled. 

He declared the entire affair felt a bit like a midshipman’s effort. At least he judged the desk chair comfortable and that sufficient sunlight streamed through the windows so reading was possible most of the day. That was something.

Someday she would have enough saved to commission a proper suite of office furniture for him. An extravagance he would never purchase himself. 

Laconia chirruped and pawed at the doorframe.

Wentworth glanced up and caught Anne’s eye with a brief nod. “There now.” He opened the messenger’s pack and removed a letter bearing the Blue Order Seal.

The cockatrice shook out his compacted feather-scales and scratched behind his tiny ear with his talons, leaning back on his dusty serpentine tail for balance.

“Laconia, show our guest to the kitchen for a solid meal whilst I read this and pen a reply. The wyrmlings may accompany you as well.” That was not a suggestion, but an order.

Anne placed the basket on the floor. Corn and Wall tumbled out and led the way to the kitchen, spring-hopping with speed only the possibility of a snack could induce. The Blue Order messenger flew low behind them.

Wentworth beckoned her in, and she shut the door behind her. He closed the window that the messenger had probably entered.

“Would it be too optimistic to hope it is merely an announcement of time changes to the Cotillion?” She bit her lip and dodged around the clumsy chairs to join him near the desk.

He cracked the seal. “Considering this is written in cipher, I imagine something less mundane.” He yanked open the top drawer and removed a small red leatherbound notebook no larger than the palm of his hand. “The specific cipher was pressed into the wax seal—one that is reserved for only select operatives of the Order.”

“So definitely not good news.” She perched in the nearest chair, stiff and smelling of leather polish. 

He fell into his chair. It groaned, long-suffering. “It will take me some time to sort the message out. Tell me of your visit to Kellynch whilst I work on it.”

“I still wonder that he is the same creature who threatened me in the sea cave. Though I suppose I should not be, considering what Lady Elizabeth has told me about dragons who have been wronged. They certainly take their offenses seriously.”

“Indeed they do, large and small.”

“Dragons or offenses?”

“Both.” He snickered softly though his brow drew low over his eyes.

 “If he had his druthers, I think he would take up residence in the cellar under the house. At least he would if only it were a little larger and had a proper soaking pool for him, like his lair does—apparently after all the decades without water, he is unwilling to do without again. But still, he truly hates to be alone. Can you imagine? He complained he had not seen Corn and Wall recently enough. Who would have thought he would be so fond of them? At times I wonder whether they are our Friends or his.”

“According to Laconia, they talk of Kellynch constantly, honored by the attention of a true wyrm. Shatter-brained little creatures! I half expect that the Sage will ask you to write a monograph on their relationship.” He glanced up from his work. 

Oh, the way he looked at her! It would never grow old. 

The crests of her cheeks heated.

“I imagine you are going to tell me he has decided to accompany us to London, no?”

“He was rather considerate about it, though. He seemed concerned that the house with the lair might not be as pleasing as the other we had inquired after.”

He set down his pencil and fixed her gaze with his own. “And you are all right with the change? You are being presented into Dragon Keeping society by the Sage herself, after all. I expect we will be required to do a great deal of entertaining.”

She swallowed hard, her eyes burning just a bit. He was so considerate. “I cannot imagine a house with a dragon lair being any mean accommodation. As to it being unable to accommodate a large party—I think that is rather a good thing. Hosting small events, for now, suits me very well indeed.”

“A baronet and his lady need not be seen living as a baronet and his lady?” The corners of his lips turned up just a mite.

“I think being seen as honoring one’s dragon is living as a baronet and his family should, do you not?”

 “I could not say it better myself.” He chuckled, picked up his pencil and began scratching away again. 

Perhaps on the journey to London they could talk about what entertaining Blue Order society during the Cotillion season would look like. Wentworth had no experience with such things.

Would he chafe amidst the expectations of “good” society? Would he be accepted among them, or simply viewed a novelty—a Dragon Keeping naval officer who had to be tolerated and humored whilst behind his back talk would fly? How hard did he expect, or even want, to work to be accepted? How important was it to him?

How important was it to her?

His expression slowly crumpled into a deep frown. “It seems the plans you made with Kellynch are fortuitous. Lord Matlock himself requests that Kellynch remain with his Keepers in light of current events.” 

A cold chill snaked down her spine. “Does he say what current events?”

He scribbled down a few more words. “Apparently, Mr. William Elliot finds his accommodations in prison rather uncomfortable—not gentleman’s lodgings, it seems. He has attempted to trade information for some favors toward himself.”

She clutched the edge of the desk. “They are not going to release him, are they?”

“No, that would be far too dangerous—for him. Kellynch will never forgive the assault on his Keeper. Not to mention Elliot is far from paying his debts to the Order. I am sure he has only bought himself a softer bed or better rations. In any case, the information suggests there are those, dragon hearers and some dragon-deaf, maybe even some members of the Order itself, who are hostile toward dragons. There are hints of schemes to profit off trading in dragons and—” he gulped, “—their body parts.”

“Gracious heavens!” The dragon scale lotion she made from the scales Uppercross happily gave her was one thing, but this? The edges of her vision fuzzed and the room spun slightly. She clutched the arms of the chair.

“At this point, there is no way of knowing the accuracy of Elliot’s information. It could have been merely a fiction traded for comfort. But then again, it might not. Matlock insists—and I agree—it must be thoroughly investigated.”

“Of course, of course it must. The possibility is too awful to take lightly!” Anne stood, knees shaking almost too hard to hold her up.

“Lord Matlock asks that we alter our travel plans. He has arranged for post horses so we do not need to stop and rest ours. He wants us to visit a list of persons and places of interest along the way to London. If we travel day and night, it will delay our arrival by a day, at most two.”

“That does not seem so bad. I am sure it will be hardly noticeable.” 

“It will be uncomfortable. At best. There will be no sleeping at inns, we will take meals in the carriage, not at proper tables. It is a form of travel to which you are not accustomed.”

“I am hardly accustomed to any sort of travel at all. I will make do.”

He skirted around the desk and took her hands firmly. “Are you sure?” 

“This is what we decided upon when we wed. I admit, I had not expected Order business to come up so soon, or to be so serious, but I will not back down from our commitment.” Hopefully he did not notice her fingers trembling.

“Then I will write to him straight away.” He pressed her hands to his cheek.

“I will adjust our packing in light of our new plans. Corn and Wall will need plenty of snacks and a few extra bones for teething.”




So, what do you think is going on? No spoilers, but I will say, it’s far more than you might imagine!

Smugglers. A kidnapping. A fire-breathing fairy dragon? The Blue Order is falling apart at the seams.  

After months in Bath mentoring Dragon Keepers and Friends, Dragon Sage Elizabeth Darcy actually anticipates traveling to London for the Keeper’s Cotillion. Which says a great deal considering the she-dragons who make up the Cotillion board would very much like to show the Sage her proper place.

The she-dragons, though, are no match for what Sir Fitzwilliam Darcy finds waiting for him in London. Threats to the Order on every side, and Lord Matlock demands he keep them secret from Elizabeth. No one keeps secrets from Elizabeth.

In the meantime, Anne and Frederick Wentworth arrive in London with hopes of finally being accepted in good Blue Order society, unaware of the burgeoning maelstrom about to engulf them.

Darcy manages to keep matters under control until a fairy-dragon’s prank unleashes sinister forces who perpetrate an unthinkable crime that could spell the end of the Pendragon Accords and usher in a new age of dragon war.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy, with the Wentworths’ help, restore balance to the Blue Order before the dragons decide to take matters into their own talons and right the wrongs themselves?




You can find Dragon’s Beyond the Pale at:

on Kindle Unlimited




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. 

dragon author2

She can be contacted at: 



Random Bits of Fascination 


Maria Grace is kindly offering an ebook copy of Dragon’s Beyond the Pale to one reader commenting this post, or if you haven’t read any book from the series yet, you can pick an ebook copy of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon. Leave a comment on this post until the 13th of May to apply. The winner will be announced shortly after. 

Good Luck everyone!

dragon group 7 cover



Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice