Monthly Archives: January 2022

Mages and Mysteries by Victoria Kincaid

Mages and mysteries4.5 stars

Mages and Mysteries is a fantasy Pride & Prejudice story set in a Regency England where goblin attacks are a normal occurrence and where the Academy Paladins are required to step up and protect the population. However, even though everyone may possess magical skills, these Paladins are always male because woman are expected to use their magical skills for minor tasks such as decoration and home management.

When Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, two of the Academy’s renown Paladins, travel to Hertfordshire, they are obliged to re-think about the Academy’s decisions as Elizabeth Bennet starts showing them how valuable and strong her magic is.

There are a lot of fantasy P&P stories being released lately, and it is becoming harder for authors to differentiate their stories from the ones previously released. What I loved the most about Mages and Mysteries was the ability Victoria Kincaid had to create a new world and to bring the goblin storyline more depth than one would expect from the enemy. I loved how the goblin storyline progressed and the conclusions Elizabeth and Darcy were able to make as they discovered more about them, their world, the reason for their appearance and behavior.

I also loved the pace of the story and the fact that it was action-packed. From goblin attacks, to travels through the country, investigations being held and evil mages controlling people’s minds, this book didn’t have one dull moment. The writing style was also very vivid and allowed me to clearly picture every battle that was occurring, every tender moment between Darcy and Elizabeth and every look they shared. As always Victoria Kincaid was able to capture my attention and to deliver a very entertaining book.

I also loved Darcy and Elizabeth’s partnership and trust in one another. Their companionship was essential to obtain the tools that allowed them to win that one last battle, and even if their relationship didn’t captivate me from the start, by the end of the book I was completely rendered to it.

Summing up, Mages and Mysteries is an entertaining story with a vivid writing style that will provide readers with mystery, adventure, a different and interesting reality, and a sweet romance. I recommend it to readers who cannot have enough of Darcy and Elizabeth.

 

You can find Mages and Mysteries at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kindle Unlimited

 

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Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

Captive Hearts by Kelly Miller – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am super excited to welcome Kelly Miller at From Pemberley to Milton to share with you an excerpt of her latest book Captive Hearts. As soon as I heard this book was coming out I added it to my TBR because it is a Persuasion variation! Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I love reading books based on Persuasion, but most of them are moderns, and Captive Hearts is a variation which takes place in Regency times, which is absolutely perfect for me 🙂

The excerpt we are sharing today is told from Wentworth’s POV and I am as curious as he was to know what Anne would say were it not for Louisa’s interruption! I am really eager to read this one. What about you? Is Persuasion your cup? Are you as excited about this story as I am ?

I would like to thank not only Kelly for visiting, but also MP and Janet Taylor for allowing me to spread the word about this story 🙂 Thank you all!


This excerpt, in Captain Wentworth’s point of view, is set in Lyme. Wentworth had wanted to take a solitary walk, but Miss Louisa had accosted him before he left the inn, so they walked out together. Miss Louisa speaks first.

***

“Henrietta! Anne! Oh, look! They are coming towards us!”

His sight followed where Miss Louisa pointed. The two ladies walked in their direction on the Cobb. His senses heightened at the picture Anne presented: splendorous, serene, and natural with her bright eyes, rosy cheeks, and unaffected smile. He no longer forced himself to look away. But what would he say to her?

When he greeted the two ladies, Anne met his eyes for a fleeting moment before she moved away. Miss Louisa declared a wish to visit the local haberdashery and suggested they all go together. Before he gave any thought to preventing it, Miss Louisa clasped onto his arm again, urging him in the direction of the town. Anne and Miss Musgrove followed behind them.

A few yards from the steps that led down to the lower stone promenade, they passed a gentleman, well-favoured in appearance and stature, dressed in expensive attire. The group elicited no more than a quick glance from the gentleman.

Wentworth stopped and turned, capturing the moment Anne passed the stranger. A sudden smile lit the gentleman’s countenance and his face brightened with an unmistakable mark of admiration. The man’s gaze lingered upon Anne.

She glanced at the gentleman. Her cheeks flushed a deep red.

A twisting discomfort beset Wentworth’s stomach. This reminder of Anne’s appeal to other gentlemen illustrated the extent of his folly. He could count himself fortunate that she had not married another.

The group continued towards the main street of town. The dogged urge to glance behind him bedevilled each step he took.

Holding the door open for the ladies at the haberdashery furnished him with an excuse to free himself from his unwanted partner. Lured by the goods within, Miss Louisa moved into the shop, allowing the space between them to grow. He stayed alone near the entrance.

When Miss Musgrove joined her sister to peruse an aisle of baubles and mementos, Anne ambled alone by shelves stocked with local handmade art and seashells at the other end of the shop. He sped into motion.

He came up behind Anne, who held up a brooch made from a seashell for inspection, and searched his mind in vain for an amusing or pithy statement to utter. Why had he not come up with a topic before they reached the shop? “How do you like Lyme?”

Anne flinched, and the brooch almost slipped from her hand. She spun to face him.

“Forgive me for startling you.”

Her eyes grew wide. She set down the brooch in a hurried movement. “Not at all. I am fond of Lyme. The salt air, the rhythmic sounds of the waves, the sandy beaches…I find all of it appealing. I have been here many times before but not for years. At one time, I expected—that is, I should like to return here in the future.”

What would she have said, and why did she change her mind? “I trust you will not find it surprising that I agree with you. In addition to the advantages you mentioned, the town boasts two of my closest friends.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Harville could not have been more gracious to us. I found Captain Benwick to be kind too. I am pleased to have met them.” Anne’s dulcet voice had a calming influence despite the stirring to his senses her proximity elicited.

“I have been remiss in not inquiring sooner after your family. Are they in good health?” He tensed. The question, though a natural enough one, might remind her that he stayed at her family home.

A momentary fold shaded Anne’s brow. “I thank you for asking. Correspondence from my father and elder sister tends to be infrequent, but Lady Russell has been in company with them and has written that they are well.”

He resisted the impulse to frown at the mention of that lady’s name. In the wake of his recent contemplations, his opinion of Lady Russell must be judged anew. Thus, he managed to ask with sincerity, “How is Lady Russell? I hope she is well.”

Anne’s eyebrows lifted, and her eyes met his for a long moment. “My friend is quite well. It is kind of you to ask.” She redirected her sight towards a display of sea shells. “Lady Russell has always been generous to me and has tried to advise me in the way she thought best. As much as I appreciate and respect her—”

“Captain Wentworth, Anne, are you ready to leave?” Miss Louisa stepped between them and slipped her hand around his arm.

“Yes, of course.” Anne retreated and made her way to Miss Musgrove’s side.

He spoke between clenched teeth. “Yes, it is time we returned.”

Speculation of what Anne would have said but for Miss Louisa’s unwelcome interruption occupied Wentworth for the entire walk back to the inn. He and Anne had conversed without the overt awkwardness that had attended their previous exchanges. Her tone and demeanour had been better than he could have hoped for—far better than he deserved. They would speak again soon; he would ensure it.


NEW book blurb

Will Captain Wentworth realize too late that he has a second chance at love?

With a successful naval career and a fortune to his name, Frederick Wentworth receives a hero’s welcome from his sister’s neighbours. 

One person, though, presents a source of vexation. Years earlier, Miss Anne Elliot had reneged on her promise to marry Wentworth, revealing a significant character flaw. Yet Anne’s unmarried state at the age of seven and twenty, her altered demeanour, and her resolute avoidance of Wentworth raise questions that gnaw at his composure.

In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the captain follows the advice of a respected new friend and re-examines the agonizing circumstances of his bitter break from Anne, reaching a novel conclusion. But before he can act upon his new resolve, a dire twist of fate threatens Anne’s life.

CH FW wobld 011222 M

You can find Captive Hearts at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and Kindle Unlimited


The blog tour is coming to an end but you can still check the previous posts 🙂 

1-24 Babblings of a Bookworm

1-25 My Jane Austen Book Club

1-27 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

1-28 The Literary Assistant

1-29 From Pemberley to Milton

1-31  My Vices and Weaknesses

CH horz BT Banner


Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of Captive Hearts, to enter the giveaway all you have to do is click on the following Raffle link.

Good luck everyone!

CH Blog Tour Schedule M

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Kidnapped and Compromised by Demi Monde- Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

One of the great things about the yearly JAFF Get Together event is that is allows all of us to establish new connections every year, and in last year’s event it allowed me to get to know author Demi Monde! Well, in fact, I already knew some of her work, which I’ve also reviewed here at From Pemberley to Milton, but she had never visited my blog, so I am thankful to that event because it allowed me to get in touch with her, and share an excertp of her latest release, Kidnapped and Compromised, with all of you.

Ms. Monde’s books are all steamy, and a sub genre I don’t read often, but I am sure that many readers love this sub genre, and I believe the beauty of JAFF is it’s diversity, so I hope you enjoy the excerpt, maybe it is something new to you 🙂 I admit that I enjoyed Darcy Interrupted more then I was expecting!

Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Monde, it is a pleasure to receive you for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton.


NEW excerpt

Hello Dear Readers, it is a pleasure to be here to share more details about my new release, Kidnapped and Compromised. This is a steamy novella and a work of Austenesque fiction. 

kidnapped and compromised

Abducted and facing ruin, can Elizabeth’s wits save her from a dastardly plot? And will Mr. Darcy find her in time?  

When a false friend tricks Elizabeth, she is abducted by carriage from Meryton and carried hours away to a bawdy house. If Mr. Darcy does not rescue and pay her ransom, she will be sold to the highest bidder. 

Elizabeth must depend on her wits to survive. But the clock is ticking. Will Mr. Darcy choose to risk his life for the woman he secretly loves but who despises him? And if so, can he rescue her before it’s too late?  

This 40,000 word steamy Pride and Prejudice variation features kidnapping, compromise, forced marriage, rescue by Mr. Darcy, double wedding, Christmas holiday ball and a happily ever after.

***

This book opens near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, with the militia present in Meryton and Elizabeth Bennet’s opinion of Mr. Darcy set, no matter his opinion of her fine eyes.

Chapter 1

Mr. Darcy pulled the reins, bringing his horse to a standstill from cantering, and looked around the Hertfordshire countryside. He thought he had heard yelling. But all he saw was an open field, crops in rows, with no one in sight. Fox pranced forward skittishly, no doubt unnerved by his rider’s stillness. 

“Miss Elizabeth?”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

He had definitely heard it this time, over the sound of the horse’s hooves churning the damp earth underfoot. He had not imagined the voices calling for the desirable yet impertinent Elizabeth Bennet. Though she had believed Wickham’s stories about him, and questioned him at the Netherfield ball, he still admired her intelligence and beauty. But he could not have what he wanted. Her social connections and her family’s impropriety would never allow him to be with her in society or even to call on her in Hertfordshire. 

He fingered the smooth leather reins as he decided whether to give in to his desire to find the cause of the servants yelling for the Bennet girl or to avoid temptation. The more he was close to her, the harder it was to not speak to her, to make her notice him, to have her admire him.

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

Mr. Darcy nudged his chestnut stallion Fox with his heels and headed towards the figures near the forest. Any gentleman would offer assistance in this situation. And Miss Bingley was not here to tease him for paying too much attention to Elizabeth’s fine eyes.

“You there!” He spied a servant walking at the edge of the woodland. “What is the matter?”

The man pulled at his forelock. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet has not returned from her walk.”

Mr. Darcy had heard of her odd habit of lengthy, daily walks and had seen it for himself when she had hiked three miles to Netherfield to care for her sister. “Surely she cannot be lost? Has she not walked all over this countryside?”

The older man nodded. “Yes sir, but she—”  

“How long has she been missing? What is being done to find her?” Mr. Darcy’s horse shook his head and pawed at the ground, eager to return to cantering.

“Miss Elizabeth has been gone since right after the noon meal, sir. Mr. Bennet has all the servants out looking for her.”

Mr. Darcy frowned. That was nearly five hours ago. Even a country girl with a fondness for countryside rambles would have returned by now. His chest clenched at the thought of her injured on the ground, somewhere at the mercy of the local wildlife. “How many are searching for Miss Bennet? Is anyone on horseback? What is her usual walking path?”

The servant looked back towards Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family. “I do not know, sir. Mr. Bennet is at Longbourn and would answer your questions.”

Mr. Darcy spun his horse and kicked him into a canter. He searched the ground for a beautiful young woman lying injured as he rode. She must have twisted her ankle and was too far away to be heard yelling for help.

It was unconscionable that the Bennet girl was allowed to walk without a maid. Never would he have permitted his sister Georgiana to do the same. Perhaps Mr. Bennet would be more circumspect after this. However, Mr. Darcy doubted it. Control over his family was not one of Mr. Bennet’s strong suits, not with the way his younger daughters behaved at the assemblies or in town, flirting with the officers.

Mr. Darcy guided his horse down the short driveway of Longbourn.

Mr. Bennet looked up at the sound of Fox’s hooves clattering on the gravel path. The family’s patriarch stood in front of the house, directing searchers in his greatcoat and hat. Mr. Bennet turned in Mr. Darcy’s direction.

“Mr. Bennet, I came across one of your servants looking for Miss Elizabeth. May I offer my assistance?”

Mr. Bennet grimaced. “It would be much appreciated Mr. Darcy. However, I am sure my dear Lizzy has just lost track of the time. I have tried to curtail her long walks, but she will not listen to me.” 

He chuckled, most likely expecting Mr. Darcy to join in. But Mr. Darcy’s thoughts were far from amused as his opinion of the Bennet patriarch dropped lower. “Men on horseback could cover a greater distance. I am certain Mr. Bingley would provide his servants to help with the search.”

Mr. Bennet widened his stance as he looked up at the younger man who outranked him in every manner. “I thank you for your offer; nonetheless I am sure we will find her quite soon. There is no need to cause alarm among our friends and neighbors.”

Mr. Darcy gathered the reins, biting back the desire to tell Mr. Bennet that a proper search had not been done. He turned, giving his horse the signal to move away from the man and his doddering ways. The eldest two Bennet girls deserved all the credit for their characters. It was a shame they came from such a family.

A young maid darted out from behind the hedgerows lining the lane. Fox reared back in surprise, but Mr. Darcy quickly brought him under control. He turned to the girl, ready to lecture her on not startling horses.

“Oh, Mr. Darcy! I have a note for you. I was going to give it to Mr. Bennet, but since you are here…” She held the stationary up to him.

He plucked it out of her hand with a scowl. It could not be a message from Netherfield. Mr. Bingley would not have sent a young maid alone to find him. “Who is this from?”

“A man in Meryton asked me to give this to you.” The girl gripped her waist, breathing heavily. 

He unfolded and read the note, his heart stopping. Mr. Darcy pinned the servant girl with his stare. “How long ago did you receive this? Did you recognize the man that gave it to you?” 

“No, sir, but he had a red coat on. He must be one of the militia.” 

Mr. Darcy turned his head away to think. The maid curtsied and started towards the house.

“Wait!”

She stopped and looked back, clutching her apron. 

“Do not tell anyone. Miss Elizabeth’s reputation is at stake.”

The servant assured him of her silence and continued down the driveway to Longbourn. Mr. Darcy lifted the reins, intending to race to Netherfield and round up his friend Mr. Bingley and servants, but stopped. It was his fault entirely that the honor of Elizabeth Bennet was at risk. The fewer people that knew of this situation, the better.

He needed to move quickly. Mr. Wickham had abducted Elizabeth Bennet.


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The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews – Review & Giveaway

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews 20214 stars

The Siren of Sussex is an historical novel that brings novelty to the genre. In this book the reader will witness the perseverance of Miss Maltravers, a lady who is set on finding a husband as a means to support her family, and the talent of Mr. Ahmad Malik, an Indian dressmaker who does not give up on his dreams easily.

The main characters circumstances in life are so different that we would not imagine a love story occurring between them, but Mimi Matthews was able to bring much more to this story then a simple romance. These characters will not only have to struggle with the edicts of society, but also struggle with the possibility of poverty, the sense of belonging and family duty. All these aspects will have to be balanced with the love they feel for one another, and one of the aspects I loved the most in the book, was that once Miss Maltravers discovered what was more important to her, she decided that she couldn’t be a bystander when her own happiness was at stake. She wasn’t overly romantic and didn’t convince herself that love was enough to live happily ever after. She decided to take her fate into her own hands and make things happen. She was not missish, and she didn’t sit around and wait for her problems to miraculously go away, she fought for what she wanted in a rational manner, and I absolutely loved this about her. It was refreshing to see a woman unafraid to make plans that would devise her own happiness and who would focus on solutions instead of problems.

Another aspect I enjoyed in this book was the camaraderie that we witness between Miss Maltravers and her three friends. They were all misfits in their own way, but they always supported each other no matter what. Their devotion and friendship were as endearing as their peculiarities were fascinating. I loved these characters so much that I admit I was a little sad not to know more about their fates in the epilogue, namely with regards to Captain Blundt.

In fact, Mimi Matthews brought several eccentric characters and situations to the story, and that was simultaneously new and interesting because one cannot stop loving these characters. Despite their idiosyncrasies, they are all good people, and the reader wants to spend more time around them. The lack of a true villain is also an aspect I enjoyed tremendously in this book as I always find more enriching stories where characters have to fight their own demons then stories with an external party conniving to the make other people’s lives harder.

My only quibble with this story was the chemistry between the main characters. I never felt a great intensity in their romance, and I wasn’t enraptured with their scenes or dialogues. Even if I did like their individual stories and backgrounds, as a couple I couldn’t feel an electrifying love or connection.

Overall, The Siren of Sussex is an extremely well written book with a fluid prose that invites readers to continue reading. It focuses on interesting topics such as the feeling of belonging, and the impacts it may have in people’s happiness and above all in their behaviors. It is an exciting story and I recommend it to readers who enjoy well written historical romances.

You can find The Siren of Sussex at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Audible


NEW book blurb

Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.


Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.
Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.
But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?


NEW author bio

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. 

Mimi and Centelleo - Author Photo

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | BOOKBUB |


NEW giveaaway time

Mimi Matthews has generously offered a fabulous giveaway package for readers who follow the blog tour.

The Giveaway Package:

1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives the following:

Signed print copy of The Siren of Sussex

Horse scarf

Pewter sidesaddle brooch (made in Sussex, England!)

The Siren of Sussex tote bag

Three candles in scents: Fresh Hay, New Saddle, and Winter Ride

Box of Ahmad Tea (60 count, assorted flavors)

The Siren of Sussex bookmark

The giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 years old or older from the 4th of January to the 7th of February, and to apply to it you should follow the following Rafflecopter link.

The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog – mimimatthews.com – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.

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Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

Giveaway Winners Announcement

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope you had a great weekend! Luckily, we had great weather in Portugal this weekend and I got to spend it at the beach reading, isn’t that great?! The Siren of Sussex was my first beach read of the year and the review will go live tomorrow, so if you’re interested in knowing more about Mimi Matthews latest book, stop by and check it out.

For now, I would like to thank Victoria Kincaid and Laura Moretti for stopping by with gifts to my readers, and to announce the giveaway winners, so without further ado, the winners are:

Mages and Mysteries

*** Sheilamajczan***

December Book Mail Giveaway

*** Cyndyhenry***

Pemberley

*** Karen O ***

*** Jen D. ***

*** TC ***

I would like to ask the winners to please send your email contacts and the amazon store you use to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that the prizes may be sent to you.

Happy Reading everyone!

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Nameless by Julie Cooper

nameless5 stars

Nameless is such an addictive book that once I started listening to the audiobook, I couldn’t get away from the story. Because I only listen to audiobooks while I am doing something else, and there isn’t that much to do around the house, I had to pick the paperback and continue reading it.

In this book we find older versions of Darcy and Elizabeth and that is something I always love to see, but their pasts made this story even more appealing to me! Elizabeth has become an orphan working as a companion for Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Matlock, who has recently become widowed, and Darcy, well…lets say his past is a bit of a mystery, but it appears to be a little dark.

When Mr. Darcy visits his aunt at Rosings, he gets reconnect with Elizabeth and asks her to marry him, which she does, so the story quickly moves to Pemberley, where we witness these characters grow accustomed to each other and to married life.

The writing style and the tone of the book are certainly its selling features. I loved the dark tone of the mystery behind Mr. Darcy’s prior life and felt compelled to keep reading in hopes to discover what truly happened and what shaped him into a wounded and cold man. Mr. Darcy’s character was so involving that I constantly wanted to jump inside the book and comfort him.

I also enjoyed witnessing a more mature Elizabeth who doesn’t jump into conclusions without knowing the facts and who is set on trusting her husband above all. She faced many difficult situations, but her strength, maturity and perseverance allowed her to conquer all challenges and build a loving and strong relationship with Mr. Darcy.

Nameless focuses on the characters internal fears and demons, it shows the reader how it is possible to overcome grief and trauma, but it also has a lot of external conflict, namely towards the end of the book as part of the mystery unravels and the story picks up some action, which makes the book even more engaging.

The villains were truly mean and at times, hard to believe, but the story is so well built that I could only focus on what the characters were facing and feeling.

Summing up, Nameless is a book hard to put down due to the fluid writing style, the mystery and the growing intensity of the story. I highly recommend it to all readers.

 

Audiobook Narration:

Elizabeth Level

Elizabeth Bennet’s Level

Stevie Zimmerman’s narration of Nameless was simply perfect. She nailed every aspect of this story and truly got inside the characters making it hard to stop listening to the audiobook. I felt she truly understood the tone of the book and transmitted it in her voice, her narration pace and intonation. Highly recommend the audiobook version.

 

You can find Nameless at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kindle Unlimited and Audible

 

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Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

Much Ado In Meryton by Riana Everly – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very pleased to welcome one more at From Pemberley to Milton author Riana Everly. If you’ve been around for a while, you already know that I truly adore her guest posts because they are always very interesting and informative, and today she has not dissapointed. Apart from a wonderful excerpt of Much Ado in Meryton, a P&P Mash Up with Shakespeare, Riana brought us a little more information about house parties in Regency, a topic I am particularly fond of. I hope you enjoy the post and the excerpt! And don’t forget, Riana is offering 5 ebook copies of her latest release Much Ado in Meryton so don’t forget to check it out. 

Thank you for visiting Riana, it is always a pleasure to welcome you here 🙂


A tale of friends, enemies, and the power of love.

“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” – Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing, 5.2

Mr. Darcy’s arrival in Meryton raises many people’s disdain, and Elizabeth Bennet’s ire. An insult at a dance is returned in full measure, and soon the two find themselves in a merry war of words, trading barbs at every encounter. Matters go from bad to worse when Elizabeth and Darcy find themselves living under the same roof for a time, and their constant bickering frays everybody’s nerves.

Will a clever scheme by their family and friends bring some peace to Netherfield’s halls? And what of Mr. Wickham, whose charming presence is not quite so welcome by some members of the party? When the games get out of hand and nastier elements come into play, will everybody’s chances for happiness be ruined forever?

This clever mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing casts our beloved characters in fresh light, uniting Jane Austen’s keen insight into love and character, and Shakespeare’s biting wit.

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Much Ado 400x600

You can find Much Ado in Meryton at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


.

I would like to wish everybody a happy 2022, with sincere hopes that it’s better than the last two years, and to thank Rita for hosting me here today. It is always a delight to visit this fabulous blog.

In my new novel, Much Ado in Meryton, poor Jane Bennet injures her ankle and is forced to stay at Netherfield Park for much longer than in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. To keep her entertained and amused while she is chair-bound, Mr. Bingley has a suggestion: Instead of Jane going out into Meryton for her amusement, Meryton should come to her. In other words, he arranges a prolonged house party.

The idea of a house party goes back centuries, if not millennia. One of the very first references to such an event is in the ancient Roman play Mostellaria (The Haunted House) by the playwright Plautus. This comedy tells the story of a young man who holds a house party while his father is away on business. For Austen fans who have read Mansfield Park, I’m sure this sounds familiar! 

Another famous house party of sorts, if not quite one that was planned as such, is the story told in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron. This fourteenth-century work is a collection of short stories told by a group of young men and women as they shelter in a villa near Florence while the city is in the grip of the Black Death. I’m sure this also sounds familiar to a lot of people.

By the time we get to Regency England, however, house parties were less a matter of necessity and were more a matter of socializing and entertainment. One might invite close friends, business or political associates, potential matches for a son or daughter who really ought to be married by now, and possibly one or two somewhat scandalous people to keep matters interesting. 

While the guests were expected to keep themselves amused for part of the time, there were also a number of planned activities. Since house parties often took place in the late summer or early autumn when Parliament was in recess, a lot of time was spent out of doors. The men might go hunting or riding, or they might engage in some sports such as cricket matches. The ladies tended to keep closer to the house and in the gardens (all beautifully kept, of course), but might go into the village or out for a carriage ride.

As well as suitable outdoor activities such as archery or croquet, the gathered party might take an excursion to some suitably interesting site in the neighbourhood. Think of the ill-fated picnic in Emma or the aborted drive to Blaise Castle in Northanger Abbey. Perhaps the groups in these stories weren’t coming from a house party, but this type of outing would have been a perfect fit. 

If the weather was cold or rainy and the company had to keep to the house, they might have amused themselves with charades, fortune telling, tableaux, and a variety of card games. And, in the evenings after a long and elaborate dinner, the party might indulge in musical performances, informal dances, and home theatricals.

George_Goodwin_Kilburne_A_good_hand_800x565

These are some of the ideas that Mr. Bingley mused over in his attempts to keep Jane happy while she recovered enough to travel home. What would you enjoy doing at a house party? Have you ever been to such an event? Did you have fun, or do you prefer more solitary activities?

Here is an excerpt from my novel, Much Ado in Meryton.


“Lizzy dear!” Jane called from the chaise where she half-reclined. Her leg rested on the long seat and Elizabeth could see the white bindings of the bandage about Jane’s delicate ankle. “I had not thought that you would take the trouble to come so soon.”

Elizabeth nodded her greeting to Mrs. Nicholls, who bobbed a curtsey and slipped from the room, and then hurried to sit at Jane’s side. “Oh, my sweet, how could I not? I cannot leave you to the Bingley sisters’ ministrations. I see they have quite forgotten you already in favour of their toast and chocolate.”

“They have been very kind to me. I can only be pleased by their concern. And even before hearing this news, they have insisted that I must stay until I am well enough to walk.”

Mister Bingley insisted, you mean,” Lizzy teased, “and his sisters merely had to agree with him, for it is, after all, his house. But a sprained ankle will heal in days; a broken one will take weeks.”

“Then weeks she shall stay. Or until Mr. Jones declares her strong enough for the carriage ride back to Longbourn.” Mr. Bingley stood at the doorway. “May I come in?”

Jane nodded, and he entered, taking a chair and placing it beside the one where Elizabeth sat. His usual wide grin was gone and he spoke with all care and attention.

“Mr. Jones has left. He feels strongly that you should not travel, even so short a distance as to Longbourn, until your ankle has begun to heal. The rattle of the carriage might cause further injury to your leg. And I would not hear of it! You shall most certainly stay as long as is needed. Caroline is talking to the housekeeper to set up a suite for you on this very storey as we speak, and if Miss Elizabeth wishes, she may have the adjoining room. It shall be a merry party…” He paused and his eyes widened. “By gum, yes! That is the very thing! A party it shall be.” His accustomed grin began to make itself known once more upon his face. “As long as Miss Bennet is laid up and cannot move through Meryton, then Meryton shall come to her! We shall invite your sisters and friends and the officers to come and keep your spirits up whilst your ankle heals. It is the very thing!” 

Elizabeth had to speak up. “You are most kind, sir, but we cannot importune your sister in this way. Let me call for the carriage, to see what kind of support we may contrive for Jane’s foot. She can rest well enough at her own home, and with less trouble by far for you.”

“You do hurt me, Miss Elizabeth!” She thought he was jesting. “I had hoped to arrange a party soon enough to regale my new neighbours, and this is the perfect thing for it. Indeed, by remaining here as my guests, you shall be helping me! I beg of you, for your sister’s sake, to stay.”


Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back. 

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana’s blog at https://rianaeverly.com/blog/, and join her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/) and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!


The blog tour is coming to an end but you can still check the previous posts 🙂 

January 7 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm
January 10 ~ Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
January 11 ~ A Novel Sentiment
January 13 ~ So Little Time… So Much to Read
January 14 ~ Austen Authors
January 17 ~ From Pemberley to Milton
January 22 ~ My Love for Jane Austen
January 27 ~ Austenesque Reviews


Riana Everly is giving away five eBooks internationally of Much Ado in Meryton. She has set up a Rafflecopter draw, but for anybody who cannot use the link, please email her your name and preferred email address and she will add you manually to the list for the draw. Her email is riana.everly@gmail.com

Good luck everyone!

22 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Tempted by Nicole Clarkston

tempted5 stars

Tempted is an epic story whose events start in 1900 and where readers will see an unlikely romance to grow between Elizabeth Bennet, a fierce American young woman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy English dandy.  

The main story takes place in England and is alternated with flashbacks of events that occurred in Wyoming and which explain Elizabeth’s arrival in London. This non-linear approach is very interesting because it keeps the reader engaged in the story making it hard to put down the book.  

My favorite aspect of Tempted was definitely the writing style, and apart from the non-linear storytelling, the fact that the story has several narrators was another feature I loved. The narration of the chapters is also alternated, however, the order by which the narrators appear is not random. When a certain scene culminates into an important situation for one character, it is that character who will narrate the following chapter.  This provides the book intensity and gives the reader a sense of closeness to the characters that in turn makes it engaging.  

As mentioned before, Tempted is very well written, and even though it is a big novel, I read it very quickly because Nicole Clarkston’s writing style is very fluid. There were many aspects I loved about in this book, but what captivated me in the first place was the Wyoming setting. The descriptions of the landscape and the frontier lifestyle that we witnessed were vivid and made me eager to visit Wyoming, even if it is obviously a very different place now.

The storyline is focused on Elizabeth and Darcy, however, there are many secondary characters that contribute to the richness of the story and Billy Collins is certainly one of them. He doesn’t have a huge role in the plotline, however, his willingness to help Elizabeth, his enthusiasm with the English culture and his entire personality made me cherish him as I don’t think I’ve ever cherished a Mr. Collins character before. I loved the fact that he got to have his own story and HEA. Georgiana was another interesting character whom I learned to like, and Anne was very intriguing! But if another secondary character deserves a shout out, it is Mary! Even though she takes a small part in the story I loved what Nicole Clarkston had in the bag for her, I loved her HEA, her remarks, and her letters.

Speaking of which, another aspect I loved in this book were the letters that were exchanged between the characters, they were a beautiful way to make the reader privy to the characters feelings, and once more another element that brought intensity to the story.

Summing up, Tempted is a heart-wrenching love story that demonstrates that love cannot be summoned, that true love is never extinguished, and that it is the flame that lights our lives. It is extremely well written, as is usual with Nicole Clarskton’s books and I highly recommend it.

 

You can find Tempted at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kindle Unlimited 

 

13 Comments

Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

Pemberley by Laura Moretti – Review & Giveaway

Pemberley Laura Moretti5 stars

Pemberley by Laura Moretti takes the characters from Pride & Prejudice into a post-apocalyptic/dystopian scenario, which is a sub genre within the Jane Austen rehalm I’ve been looking forward for a long time.  

Post-apocalyptic and dystopia are two of my favorite genres, so when I heard Pemberley was getting released, I was extremely happy. To be honest, this is such a different take on Pride & Prejudice that I was somewhat afraid it would be a flop, but I was certainly not disappointed by it. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down because I was constantly mesmerized with how all the P&P elements were introduced into the post-apocalyptic society. One would not imagine that it would be possible to keep most of the plotlines like Charlotte and Mr. Collins relationship, Darcy’s proposal, Lydia’s elopement etc. in this type of setting, but Laura Moretti made it happen in an unpredictable manner, which is always refreshing in a genre that focuses mainly on the same story and events.

The writing style is very cinematographic which I thought was very fitting to the type of story and the book has the perfect length that allows readers to read it in one single day.

Apart from the symbiose between P&P elements and the post-apocalyptic reality, I loved the dystopian elements of the story, such as the differences between citizens and non-citizens, the Red, the Bennet’s daily struggles, such as the lack of money to buy food, and even the alien elements of the story.

I would personally love to have more of these stories in JAFF as this is clearly a favorite sub-genre for me, and if they would all be penned down as this one, it would be a sub-genre I would not get tired of reading anytime soon.

I loved many characters, but Richard Fitzwilliam and Catherine De Bourgh were some of my favorites. I loved the little twists that Laura Moretti added to their background and how they helped the story move forward and our dear couple to find their happiness together.

The author did a wonderful job creating this storyline and I only wish I knew more about how this post-apocalyptic world was created. Maybe in a future story? Who knows if a prequel is in the works…

There is an epilogue in this book that takes the sci-fi element even deeper, and the author does have a disclaimer advising readers they should be aware of that. I have read it, and in fact, it was the only part of the book I didn’t absolutely love, so I will do the same thing as the author and advise you to read it only if you really want more sci-fi elements in the story, if not, the ending is just perfect 😊

Pemberley is not for everyone’s tastes, and readers who are not used to post-apocalyptic stories may find it hard to digest, but if like me you like those types of stories, then this book is definitely a must read. I highly recommend it to readers who love dystopian societies and therefore are not afraid of some hardship throughout the story.

Congratulations and thank you for writing this book Laura! Now I need to ask for more!

You can find Pemberley at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW giveaaway time

Laura Moretti would like to offer 3 ebook copies of Pemberley to readers commenting on this post. The giveaway is international and is open until the 21rst of January. To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment on this post and let us know what you think about this sub genre 🙂

31 Comments

Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

Epiphany by Jessie Lewis

Epiphany5 stars

Epiphany uses Anne de Bourgh as a catalyst to change the events in Pride & Prejudice as a letter from Georgiana sends the heiress of Rosings Park to Hertfordshire a little before Christmas.

After reading Georgiana’s letter, Miss De Bourgh is convinced Mr. Darcy harbors tender feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, and because of that, she decides to travel with Mr. Collins to Elizabeth’s hometown to get acquainted with her rival and take some action. This change in the story will put everything in motion, and soon we will have many of our known characters in Hertfordshire testing Mrs. Lucas patience and Mrs. Bennet’s nerves.

It’s becoming a tradition to read a Jessie Lewis novel in January, just like it is becoming a tradition to rate it 5 stars because her writing style is always captivating. With this I do not mean to say this book is similar in tone to her previous, because it is in fact very different, but it is equally engaging.

Epiphany is not a humorous book per se, and the characters are not characterized in a cartoonish fashion, in fact, the book is centered in the romance and the characters are very close to cannon in essentials, however, it is an extremely funny book which had me laughing out loud several times, and that doesn’t happen frequently. It has a very classy type of humor that I enjoy and that is not made out of silly situations, but of an incredibly well penned succession of dialogues and attitudes. The timing of everyone’s intervention in conversations was perfect, creating cross dialogues that, despite their difference in content, reminded me somewhat of Seinfeld in style, and I loved it.

The book’s pace is also perfect just like the many situations Jessie Lewis created in the story and that, allied with the characters unexpected attitudes, made this novel an engaging read. I have to stand out Mrs. Bennet whom I loved in this book. I was moved, diverted, and even appalled with some of her attitudes. From her kindness towards Mr. Darcy on Christmas day to her remarks to Anne De Bourgh, everything she did was perfect, and even if she takes a small part in this book, I believe she was the character I loved the most.

Anne de Bourgh who is crucial in the story is a controversial character. She was perfect for this story as she was simultaneously funny but rude, a villain and a protector, a nuisance and someone you needed to have around. At times I wanted to love her but couldn’t, and in the next pages I wanted to hate her and couldn’t either. She was like a family member you don’t exactly like but can’t imagine spending Christmas without.

Epiphany was the perfect book to start the year with, it is well written, engaging and incredibly funny while also providing the reader with a sweet romance story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I haven’t mentioned their romance yet because there are many other details I loved in the book, but this is an Elizabeth/Darcy centered story, and I highly recommend it.

You can find Epiphany at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized