Category Archives: giveaway

Blog Anniversary & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today is a very special day for me because it marks the second anniversary of From Pemberley to Milton!

People usually say that time flies by when we are doing something we love, but honestly, I do not feel that way. I feel that I’ve been blogging for much much longer than 2 years, and it’s even hard to remember what I used to do with my free time…

It all started as a way to organise myself, to list the books I had read and to have an idea of which authors I would want to read next, but soon this blog became much more than that!

From Pemberley to Milton opened the doors to many experiences, but above all, to conversations with kindred spirits. Because of it, I got to know people with whom I feel really connected with and whom I consider true friends.

It all started in 2015 with me posting the review of Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections, after this first step, comments started to appear and I started talking to many of the people with whom I’m still in contact today.

Getting to know all of you was a plus, and one I was not expecting, I never imagined a JAFF community existed and that everyone was so welcoming and nice 🙂 Thank you so much for all your kind words in the past 2 years, and for being such na important part of my live!!!

But the conversations I established with you were all online until the beginning of 2016. That’s when I got to meet Elizabeth Adams, Joana Starnes, Sophie Andrews and Ana from My Vices and Weaknesses.

This first meeting was absolutely wonderful, but it was only the beginning. Since then I’ve been with these ladies many more times, and I believe we are now establishing a tradition of meeting in London once a year 🙂 Who wants to join us next year?

That first meeting opened the door to other encounters, and the next time we all met, we even added another Janeite to the party, author Caitlin Williams, whom I was lucky to meet a second time just last month, along with another group of amazing ladies.

But my Janeite meetings were not restricted to the UK, I crossed the ocean and met fellow blogger Claudine Pepe in New York City that same year.

And then, back in Europe, I had an opportunity to chat with some readers of my blog like Glynis and Sonia. I confess this was particularly touching for me because I might have met other authors and bloggers if I didn’t have my own blog, but I don’t think I would ever have met other readers, and I absolutely loved being with these ladies 🙂

This year, my janeite encounters continued and I met several writers such as Cassandra Grafton and Amanda Grange .

Travelled with writers Lory Lilian, Andreea Catana and editor Ellen Pickels.

 

And of course, through all this time, Ana and Joana were a constant in all Jane Austen related places 🙂

In fact, Joana was the one who introduced me to Mira Magdo, and later on I got to introduce Mira to Ana 🙂

The last day I was with Mira, I was telling her I had to prepare this post, because my blog anniversary was coming, and you’ll never guess what happened! We were on a train on our way to London, when we discovered that, in fact, we started our blogs exactly in the same day!!!

(Me and Mira seconds after discovering our blogs started exactly in the same day)

The 3rd of August 2015 saw 2 JAFF blogs come to life, From Pemberley to Milton and Obsessed With Mr. Darcy! And not only did we start our blogs on the same day, but we also published reviews of books from the same author, Abigail Reynolds. We could not believe the coincidence! So I would like to ask you to wish, along with me, a happy anniversary to Obsessed With Mr. Darcy! Congrats for such a fun and original blog Mira, I still love the tissues, chocolate and icecream things…

And of course, to celebrate our blog anniversary, we are doing a giveaway for our readers 🙂

 

 

As you, wonderful people, have been with me and Mira on this journey, you shared, liked, commented, entered giveaways, wrote us messages, etc,. We would like to offer one lucky winner a copy of The Darcy Monologues, signed by the editor Christina Boyd, and 3 authors: Lory Lilian, Joana Starnes and Caitlin Williams along with a Mr. Darcy Magnet. The giveaway is international and open until the 22nd of August.

You can enter by commenting on BOTH From Pemberley to Milton and Obsessed with Mr. Darcy‘s original wordpress posts. Good Luck!

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An Interview with Cassandra Grafton & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

If you’ve read my last post, you know I was very lucky to meet Cassandra Grafton in Winchester last week. Ever since reading A Fair Prospect, I wanted to meet Cassandra and place her a few questions. Now, with all the celebrations occuring in Winchester, and with the release of A Quest for Mr. Darcy, I got a chance to finally meet and interview her.

I hope you enjoy this interview where she goes from her love for Jane Austen, how she discovered fan fiction and what we can expect from her latest book, A Quest for Mr. Darcy.

Thank you so much for your company last week, and for visiting From Pemberley to Milton Cassandra! It was delightful to have you here for the first time, and I hope it will not be the last 🙂

(Me and Cassandra in Winchester last week)

 

 

Rita! Thank you so much for this fun discussion! It was just lovely meeting you in person in Winchester on such a significant date as the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing, and I will cherish the memories forever. ❤

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Thank you Cassandra! It was lovely meeting you too! We’ve discussed many things already, but I have yet asked, how did Jane Austen influence your life?

Oh gosh, where do I begin? I first discovered Jane Austen and her works when I was 15 (that’s rather a long time ago!), and even now, every time I re-read one of her books, I take something new from it.

She speaks such wisdom through her characters (not all of them, of course!), and I never cease to be amazed at how relevant her stories are today and how her words resonate here in the 21st century.

It has to be said, however, that the biggest influence is far more personal. By nature, I am an introvert, and I’m a pretty solitary person when it comes to writing, but Jane Austen has persuaded me out of my comfort zone to attend events and meet-ups where I have been able to connect with some lovely people – many of whom I’ve encountered online – and who have since become hugely significant to me. My life has been enriched beyond measure as a result, and I only wish I could thank Miss Austen in person!

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And what inspired you to go from reading Jane Austen to writing JAFF?

I’d discovered the world of fan fiction in the early 2000s when I’d ventured into the online Harry Potter community during the three long years between books 4 and 5. I started to co-write Harry Potter fan fiction with Ada, a new friend I made online, and it was such fun!

Becoming curious about similar online communities, I began to look around for those connected to my favourite author and found several sites dedicated not just to the lady but also to writing JAFF!

After co-writing so many short stories inspired by Harry Potter, I finally decided it was time to try my hand at a full length one inspired by Jane Austen’s characters, and so I began A Fair Prospect.

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Following A Fair Prospect you wrote a Jane Austen inspired, but non-JAFF book, called The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, but now you are back to JAFF with the recently released Mr. Darcy’s Quest, what can you tell us about it?

It follows the premise that Darcy does not go home to Derbyshire in the August following his rejection by Elizabeth but instead he goes abroad, taking his sister with him. Not around to ‘save the day’ when Lydia elopes with Wickham, the story begins as we discover the aftermath of that and its impact upon those affected.

Darcy is returning to England a year later, convinced he is over his foolish infatuation with Elizabeth and determined to do his duty, both to the estate of which he is guardian and to his sister: he intends to secure a wife and without delay.

Soon restored to his home in Derbyshire, he puts his quest in motion, preparing to welcome guests from Town, one of whom is a suitably eligible young lady he has earmarked as his future wife.

But it seems there are new tenants on the estate – tenants named Bennet. Could it be coincidence, or is his path fated to cross with Elizabeth’s once more?

With the addition of his friend, Bingley’s, mischievous twin younger sisters, mysterious letters from a stranger and a shadowy figure lurking in the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s carefully laid plans are soon in tatters as the rigid protection he has placed around his heart begins to falter.

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The mysterious letters and the shadowy figure bring some mystery to the book. Is this a genre you would like to develop?

Very much so! I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed the mystery genre until I co-wrote The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen with Ada Bright. It was so much fun. In fact, the mystery was the main element to that story, with the romance very subtle and underlying (though the sequel will expand on that). With Quest, I loved interweaving the mysterious elements with Darcy and Elizabeth’s growing awareness of each other’s feelings.

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But the main focus remains romance, right? What can we expect from Darcy and Elizabeth in this book?

Oh yes! I’m a complete romance geek at heart! I’ve always loved the dance of Darcy and Elizabeth’s courtship, how they move away from each other, then towards each other, then back again, only perhaps not so far, and slowly their steps become in tandem, until they are in each other’s arms. Sigh…

In this story, although Elizabeth read Darcy’s letter, she has seen nothing of him since the moment he put it into her hands, almost eighteen months ago. She is carrying some resentment towards him for keeping Wickham’s nature secret from the Meryton populace because of the impact upon her family and also is fighting her discomfort over how it is going to feel to meet with him again now she lives nearby. However, she has also realised how she misjudged him, and is daily reminded of his value by those in Derbyshire who hold him in great esteem, so she is in conflict with herself when they become reacquainted.

Darcy has convinced himself he is over his feelings for Elizabeth, dismissing them as a foolish infatuation. He believes he has himself under good regulation, but how long will his armour remain intact? I’m not going to say!

 

This story starts later than the majority of variations, why did you choose this approach?

My favourite JAFF stories take place after the first proposal has gone so disastrously wrong, so I knew I would continue in that vein. The first idea for the story came from a line in A Fair Prospect. Elizabeth is commenting on the fact poor Darcy seems unable to escape her, their having unexpectedly met again – post proposal – in Kent, London and finally Bath. She remarks jokingly that she will likely return home to Longbourn to find her father planning to move them all to Derbyshire.

This idea seemed like it had a lot of potential for fun and, sorry Darcy, also for throwing a few challenges in his direction! How to make it happen, though? Providing a reason for such a thing to take place was key, as it had to have some logic behind it to be credible enough. Darcy not having been around to step in when Lydia eloped seemed the obvious answer, and so I sent him away, hence the story taking place a year later.

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Readers will find Mr. Bingley’s sisters a little different than usual, what can you tell us about them?

The idea of Bingley having five sisters came from Jane Austen herself, or rather from a scene in Pride & Prejudice where Lady Lucas is speculating with Mrs Bennet about the rumours surrounding the number of ladies and gentlemen Mr Bingley will bring to the Meryton assembly.

Here it is:

‘Lady Lucas quieted her (Mrs Bennet’s) fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed that Mr Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies; but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that instead of twelve, he had brought only six with him from London, his five sisters and a cousin.’

Volume I, Chapter 3

I reasoned that although the early surmising was gossip, the latter comment above is after Bingley has returned from London with his guests, so the likelihood is it could have some truth to it. Just because only two sisters came to the assembly didn’t necessarily mean there weren’t three still at home at Netherfield. It therefore stood to reason they were younger otherwise they would have attended.

I decided Bingley’s mother had passed away when he was young and his father had remarried, having three girls, the twins, Olivia and Viola and a younger sister, Julia.

It is the twins who feature in the story, and I’m hoping readers will grow to love them! All I can say is, they are nothing like their elder sisters!

Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley do of course feature briefly, but they remain pretty much the same as in the original novel!

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While reading the book I noticed some interesting names from secondary characters such as Thornton and Latimer. Was this a coincidence, or are you also a North and South fan?

Absolutely, Rita! I’m a huge North & South fan!

One of the many things I enjoy when writing is naming my characters, and I love it when friends and family say how fun they found it to find themselves or a family member mentioned in some form or another.

However, I do also love using names from other works of literature I have enjoyed. I did knowingly, therefore, use some from North & South such as Higgins and Latimer. As for Thornton, Darcy’s valet, he has an entire back-story though it’s not relevant to this story.

In brief, he is the grandfather of our lovely John Thornton (big sigh)! The family has always been in service and proud of its history of serving some of the country’s most significant families, but he has become estranged from his only son (John Thornton’s father) who has turned his back on the family tradition to try his hand in trade. Working his way up from a clerical apprentice, he has recently started his own small business in Lancashire. The John Thornton we know and love has yet to be born!

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Thank you so much, Rita, for asking your great questions. I had a lot of fun answering them!

 


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A fan of Jane Austen since her long-distant school days, Cassandra Grafton has been indulging her appetite for all things Austen for many years. Having long wanted to be a writer, she began publishing her endeavours in 2013. A Fair Prospect, a Pride & Prejudice-inspired Regency romance, was released in three volumes.

She then went on to be part of the co-writing team on The Darcy Brothers, another Austen-inspired historical novel, before settling down to co-write with one of her best friends.

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, a contemporary mystery/romance, was released in July 2016 under the names of Ada Bright and Cass Grafton.

A former college lecturer and PA, Cassandra has lived in three countries, and loves travelling, reading, cats and dry wine (and she combines most of these as often as she can!)

She has two grown up children and splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors, the Jane Austen Society UK and is a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.

 


 

 

Cassandra Grafton would love to offer a giveaway – open internationally – of a copy of A Quest for Mr. Darcy (eBook or paperback, winner’s choice), plus some Jane Austen goodies from the gift shop at Jane Austen’s House Museum, namely:

  • Jane Austen 200 pen and key ring
  • Jane Austen compact mirror
  • Jane Austen lip balm
  • Miniature Pride & Prejudice
  • Set of 20 Jane Austen bookplates

 

The giveaway is open until the 4th of August and to be eligible all you have to do is comment on this post. Share your thoughts with us or place Cassandra your own questions.

The winner will be announced on this blog shortly after the 4th of August. Please follow the blog to make sure you receive an e-mail with the name of the winner. I would hate for people to miss a prize because they didn’t see they had won. Unfortunately this has happened in the past and I’m trying to avoid it from happening again 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

Hello dear readers,

Today one of the most wonderful weeks that I have ever lived comes to an end. As you know we have celebrated Jane Austen’s live and work throughout this past week due to the 200th anniversary of her death on the 18th of July, and as most events were taking place in England, that’s where I chose to be this last week.

I’ve been in England many times and I had visited several places related to Jane Austen, but this was the first big road trip completely dedicated to Jane Austen that I have done. I’ve met lots of amazing people, reconnected with old acquaintances and participated in some ceremonies that inspired me to write a few posts Austen related (bear with me for a while, I’ll be posting more than reviews in the upcoming weeks).

My trip started in Milton, er…sorry, Manchester.I would have loved to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s home there, but as it is only open a few days a week, I didn’t have that chance. I was sad about it, but it means I have another reason to return to the area, so I have to look at the bright side of it. From Manchester I took the train to Stockport to meet for the first time author Lory Lilian, Andreea Catana and Ellen Pickels. These lovely ladies were my travel companions for several days and with them I visited Lyme Park, Chatsworth House and traveled south across the country to attend the religious ceremony in Winchester on the 18th of July. I’ll tell you all about our adventures in the North, but for now, I would like to share with you how it was to be in Winchester on such a memorable date.

We got to Winchester on the 17th, but the 18th was the big day! After breakfast we headed straight into the garden in front of Winchester Cathedral, took some pictures and were even interviewed by BBC radio, but the real fun started when our dear friends Joana Starnes and Mira Magdo from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy joined us for the day. With them we attended a recital in the Cathedral, and travelled the streets of Winchester to find the house where Jane Austen spent the last weeks of her life, and where she eventually died on the 18th of July.

The house is on 8 College Street but it is now a private house and can not be visited. It bears an oval plaque over the front door, placed there in 1956 and designed and executed by Esmond Burton.It is nowadays the only sign that tells us this is a very special house. In front of it lies a small garden with an Austen quote, and even if some people may miss it, we surely didn’t.

Jane Austen wrote to her nephew, James Edward Austen, “our Lodgings are very comfortable. We have a neat little Drawing room with a Bow-window overlooking D’ Gabell’s garden”, and even if this is not what people may see from the bow-window nowadays, I like to imagine Jane looking over this window.

After this walk, we headed back to the Winchester Cathedral where I met Cassandra Grafton author of A Fair Prospect trilogy and the recently released A Quest for Mr. Darcy. Together we attended to the unveil of the 10£ bank note with the presence of the 120th Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.

Mr. Carney demonstrated a true knowledge of Austen’s life and work, making a charming and captivating speech, but he also shared some interesting aspects about the new 10 £ note. For example, on the front of the £10 polymer note there are two clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner, this tactile feature will help blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note. I also learned about a few details the new note will have, such as a finely detailed metallic image of Winchester Cathedral positioned over a see-through window, and a book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letters JA. But the most controversial detail on the note is the quote “ I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”.

I have nothing against it, I know it was pronounced by Miss Bingley and that it was said in an ironic tone, but it remains a true statement nonetheless, and I find it appropriate for a note with the picture of a writer. What do you think? I know many people do not agree with this quote on the note, is that your case?

The bank note will only enter circulation in September, so I couldn’t come home with one, but thanks to Sophie Andrews, I did come home with a 2 £ coin :)) Do you have it already?

The coin was launched in locations that have a close connection to Jane Austen’s life but the design will only be released into wider circulation later this year. The coin is already being sold on Amazon, but the prices are excessive and the coin can be found at reduced prices in any Jane Austen related place, so if you visit places such as the Jane Austen House in Chawton, don’t miss the opportunity to have one of the first coins out there.

With this ceremony over it was time to eat something, get some rest and be prepared for the religious ceremony that took most of us there.

It was a beautiful ceremony fully dedicated to one of the greatest authors in England and I feel particularly honored to have been there to pay my tribute.

The entire day was wonderful with a beautiful weather, but once the ceremony was over, as if crying for Austen, the sky started pouring rain and we had to leave Winchester.

We ended up eating pizza, drinking god knows what and teaching eachother how to speak our native languages. I don’t think the day could have ended in a better way and I want to thank all these lovely ladies for putting up with me and my photos the entire day! Being in Winchester for Jane was absolutely unforgettable but it wouldn’t have been as special if I hadn’t shared all these moments with people who, just like me, were touched by Jane in so many ways 🙂

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I know that not everybody got a chance to go to Winchester to Jane Austen’s life, so I bring some tokens of the 200th anniversary to offer to one of my readers. As Persuasion was released in 1817, I thought it would be fitting to offer it along with a keyring, rubber and pencil commemorative of the date. I’ve also added an I love Jane pin, and  a bag of lavender I made at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton.

The giveaway is international, and all you have to do to be eligible for it is to leave your share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post. It will run until the 4th of August and the winner will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under giveaway, JAFF, jane austen

Giveaway Winners Announcement

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Hello everyone,

I’m sorry to have been so quiet this week, but real life got in the way and kept me away from my computer. I wish I could say that I would make it up in the upcoming weeks, but unfortunately May and June will not be easy months for me at work, however, I’ll do my best to find the time for From Pemberley to Milton, and hopefully you will still be here to talk to me about all things Austen 🙂

In the meantime I would like to announce you the winners of the last giveaways I hosted here, at FPTM:

Darcy’s Honor by Victoria Kincaid

* DarcyBennett


A Man With Faults (or any other of the below Lory Lilian’s books at your choice)

Remembrance of the Past, Rainy Days, His Uncle’s Favorite, The Perfect Match, Sketching Mr. Darcy, The Rainbow Promise, A Man with Faults.

* J. W. Garrett

* Cvtperez


Surprise prize from Joana Starnes

* Ceri


Joana Starnes ebook (winner’s choice)

From This Day Forward, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter

* Theresa M.


Bag of Goodies from Joana Starnes

* J. “Joy” Dawn King


Congratulations everyone! Please send me your contacts to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com, and if you won a winner’s choice prize, please let me know what is your choice.

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Q&A with Julie Klassen and Giveaway

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Hello dear readers

Today I bring you a very different post, a small interview with author Julie Klassen concerning her latest novel The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.

This is a different post because The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is not a JAFF book, but Julie Klassen is an enthusiast of Jane Austen and she transports the magic of Jane ‘s regency world into her books. I’ve hear much about this author and could not resist being a part of this wonderful blog tour. I’m honored to be the first stop in it and I hope you enjoy reading Julie Klassen’s answers as much as I did 😉 The premise of this book is captivating, but Mrs. Klassen’s enthusiasm regarding the inn’s importance in regency England was the final incentive to put this book at the beginning of my TBR pile. I’m looking forward to read it and share my opinion with you, until then, please see the blurb and Mrs. Klassen interview 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

 

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

Visit talesfromivyhill.com to find a map of the village, character profiles, a book giveaway, and more!

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Amazon.co.uk – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

 

 

***Author Bio***

klassen_julie1

JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Her books have been honored with the Christy Award for Historical Romance, the Minnesota Book Award, and the Midwest Book Award, among others. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com.

 

 

***Q&A with Julie Klassen***

 

What can you tell us about the series, Tales From Ivy Hill?

The series tells the stories of four women facing life-altering challenges with the help of their quirky neighbors and intriguing newcomers. Each novel will have a romance and drama wrap up in a hopefully satisfying way, while the main character’s story spans all three books. The series celebrates the strong bonds of friendship, because in a small village like Ivy Hill, everyone is connected, like leaves on a vine.

 

Why did you choose to set the first book in the series at an inn?

In the early nineteenth century, before the advent of trains, the lifeblood of many small villages were their coaching inns. In this era, stage and mail coaches were the primary means of travel, and they stopped at coaching inns along the way to change horses, let passengers take a meal, or stay the night. Coaching inns were restaurant, hotel, “train” station, travel agency, livery, and repair shop, all rolled into one. I think it’s a wonderful setting for a series, providing a backdrop for a cast of regulars who work at or frequent the inn, as well as for new people who are traveling through.

 

Do you as the author have a favorite resident of Ivy Hill?

I like so many residents, but would have to say Thora Bell. Her gruff exterior disguises a hidden vulnerability, and her sassy directness, and dry, often self-deprecating sense of humor endeared her to me, if that’s not a weird thing to say about a fictional character I created. 🙂

 

What real-life locations inspired the setting of the series?

Ivy Hill is a fictional place, but it was inspired by the National Trust village of Lacock in Wiltshire, which I’ve had the privilege of visiting a few times. Lacock was used as a film location for scenes in Pride & Prejudice (1995), Cranford (2007), Emma (1996), and recently, a market scene in Downton Abbey (season 6). Even though I am using Lacock as a basic model for Ivy Hill, I’ve placed the village farther south, on the old Devonport-London Royal Mail route, not far from Salisbury and the real village of Great Wishford.

 

Assume for a moment that Mr. Darcy had never met Elizabeth. Which of your heroines would be most likely to attract his interest?

What a fun question. I would guess that Mr. Darcy would admire Miss Rachel Ashford. She might be a little proud, and not a great reader, but I don’t think he would be able to resist her gentle beauty and fine eyes.

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***Blog Tour Schedule***

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December 5: Author Q&A on Pemberley to Milton

December 6: Excerpt on My Love for Jane Austen

December 8: Review on Laura’s Reviews

December 9: Book Spotlight on More Agreeably Engaged

December 10: Review on A Bookish Way of Life

December 11: Review and Excerpt on Delighted Reader Book Reviews

December 12: British Show Inspiration Guest Post on Living Read Girl

December 13: Historical Background Guest Post on English Historical Fiction Authors

December 14: Review on Calico Critic

December 15: Excerpt on So Little Time

December 16: Review and Author Q&A on My Jane Austen Book Club

December 17: Review on Just Jane 1813

December 18: Excerpt on Babblings of a Book Worm

December 19: Review on Austenesque Reviews

December 20: Guest Post on Jane Austen in Vermont

December 21: Review on Luxury Reading

 

 

***It’s giveaway time***

Be sure to enter the giveaway before you leave—the winner will receive a $20 Teavana gift card and a package of four inspirational British romances from four different eras (The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen, A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell, The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, Not by Sight by Kate Breslin). The winner will be notified on December 22.

To enter click the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Guest Post & Giveaway

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Hello dear readers,

Welcome to the last stop of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner blog tour! It’s been a long but interesting tour and I personally enjoyed all stops that brought us excerpts, reviews and vignettes of this wonderful book!

I would like to thank all bloggers involved in this tour as their dedication, efforts and kind words were essential to show everyone the worth of this story. Thank you so much for all your hard work and support!!!

I would also like to praise Nicole Clarkston for her creativity! I always love to read the new scenes she creates for the blog tours 🙂 My love for her vignettes started with Northern Rain, but it surely continued with The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, and I’m very happy to see she chose a seasonal vignette to finish the blog tour at From Pemberley to Milton 🙂

 

***Guest Post***

In keeping with one of my very favourite times of year, today I give you a vignette from the early days of Edward and Madeline’s marriage. Life is unfolding beautifully at their feet, and they celebrate the joyous day in their new home, surrounded by loved ones. I hope each of you will be similarly blessed this year.

-Nicole

***

First Christmas

Edward Gardiner slowly paraded down the staircase of his new home, his heart full and his spirits buoyant. This was to be his first Christmas as the master of a fine house, the first year of lavishly bestowing gifts upon so many now in his employ, and the first year of hosting his Meryton relations in London, rather than going to his sisters as he always had. Most importantly of all, it was his first year of waking with his very dearest treasure wrapped in his arms. Perhaps no other would have perceived the purpose of his motion, but he tipped his chin very slightly down and to the left as he walked, drawing a delicious breath. Madeline’s fragrance still lingered near his neck, where she had kissed and nuzzled him only moments ago.

It was with no small measure of satisfaction that he gained the bottom of the stairs to find the house still largely quiet. His sisters would remain abed at least another hour, and the Bennet children, fatigued from their journey, would likely follow suit. The only soul he expected to encounter was that of his brother, Thomas Bennet. In this, he was not disappointed, for the library had already been commandeered by that reclusive fellow. It seemed, however, that Bennet was not alone.

“Merry Christmas, Uncle!” Elizabeth chirped brightly from the window seat, where she had been flipping through one of his newest books. She set it aside carefully- for a mercy- and bounced to him with her freshly scrubbed face shining.

“And a very Merry Christmas to you, Lizzy!” he scooped her up and gave her a joyful peck on the cheek. “And to you, Thomas,” he turned, extending his greeting to his brother-in-law.

“Aye, it is that,” the other nodded agreeably, his eyes only briefly rising from his book. “For another hour or two, at least.” He lifted his brows, wetted his fingers, and turned a page.

Elizabeth peered up at her uncle with a quizzical little frown, a furrowed brow, and a teasing sparkle in her eyes. Edward sighed, shaking his head. “Come, Lizzy, have you seen all of the greens yet? Does the house not look beautiful this morning?”

She nodded. “Uncle, when may we open our presents?”

“Oh! You must wait, Elizabeth. Did you expect to open yours before your sisters are even dressed?”

“Yes,” she admitted guilelessly.

“I tell you what,” he chuckled, “I’ve a special surprise for your aunt. Would you help me to prepare it for her?”

Her brilliant eyes glittered afresh and she caught her lip between her teeth. “Oh, tell me, what is it? Did you buy her a phaeton and ponies?”

He laughed. “You must wait and see! Come, I think your father would enjoy having the library to himself anyway.”

Three hours later, Elizabeth stood beside her uncle as he welcomed the entire family to the drawing room. “Oh, brother!” cried Fanny Bennet, fluttering her fan. “I knew it would be lovely! Why, Sister, simply look at the bowers, and the ribbons, and… oh! The lace on that table, so charming! Where ever did you find such exquisite decorations?”

Edward beamed proudly at his wife, who had come to his other side. “Madeline deserves the credit. There, my dear, do you see? You feared making a poor impression, but I have never seen a lovelier home than my own this day.”

Madeline blushed prettily, catching her father’s eye as he bounced little Mary Bennet upon his knee. “My dear, I believe you would say so even if I had chosen to decorate the house in brown and yellow, instead of the proper colours!”

“It is a clever man who pays his compliments wisely,” affirmed Thomas Bennet, lifting his glass in a mock salute.

“Indeed!” Edward agreed. “And to that end, I know I am breaking somewhat with tradition, but I should like to give you the first gift, my dear. Lizzy?”

“Yes, Uncle!” Elizabeth dove for the pile of gifts, attempting to wrap her arms about an especially large one right in the middle. Three or four other boxes toppled as she dislodged the base of the stack, but she wrestled determinedly until she had dragged it free.

“Edward, you should not have!” Madeline objected. “What could possibly…?”

Edward laughed and bent to assist Elizabeth. The box was awkward rather than heavy, but even he found it more convenient to drag than to lift. “Open it, my love!”

Madeline bit her lip and tilted her head askance. The box was lovingly wrapped and decorated so beautifully that she hated to break it open. Moreover, her natural modesty objected to what was clearly a large and lavish gift from her husband. What was everyone else to think? Nonetheless, she grasped the ribbon and gave a gentle tug. Carefully she peeled away the folds of paper, taking the greatest pains that not one single corner should be ripped in her haste. Elizabeth started to bounce.

The paper fell away, Madeline lifted the lid of the box, and beheld… another box. She darted a quick look to Edward, and found his eyes dancing with mirth. This box was even more exquisitely wrapped than the first, and still quite large. Edward helped her to lift it out, and with a little laugh, she began to unwrap this box as well. Inside the second box was a third, this one wrapped in gold foil. “Oh, Edward!” she giggled in feigned exasperation.

Fanny Bennet and most of her daughters were beginning to grow restless. To cries of impatience and admiration, with not a little smattering of children clamoring to see over one another, Madeline worked her way through four more boxes. Where Edward had found such a perfect assortment of nesting boxes, she could not fathom, but his cheeks grew ever brighter as she continued to add to the mounting pile of discarded wrapping.

Inside the seventh box, Madeline discovered a nest of tawny packing material, concealing and protecting something precious within. She lifted her brows teasingly at Edward, catching Elizabeth’s bubbling delight as she did so. “For such a large box to begin, whatever is inside must be quite small!”

“It is often so, is it not, my dear? The most magnificent blessings are often in the smallest details.”

Her eyes pricked a little at the warmth in his tones, and she began to suspect that whatever lay within was some priceless treasure- something in which she would delight for the rest of her life. Blinking quickly, she began to search through the rustling packing material until her fingers found a small, humble little box. It was wrapped simply in brown paper and string, and fit within the palm of her hand. She raised her eyes to Edward and he gave her a small nod of encouragement.

Drawing breath, she pulled the string and reverently unfolded the very last of the wrapping, then lifted the lid of the box. Inside was a bright, shining key. She pinched it gingerly between her fingers and held it up with questioning eyes.

Edward came near to rest a hand upon her shoulder and spoke lowly into her ear. “It is a key to my study desk,” he told her quietly. “I know it seems a simple thing, my love, but it is yours as much as it is mine. Everything I am, every facet of my life, is as an open book to you. I want you forever by my side, Madeline, sharing in my heart, my labours, my hopes. I lay all before you, and desire you as my partner in every corner of this life.”

Her throat had tightened and her eyes burned in overpowering joy as she blinked down at his gift- that tiny little object which unlocked his entire world. “It is as you say, my love,” she whispered. “The most priceless treasures are often very small.” She looked up and caught Jane Bennet’s eye. Understanding at once, Jane leapt to the pile of gifts to find a small, soft parcel, and brought it to her aunt.

Madeline took it and gave it into Edward’s hand. “Merry Christmas, my darling!”

His brow creased, he tore silently into the folds of tissue. The item within emerged, and he held it up in some confusion. “What is it?”

Laughing lightly, Madeline took it from him and unfolded the downy material for him to examine. “It is a bonnet… for an infant.”

His face washed in wonder. “A… an infant? Madeline!” He gasped, then caught up his wife in his arms and spun her dizzily about. “Are you certain? We must speak of this at once!” Not delaying even a moment upon his resolution, the determined husband carried his surprised young wife from the drawing room and mounted the stairs. The remaining guests craned their necks to peer round the

doorway in curiosity as the couple departed so unceremoniously, the echoes of their laughter sounding through the entire house.

Thomas Bennet cleared his throat. “Well,” began he, with a suspicious twinkle in his eye. “It seems we must carry on without our host and hostess. Mr Fairbanks, sir, would you care to do the honours?”

Mr Fairbanks, his eyes weak and his smile radiant, took up the invitation. He clasped Mary’s little hand ever more fervently, glorying in the knowledge that soon he might cradle his own flesh and blood once more. Before he gave out the next gift, he hesitated and his squinted gaze passed over each person in that room- his new family. Slowly, he began to nod, as if confirming to himself all that his old heart whispered. “’And it was good,’” he softly quoted the ancient line. “Very good. Merry Christmas!”

 

***

I hope you have enjoyed this final vignette! It made me wish I could read more and more… But I’ve got to stop asking for more vignettes right?

In case you find Mrs. Clarkston’s writing as captivating as I do, you can always find out more about her and her work through the following contact links:

WebsiteNicole Clarkston

Goodreads Author Page

Goodreads Blog

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

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***It’s giveaway time***

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one last eBook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner. All you have to do to be entitled to it is comment on this post. Let us know what you thought of this seasonal excerpt or just share your opinion on P&P’s secondary characters. The giveaway is international and is open until the 15th of December.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Meryton Vignettes Review & Giveaway

meryton-vignettes-cover4.5 stars

Hello everyone,

Meryton Vignettes is a compilation of six vignettes featuring several characters from Pride & Prejudice that took me completely by surprise.

First of all, I had never seen a book of vignettes. It is true that there are several compilations of short stories, but these are not exactly short stories, they are as the name indicates small pieces that could perfectly be integrated in a short story or novel. Now, you may wonder what are the advantages of reading just a vignette and not a full story, and I’ll tell you that apart from the delight of having just a glimpse of our beloved characters when we don’t have much time to read a full story, it is the possibility of having any kind of moment ahead of you and exploring many paths that would be blocked if the writer was writing a full story. The sky is the limit with vignettes and authors can write just about anything, that is precisely what Elizabeth Adams did.

Unlike all expectations, these vignettes are not centered in Darcy and Elizabeth. They do appear is some of the stories, but Elizabeth Adams choose to portray several other characters that are usually disregarded, and she did so in an astonishing way! She developed moments in these characters lives I never expected to read in any JAFF story, and to be frank, I don’t even think I will read some of these moments in the near future. She showed us a side of these characters that is usually not shown and they are not embellished to be part of a book, they are raw material, and I loved that!

But I will give you a brief description of the vignettes and my opinion on each one of them so you can understand what I mean.

 

Mistress of Longbourn

In this opening vignette, Charlotte returns to Longbourn 17 years after her marriage to Mr. Collins. I loved the tone of this vignette and to see everyone’s reaction to this event. It was the first time I read this particular moment occurring and it was interesting to see it from Charlotte’s POV.

There was one question that was left unanswered for me, but I have no doubts about Charlotte’s ability to become the Mistress of Longbourn, or Mr. Collins ability to become it’s master… Mrs. Bennet may have been a silly woman, but it will not be easy for Charlotte to fill her shoes as Mistress of one of the most proeminente estates in the neighbourhood 🙂

 

Life After Darcy

This snippet shows us Caroline Bingley’s life after Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding. We will go through her feelings of rejection, anger and injustice until she is ready to move on, and when she does, we will see her as she truly is, as the real Caroline Bingley. In this story she will find her match who will give her a valuable lesson! I loved to see Caroline Bingley finally understanding what is most important in life and this was one of my favorite stories in the book. I reckon everyone will like this one 🙂

 

First Attachments

In this story we will see Lizzy’s attachment and developing relationship throughout the years to Jack Turner, the son of one of her father’s tenants. She will remember all the important moments in their relationship and consider how a true affection feels like. It is an impossible relationship of course, and it never goes beyond a friendship, but still it bothered me a little to see Elizabeth caring so much for someone who is not Mr. Darcy.

 

To Do Her Duty

Mrs. Bennet is the main character in this vignette, and it was the first time I ever saw her taking the leading role!

The story is told from Mrs. Bennet POV which I absolutely loved and will show a side of her that is very rarely portrayed. It was the first time I saw her go through a pregnancy and it was so touching I actually cried!! I really did! It is among my favorites in this book 🙂

 

To Fool a Fool

Prepare yourselves, this vignette describes the wedding night of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Collins. You heard me right, Elizabeth Adams did create this vignette. Don’t you think it takes a lot of courage to do that? I was shocked and amazed with To Fool a Fool, and I doubt any author will venture on writing that particular night in any other book. It takes a lot of bravery to write that night and Elizabeth Adams was not intimidated. However, do not fear! I will not give any details not to spoil it for you, but it is not as bad as it may seem 🙂

It is a bit humorous and ridiculous at the same time 🙂

 

He Had it Coming

This is the longest story in the book and it will focus on Lydia’s life after her wedding to Mr. Wickham. There are some books based on Lydia’s character, but this was the first time I saw a story so advanced in time and so dark. Seven years after her marriage, and tired of suffering abuses from her husband, Lydia sends a distress call to her sister Elizabeth who will come to her rescue. As I mentioned this is the longest vignette in the book and many events will occur in it. I will not say much more because I truly do not want to spoil it to you, but this is also on my top 3 favorite stories in the book. It is very, very good. I liked that Elizabeth Adams didn’t take a soft approach towards Lydia’s life and that she was not afraid to show us how miserable it was. I loved to see the development of Lydia’s character and the ending of course 🙂 After so much suffering, you can hope for a happy ending 🙂

 

I believe this compilation of vignettes is something every Janeite will like because not only it will give us the company of characters that are often overlooked, but it is also completely innovative in the premises! I have read scenes I never expected to read in a JAFF book and was amazed, shocked, grieved, merry and content at the same time. This is a delicious book with an interesting concept that I truly recommend.

 

You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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***It’s giveaway time***

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the excertp post published on the 21st of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under 4.5 stars, giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Meryton Vignettes – Excerpt & Giveaway

meryton-vignettes-cover

Hello everyone,

Today I bring you an excerpt of the first short story in Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice which is Elizabeth Adams’ latest release.

This book is a collection of six short stories where we can see that the people of Pride and Prejudice move on, grow up, and explore paths not taken. Time leads these beloved characters down roads of self-discovery, courage, and heartbreak. And sometimes the journey takes them to surprising places.

I’ve started reading this collection and I’m loving it so far! I’ll review it next Friday, so if you are curious to know my opinion, and to know more about each story, stop by at From Pemberley to Milton.

But I don’t want to suspend the pleasure you’ll have reading this excerpt any longer, so here it is:

 

Mistress of Longbourn

Charlotte Returns

Charlotte ran her hand along the back of the sofa, her gloves skidding lightly along the upholstery. Her eyes scanned the room: the pair of chairs by the empty fireplace, the windows covered in lavender drapes, the aged mirror over the mantle.

Of all this, she was now mistress.

She gazed at the portrait of Mr. Bennet, painted in his prime, and remembered the man who had been her neighbor for twenty-seven long years, and who was now, by his failure to produce an heir, the means of her husband having his own estate. In a way, he could be credited with her having a husband at all. If he had not agreed to host Mr. Collins all those years ago, and supported Elizabeth’s refusal of her cousin’s proposal, Charlotte would have never met and married Mr. Collins.

And now, seventeen long years after her wedding, she was here. The mistress of Longbourn. Second only to Netherfield Park, it was one of the most respectable estates in the area, belonging to one of its oldest families.

And now, it was hers.

“Was your journey pleasant?”

Charlotte jumped and looked over her shoulder. “I didn’t hear you come in. Forgive me, Mary. How do you do?”

“As well as can be expected, Mrs. Collins,” replied Mary Bennet.

“Please, call me Charlotte. We are such old neighbors,” said Mrs. Collins kindly.

“I think not,” Mary said plainly. “Nearly everything is packed. We shall be gone tomorrow.”

Mary turned and left the room, leaving a bewildered Charlotte behind her.

Charlotte shook off the feeling of guilt that had tried to settle on her shoulders and went upstairs to see to her children. She did not particularly enjoy her husband’s company, and she found the act of begetting children quite off-putting, but the results of her endurance were more than adequate recompense.

“Mother, have you considered my request?” asked a voice to her left.

She turned and looked into the face of Charlotte Rose, her eldest daughter. She was quite a pretty thing if Charlotte could say such about her own daughter. She had the look of her Aunt Maria about her.

“I have, Lottie, and since you have been so helpful throughout this move, I have decided to grant your request.”

“Oh!” the girl squealed, jumping on her toes and clasping her hands in front of her. “May I choose my chamber now?”

Before her mother could answer, the eldest of the Collins children ran off and began opening doors and comparing views. Charlotte shook her head at her enthusiasm.

“Oh, to be fifteen again!” she mumbled to herself.

She went into the nursery to help settle in her younger daughters.

Two years after her marriage, she had been delivered of a girl, Charlotte Rose, Lottie to her family. Only eighteen months later she had born a son, William John. He was followed in two-year increments by Catherine Ann and Mildred Grace. Believing she had done her duty, and not wishing to die in childbirth as her years increased alongside her womb’s fecundity, Charlotte told her husband she wished for no more children. Having birthed four babes, he couldn’t possibly expect more of her.

Mr. Collins acquiesced as she knew he would and no more was said about it.

Unfortunately, when young William was but five years old, he succumbed to a fever and was buried in the churchyard. Charlotte was devastated.

Within a year of his death, at thirty-seven years of age, Charlotte was with child. When she delivered a boy, she thanked God she would be spared further confinements. Lying in bed exhausted and spent, so happy and relieved was she that she didn’t hear her husband clearly at first when he suggested a name for the babe. She cuddled the white bundle closer to her and asked again what he had said.

“William, after his father. It’s fitting, don’t you think?” Mr. Collins said with an ingratiating smile.

He clearly had no idea of his suggestion being denied.

“We already had a son called William. Do you not remember, Mr. Collins?” she asked, her voice calm.

She remembered perfectly. How his skin had felt so hot and yet so thin, his cheeks flushed and his forehead clammy. She remembered how he had struggled for breath as she held him, praying with every fiber of her being for God to spare her only son. How she had bargained with fate, promising to be the best mother, the best wife, if only her boy would live! And how lost she had felt when the last ragged breath had left his body limp in her arms, his eyes unmoving, his chest eerily still.

She had let out a mighty wail the likes of which Hunsford had never heard, lost to everything but the profundity of her grief. She had not been practical Charlotte in that moment. She had been nothing but a mother, deprived of her life’s greatest achievement and proudest joy.

Her husband’s idiotic rambling brought her back to the conversation and his insulting suggestion.

“Well, yes, but, as the boy is no longer with us, a man wants his name to carry on, that is, I am his father…”

He spluttered on and Charlotte settled her eyes on the window, the church just visible in the distance, and next to it, the churchyard that held her beloved boy in its peaceful clasp.

“No, Mr. Collins, we will not,” she said simply.

He looked at her stupidly for a moment, but her eyes remained fixed on the window.

“What was that, my dear?” he asked.

“We will not name him William.”

“But surely, I am his father, my name, I must—”

“No,” she said forcefully. “I have already birthed and buried a son called William. There will not be another.”

Mr. Collins stood gaping at her, his mouth opening and closing like a fish.

“I shall call him Lucas Adam, after my family and my grandfather.” She looked at the baby fondly. “He was always kind to me.”

Mr. Collins had left the room then, and she had written it in the family Bible before he could argue further.

 

***

What did you think of the excerpt? Did it foster your curiosity? I particularly liked the tone Elizabeth Adams chose to start this story, it’s contemplative and soothing. Having read the full story, I liked to see what Charlotte’s life was and how everyone reacted to her becoming Mistress of Longbourn. It’s not very common for authors to venture in this idea, after all, who likes to see Charlotte and Mr. Collins taking over Longbourn? But I did like to see their trials in doing so, and I particularly liked reading the end of the story which will demonstrate the position the Collins’s will have in the neighborhood.

But to know how they will be seen and how they will act, you’ll have to read the story 🙂

 

You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

***It’s giveaway time***

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the review I will post on the 25th of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

48 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter Review & Giveaway

5 stars

I’ve probably said this before but when I start reading a Joana Starnes book my question is not whether I’m going to love it, but how much I will love it. Her latest release, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, went off the charts and became one of my favorites from Joana Starnes. One would think she could not come up with something I would love as much or more than The Unthinkable Triangle, The Falmouth Connection or The Subsequent Proposal, but here she is surprising me once more!

Before going into many details I would just like to say that the only thing I don’t like about Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is that it is so good that my job at reviewing it becomes extremely difficult. Even so, it almost kill me to have to wait until today to review it, I’ve been eager to discuss this book with everyone else 🙂

I would also like to give you some advice: before reading this book make sure that there is no one in the house to interrupt you (you won’t want to stop until the end); you have some tissues near you (I doubt many people will not cry), chocolate is at hand (you’ll need it!) and that your heart is strong enough to survive intense emotions (this will be a hard one).

That being said, this is one of the best books Joana Starnes has ever written and I’ve loved them all, so that says a lot!

In this variation, while Elizabeth is at Kent and just before Col. Fitzwilliam reveals Mr. Darcy’s part in separating Jane from Bingley, Mr. Bennet has an attack that leaves him in a very bad state. Afraid that he will not survive, and knowing Mr. Collins will not be very welcoming to his family, Mr. Darcy decides to offer to Elizabeth to protect her from a most trying circumstance. He would propose on that day anyway, so he just anticipated the proposal a few hours 😉 Thinking of her family and the consequences to leave them unprotected against Mr. Collins entreaties, Elizabeth accepts Mr. Darcy’s proposal. This is a plot that we have seen quite frequently, but the way Mrs. Starnes develops it is quite unique!

Elizabeth marries without loving Darcy, but another thing Mrs. Starnes is an expert at is creating the most loving moments between our dear couple through the most simple and daily moments, so with time and despite their several discussions and differences, we see Elizabeth falling in love with her ever strong and caring husband.

In fact, the first half of the book will satisfy the need for romance and endearing moments between Darcy and Elizabeth. Yes, she will have her reserves, but Mr. Darcy will be the best husband someone could hope for, and he will be so happy that our heart will break just thinking that probably that happiness will be shattered once he realizes she doesn’t love him. Poor, poor Darcy! I love how Joana Starnes makes him suffer in the most agonizing way…but I digress.

I have always believed Elizabeth deserved to suffer as much or even more than Mr. Darcy, and I’m proud to say that I am a member of the “Lets Torture Elizabeth club”. I thought that Joana Starnes had done a pretty good job at it in Miss Darcy’s Companion… until I read Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. While reading the first part of the book I felt Elizabeth deserved to suffer a little, but after seeing her treatment of Mrs. Bennet, who was in my opinion marvelously developed by Joana Starnes, I no longer believed, but knew that she deserved to suffer. I mean, everyone had someone to give them comfort before and after Mr. Bennet’s death except Mrs. Bennet. She was always alone during this trial, with no one to protect or care for her so I believe Elizabeth could have been a little more understanding towards her mother who was only guilty of being herself. Taking this into consideration, when I realized Mrs. Starnes was going to make Elizabeth suffer a little, I was happy. When her suffering continued I thought Mrs. Starnes had overwhelmed herself in this book, and as I continued reading, something happened to me for the first time since I started reading JAFF: I wanted Elizabeth’s suffering to stop! I couldn’t take it anymore, it wasn’t poor, poor Darcy anymore, it was poor, poor Elizabeth, and that was when I realized this was clearly and without a doubt one of the best books Joana Starnes would ever write!

We all know Joana Starnes is the angst queen, few are able to do it so well as her, and In Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter we could see the clouds approaching, we could sense a storm was coming, but when it arrives, it is not just a few drops of rain, it comes as a full force Tornado!

 

“Sleep came at last, for both, and they drifted in soothingly calm waters, blissfully ignorant of the storms to come”

 

I believe one of my comments while reading this book has been shared with you, but taking the risk of repeating myself, I think nothing can describe this better than my thoughts at the time “It can’t get any worse than this!… Wait, it’s a Joana Starnes books, of course it can!”

This was such an anticipated book that most people have probably read it by now, but those who have not, prepare yourselves! Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is a roller-coaster of emotions, it will surprise you at every turn, make you turn the pages frenetically until the end and haunt you for days, until you give up and re-read it!

The raw emotions I have when reading a Starnes book always make me too emotional when writing the reviews, hence not very objective or straight to the point, but most works of art leave us speechless don’t they? So I hope you can understand through this disarray I’ve written how absolutely marvelous this book is.

You can find Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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*** Book Blurb***

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

 

***Author Bio***

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Joana Starnes is the author of:

* From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley’, a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ sequel

* ‘The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion’

* ‘The Second Chance’ ~ A ‘Pride & Prejudice’ ~ ‘Sense & Sensibility’ variation


* ‘The Falmouth Connection’, – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

* ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

*’Miss Darcy’s Companion’ – A Pride and Prejudice Variation

.

You can find Joana Starnes on:

Facebook: All Roads Lead to Pemberley/ Joana Starnes Facebook Page

Twitter: Joana Starnes/ Twitter

Goodreads: Joana Starnes Goodreads Author Page

Amazon:  Joana Starnes Amazon Author Page

 

***Blog Tour***

The blog tour is just starting so you will have a lot of opportunities to learn more about this book with the interviews, guest posts, excerpts and reviews that are to come.

Follow the several stops to be better acquainted with this story and increase your chances of winning a copy 😉

 

November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway

November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving

November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway

November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway

November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway

December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

 

***It’s Giveaway Time***

Joana Starnes would like to offer one ebook copy of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter to the readers of From Pemberley to Milton. The giveaway is international and is open until the end of the blog tour on December 2nd.

All you have to do is comment on this post and let us know your thoughts on this book or Joana’s previous works 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

 

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Filed under 5 stars, giveaway, Joana Starnes, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy’s Hope – Review & Giveaway

5 stars

 

Hello everyone,

I had never heard of Darcy’s Hope, I didn’t know author Ginger Monette, and alternate eras are not my favorite type of variations, so I wasn’t sure of what to expect of this book when I started reading it. Now that I’ve read it, I can honestly say Darcy’s Hope is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had while reading JAFF.

This alternate era variation will take us to the middle of WWI where Captain Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, after briefly meeting in Heartforshire, will be stationed at “The Ritz”, a private chateaux turned into a hospital, assuming their roles as a Captain of his Majesty’s army and VAT nurse. But do not be scared or alarmed if you think the surroundings of the war will be too harsh on our characters or inhibit the romance. They will not. Ginger Monette did a prodigious job at balancing the historical notions she clearly obtained during her investigation, and the romance we are so used to when it comes to JAFF. The synchrony between the historical aspects and the romance is perfect, giving the reader a pleasant reading experience.

The scenario was actually very comforting as we could clearly imagine the characters’ lives in the chateaux and surrounding fields, but not only did I love to see these characters living in the same place and having several opportunities to observe each other and learn to appreciate the other’s attributes, thus, slowly falling madly in love with each other, but also loved their interactions, their dialogues and arguments. They were mature and logical and I could clearly understand the points of view of both characters and imagine them saying those words and sentences.

The dialogues designed by the author were not created with the single purpose of creating conflict between the characters, they were true and very much in character with both Darcy and Elizabeth. The arguments they used while arguing showed a deep understanding of the others character and we could see them act, without even realising it,  as the others conscience, which was something beautiful to see. Both Darcy and Elizabeth opened the others eyes about their own behaviors and fears, and that knowledge of the others soul was magical. I particularly loved to see how, with only one sentence, Mr. Darcy showed Elizabeth that her father’s behavior shaped her view of man and life, and to see her recognize he was right and that her fears could be overcome and her life’s goals could be different if she conquered that inner fear.

I particularly loved this Darcy! He was not too proud or too distant, just enough to make him perfect! I felt he was a very balanced Darcy that fully corresponded to my ideals of him. I loved the struggles he had to overcome, and I’m not only talking about his feelings for Elizabeth, but also the fear of letting himself feel and open his heart to others after it had suffered so much with the impacts of war. Plus, I loved the militarized version of Darcy who could protect Elizabeth in every way possible, I thought it incredibly sexy.

The writing was very fluid and diversified and I was so immersed in the book that I spent my days eagerly waiting to come home, continuing reading it, and getting into this story and these characters lives. I impatiently anticipated the moment I could get lost in this story, and I think that says a lot about the quality of the book.

And of course, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that John Thornton had a cameo on this book! I absolutely loved seeing him with Darcy, and even if he has a small role in this book, I absolutely loved that he was the one opening Darcy’s eyes regarding a man’s worth. It was Thornton who made Darcy realize that a man’s worth is in his actions and his character and not in his station in life. I could not picture a better person to make Darcy realize that. I have often thought of how perfect it would be to have a crossover between Pride & Prejudice and North & South, but because the stories are in different eras it is difficult to create a story with all my favorite characters. This alternate era story allowed that to happen, and I can only hope that in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, I will have the pleasure of Darcy and Thornton establishing a more solid friendship!

Even if this book has a sort of happy ending, it does have a continuation and when I finished it I could not believe I would have to wait until January to read it! I’m really, really eager to read Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, so much, that it is even hard for me to read something else in between. I just wish I could read it straight away!

Summing up, I highly recommend Darcy’s Hope, it is an extremely well built and well written book full of history, intrigue and romance which captured my heart and mind to the point of not wishing to do anything else apart from reading it.

 

Darcy’s Hope is available at :

Amazon.com – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty From Ashes

Amazon.co.uk – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty From Ashes

 

I think you can tell by my review that I absolutely loved this book, so if my comments got you curious, you can find out more about this book through Lizzie’s Scrapbook where you can find the people and places Lizzie encountered through her time in the continent, the book trailer (yes, there is a video trailer, yey!), the audio excerpt (what if instead of reading an excerpt you could listen to it?) and the blurb.

Click here to see Lyzzy’s Scapbook 🙂

lizzies-scrapbook

And on the video below to see the trailer 🙂

 

But, if you prefer to read about the book instead of seeing the images or the video, there is always the blurb, of course 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

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Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You’ll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.

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1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet’s life in tatters.

Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!

But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives….

Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”

But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.

With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent? Darcy can only hope….

  • Cameo appearance by John Thornton (of Gaskell’s North & South).
  • Rated PG. Clean romance, mild language, some war scenes.
  • Darcy’s Hope has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, coming in January 2017. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple’s love will face a new, tragic test.

 

Would you like to listen to an excerpt of Darcy’s Hope?

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***Author Bio***

gingerThe teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she’s hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 Picture This grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.

Website: GingerMonette.com

Author’s Facebook: is here

Goodreads: here

Amazon Page: here

 

***It’s giveaway time***

With Darcy’s Hope set during the era of Downton Abbey and the tour being right before Christmas, Ginger Monette thought it would be fun to use Downton Abbey ornaments as the giveaway. Therefore she would like to offer seven ornaments of Downton Abbey.

The ornament giveaway is open to US residents in the continental US. The prize for residents of the continental UK is a Downton Abbey mug.

All you have to do to apply to the giveway is click here.

Entrants will get additional entries for commenting on this blog.

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***Blog Tour***

There are still many stops on the blog tour, so don’t forget to check all the other blogs for more information on this book and chances to win the giveway 🙂

tour

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Filed under 5 stars, giveaway, Pride and Prejudice