Category Archives: interview

Interview with Maria Grace & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Maria Grace has been an important name in the Jane Austen community for many years. She has written several fiction books and novellas celebrating our dear characters from Pride & Prejudice, but also some non fiction works where she shares with us the costumes in regency, namely A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions and Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World.

Apart from all her work in JAFF, she has always been a dear author and I am very happy to interview her today regarding her recently released book: Snowbound at Hartfield.

I hope you enjoy this interview but if you still have any question that you would like to see answered, please do not hesitate to ask it in the comments. I’m sure Maria will be glad to answer you and it will enter you in the giveaway she is hosting.

 

interview

 

Hello Maria, welcome to From Pemberley to Milton. I know you have just released a new book called Snowbound at Hartfield. What can you tell us about it? What can readers expect?

Maria Grace – Snowbound at Hartfield is a romance about second chances and the difficult reality single adults, men and women, faced in the regency era. Even though it deals with some difficult subjects, there’s a generous helping of humor and lots of warm fuzzies as well.

 

FPTM – This book is a mash up of several Austen stories, and even though I’ve seen crossovers between two different Austen books, I never saw one putting together characters from three different books. How did you come up with this idea?

MG – The idea for Snowbound came out of a March Mash-up Madness theme we had last year at Austen Variations.

 

FPTM – But why Emma, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice?

MG – One of our readers suggested a scene between some of the Austen fathers, like Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot. I took that idea and ran with it. By the time all was said and done, Snowbound was the result.

 

FPTM – The book is written from 2 different points of view and one of them is Miss Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion. She is hardly ever seen in JAFF and I had never seen her as a main character, why did you decide to give her the spotlight on this novel?

MG – That came out of having Sir Walter Elliot as one of the fathers in the mash-up scene. I couldn’t imagine him traveling without company of some kind, and what more natural company for him to have that the daughter who still lived with him?

 

FPTM – Miss Elizabeth Elliot is a controversial character, what is her story on Snowbound at Hartfield? How did you decide to approach this character?

MG – We pick up Miss Elizabeth Elliot after she has had two very difficult experiences. First, the heir presumptive of the family, William Elliot has taken her friend, Penelope Clay ‘under his protections’–which is to say he has made her his mistress. Worse yet, she is living in his house, which was just not done. All this happened while Elizabeth was expecting an offer of marriage from him. On top of that humiliation, her younger sister Anne is married to the very desirable Captain Wentworth, leaving Elizabeth, the eldest sister who should have been the first to marry, the only one left unmarried.

So, Elizabeth is an humiliated spinster, whose financial situation requires her to live with her foolish father. In such a situation, she would be the mistress of the house, handling the management aspect of this home. With little money to work with, it would have been very challenging to live the lifestyle of a baronet, as her father would have required.

Living through all would tax anyone. To me, it seemed the perfect motivation for potential personal change, so that’s where I wrote her from.

 

FPTM – The other POV in this book is Col. Fitzwilliam whose character also takes an interesting turn in with a different side of him being explored. What can you tell us about his character?

MG -I think Col. Fitzwilliam is a complicated character. As a military officer of the era, he would have seen action in the Napoleonic wars. Those wars were brutal and horrific and it is hard to imagine a man who could experience that without some lasting effects. Those experiences impact him greatly, and leaving himself feeling ‘less’ than the man he used to be.  That is part of the challenge he faces in this story.

 

FPTM – Thank you so much for letting us know more about Snowbound at Hartfield Maria. Is there anything else you want to tell my readers?

MGSnowbound started as a bit of a lark, but the characters had a story to tell and wouldn’t leave me alone until I had allowed them to tell it. It didn’t end up to be the story I expected it to be, but after all was said and done, I’m very happy with the results.

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

biography

 

grace-38-lThough Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.

You can find Maria at:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors

Pinterest

 

giveaway-time

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebookMaria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the review that will be posted here on the 23rd of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

 

 

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Filed under Emma, interview, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

The Darcy Monologues

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Hello everyone,

I’m very happy to share with you today an interview with editor Christina Boyd where she speaks of a project I absolutely loved!! When I heard about it I could not believe I would still have to wait several months for it to come out, but I’ll let you hear all about it through Christina’s words 🙂 Who better than her to explain what The Darcy Monologues are all about?

 

***Interview with Christina Boyd***

 

There are many well-known names behind today’s exciting announcement in the JAFF community and the one person at the center of it all is here today to share this news with us; the lovely Austenesque editor, Christina Boyd.

Christina, there’s a buzz going around the JAFF community that you are heading a new project and it’s a pleasure to have you visit so many Austenesque blogs today to share your big news!

Can you share with us what you’ve been working on behind-the-scenes?

Thank you for hosting and shining your light on this project. I am excited and not a little proud to announce “The Darcy Monologues”—a short story anthology with sixteen of my very favorite Austenesque writers. I doubt anyone will be surprised by my list—authors I’ve either enjoyed working with and admire their work or authors I have simply fan-girl’d over for years: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

 

Wow, that is an exciting line-up of talent!

“The Darcy Monologues” sounds like such a fitting title for this anthology. Would you share with us how it was selected as the title, especially with so many authors involved in this project?

This project is collection of stories all told from Fitzwilliam’s point-of-view—set in Regency, contemporary, as well as other eras. Because the stories are strictly from his eyes, I felt it imperative we find a title that clearly illustrated the book would be more than one tale but all from his point-of-view. In an e-mail from “The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy” author, Sara Angelini, she mentioned how she had long wanted to write a story titled “The Darcy Monologues” or something like… So, in presenting the idea to the group, other ideas were thrown about. After a quick Google search, we learned there was a short story on Derbyshire Writer’s Guild by Judy-Lynne with the same title. She had written a short story described as six “extemporaneous rants” expressed by Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not one to be a copycat, we moved on to other names. But as time passed, nothing resonated with me as much so I felt incumbent to ask Judy-Lynne if she would be offended if we used the same title. Unfortunately, she is rarely on the fanfiction sites anymore and everyone I asked claimed they did not know how to get in touch with her. Finally! Finally, I connected with her through “A Happy Assembly” and asked her about the title use, she accepted, and I asked her if she was still writing and would she be interested in writing a short for the anthology. She said she wasn’t writing but agreed to the challenge. And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

How does this project differ from anything you’ve worked on before?

I’ve worked on two other anthologies, published in 2015 by Meryton Press: “Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer” and “Then Comes Winter.” Both were set-up as writing contests with a panel of judges reading and selecting the submissions. This project, I am self-publishing and have assembled my own dream team.

 

At this point, what can you share about your experiences working with so many talented Austenesque writers?

I feel lucky! Blessed. Not only that these talented writers have all graciously committed to this project—some having not written anything Austenesque in years—but have over a short period of time become so dear to me on a personal level.

 

What can readers expect from this anthology?

The authors have all committed to write a short piece from Darcy’s point-of-view, between 5000-15,000 words, and must have romance—but no scenes that I wouldn’t be able to share with my teenage daughter or eighty-year-old mother-in-law. Even with that last tenet, I am amazed how these writers can turn up the heat in a room. Have your fans handy—and even a few tissues!

 

It seems like we just can’t get enough of Mr. Darcy! What’s his appeal, Christina, 200 years later?

“Pride and Prejudice” is told in the third-person narrative, limited omniscient, from Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of-view. In my fiction, I have always had a weakness for the rich, powerful, noble, and handsome man who changes his ways for love, and a woman worthy of his efforts. I’ve long dreamt of putting together a collection of stories all from my favorite Austen hero’s eyes. Yes, “Pride and Prejudice” has been told before from Darcy’s point-of-view by the talented Pamela Aidan, Stanley Hurd, Amanda Grange, Janet Aylmer, and Mary Street, to name a few—but with all the amazing “Pride and Prejudice” re-imaginings out there, I wanted to read alternate stories in his own words.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today about The Darcy Monologues?

The anthology is scheduled for release May 22, 2017 and we have a few promotions planned in the coming weeks as we finish the editing process to spit and polish the collection.

 

Before we part, Christina, I hear you have some rather thrilling news to share with us on a personal level, which was just announced early this week. Care to divulge the details here too?

Well… I can barely believe it myself but…I won—I WON, the Omaze “Champagne Toast with Henry Cavill on the London Eye” experience! (Fundraiser to benefit the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.) You read that right. I won. I’m flying to London to meet my all-time favorite book boyfriend, the very talented British actor, Henry Cavill. I have never been to England, except layovers in Heathrow—which doesn’t count—so I feel like the French teacher who has never been to France. And here I get to go, stay in a luxury hotel, explore London, and have a champagne toast with Henry Cavill. Pinch me! And yes, if he is willing, I do hope to have him sign some swag for “The Darcy Monologue” giveaways—after all, he is my book boyfriend.

 

biography

christina-boyd-profile-photo-1

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist under her own banner, Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

 

 

giveaway-time

We are giving away some really fun prizes to three lucky winners! One winner will receive a stash of gifts to enjoy with his/her own significant other. These treats include assorted British food and beverage snacks and a Mr. Darcy quote mug.

(This prize is open to a winner with a U.S. mailing address only)

Another winner will receive two stories from the anthology; a Regency story and a contemporary or alternate era short story. The winner will choose his/her prize stories based on the authors in this anthology. These stories will be distributed to the winner on March 15, 2017.

Our third prize winner will receive a walk-on role in one of the stories in this anthology. That’s right…This winner will have a piece of the action in one of our stories, which means having a character in one of these stories in the anthology named after her/him.

This is something every JAFF reader dreams about, isn’t it?

These giveaways are open for entries from Friday, January 20 until midnight, ET, on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

To enter these giveaways click on the image below:

the

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Filed under interview, JAFF

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***

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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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Filed under giveaway, interview

A Very Darcy Christmas Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello Dear Readers,

This month’s agenda is filled with Christmas posts 🙂 For me Christmas has always been a family season, and even if I haven’t enjoyed it in the last years as I used to, I’m having a blast organizing all these seasonal posts. After Nicole Clarkston’s christmas vignette to end the Blog Tour of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, I am happy to bring to you today a guest post by Victoria Kincaid where she shares what she learned of her investigations regarding regency Christmas traditions.

I found out about Victoria Kincaid’s book at Just Jane 1813, and I immediately knew I had to read it. In fact, I had been wanting to read a Victoria Kincaid book for a while, so A Very Darcy Christmas came at the right time.

So far I’m loving it, but my review will only come next week, for now, I’ll leave you with Mrs. Kincaid guest post.

 

 

*** Guest Post***

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When I decided to write a Pride and Prejudice variation set at Christmas-time I realized it would be necessary to learn more about Regency Christmas customs so I could make them part of the story.   What I found was enlightening. While some traditions were similar to ours today, many were different. They did not send Christmas cards or set up Christmas trees. They did not give presents except to children. There is some dispute about how much Christmas carols were sung, but it may have been confined to the lower classes. I didn’t read this in my research, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t have Elf on the Shelf.

They did have decorating for Christmas, parties, and feasting—although they all took different forms during the Regency. They decorated with holly, evergreens and other greenery, but not before Christmas Eve (it was considered bad luck). They also had kissing under the mistletoe (or a kissing bough), which seems like an odd custom for a time period that was so rigid about contact between the sexes. The Christmas season began in early December and ended on Twelfth Night; during that time the upper classes did a lot of visiting, partying, and other kinds of socializing. They played parlor games and ate a lot of good food, including some things we still eat today: gingerbread, march pane (marzipan), and turkey.

It was a time for gift giving to the lower classes. On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) the well-to-do would give their servants boxes of gifts as well as presents to the less fortunate in the neighborhood. The lord of the manor would sometimes host a Christmas day open house of sorts that would be the only celebration some of the poorer neighbors would experience.

I found these differences and similarities very interesting and it was great fun incorporating them into the A Very Darcy Christmas. I hope you enjoy them as well!

 

***Book Excerpt***

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“I apologize, Lizzy,” her father said. “Trying to stop her was like trying to halt a runaway carriage. When she declared her intention to visit Pemberley with or without me, I thought my presence might mitigate the damage.”

Elizabeth took her father’s arm. “I am very pleased to see you both, Papa. And it will provide an opportunity to show you Pemberley.”

He smiled gently. “I must confess, that is something I am anticipating with pleasure. What I have seen so far is quite grand.”

Elizabeth gave her father’s arm another reassuring squeeze, but her spirits sank. With Georgiana visiting Rosings Park for the yuletide season, Elizabeth and William had been anticipating a quiet Christmas celebration by themselves. Since they had arrived at Pemberley after their wedding voyage, Elizabeth’s life had been a whirlwind. She had spent much of her time familiarizing herself with the household and the servants, caring for tenants, entertaining neighbors, and performing the many other tasks required of Mrs. Darcy. William had been looking forward to having her to himself over Christmas, and the feeling was very much reciprocated.

Well, Mama and Papa are only two people, Elizabeth reminded herself. And Papa will happily spend much of his time in the library. Certainly I can find a way to occupy Mama.

Elizabeth and her father had just reached the top of the stairs when she heard quick footsteps behind them. Glancing over her shoulder, she found one of the footmen rushing toward her, his brow creased with worry. “Madam, Mr. Giles sent me to inform you. Miss Darcy’s coach is on the drive!”

Elizabeth blinked. Georgiana? What was the matter? Her sister-in-law had planned to visit Rosings Park for at least three more weeks, until Twelfth Night. Although Lady Catherine had initially severed all contact with Pemberley, she had recently insisted on Georgiana’s company—no doubt hoping to counteract Elizabeth’s pernicious influence. Georgiana had assented in part because she hoped to mend the breach between her brother and her aunt, although William had told her not to bother.

Elizabeth turned to her father. “Papa, I must meet Georgiana’s coach. Sally will help with anything you might need, and I shall see you at supper.”

Her father patted her hand reassuringly. Elizabeth quickly retreated down the great marble staircase. Georgiana was just entering the house. The slight woman was rumpled from travel, and some of her blonde curls tumbled into her eyes. But Elizabeth was most concerned about the signs of strain around the younger woman’s mouth and the tension in her shoulders.

Giles took Georgiana’s pelisse and bonnet, and then Elizabeth hurried to embrace her. “Is there trouble, my dear?” Elizabeth asked. “Are you feeling quite well?”

“Yes, my health is good.” Georgiana grimaced. “But William was correct. Visiting Rosings was most unpleasant. Aunt Catherine took every opportunity to disparage you and William. In addition, she invited two young men—both distant relatives of hers—to Rosings. It is clear they think they can be my suitors.” Elizabeth bit her tongue against a quick retort. How dare her ladyship ambush Georgiana in such a way? “It was so uncomfortable.”

This was one of the longest speeches Elizabeth had ever heard from Darcy’s sister; clearly she was quite disturbed. Elizabeth squeezed Georgiana’s hand sympathetically. “I can understand. Were they both so terrible?”

Georgiana sighed, pushing curls from her eyes. “Perhaps not, but I am not prepared to meet suitors, particularly without you and William to give me advice.”

Of course. After the Wickham debacle, Georgiana would be reluctant to trust her own judgment about men. Lady Catherine should not have attempted to influence her niece’s matrimonial prospects, but obviously she hoped to circumvent William’s authority. Elizabeth could think of several things to say about the woman, but she held her tongue.

“I decided to come home. I hope you are not too disappointed with me.”

Elizabeth gave her another hug. “Of course not, darling. I am very happy to see you, and William will be as well. He is out visiting tenants but will be home for supper. We would have missed you at Christmas! Oh, and my parents have come to visit from Longbourn as well.”

Georgiana gave a gentle smile. “How lovely. We shall be a merry party!”

Yes, thought Elizabeth. Hopefully my mother will not celebrate Christmas by discussing how we will be murdered in our beds.

Georgiana gave her sister-in-law another hug. “And you have decorated so nicely for the yule season. Mama never hung greens before Christmas Eve.”

Elizabeth smiled despite another reminder of her decorating deficiencies.

Georgiana took her leave and climbed wearily up the stairs toward her bedchamber. Although Elizabeth was pleased to have her sister-in-law home for the yule season, she could not prevent a pang of regret over more loss of privacy. But it is a big house, Elizabeth thought as she watched Georgiana disappear up the stairs. She is merely one more person. We shall hardly notice her.

Elizabeth had only taken one step toward the stairs when a brisk knock sounded on the door. Oh no, what now? Elizabeth fervently prayed for a wayward deliveryman.

Giles hastened to open the door. Elizabeth instantly recognized the tall figure silhouetted against the pale winter sky. “Richard!” she exclaimed.

 

 

*** It’s giveaway time***

sem-nomeVictoria Kincaid brings her own Christmas gift to the readers at From Pemberley to Milton. She would like to offer one ebook copy of A Very Darcy Christmas to a randomly chosen reader who comments on this post. To increase the chances of winning, comment on the review that will be published on the 10th of December, comments on both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

The giveaway is international and ill end on the 15th of December, with the winner being announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under Guest Post, interview

Getting to know Mrs. Younge, Guest Post & Giveaway – Letter From Ramsgate blog tour

Hello everyone,

I first heard about Letter From Ramsgate in Suzan Lauder’s blog almost a year ago. I was immediately hooked on the premise and could not wait for the book to come out to read the entire story. When a blog tour was organised and I realised I would be the first one to review the book I got really anxious, but if you’ve read my review, you’ve probably noticed that this is just the angsty type of book I love 🙂 Also, you must have noticed that one of the aspects I enjoyed the most in the book was Mrs. Younge’s character. I won’t repeat why I was so fascinated about this character (you can read that in the review), but the impression it caused me was so considerable, I felt the need to share a little info on her with you through the below interview with Suzan Lauder, and vignette with Mrs. Younge.

 

***Interview with Suzan Lauder***

 

From Pemberley To Milton: Hello Suzan, first of all welcome to From Pemberley to Milton! It is a great joy to have you with us today.

As I’ve mentioned before, Mrs. Younge was the character I’ve enjoyed the most in this book, and I would like to know why you decided to bring forth a character only mentioned briefly in Pride and Prejudice and give her a leading role.

Suzan Lauder: I’m really excited to be here, Rita, and especially to talk about Isabel Younge!

Because the first part of the story was set in Ramsgate, I knew a main part of the story development would be showing how Wickham arranged to convince Georgiana to elope with him. Canon says Mrs. Younge was known to him and collaborated with him, so I had to build his relationship with Georgiana’s companion. Since she was going to come out a little bit as a character, I decided to make her a key character so she could tell her back-story as well as her point of view regarding Wickham. It was hard not giving Wickham a voice in my story, but the style I chose let her speak for the two of them.

 

FPTM: Can you give us a little background on this character?

SL: Mrs. Younge is a pretty young widow of higher upbringing in my novel, and had a good education and reasonable connections prior to her widowhood. Mr. Younge was a wealthy younger son of a viscount. His gambling and poor investments left her almost destitute, so Isabel had no choice but to take on respectable work. She is keen to mould her charge (Georgiana Darcy) in her own image, as a gregarious darling of the ton.

 

FPTM: Mrs. Younge was very human and very real in this book. Is her character based on someone in particular?

SL: I suppose she’s a most like Mary Crawford, Maria Bertram, or Isabella Thorpe. Her main personality characteristics mimic vain, overly ambitious women. In her vanity, she wants Georgiana to be just like her, but her good intentions get set aside when greed takes over. Though not evil, she’s not as highly principled as the next person, and uses charm, good looks, and physical enticement to obtain momentary pleasure or long-term gain. Her opportunistic side can win over her ethics, yet she regrets those she’s hurt in the process—but not too much or for too long!

 

FPTM: Why is she named Isabel?

SL: I named her Isabel as a sort of homage to Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey, the first Austen novel I ever read.

 

FPTM: In my opinion her character is neither good, nor bad. She is just human. Did you try to convey any message through the characterization of Mrs. Younge?

SL: Not intentionally, but the message that you can make up for foolish, hurtful acts is pretty clear. Vain people don’t believe they’ve done anything so terrible and a narcissist doesn’t realize what Isabel does: it’s never too late to make amends, even if the situation you messed up is unrecoverable. At least Isabel has a good heart and admits her faults.

 

FPTM: Mrs. Younge will always be associated with Wickham, how did she meet him?

SL: I like to assume she met Mr. Wickham at a social function in London: perhaps a ball or a rout. Wickham’s education at Cambridge will have gained him allies who would have travelled in the same circles as the Younges, who were probably on the fringes of the level of society that would willingly accept the Darcys and the Matlocks. It’s possible a former lover introduced Isabel and Wickham, or even Mr. Younge.

(c) Dumfries and Galloway Council (Dumfries Museum); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Mr. Wickham in his regimentals, later in Letter from Ramsgate – portrait of Andrew Copland by George Watson, 1807.

 

FPTM: What was it about him that captivated her?

SL: Jane Austen says Wickham has “all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address.” In other words, he’s hot! And charming, too, based on all the people he had twisted around his little finger in canon. That’s what led her to a relationship with him.

 

FPTM: At which point did she discover Wickham’s true character? Or did she know all along, but preferred to ignore it?

SL: I think she had to suspect all along, particular, but ignored any problems that came with him. She was having a good time and, as long as his vices didn’t affect her, she was okay with it.

 

FPTM: Would she do things differently if she could go back in time?

SL: I doubt it. I think she wishes Georgiana hadn’t been hurt in the scheme, but I don’t think she would have changed any of her own actions.

 

FPTM: What is her biggest regret?

SL: That she got caught. The money would have changed her life. Also that she hadn’t seduced Mr. Darcy. She was quite taken by his good looks.

 

FPTM: Today, you’re sharing a scene from Letter from Ramsgate featuring Mrs. Younge with the readers of From Pemberley to Milton. Please describe what is happening as the scene commences.

SL: In this vignette, Mrs. Younge has been Georgiana’s companion for about a month now. They are walking along the Sands at Ramsgate when they encounter a certain gentleman.

 

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The Sands at Ramsgate, early 1800s, courtesy Michael’s Book Shop

~~~

***Guest Post by Suzan Lauder***

 

Rita is a favourite of mine because she showed such enthusiasm towards Letter from Ramsgate from the first excerpt that I put up on my blog, road trips with the redhead. Each time the story was mentioned anywhere on social media after that, she piped in to say, “I’m looking forward to it!” That she was the first on the blog tour to review the novel was important to me, and I’m excited to share the original version of this scene from Isabel Younge’s point of view—the scene was re-written for the final novel.

~~~

 

All of a sudden, Miss Darcy spoke with an enthusiasm and lack of reserve that made Isabel momentarily glow with the satisfaction that her encouragement of Georgiana’s self-assurance was successful; Georgiana was certainly unrestrained in this moment.

“Isabel, look! An old friend of mine approaches! Oh, what fun!” Georgiana cried with a thrill in her voice. She moved towards the gentleman with unashamed familiarity.

Isabel turned in the direction Georgiana was going, and tried to make out the features of the tall man who approached with a confident gait. All of a sudden her eyes widened with surprise.

George Wickham! What is he doing in Ramsgate?

Isabel’s heart stopped. It could not be him.

But it was. With a genuine-looking smile, George Wickham approached her and Miss Darcy and tipped his hat. She was frozen to the spot, in a daze. What the devil could he mean by this? Will I be able to keep her countenance around him? Has he sought me out?

Holding her breath and trembling, she attempted a brittle smile as she waited for him to greet her. He moved closer and closer, but as his face came into clear view, his gaze was fixed on Miss Darcy, and he ignored Isabel altogether.

Without reserve, Wickham held out his hand to take Miss Darcy’s and bowed over it. “Miss Darcy! How do you do? How very fortunate for me to meet you here! What brings you to Ramsgate?”

Georgiana glowed pink under Wickham’s grin; the girl’s blush and shy smile spoke to her youth.

When it appeared he had not even noticed her, Isabel released her breath, but became indignant over the snub and jealous of the attention he paid to her charge. She was a vain woman, accustomed to the role of the object of his flattery.

“I am here for the summer. My brother arranged it for me.”

If Isabel had not known Wickham as well she did, she would not have recognized the twitch in his smile or the deep swallow of discomfort for what they were. George Wickham was afraid. What had unsettled him?

“And is your brother with you?” His voice wavered, which confirmed his anxiety. “No, Fitzwilliam is travelling on business related to the estate. He will be in the country most of the summer. ‘Tis a pity he is not here. He would have liked to see you.” Georgiana was sincere.

two-ladies-and-a-man-for-fptm-vignette“A pity indeed. I should have enjoyed renewing the acquaintance.” His body relaxed.

Wickham then turned towards Isabel. She checked herself to hide her bewilderment,—all she could manage under the circumstances—stood tall and proud, and put on her most inscrutable, but ladylike, expression.

“Would you do me the honour and introduce your friend?” he said to Georgiana.

“This is my companion, Mrs. Younge. Mrs. Younge, this is Mr. Wickham.”

For an instant, she expected him to reach out to take her hand, but instead, he offered a polite smile and performed a perfunctory bow as if this were their first introduction. She forced a smile in response, as she made her curtsey in the most economical way.

She was affected by him, even though their greeting had not been physical. The smoothness of his voice and the strength of his body in his fitted clothes reminded her of what they once shared—all of which ended when he discovered she was penniless.

 

 ~~~

 

***It’s giveaway time***

 

Meryton press would like to offer 8 copies of Letter From Ramsgate to readers following this blog tour.

To enter the giveaway, please click on the below link:

Giveaway Link

Conditions of the giveaway are explained below:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. (Review posts are not part of the giveaways). Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) copy of Letter from Ramsgate by Suzan Lauder. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and paperback or ebook format will randomly be selected for each winner as well.

**NOTE: Paperback copies are ONLY available for continental US winners! Ebook copies are available for ALL winners, including international winners! If more international winners are randomly chosen than the 4 allotted ebooks, then that will decrease the number of paperbacks. 8 books will be given away to 8 different winners.**

 

Follow the blog tour for more chances to win the giveaway 🙂

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Blog Tour Schedule:

10/17   Guest Post, Excerpt, GA; My Jane Austen Book Club

10/18   Excerpt, GA; Margie’s Must Reads

10/19   Vignette, GA; Just Jane 1813

10/20   Review; From Pemberley to Milton

10/21   Vignette, GA; Babblings of a Bookworm

10/22   Excerpt, GA; Liz’s Reading Life

10/23   Guest Post or Vignette, GA; From Pemberley to Milton

10/24   Review; Tomorrow is Another Day

10/25   Guest Post, Excerpt, GA; So little time…

10/26   Vignette, GA; Austenesque Reviews

10/27   Review, Excerpt; Half Agony, Half Hope

10/28   Review; Diary of an Eccentric

10/29   Guest Post; A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life

10/30   Guest Post or Vignette, GA; More Agreeably Engaged

19 Comments

Filed under giveaway, interview, Pride and Prejudice

Stepping out in NYC with Claudine of JustJane1813, Austen-Style

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Hello everyone,

If you’ve read my latest post you know I’ve been to NYC and spent the most amazing time with Claudine from JustJane1813 while I stayed there.

What I’m not sure you know, is that Claudine and I became such great friends due to a mutual acquaintance, author Joana Starnes.

Our mutual love for Joana’s books and the long talks we both had with her brought us closer together, and while we were in NYC we often wondered what it would be like to have Joana with us and have a share in our conversations, so despite having an ocean separating the 3 of us, we decided to do just that! We asked Joana to take part in this adventure and she asked us a series of questions about our time together, JAFF, regency and of course Jane Austen.

Me and Claudine replied to all of Joana’s questions and today we are sharing our answers with you. If you are interested in seeing my perspective of our time together visit JustJane1813, but I think the most interesting perspective is Claudine’s and you can find it right here at From Pemberley to Milton.

Enjoy her answers, and ask her anything! I’m sure she’ll love to talk more about our time together.

 

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How long have you known each other before meeting face to face? Where did you first ‘meet’? Did you already know you’ll hit it off by the time you met in real-life?

I have known Rita since last fall when I started my own blog. We actually met online through our mutual admiration of each other’s reviews and blog posts. I had been talking with you, Mrs. Starnes, about Rita’s blog and you made me aware that she also admired my blog. The rest, as we say, is history! We’ve been talking ever since online and through the app, WhatsApp, so by the time we had met each other In New York City, I had a really strong suspicion that we would hit it off really well.

 

Where did you go? What did you see? Any pics you’d like to share?

We had so much fun in New York City! We started with a really great afternoon tea at the King’s Carriage House. Rita had told me that she had never been to an English tea before, so I wanted to surprise her and take her to a place that I heard was really great for a nice afternoon tea. After that we were able to go down near Washington Square Park to see an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility by the Bedlam Theater. It’s in adaptation of Austen’s first publication that I had seen earlier this past spring and I just knew that Rita would love to see the show. After the show we made our way through some places in New York City that Rita wanted to see, including Time Square and we traveled to the top floor of the Marriott Hotel. On the following day she wanted to see a lot of the midtown New York sites, such as the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, the top of Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Station. It was just so much fun because we were able to do a lot of things that we both were interested in doing and Rita’s enthusiasm made me really feel like a tourist in New York City. I kept joking that instead of the accidental tourist, which Rita is too young to know about, LOL, I was the reluctant tourist. But truly, it was a really special experience to share with her!

 

 

How soon into the conversation did you get to mention Jane Austen and JAFF? How much of that endless list of goodies did you get to cover?

I think we started talking about JAFF pretty soon into our visit. We talked a lot about the books that we’ve read and the books that we would recommend for one another. We also described what we both prefer to read in a JAFF story and we discovered that we have some really different tastes.  We both prefer when are characters are true to canon and Rita seems to enjoy stories that follow canon more closely than I do. A lot of authors and a lot of stories we shared are ones we both happen to love; however we had quite a few that we disagreed upon and it was really fun trying to convince each other why the other should reconsider and reread certain stories. The saddest part is I don’t even think we really even touched nearly upon everything we wanted to talk about in JAFF. I know that we could easily spend several more days together and still be talking about all of the great stories, ideas, and experiences we’ve had through reading JAFF that we still didn’t get to share with each other.

 

Did you get the chance to chat about anything other than Jane Austen and JAFF?

Actually, yes! We spoke about a lot of things besides Jane Austen and JAFF stories. We talked a lot about our own countries and I learned a tremendous amount about Portugal, and I was able to obviously share a lot about America and New York, in particular, with Rita. We described  the similarities and the differences between our two countries, which I found fascinating. We spoke a lot about our families and friends, as well as our careers. It was interesting just to find out that although we have a lot in common, we are both in different places in our own lives. Rita is still newly married, compared to me and while she plans to have children, I am in the midst of raising four children right now. Even though we’re in different places in our lives, I love that because we are so connected to the JAFF community and we may not have even met if we lived in the same town because of our different life stages; but because of our love for Jane Austen, we are able to really connect as people through this shared passion.

 

Did you discover common favourites among Jane Austen’s novels? Would you like to share your top three?

We both love Pride and Prejudice the most,  and we both really enjoy Sense and Sensibility. I love Emma as my third favorite choice, and Rita really loves Persuasion. As I’ve told readers before, and I’ve covered myself with some protection as I say this, LOL, Persuasion is not one of my favorite Jane Austen stories. I do have to give it another chance to see if I would admire this story more after several years later. I was surprised to learn that Rita really dislikes Emma, who I have always loved, but not shocked, because whenever I meet another Janeite and we compare our lists, I see different combinations all the time, except for Pride and Prejudice typically being other readers’ favorite Austen story.

 

What drew you to reading Austen?

I was been drawn to Austen prior to having my first child. I read Pride and Prejudice as a 29 year old mother-to-be, thank you Anna Quindlen, and then I went on to read all of her work. The thing that really drew me to Austen were her characters. I will never forget Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy for the rest of my life. I feel very much the same way about Marianne Dashwood and John Willoughby and Colonel Brandon and Elinor and Edward Ferrars, as well as for Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley. I just simply adore them! I don’t think that you can love Austen and just not be enamored with her characters.  So for me, it starts at her characters and then moves into what Austen attempts to teach us about the world through her characters.

 

What drew you to reading JAFF in the first place? What keeps you attracted to the genre?

I didn’t know that JAFF existed and Rita has been reading JAFF quite a bit longer than I have. Initially, what happened was that I discovered JAFF by accident on Pinterest, and once I read my first JAFF story, Unequal Affections, I just never turned back. I think that the idea of living in Darcy and Elizabeth’s world is just mesmerizing for me. I love the history, I love the romance, I love the characters and I just simply adore what so many talented authors have been able to do in writing JAFF stories; so even though I’m coming later to the game pretty much after everyone else in the JAFF community, I hope to be able to spread my love and my passion of the JAFF community and discover the same quality of wonderful stories as I have in the past two years.

 

Are you glad / not so glad that most JAFF is based on Pride and Prejudice? Do you think that’s all Mr Darcy’s fault?

I do prefer most of the JAFF I read to be based on Pride and Prejudice. I certainly admire authors who break out of the Elizabeth and Darcy mold, however, after two years, I still want to read about them every single day. I just simply adore them and I adore them for several reasons. I don’t think I can say it’s Mr. Darcy’s fault. I think for me I have a passion and an attraction for Elizabeth Bennet that is just as strong and maybe even stronger. I have been posting a chapter a week this year on Just Jane 1813, with the intention of living and reading and talking about Pride and Prejudice with other readers (who I must thank here for their time, commitment and brilliant feedback each week!) for the commitment of a whole year. The name of the series is called “We Still Need Her’ and it comes from a great quote from Rosamund Pike about Pride and Prejudice. It’s really based on the premise that as women, we are still striving to find great female role models; we are still looking for a vision about what it means to be a woman in the modern world. So whether you’re living in 1813 or 2016, I think many women are still thinking about and deciding what womanhood means for them and what the possibilities are for their own lives. That’s why I think we love Elizabeth Bennet; she’s not afraid to be who she is, and she’s not unable to revise her opinions and ideas when faced with better information. I joke around in my head, but it’s true; when I read a JAFF story, I think I can only be as happy as Elizabeth Bennett is in each story while I am reading. So to answer your question, for me, it’s about both Darcy and Elizabeth, but probably a little bit more about Elizabeth.

 

What do you like most about the Regency period? If anyone offered you a seat on the time machine (and promised hand on heart you’d be comfortably well off on the other side, not scullery maids) would you go? How long for? What would you miss apart from friends, family, showers and modern medicine?

Regarding the Regency era, I have always been someone who has loved history and learning about other cultures, particularly European History. My father was a history teacher for over 30 years and I always had a great fascination with European History. I loved learning about royalty, I loved learning about how the different countries lived side-by-side with each other and yet, are so different from each other. Of course, I enjoy learning about the food and the clothes and the dancing, as well as other social engagements in each culture. I especially love learning about the people who were the movers and shakers during each era, so what appeals to me about the Regency era, appeals to me about every era I am interested in learning about.

 

If you could ask Jane Austen anything at all, what would that be?

If I could ask Jane Austen anything I would ask her to first write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, LOL. I would also like to know more about her life, including whether or not she ever regretted her decision not to get married and have her own children. I’d also love to know what she thinks of our Austenesque fan culture today and who was really her real-life inspiration for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Hmm, that was more than one question…

 

Would you tell us more about your plans for your blog?

In the next week or so, I will be launching a new look for my blog, which I’m really excited about and I hope my Just Jane 1813 readers will love it too! I’m actually a little (ok, maybe very) nervous about the response from my readers because I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I’m hoping to have a blog that has a simpler homepage and that has a little bit more of an Austen look and feel to the blog. I have some really great book reviews coming up in the next few weeks, and I am just really curious to see how the new blog design evolves. I am also trying to decide which blog events to repeat again, now that my blog is turning a year-old in October.

 

Will you meet again soon?

Given the fact that we live with an ocean in between us, we have no fixed engagements to meet anytime soon, but I did tell Rita that my goal is to get over to the UK very soon. Hopefully, she can meet me there, or I can get over to Portugal too, and that we can meet with Joana Starnes and some of our other friends in England, so that I can enjoy Jane Austen’s England with people I hold very dear to me. I think Austen would be so amazed at how many people she has connected through her stories; she never could have imagined her influence on our lives, and I like to think that possibility exists for each of us!

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Thank you Joana, for taking the time to interview both of us. You have played a vital role in connecting us with each other and it was so much fun to have you play a role in the making of these interviews! Your talents and hard work have brought both of us many pleasurable hours of reading and swooning, and your friendship makes you simply unforgettable to us.

Thank you, Rita, for inviting me to your blog to spend time with your readers and for being such a great JAFF friend! I feel blessed to have met someone like you, who shares such a special connection with me and who has such a generous soul!

 

***It’s Giveaway time***

 

You can tell from Claudine’s comments that we walked a lot through New York City and visited lots of places. That means, of course, that we also entered a lot of shops!

We could not resist to buy several Jane Austen related items and would like to share some of them with our readers!

We would like to giveaway 3 different items to 3 different winners:

 

 

1 – Pride and Prejudice adhesive page flags

2 – Mr. Darcy Funko POP from Pride &Prejudice and Zombies

3 – Elizabeth Bennet Funko POP from Pride & Prejudice and Zombies

 

Let us know what you thought about our adventure, ask us anything you would like, and basically have your share in our conversation. When we are talking about Jane Austen, the more the merrier. Don’t forget to comment on both of our posts, we will randomly select the winner among readers who have posted their comments on this post and on Claudine’s post as well.

The giveaway is international and ends on the 20th of August. The winners will be announced in both blogs, JustJane1813 and From Pemberley to Milton on the 22nd of August.

Good luck everyone!

27 Comments

Filed under interview, Joana Starnes

Interview with a Mill Master & Northern Rain Giveaway

Hello everyone,

If you have seen some of my latest posts you know that Nicole Clarkston released a new North and South variation book called Northern Rain, and today the blog tour stops at From Pemberley to Milton with a character interview.

Even though he is a very busy man, Mr. Thornton conceded some of his time to a young journalist whose family I’m sure you all know very well. But I won’t say much more. I’ll leave you to read the interview and get your own conclusions about John Thornton’s state of mind and the young journalists identity. Even though we share the same initials, I’m sorry to say I am not part of his family 🙂

 

Interview with a Mill Master

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RD: Pardon me, Mr Thornton, sir?

JT: Yes? What can I do for you?

RD: Forgive my intrusion, sir. I am from the Times, and I was hoping to speak to some of Milton’s mill owners on the outlook of the cotton trade.

JT: By all means, my good man, although I have only a few moments. I had another appointment which had to be rescheduled, and I am to depart again shortly.

RD: Of course, sir, I will try not to take too much of your time. I only wished to be able to quote an experienced master such as yourself. If I may, how do the mills fare at present?

JT: Excellently, sir. I think there is no stronger export just now, particularly with war looming in the Baltic, and our increased presence in India. Cotton is certainly a utilitarian material in both cases.

RD: Yes, I would expect as much. Now, there was a rather bad strike last year affecting a number of mills. How did that affect your business, and do you expect future difficulties?

JT: Naturally, any disruption to the flow of commerce is an unfavourable circumstance. It is unfortunate, but the mills and laborers involved have since come to a working agreement. I do not expect it shall be the last strike we will see, but at present, I see no immediate cause for concern.

RD: So the Union is presently content with your terms?

JT: (Laughing) The Union is rarely content, but their grievances are not serious enough at this juncture to cause any real trouble. I pay my men better than others, sir, and Marlborough Mills is equipped with many new innovations to make the work safer and more comfortable. Of course, I would pay good men more if such an expense were justified, because I have an interest in keeping the best working for me. As profitable as cotton is, however, even I have my limits.

RD: Quite so. Mr Thornton, I am very glad to speak with you, in particular, because I have been told something of how you came to your position here. You are rather unique among Milton’s masters, in that your father did-

JT: My father had nothing to do with it, sir. I can account for my success purely by tireless diligence and careful planning.

RD: You do not find any circumstances in your past to be the work of fortune?

JT: Not at all. If you will forgive me, sir, I am afraid I must make my appointment. Had you still some questions?

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RD: Indeed, sir, I should like to speak with you further. May I wait on you later this afternoon?

JT: That would be agreeable. I shall return by three o’ clock. Will that suit?

RD: Quite.

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4:30

JT: Do forgive my tardiness, sir.

RD: Not to worry, Mr Thornton, your overseer has given me a most enlightening tour.

JT: Tour? Oh, yes, that is well.

RD: Sir… do forgive me, sir, but you look as though you have had some bad news. I hope that is not the case!

JT: Bad news? No! Nothing of the kind. A gentleman has just moved to Milton to become a Classics teacher, and he was referred to me by a mutual friend for assistance in settling. He… and his daughter… were having some difficulty in securing lodgings.

RD: I am glad it was nothing serious, sir. Now, we were speaking of how you got your start here at Marlborough Mills.

JT:

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RD: Sir?

JT: Pardon me, what was that?

RD: Ahem. I was wondering, sir, how a man like you starts from nothing, and then finds himself confidently the master of the finest mill in the city.

JT: Confidently? Nothing is certain in this industry, sir.

RD: Mr Thornton, I have heard nothing but that your peers admire and respect your opinions. I should say you have every reason for confidence.

JT: I have, then, do I? Tell me, sir, have you ever covered any story relating to the labour unions?

RD: Er… Well, no, Mr Thornton. I know little of them.

JT: They can be fickle, like a woman. One moment, a man might fancy himself the master, and the next… and the next… he finds himself quite humbled.

RD: That is an interesting analogy. You are not married, are you Mr Thornton? I wonder that you should think of such a comparison.

JT: Half of the people in this country are women, sir. I encounter their kind daily… though I do not wish to sound a churl, for most of them are gentle enough.

RD: Forgive me, Mr Thornton, but you are looking rather unwell. Might you wish to call off the remainder of the interview?

JT: I am quite well, sir. Now, then, you were asking how I got my start in the mill?

RD: Let us return to that in a moment. You have made me think of something else. Are you not the only mill master in the city who is presently unmarried, Mr Thornton?

JT: That is rather a personal question, sir!

RD: Not necessarily. A married man is seen as stable, where an unmarried man might be prone to take greater risks in his business.

JT: I have my mother and sister, sir. You cannot think I would act rashly with them in my care!

RD: I did not mean to imply that you would, sir. Only that a family man has greater incentive toward stability. There is a vast difference between having a mother who keeps house for you and a having wife and children of your own.

JT: A… a wife?

RD: I say, Mr Thornton, have you taken a chill?

JT: No! I only… Sir, are you married?

RD: (Laughing) No, sir, but I am well familiar with the power a woman might hold over a man. My grandfather still gets a look on his face very much like yours when my grandmother chooses to contradict him!

JT: Your grandmother must be a rather provoking woman. I wonder that your grandfather does not put some stop to it!

RD: My grandfather counts himself the most fortunate of men, I assure you. Were I heir to the estate, I should do exactly as he did- find a sharp-tongued, clever woman such as my grandmother, and marry her regardless of circumstance. It will be a number of years before I have earned the security which would permit such a marriage, but… well, a man in your position, on the other hand….

JT: Did you not come here to ask questions about the mill?

RD: I believe I have what I need for my article, Mr Thornton. Perhaps I may call for another interview should the occasion arise?

JT: What? Oh, yes, certainly. Forgive me, sir, but I do not think we were properly introduced.

RD: That was intentional, sir. I beg your pardon. I am but a humble reporter, wishing to succeed on my own merits, but it becomes rather awkward when I tell people my last name. Richard Darcy, at your service. I hope, sir, that… er… your new friend and his family find Milton to their satisfaction. Good day, sir.

 

***

As I said this interview is part of the Northern Rain blog tour organized by the talented Janet B Taylor of More Agreeably Engaged, so along with the interview I bring more information on the book, the author and a very generous giveaway. Continue reading for more details 🙂

 

Book Blurb

NR Final FC4 071516 nobld SMThere is nothing like a long walk in the rain to guarantee a little privacy… unless the last person you wish to encounter happens also to be in search of solitude.

John Thornton is a man of heavy responsibilities who has many things on his mind, but the most troublesome of them all is Margaret Hale. She wants nothing to do with him, and he wishes he could feel the same. When a moment of vulnerability allows her a glimpse into his heart, she begins to see him very differently.

Is something so simple as friendship even possible after all that has passed between them? Thornton has every good reason to move on, not the least of which is the lovely Genevieve Hamilton and her wealthy father. Will Thornton act according to duty and accept an opportunity to save his mill, or will he take a chance on love, hoping to change Margaret’s mind?

 

 

Author Bio

Nicole ClarkstonNicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don’t ask). Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole’s books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

 

 

If you want to contact Nicole Clarkston, you can do so using the following social media:

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Goodreads Blog

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

And if you are curious about Northern Rain or any of Nicole Clarkston’s books, including the Pride and Prejudice variation Rumours and Recklessness, you can find them in the below links:

 

CreateSpace:

Rumours & Recklessness

No Such Thing as Luck

Northern Rain

 

Amazon:

Northern Rain

No Such Thing as Luck

Rumours&Recklessness

 

Don’t miss out the other stops of the blog tours for more excerpts, vignettes, reviews and giveaways 🙂

 

 NR Blog Tour Banner Horz SM

7/8-9: Launch Vignette, Excerpt & Giveaway at Fly High

7/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

7/11: Vignette & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton

7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813

7/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope

7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie

7/18: Author/Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…

7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past

7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged

7/24: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads

7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life

9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

 

***It’s Giveaway time***

As I said, today’s posts brings all of you an opportunity to win several goodies, namely 4 ebook copies of Northern Rain. To enter the giveaway, just click the below link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b0/?

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Filed under interview, North and South

Interview with Elaine Owen

Hello everyone,

Elaine-Owen-portfolio-283x435Elaine Owen first fell in love with Jane Austen as a young teenager. She read Pride & Prejudice for the first time in the summer between eighth and ninth grades, and while other kids were giving book reports on things like The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of The Ticking Clock, she was describing the ways that character faults are explored in Jane Austen’s classic. Although her English teacher was vastly entertained, it is possible that her classmates viewed her as a cross between Mary Bennet and Lady Catherine.

Elaine eventually discovered Jane Austen fan fiction books in her local bookstore and spent lots of money she did not have in order to devour them all. When her credit cards were maxed out and store clerks said she really had to leave, she became desperate and discovered fan fiction sites online. Around this time her therapist suggested that she find some kind of creative outlet for herself. Elaine took a deep breath, swallowed nervously, and wrote down the first chapter of what eventually became her first book, Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit. And this year, she published Common Ground her first North and South variation book, making her one of the few authors writing fan fiction for my favorite novels: Pride and Prejudice and North and South.

With this background I obviously had to invite her to visit my blog. She happily agreed to concede me an interview, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know Mrs. Owen and her work as much as I did.

 

26120389__UY200_ common ground

 

First of all let me thank you for taking the time to visit From Pemberley to Milton Mrs. Owen. It is a pleasure to have you here!   Your first published book was Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit, and after that one, JAFF books followed. Why did you decide to write a North and South fan fiction book?

At some point last fall I noticed N&S referenced again and again on the various JAFF boards, and I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I downloaded the book and started reading that, and I was about halfway through when I watched the movie. I was hooked! Who wouldn’t be, after both of *those* experiences? So then I just wrote a one-shot with my idea of what might have happened on the train ride back to Milton after that famous kiss. I only meant for it to be that one chapter, but the reaction I received convinced me to continue the story, and things just went from there.

 

Why did you choose to write a sequel and not a variation?

That was just where the story seemed to lead me, since I had started on the train platform.

 

Many authors choose to begin their sequels after the train station scene created by BBC and not the original ending scene in the book. Do you believe the BBC adaptation is crucial to the success of the story? Or would Gaskell’s work have the same effect on the public without the wonderful Richard Armitage performance?

No, I don’t think it would have. Gaskell’s book is easier for modern readers to absorb than Pride and Prejudice, but it is still fairly dry by today’s standards. The movie version is much more for modern audiences, and it helps that the movie was done so well.

 

In North and South Gaskell explores the workers difficulties and struggles. In Common Ground you choose to explore the difficulties faced by the masters. Would you like to tell us more about that?

Again, this story was inspired by the train platform scene, so automatically it was told from Thornton and Margaret’s viewpoint. That meant that the story would be more about their struggles together, which then put more focus on Thornton as a master and the difficulties he faced. However, in the end it becomes apparent that the fates of the masters and the workers are inextricably tied together, and they all profit when they learn to work together. I hope Gaskell would approve.

 

I am sure she would. North and South was much more than a romance and the social struggles played a big part on her writing. It is not common to see fan fiction who also delves on that, however, you did it in your book. In fact, in Common Ground you clearly explain what was the speculation in which Watson entered. Where did you come up with this specific idea?

There was a story I had read some years ago which had the same basic idea– basing the possibility of profit on a specific event in a foreign country. (No spoilers here! 🙂 ) The idea sounds horrifying to us today for moral reasons, as well as for the risk involved, but banks were not regulated then like they are now, and things like this *did* happen. The novelty of the idea stuck in my head, so I adapted it for my own use. I wish I could remember the exact book or author.

 

This book was released as part of the Margaret of Milton series, does that mean we are to expect another North and South book?

Yes. I am still working on a Darcy and Elizabeth story, tentatively titled Duty Demands, and then I will finish up my Longbourn Unexpected series. After that I would like to write in detail about the first ten years of the Thornton’s marriage, and possibly also base a story on the character of Nicholas Higgins. Who wouldn’t want to see more of Higgins?

 

I know I would! And I often wonder what would have happened to Higgins if Bessy didn’t die. Is there hope for a variation where she does not die?

I haven’t really thought about it, but that sounds like an excellent idea!!!

 

The number of writers who started with JAFF but are now also writing about North and South is increasing, do you believe we will start to see a boom of North and South fan fiction? Do you believe it will ever get to the proportions of Pride and Prejudice fan fic?

I hope to see it increase, as the dramatic possibilities are endless. But for it to swell to the almost cult-like devotion of Pride and Prejudice proportions is probably a number of years in the future. But that’s good news—we have years and years of Thornton and Margaret ahead of us!

 

Once again I would like to thank Mrs. Owen for her availability to chat a little bit with me. I hope you have all enjoyed the interview and if you are curious about Common Ground you can always see the review I posted last week.

Thank you, Rita, for taking the time to introduce my book on your blog. Also I really appreciate the thoughtful questions you put together. It has been a pleasure to “speak” with you, and I look forward to following From Pemberley to Milton for myself!

 

Until our next North and South post…which will be very, very soon 🙂

 

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Filed under interview, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Hope for Mr. Darcy – Character Interview & Giveaway

Hello dear readers,

How are you today? I am incredibly happy today, in fact I’m as happy as I could be to be hosting Jeanna Ellsworth on her first post for the launch of Hope for Mr. Darcy which was released two days ago.

HFMDE-CoverHope for Mr. Darcy is the first volume of the Hope Series Trilogy, a Regency variation series based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This trilogy promises hope and will always light our way through the darkness of unrequited love, but eventually bringing tremendously gratifying outcomes for our three favorite characters: Mr. Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana Darcy.

I’m looking forward to read this book as Mrs. Ellsworth previous books are amongst some of my favorites, namely Mr. Darcy’s Promise that I have recently reviewed.

 

I hope you get as enthusiastic about it as I am after reading the book blurb and getting to know it’s main character a little better. That’s right everyone, Mr. Darcy himself visited from Pemberley to Milton and allowed me to ask him some questions.

Let me remind you that he came to visit just after he had been refused by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and I might have been a bit impertinent for his taste, so his temper might not have been very tempered at the time. In fact, he had to leave and return a little later to finish the interview. But I won’t take your precious time anymore, I will leave you to read the interview and see for yourselves the state a man who has just been refused finds himself in.

 

 

***Book Blurb***

 

Still shaken from his horrible proposal, Elizabeth Bennet falls ill at the Rosings Parsonage upon reading Fitzwilliam Darcy’s letter. In her increasingly delirious state, unfathomable influences inspire her to write an impulsive response. The letter gives Mr. Darcy hope in a way that nothing else could.

As her illness progresses, Darcy is there at her side, crossing boundaries he has never crossed, declaring things he has never declared. A unique experience bridges them over their earlier misunderstandings, and they start to work out their differences. That is, until Elizabeth begins to recover.

Suddenly, Elizabeth is left alone to wonder what exactly occurred between the two of them in her dreamlike state. And for the first time since meeting the man from Pemberley, she finds herself hoping for Mr. Darcy to return and rekindle what once was.

 

 

***Interview with Mr. Darcy***

 

Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton Mr. Darcy!

It’s an honor to have you here sir, especially as I’ve been told this is a particularly hard time for you. I don’t mean to intrude, but I can’t resist the temptation to ask. What is it like to find your soul mate, or what some people call your touchstone, your one in five billion, and lose it before she was even yours to lose?

There really are no words to describe the torment. It is as if you truly have nothing and never did, nor will you ever have anything of value again. I am Fitzwilliam Darcy, a gentleman raised without needs. I have never had a desire long enough to know how to define it. But Elizabeth, pardon me, Miss Elizabeth––I still have a hard time thinking of her in any other way but intimately––she . . . she changed that for me forever. The only need I have ever had, the only thirst that has ever tortured me, will never be quenched.

 

I am sorry for being so frank, but why give up so easily? Fitzwilliam Darcy is not a quitter. Where there is love, there is hope. How far will you chase that hope and turn it into reality?

Hope? Ha! Pardon me, a gentleman should never scoff like that. Do be serious! My reaction to that question makes me just shake my head in disbelief. You think I should try again? I was refused! I haven’t been refused anything! Not in all my eight and twenty years . . . Nothing . . . ever.

 

Are you well, Mr. Darcy? You sighed just now and stopped talking. Would you like some wine?

Oh, yes, actually, no. What I mean is, no, I do not need wine, and yes, I am well, strangely so. Forgive me. I allowed myself to ponder that question a bit more. The idea that I might have a chance, and truly, if the chance was one in a million, I have to admit I would take it! How odd this feeling is. Hope.

 

You are smiling, sir. But you did not answer the question. How far would you go?

Well, for starters, my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, just told me she was ill. He has been begging me to go see her at the parsonage. It was only this morning that I gave her the letter in the grove. I needed a minute to consider it before I answered him. I remember thinking, could I really be in her presence so soon after she refused me? The wound is still raw, so terribly raw. You have to understand that. But, I have to admit, I am considering it. I tend to journal my thoughts sometimes. Would you like to hear my exact thoughts from that moment?

 

Of course. What a privilege.

 

Just to explain, it is easier to write in the third person. I do not know why, but it helps me. These are my thoughts: “What did Richard mean that she was ill? Ill like one of those headaches ladies employ when they want to be left alone? Yes, surely that was it. “The last man in the world . . .” He had to distance himself emotionally from anything that had to do with Miss Elizabeth. He had no choice. He could ill afford to demonstrate any interest in her welfare. Even if he were still desperately interested. More than anything, he wanted to know whether his letter had helped to refute the two accusations she had spat at him yesterday. But was there really any hope of that? No. There was no hope; not for Mr. Darcy.”

 

There is no hope for Mr. Darcy? Might I parrot your sentiments from a moment ago; do be serious! Are you worthy of her if you are not willing to fight for her? What kind of man would give up hope?

I am sure what I said was not what you were expecting. I suppose we all have suffered some disappointment today, I know I have. Perhaps we should end this. I hate to say it, but this has been a very difficult interview. I suppose you see a prideful man too. I truly thought I had been sufficiently humbled yesterday when miss Elizabeth refused me. Yet, your probing, your sword of honesty has been a direct hit. I am being interviewed, questioned in every way, and the impertinence is quite foreign for me. Ha, well, perhaps not so foreign.

 

Why did you just chuckle? What is so humorous?

Do you mind if I postpone the rest of the interview? I find my mind is not engaged at the moment, at least not with you. I find a small rector’s cottage on the northeast corner of my aunt’s property has completely overtaken my mind. I shall return.

 

*****

 

Welcome back, Mr. Darcy. Oh my, I do not believe I have seen you smile so charmingly. It is late, but I see you have returned from the parsonage. But from the look in your eyes, you are ready to burst forthwith. Do not let me stop you.

Thank you Mrs. Deodato. You are absolutely correct! I did it! I went and saw her! And although feverish, and perhaps a little delusional, something was there.

––Something to hope for? Oh dear, forgive me, I did not mean to make you emotional. Here is a fresh handkerchief.

Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth. As miniscule as it sounds, there was something there. It can only be described as hope. It was amazing, truly unbelievable. She fell asleep shortly after we talked, for she is truly ill, but then this happened. May I share again what I have written?

 

If you do not, you will have several disappointed people.

Thanks you. After she fell asleep on the chaise, while we were waiting for the apothecary to come, this happened: “Darcy slipped his hand into hers just as her eyes closed peacefully. Colonel Fitzwilliam handed him a cool washcloth, and Darcy wiped her brow with it again and again. After a few minutes, her breathing slowed, and it was clear she had fallen asleep.

Darcy took a deep breath. These last moments with her had been the most pleasant interaction he had ever had with her. She was confused and feverish, but she had been kind and concerned about him. And for the first time, he had been honest and open with her. He had nearly forgotten anyone else was in the room.

Just then, as if determined to not be forgotten, Colonel Fitzwilliam loudly cleared his throat and curiously eyed Darcy’s hand clasping Elizabeth’s. The expression on his face spoke silent volumes. Darcy suspected that his cousin knew the whole truth now, and that irritated him somewhat. But that was Richard’s way. He investigated and searched out answers much like a lawyer who twisted and turned his witnesses until the truth burst forthwith in an onslaught. Yes, Richard wanted him to lay his cards out on the table. But this wasn’t any card game. His very heart was lying on a chaise, with new beads of sweat on her brow, gently reaching out to him with her tiny limp hand. He didn’t have time to explain himself to Richard.

He wiped her brow again and rubbed the cloth along her forearms down to the hand that he held. Every brush of the cloth seemed to calm her. She gently squeezed his hand. Whatever was ailing her, she seemed to find comfort with him there holding her hand. He could do that much. He would be happy to do whatever she desired. With a pang of anxiety, he paused with the cloth and wondered just how delirious she was. Was he taking liberties with her? Her words from yesterday still stung . . . “the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.” He heard Mrs. Collins pass by on her way to the front door, welcoming the apothecary. He leaned down and kissed the back of her hand and then folded her arm against her chest and reluctantly left it there.

Ever so quietly, he heard Elizabeth whispering in her sleep, “Mr. Darcy, do not leave me . . .”

 

What powerful prose. I can only imagine how light your heart felt with her asking you to stay. I am afraid our time is almost up. I want to thank you for your private feelings you have shared with us today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before we end?

Most definitely. You cannot be more shocked than I was, but, Miss Elizabeth responded to the letter from this morning. She wrote me a letter in return! It is far too personal to include in this interview, but I will share my reaction after I read it. Allow me to share one more excerpt, if I may. “Darcy sat back and relaxed a bit. It was a good letter; it offered him a bit of peace. There was much to be thankful for. He folded the letter and took the lantern and stood up. As he walked to Rosings, his step had a bounce to it. His eyes saw all the many paths that he and Elizabeth had walked over the last few weeks. Each moment that he had found her on her walk, he had never once imagined that she thought ill of him. But she did. At least back then. He smiled slightly. But perhaps she felt differently now.

He reminded himself that she was feverish and confused, and that her kindness and civility towards him might not represent how she truly felt. But the letter still affected him, even more powerfully than holding her limp hand or cradling her sleepy head on his shoulder.

For the first time since yesterday, he felt hope.”

 

How did you do it? Few people have the strength of constitution to independently draw the line for themselves between defeat and perseverance. Did Elizabeth’s letter really affect you that intensely?

Most definitely. I cannot say more. It has been a long, taxing day. Thank you for pushing me in this direction. She is worth fighting for. She is my love, my life, the love of my life.

 

Wow, that just left me speechless. I won’t take more of your time Mr. Darcy! Thank you so much for visiting From Pemberley to Milton, and good luck with winning Miss Elizabeth’s heart!

A good friend of mine, Miss Dana Scully, once said something I believe is adequate for you at this time, and I would advise you to remember it: Maybe there is hope…

 

I hope you have enjoyed this interview and that it has piqued your interest, if it has, you can always find Hope for Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com – Hope for Mr. Darcy

Amazon.co.uk – Hope For Mr. Darcy (Hope Series Trilogy Book 1)

Amazon.fr – Hope For Mr. Darcy (Hope Series Trilogy Book 1) (English Edition)

 

***It’s giveaway time***

 

Mrs. Ellsworth would like to celebrate the release of Hope for Mr. Darcy by offering one copy to one lucky reader at From Pemberley to Milton. The giveaway is international and the winner may chose a paperback or an eBook copy.

Leave a comment on this post and share your thoughts on Hope for Mr. Darcy with us until the 8th of May and stop by on the 9th to see who was the winner.

71 Comments

Filed under giveaway, interview, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy vs. Bennet Giveaway Winner

 

Hello everyone,

I announced the winners of Victoria Kincaid’s e-books a couple of days ago, and the lucky winners were Diana for When Mary Met the Colonel and Joana Starnes for Darcy vs. Bennet, however, Joana Starnes already has a copy of Darcy vs. Bennet, which means another reader had the opportunity to win it.

I randomly selected another comment, and the new winner is:

 

***Dung***

 

Congratulations Dung! Please contact me through ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com, and let me know in which e-mail you would like to receive he copy of Darcy vs. Bennet.

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Filed under interview