John Eyre is a gender reversed tale of Jane Eyre mashed up with Dracula, but because I’ve never read Dracula, and it’s been many years since I’ve read Jane Eyre, I never felt compelled to compare these stories. In fact, Mathews writing kept me wondering what would happen next at every turn, putting this book in the unputdownable category. I must say the only thing I didn’t like about John Eyre was reaching the last page and realizing I couldn’t continue reading. This book is so good that I couldn’t focus on anything else during the day because my mind kept returning to its pages.
So, why is it so good? First and foremost, the writing is phenomenal! I can say that I’ve felt sadness, horror and even afraid at times. I don’t remember the last time a book made me feel scared, but John Eyre pulled me right into the castle with Bertha and made me feel everything she was feeling.
John Eyre is so well written that the reader is not a bystander of this gothic novel, he is part of it. He starts living every scene with the characters and that is what makes this book memorable.
The main characters were another aspect that captivated me throughout the entire story. I absolutely loved Bertha Rochester. She is a strong female who is not afraid to follow her dreams, and when things go south, she is not afraid to face what is up ahead with a resilience that is admirable. The story takes place in 1843 but it is intertwined with Bertha’s letters and journal entries that reveal to the reader past events which help explain how she became the women she is when John first meets her. This structure of the book, as well all the details the reader slowly uncovers, makes him understand how strong and lonely Bertha must be, and how John Eyre is exactly the companion she needs to have at her side. He is not the typical romantic hero, but he is everything she needs, and their love story was also something I loved in the book.
The love story in John Eyre is not between a lady and her savior or protector, but between a strong woman who only needs someone who trusts and believes in her. Someone she can rely on and who is willing to be her equal. John stepped up to the challenge and conquered my heart by doing it. It was refreshing to see a different type of romantic hero who is not a stereotype character, and to be presented to a heroine who was able to do so much on her own for so long. Because John Eyre is a gothic novel, there is also a lot of mystery in it and I loved it all, especially the mystery surrounding the boys. I wouldn’t have mind to know a little more about them and how they ended up in the situation we found them.
Summing up, John Eyre is an exciting gothic novel that readers will find difficult to put down. It is extremely well written, full of mystery, and with characters that are well built and hard to forget. It is definitely one of my favorite books this year and I highly recommend it to everyone.
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Regency and Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.
I absolutely loved the premise of Agony & Hope. In this book Mr. Darcy is unaware of Lydia’s elopement and therefore is not able to force Wickham to marry her. As a result, Mr. Bennet suffers an apoplexy after learning the news, Jane and Elizabeth are forced to live under Uncle Gardiner’s protection, and after hearing they might become too much of a burden to him, they decide to leave his house. Uncle Gardiner tries to find them, but when he discovers where they were living, he is told by their neighbours that the sisters became ill and died.
Throughout the initial chapters of the book, we learn everything that happened to Lydia and how Mr. Darcy coped with the news of Elizabeth’s death. He has vowed never to marry again and is silently suffering in his own home where night after night he takes refuge in his liquor to help him slumber and remember Elizabeth.
I absolutely loved to read about Darcy’s misery because it made me feel attached to him as a character. I loved his constancy and the strength of his love for Elizabeth. I could feel his pain and I couldn’t stop reading until some glimpse of hope appeared. This isn’t much of a spoiler, but Elizabeth and Jane are very much alive in this book, and we learn that when Jane knocks at Mr. Darcy’s door begging him to help Elizabeth who is extremely sick and without medical attention. It is then that Mr. Darcy comes to the rescue and brings the ladies to his house where they receive medical care.
Once more I was hooked to this part of the book because Ms. Diamond made me feel Darcy’s despair and hope. He was the perfect romantic hero when he was taking care of Elizabeth and I could not wait for her to get better to finally provide him the much-deserved happiness.
The first half of the book is dark but beautifully written and it was everything I could hope for in this type of story. However, as the story progressed, I started feeling a little more detached from it because at times it felt that some dialogues and even the characters thoughts or reports about a certain situation were somehow repetitive and not adding much to the story. I would have preferred if instead of those lines we would have known more about Lydia’s character, for example. That was my only quibble with the book because apart from Darcy’s character I also loved what the author did with the secondary characters. I liked to see how close Mary and Georgiana became, Lydia’s fate was something I had never seen before and which I loved, and Lady Catherine was just fabulous. Some readers may find Lady Catherine much changed in this book, but in my opinion, that worked really well. I loved her character in Agony & Hope as much as I loved her dialogues with Darcy and all the support she gave to him.
Agony and Hope is a short and enjoyable read. It has its degree of angst but it is quickly replaced with the hope for a better future. I loved the simplicity of the plot and the fact that there aren’t far fetched subplots in it. It is solely focused on the characters feelings and how they are able to overcome their misery. If you’re looking for a romantic story which portrays a gentleman every lady would love to have by their side, this is it.
Elizabeth Bennet’s Level
As always, Stevie Zimmerman did not disappoint. She is clearly one of the best narrators out there, and in Agony and Hope that was once more visible. In this book, I would like to stand out her ability to make us understand Elizabeth’s illness and recovery due to the inflections she gave her voice. Well done! I do recommend the audio version if you like audiobooks.
I am very pleased to welcome today at From Pemberley to Milton Sarah Courtney, and author who has enchanted me with Plots, Ploys and the Art of Matchmaking. While reading this book I could tell that Ms. Courtney’s writing style is different and refreshing, so I am very excited about her new novel The Olive Branch. She agreed to answer to a few of my questions about this book and her other projects, so I hope you like reading her answers as much as I did.
If there is anything else you’d like to ask her, feel free to do so, and don’t forget that all your comments will be considered for the ebook giveaway the author is offering 😊
Good afternoon Sarah, Thank you so much for visiting from Pemberley to Milton once more and for accepting to answer some of my questions.
I always like to know more about the authors who are visiting, and you were amazing! I loved chatting with you and reading all your answers!
Olive Branch will be your 4th P&P novel and if we look at your previous books, they’re all very different. You’ve written a modernization, a fairy tale adaptation, a comedy, and now a more traditional variation. Is diversity something you aim for when writing your books?
I’ve actually thought about this a lot, how different my stories are! My next novel is going to be a fantasy, so my stories are pretty different from each other! I think it’s because I’ve read so many variations and seen so many things done already (and done beautifully!) that I want to come up with original ideas. That can be pretty tricky when there are so many books out there, so I end up with lots of ideas that are pretty much all over the place.
I think that being simultaneously a reader and a writer of a specific genre is quite common among JAFF writers. How do you manage that? Do you stop reading while you’re writing so you are not influenced by what you’re reading? And as you mentioned, you have written different types of stories, but which is your favorite genre as a reader?
I do love both reading and writing JAFF! I will admit that, having read a ton of JAFF over the last several years, I do sometimes go long periods where I don’t read much of it. Then I get on a JAFF kick, like I have been this month, and I binge story after story.
I don’t really worry about being influenced by what I’m reading, because one of the things I like best about writing stories is taking things in a new direction. So there might be some scene or idea in a story I read that sparks an idea, but the reason it sparks that idea for me is that I want to take it in a completely different way, so it tends not to be recognizable in the end.
I did read a story once in which a young woman was forced to enter an engagement unwillingly. In her case, I believe she was a celebrity and the fiancé was a costar or something of that sort, and her mother/agent forced her to do it for public attention. So the basic idea of being forced into an engagement came from that book, but the circumstances, reasons, and ultimate result are so different that the two ideas have very little in common.
As for what genres I usually read, I am a huge fantasy fan. I probably read more fantasy (generally light romantic fantasy) than anything else. I do also like romantic thrillers. So generally I like books with lots of action and excitement, where the romance happens along the way but is not constantly the focus. Within JAFF, I love stories that have a unique twist and a good hook to catch my interest, and I have a particular soft spot for fantasy.
I imagine those fantasy books already inspired you for your next work! Can you tell us how long does it usually take you to write a book?
I’m a pretty slow writer (and editor), so it takes me a long time to write a story. I think it took me about six months to write The Olive Branch and another four months to edit it—I went through more drafts than you could imagine. Probably anywhere from six months to a year, but sometimes I’m working on more than one book or story at a time.
And how was your writing process during that time? Do you write the entire story at once or do you write separate scenes and then try to put them together? What can you tell us about that? How was it like for The Olive Branch?
I am very much a plotter. I will sometimes write the first scene or few scenes when I first come up with an idea, just to see how the story will start out, but I typically then end up writing an outline of the entire plot before I begin.
I do then generally write in order, but I do sometimes skip around a bit. I think I did a lot more of that in another book, Beauty and Mr. Darcy, where I’d write several scenes of one character at a time even though they would end up being interspersed with other characters’ stories. With The Olive Branch, I mostly wrote in order. However, I ended up moving a lot of scenes around, so the final story is not in the order I originally wrote it!
And what can readers expect from The Olive Branch?
The Olive Branch is my “evil Mr. Collins” story. I’ve added sort of a twist to Mr. Collins’s character. In front of others, he is pretty much like he is in canon: a foolish prattling man who idolizes Lady Catherine. However, Elizabeth learns that this is all a front, and he is in reality a far more calculating, evil man. She is trapped into an engagement with him to protect her family, but when Mr. Darcy hears of it, he’s desperate to find her a way out.
It appears Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth will team up early in the book, should we expect this to be a low angst one?
Early on in the book, Elizabeth has a good reason to keep things close to her chest. She and Mr. Darcy are both working towards the same purpose but without knowing what the other is doing, so I wouldn’t say they truly team up until about halfway through the book. It is true, though, that there isn’t a whole lot of angst between them. For one thing, while Mr. Darcy did insult her, she never heard any lies about him from Wickham, so she has far less to hold against him to start with and is thus she sooner comes to see him as a friend. There is plenty of angst, but it’s mostly focused on the seemingly impossible situation that Elizabeth is in with Mr. Collins.
I am glad to know that Elizabeth was not influenced by Wickham as I do not like to read that specific plot line over and over again. Is it safe to say that he won’t have a big part in this story?
This is a little tricky to answer. Wickham does actually have a significant role in this story, but most of it happens “offscreen,” so to speak. And his role is very different from the traditional role in P&P (he’s not around telling lies about Darcy to Elizabeth—in fact, his interaction with Elizabeth is almost nonexistent). So hopefully, while he is in the story a bit, his role will be different enough not to bore you!
Sorry about the difficult questions! So let’s go with an easier one now, I know humour plays a big part in some of your previous books, is this something that will also be present in The Olive Branch?
I do love to add in bits of humor and fun when I can! While this book is more angsty than my other stories, I didn’t want it to be too dark and depressing, so I did try to add in some lightness and humor where I could. It’s a tricky balance, to have the book have some real conflict but also keep it fun and enjoyable to read and reread, but that is what I aimed for.
I imagine that like the balance you were talking about there are other difficulties in writing a book, but which was the hardest scene to write in The Olive Branch?
I would say the “reveal” at the end. It can always be tricky to have your characters resolve everything without getting too wordy or having the traditional “villain monologue.” It took several complete rewrites to get that scene to work how I wanted it to.
And did you have any authors block on that particular scene? Or while you were writing the book? What is your solution to the author’s block?
I think one of the trickiest parts of that scene was point of view. We needed to find out information that was only known by somebody who was not available to reveal that information. So I did spend a lot of time kicked back in my chair, thinking, occasionally running ideas by my very tolerant husband or talking it over with my developmental editor.
My biggest trick to overcome writer’s block is to just start writing anything. So if I can’t think how to start a scene, I will actually brainstorm while typing. I’ll just start typing notes to myself on what I’m stuck on and why, and somehow I’ll end up sorting it out and starting to type the actual scene.
Another great way that I’ve found to overcome writer’s block is to talk to my critique partner, Melanie. She and I have a great time bouncing ideas off each other, and she’s not afraid to say, “I think your story/scene should start in a different place,” or what-not. Talking to her can often help me figure out how to fix a scene that is flat or figure out how to start a scene I’m stuck on.
Which character inspires you the most? And which one do you believe has more potential?
I’m going to take “inspires” to mean “was the most fun to write”—that’s what you mean, right? Right? And I would definitely say Mr. Collins. It was really entertaining to give him two faces: the one he shows to the public, and the one he shows to his victim. And of course sometimes his true self would leak out at a bit and reveal hints to other characters when he didn’t mean to.
I’m also a huge fan of the “fanon” version of Colonel Fitzwilliam, so of course he had to have an important role in this story. I think he’s such a great guy, so I really love to have him in my books when I can.
Yes, that exactly what I meant 😉 You’re making me really curious about the Collins character! Is the Col. present in this story? What about a secondary character story based on him next?
Yes, Colonel Fitzwilliam is in this story! He gets to help out Darcy, and they have some fun banter here and there, although of course the story is focused on Elizabeth and Darcy. However, he gets a little bit of a sideplot (read: romance) all of his own. So we don’t need a secondary story for him, as he gets to live happily ever after, too!
And here I was thinking we would have a secondary character story coming out soon 😊 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the positive and the negative ones?
I will admit to reading some of my reviews but not all of them. I did read all the reviews early on, because I do try to have a thick skin. But I found that sometimes reading the lower reviews made me lose my delight in a book I’d written, and so I’ve started to avoid those.
I do post to several active Jane Austen fanfiction boards, and I have received an incredible amount of helpful criticism there. In fact, I made some major changes to The Olive Branch based on critical reviews. The difference, I think, is that during the writing process, I can actually edit the story to fix any problems that people point out. Once it’s published, it’s done, so I tend to only read the reviews that are more positive.
Elizabeth Bennet faces an impossible choice—wed Mr. Collins or watch him destroy her entire family.
Given a choice, Elizabeth would never dream of marrying the pompous, ridiculous Mr. Collins. But when she refuses his offer, he threatens to reveal a shocking secret that could ruin the Bennets.
Fitzwilliam Darcy has no intention of giving in to his unsettling attraction to Elizabeth Bennet. Still, before he flees to London, he cannot resist seeing her one last time and discovers, to his dismay, that she is now betrothed to her odious cousin. She did everything in her power to evade Mr. Collins at the Netherfield ball, and the woman he sees before him now is not merely unhappy, but afraid. Elizabeth is in trouble, and Darcy cannot bear to abandon her in her distress.
As the wedding day looms, Darcy and Elizabeth become desperate to break the engagement without scandal. It is only when a stranger arrives—a stranger Mr. Collins seems to fear—that Darcy and Elizabeth have any hope of extricating her from this frightening predicament.
As Mr. Collins’s plan begins to unravel, it is clear that Elizabeth may not be the only one in danger. Will she and Darcy be too late to stop Mr. Collins’s vile plans?
I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. it’s a bit cloudy and chilly here in Portugal, but that is not so bad because it allowed me to have a very relaxing day indoors. Apart from my family, my books were a great company over the weekend, and I am happy to say that some 5 star reviews are coming your way this month 🙂
As always, I’m super late in posting my June Book Mail Giveaway, but today I am announcing the winners of the May Book Mail giveaway, and hopefully next weekend I’ll be able to publish the next giveaway.
Apart from the May Book Mail giveaway winner, I would like to announce the two winners of Twists of Fate, Joana Starnes new book which will be released this week.
Thank you so much for visiting Joana and for being so generous to our readers. It is always such a great pleasure to have you here!!!
Without further ado the winners are:
May Bookmail Giveaway
*** Joy Friday***
Twists of Fate
*** Robin G.***
Congratulations ladies! As always, can you please contact me throught e-mail ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so your prize may be sent to you? Please provide me with the email address to which the book may be sent to you, and the Amazon store in which you have an account.
Grace Gibson has become a favorite author ever since I read the magnificent Reckless, Headstrong Girl, so I am very happy to welcome her at From Pemberley to Milton once more.
Today she brings not only a fun excerpt but also an explanation of why she decided to write this story. I hope you enjoy learning more about Old Boots and share with us your opinion, don’t forget, all comments will be entered to the giveaway Meryton Press is offering.
I would like to thank Janet Taylor for inviting me for the tour and for everything she has done for this community 😊 This wouldn’t be the same without you.
And now, I will leave you to enjoy the excerpt. Have fun!
Hi Rita! It is terribly hot where I live and I love nothing more than to stay cool with a class of iced tea and a book about the cold, rainy British countryside. Reading is a favorite summer pastime for many, and I am so happy to be here today to share a little about my latest release.
We are all acquainted with Fitzwilliam Darcy, the brooding, dignified hero who must be humbled in order to fall in love. And who would not fall for such a serious, unreachable man?
However, in Old Boots, I began to explore the idea that perhaps the gentleman had not always been so stiff. After all, every grown man has first been a boy. What if Mr. Darcy had started out in life as a bit of a scamp?
As I began to write, I was delighted when a series of unforeseen events resulted in Mr. Darcy finding within himself the youthful prankster he had once been. Put in his own words, he suddenly exclaims,
“I was simply tired of being so damnably well-regulated!”
This is perhaps the most telling of Darcy’s realizations in this story, and as you may already suspect, Elizabeth Bennet has had something to do with his emerging spirit of mischief.
But it is not just Elizabeth who brings out the latent mischief-maker in Mr. Darcy. Caroline Bingley, being possessive and determined to have him as her husband, also causes the gentleman to resort to ungentlemanly tactics.
In this excerpt, Darcy has arrived at Netherfield Park in a clandestine manner. He is soaking wet and not fit to be seen, so he enters through the back door and uses the servants’ stairs to get up to his room. He discretely asks for Bingley to explain the reason for his strange arrival, and since he would rather not have to also explain himself to Bingley’s sisters, suggests they forego the usual formal welcome. Bingley, agreeable as ever, voices no objection and, at the appointed hour, Darcy simply goes down to dinner as if nothing unusual has happened. But…
Miss Bingley gasped as I came into the salon just as the dinner gong sounded. I bowed to her in acknowledgement.
“Mr. Darcy! But—” she spluttered, almost at the volume of a screech. “I—we have been waiting all afternoon to greet you properly! How did I miss your arrival?”
I temporarily ignored her to greet her sister, Mrs. Hurst, and her sister’s husband. I then returned my attention to the horrified countenance of my hostess and said as meekly as I could, “I do not rightly know, madam.”
As the hours of the evening progressed, this mild deception began to strike me as something of a tremendous prank. Miss Bingley must have been glued to her chair, determined to receive me. How I entered the house without her knowing confounded her to a vexatious degree. She could not cease to remark upon it.
I began to suspect that she was no particular favorite of the servants of the house. From the butler to the lowliest maid, I detected a closed rank. No one was the least bit sympathetic to Miss Bingley’s quandary. When questioned as to when I arrived, as they invariably were, they collectively feigned confusion, ignorance, or to have been elsewhere at the precise moment in question.
All manner of excuses were serenely provided as to why no one could tell her the particulars of my arrival: she had requested the butler to look over the wine for dinner, had sent her footmen out to the stables to assure the grooms’ readiness to receive visitors, and had sent Mrs. Nichols upstairs to look over the rooms. Her distress seemed to entertain them almost as much as it did me.
Even Bingley, who is not the sharpest blade in the armory, blandly looked upon his sister’s bewilderment and said, “Pish, Caroline. Give over. The man is here, as you see.”
I hope you enjoyed seeing a different side of a gentleman known more often for his arrogance and reserve.
One of Darcy’s unlikely allies in this story is Elizabeth’s father. Mr. Bennet, known for his cutting humor, also manages to exert a subtle influence on Mr. Darcy. If you would like to read more about Mr. Bennet’s surprising role in this love story, please join met at Probably at the Library on July 17th. Hope to see you there!
Some form of devilry has come over Mr. Darcy.
Since his father’s death, Fitzwilliam Darcy has endeavored to be reliable, responsible, and restrained. But upon visiting Netherfield Park in Hertfordshire, he finds himself weary of the struggle to be so damnably well regulated and delights in a revival of the carefree mischief that characterized his younger days.
What brings on this sudden reversal? Perhaps it is a shocking incident that takes place upon his first entering the neighborhood when he rescues Miss Elizabeth Bennet from the raging current of a rain-swollen stream. The so-called “lady” does not prefer to be rescued, and Darcy’s subsequent dunking, rather than resulting in the gratitude that is his due, is met with her confounding resentment of his interference.
This tale of Darcy’s entanglement with the mysteriously grief-stricken Bennet family is interwoven with a love story—a most delicious exchange of looks, barbs, pranks, and innuendos as Miss Elizabeth, the “lightning bolt of Longbourn,” regularly singes, frustrates, and humbles the man from Derbyshire.
The blog tour for Forgotten Betrothal starts today at from Pemberley to Milton and I couldn’t be happier about it. The blurb has made me confident this is a story I will love! I love variations that only deviate a little from canon but that take a completely different path after that. I prefer small changes such as Elizabeth not reading the letter then a major change such as her family being titled, for example, and my favorite starting point for a deviation is the Hunsford proposal because I have always believed that by then, Elizabeth already harbored some feelings for Darcy, and it is only after her refusal that he truly learns her character and respects her the more for it.
I do not know how much Forgotten Betrothal deviates from canon, but the fact that it starts right after the Hunsford proposal, and that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meet shortly after that in London is certainly a selling point for me! I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this book here 😊
I am also happy to welcome Mrs. Romano for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton. I hope this is the first of many.
I would like to thank everyone at Quills & Quartos for inviting me for the tour and for everything they do for this community 😊
And now, I will leave you to enjoy the excerpt. Please let us know what you thought, and also your feelings concerning this blurb 😊 The story appears to have a bit of a mystery too, isn’t that exciting?
Thanks, Rita, for letting me share an excerpt today from Forgotten Betrothal! One of the exciting parts about writing this book was the opportunity to portray an extended courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth. In this scene, Darcy has just brought Georgiana to meet Elizabeth for the first time and through their conversation, Elizabeth gains greater insight into Darcy’s childhood and even discovers a hidden talent! Enjoy!
Excerpt from Chapter 17
“So you are teaching your cousin to play, Miss Elizabeth?” Georgiana enquired.
“Only simple tunes. Meg is but five, my talents are limited, and I am not an appropriate tutor.”
“I remember Fitzwilliam teaching me simple songs when I was that age. But surely you are being too modest, Miss Elizabeth! My brother has told me how much he enjoys to listen to your playing, and he never exaggerates, I assure you!”
“You play the pianoforte, Mr Darcy?” Elizabeth asked, clearly surprised.
“I must defer to your superior skills, and Georgiana has long surpassed any efforts of mine.”
“I would love to hear you play sometime, Miss Elizabeth,” Georgiana affirmed. “Fitzwilliam has told me that he has rarely heard anything that brought him such pleasure.”
Elizabeth was spared from answering his sister’s request when a maid entered the room with refreshments. Standing to assist her aunt, Miss Bennet redirected the conversation towards Derbyshire, and soon Georgiana and Mrs Gardiner were happily sharing their stories of Lambton while Miss Bennet asked after their favourite haunts in the village. Bringing him his preferred cup of tea, Elizabeth joined Darcy on the other side of the room.
“You have been withholding information, sir. There I was, chained to the instrument at Rosings, when you could have rescued me from your aunt’s scrutiny by displaying your undoubtedly superior talents.”
Smiling in reply, Darcy acknowledged, “Perhaps I could have, Miss Elizabeth, but you are by far the superior player. In fact, I have not played before anyone outside my immediate family since I was a boy. I was in earnest when I told you that I do not perform to strangers.”
“Do you have a reason for keeping such talents hidden?”
“Not particularly, it is only that my instruction came from my mother. She was a marvellous performer, but her music was always distinctly personal, a feeling my sister shares.”
Elizabeth’s genuine interest gave Darcy the courage to continue. “My mother was always rather delicate, you see, and during my youth, she spent many hours in the music room in place of more active pursuits. I was often drawn to her music, and some of my fondest memories of her are the moments she would give towards my instruction. It may not have been the most common of interests for a young boy, but I felt privileged to share her passion.” He paused as his thoughts turned slightly mournful. “After Georgiana’s birth, my mother’s health never recovered and she rarely left Pemberley. On my holidays from Eton, we spent quite a lot of time in that music room, playing together with Georgiana in her basket at our feet. Georgiana suffered from colic, and nothing seemed to soothe her except for my mother’s music. After Mother died, I continued to play for my sister in her stead.”
A light hand on his forearm pulled him from his recollections, and as he turned to gaze upon Elizabeth, her kind sympathy radiated from her countenance.
“What was she like, your mother?”
“She was a gentle soul, much like your sister Miss Bennet. ’Tis not a common trait for a Fitzwilliam, I assure you. The more lively nature of my cousin Richard is more in tune with the rest of the family. I suppose with such a strong sister as Lady Catherine, it was easier for my mother to yield to her natural reserve, a trait she passed to both of her children. In looks, she was much like Georgiana—blond curls, blue eyes, though a lighter shade, and a fair complexion. While I strongly resemble my father, I believe I inherited much of Mother’s temperament, though perhaps not her innate gentleness,” he finished with a faint smile.
“I would not be so sure of that, Mr Darcy, for you seem to possess hidden depths behind that mask you present to the world. Was your father also reserved?”
“No indeed. While not overly boisterous, my father tended to favour those of a livelier disposition. I felt he was sometimes disappointed by my reticence, as he often encouraged my association with those he felt would inspire me to overcome my shyness.”
Darcy could see Elizabeth instantly understood his reference to Wickham, but she bravely pushed past the allusion.
“Well, you seemed to have developed a taste for liveliness if you prefer my company,” she teased. “Though I must say that I enjoy learning more of your family. It is clear to me how much you care for them, and I believe in the importance of appreciating your blessings. You never know how fragile it can all become.”
Her uncharacteristically solemn expression encouraged him to ask, “Are you sure you are well, Miss Elizabeth?”
“I hardly know, sir, but I have great hope I soon will be.” As she looked into his eyes, she seemed to seek reassurance, and her smile grew. “Indeed, I believe I have every chance of happiness.”
Darcy felt his own chances for felicity had increased tenfold since his arrival that afternoon. An irrepressible hope settled in his chest, convincing him that perhaps his greatest desire was not quite so far out of reach.
Enlightenment dawned, sharp and painful in its glaring exactitude. He knew. From the moment she had uttered her true name, he had known that she was not free. So why was he here? Why did he still look at her in that way? Why could she see the adoration in his eyes and the torment in his features? Had he come to say goodbye? To leave her to this fate?
How can an innocent stroll through Hyde Park change the course of so many lives?
Confused and chastened following her cruel rejection of Mr Darcy’s proposal, Elizabeth Bennet returns to her aunt’s home in Gracechurch Street. Unable to find solace while pondering her terrible misjudgment of his character, she is overwhelmed with guilt for how she treated the puzzling gentleman from Derbyshire.
Fitzwilliam Darcy has retreated to his London home after being spurned by the lady he loves, and after serious reflection has come to the realisation that he never deserved Elizabeth’s good opinion.
A chance encounter brings the opportunity to seek forgiveness, and possibly, a new start to their budding romance. But the introduction of a stranger into Elizabeth’s life threatens to reveal old family secrets that have the potential to truly unravel her world and all that she holds dear.
M. Romano is, as Miss Bingley would say, ‘a great reader,’ though she still owns to taking delight in many things. As an inveterate bookworm and a longtime lover of historical fiction, she is delighted to present her début novel, Forgotten Betrothal, as a tribute to her love for the works and characters created by Jane Austen. As a history professor, she eagerly embraced the opportunity to delve into Regency England and the many facets of London’s high society, which provided endless evenings of entertainment for both herself and any unfortunate family members who happened to be nearby.
A Northern California native, L. M. Romano currently lives with her husband in Ontario, California. She plans to continue writing, teaching, and reading countless books to her heart’s content.
Quills & Quartos would like to offer one ebook copy of Forgotten Betrothal to one reader commenting on this post. The winner will be choosen and announced on the Q&Q Facebook and Instagram pages shortly after the blog tour is over.
Today I’m very happy to welcome Joana Starnes at From Pemberley to Milton to talk about her upcoming release Twists of Fate.
Joana is a dear friend and one of my favorite authors, so I am always eagerly anticipating her releases. In fact, as soon as I finish one of her books, I immediately ask her when she will write the next one because I just wanted to continue getting involved in her writing and her characters. Twists of Fate is a forced marriage scenario, and I am sure Joana will make it an incredible and unforgettable story! She is particularly good at showing the reader the intensity of her character’s feelings, and with a forced marriage scenario, I imagine she will have plenty of scenes to work on that 🙂
Today she is sharing some information about this new book and answering all your questions! So if there is something you’ve always wanted to ask her, go ahead! Check out all the information she is sharing about the new book tto, I am sure you’ll get very curious. All questions will be entered into the giveaway of 2 ebook copies of Twists of Fate.
Thank you so much for visiting Joana! I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this book 🙂 And…to visit Pemberley with you once more 😉
P.S – I looooove the book’s cover 🙂
Thank you, Rita, for welcoming me today, on the blog tour for my new Pride and Prejudice variation, Twists of Fate.
I thought I might start by sharing a few titbits about the book, and then if there is anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment and I’ll try to answer without too many spoilers. If you would like spoilers, that’s absolutely fine too. I can message you privately or email you, and spill the beans.
The idea for Twists of Fate hit me while I was minding my own business and writing a short and cheery story that sprung from a chat that Rita, Glynis and I had at Pemberley.
(Goodness, I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years! Far too long! I do hope we get to meet up at Pemberley again soon!)
(Lyme Park, 4 Feb 2019)
I started writing the cheery story last spring and I was having a wonderful time with it, but then the new idea came and grabbed me, and just wouldn’t let go!
If you haven’t seen the book trailer yet, have a quick peek. The music really, really makes it (thank you, Aaron Kenny, for this exquisite piece!!)
So, the titbits:
Some of the things I hope you’ll be pleased to find in Twists of Fate:
Our favourite characters get together very early. They marry a week and a day after the Netherfield ball;
The early marriage is all due to Wickham, who ends up helping Darcy more than he knows (and far more than he could possibly wish!);
All those who set out to injure our dear couple (including, but not limited to the dastardly Mr Wickham) end up helping them in one way or another, and making their bond stronger;
There is angst (of course there’s angst 😀 ), but there are lots of romantic moments in between, and a good dose of besottedness;
There is courtship – slow-burn, tantalising courtship – as they tiptoe towards intimacy. On that note, I think this is my most daring book yet. Not explicit, never explicit, but it’s certainly daring!
Elizabeth is brave even when she is flummoxed;
Our favourite characters learn to open up and talk, really talk, and share their feelings – even Mr Darcy (and he gets over his aversion to dancing, too).
Did I mention the besottedness?
Now, in the interest offull disclosure, there are a few things that make me think I’d better buy a helmet, put it on and wait for the shower of turnips:
Georgiana speaks out when she shouldn’t;
Darcy doesn’t speak out when he should.
The book is called Twists of Fate for a whole lot of reasons. Some of them might not be what you expect.
And that’s it from me for now. Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to your questions. Please add them to the comments section and I’ll reply asap. Everyone who has a share in the conversation will be entered in the giveaway. But you don’t have to think of a question to enter! If there’s nothing you’d like to ask, please stop by for a chat and a chance to win a Kindle copy of Twists of Fate. There are 2 up for grabs. The giveaway is international and it’s open until 15 Jul 2021. Good luck!
Twists of Fate will be released on 22 July and is now available on pre-order.
(Another excerpt is posted there for your reading pleasure 🙂 )
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks again, Rita, for welcoming me here today!
What if Mr Collins shocked Elizabeth with his base conduct at the time of his proposal, thus sending her dashing out of her house, and into the arms of Mr Darcy? What if that accidental encounter was witnessed, and impropriety was assumed? What if Mr Darcy was glad of the excuse to marry his heart’s desire – only to have his best hopes blasted within hours of his wedding? What if he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once?
Evil rumours, an early marriage, a dreadful misunderstanding, an old secret and good intentions gone awry. What if ‘I do’ is not the end, but the beginning of the adventure?
5 Jul 2021 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm ~ Giveaway and Guest post: Breaking the wall of silence
8 Jul 2021 ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Giveaway and ‘Ask me anything!’ (I’ll try to answer without too many spoilers)
13 Jul 2021 ~ Austen Variations ~ Ongoing Giveaway and Excerpt: If anything can go wrong… (Murphy’s Law ~ the JAFF version)
16 Jul 2021 ~ Austenesque Reviews ~ Giveaway and… [my lips are sealed, but I hope you’ll like it]
22 Jul 2021 ~ Austen Variations ~ Launch Day!
Joana Starnes is the author of eleven Austen-inspired novels and a contributor to the Quill Ink anthologies. All her novels are available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.
Camp Jane is every Janeite’s dream. Susan Andrews imagined the perfect resort for the perfect holidays and penned an entire novel around it. I only wish someone could actually read this book and build everything the author imagined.
Camp Jane takes place on a property bought by Benny Pelletucci in the Catskill mountains during the 50’s, and turned into a Regency Resort by his daughter Edith. While growing up, Edith always wondered why she felt such a close connection to Austen, until she discovered that when her father built the resort, he built it based on a Jane Austen illustrated anthology, so every building in the property resembles Pemberley, Longbourn, Highbury etc. As an Austen fan herself, she decided to make this resort into a full Austen experience by hiring actors, and offering essay winners the opportunity to spend the summer at her resort, as long as they played the role of an Austen character. During the summer season, customers book their holidays at the resort and may take part in all major scenes of Austen’s novels. Can you imagine attending the Netherfield ball and witnessing Elizabeth dance with Mr. Darcy? Or interacting with Caroline Bingley and telling her exactly what she needs to hear? Better yet, can you imagine a resort where you have a recreation of London and Bath, and where you can shop or take a walk on the streets surrounded by people playing your favorite characters? I am telling you, this resort would be the perfect holiday destination!
The story itself starts at the LaGuardia airport where a few of the essay winners meet and discover they are all heading to what they call Camp Jane. The story then progresses throughout their first week at the resort, where they are assigned a character, get to know the property, take regency classes, develop friendships, and even help solving a mystery. The mystery in this book is exactly what I would expect in this type of story and it did not disappoint. I only wish I had started getting glimpses of it sooner. Even if there are a few tips added earlier in the story, I didn’t connect all the dots until the very end.
For obvious reasons, one of the aspects I loved the most in this book was the setting. It was a dream for everyone who loves Austen. I loved getting to know the locations the staff worked on, the app they used, and the classes they had to take to be ready for the summer season. I felt transported into a dreamy place and I kept imagining what it would be like to be a customer of this resort.
Diversity in Austen’s world has been much talked of lately, and to be honest, I do not enjoy books where I feel this topic is forced upon the reader or politicized. In Camp Jane diversity is approached in such a natural manner that I didn’t think about the origins of any character while I was reading it, I was completely focused on the characters themselves, their personalities and their actions. I loved the fact that the main character isn’t white and that it was approached in such a natural manner. Well done Susan Andrews!
The story itself is not very complex, the reader learns along with the characters the rules of the resort, gets to know the staff of the resort, and we only start seeing some developments in the plot when the mystery starts gaining its place in the narrative. The book focuses on describing the staff’s initial week at camp, and I would have liked to actually see the story progressing until the guests started arriving. I kept waiting for that to happen but it never did, so maybe that means we will have a sequel, or maybe this can even become a series! I can well imagine this book having several volumes, each one taking place in a different season with different Lizzies, different Darcy’s and different stories to follow 🙂 I wonder if the author accepts requests 😉
Summing up, Camp Jane is an interesting story penned with a very unique writing style which captivated me from the first pages, and I certainly recommend this book to my fellow janeites, I am sure you will like it as much as I did!
How are you today? This is my last post while I am 36 because tomorrow is my birthday, so this is a special post for me. It is even more special because I am hosting Julia Winter for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton. Ms Winter has just released her debut Pride and Prejudice variation and she is here today with an enticing excerpt where we can see Mr. Darcy and Wickham’s encounter at Meryton. You’ll notice Elizabeth is no longer Miss Bennet when this encounter takes place, but Mrs. Grayson. What are your feelings regarding Elizabeth marrying someone else first? Have you heard about this book yet? Have you read the blurb? What do you think?
If you haven’t heard about it yet, or if you’re unaware of the blurb, let me stop you no more 🙂 You can find it right after the excerpt.
Thank you for visiting Ms Winter, I hope this is the first of many visits 🙂
Meryton was less dense with fog, thicker with people. Of course. Market day. Darcy had forgotten. He moved Alastor carefully through the throng. Perhaps he should turn back here, rather than leave Bingley at Longbourn’s gates. There was rather too much activity testing Alastor’s temper.
“At least we missed the worst of it,” Bingley said with unimpaired cheer, bringing his roan alongside so they could talk. “Oh look! The Bennet ladies!”
Bingley urged his roan to the edge of the market square, where Mrs Grayson and the four Misses Bennet stood in conversation with a group of militia officers and, incongruously, a tall black-clad clergyman. Sighing, Darcy followed. At least the youngest two were not romping around like untamed colts… perhaps the presence of their elder sisters held their bad behaviour in check a trifle. A very small trifle. The youngest Bennet chit, the one with those silly corkscrew curls badly cut in the lop-sided fashion favoured by the more frivolous and outré elements of society, was side on to Bingley and Darcy as they approached. She hung on the arm of one officer and stared up at him as did a mouse fascinated by a snake. She was not squealing, which was an undoubted improvement on her usual manner, but the vacuous expression of adulation on her face, evident even in profile, was only to be deplored.
Bingley called out a greeting, and Miss Jane Bennet looked up, her pretty face showing her surprise before relaxing into her usual sweet smile.
The officer turned his head to look at them when he heard Bingley’s call, and his gaze caught Darcy’s.
Wickham! Good God. Wick—
Darcy’s chest constricted on the instant, cold fingers clenching around his ribs to crush everything beneath into a pounding, painful, churning mess caused by a heart trying to leap up out of its cage of bone. The cold rushed away, borne on a pulse of heat that had his face burning as if dipped in a volcano. Only pressing his lips together so hard his mouth hurt, prevented him from voicing his hate and fury and guilt.
The noise of the market faded into a distant hum and buzz. Vague shapes moved on the edge of sight, as wispy and unimportant as though they were phantoms the fog had made manifest. Only he and Wickham were there, transfixed, staring at each other with such hatred that the air should have seethed and roiled with it.
Wickham had paled, his face frozen into a grimace that was half dismay, half defiance. Darcy could only hope his own showed no expression at all.
The world had narrowed down to that familiar face, the one he had hoped never to see again. For a moment so long it felt an aeon, he and Wickham stared at each other, then, slowly, Wickham lifted his free hand to his temple to touch the shako perched on his head in a sketch of a greeting. That was too much to be borne. What Darcy wished to do was wrench Alastor around and send him galloping back the way he’d come, scattering the denizens of Meryton hither and thither like chaff. But no Darcy ever cut and ran. And certainly not before a cur like Wickham.
So, instead, Darcy turned away from Wickham as if he had not seen him. As if he had never seen him.
He looked at the rest of the company. Mrs Grayson frowned. She looked from Wickham to Darcy, with that same direct, almost challenging, gaze she had turned on Darcy at Longbourn. The clergyman murmured something and pulled at her arm.
“Please do not tug at me, Mr Collins. I am not a parcel!” Mrs Grayson’s tone was sharp.
“Oh, but my dear, dear cousin! It is my privilege, right, and duty to see to your protection—”
Darcy bowed slightly to the Bennet women, ignoring Wickham and the unknown cleric. “Good day, ladies. I hope you are all well. Forgive me for not staying. I will return now to Netherfield, Bingley, so I leave the ladies in your care.”
He touched his hat. Another cold I-do-not-see-you glance at Wickham, a curl of the lip to show his contempt, and he turned Alastor with quiet deliberation and rode slowly away, so upright in the saddle that his back and shoulders stabbed with complaining aches and pains.
And all the while, the lava of his hatred flamed inside his chest and gut. It was a miracle it did not melt his saddle and burn Alastor’s back.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that on escaping an unhappy marriage, a young widow will be delighted to remove to the dower house and lease the marital abode to a single man in possession of a good fortune, provided he looks elsewhere to fulfil his want of a wife.
Five years after being forced into an unwanted marriage at the age of sixteen, and freed six months later by the death of her abusive husband, Elizabeth Grayson (née Bennet) has finally found a measure of peace. The inheritor of her husband’s estate, Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is now a wealthy young widow, independent and self-reliant. With an eye always on improving her four sisters’ woefully small dowries and providing for her mother, who will be homeless when her father dies, Elizabeth is pleased to lease out Netherfield to the Bingley family, making her home in the dower house in Meryton and vowing that she will never remarry.
Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire is rich and well connected, but reserved in company with anybody outside the very few he counts as friends. Towards those friends, he is loyal and steadfast, the staunchest of supporters. So when a young man comes to him with a tale of the clandestine marriage and mysterious death of Darcy’s old schoolfriend, James Grayson, and begs Darcy’s help to investigate the widow’s role, Darcy agrees. Visiting Charles Bingley, the new tenant of Netherfield, Darcy is very soon torn between his loyalty to his dead friend, and his burgeoning attraction to the widow.
Throw two unprincipled rogues and an elopement into the confines of Meryton, and how will Darcy’s dilemma over Elizabeth ever be resolved? And is she willing to put aside her misgivings, and trust again?
Once Julia was a communications specialist with several UK government departments. These days she’s thankfully free of all that, and writing full time. She lives in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo, who’s supported by Mavis the Assistant Editor, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several times bigger than she is but with no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.
The blog tour ends tomorrow, but you can still go back and check the other stops in the tour:
Julia Winter is offering a giveaway during this tour. Between 21 June and 3 July, enter this Rafflecoptor giveaway for the chance of a first prize of a copy of Mr Darcy’s Hunsford letter (complete with seal, and tied in red ribbon) and a copy of the eBook, or one of two second prizes of an ecopy of Mistress of Netherfield.
Dare to Refuse Such a Man develops a very innovative and fun trope. What if Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy fall madly in love but Mr. Bennet refuses to accept Mr. Darcy’s proposal?
What if Mr. Bennet goes beyond his refusal, and does everything in his power to separate Elizabeth from Mr. Darcy? What if all he truly wants is for Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins? What could be his motivations?
In Dare to Refuse Such a Man Mr. Darcy we will see a very different Mr. Bennet, one who is not Elizabeth’s support, but her antagonist. I found this very interesting, but I confess that what I loved the most was to see Mrs. Bennet taking up the role we usually see associated with him.
In this story Mrs Bennet becomes Elizabeth’s ally and reveals an intelligence many thought did not exist. We often see Mr. Bennet as a caring father who will do everything for Elizabeth, and with his support she feels safe from Mrs Bennet, who is usually the antagonist, but in this book it’s the other way around and I absolutely loved it. I was not expecting Mrs Bennet to be such a friend to Elizabeth and to help her so much. It was refreshing, interesting, and funny because Mrs Bennet is very smart in this book, but her intelligence is turned towards her goal, which in this case, is to have Elizabeth marrying Mr. Darcy.
The strategies Mrs. Bennet finds to help Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are very funny and I was impressed with her ability to manipulate the entire Meryton society to her favour. This was definitely the highlight of the book for me.
I love angsty books, but I also love to read stories where Elizabeth and Darcy join forces against an external antagonist, which is exactly what happened in this book. They must find the strength in their love to persistently follow their dreams and never give up. I believe this will be very appealing to most readers, especially the ones who do not like angst in their novels.
There were a few details such as Wickham or Lady Catherine’s later appearances in the book which I could live without, and even if it was not a quibble, I would not have minded to have a smaller book without those secondary interferences at a time when our couple is already strongly attached to one another.
Summing up, Dare to Refuse Such a Man is a low angst novel where our dear couple must join forces to fight for their love. It is a sweet and uncomplicated novel that will appeal to most readers. I recommend it to those looking for a sweet romance with some humour in it.