Category Archives: JAFF

Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I’m welcoming a very special guest who has contributed immensely to the JAFF community. Regina Jeffers has around 40 published JAFF books and she keeps producing quality novels to our delight. Tomorrow she will release  a new book called Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar and you can have an idea of what it will be like because today she is sharing an excerpt and a guest post I wish you all enjoy.

Please join me in welcoming Regina Jeffers to From Pemberley to Milton.

 

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In chapter six of volume one of Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth Bennet provide us several tidbits regarding the success of a marriage during the Georgian era.

~  “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely — a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better shew more affection than she feels.”

~ “But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out.”

~ “When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses.”

~ “As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him only a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined in company with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character.”

~ “ Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”

 

In my latest Austen vagary, Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar, the marriage between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet begins as a rushed affair, and our dear couple travel a rocky road before claiming some of the happiness we all wish them. So what were some of the realities of marriage in the Georgian era, specifically the Regency?

First off, remaining unmarried did not equal freedom for a woman of the Georgian era, rather she customarily experienced a life of penury, always at the mercy of benevolent relatives. Even Austen suffered after her father’s passing, which makes Charlotte Lucas’s speech regarding Mr. Collins evoke more sympathy: “You must be surprised, very much surprised—so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had time to think it over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’ character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.” However, when a woman married the important decisions of her life passed from her father’s control to that of a husband. Marriage was a lifelong contract between a man and a woman. It was a crap shoot, so to speak. Divorce was expensive and VERY public. Most couples avoided even the thought of such an act.

The Bastardy Act of 1733 created something called Knobstick Weddings. A knobstick wedding is the forced marriage of a pregnant single woman with the man known or believed to be the father. It derives its name from the staves of office carried by the church wardens whose presence was intended to ensure that the ceremony took place.The practice and the term were most prevalent in the United Kingdom in the 18th century. Motivation for these arrangements was primarily financial–local parishes were obliged to provide relief for single mothers under the laws regarding relief for the poor. After the passing of the Bastardy Act in 1733, it became the responsibility of the father to pay for the maintenance of the child. Local authorities therefore encouraged the woman to enter into a marriage with the person presumed to be the father in an attempt to reduce their spending and shift the responsibility to the identified man. On some occasions the parish would pay the man to marry the girl, while there are also accounts of more aggressive tactics. In one case, recorded in the 6 October 1829 edition of The Times, a man was coerced into marrying the woman he was accused of making pregnant. The authorities, referred to as the parish overseers, threatened to hang him if he did not go through with the arrangement. Feeling that he had no option, he agreed to the marriage and the pair were wed. However, those responsible for forcing the partnership were later called to face charges of fraudulently procuring the marriage.” [Knobstick Wedding]

 

Marriage, whether it was rushed or planned for months on end, was a very public affair, one designed not only to announce the ceremony, but to assure the public that the man meant to support his new wife. If a widow remarried, some would do so in what was known as a smock wedding. The custom saw the man marrying a woman who was naked or dressed only in a smock. In the 1700s in America, quite of few of these occurred, a left-over custom from the days the new Americans lived in England. The idea was if the woman appeared naked or in her underclothes that it absolved her from anyone collecting upon the woman’s debts or in case of a widow, from collecting upon her late husband’s debts. The idea was that a groom who possessed anything bought by a bride or her deceased husband would possess their indebtedness as well. The smock wedding prevented this situation. When marrying bricklayer Richard Elcock at Bishop’s Waltham in September 1775, it was observed that widow Judith Redding “went into one of the pews in the church, stript herself of all her cloaths except her shift, in which only she went to the altar, and was married, much to the astonishment of the parson, clerk, &c.” [A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding].

A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding also speaks of the devastating effect on women of being widowed, but also of being deserted by their husbands. If a widow, it was often imperative that she wed again. She not only depended upon the good graces of her new husband for her support, but the woman would need his support of any of her children still at home. Having her husband desert her for whatever reason left the woman in limbo (death on the battlefield, a criminal offense, abandonment, etc.).  She could not remarry or have legitimate children. If the man chose not to take care of her and provide for her, she could easily fall into poverty and be driven into the workhouse.

 

Resources:

Knobstick Wedding – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knobstick_wedding

Naked and Smock Weddings of Early New England http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/naked-and-smock-weddings-of-early-new-england/

A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding http://www.historyextra.com/article/premium/survivors-guide-georgian-marriage

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Introducing Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line?

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

You can find Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from Chapter 20…

Five days. Five days of bliss had filled her world until it came tumbling down about her. And the devastation was all her fault. Despite her best efforts, Elizabeth had failed her husband, driving him from her life forever.

On Friday, Darcy and Georgiana had set out early to make a last-minute call upon the Matlocks to firm up plans for a traditional Twelfth Night celebration and then to the music store for more sheet music for Miss Darcy. Mrs. Annesley was to sit with Elizabeth in the case of callers in the absence of the Darcys, but the lady had turned her ankle on a worn strip of carpeting, and Elizabeth had insisted that Georgiana’s companion rest with her leg elevated, rather than greet the few visitors who had yet come for a look at the new mistress of Darcy House.

She was not expecting anyone else to entertain, but that had been her mistake. Mrs. Hyten and her daughter were just preparing to leave Elizabeth’s sitting room when Mr. Thacker announced, “Lieutenant Wickersham to speak to the lady of the house, ma’am.”

Elizabeth’s heart sank. She knew no one named Wickersham, but she did know a Lieutenant Wickham. Had Mr. Wickham taken her “I must consider your request before I approach my husband” to mean that the lieutenant was to call upon her personally? Or that her consideration was a guarantee that she would act as Mr. Wickham had asked? And what would her husband do if he discovered that she had admitted the lieutenant; yet, how could she deny him with Mrs. Hyten closely observing Elizabeth’s every action. The woman was known as one of London’s busiest gossips. “Show the lieutenant up, Mr. Thacker,” Elizabeth responded in the calm tone that Darcy often employed. To Mrs. Hyten she said, “The lieutenant is a relative of a relative in the Darcy family.” Which was not a lie exactly, for Mr. Wickham was the late Mr. Darcy’s godson. “Mr. Darcy has agreed to assist him in securing a commission in the Regulars. I am certain my husband simply overlooked his meeting with the gentleman.” Which were two untruths. Had her expression told Mrs. Hyten of her anxiety, or had Elizabeth appeared casual? She doubted so.

“Do you wish us to stay?” Mrs. Hyten asked with a lift of her brows. “We would be pleased to take the acquaintance of any of Mr. Darcy’s relatives.”

“I appreciate the offer,” Elizabeth assured. “But as this is a very private matter, and Mr. Darcy is a very private man, I think it best if I meet with the gentleman alone. However, I understand your caution, and so I will ask Mrs. Annesley, Miss Darcy’s companion, who rests in the room beyond,” Elizabeth gestured in the direction of her chambers, for Mrs. Annesley was further along the hall, a fact which would not create another lie, “or Sally to sit with me.” She stood to end the conversation just as Mr. Thacker directed Lieutenant Wickham into the room. “Thank you, Mr. Thacker. Please show the Hytens out and ask either Sally or Mrs. Guthrie to join me.” To Mrs. Hyten, she said, “I hope you will call again when the Darcys return to London in the spring. It has been a great honor to have your acquaintance, ma’am.”

With a departing curtsey, the Hytens left the room. The lieutenant waited only long enough for Mr. Thacker’s footsteps to recede before saying, “Very nice.” He glanced about the sitting room. “It is as I imagined.”

“You have never been to Darcy House?” she asked with a bit of curiosity. She would have thought Wickham privy to all the Darcy properties.

“My father was the steward at Pemberley. There was no reason for us to travel with the Darcy family to London. Obviously, I have often viewed the outside of Darcy’s domain, but I was never received within until this day.”

Elizabeth shook her head as if to clear it. Whether Wickham had ever been to Darcy House was not the issue. She needed to be rid of him before Darcy returned. “Thank you for the courtesy of a response, but I must insist on knowing why you are here, Mr. Wickham?” she demanded.

The lieutenant’s eyes narrowed. “You promised to speak to Darcy about a reconciliation. I pray you have not changed your mind.”

Guarded, Elizabeth had yet to sit or to invite him to do so. It was important to move this conversation along and to have the lieutenant showed out. “You err, sir. I promised to consider your request. I have not broached the subject to my husband, and until I do and he agrees, I must ask you to leave.”

She noted that Lieutenant Wickham stiffened. “It grieves me to hear so.” He broke off with a frown. “I thought I had found a champion in you, Mrs. Darcy.” His voice lowered, “I thought that you and I shared a hatred for all things Darcy.”

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed the excerpt because now it’s Giveaway time!!Regina Jeffers has an eBook of Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar available to one of those who comment below.

The giveaway is international and will end at midnight EST on December 16, 2017.

Good Luck everyone!!!

 

 

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The Bennet Wardrobe Series – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon dear readers,

Today is the first day of the conference Jane Austen Superstar where I will be speaking about Jane Austen Fan Fiction, so I though it would be befitting to share with you a guest post by Don Jacobson, who has released in the last couple of years  very different and intriguing JAFF works which not only are not canon, but also feature secondary characters. Don Jacobson is the perfect example that JAFF is not the same story being told all over again, it is a genre with many sub-genres that appeals to a vast audience who loves Jane Austen’s characters above all ,and who has standards that authors must meet to be accepted in the community.

Creativity has no limits in JAFF and Don Jacobson is here to prove it. I hope you all enjoy reading about The Bennet Wardrobe series 🙂

 

 

By Don Jacobson

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I must tell you that I am an adherent of the concept of solipcism that was used by the great master of speculative fiction, Robert A. Heinlein. Solipcism avers that the act of writing fiction creates the reality about which it is written.

Thus, the moment that Jane Austen finished writing Pride and Prejudice, the universe in which it existed was created. ODSC’s Hyde Park is now as real as our Hyde Park. Lest you think I am thoroughly fey when I refer to the existence of the Bennet family as if they were real individuals living in a real world, interacting with real world (and also period-appropriate fictional) characters, that is how I see them. Doing so gives me the freedom to paint their portraits without forcing my readers to consciously suspend disbelief.

As a result, I am able to create, as Weber said, webs of significance that inform the characters’ actions. I am able to establish ancestries and core experiences—traumatic and otherwise—that shape both primary and secondary characters.

I do tend to hew closely to the Canonical description of the Bennets as a hinge point around which both the past and future revolve.

Yet, those images established by Ms Austen are relatively thin…tending to offer the reader an immediate image of the characters in a slice of time.

Mr. Bennet is an indolent father. Mrs. Bennet is a nervous twit. Elizabeth is, well, precocious and impertinent. Darcy, a creature of his social class, is reserved to the point of being anti-social. Wickham, on the other hand, is the absolute antithesis of Darcy in every aspect: easy in company, seeking physical pleasure in all ways—sort of an adrenaline junkie. Yet, in all cases here, Ms Austen offers little explanation of why they—the actual person—were formed in this manner.

As for the secondary characters: Jane is the sweetest young woman to ever walk the face of the earth. Her soul mate, Bingley, is perfectly shaped for her in that he acts as “the new man,” happily and merrily enjoying the wonders of the new industrial age. On the other hand, his sister, Caroline, adheres so closely to rules and class-consciousness that she loses sight of her humanity. William Collins is a caricature (as is Lady C) of the moribund 17th and 18th Century English social structure that is in the process of dying in 1811.

Back to the younger Bennet sisters—nearly invisible most of the time: Mary moralizes and scolds. Kitty coughs. Lydia is, charitably, a flirt. Each sits and glowers, hides in the shadows, or flounces across the stage whenever the author needs her to do so. Then they are dispatched back to Austen’s toolbox against the next time they are needed.

As an historian, I have been trained to look for the discourse underlying the motivations of the actors making up our world. One often is better served to look at the individuals with whom the key players surround themselves.

In other words…while Winston Churchill’s words are important, students of Churchill gain a better understanding of the man by looking at the nature of those who allowed him to act upon his inner impulses. The same goes for ODC. Lizzy and Fitzwilliam could not move through Regency England as they did without others.

For those “others,” I immediately gravitated to Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and, eventually, Thomas.

I first started by asking myself: Why are they acting the way that they are in this twelve month window we see in P&P—roughly 1810-11? Was Mary emotionally abused as a child because she was less attractive than Jane or Lizzy? What terrified Kitty so much that she feared ever taking control of her life? Was Lydia so spoiled by her mother that she was irretrievably broken? Why did Thomas turn away from his responsibilities to the estate and his family in spite of the entail?

That naturally led to another question: What happens to Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and Thomas after the double weddings? Is Mary destined to live the remaining fifty-odd years of her life as a moralizing prude? Will Lydia turn into a pathetic woman of a particular age still trying to act as if she is seven-and-ten? Will Kitty be a non-entity, always in the shadow of others as “the girl who coughs?” Will Thomas ever become the pater familias or will he always avoid parenting?

Having written professionally for forty-plus years…and having become an avid consumer of JAFF by 2014…things began to turn creatively in my mind. Maybe it was the intersection of my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me. Now my protagonists could be immersed in different timeframes beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realize their potentials and, in the process, carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century.

The Bennet Wardrobe acts as something that is instrumental to create the circumstances for the entire scheme of things. What this does is give the Wardrobe itself agency—a form of control that determines where Bennets must go to discover what they must. This also, therefore, confers a sort of intelligence upon the Wardrobe. In a way, the Wardrobe becomes a character, although not one that is often seen. And, as with characters, that implies that the Wardrobe has a deeper purpose for being present…something that we will discover if we continue to research it, the travels of its users, and their destinies that they themselves chart.

The Bennet Wardrobe Series is a collection of novels, novellas and stories exploring how the Wardrobe impacted the lives of all members of the Bennet blood line growing out of the “wilds” of Hertfordshire.

The entire series will encompass six master novels, two of which have been published thus far. The books ought to be read sequentially as one story tends to grow from the next. Likewise, some characters appear in the foreground in one book with the same scene being presented in another book from a different point-of-view that will have them now moving through the background. There will be additional novellas as the need dictates. Here are the novels of The Bennet Wardrobe Series as they have been published/projected.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016/17)

The Exile (pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

The tentative publication schedule for the balance of the books is

The Exile (pt. 2): The Countess Visits Longbourn (12/17)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (6/18)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and the Soldier’s Portion (12/18)

Untitled (6/19)

Let us take a look at each of the four books currently available in the order in which they were published.

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The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Volume 1 of The Bennet Wardrobe (2016/17)

 The Keeper begins with an exploration of the origins of the Bennet Wardrobe in 1690 allowing readers to understand the roots of the Bennet Wardrobe Universe.

With both Jane and Lizzy married, The Keeper follows Mary Bennet as she emerges from her cocoon after December 1811. Yet, even as she overcomes her troubled teenage years and Canonical prosy nature, she is challenged by her sudden and total love for a man who mysteriously appears on the night of a great calamity.

The Keeper follows the life of Mary Bennet as she matures from the caricature familiar to JAFF readers into a confident young woman looking to make her mark in the rapidly changing world of the Industrial Revolution.  Novel of 110,000 words in both print and e-book.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

Volume 1.5 of The Bennet Wardrobe  (2016/17)

 Time is bent once again in 1883 as Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam uses the Bennet Wardrobe to seek his manhood. He travels over 30 years into his future to the middle of the most awful conflict in human history. His brief time at the Front teaches him that there is no longer any room on the battlefield for heroic combat. It is his two weeks spent recuperating at the Beach House in Deauville where he encounters an incredible woman, one who will define his near 10-year search for the love of his life after he returns to his own time.

This brief Pride and Prejudice Variation grew from the author’s efforts to sketch the events that shaped the personality of Henry Fitzwilliam. The young Viscount becomes a central character in The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque. Novella of 20,500 words in e-book only.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

 The Exile (pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Volume 2 (pt. 1) of The Bennet Wardrobe (2017)

Longbourn, December 1811. The day after Jane and Lizzy marry sees young Kitty Bennet called to Papa’s bookroom. She is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet intending to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall.

 She reacts like any teenager—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

 Her heart’s desire?

I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall!  Anywhere but here!

London, May 1886.  Kitty Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam. Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future.  And Miss Bennet must decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.

The Exile (pt. 1) is an 86,000-word novel detailing Kitty’s life from the age of seventeen to twenty-two.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

Volume 2.1 of The Bennet Wardrobe (2017)

 June 1801: The Bennet Wardrobe’s door to the future was opened in the bookroom at Longbourn. This time the most impertinent Bennet of them all, Elizabeth, tumbled through the gateway. Except she left as a ten-year-old girl who had been playing a simple game of hide-and-seek.

Which Where/When was her destination? What needs could a young girl have that could be answered only by the Wardrobe? Or were the requirements of another Bennet, one who began as younger, but had aged into a beautiful, confident leader of Society, the prime movers behind Lizzy’s journey?

 After Lizzy is transported back to 1801, Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess moves forward to 1816 to what may be considered the greatest writers’ workshop in history. T’was at the legendary Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva that Lord Byron gathered Mary Godwin, and Percy Bysshe Shelley for a vacation. Oh, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife, Elizabeth, were also present to act as catalysts that would transform vague ideas into timeless storytelling.

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess considers brief window of time between the end of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in 1892 and the beginning of Henry Fitzwilliam’s War in 1915. Novella of 41,000 words available in print and e-book.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

 

Don Jacobson would like to offer to one of my readers the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. The international giveaway is for an ebook copy and is open until the 16th of December. To enter it, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your opinion of the series with us. I’m looking forward to read your opinion 🙂

Good luck everyone!

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Christmas at Darcy House – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! I’m getting some rest after a crazy week at the office but also getting quite nervous about the conference I’ll be participating in next week, so I needed something to distract me from all this stress and Victoria Kincaid’s new release was the perfect present I could have received for that! Her stories are always so cozy and warm that they make me feel better. There is something special about them and they are always the perfect escape from this crazy world.

After having loved A Very Darcy Christmas so much last year, I was eager to get Victoria Kincaid’s new Christmas book in my hands! Luckily for me she didn’t make me wait much longer and had it released a couple of days ago. Today I have the pleasure of hosting her with a guest post and excerpt I hope you all enjoy.

 

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Thank you for hosting me, Rita!

One of the fun—and sometimes frustrating—aspects of writing Regency romance is that you need to do research to make sure you get the historical details correct.  Fairly often this research inspires plot points and sends the story off in new directions.  This happened during my research for Christmas at Darcy House.  While reading up on Christmas traditions in London, I learned that Astley’s Amphitheatre had special Christmas versions of its show.

Here is a succinct description of Astley’s from the British Library website:

“Philip Astley was a distinguished soldier who opened a riding school in Lambeth in 1768. Together with his wife Patty, Astley began to exploit the late Georgian fascination with outdoor spectacles by performing horseback tricks and equestrian skills to the paying public. Astley’s displays of horsemanship were gradually complimented by other visual spectacles of strength and skill, such as acrobatics and tight-rope walking. After his original premises were burnt to the ground in the late 18th century, Astley quickly re-established himself by opening his new ‘Royal Amphitheatre’ in 1795, itself rebuilt following a further fire in 1804 (and pictured here).

Astley’s Amphitheatre is often considered to be the first genuine British ‘circus’ owing to its many features that are still familiar today. Horses travelled at speed around a ring while acrobats and clowns also topped the bill. The Amphitheatre, however, combined other elements of performance more akin to traditional theatres, such as drama and song.”

Some scholars credit Astley’s Amphitheatre as being the first circus.  Astley was the one who devised the optimal size for a circus ring—he figured out the exact size to create the centrifugal forces that allowed for spectacular feats of riding.  Although acrobatic riding was the first impetus behind the Amphitheatre, it also featured clowns, jugglers, rope tricks, acrobats and other acts.

One interesting aspect of the Amphitheatre was that it comprised a circus ring in front of a proscenium stage (as you can see in this picture).  Performances took place both in the ring and on the stage—and sometimes both at once.  No doubt it was quite spectacular.

I couldn’t find any records of what they did differently at the Christmas versions of the show, so in the scene where Darcy and Elizabeth visit Astley’s, I invented some holiday-themed details.  Hopefully I came close to the original.

We also know that Jane Austen was a fan of Astley’s.  In one of her letters she mentions attending the show in London, and in Emma, two of her characters take in the Astley’s spectacular.

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His arrival had interrupted a scene of some mirth.  Wickham was grinning while Elizabeth giggled, and Mrs. Gardiner had her hand over her mouth as if to suppress laughter.  When Darcy stepped into the room, the merriment quickly died away.

The other man raised his eyes slowly to meet Darcy’s, a smirk forming on his lips.  “Darcy,” he drawled.

“Wickham.” Darcy bit off the word.

Everyone stood to exchange an awkward series of bows and curtsies.  Darcy seated himself in the closest available chair, which happened to be opposite Wickham’s.  Unfortunately, the other man was also adjacent to the settee where Elizabeth and her aunt were situated.  How did Wickham come to be in London?  Why was he visiting Elizabeth?  Was he actively courting her?  Darcy’s breakfast sat like a lump of lead in his stomach.

He could not forget Elizabeth’s disappointment that Wickham had not attended the Netherfield Ball and her spirited defense of him during the dancing.  The conversation had caused Darcy twinges of anxiety, but he had comforted himself that her meager dowry kept her safe from Wickham’s depredations.  In perpetual want of money, the man would never pursue a poor woman.

And yet here he was.

“I was not aware you were in town,” Darcy said pointedly.

Wickham gave him a lazy smile.  “I have a fortnight’s leave for Christmas and thought I would visit some friends here in London.”  In other words, he was in town to gamble.  “I would not have expected to see you in Gracechurch Street.”

Darcy stiffened.  “I am on good terms with the Bennet family,” he said sharply.  “And I made Mrs. Gardiner’s acquaintance yesterday.”

“This is my third visit,” Wickham smirked.  “The Gardiners are most charming hosts.”

Three visits already?  Perhaps he was courting Elizabeth.  The room was too warm and too close.  Sweat dampened the back of Darcy’s cravat, and he tugged to loosen it.  It was unfair that providence had gifted Wickham with such pleasing manners and easy ways with people.  He readily formed friendships while Darcy struggled simply to say appropriate words in social situations.

Mrs. Gardiner cleared her throat.  “Mr. Wickham and I both spent our childhoods near Lambton, in Derbyshire.”

Darcy suppressed a desire to shout that he knew very well where Lambton was.

“We have many acquaintances in common,” she continued.  Darcy no doubt had acquaintances in common with Mrs. Gardiner as well; unfortunately, they most likely took the form of having patronized the shops that members of her family operated.  How have I arrived at this pass?  His feelings for Elizabeth had brought him so low that he was beginning to regret his superior birth.

“I grew up at Pemberley,” Darcy said.

The older woman’s eyes grew wide.  “Oh…Darcy!  I should have realized—!”  She turned to her niece.  “You neglected to inform me that the Mr. Darcy of your acquaintance was Mr. Darcy of Pemberley!”

Elizabeth’s expression revealed no chagrin.  “I did not realize you would know the name, Aunt.”

So she had rarely discussed Darcy with her aunt, and yet Wickham arrived for frequent visits.  Darcy had the distinct impression he was losing a footrace he had not known he was running.

For the rest of the visit, Darcy remained an outsider.  Elizabeth knew how Wickham liked his tea.  Mrs. Gardiner inquired after his cousin’s health.  Wickham referred to incidents which had occurred at Longbourn after Darcy had left for London.

Darcy made only occasional forays into the conversation, but his subjects were not taken up by the others.  In desperation, he blurted out an invitation for Elizabeth to join him for a curricle ride through London.

She blinked at him, a faint line forming between her brows. “I thank you for your most generous offer, Mr. Darcy.  But I fear I might be contracting a cold and do not believe it would be prudent for me to remain outside for great lengths of time.”

“Of course,” Darcy murmured while Wickham smirked.  “Another time perhaps.”

Nevertheless, Darcy refused to quit the drawing room and leave Wickham in possession of the battlefield.  To do so would not only admit defeat but would also leave Elizabeth unprotected from the other man’s whims. As a result, both men stayed quite a bit longer than was customary.  Finally, Mrs. Gardiner announced she felt a headache developing; both Darcy and Wickham regarded that as an invitation to depart.

.

 

A Pride and Prejudice Variation. Mr. Darcy hopes Christmastime will help him to forget the pair of fine eyes that he left behind in Hertfordshire. When Elizabeth Bennet appears unexpectedly in London, Darcy decides to keep his distance, resolved to withstand his attraction to her. But when he learns that Wickham is threatening to propose to Elizabeth, Darcy faces a crisis.

For her part, Elizabeth does not understand why the unpleasant master of Pemberley insists on dancing with her at the Christmas ball or how his eyes happen to seek her out so often. She enjoys Mr. Wickham’s company and is flattered when he makes her an offer of marriage. On the other hand, Mr. Darcy’s proposal is unexpected and unwelcome. But the more Elizabeth learns of Mr. Darcy, the more confused she becomes—as she prepares to make the most momentous decision of her life.

It’s a Yuletide season of love and passion as your favorite characters enjoy Christmas at Darcy House!

 

 

You can find Christmas at Darcy House at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

Did you enjoy the excerpt? And did the blurb get into you? Well, you have an opportunity to read this book quite soon because Victoria Kincaid is offering one ebook of Christmas at Darcy House to one of my readers.

All you have to do is comment on this post and let us know what you think of Victoria’s most recent release.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 16th of December, a very special date for all of us 😉

Good Luck Everyone!

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All the Things I Know Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re having a nice week. Unfortunately mine has been incredibly busy at the office as we are reaching the appraisals season and that means I hardly had any time for reading. I haven’t picked up a book in over a week, but I found some time to read the guest post from my visitor today, and I enjoyed it immensely! It reminded me of why I like guest posts so much. They are opportunities to discuss not only the books we love but also literature, and there is nothing I enjoy more than analysing and discussing literature 🙂

My guest is Audrey Ryan who has just released a Pride and Prejudice modernisation called All the Things I Know. You can read the blurb below, enjoy her guest post about flat vs round characters and participate in the giveaway!

 

 

Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.

What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?

All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.

 

You can find All the Thinks I Know at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post! I thought for this blog post, I would share my thoughts of “flat” vs. “round” characters and how they influenced both Pride & Prejudice and my own retelling.

So, what is a flat character? A flat character is one who doesn’t change through the course of the story. According to E.M. Forester in Aspects of the Novel, flat characters have had a lot of definitions through the ages,

Flat characters were called “humours” in the seventeenth century, and are sometimes called types, and sometimes caricatures. In their purest form, they are constructed round a single idea or quality: when there is more than one factor in them, we get the beginning of the curve towards the round.

In essence, a flat character is a personality made simple, even though such a thing doesn’t exist. We all know that each human being is complex—it’s part of human nature. A round character changes and grows throughout the course of a novel. As a reader, you learn the characters background and motivation which leads to finding empathy for them. I myself adore the round character because I believe all people are “round”.

Jane Austen is one of the few authors who uses flat characters expertly to show just what she wants about what the character represents. Their flatness is a device for the narrator to illustrate a value. For instance, Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins are not meant to represent a person, per se, but a point of view or value in society. Because the flatness is portrayed by a seemingly omniscient source, it is more likely to be interpreted fact by the reader. Yet these aren’t truisms, but commentary in a “novel of manners”. Our narrator is taking societal norms and poking fun at them through this device. The way this device is manipulated is what works for Austen’s use of flat characters.

All the Things I Know, in contrast to Pride & Prejudice, is not told from a witty omniscient narrator’s point of view. By filtering thoughts and observations through Lizzie’s first-person point of view, we as readers understand that it’s her perspective that prevents her from perceiving a character as “round”. In fact, part of Lizzie’s journey is learning how to see people beyond their stereotype. This means she needs to find the roundness in a person’s character. The recognition of this roundness is part of her maturation.

As I mentioned before, I adore round characters and there are very few authors (Austen aside, because she’s the master) who I think can pull off a flat character. I often find them annoying and can’t wait to get past their scenes. I like to understand people, especially when jumping into a fictional world. Did I keep some characters flat when I wrote All the Things I Know? To a degree, yes. Colin (Mr. Collins) and Geoff (Wickham) don’t change over the course of the book. However, we as readers understand that since we learn about them through Lizzie’s perspective, there’s probably more to the characters then she can see. To Lizzie, these two characters don’t do anything to redeem themselves and act at all in anything other than their best interests. They are flat to her.

In contrast, Barbie (Mrs. Bennet) and Lydia are given a much rounder treatment in All the Things I Know. There may not be a lot of change in their character development, but their background is fleshed out and their motivations are much more understandable. In some ways, we don’t blame them for the behavior we wish they’d change. This was done on purpose because these two characters are much more important to Lizzie’s internal life. Her development as a person is influenced by these two personalities, so these two characters ought to feel more real.

What do you think of flat characters? Who have you seen write them well?

 

 

Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream.

When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.

Contact Links:

http://audreyryan.merytonpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAudreyR/

https://twitter.com/AuthorAudreyR

Audrey’s Goodreads is just as a reader, but it’s here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3797528-audrey-ryan-andrea-pangilinan

 

 

 

12- 3   Austenesque Reviews;   Author Interview, Giveaway

12- 4   My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

12- 5   Babblings of a Bookworm; Character Interview, Giveaway

12- 6   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

12- 7   Night Owl Reader;  Review, Excerpt

12- 8   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

12- 9   My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway

12-10  Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

12-11  Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-12  Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-13  Savvy Verse and Wit; Guest Post, Giveaway  

12-14  My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

12-15  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-16  More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

 

.

Meryton Press is offering 8 e-book copies of All The Things I know to readers following the Blog Tour. To participate in the giveaway leave a comment on this post and click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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Collide

 

When I saw Van Gogh mentioned on the first line of Collide I knew I would like the book, but I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. Modernisations are not my favourite sub-genre and even though sometimes I like them, I seldom love them, but Collide was a page turner book that kept me glued to it for two whole days and that completely changed my perspective. I absolutely loved this modernisation!

In this North & South variation Maggie Hale leaves her small town of Hillstone to pursue her dream of becoming a contemporary dancer in Las Vegas and it is in Sin City that she will meet Jay Thornton, someone she will misunderstand but who will intrigue her more than she would like to admit.

In Collide each chapter is focused the point of view of each of these two characters, so we will get to know each one of them very well, and this is one of the highlights of the book for me. The way Melanie Stanford organised and wrote the book made it absolutely irresistible and readers will keep wanting for more and more. The fact that the point of view changes with each chapters makes it a very dynamic book and there is not one dull moment in it.

I loved the Vegas environment and how real these characters felt in their own little world. I could picture their every move and imagine each scene in my head, I felt transported into that reality and I don’t believe there is anything better in a book.

I wasn’t too sure about Jay Thornton’s character in the beginning, but those doubts faded very quickly as I started falling in love with his character. He is compelling, and I could feel myself being drawn to him with every page I turned. But to be honest, I loved all characters in the book, Nico was an excellent modernisation of Nicholas, and I loved how the author made his relationship with Jay so similar to the original, in fact, It is astonishing how well Melanie Stanford translated the original story into this new setting. Everything was put together with a lot of care, and every little detail seemed to flow in the right direction every single time.

Mrs. Thornton does not exist in this book, and I confess that only made it better for me, I never really like her character in North and South books and Jay Thornton’s family life was much more interesting and modern, it made me love him even more,

The relationship between Maggie and Jay is incredible, I felt sparkles between them every time they were together and even though the first time he sees her dancing Song of the Cage Bird is one of my favourite scenes, it doesn’t stand out so much in comparison to the others because they are all great!

Collide is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, and if I could give it a higher rating I would, I loved everything about it, the characters, the setting, the story, the writing… Every single aspect of this book contributed to it being a compelling, intense and wonderful book that I recommend to absolutely everyone, not just those who like North and South, but to everyone who likes a love story that carries along with it real life struggles. I’m sure most people will not have gone through the situations these characters went through as they are too extreme, but I could relate to their struggle to get a better life, Nico was the best example, but I could also relate to Maggie fighting for her dreams and for a career on something she likes and to Jay for fighting to get out of the loop kind of life he got himself into.

In short terms, bravo Mrs. Stanford! This is a book I will not forget anytime soon. Oh…and the cover is perfect for the story!!!

 

You can find Collide at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

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Filed under 5 stars, Favorites, JAFF, Modernisation, North and South

And the winner is…

Hello everyone,

I had the pleasure of welcoming in From Pemberley to Milton debut author Virginia Kohl who released a Sense & Sensibility variation named True Love Comes to Delaford. I was not only happy to work with such a nice lady, but also to share with you a variation of Sense & Sensibility because I do not come across these very frequently. We shared with you an interview with Colonel Brandon and Elinor, and also brough along a giveaway of a paperback!

Today I’m happy to announce that the lucky winner is:

 

*** Sally Cline***

 

Congratulations Sally!! Can you please send me your address to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that we can send you your prize?

Happy reading!

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Jane Austen Superstar Questionnaire & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

This has been an important year for the JAFF community due to the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, and as you know, several events were organised in the memory of our favourite author. I was lucky to be present in some of the events that occurred in England last July, but I never expected to have an opportunity to participate in something of the kind in Portugal.

However, a couple of months ago I heard about a conference that was going to take place in Lisbon to celebrate Jane Austen’s life and work by discussing how her books form part of the contemporary experience of love, gender, family, social and pecuniary relations and how her writing style, her silences as well as her favourite topics, and her language have shaped modern-day literature, both in the UK and abroad. In a nutshell, that conference aims to discuss both the author’s rootedness in the late 18th and early 19thcenturies, her authorial longevity and acumen, and her pop star fame in the last 20 years.

I was immediately interested in attending this conference but I also saw an opportunity to discuss JAFF amongst scholars and to show everybody how relevant and diverse this genre is, so I filled myself with courage, and with Nicole Clarkston and Joana Starnes’s assistance wrote an abstract to apply as a speaker. I didn’t have a lot of hope of being accepted because I’m not a scholar and this was clearly out of my league, but guess what? They actually thought my theme was interesting and they liked my application, so I was accepted!!!

I am very excited to be participating in such a great and important initiative, but also a little nervous, so I would like to ask you all for some help! I would feel much more comfortable if I was able to bring some statistics with me, I believe that would give my presentation more credibility and visibility, so I would like to ask all my friends who have been supporting me for the last 2 years, to please spare 3 min of your time and fill the below questionnaire that the lovely and kind Meredith from Austenesque Reviews helped me build.

The questionnaire is anonymous and aims to understand the JAFF community a little better, it will help me to have more data to support my presentation and give me more strength in the representation of the community.

I will be sharing the results of the questionnaire, as I’m sure you are as curious as me to know some of the findings, and I will also share with you my experience at the conference, but to thank you all for your kindness in collaborating with me, I would also like to offer one of my readers a JAFF e-book of his choice. To apply, all you have to do fill the questionnaire, and comment saying you have already done so (as it is anonymous, I’ll trust your word that you have done so). Sharing this post on the social media will give you extra entries for the giveaway, but please mention that on the comment as well so that I can keep track. I will announce the winner once I publish the results of the questionnaire, and the winner may choose the e-book he wants, as long as it is a JAFF book.

I would like to thanks Nicole Clarkston and Joana Starnes for the help with the abstract that got me accepted as a speaker at the conference, to Meredith Esparza who helped me build the questionnaire, and to all of you who will fill this questionnaire to help me!!!

 

 

 

Thank you for participating, and good luck in the giveaway!!!

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Pemberley Beckons – A Guest Post with Joana Starnes & Giveaways

Hello everyone,

Today I’m welcoming one of my favourite authors who would like to share some wonderful news with you.

I’m talking about Joana Starnes and I hope she is able to tempt you to listen to Miss Darcy’s Companion on Audible. I’ve listened to it last week, and I’ve got to say that it is one of the best audiobooks I’ve heard. The talent of Joana’s writing combined with Stevie’s impeccable narration makes it irresistible!

If you have not yet tried Audiobooks, you can always try the Audible free trial period.

Please join me in welcoming Joana Starnes 🙂

 

 

 

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Rita, to talk about my latest book to come out in Audible – Miss Darcy’s Companion.

 

What better way to start than by thanking you and Stevie Zimmerman for making it happen? My guest post on your blog, back in May 2017, told the story of these exciting new beginnings, and how it was thanks to you that I finally ventured into the wonderful world of audio-books. You gave me the much-needed nudge, and along with Nicole Clarkston and Elizabeth Adams, who generously shared their experience and advice, you lovely ladies gave me the impetus and the tips I needed to begin releasing my books in Audible too. As for introducing me to the magic of Stevie Zimmerman’s narrations, I really can’t thank you and Nicole enough! Just as I said then, I only had to listen to samples of her wonderful renditions to fall in love.

Stevie’s Elizabeth and Mr Darcy sound just like the voices in my head. To say that her Mr Darcy is 100% swoon-worthy is a serious understatement. He’s in turns dreamy and softly-spoken – or his icy disdain cuts like a knife when some poor fool (like Mr Collins) manages to anger him. Elizabeth’s voice rings and shimmers like a bell and dear oh dear, you’ve got to hear Stevie’s Mrs Bennet and her Lady Catherine! Every character comes alive and speaks to you, enticing you further into the story.

As Stevie produced four of my books in Audible (The Falmouth Connection, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, The Unthinkable Triangle, and Miss Darcy’s Companion) I kept falling in love all over again with her exquisite style, and especially with her rendition of Mr Darcy. A recent review for Miss Darcy’s Companion says it best:

‘She has the perfect voice for Darcy, deep, vulnerable, and intense.’

Goodness me, hasn’t she just! Swooning guaranteed when Stevie narrates the midnight kiss scene in The Falmouth Connection, and she’ll tug at your heartstrings with Mr Darcy’s ‘Desist!’ in Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, or his ‘This cannot be! This cannot be!’ in The Unthinkable Triangle. You can listen to a very deep, vulnerable, intense – and in this case shell-shocked – Mr Darcy in this Audible sample, and you’ll know what I mean.



Stevie Zimmerman’s production of Miss Darcy’s Companion is just as brimming with emotion, as Mr Darcy discovers his feelings and struggles to decide precisely what he should do about them. I hope your readers will enjoy listening to it too. The Audible 30-Day Free Trial is ever so easy to set up and use, and 10 Audible download codes are also up for grabs (there is a link to the international Giveaway at the end of this post).

It was so wonderful to see 2017 bringing the launch of most of my books into Audible, along with several other exciting adventures, and the joy of meeting dear friends.

 

So, what next? Pemberley beckons (doesn’t it always?), and it had recently occurred to me that in three books out of my seven I’ve been terribly unfair to Mr Bennet. So perhaps I owe him a novel where he doesn’t meet with an untimely end, and is rather more central to the story. For once, I thought he might leave his library now and then, and take steps to influence his daughters’ future. His teasingly affectionate relationship with Elizabeth deserves more than a footnote, and besides it’ll be great fun to imagine Mr Darcy suddenly forced to deal with a disconcerting fatherly figure who is not in the least intimidated by him and his position in society, but is quick to join ranks with Colonel Fitzwilliam and take Darcy down a peg or two, or none-too-gently nudge him in the right direction whenever it looks like he’s about to make a complete fool of himself and/or make a hash of his courtship.

Also, in my other novels, there was plenty of opportunity for longing, but not so much for banter. Darcy spent a great deal of time yearning for Elizabeth, but nowhere near as much flirting with her. I think this is about to change. Courtship and flirting are the order of the day, and it looks like Darcy is going to find himself caught in a crossfire between his cousin’s wit, Elizabeth’s and her father’s – and Heaven help him if he can’t keep up!

 

But, as Mr Collins would say, of this – thereafter. Thanks for stopping by, and please follow the link to the international GIVEAWAY, for a chance to curl up with Miss Darcy’s Companion in paperback over the holidays, listen to Stevie Zimmerman bringing the story to life, or win a bag of goodies from Pemberley, Bath and Chawton.

For more chances to win, please follow the blog tour to see your entries add up:

 

24 Nov 2017 – News Page at www.joanastarnes.co.uk

27 Nov 2017 – Austenesque Reviews

29 Nov 2017 – Just Jane 1813

30 Nov 2017 – From Pemberley to Milton

2 Dec 2017 – Obsessed with Mr Darcy

Thanks again for the wonderful welcome, Rita, and here’s to a good end to 2017 and a great start for 2018.

 

* * * *

 

You can connect with Joana Starnes on:

http://www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes

http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/Joana_Starnes

Or visit ‘All Roads Lead to Pemberley’ on Facebook, for places, events and titbits that have inspired her novels.

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.com

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.co.uk

 

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Collide – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today is the release date of one of the best books I’ve read this year, Collide by Melanie Stanford.

This book is a modernisation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and the story in it is absolutely amazing!! I loved everything about it, namely the character development, so I’m very happy to receive two of the characters today for a character interview.

Please join me in welcoming Melanie, Jay and Maggie to our parlour, and please do not miss the opportunity to read this book. I’ll be posting my review very shortly, but I would like to tell you this one should not be missed!

 

 

Thanks Rita, for having me today! It’s awesome to find other fans of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South. It’s such a great book and miniseries, and I hope you enjoy my modern take on it.

COLLIDE is set mostly in Vegas. My Maggie leaves her small town behind to pursue her dream of becoming a contemporary dancer. My Jay is an enforcer to a loan shark who basically beats people up for a living (oh dear). But he’s hoping to quit all that and own his own boxing gym one day. Unfortunately, neither of them can get what they want because the other person is standing in their way. Is there a happy ending in sight? Read on as I interview Maggie and Jay… maybe they’ll give a few things away.

Melanie: How did you two meet?

Jay: I was at work…

Maggie: He was beating someone up. It wasn’t pretty.

Jay: *shrugs* It’s a job. Somebody’s gotta do it.

Maggie: I’m pretty sure they don’t.

Melanie: Moving on… What did you first notice about each other? Aside from the beating part.

Jay: She was tough. She stood right up to me. It was pointless, but I liked it. Plus, her legs.

Maggie: It was his eyes. Not the color, but the way he looked at me. It was totally intense, like he was memorizing everything about me, or like, taking me all in, if that makes sense.

Jay: *stares at Maggie exactly like that*

Melanie: *clears throat* What do you like best about each other?

Jay: Did I mention her legs?

Maggie: *rolls eyes*

Jay: Her courage. Her strength. Her faith in me. The way she makes me better.

Melanie: *tries really hard not to say, awwww*

Maggie: He said I make him better but it’s not true. That’s just his way, always trying to improve, to be a better person. And, despite the beating up stuff, he’s actually very kind and generous. You probably don’t believe me but it’s true. He’s done so much for me…

Melanie: Okay, before I start to cry… what do you like least about each other? And you can’t say “nothing.”

Maggie: Oh man, I could’ve made a list a mile long before, but now? Sometimes he has a hard time opening up. And he’s got a bit of a temper.

Jay: Which I’m working on.

Maggie: Which he’s working on.

Jay: Sometimes Maggie says or does stuff without thinking.

Maggie: Hey!

Jay: It’s true. How many times do you get up in people’s business?

Maggie: I’m just trying to be helpful.

Jay: You don’t have to all the time.

Maggie: *looks at me and shrugs*

Jay: She can’t help it.

Melanie: Alright, I’m going to lighten things up a bit. Do some rapid-fire questions. What’s your favorite song?

Jay: “I’m So Sorry” by Imagine Dragons

Maggie: “Song of the Caged Bird” by Lindsey Stirling.

Melanie: Biggest pet peeve?

Jay: whiners and fakers

Maggie: Hmm, I don’t know. Smokers? Or people who honk their car horns. And shout at each other. It’s so noisy here.

Melanie: Favorite book?

Jay: I don’t really read.

Maggie: I’m trying to get him to read Harry Potter but he won’t. *shoots him a dirty look* Mine is probably The Time Traveler’s Wife.   

Melanie: If you were a Disney character, who would you be?

Jay: *scowls* Seriously?

Maggie: He’d be Grumpy. *laughs* Just kidding. Maybe the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

Jay: *scowls some more* She’d be Moana.

Maggie: Wait, you’ve seen Moana?

Jay: . . .

Melanie: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Maggie: No.

Jay: Yes.

Melanie: Last question. What can’t you live without?

Jay: Maggie.

Maggie: Dancing. And Jay.

And there you have it. I guess Maggie and Jay get their happy ending after all, but it wouldn’t be a North & South retelling if they didn’t! You’ll have to read COLLIDE to see the journey it takes them to get there.

 

 

 

When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.

Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.

Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.

When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.

COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH

 

  You can find Collide at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

.

Melanie Stanford writes romance and YA of different genres. Her first novel, SWAY, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, debuted December 2015 from Samhain Publishing and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Since Samhain’s closure, Melanie decided to republish SWAY herself, along with the rest of her Romance Revisited series: CLASH, a Romance Revisited novella, COLLIDE, and a third novel coming 2018. She also has short stories featured in the Austenesque anthologies THE DARCY MONOLOGUES and THEN COMES WINTER.

Melanie reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

 

Website: http://melaniestanfordbooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelMStanford/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelanieStanfordauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melanie_stanford/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14079511.Melanie_Stanford

 

 

 

Melanie would like to offer to one of our readers a 25 $ Amazon gift card so that you can obtain any of her books. To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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Black Friday Deals

Hello everyone,

How are you this weekend? On my corner of the world winter is finally here! After months of sunny days without so much of a drop of water, we are finally seeing some clouds in the sky which is always a good thing because it makes reading on the couch and an even more agreeable activity.

Black Friday is only now becoming a thing in Portugal, and I honestly do not pay a lot of attention to it, but this year I kept seeing books on sale, and several friends from Facebook kept sending me messages with the new deals they discovered asking me to share them with everyone else. I started doing it on Facebook, but decided to do my own shopping today because I would have more time to see what I really wanted to buy for myself and my friends, however the list was much bigger than I expected, and I thought that since I was already doing a list of my own to see what was worth grabbing and what was not, I might as well share my findings with everyone else and save others the trouble to do it. So I wrote this post very fast to share with you the Black Friday Deals I found. I hope you find it useful to re-charge your kindle or even to do your Christmas shopping for your janeite friends 🙂

 

 

Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man by Brenda Webb

The Netherfield Affair by Penelope Swan

Four Days in April by Maria Grace

 

Shadow of Anubis by Adele Dixon

Love Blooms at Pemberley by Cassandra Knightley

Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliot

 

Jewels on the Water by Rachel Elizabeth

An Heir For Pemberley by Jane Grix

 

 

0,99$ deals

Sketching Character by Pamela Lynne

Family Portraits by Pamela Lynne

Dearest Friends by Pamela Lynne

Mr. Darcy Noble Connections by Abigail Reynolds

Mr. Darcy’s Rival by Kara Louise

Ardently by Caitlin Williams

 

A Fair Prospect vol. I, II and III by Cassandra Grafton

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright

Sway by Melanie Stanford

 

Mistaking Her Character by Maria Grace

Pemberley : Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace

The Darcy’s First Christmas by Maria Grace

 

The Last Adventure of Scarlet Pimpernel by Jack Caldwell

Bourbon Street Nights by Jack Caldwell

Leap of Hope by Shannon Winslow

 

The Proud and the Prejudiced by Colette L. Saucier

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston

An Unwavering Trust by L.L.Diamond

 

From 1,99$ to 3,99$ deals

 

Something: Old, New, Later, True: A Pride & Prejudice Collection by Christie Capps

Dangerous to Know by Christina Boyd

Folly and Forgiveness by Lizzy Brandon

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile
Promises By Wendi Sotis
The Gypsy Blessing By Wendi Sotis

A Lesson Hard Learned by Wendi Sotis
Dreams and Expectations by Wendi Sotis
Understanding Elizabeth by Robin Helm

Now that I have a few more titles in my Kindle, I really have to start reducing the TBR pile, so I’m going to grab a blanket and read for a couple of hours in my couch 🙂 I hope this was helpful to all of you 🙂

 

 

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