Category Archives: JAFF

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.



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.



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:




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!



Filed under JAFF

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:







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:

Audrey’s Goodreads is just as a reader, but it’s here:




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!


Filed under JAFF



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:


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!


Filed under JAFF

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!!!


Filed under JAFF

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

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:

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

Books by Joana Starnes at

Books by Joana Starnes at



Filed under JAFF

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:





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.










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 🙂




Filed under JAFF

True Love Comes to Delaford

Good Afternoon everyone,

You all know that Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel, but sometimes I need a break from Darcy and Elizabeth and it feels great to have the company of other characters. Unfortunately there aren’t as many variations of Austen’s other novels out there as I would like, but I believe that trend is slowly changing and I keep seeing more and more books that develop her other novels.

Today I have as my guest Virginia Kohl, an author who is contributing to this change and  whose debut novel, True Love Comes to Delaford,  is a variation of Sense and Sensibility, one of my favourite Austen novels.

She interviewed my two favourite characters from Sense & Sensibility, Colonel Brandon and Elinor Dashwood, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know them better.




Elinor Dashwood’s father dies, leaving the fate of his family in the hands of two self-serving vultures. With diminished chances of making a respectable match and several uneventful Seasons behind her, the fiercely independent, bibliophile focuses on helping her family adjust to their new life. However, as her friendship with an honorable gentleman grows, the twenty-year-old begins experiencing feelings she never thought possible.

When Colonel Brandon resigned from the army to become the master of his family’s estate, he thought his best days were behind him. For years, the bachelor of five-and-thirty has successfully avoided every attempt of his well-meaning friends to find him a suitable wife. Although, he soon finds himself questioning his long-held beliefs regarding his single status, when Miss Dashwood strolls into his life.

In this refreshing whimsy, Virginia Kohl explores the possibility of Elinor Dashwood and Colonel Brandon’s devoted friendship turning into more.


You can find True Love Comes to Delaford at:






My name is Virginia Kohl. I have written a Sense and Sensibility whimsy titled True Love Comes to Delaford. Today, the main characters, Elinor Dashwood and Colonel Brandon, have kindly agreed to an interview. So without further ado:

Colonel Brandon, Miss Dashwood. Welcome and thank you for joining me.

Colonel Brandon, Elinor Dashwood: *bow and take a seat* Thank you.


First, please share with the readers where you are from.

Colonel Brandon: I grew up at my family’s estate, Delaford, in Dorsetshire.

Elinor Dashwood: My family is originally from Sussex. We lived at Norland Estate until my father’s passing earlier this year.


My condolences, Miss Dashwood. How would you describe your childhood?

Elinor Dashwood: Thank you. It was ideal. I always felt loved, safe, and important. My parents made my younger sisters and I their greatest priority and supported all of our dreams and ambitions.

Colonel Brandon: For me, the accompanying memories are not the fondest. I have never had a close relationship with my parents or older brother. The military was where I finally found camaraderie.


Where do you live now?

Elinor Dashwood: We now live at Barton Cottage in Devonshire. A lovely place on the grounds of Sir John Middleton’s residence, Barton Park.

Colonel Brandon: After resigning from the army, I returned to Delaford.


Both sound delightful. Do you share your home with a pet?

Colonel Brandon: Yes, I have two curly coated retrievers named Magnus and Zeus.

Elinor Dashwood: Unfortunately, we are unable to have any due to my sister, Marianne’s sensitivities. Although if we could, I would love to have a dog.


Dogs are lovely companions. If you were to name one physical attribute that sets you apart from others, what would it be?

Elinor Dashwood: Instead of the ton-approved, yet impractical quizzing glass, I wear spectacles. A nice pair of round-rimmed, silver spectacles.

Colonel Brandon: *Taking a deep breath* I have an old war injury that causes me to limp during times of harsh weather or exhaustion.


I hear you both are quite skilled at the game of Whist.

Elinor Dashwood: *sharing a chuckle with the Colonel* I would not describe myself as skilled by any means. When an additional player is needed, I join in so Mrs. Jennings (John Middleton’s mother-in-law) can enjoy her game.

Colonel Brandon: It is more a matter of frequency than skill. As this is one of Mrs. Jennings’s favorite pastimes, I am often asked to play during my visits.


Speaking of pastimes, which do you enjoy?

Colonel Brandon: While at home, I enjoy a quiet evening reading in the library. When invited to Barton Park, I engage in sports such as duck hunting with John.

Elinor Dashwood: In addition to reading and jam making, I enjoy writing. I always carry    my journal with me to write down everything from recipes and ideas, to various stories.


Reading is a common interest. Do you have a favorite book?

Colonel Brandon: *Smiling over at Elinor* Miss Dashwood and I enjoy engaging in literary parlays. There are so many we have discussed that it is hard to simply choose one favorite.

Elinor Dashwood: *Nodding in agreement* Two that come to mind are Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Frances Burney’s Camilla.


Since Robinson Crusoe is a favorite novel, which three items would you take on a deserted island.

Colonel Brandon: What an interesting question. I would take three items that served me well throughout my time in the military; my compass, my dragoon sword, and my tent.

Elinor Dashwood: I would bring a book about the flora and fauna of the island, my bible, and tea.


All useful items. Is there a particular meal you enjoy?

Colonel Brandon: Having spent many years in the East Indies, I have developed a taste for the cuisine. One of my favorites is a chicken curry in a cream sauce. It is served with a spiced tea beverage called Chai.

Elinor Dashwood: That meal sounds lovely. *An expression of genuine interest crossed her face before she turned to answer the question* I would have to say something more traditionally English such as Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.    


Those both sound delicious. Who would you say is your closest friend? *noticing the glance they shared, I clarified* In addition to one another.

Colonel Brandon: John. We began serving together when I enlisted at sixteen.

Elinor Dashwood: Mrs. Louisa Delaney. She moved here from the East Indies last year when her husband’s regiment transferred.


Lastly, what do you hope the future holds for you?

Elinor Dashwood: I hope that my family continues to find happiness in Devonshire among our dear new friends.

Colonel Brandon: My life has recently undergone some changes *gazes over at Elinor* and I hope to be able to explore them further.


Thank you again for agreeing to this interview.

Colonel Brandon, Elinor Dashwood: *Stand up and bow* Thank you. It was a pleasure.


If you enjoyed this interview, you can read their story in True Loves Comes to Delaford available now in Kindle and trade paperback.



Virginia Kohl has been fascinated with the regency era since discovering Jane Austen’s works at the age of eleven. While others dreamt of Willoughby, it was Colonel Brandon who stole Virginia’s heart from the very beginning. Originally from Germany, she shares her Texas home with her illustrator mother and faithful rescue dog. When not passing her love of learning on to her students, this college math professor enjoys reading, writing, and being an active member of her local writer’s guild.

Virginia Kohl can be reached at

Her debut novel can be found at

The accompanying tea blend can be found at



Virginia Kohl would like to offer signed one paperback copy of True Love Comes to Delaford to one of my readers. All you have to do is comment on this post and let us know your first impression on this book. The giveaway will end on the 29th of November and is open for readers with a continental USA address.

Good luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present

The Madness of Mr. Darcy is one of my all-time favorite books, and even though it had the perfect ending, and in line with the entire mood of the book, deep down I always wished I could see the characters living their happily ever after. I got so attached to them that the book wasn’t enough for me, I wanted more and I felt they deserved more, so when I heard Alexa Adams was publishing a short story which was the continuation of The Madness of Mr. Darcy, I went crazy! Well…not really, but I had to read it immediately.

In Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present we will have an opportunity to experience ODC’s happily ever after, and what’s amazing about the story is that this happens without changing the characters, their disposition or circumstances. There is no dramatic change between the style of The Madness of Mr. Darcy and this small sequel, in fact, the mood with which it starts reminded me immediately of its predecessor and I loved seeing that despite the fact that we are seeing a happy couple, Mr. Darcy is still a tormented man overcoming his psychological issues with the help of his loving wife. But this is clearly a lighter story that was meant to transmit a happy atmosphere and answer the reader’s pleas for a brighter and longer ending, so I assure you that you will love this story.

Apart from Darcy and Elizabeth, who are obviously the main characters, we are also presented with a glimpse of all the other key characters of the previous book, and we get to know what happened to them and how they are living. I particularly liked seeing Wickham in this sequel, it was interesting to see how his relationship with Darcy evolved and how he changed as well.

The ending was exactly what I had wanted to read even thought I would have like it to be a bit longer.

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present was the best Christmas gift Alexa Adams could have given me. She gave me a loving novella where all the characters I wanted to see again are present to give me closure to one of the most intense and amazing books I have ever read. (If you haven’t read The Madness of Mr. Darcy yet, I highly recommend it).


You can find Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present at:


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