Category Archives: JAFF

Lover’s Knot – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m incredibly happy to be receiving today at From Pemberley to Milton one of the authors I admire the most in this genre, Jenetta James.

Jenetta captivated me on the first line of Suddenly Mrs Darcy some years ago and my admiration keeps growing with each new novel she releases. Her writing style is unique and captivating and she is now presenting us with a different type of novel, not a romance but a mystery! Of course there is plenty of romance there, but I know you will also love to see Darcy’s mind at work trying to solve a murder that could endanger someone he loves very much 😉 You guessed who it is didn’t you? Well, I’ve read the book and let me tell you that s the only thing you will guess! The mystery will remain until the very end, and even if you have good detective skills, I doubt you’ll guess who the murderer is 🙂

But enough of my prattle about Lover’s Knot, I’m sure you prefer to read an excerpt of it.

 

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And with that, she gave me the smallest smile and sat down. The light flickers on the cream of her gown as she sits and her slender shoulders lean back against the silk brocade of the chaise. I linger for a moment, simply admiring the scene before me—and her person. Something in the way she sits, how she folds her hands and holds her shoulders, makes me want to reach out and touch her. A creature of great power is coiling inside me, and she remains its owner. Content that the three ladies are conversing as though they are old acquaintances, and conscious that I am close to thoughts that may be a source of shame to me later, I obtain a drink for myself and stand to the back of the room. A number of my family accost me in conversation, discomforted as they are by silence. I exchange pleasantries with my cousin Edmund and compliment the Protheroe girls on their performance. The chatter of familiar voices and the clink of glasses on polished wooden tables accompanies the soporific melody of the music. I watch how Elizabeth’s head bobs towards my sister to speak in her ear and inclines to listen as the movements change. A chestnut curl kisses the nape of her neck and she has a habit of threading and re-threading her fingers together when she concentrates. She wears, I assumed her finest gown, which I had never seen before. It is a simple creation in cream silk and fits her form with an almost negligent beauty. This scene appears to me to be as far away from the Hertfordshire of our acquaintance as it is possible to be.

I become aware of Lavinia Protheroe stationed beside me a moment later than I should have.

“So. What have we here?”

She speaks with provocative leisure. Her grey eyes flick towards me and she takes a sip of her sherry, brow arching. “A young gentlewoman, who you apparently are acquainted with, but whom I have never heard of, apart from in passing from her aunt. Now, if it stopped there, it would not be odd at all, of course. The world is full of persons who have met on one, or even two occasions, meeting again, is it not?”

She pauses, employing her trademark Socratic technique. If she were a man, I would have maintained my silence. But Lavinia Protheroe is my godmother and was my mother’s best friend. She is in her fifties and I am a guest in her home. She is also, in her own manner, unbearably charming as well as ruthlessly inquisitive. At length, therefore, I answer her questions.

“It is.”

“There are even people in the world, I am told, whom I do not know.”

“Are you putting this to me as a topic to debate, or as a truth you have adopted?”

“You know I like a debate.”

“I do. But there is nothing to debate, as you well know. It is of course true that there are not merely some, but many people in the world with whom you are unacquainted. You may be the best connected woman in London, but what does that mean?”

In the corner of my vision, I see her smile, playfully. She has a way of drawing me out, and she knows it.

“I do not deny that you possess a sort of social brilliance. Because you do. But you do not know everyone there is to know.”

“How very bold you are this evening, Fitzwilliam. What can be the cause I wonder?”

“In any case, knowing and not knowing are relative terms. Just because one knows a person’s name, that is not to say that one really knows them, is it? Have you ever thought how many people of your acquaintance are barely more than mysteries in human form? Even if you had Miss Elizabeth Bennet on one of your lists, or you had played bridge with her mother or danced with her great cousin at your coming out or some such— you would not really know her. To go back to the matter at hand. It is not at all surprising that a young unmarried woman from Hertfordshire, who has never spent significant time in Town should have eluded you.”

“No, indeed it is not. But it is odd that you know her, while I do not.”

“You know I hold you in the highest esteem, Godmother. But you do not travel with me everywhere.”

“No indeed. I cannot abide horses, as you know. This is why I must ask questions, Darcy. And you must tell your poor, old godmother the answers and keep her abreast of events. Now—this Miss Elizabeth Bennet”—her eyes turned towards the ladies on the chaise and she flutters her fan enough for both of us—“how did you come to meet her?”

“You would not credit it if I told you.”

She raises her eyes and I know that far from deterring her, I have interested the lady even more.

“She was lately a guest at Netherfield. At Charles Bingley’s house—”

“Yes, yes. I understand what you refer to, Darcy. I read about it in the news sheets. And of course, I received your letter. Good grief. Was she … present?”

“She was. She discovered the crime, in fact.”

That fact sits like an ache in my head. In how many ways have I re-enacted the whole business in my head to avoid that aspect? I could have discovered the body or Bingley or Hurst, or one of the servants. If only Elizabeth had not gone to check on her sister, she would never have left Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. She would have been smiling over tea cups in the drawing room when some other unfortunate soul had seen what she had seen. Alas, it happened the way it happened, and there is nothing to be done about it.

“Then I am sorry for her. What a ghastly thing to have in one’s life, even accidentally. It speaks in her favour that she is here at all.”

“It does.”

“It also speaks for your regard for her that you tell me this. There are some, Darcy, who would see it as a sort of blot on a girl.”

“Nonsense. How can the innocent discovery of a crime whilst one is undertaking a blameless ordinary task be a blot on anyone’s character?”

“Hmm. You may very well say that. The world, is an unfair place. It is significant to me that you do not judge her for it. Indeed, you go further.”

“How so?”

“Well, as far as I am aware, you agreed to Georgiana being here this evening because almost everyone here is a Fitzwilliam or a Protheroe, and she so loves the music.”

“That is correct.”

“And yet, within moments of Miss Elizabeth’s arrival, you introduce her to your sister. And you have left them to themselves for most of the evening, forming their acquaintance without your presence.”

“Should young ladies not occasionally be left in peace to enjoy one another’s company, Mrs. Protheroe?”

“Of course, they should, Darcy. But you forget that I have known you and Georgiana all your lives. I saw you watch over her as a baby. I saw you as her brother and lately as her guardian. We have been by ourselves and with family, as well as with a smattering of others here and there over the years. The manner and the extent to which you have sought to protect her has not escaped me. It is not every new acquaintance whom you would permit, still less encourage, to sit with your sister without the chaperone of your own eyes. And so, I express surprise, nothing more. For now, at any rate.”

Having made her point, she ceases moving her fan, clicks it closed in her small hand, and rests her eyes on the ladies before us.

 

 

A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?

Lover’s Knot is a romantic Pride & Prejudice variation, with a bit of mystery thrown in.


 

You can find Lover’s not on :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

KindleUnlimited

 

 

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Jenetta James is a mother, writer, lawyer and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego. She has written, Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers as well as contributed short stories to both The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues.

 

 

 

Praise for The Elizabeth Papers, by Jenetta James:

“… a captivating novel … brilliant and fresh and unforgettable. It will definitely be on my Best of 2016 list and is easily one of the best Pride and Prejudice inspired novels I have ever read…” Diary of An Eccentric

“a story that feels up close and personal … poignant, stirring and beautifully crafted… a mesmerising page turner” JustJane1813

“… this is when we realise what an incredible work of art this book is, and how two different stories can be so perfectly interlaced that they become one single story … “ From Pemberley to Milton

“a novel that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen and romantic mysteries” Publishers Weekly

“Outstanding. Imaginative. Creative … brilliantly put together … totally unique in its style…” Amazon review (5*s)

“Love still conquers all … a beautiful read, not to be missed” Amazon review (5*s)

“… this book ranks with the best …” Amazon review (5*)

 

Praise Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, by Jenetta James:

 

“…a touching, sometimes dark, often playfully sexy interpretation of what might have been.”     –Joceline Bury, Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine

“Jenetta James’ writing made it incredibly easy for me to sink into Elizabeth’s story and connect with her emotionally.” —Austenprose

“…discerning premise, inventive intrigue, and beautifully developed romance! Ms. James is skilled storyteller with a compelling voice and satisfying respect for Jane Austen’s characters.” —Austenesque Reviews

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to follow the blog tour for more excerpts, guest post and reviews!

 

March 29 My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 30 Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 31 Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway

April 1 My Vices and Weaknesses/  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

April 3 So Little Time /  Guest Post & Giveaway

April 4  Austenesque Reviews / Author Interview & Giveaway

April 5 From Pemberley to Milton /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 6 Babblings of a Bookworm /  Book Review & Giveaway

April 7 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

April 8 My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 9 Diary of an Eccentric /  Guest Post & Giveaway

April 10 Laughing with Lizzie /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 11 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

April 12 Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway

 

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Jenetta has selected a lovely giveaway package where one lucky winner will receive a Pride & Prejudice scarf, a Kindle cover and paperback copies of all five of her JAFF books.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

The winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.  To enter it, click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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The Assistant Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Morning everyone,

My first post this month is a guest post from Riana Everly who has recently release a Pride and Prejudice prequel called The Assistant, and whom I absolutely love to receive at From Pemberley to Milton.

Riana is an incredibly nice person with whom I love to chat, share experiences and talk about cultural differences, but her interesting remarks are not limited to our conversations, they extend to her guest posts and that is one of the reasons why I love having her in my blog. Apart from personalizing each guest post, and adapting it to the blog which is receiving her, she always does her best to bring to my readers interesting and different posts where you can learn something new. Today she explores the Milton connection with a brief survey of some types of textiles used for clothing in the 18th and 19th centuries and I really hope you enjoy this guest post and the excerpt of The Assistant she is sharing today.

 

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Weaving Fabric into the Story

Thank you, Rita, for hosting me on this stop on my blog tour for The Assistant.  In this tale of the romance between Lizzy Bennet’s favourite aunt and uncle, I have imagined Edward Gardiner as the son of a successful merchant who made a reasonable fortune in textiles. Edward, though still fairly young, is starting to take over his father’s business under the old man’s guidance. The Gardiners’ warehouse of exceptional fabric is one of the best places in London for the Ton to outfit their wardrobes for the next season, and there are always new arrivals of woollens, linens, silks and other fine bolts of cloth from across Britain and around the world.

What might Edward have in his warehouse, that the upper classes would seek it out so deliberately? In homage to the other part of this lovely blog (the Milton part, where cotton is spun into fine cloth), let’s take a quick peek at some prized textiles from the Regency period.

Muslin

Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave, originally from Mosul, Iraq, hence the name. By the end of the 18th century, it was being produced in Britain as well as being imported. It can come in different weights, but for Regency-era clothing, the very fine and delicate sheer weights were the most prized. Muslin takes dye well, and can have designs woven into it, such as dots or window-pane checks. It can be embroidered, and can even be shot through with gold or silver thread, much like can be seen in sari fabric. Muslin tended to be very delicate and frayed easily, and consequently it was mostly worn by the wealthy who could did not wear their clothing roughly and who could afford excellent laundresses and frequent replacement of damaged items.

This is Marie Antoinette in a muslin gown, from 1783.

In this picture) you can see how sheer the fabric can be.

This gorgeous dress is made of muslin made with metallic threads and then embroidered with a delicate design.

Silk

Silk was used for fine evening dress, and depending on wealth, day dress as well. The silk used for clothing had more body than the very soft silks we see in modern items like scarves, but were still thin and fine, with a soft sheen. Regency-era silk was crisp with good body, and came in a variety of soft colours, ranging from very light to very dark. Modern sari silk is a good approximation of Regency-era silk for clothing. Silk is strong and sturdy for its weight, and wore well. You can see how silk has more body than muslin in this close-up of a sleeve from around 1810.



The finest silk for Regency clothing was satin, and white satin was popular for weddings and very fancy events. This is Princess Charlotte’s wedding dress from 1816, made of white silk net with silver.

Silk, especially embroidered silk or with a pattern woven in, was also popular for men’s waistcoat fronts. This image is of an embroidered silk waistcoat from France from the early years of the 19th century.

Wool

England has been producing woollen cloth for centuries. It’s cool and damp climate is ideal for raising sheep, and wool production and trade were a mainstay of the Medieval English economy. Although traditional methods of producing woollen cloth were protected, by the middle of the 19th century, the north of the country was dotted with factories producing this staple textile.

Wool, especially superfine and merino was used for men’s coats, which were de rigeur summer and winter. This example post-dates the Regency era by a couple of years, but it shows a well-preserved blue woolen tailcoat.

Wool was also used for warmer clothing for both men and women, as well as for outerwear, from spencers to greatcoats. It could be dyed a number of colours, and was comfortable to wear.

This gorgeous light purple woollen coat dates from the early 1800s.

Women also wore extremely fine and beautifully woven woolen shawls, both for fashion and for warmth. Often imported from India, these Kashmiri—or cashmere—shawls were prized for their beauty and practicality.

This fashion plate from 1801 shows a gorgeous red cashmere shawl. That’s a large piece of fabric!

I hope this gives a taste of just a few of the fabrics Edward Gardiner and his father might have had in their warehouse, just waiting for the mantua-makers and tailors of the elite to come and turn them into the most fashionable outfits in London.

 

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Here is a short excerpt from The Assistant. It looks like Edward has some unusual friends!

The morning passed in usual fashion, with customers beginning to return to the shops and establishments to order fine fabrics for new garb, for replacing winter gear, and for redoing worn furniture and draperies. The London Season was in full swing as Parliament sat and the Members’ families sought their entertainment. Edward was summoned to conduct a personal tour of his latest silks for the wife and daughter of a certain marquess, and then, only hours later, to conduct a similar tour for the daughter of an earl, who had heard of the marchioness’ special treatment, and who would accept nothing less.

Since both parties purchased great volumes of highly priced silks and damasks, Edward considered this time very well spent indeed! At last, he bid most obsequious au revoirs to the over-dressed Lady Eleanor and informed his manager that he was going home for a while and would return later.

He was approaching his house when he heard his name called. His eyes jolted upwards from their contemplation of the muddy snow at his feet and he spied Hollings at the door to his house. “Mr. Gardiner, there is a messenger arrived at the back for you. He says it is a matter of some importance.”

Picking up his pace, Edward quickly strode into the family home. There, in the kitchen, enjoying a cup of hot tea and a plate of bread and cheese, sat a grubby man of indeterminate age, clad in rough country clothing. His ragged shirt was of indistinguishable hue— possibly it had once been white—and his labourers’ trousers were torn and filthy. He wore no jacket, although a heavy shapeless coat hung on a hook near the fire. A pair of mud-caked boots sat on some rags by the door. Unshaven and with a balding head of greasy hair, the man looked like the sort with whom an elegant citizen would never deign to converse, let alone entertain in his home. The man smiled, showing a blackened tooth to the world, and when he offered his hand to shake, the nails were caked with grime. Edward looked once, blinked, and then suddenly pulled the man up and caught him in a rough and affectionate embrace.

Now who can this odd visitor be? And why is he so poorly dressed? 😉 Read The Assistant to find out.

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A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

You can find The Assistant at:

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

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Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

You can contact Riana Everly through the following media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly

Website – https://rianaeverly.com/

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Riana Everly would like to offer to one of my readers an ebook copy of The Assistant. The giveaway is international and ends on the 14th of April. To enter it all you have to do is comment on this post and let us know what you though about such a lovely post 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

 

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Author of the Month – Jan Hahn

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Good Afternoon everyone,

Welcome to my third edition of the author of the month feature. After giving a shout out to Joana Starnes and Nicole Clarkston in the first 2 months of the year, my choice for author of the month in March was obvious, it simply had to be Jan Hahn.

This month Jan Hahn has released her 5th novel called The Child which I have recently reviewed here at From Pemberley to Milton, but that was not why I chose her for this feature, I chose Jan Hahn because I’ve spent the entire month re-reading her books!

Jan Hahn is clearly on top of my favourite authors list and after reading the The Child I felt a compulsion to re-read her other novels. I though I would just have a good time reading The Journey for a couple of hours, but it turns out that just like the first time I read it, once I started I couldn’t put it down. After that one I attacked An Arranged Marriage, and now I’m re-reading A Peculiar Connection, this means the only book from this author I haven’t read this month is The Secret Betrothal… but I’m leaving that to April 😉

There are few authors who are able to truly find their way into my heart with their books and Jan Hahn is certainly one of them. There is something special in her writing that makes me completely and utterly engaged with the characters and the stories. She writes exactly what I want to read and I find her books absolutely PERFECT!

Her characters Darcy and Elizabeth are always exactly as I imagine them to be, and we know how these characters may vary depending on the author who is putting them on paper, so I consider myself lucky because this talented author views these characters just like I do, and always makes me feel connected to them in her books. But that is not the only reason her books are perfect for me; she is not afraid to give readers the taste of angst that I am incredibly fond off. She creates the most beautiful and perfect angst, the one where Darcy and Elizabeth love each other but can’t be together as a couple for some reason (usually a misunderstanding that is always justified and believable in her stories). That’s what makes it so incredible, her angst is not based on them being apart which is a type of angst I dislike, by the contrary, we see them together, we read their conversations and we feel their sorrow for not being together… it’s just delightful. But she never forgets readers who are not so fond of angst, because after she gives us the taste of it, she always takes the time to give readers many chapters of blissful happiness. This is one author who never rushes an ending, she takes all the time she needs to please all types of readers, and by doing it, she creates a perfect balance throughout her books with the ideal quantity of romance, angst and closure.

I’ve spoken about her characters, the tone of her books and their structure but I haven’t yet mentioned the storylines. That is another A grade for Jan Hahn! She devises the most intriguing plots, keeping the pacing of the books very fast and making readers want to keep going until everything is resolved. That is obviously a combination of incredible writing skills and a great imagination!

Jan Hahn’s writing is compelling, intriguing and addictive and her books are the perfect combination of great plotlines, well-developed characters and delightful romance. To me they are perfect in every sense and I must say A Peculiar Connection is my all time favourite JAFF book with The Journey running in second place. I only wish Jan Hahn could continue writing every day because her books are everything my soul needs when I am down.  Her stories and her characters allow me to escape my daily problems and be removed into a world where after some turbulence happiness is always met. Just like Joana Starnes, Jan Hahn is one of the few authors who reaches the deepest parts of my heart with the intensity of the scenes she writes, and that is what I love the most about a book, the ability to make me feel something. It is not easy to do that because it takes more than good writing skills to achieve something so powerful as intensely engaging the readers emotions, but Jan Hahn is quite an expert at it!

Jan Hahn is an author whose books I’ll always read and who I will always recommend to my readers because after reading all her books I can honestly say she cannot get it wrong! Her books are always incredible and she has a talent that words cannot explain, at least I can’t with my limited writing abilities, but I can only say I really hope she never stops writing because a talent like hers should not go to waste.

The last detail I cannot refrain from mentioning is the taste she reveals in the choice of her covers. Her covers are always sooooooo beautiful I can’t resist them 🙂 I remember buying The Secret Betrothal because of the cover and of course, the inside matched the outside, so let me finish by adding that we can judge a book by its cover, and Jan Hahn’s books are always winners 😉

 

 

Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’

Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.

 

Jahn Hahn’s Facebook Page

Jan Hahn’s Author Page

 

 

Below you can see the books that made me love Jan Hahn:

My Review (coming soon) Amazon.com

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My Review (coming soon) Amazon.com


My Review (coming soon) Amazon.com

 

My Review Amazon.com

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My Review Amazon.com

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And now you can find a little bit more about all of the above books and discover why Jan Hahn keeps writing JAFF 🙂

 


Thank you, Rita, for honoring me as your author of the month! I’m thrilled that you would choose me from the huge selection of Austen writers out there. You are more than kind. Bloggers like you are treasures in the world of writing today. They are the essential link between readers and writers. Helping to launch a new book or an unknown talent into the reading world is a priceless asset, and it’s done by the selfless generosity of bloggers.

The Child is the fifth novel I’ve written based on Pride and Prejudice. People ask, ‘When are you going to create your own characters?” I laughingly answer when I grow tired of Austen’s perfect creations. But don’t expect it any time soon for who can tire of Austen? I have scattered a few original people throughout my novels. The maid Fiona provoked Elizabeth’s curiosity and a bit of jealousy in An Arranged Marriage. My own bad boy Nate Morgan appeared in The Journey. Father Peter Darcy, Elizabeth Willoughby and her family, and various minor characters played parts in A Peculiar Connection. A maid called Maggie, who plays a significant role in the plot, pops up in The Child, and of course, there’s the child herself named Fan.

I prefer, however, to write mainly about Darcy and Elizabeth. I like stories where they’re thrown together for most of the book even though they may be in conflict much of the time. And I delight in watching them fall in love all over again.

An Arranged Marriage was the easiest book to write. For some reason, the story just flowed out of me, and it’s still my most popular work. The first part of The Journey was fun to write. Since highwaymen in England compared to outlaws in the American westerns my late husband loved, I sought his advice on weapons and camping in the cave scenes. I can’t think of that book without remembering him. A novella I posted online in 2003 called The Engagement emerged into the fleshed-out book The Secret Betrothal. A Peculiar Connection featured a shocking premise, and yet brave readers embraced it.

Last year, Christina Boyd invited me to participate in her anthology The Darcy Monologues. My short story was entitled Without Affection and begins and ends in the twilight years of the Darcy marriage. And that brings me to The Child, a story beginning over two years after Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford. I hope you enjoy it. I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who have supported my work through the years. It means the world to me.


 

 

Jan Han and me would like to offer my readers a chance to be delighted with her writing, and I know it may seem presumptuous to say you’ll be delighted but I find it hard to believe that someone will not love her work 🙂 I would like to offer you one ebook copy of The Journey and Jan Hahn is kindly offering the choice of an ebook or a signed copy of it.

To enter the giveaway comment on this post and let us know if you have ever read any Jan Hahn book, which is your favourite, or why you like her writing, you know the drill 🙂

To receive extra entries in the giveaway comment on the review of The Journey I will post on the 9th of April and the review of An Arranged Marriage which will be published on the 12th.  The winners will be announced on the 16th of April.

Good Luck everyone!

 

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The Ladies of Rosings Park Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you this lovely week? Ready to be surrounded by chocolates this Easter? I’m sure I’ll eat way more than I should 😉 I don’t know if people eat a lot of chocolate this time of the year in your country, but here, we certainly do 🙂

Today I’m welcoming author Shannon Winslow to From Pemberley to Milton with a guest post about her recently released book The Ladies of Rosings Park. This is the 4th novel of the Darcys of Pemberley Series and focuses, as the name indicates, on the ladies who live in or near Rosings Park, but I will let you read the blurb and guest post to learn more about it. Enjoy!

 

 

 

At first glance, Anne de Bourgh doesn’t seem a promising heroine. But beneath that quiet exterior, there’s a lively mind at work, imagining how one day she will escape her poor health and her mother’s domination to find love and a life worth living.

Now Anne finally gets the chance to speak her mind. But Lady Catherine demands equal time. Even Charlotte Collins and Mrs. Jenkinson get into the act. Chapter by chapter, these ladies of Rosings Park take turns telling the tale from the moment Elizabeth Bennet sets foot in Hunsford, changing everything. Is Anne heartbroken or relieved to discover Mr. Darcy will never marry her? As an heiress, even a sickly one, she must have other suitors. Does Lady Catherine gracefully accept the defeat of her original plan or keep conniving? Will Anne’s health ever improve? And what really happened to her father?

Complete in itself, this work expands The Darcys of Pemberley series laterally, beginning during the timeline of Pride and Prejudice and carrying beyond to reveal the rest of Anne’s story. When a young lady is to be a heroine… something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way. (Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey).


You can find The Ladies of Rosings Park at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

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The Ladies of Rosings Park is primarily Anne de Bourgh’s story, and staying true to what Jane Austen wrote about her was my prime directive (to put it in Star Trek terms). Anne might imagine all sorts of things – and she does! – but she’s prevented from doing anything to contradict the original story in Pride and Prejudice. It’s only after Darcy and Elizabeth ride off together into the sunset that she is free to invent her own life and find her HEA.

In the meantime, in the early chapters, she’s stuck where Jane Austen left her – unseen and unheard, living perpetually in the shadow of her domineering mother. As Anne herself tells us in this new book… although Rosings is an extremely large house, there is room for only one person to exert the force of her will and opinions. And that person is my mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

But what if these constraints were removed? What if neither Anne nor I felt obliged to abide by the “non-interference” clause? What if she were allowed to not only imagine, but act as she pleased from the start? Although it would have been difficult to sustain the mash-up mentality for the length of an entire novel, it’s fun to see what happens when you try it out even temporarily.

So here’s a P&P scene at Rosings that I include in the book, now re-imagined – what might have happened if Anne had been able to let down her hair and cut loose a little sooner. Anne’s telling the story, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out where and how far it deviates from what I actually wrote in The Ladies of Rosings Park!

 

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Mama droned on and on with no intermission, Darcy and I speaking only when asked some question requiring a response. Every minute, however, my attention was drawn across to the other side of the room, where Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam were entertaining one another in so spirited a manner that it could not be ignored. I was hardly the only one to have noticed either. Darcy’s eye repeatedly turned that way, I observed, and finally so did Mama’s.

“What is that you are saying, Fitzwilliam? What are you telling Miss Bennet?” she demanded.

“We are speaking of music, Madam,” he answered.

This solicited from my mother a long speech on the subject, ending in a query as to how her niece was getting on.

“Georgiana was very well when I left her, and her playing improves apace,” Darcy said. “I never grow tired of hearing her and often tell her so. She is very modest of her own talents, though, and will not believe me.”

I thought it a fine sentiment that needed no supplementation. However, this did not prevent Mama from adding her unnecessary advice that Georgiana should practice daily. Then she found a cautionary illustration conveniently close to hand. She said, “I have told Miss Bennet several times that she will not play really well unless she practices more. Otherwise, she will be forever condemned to mediocrity.”

I waited to see what reply Elizabeth would make to this piece of incivility, hoping for some pert opinion in return. When she only smiled ironically, something compelled me to come to her defense. Mama had run roughshod over us all long enough. “Mama, how can you be so rude to our guest? You may as well have pointed your bony finger at Elizabeth and said, ‘Look. Here is a sad example of the sorry state to which a person who does not heed my counsel is doomed to descend. Make very sure such a pitiful end does not befall you!’”

Mama seemed surprisingly unperturbed. “You know my reputation for frankness, Anne. I must speak as I find and let others draw what useful conclusions they might. It is my clear duty to give others the benefit of my sagacious observations.”

I could only look at Elizabeth and roll my eyes to show how I sympathized.

It was all the more remarkable, then, that after Mama’s insult Elizabeth consented to play for us later that evening. This having come about by Fitzwilliam’s particular request, he settled in a chair beside her to turn the pages. But then my other cousin broke from our group and made his way into the next room as well. I cannot say whether it was for a better view of the pretty performer or only to separate himself a little from Mama. In any case, the three of them were soon carrying on together, Elizabeth’s music punctuated by pauses for conversation.

From my location, I strained to hear even an occasional word. I could see quite well enough, however: an arch look from Elizabeth, some explanation from one of my cousins, a laugh in return, a comment to the other, a smile exchanged between two or all three. The gentlemen were clearly enthralled. How effortlessly Elizabeth had managed to captivate them!

I longed to join in – to be a part of their talk and laughter, possibly even to flirt a little as I had seen others do. And yet, there I sat, meekly by Mama’s side with my hands folded in my lap, keeping to my customary wallflower part and allowing another to thoroughly eclipse me in the eyes of the man who was supposed to have become my husband. It was not so much that I coveted Darcy’s attention myself or that I resented Elizabeth’s allurements; I just hated being perpetually unseen, unheard, and completely left out.

Suddenly I could bear it no longer. Perhaps emboldened by having got away with speaking my mind earlier, I decided then and there to do something about it. So I shot to my feet before I could change my mind. As daring as you please, I marched right up to the three gathered round the piano-forte, which instantly drew their full attention. Shaking my head, I gave my cousins a look of mock disapprobation.

“I have come to stand beside my friend Elizabeth in her time of need,” I told them. “For it seemed to me as if the two of you were teasing her without mercy. I think you will behave better, now I am here and our numbers are equal. Elizabeth, how can I be of assistance? We ladies must look out for one another’s welfare, to face down every attempt by men to intimidate us. Is not that so?” Then I laughed playfully to show that I was in fact teasing too.

Elizabeth smiled and joined me. “Indeed,” she said. “My courage had nearly failed, but now, with you to support me, I feel equal to anything.”

The gentlemen were left quite speechless at first, amazed (and possibly impressed?) that timid little Anne had the temerity to behave in such an astonishing way.

Finally, Fitzwilliam laughed too, saying, “We stand guilty as charged. Is not that so, Darcy? How lucky for Miss Bennet that you came along when you did, Anne!”

“True,” said Darcy. “Lucky for us all. Now, what would you like, Anne? If we are not to tease Miss Bennet anymore, what would you have us do instead? We are at your service.”

“More music, I think. Yes, by all means. That is the safest way to proceed. No one will dare misbehave where there is music. Perhaps, if Miss Bennet will play again, I might be persuaded to accompany her. I do sing a little, you know.”

“Do you?” asked Fitzwilliam. “That would be capital indeed!”

“Let us not have anything too serious, though,” I suggested. “I would wager we are, none of us, in the mood for a dirge. Elizabeth, do you know any comic songs?”

With me enthusiastically leading the way, the others soon joined in. I daresay Mama did not approve. I think I heard her complaining in the background – something about such ‘common’ songs only being suitable for public houses, sung by travelers and serving maids. But what could she do? It was four against one. We just sang all the louder until she was finally chased away to bed!

 

~~*~~

 

So what do you think? Believable or not so much? How far do you think Anne would really go? If you like this new, bolder Anne, I can promise you that she learns to stand up for herself before all is said and done, just not this early on. I hope you’ll also check out a mash-up I wrote about what happens when she crashes Georgiana’s birthday ball.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Shannon Winslow comes bearing gifts this Easter as she would like to offer 2 ebook copies of The Ladies of Rosings Park to my readers. The giveaway is international and to enter it you only have to comment on this post and let us know what you think of the Darcys of Pemberley Series. All your love and support are appreciated 🙂

The giveaway is open until the 13th of April and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

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The Child Review & Giveaway

 

The Child by Jan Hanh was a much-anticipated release for me as I had been waiting for the last three years for her to release a new book. She is one of my favourite authors, I absolutely love all her books and if I think of it, The Peculiar Connection is my all time favorite JAFF book, so as you can see, expectations are very high when it comes to Jan Hahn.

The plot of The Child is very different from Jan Hahn’s previous books, in this story Darcy flees England soon after the Hunsford proposal to try to overcome his longing for Elizabeth. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget holding a child by the hand.

Disturbed by this, he soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight and his misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.

On the other hand, that first encounter proves to be equally difficult for Elizabeth as she sees the man she loves being taken away to a wedding that will not occur without him, and where an expectant bride is waiting for him.

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog you know this premise is just perfect for me as it contains all the ingredients for an intense journey of angst and misunderstandings that our characters will have to take before finding their happiness. But do not fear if you are not so favourable to angst as it does not last as long as I would expect, the book has just the right amount of it for everyone to enjoy it.

In these initial chapters, and while those events take place, Jan Hahn literally plays with words to keep the suspense on the book in an exquisite manner, I love how she arranged every word and ever sentence to prevent Darcy from finding the true story behind the child, it takes a true proficiency to play with words like that and the consequence is that  once we start reading, we just can’t stop.

As the story progresses and the plot thickens, Jan Hahn ventures into a plotline that I usually dislike, and that is when I reconfirmed how an amazing writer she is, because despite that detail that always pushes me away from a book, I loved The Child.

Darcy is challenged to overcome his pride, and his love for Elizabeth is tested in a way that will make him a better man, a better person than myself if I am truthful, as he comes to accept some things much sooner than I did (again, I have issues with this detail in every single JAFF book). The book is entirely from his point of view and this will allow the reader to better understand all the struggles he is facing. It allows us to establish a bond with him, and who doesn’t’ love that in a book? It was one of the aspects I loved the most in this book, I really related to Darcy and understood everything he went through, I’m glad The Child was told from his point of view, because I can see myself relating to him much more than I could envision the same thing happening with Elizabeth in this story.

The prologue was a balm to my soul, I think it allowed me to come to terms with the entire story and to finally let go of my prejudices and accept that people need to be seen for who they are and not who their parents are.

I can honestly say that I believe most readers will love this book, particularly those who have children because they will better understand that a mother is not the one who carries a child, but the one who cares for and loves that child.

If you haven’t read this book yet, buy it and read it, you will not regret it! It is an incredible work by an incredible author 🙂

P.S – I have to mention the cover, isn’t it PERFECT?!!!


 

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Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’

Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.

 You can contact Jan Hahn through the following links:

Jahn Hahn’s Facebook Page

Jan Hahn’s Author Page

Jan Hahn’s Amazon Page

 

 


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The blog tour is just beginning, please continue to follow it for more reviews, guest posts and excerpts of this wonderful book 🙂

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March 21 My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 22 From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

March 23 More Agreeably Engaged / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 24 My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 25 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

March 26 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

March 27 Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway

March 28 Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview & Giveaway

March 29 So Little Time / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 30 Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 31 Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

April 1 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

April 2 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

 


8 eBooks of The Child are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on March 21 – until midnight ET on April 4, 2018. Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

To enter it please click on this link.

Good Luck everyone!

 

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Giveaway Winners

 

Good Afternoon fellow Janeites,

How are you in today? I have been a little of the grid because my real life has once more interfered in my bonnet life. To be truthful, I didn’t have a lot going on in the last few days, but I’ve been so tired that I just wanted some time for myself, for my books and no internet connection. Do you also feel this need on occasion? Sometimes I just wish I could be transported into regency and leave all my gadgets behind me. I wish it was just me, the nature and all the time in the world, no cell phones, no computer, no internet, no city noise, no work…but alas, that is never going to happen.

Anyway, all these ramblings to say, that I took some time to rest and charge my batteries and hopefully I’ll be back to talk all things Austen with you 🙂 I will get back this week with a review of The Child from Jan Hahn who is one of my favourite writers, but before getting back to reviews, I would like to announce the winners of the last 3 giveaways I hosted at From Pemberley to Milton.

This month both Monica Fairview and Mark Brownlow visited From Pemberley to Milton to talk about their recently released books: Mysterious Mr. Darcy and Cake and Courtship and it was a pleasure to work with both of them! Thank you so much for visiting Monica and Mark!!

Also, last month Nicole Clarkston was my choice for the Author of the Month, so I was offering an ebook copy of her book No Such Thing as Luck.

The winners of these wonderful books are:

 

No Such Thing as Luck

*** Loren Dushku ***

 

Mysterious Mr. Darcy

*** BeckyC***

 

Cake and Courtship (or a box of Viennese chocolates)

*** Dholcomb1 ***

 

Congratulations ladies! Please send me your e-mails until the end of this week so your prizes can be sent to you 🙂

Happy Reading!!!

 

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Mystery Cover Reveal

Good morning, Rita and thank you for hosting this post at your blog today.  We’re delighted to have you launch an exciting new type of cover reveal for an upcoming JAFF book that remains to be somewhat of a mystery, which is really quite perfect because the book itself happens to be JAFF mystery based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

If you’re wondering how to host a mystery cover reveal I’ll let you in on a little secret. There isn’t much I can share with you and your readers today about this reveal yet, but I have brought with me some very special clues to whet their appetites a bit and to entice them to join us to solve this mystery regarding not only what this cover looks like, but what the book’s title is and who is the author of this book.

Your readers don’t have to fret about the author’s identity since the author has already published some very popular JAFF stories and we are hoping that between the clues shared today on your blog, along with the clues shared tomorrow at Meredith’s blog, Austenesque Reviews, your readers will feel confident taking some educated guesses to solve this mystery.

Are you ready to have a bit of fun with us? Get ready to solve the hottest mystery in JAFF right now…

Clue #1 is this piece of our book’s cover…

 

Hmmmm… who could this be? Any ideas readers?

Clue #2 is this excerpt below to help you start thinking about the book’s title and author… Enjoy!

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“Have your family always been settled in Meryton, Miss Elizabeth?”

“Yes.” She looks up, beaming a smile of unaffected joy. “I was born at Longbourn, Mrs. Hurst, as were all my sisters. The estate has been in my father’s family for many generations. And my mother is from a local family as well. Our uncle Philips is a solicitor in Meryton and his practice was my grandfather’s before it was his. We are Hertfordshire natives and have many relatives here about.”

Mrs. Hurst goes to speak further but her sister chimes in.

“I wonder that your family has not travelled further, Miss Elizabeth. After all, Hertfordshire is close to Town. Yet, Miss Bennet told us that your family rarely travels there except to visit your aunt and uncle in Cheapside. For myself, I could not be away from Town for so long, and it being an easy distance, intend to make the journey frequently.”

“Well Miss Bingley, why should you not? If you have the resources and inclination and, as you say, the journey is not a great burden. I hope you will make all the journeys your heart desires, although I do not know how well your fondness for ‘stillness’ shall stand it.”

It is not my practice to show amusement, except when among family and very close friends. But I must confess that the faintest laugh escapes my lips. Miss Bingley does not appear to notice and continues, unabashed.

“Possibly it is a difference in mentality between those who have grown up in the country and those who have been exposed to the sophistications of Town.”

Fearful that she is about to make a positively offensive remark, I interject: “I doubt it, Miss Bingley. I grew up in the countryside but have not experienced an unwillingness to travel when the destination is worthy of it. What is more, I fear you overlook one aspect of great importance. That is, the benefits of long standing settlement in one place. My own family have lived in a settled location, away from Town, for many generations. That is to our advantage. I have the reassurance of knowing that I am acquainted with all around me. I know the circumstances of their fathers and grandfathers. I know where they live and where they came from. Their history, and mine, are things of record. In the throng of Town, no man can ever be sure of his neighbour.”

It had occurred to me that Meryton, being close to Town and easily accessible on the road north, must be plagued with newcomers and travellers breaking their journeys. The market place, with its coaching inn and busy blacksmith, said as much. The town is a staging post on the way to and from London, a mark upon the road, attracting all manner of men, trouping through. Lambton does not suffer thus, which is as I would have it. As I sip my wine, Miss Elizabeth’s voice springs up beside me.

“How very certain you are of your own particular knowledge, Mr. Darcy. But, is it not a false comfort? Is it not, at its heart, unrealistic? Many people find a move away from their place of birth unavoidable. There are the demands of family and enterprise. To say nothing of health and circumstance. Not all may be as fortunate as your family, or mine, and people must find their home where it presents itself. Sometimes, that place, may be a significant distance from where they started.”

I tighten my grip upon my glass. My eyes find hers and, for one moment, I am drawn in utterly. She speaks, surely, of marriage. An arch look shoots towards me and her brow rises as she continues.

“It is quite impossible to ever have a full account of the people around us. There shall always be new arrivals, and they must always be welcome.”

“Of course, and I would never fail to welcome newcomers to Pemberley. You misunderstand me, Miss Elizabeth. The reward of tradition and stability is knowledge. I know the society of my home. I am sure you know yours.”

“Are you? How can you be certain? Does not every soul have its secrets?”

 

With that, I let the silence last too long and a blanket of discomfort steals around me. Her company holds me fast, like a pin on an entomologist’s board. Suddenly aware that the table has fallen silent, and all eyes are fixed upon us, my mind races to find an answer. Even Hurst has paused his drinking. I reply as best I can: “I do not claim to know people’s souls, Miss Elizabeth.”

 


We would love for your readers to help us solve this mystery. To do so, they can answer the questions in this JAFF Mystery Cover Reveal Survey today and tomorrow after Meredith reveals the clues we are sharing with her readers too. The winner will be picked from the group of respondents who answer the questions on this survey correctly. The winner will receive a $20.00 Amazon gift card.

 

Thanks you, Rita, for hosting this launch post. I can’t wait to share more clues tomorrow at Austenesque Reviews to help readers solve this great JAFF mystery!


Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of this Mystery Cover Reveal! I really believe this was a very creative idea and I am having lots of fun putting the post together 😉

I can’t wait to share with my readers the beautiful cover of your book and your identity! Also, I’m very curious to see how many of them will guess who you are! I don’t want to give any hints, but I think it will not be a difficult task for those who have already read any of your books 😉

Dear readers, I have been very lucky because not only have I seen the cover, but most importantly I’ve read the book, and I must say you will not guess who did it!!! You will travel with Darcy to unexpected places, you will have some suspects, but I can bet you will not guess what is behind this mystery 🙂

I hope you find this idea as fun as I did and that the excerpt piqued your curiosity. Please do not forget to visit Meredith’s post on Austenesque Reviews tomorrow to see a different part of the book cover and obtain more clues to this mystery 🙂

The big reveal will be on Claudine’s blog, Just Jane 1813, on the 9th of March, and you will not want to miss that either!!

Happy findings everyone!

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Cake and Courtship – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am welcoming a very special guest to From Pemberley to Milton: Mark Brownlow!

As you know there aren’t many male authors writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction, and even if this may not be a consensual idea, I believe a male’s writing is a little different then a female’s writing, so I am always very curious to read their books. Mark Brownlow’s book, however, as has made me even more curious because it is told from a very different point of view: Mr. Bennet’s! I had never read a book from his perspective, so I’m very curious to see what this author is bringing us 🙂

Mark is sharing a guest post and an excerpt of his most recent release Cake and Courtship and I hope you enjoy them both! Oh, and don’t forget to participate in the giveaway, I must say this is the sweetest giveaway I’ve ever held 🙂

 

 

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Mark Brownlow is a British-born writer living in Vienna, Austria. His debut novel, Cake and Courtship, is a Regency romance narrated by Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Bennet. He has also written a novella, The Lovesick Maid, a cozy mystery set in Jane Austen’s fictional village of Hunsford. You can find Mark at LostOpinions.com, where he is known for his reimagining of classic literature as emails.

Science degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Aberdeen and Reading prefaced a short-lived career as a research academic. Since turning from facts to fiction, Mark has also worked as a translator, agony aunt, marketing consultant, journalist, business writer, web publisher and copywriter. None of which kept his soul happy in the way that creative writing does. When not writing, he works as a part-time lecturer in medical and scientific English at a local university.

If there is no pen to hand, he can be found watching his kids play football or sharing a glass of wine with his wife in front of a costume or historical drama.

Mark’s website
Mark’s author page at Goodreads
Mark’s author page at Amazon.co.uk
Mark’s author page at Amazon.com
Mark on Twitter
Mark on Facebook

 

 

 

Thank you, Rita, for having me on your blog!

When you think of Pride and Prejudice, I bet it’s not just the characters and story that come to mind. We all have vivid images of the houses, villages and towns that feature in Jane Austen’s novels, whether through our imagination, through the TV and film adaptations, or through visiting places like Bath, which hosts much of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

I was lucky enough to spend much of my childhood near Bath, in a village outside the market town of Devizes, whose cheesecakes Jane Austen once praised in a letter to her sister, Cassandra. Devizes is also close to Lacock, which featured in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV series.

Unfortunately, I only had eyes for football back then. By the time I discovered an appreciation for classic literature, I had moved to Vienna (which I’m pretty sure Jane Austen never visited).

In my novel, Cake and Courtship, John Barton tells Mr Bennet of his love for a “Miss Anne Hayter of Bath”, which was excuse enough for me to go see my mum again and visit the city for a coffee and…ahem…“research”. Over the course of the book, Mr Bennet’s involvement in John’s troubled courtship of Anne brings back memories of the past and clues to the origins of his somewhat cynical character. This includes recollections of his own time in Bath:

…the memories came cascading back. My delight at discovering a Bennet Street. The sumptuous buns I used to buy by the dozen, their fragrance tormenting me until I reached my lodgings. The bookstores on Bond Street. The young ladies taking walks across the Crescent Fields and on through Cow Lane to Weston. I wondered if they would remember me, some twenty years later.

Maps, books and other resources are wonderful when writing historical fiction. For example, you can overlay a map of modern Bath with one from 1818 here. That’s where I first noticed the city has a Bennet(t) Street! But nothing beats a visit, especially when a city retains much of its original character. In Bath, there are fewer naval officers and more tourists than in the 1800s, but you still half expect to meet Anne Elliot around the next corner. The day trip with mum took in the pump room

…and, of course, the Jane Austen Centre, where I hoped to pick up some writing tips from this lady (she remained strangely reticent, possibly considering my addressing her without introduction as an impertinent freedom):

I also met Mr Bennet himself, outside the centre. I didn’t have the courage to tell him I was writing his memoirs.

Bennet(t) Street passes the Bath Assembly Rooms. Of course, the Meryton Assembly Rooms play an important role in the Pride and Prejudice story, whose first part provides an ongoing backdrop for my book. In this excerpt from Cake and Courtship, Mr Bennet is determined to learn more about the art of courtship so that he might help his young friend. He listens to the family’s description of the Meryton Assembly with more than usual attention. I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Like shot birds, Mrs Bennet and the girls thumped down into sofas and chairs to sit motionless as they gathered strength for the traditional post-assembly review. Kitty announced their return to life with a giggle, no doubt remembering a touch of a gentleman’s hand on the dance floor. Then she and Lydia fetched cold meats, bread, and wine to provide stronger fare than the titbits of gossip now to be shared. The kitchen table, room bereft of cooks and servants, played host to this feast.

“Mary danced with Mr Toke,” whispered Lizzy as I tore off a lump of bread.

“I am sorry to have missed that spectacle,” I whispered back. “Toke dances like an overburdened merchant ship, unable to turn easily and always on the verge of capsizing. It is a most diverting sight. Still, Mary seems to have survived the ordeal well enough. You enjoyed the dance, Mary?” I said, raising my voice.

“It was tolerable, Papa.”

“You seem happy, Jane,” I noted. “Perhaps you have taken too much wine?”

Jane turned her face away. I could not see in the dim candlelight, but I was sure she blushed.

“Too much wine? Such nonsense,” said Mrs Bennet. She laid her hand on Jane’s arm. “Of course she is happy, for Mr Bingley would not leave her side all evening.”

Jane shook her head. “Not all evening, Mama.”

Her mother did not allow anything as trivial as the truth to contain her excitement. “Perhaps he did stand up with some other girls, but his eye was always on Jane. And well it might be, for the others were all very plain.”

“So tell me, how did you all divine Mr Bingley’s attachment? What did our friend do to inspire such a diagnosis? What makes him so worthy of admiration?” Curiosity crept across Lizzy’s face at my questions.

No satisfactory answer was to come, since Mrs Bennet and our two youngest took my words as a cue to rattle off a series of compliments on Mr Bingley’s cheekbones, chest, legs, and other favourable features. The girls regarded him as perfect, a declaration that revealed their lack of experience with men. Even Achilles had his heel, though I daresay Mrs Bennet would have forgiven him this blemish given the likely size of his olive plantations.

“He impresses with his conversation,” said Jane.

“At last,” I said. “An advantage not explained by his physique alone. And what passes for good conversation between young people these days?”

“He is—” began my wife.

“Attentive,” said Jane.

“He complimented me on my gown,” said Kitty.

“He is modest,” said Lizzy. “He has his pride, but only that which is due to him through his position and character. And he does not consider himself above others, whatever his station in life might encourage him to think. Unlike others.”

“Others?” I said.

“I was thinking of one of Mr Bingley’s companions—Mr Darcy.”

 

 

Want to know more about this book? You can visit the below blogs:

 

 

Mark Brownlow would like to offer either a paperback of Cake and Courtship or Viennese chocolates to a random commenter. The giveaway is international and you can leave your comment on this post until the 15th of March to be elegible for it. Don’t forget, any comment or idea is welcomed and these are Viennese chocolates we’re talking about (says the chocolate addict) 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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Mysterious Mr. Darcy Excerpt & Giveaway

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Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am welcoming for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton author Monica Fairview who brings an excerpt of Mysterious Mr. Darcy for your delight. This book is not yet for sale, but it began as a WIP called When Pride Prevails that Monica decided to publish this year.

I do hope you like this excerpt and if you are too eager to wait for the release date, you can start following this story at Austen Variations where the author has already 6 chapters published.

I would like to thank Monica for visiting, I hope this is the first of many visits to talk about your work !

 


 

Thank you, Rita, for this lovely opportunity to visit From Pemberley to Milton. I have enjoyed reading about various authors who have visited here, and it’s a pleasure to find myself among them. It’s a great opportunity to get to know some of your readers as well.

Mysterious Mr. Darcy is a bit of a departure for me. I generally write comedy, some of it rather outrageous, as is the case with my Steampunk Darcy, which is a futuristic novel about a descendant of the original Darcy, though they have a few things in common.  Usually I like to “make sport” of the characters, Jane Austen style, and I find it hard to take them too seriously. This variation, however, is (mostly) serious, with a Darcy who is troubled not only by his past but by the present. It has consequently been a very unexpected kind of novel for me, and I have found myself stumbling across unexpected situations around every corner.

One of the most challenging things about writing Mysterious Mr. Darcy – as is the case in many variations – was how to twist the original story to fit with the new premise. In a novel where Mr. Darcy plays second fiddle to Mr. Bingley, I often found myself falling back into familiar territory, then having to pull myself away as I realized that the story had to take a different direction. The fact that Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton incognito makes a huge difference to how he is perceived. It was fun to look at Darcy from this new perspective, even though the situation did actually make him profoundly uncomfortable.

For example, in this excerpt, it is Elizabeth who goes to Netherfield, not Jane, which makes the dynamics quite different.

 

 

When dinner was over, and it was time for Elizabeth to leave, she found herself at a loss. Without a way to return home in the dark and rain, as Mrs. Bennet had predicted, Miss Bingley was obliged to offer Elizabeth hospitality for the night.

Elizabeth, meanwhile, would much rather have gone home. Miss Bingley was more gracious as a hostess than as a guest, but Elizabeth had spent more time than she would have liked in her company. The friendship Miss Bingley had claimed existed between them had not blossomed during this period. The conversation had been lively at the beginning but became more strained as the dinner progressed. They all soon discovered they had very little in common and were forced to engage in small talk. Although they were still maintaining a civil conversation, the Bingley sisters seemed to be taking it in turns to yawn, and they were making no effort at all to conceal their boredom.

“Thank you, Miss Bingley,” said Elizabeth, responding to the offer of having a chamber made up for her, “but if I may, I would prefer to see if the gentlemen return early. If they do, I can use their carriage to go home.”

“We cannot predict when the gentlemen are coming back, Miss Bennet.” Mrs. Hurst jingled her bracelets and turned them round and round her wrist. “You know how it is with gentlemen and cards. They could be at it for hours. We had better have a room prepared, just in case.”

A half hour passed and the yawning increased. Elizabeth began to think it was a bad idea to adhere to her original plan. By now they had all fallen into silence, and since they had nothing more to say to each other, the Bingley sisters were seated at the piano, playing a duet half-heartedly.

Elizabeth was about to confess herself ready to retire when a carriage drew up.

“Ah, my brother is back!” Miss Bingley jumped to her feet, looking relieved.

A few minutes later, Mr. Bingley came running up the stairs and strode into the room.

“The butler told me you were here, Miss Bennet. What a delightful ending to the evening!”

As always, Elizabeth was charmed by his enthusiasm. “Thank you, Mr. Bingley. Unfortunately, I cannot linger. I was about to take my leave. I have been waiting for the carriage to take me home.”

“It’s pouring cats and dogs outside, Miss Bennet. You can’t consider going out at this time of the night, especially in this weather.”

Mr. Darcy entered the room at this point and bowed to Elizabeth.

“You are thinking of leaving, Miss Bennet?” He looked grave. “The weather is unpleasant. The wind has picked up. I would not advise going out. In fact, we returned early because of the inclement weather.”

That clinched the matter. It would be foolish to make a point of leaving. It would be bordering on rudeness and might imply that she could not endure her hosts’ company a moment longer. Besides, she had already suffered a soaking. She wasn’t eager to face the elements again, in a cold and rattling carriage buffeted by the wind.

“If you do not advise it, Mr. Darcy, then I will take your advice, along with Mr. Bingley’s.” She turned to her hostesses. “Thank you. I accept your invitation.”

“And you must plan to stay for dinner tomorrow as well,” said Mr. Bingley.

Lizzy did not know what to say. She did not enjoy the company of either Mr. Darcy or the Bingley sisters, but Mr. Bingley’s sunny smile won her over. It would be an opportunity to know him better and to see him in his own home. It might also help her to determine if his interest in her was serious.

“Thank you, Mr. Bingley. I will send a note to my parents in the morning to let them know I will be delayed.”

The blazing smile he gave her was more than enough reward.

 

 

Monica can be described as a wanderer, opening her eyes to life in London and travelling ever since. She spent many years in the USA before coming back full circle to London, thus proving that the world is undeniably round.

Monica adores the Regency period and Jane Austen’s wit. She writes funny Jane Austen sequels and variations but has finally decided to get serious about Elizabeth and Darcy. At the moment, she lives with two cats, a teenager, and her own Mr. Darcy. She enjoys singing out of tune in the shower, visiting historical mansions, and warm weather.

Visit Monica at

Amazon Page

Austen Variations

Facebook 

Twitter @Monica_Fairview

Website

Pinterest

 

 

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Monica will be visiting other blogs, so please stay tuned and check out the below sites for more information on Mysterious Mr. Darcy 🙂

19th February Diary of an Eccentric

21 February Cover Reveal Austen Variations 

22 February My Jane Austen Book Club 

1rst March From Pemberley to Milton

12th March Babblings of a Bookworm 

13th March Laura’s Reviews 

16th March Austenesque Reviews

31 March Calico Critic

 

 

Monica Fairview would like to offer 2 e-book copies and one paperback of  Mysterious Mr. Darcy to my readers. The e-book copies are available for everyone across the globe, however the paperback is only available for readers with either an US or UK mailing address.

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post until the 15th of March and give us your opinion on the excerpt. The winners will be randomly selected and announced shortly after. The book will be sent out to the winners as soon as it is released.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF

Author of the Month – Nicole Clarkston

 

Good Afternoon everyone,

We are reaching the end of the month and that means it is time for my author of the month post. In 2018 I created this new feature, which started with Joana Starnes as author of the month in January, and was very happy to see that you welcomed the initiative.  Your incentive gave me the inducement to keep going, so today I’m bringing you the author of the month for February.

This month I would like to give a shout out to Nicole Clarkston!

Nicole Clarskton caught my attention back in 2015 because she was the only author I knew who wrote both P&P and N&S variations. Nowadays there are more authors who are venturing into N&S variations but Nicole Clarkston continues to be the one I consider a true expert in both genres. I must say that as a reader I’m very demanding when reading a North and South fan fiction book, and sometimes North and South variations disappoint me, either because they are unable to keep me interested in the story, or because the characters are too different from what Gaskell presented us with. I have often seen less experienced authors make Mr. Thornton too similar to Mr. Darcy and I know it may be hard to differentiate both heroes when writing a romance, but knowing both characters very well is essential to pull it off. Nicole Clarkston masters this art of differentiating.

Even though she writes both genres, her deep knowledge of the stories and the characters is visible in her books and I have never felt someone was out of character in her stories, it always feels I’m visiting old friends whom I know quite well. Her Mr. Thornton is indeed Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale is not one bit like Elizabeth. I love that! I do love variations from both Pride and Prejudice and North and South, but I am expecting to find different characters (even if some traits may be similar) and that is what I find in Nicole Clarkston’s books. She shows a true understanding of each characters traits and past story, how they got where they are and what we expect from them in each new situation, this knowledge produces perfect books because she remains true to Austen and Gaskell’s characters and uses her creativity in her original new characters. This is a perfect as it gets in my opinion because it gives us the best of the two worlds: authenticity and creativity.

I cannot tell if I prefer her North and South or her Pride and Prejudice variations, in my opinion they are all equally good, and that is not something easy to achieve, particularly when one is writing the stories simultaneously as she usually does, so congrats Nicole!

Apart from being the only author who continues to consistently write both P&P and N&S variations, which by itself and considering the theme of my blog would be enough for me to give Nicole a shout, she writes stories with a perfect balance. In my perspective, she has the right quantity of everything, her books are perfectly balanced in terms of pacing and in terms of sweet romance vs. angst which always makes the reading experience very pleasant to me.

She has written variations, prequels, gone abroad to Spain and Portugal, created new characters, developed more than one love story in the same book… She keeps challenging herself and it is refreshing to see and read that, hence my shout out 🙂 Thank you for providing me with so many wonderful reading hours Nicole!

Below you can see the books that made me love Nicole Clarkston:

 

Rumours & Recklessness – A Pride & Prejudice Variation

My Review (coming soon)  Amazon.com

 

These Dreams – A Pride & Prejudice Variation

My Review Amazon.com

 

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – A Pride & Prejudice Prequel

My Review Amazon.com

 

No Such Thing as Luck – A North & South Variation

My Review Amazon.com

 

Northern Rain – A North & South Variation

My Review Amazon.com

 

But these books aren’t enough for me so I keep asking Nicole when will she release her next work, what is she working on etc. I affraid that she may get a little tired of all my insistence, but when I told her about this post she was happy to share some news with me and my readers, so if you’re curious about what she has been doing after the release of These Dreams, you can hear it directly from her 🙂

Below she explains what she has been working on and shares some exclusive excerpts 🙂


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I have always had a pattern of working on more than one book at a time, so I’m currently writing two. True to my pattern, one is a North & South, and the other is a Pride and Prejudice. The North & South book, still tentatively named Nowhere But North, began back in July of 2016, on the heels of the blog tour for Northern Rain. It started as a prequel/sequel, kicking off the very first scene with an uncomfortable marriage ceremony. The story moves forward but is enhanced by a series of flashbacks which contrast and flow with the main story line. This book got put on hold so I could finish These Dreams, and it is proving to be just as much of a monster as that story was. I hoped to have it finished by this month and ready for final edits, but I am afraid I have a couple more months ahead of me (sniff!) This scene is relatively early in the book, just as Margaret and John have begun to reconcile their feelings toward one another.

Exclusive Nowhere But North Excerpt

“Love, are you well?” John tugged at her hand as they moved to abandon the dining room. Hannah had already left them behind, and they had lingered for a few stolen moments in privacy before John returned to the mill for the afternoon.

Margaret hesitated, then turned back to him. The empty quality her eyes had taken on in the few seconds she had looked away fully terrified him. Grief was a fickle tormentor – raising its hideous aspect whenever it pleased, crushing any budding hopes of happiness beneath waves of guilt and remorse for aspiring to such. Well did he know the conflict which bound her within its grasp. Her entire future – their future – hung on what measure of courage and faith she possessed to face her sorrows. She had begun to confide in him, but it was not yet with the strong force of habit which could break through the darkest melancholy.

“Margaret?” he touched soft fingers to her cheek. “What is it?”

She lifted her shoulders and her mouth worked helplessly. “It is nothing of any consequence, John. You mustn’t be troubled… Dixon is to arrive this afternoon – I will be grateful to have her company. I shall be well.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Am I to understand, then, that you have not found my mother’s company very satisfying?”

She swallowed, and her gaze dropped to his waistcoat again.

“Margaret,” he touched her chin, and those clear eyes braved his once more. “I know how she can be. You frighten her, you know,” he murmured softly.

Astonishment swept over her face. “I, frighten her? How is that possible?”

“Because you are yourself – my strong Margaret,” he smiled, a little teasingly.

She shook her head, brushing off his words with a dismissive little laugh. “I feel that I am neither myself, nor strong of late, John.”

He pulled her close to press a loving kiss to her forehead. Had he perceived the unbearable frissons his breath sent through her hair and down her back, it is likely that he would not have returned to the mill at all that day. From him, at least, the gesture was one of innocent comfort. “You will grow strong again, Margaret,” he whispered. “It is your nature, and she knows it as well as I.”

She sniffed a little and turned her face into his shoulder. “I do not understand why that should trouble your mother. She could not respect me otherwise, could she?”

“No, but neither would she be threatened by you. She likes her own ways, and has been left untroubled by contradiction for too long. I never questioned her domestic arrangements, and in late years she has had every resource and influence her heart could desire. All of that has changed, for everything that was hers is now yours.”

“And I am undeserving! You need not say it, for I know that is how she feels. I never meant to displace her,” her mouth tugged ruefully, “either in her home or in your affections.”

“And you have not done so,” he insisted, tugging a little on her hips. “You have only brought to this home what has long been missing. It will take time for her to learn to trust in you as I do, Margaret.”

She drew a long breath and shone a grateful smile. “Perhaps I will sit with her this afternoon, instead of….” She halted.

“Instead of going to the kitchen to visit Bessie Higgins?” he guessed.

She blinked a few times, then her old boldness made a little gasp of reappearance. She lifted her chin. “I had intended to do so, yes. I regret if you are displeased.”

“Not in the least. I was about to offer to escort you, but of course if you desire to remain here with my mother….”

She studied him for a moment in puzzlement. “You would not feel it immodest of me, or a defiance of your authority, if I desire to pay social calls on one of the workers?”

“You would not be my Margaret if you did not defy me whenever the fancy strikes you!” he laughed. “I think I can withstand the shock – to be quite truthful, I have lately missed locking horns with you.”

“John!” she protested. “I beg you would not speak of me in such a vulgar way.”

“Vulgar! I suppose it was, but apt, nonetheless. What amusement would there be in a wife who did not keep me on my toes?”

She frowned, but it was more playful than chagrined. With a little hitch of her chin and a flash of her old hauteur, she surveyed him through lowered lids. “I ought to have expected you, of all people, to thrill in such a challenge. You have ever carried your way against those who wish to come against you.”

“Not always. I suspect you will have the better of me yet, but I plan to enjoy the battle. And, since we are speaking of differing opinions, there is one contrary old fellow who has been asking after you for days. What would you say to a brief tour of the mill before I walk you to the kitchen?”

Her eyes lit expressively, and it was the only answer he required. He leaned down to kiss her once more – a soft brush, a secret pledge of later delights. “I will wait for you to make yourself ready,” he whispered against her lips.

As she turned away, her steps once more sparkling with energy, he gazed after her with the admiration of one who has found his greatest treasure. She disappeared, and he tapped his finger pensively against the leg of his trousers. It was an opportune moment to visit with his mother, to salve her fears that he was lost to her, and to explain to her in detail that cryptic conversation with Henry Lennox.

He found her not in her sitting room as he had expected, but in a small little alcove of the stairwell, the window of which looked out to the mill beyond. “Mother?” he greeted her softly, when she did not seem to hear his approach.

She did not turn immediately, but when she did, he detected a redness about her eyes. Her thinned lips quivered, and her arms were crossed defensively. “How long have you known about Margaret’s brother?” she demanded in a fragile voice.

“She told me yesterday,” he confessed, tugging his fingers through his unruly hair in that way he had when he was troubled. “You may well have guessed that it was he who was walking out with Margaret at the station after Mrs Hale’s death.”

She turned her face back to the window, verifying his words with only a slight lift of her chin. “And what are these heinous charges she spoke of?”

“The Navy considers him a mutineer. Margaret tells me that his captain, a man named Reid, had gone mad – had antagonised and persecuted his men to the point of exhaustion and the limits of physical impossibility. The mutiny itself was instigated by the senseless death of a crew mate falling from the yard arm when he feared punishment by the captain. Frederick Hale is said to have restrained the men from hanging Reid there next. The captain and his officers were instead set on a boat, which was found some days later. They all survived, but the mutineers took the ship to South America, where most of them scattered in fear of their lives. Some of the poor devils were caught and hung regardless, and mad Captain Reid given his old command back.” He sighed in sympathetic exasperation. “I cannot condone the mutiny, but there seems little justice in the matter.”

Hannah had tilted her head back over her shoulder as he spoke, the infamy of it all registering as shock over her stark features. She did not answer when he had finished – instead, her eyes drifted slowly to the floor. Margaret had borne more than she, in her unawareness, had accounted for, and the harshness of her own assumptions chastened her most uncomfortably.

“Mr Lennox spoke of a cousin,” she at last ventured in a subdued voice.

“Yes. Margaret grew up with her in London. She married Lennox’s brother, a captain in the Army, just before the Hales moved to Milton. She has gone with her husband to Greece. They have a child by now, I understand, and are expected to return to London sometime later this year. When they do, Mrs Hale’s sister – a Mrs Shaw – will likely return as well. The last word Margaret had placed her in Paris.”

She rounded fully on him at last, the full weight of these tidings sinking in to her astonished thoughts. Margaret’s revealed family, the previously unknown opportunities she had forsworn, and the sudden devotion she had glimpsed in the young woman’s eyes for John – it all began to make sense to her. “She loves you,” she whispered.

The Pride and Prejudice book is still under pretty tight wraps. I’m not even publicly sharing the title yet because it would be too much of a spoiler. I will say that this plot idea had been jingling around in my head for almost 2  years, but I had other books lined up first and I wouldn’t let myself touch it. I had intended to be truly mean to my muse and make myself finish the North & South book first, but the Muse threw a crying temper tantrum over that edict. After the heavy, angsty These Dreams and the dark, personally challenging scenes I was coming back to when I picked up Nowhere But North again, it was a breath of fresh air to play with something that was just for fun. All I will share so far is that the book is unrepentantly lighthearted and irreverent, and will be chock full of page time for ODC. I’m hoping to have it finished by late spring, possibly even scheduling a simultaneous release with NBN.

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Colonel Fitzwilliam was, indeed, at his flat. He was in the habit of rising early from his long days in the army, and even when off duty, he could scarcely remain abed after seven of the clock. He was already up and enjoying a cup of coffee—no tea for him in the mornings—when his batman informed him that he had a visitor.

“So early! Perhaps a friend ran aground at the gambling tables last night, eh? Well, show him in, Jenkins, show him in.”

“Colonel, it is Lady Catherine de Bourgh who wishes to speak with you.”

Fitzwilliam nearly spit his coffee. He managed to salvage his dignity in that regard, but could not avoid spilling a few drops as he set it on the saucer. “My aunt! What in blazes could she want? Nevermind, Jenkins, of course, you could not formulate the answer to that. That would imply reason on my aunt’s part, and I suffer under no illusions that she has submitted to such an authority. Well, show her in, and I shall make myself presentable.”

He stood, inspecting his coat to be certain that no crumbs besmirched it. Lady Catherine descended upon the apartment like a thunderstorm, cracking and pouring down the force of her displeasure. What he had done to merit this personal call at his humble abode, he could not say, but like enough, it had something to do with Darcy.

He was right.

“Fitzwilliam, where are you keeping him?” she demanded at once.

“Him… forgive me, Aunt, but I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Good morning to you as well, by the by. There is no one here, save Jenkins and myself. And my housekeeper, of course, but….”

“Fitzwilliam Darcy! He has come here, has he not?”

“Darcy? I beg your pardon, Aunt, but I last saw Darcy a fortnight ago. I have only just gone on a short leave, do you see, but I intended to call upon him this morning.”

She stalked nearer. “Do not play coy with me, Richard Fitzwilliam. What has he arranged? I must know all his plans.”

“I would certainly reveal what I knew, Aunt, but Darcy is not here, nor have I had word from him. Perhaps he is paying a call on some friend or other.”

“You and I both know that Darcy never pays social calls at such an hour, and apart from yourself, there is only that tradesman whom he might have gone to for an informal visitation.”

“Bingley? He is not in Town at present. Have you truly not seen Darcy since last night?”

She drew herself up. “Of course I have, and that is the subject of my desired conversation with him.” Lady Catherine seemed to pause. “You will swear that he did not come here… perhaps this morning?”

“Unless I was still abed, Aunt, which is unlikely. May I ask, why the urgency? If I am not mistaken, you are his guest at present, and he will only naturally return to the house when his errands are complete. Has something happened?”

She pursed her lips. “Indeed, something has happened. He has ruined my daughter. Compromised her, beyond hope of recovery, and practically before my very eyes!”

“No! I cannot believe this, Aunt. Darcy would never… and Anne! I find it difficult to credit, Aunt.”

“She was in his bed this morning,” asserted the lady. “I would have him found at once so that the settlement can be drawn up and the wedding might be arranged. As you cannot testify to his whereabouts,” here, she smiled faintly, “I shall speak with him once he has returned to the house. I shall depend upon your support to ensure he behaves the gentleman toward his cousin hereafter. I shall call next upon the earl to discuss the matter with him. Good day, Fitzwilliam.”

Colonel Fitzwilliam stood aghast as his aunt departed in a sweep of black and an irregular tapping of her cane—a means of expression, rather than a necessity for mobility.

Darcy and Anne! If his aunt had not sworn to it, he could never have believed it. Darcy could have any woman he wanted, as a wife or even a mistress, but Anne? Apart from a sickly, unappealing person, there was the matter of her mother. No man in his senses would touch her, least of all Darcy! The man must have been desperate… or intoxicated. After seven and twenty years of celibacy—as far as he knew—perhaps it was a little of both. Besides, any man would be driven to drink with their Aunt Catherine as a guest.

Fitzwilliam shook his head and sighed. Well, Darcy could step into the hornet’s nest if he wished. He wanted no part of it for himself.


 

 

What did you think about Nicole’s news and excerpts? After reading these I’m really eager to get her new novels on my hands. I confess I’m more excited about Nowhere But North but that is only because I’ve known about the plot for quite some time and I find it fascinating! Also, there aren’t as many North and South books out there, so I’m craving for a new one 🙂

Until Nowhere but North comes out, I would like to offer to one of my readers the opportunity to read one of the best North and South variations I have ever read: No Such Thing as Luck.

I’m offering an ebook copy to an international reader and all you have to do to participate is to leave a comment on his post. If you share this post on any social media you’ll get another entry to the giveaway, but please let me know in the comments that you have done so.

The giveaway is open until the 9th of March and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under Author of the month, JAFF, Nicole Clarkston, North and South, Pride and Prejudice