Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

The Journey

I have to start this review by saying that The Journey is absolutely perfect! There isn’t one single aspect I disliked in this book, in fact my feelings are quite the opposite as I loved pretty much everything in it. If I could give it a 10 star rating I would, but as that is off the scale, let me say this is a solid 5 star book that will keep readers entertained for an entire day.

The beginning of The Journey is worthy of an Hollywood production. The first page is so exciting that it made me want to read more of the book, and as I continued reading it, I could not stop because the more I read the more I wanted to read. This book is probably one of the biggest page turners I have ever read in my life, I’ve read it twice and the need to continue reading non-stop did not abade the second time.

In this story, right after the Netherfield Ball, Elizabeth begins a journey to visit her relations in London in Mr. Bingley’s carriage with his sisters and Mr. Darcy, when they encounter  a band of highwaymen who threaten to abduct Elizabeth for their own amusement. Mr. Darcy immediately steps forward and offers himself as a hostage in her place, but when this is ineffective, he proclaims she is his wife in order to protect her. The highwaymen then decide to abduct them both to request a ransom, and this is how the most exciting and passionate journey begins.

Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to spend a lot of time together while confined in the room they are being held and there they learn more about each other and their own feelings, but that is not the entire story. The book will go beyond their abduction, and once they are back in society, they will be faced with very difficult choices that will keep the story as exciting as it was until this moment.

The dialogues in this book are witty and interesting and Mr. Darcy assumes the role of a protector than can only be described as the sexiest thing possible. He is the perfect gentleman in this book, but he is not perfect and by respecting his imperfections, Jan Hahn has mastered the art of creating the perfect Darcy. Plus, he is faced with jealousy in this book which is always a plus in a JAFF novel for me.

With this premise it comes as no surprise that Darcy and Elizabeth have many interactions with one another and that it allows them to slowly fall in love with one another, but the art in this book is that we are not just told by the author they love each other, we can see and feel it happening in the pages we are turning as if the pages themselves were pouring feelings.

I could feel my heart break into a million pieces at a certain point in the book and until this moment I cannot explain how it is possible for an author to convey so many emotions, and so intense, as the ones Jan Hahn created with mere words. I don’t know how a scene could be more perfect than the one that made me feel this way, and I have to congratulate Ms. Hahn on her mastery.

I love the connection Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth establish in this book and the fact that Darcy discovers about Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Collins proposal very early in the story. I always love books where that happens because I think it is crucial for Darcy to better understand Elizabeth and to speed up his admiration for her, also it could be the trigger for him to realize he could lose her to someone else, so adding this detail to the story made me love it even more.

The entire book is told from Elizabeth’s perspective but in the end we can see Darcy remembering what he felt or thought during the journey which was a sweet gift the author offered us.

The book is filled with angst, but after the turbulence Jan Hahn takes the time to show readers how blissful Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives can be. Nothing is rushed or out of place in Jan Hahn’s books and this is no exception. After a very angsty story, with many Darcy/Elizabeth moments, we are gifted with their happy reunion and can enjoy it for several chapters before it ends. We also get to know what happened to all the other characters in the book, which gives us some contentment when reading the last phrase.

I could not recommend this book enough for any reader looking for an exciting, romantic and passionate tale.

 

You can find The Journey at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

Advertisements

18 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Favorites, Pride and Prejudice

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 🙂


~~~

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!

38 Comments

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

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity Review & Giveaway

I didn’t know the plot of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity but from the moment I read its first page I knew I would love it. It turns out this book had all the ingredients I require to be completely immersed in the story: Darcy and Elizabeth love each other but can’t be together which creates the most delicious angst possible, their interactions are romantic and intense but bear that little taste of angst that I can’t resist, their feelings and belief in each other are stout, the secondary characters pull me into the story, the writing is incredibly good and the characters have several layers that make them real and believable.

I could go on, but maybe I should tell you a little of the story first. In this book Darcy and Elizabeth get engaged when they meet at Pemberley, but when Jane’s letters arrive announcing Lydia ran off with Wickham, Mr. Darcy isn’t there and not only Elizabeth doesn’t tell him what happen, but breaks off the engagement. The reasons behind this decision are not immediately disclosed and I loved the fact that when we do learn about them, they are not obvious.

The book starts at Netherfield, a year after these events take place and where the happily married Jane and Bingley receive several distinguished guests at their home with some matchmaking plans. Two of the guests are Darcy and Elizabeth who had not seen or heard of each other since the broken engagement. From this moment on the reader will go on an emotional  roller coaster ride that will not stop until the very last pages.

As much as I loved Darcy and Elizabeth in this book there were times when I really wanted to kill the Colonel, spank Georgiana or cheer for Anne de Bourgh which reveals how engaged I was in this story. In fact, the characters are a big part of why I loved this book so much. After reading a couple of books with superficial characters who are merely a caricature of what Austen created, it was refreshing to read something with a true character depth that makes me think and analyse the human behaviour.

I may have been influenced by my personal experience with the loss of my own father, but I felt Elizabeth’s internal struggles very real and with a depth I was not expecting to find.

Apart from the characters, I enjoyed Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship which is not only based on an incredible stout love but on trust and friendship making the story even more powerful, and even if the angst was at times almost unbearable, the Darcy/Elizabeth moments are definitely worth it.

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity is gripping, character driven, intense and will for sure be on my 2018 favourites list. There were so many quotes I wanted to take from this book that at a certain point I had to stop doing it or I would not progress in the story.

This book is a page turner that I could not stop reading until the very end when Amy D’Orazzio surprised me once more with a very shocking disclosure. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy angsty story and are not afraid to wait for the HEA.

You can find A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity for sale or on Kindle Unlimited at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

.

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Amy D’Orazio’s Facebook Page

Amy D’Orazio at Meryton Press

Amy D’Orazio Goodreads Author Page

Twitter:  @AllAbtAusten

 

The blog tour is just beginning, so please do not forget to check the other stops and learn more  about this wonderful book:

.

February 21 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

February 22 From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

February 23 Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & Giveaway

February 24 My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

February 25 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

February 26 Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

February 27 Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

February 28 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 1 So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

March 3 Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview

March 4 Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

March 5 Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 6 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

 

8 eBooks of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers.

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 and are valid until midnight ET on March 8, 2018.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and announced shortly after the deadline.

To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!

83 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Her Unforgettable Laugh

 

 

Her Unforgettable Laugh starts several years before P&P’s story with Mr. Wickham trying to abduct Georgiana. During this attempt, she is saved by Elizabeth but because while doing so she behaved in an unladylike manner, Elizabeth is rapidly taken away by her aunt and all Mr. Darcy can grasp from her is her laugh.

The story then resumes the events we see in P&P starting at the Meryton Assembly, instead of saying Elizabeth is not tolerable enough to tempt him,  Mr. Darcy hears her laugh and invites her to dance with him in an attempt to ascertain if she is the lady who saved Georgiana all those years ago. As you can imagine, this will change the entire story, and their relationship will not go through such a bumpy road.

Some of the characters have interesting changes in this book, we see a side of Mr. Hurst I had never seen before and it was very refreshing to see such a portrayal. Miss Bingley on the other hand is a conniving and evil character, to the point that everyone knows what she is planning all the time, and Wickham is very malicious person. Mrs. Bennet is also an exaggerated mean and obnoxious character and unlike Wickham’s character, I didn’t like her at all.

Darcy is not so proud as we are used to and accepts his feelings for Elizabeth almost immediately, so there aren’t many obstacles to Elizabeth and Darcy’s love, which made the story a little too slow paced for me. However, readers who love a smoother love story without much angst or obstacles will absolutely love this book.

It is a sweet, uncomplicated story where the conflict doesn’t come from Darcy and Elizabeth’s feelings and attitudes but from the villain’s actions, namely Wickham and Caroline’s. I usually prefer books where the conflict comes from their feelings, so I would say this book is more directed to readers who prefer external obstacles.

If you like books where ODC join forces to fight against external obstacles while having sweet and tender moments between them, then this book is perfect for you.

You can find Her Unforgettable Laugh at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

8 Comments

Filed under JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Meryton Mystery series on sale!

 

Hello everyone,

 

Today I am the bearer of good news! Jennifer Joy will once more present her readers with an incredible promotion on the Meryton Mystery series.

As you know this series has 3 titles: The Honorable Mr. Darcy, The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth and The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and the first two volumes will be on promotion from today until next Sunday!

The Honorable Mr. Darcy will be FREE and The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth will be 99c!!!

If you don’t want to miss this opportunity, grab your copy on the following sites:

 

The Honorable Mr. Darcy

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

And of course, once you read the first two books you’ll want to read the third and final book of the series, so you can find The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy on the same places at regular price (4,99$): Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca.

I think Jennifer Joy is now becoming the mystery queen in the JAFF community so lets hear what captivates her about this sub-genre…

 

Jane Austen and mysteries … Why did you decide to mix the two?

It all comes back to what I love to read. I rarely read books twice, but I’ve made exceptions where my two favorite authors — Jane Austen and Agatha Christie — are concerned! Theirs are the stories I return to time and again. So, I thought, why not blend the genres and show Darcy and Lizzy falling in love while they solve a mystery?

 

A mystery? Last I counted, there are three in this series. What happened?!

Haha! Meryton seemed like such a peaceful place before the murders began.

Far be it from me to rush ODC to the altar when their courtship is fraught with so much danger and intrigue! The Honorable Mr. Darcy was planned as a standalone novel, but by the time I got to the end, it was clear that Darcy and Lizzy had a lot more story to tell … and Meryton had many more secrets to reveal yet.

 

Do you plan any more books in this series?

I have the next two books planned out, just waiting for their turn to be written.  But first, I have a murderer to catch at Rosings… I won’t give anything else away because this standalone mystery/romance should be available to read next month.

 

Can’t wait until next month to hear more about the new book! Thanks for visiting today Jennifer, and for such a great promotion! I’m sure readers appreciate it too 🙂

If you’re into romance and mysteries and you want a good story to read this weekend, don’t miss this opportunity 🙂

10 Comments

Filed under Free, JAFF, jane austen, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Promotion

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku (1,037 Syllables!) – An interview with James W. Gaynor

 

Hello dear readers,

Today I’m welcoming for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton author James W. Gaynor to talk about his recently released book, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku (1,037 Syllables!).

I didn’t know James W. Gaynor or the book before he contacted me, but the more I read about his career and his book, the more I wanted to talk to him and share all I was discovering with you. I was very interested in Haiku and delighted to see how it could be used on an Austen novel, but I will let you read all about it from James own words on the below interview.

I hope you find it interesting and that you are as captivated by Haiku as I was. This is certainly a new take on Jane Austen’s work and I’m glad to receive such a creative author in my blog. Thank you very much for visiting Jim!

 

 

22708679_1765594090410065_2311747579928379392_n(1)James W. Gaynor, author of Everything Becomes a Poem (Nemeton Press), is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he lived for years in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th century France, and worked as a translator.

After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes Publications. His articles, book reviews, poems and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, OTVmagazine.com, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine.

As #HaikuJim, Gaynor publishes a daily haiku drawn from current newspaper headlines and is the creator of Can You Haiku? — a corporate communications workshop based on using 17th-Century Japanese poetry techniques to improve effective use of today’s digital platforms. Gaynor recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for Ernst & Young LLP.

A silver medalist in the 1994 Gay Games (Racewalking), Gaynor’s found-object sculpture has been exhibited internationally. He is a member of the Advisory Board of New York’s The Creative Center at University Settlement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people with cancer and chronic illnesses. (http://www.thecreativecenter.org/tcc/

Gaynor lives in New York City with his canine companion, Emily Dickinson Gaynor, and the cat who oversees their entwined lives, Gerard Manley Hopkins Gaynor.

jameswgaynor.com

 

 

 

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you James, it is a real pleasure. I always like to know when authors discovered Jane Austen and how that happened. When was it for you?

I first read Jane Austen (P&P) when I was in high school (1965). Both my parents were Austen fans and by the time I started reading the novel, I had heard “It is a truth universally acknowledged …” quoted enough times to get the sense that I was in for something important.

Moses reading

Gaynor reading to his grandson

That is quite interesting, I hope to one day impact my children the same way your parents did. So what caught your attention in her writing when you ventured into it?

I was too young to fully understand her message(s) in P&P when I first read it, but I did get that marriage and money were linked in ways that didn’t always have to do with romantic love. I also got the sense that she was warning me, somehow. Something I understood and appreciated much later in life.

 

It’s curious that you mention Pride and Prejudice  as that is many people’s favourite novel, is it yours as well?

P&P is tied with Mansfield Park for me. While Fanny and Edmund are not the most exciting of Austen’s leading characters, I was immediately fascinated by the fact the peace and order of Mansfield Park itself was supported by its darker reflection, Sir Thomas’s sugar plantation in Antigua. I didn’t read MP until I was much older and was stunned by that content (when Fanny questions Edmund about slavery).

From what I understand you’ve chosen one of your favourite Austen books and mixed it with Haiku, but I confess I’ve never heard about it before; can you tell us what is Haiku and how did you discover it?

Haiku are short, Japanese poems, which, in the English tradition, consist of three lines (5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables). There is something wonderful and powerful in the format. Children study them in grammar school here and adults always seem to respond to learning how to write them.

So, how did I start?  Well, in the early 80s, I experienced a somewhat predictable, spiritually deracinated-Westerner, child-of-the- 60s fascination with Zen Buddhism. I even flirted with the idea of becoming a monk. In that process, I also studied haiku, ikebana (flower arranging), and kendo (a martial art).

One of the things I came to love about entering the austere and beautiful world that embraces both Zen monks and their militaristic Samurai counterparts is that, yes, you’re supposed to be able to slice your opponent into 53 thin pieces with grace and a minimum of blood. But you should also be able to arrange flowers and write poetry. In the Yin and Yang of life, everybody is both an artist and a warrior. It’s up to you to create a coherent whole of your many dimensions.

I now mediate infrequently and in a chair.But for the past 30 years, I have maintained a daily habit of writing a haiku based on the content of both a sentence and the article in which it appears in the New York Times. — only I now give the classic syllabic pattern of 5 / 7 / 5 a slant tailored to my secular careers as a journalist, corporate communications dude, and poet. In fact, as #HaikuJim, I have a daily haiku that I post on my blog (jameswgaynor.com), and I write contemporary haiku commentary (usually humourous) for OTVmagazine.com.  I also teach a haiku workshop for corporate communicators called “Can You Haiku?”

 

And how can it be applied to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?

This book came out of my conviction that famous first and last lines of well-known novels are, in fact, short poems that we don’t recognize as such — and, as such, are not unlike haiku. In my work as a poet, I started a series of poems based on famous first and last lines in classic novels, and they’ve been well received. One of my poems “Dorothea Restructured” (based on the last line of Eliot’s Middlemarch) has had an active cyberlife and has appeared in several publications, including my own book, Everything Becomes a Poem (Nemeton Press).

When, inevitably, I turned my eye to Austen, I realized that the first line’s fame has, in a way, cast a shadow over all the other chapter first lines — and then I got curious about seeing what Austen was up to in the rest of her novel.

So, I created a summarizing word-image haiku of each of the novel’s chapters. I based this approach on my fascination with Austen’s mastery of the opening line, which she demonstrates in the first sentence of each of the 61 chapters, not only in the dazzling beginning of Chapter 1. And in the Notes section I’ve provided a more detailed analysis of the book’s action, based on the criteria established by answering the haiku’s What / Where / When questions.

 

What can readers expect from Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku?

It’s my hope that readers will find themselves smiling knowingly from time to time as they travel in this redesigned Japanese vehicle across Austen’s familiar English landscape — and that they will forgive my star-struck attempt at what is essentially one long love-letter-poem written to the extraordinary woman who still speaks to us in such modern ways.

 

I know you have lectured at Fordham University on how a poetic / haiku approach to the first lines of Pride and Prejudice can help readers to discover unexpected insights. Can you explain that to my readers as well? And what was the feedback from the audience?

I spoke at Fordham on how this approach can help readers to discover unexpected insights — and in so doing, provide an alternative to the wet-shirt Firth-Darcy version of P&P that has, in my opinion, unfairly dominated popular understanding of Austen’s clear, sardonic tone. And the students were excited about looking at the novel’s structure and action from a different perspective.

After the lecture, one young woman told me the Jane Austen we discussed was exactly the voice she needed guiding her love life — which confirms for me that, 200 years after her death, Austen continues to exert her subtle influence.


Do you have plans to apply Haiku to any other Jane Austen novel?

I’m not sure yet. I like the idea of tackling classics that wide audiences are familiar with, and opening up a door to different interpretations. I think the next book might be either The Iliad & The Odyssey or even the Bible. But, first things first.  I’ll have to see what the reaction to this book is.

But whatever the reaction, I’m deeply grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my book with you and your readers. Thank you!

 

Thank you so much for visiting today Jim, it was a true pleasure talking to you 🙂

 

You can all find Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku (1,037 Syllables!) at:

Amazon.com

 

 

James W. Gaynor would like to offer one paperback copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61 Haiku (1,037 Syllables!) to one of my readers. The giveaway is international and all you have to do is comment on this post until the 17th of November. Let us know what you thought about this original idea, if you have ever heard about Haiku before, or place your own questions to the author. I’m sure he will be happy to chat with you.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on this blog shortly after the 17th. If you don’t want to miss the announcement, please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an email with this information as soon as it goes live.

Good Luck everyone!

P&P COVER

 

 

26 Comments

Filed under interview, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Haunting Mr. Darcy

In New Year’s eve, after returning from Netherfield to London, Mr. Darcy realises he is completely bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet. He starts comparing all other woman to her and in an attempt to forget her, he wishes to find a woman who meets all his standards of the perfect Mrs. Darcy and to see Elizabeth Bennet one last time.

At the same time, when returning from an Assembly in Meryton, Elizabeth wishes Mr. Darcy may wish something he will never have. A few minutes later, the carriage transporting Elizabeth and Jane Bennet has an accident and Elizabeth is left inconscient.

She wakes up in a beautiful library some time later and believes she is dreaming… until she sees Mr. Darcy. Then her worse nightmare happens and she realises she is in a spirit like manner and attached to none other than Mr. Darcy. On the other hand, he believes he is becoming crazy by seeing and hearing Elizabeth when no one else is able to. After some time and some disagreements, they agree they are neither crazy nor dreaming, but living something very real.

Elizabeth’s spirit is indeed bound to Mr. Darcy and he is the only one able to see or talk to her, but her body remains inconscient in Longbourn and we start wondering if she will ever get her soul and body together in one piece.

In this book Elizabeth is impertinent and witty just as she should be. No more and no less! Karalynne Mackrory did a wonderful job with her character, but she also designed a perfectly proud but charming Mr. Darcy. They are perfect and I fell in love with these characters as much as I fell for Jane Austen’s

I’ve read this book 3 times by now and I’m sure I will read it many more. It is one of the best JAFF books I’ve ever read, in fact, it made of my all time favourites list published a couple of months ago. I love it this much because it has a perfect balance of romance, tension, flirting and angst. Throughout the book we see Elizabeth getting to know Darcy in his intimacy and gradually falling in love with him, just as we see Darcy realising how Elizabeth’s wit, intelligence, good humour, compassion and good sense make her the perfect match for him. While this is happening we also see their failures exposed and their hurt feelings towards one another, we see their perfect reactions and we cannot avoid connecting to them

I’m convinced this book is a masterpiece and I have to congratulate both the writer and the editor for it. Books like this make me want to read non-stop 24/7. The author captures Elizabeth and Darcy’s feelings and expressions so intensely that his declaration of love literally took my breath away. The entire scene was pure perfection and I could clearly picture every single moment in my head.

The way these two characters connect is beautiful, and in this book the author creates the necessary scenes for them to feel angst, anger, disappointment, love and hope. By doing so, she didn’t need to explain the characters feelings in a cold, descriptive manner because we know exactly what they were feeling considering we are feeling it in our hearts as well.

Haunting Mr. Darcy is a rollercoaster of emotions. In one minute we are reading the most romantic scene we could imagine and before we know it we are dreading what may happen and suffering the characters sorrows in the most acute way. The easiness with which the author engages our emotions makes us completely glued to it, and readers will only be able to let go of this book once they reach the end, and some of them like myself, will not even be able to let go by then as the need to re-read it will definitely overcome them.

I found myself not wanting this book to end but at the same time I could not stop reading it until it was over. It is a MUST read JAFF book.

You can find Haunting Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

14 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Favorites, Pride and Prejudice

A Most Handsome Gentleman Review & Giveaway

After the angsty variation Letter From Ramsgate, Suzan Lauder decided to venture into comedy and developed an unthinkable premise based on Mr. Collins character. She didn’t go so far as to make him witty and interesting, but she made him A Most Handsome Gentleman, or as everyone keeps saying in the social media #HOT Collins.

The changes in his appearance, along with his own foolish character, were sufficient to change the behaviour of many P&P characters towards him, which created the funniest dialogues and situations you can think of. Can you imagine the impact of a good-looking man coming to Longbourn in search of a wife?

I confess I was impressed with Mr. Collins because I can imagine some situations that would render Mrs. Bennet speechless but none that would have the same effect on Lydia, and that my friends, was Mr. Collins greatest achievement in this book! Well…maybe not the greatest. His impact on Lady Catherine’s behaviour was both unexpected and hilarious, so the first place in the podium may go to that feat.

Both scenes made me laugh really hard, but they were not the only ones. The verbal discussions between Mr. Collins and Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins comments on Elizabeth’s skinny appearance, his attraction to Charlotte and the scenes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth see on the fields behind Longbourn are amongst my favourite moments in this book, but it’s hard to highlight only some scenes because the entire book is incredibly funny. I could not put it down!

I also enjoyed the fact that despite all the craziness that involved Mr. Collins’ presence in Meryton, Elizabeth remained true to herself and was not easily taken by her cousin’s good looks. He may be good-looking, but he’s still a fool, and if I may say, an even more annoying one, so I was really glad that to see that Suzan Lauder didn’t include Elizabeth in the group of ladies who would faint at the sight of Mr. Collins.

I had a great time reading A Most Handsome Gentleman and could not recommend it enough for those who want to relax and enjoy a good comedy. It is a highly entertaining book that will make readers laugh out loud from the first page until the last.

Suzan Lauder took a risk by venturing into this new subgenre but she nailed it! Congratulations!

 

You can find A Most Handsome Gentleman at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman is the fourth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet, a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, and the dramatic tension filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate.

She and Mr. Suze split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzan.lauder.merytonpress.com, on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder, and on Twitter @suzanlauder.


Contact Info:

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page    

Pinterest

 

 

10/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Character Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/21   My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/22   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

10/23   Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

10/24   Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

10/25   Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/26   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway

10/27   Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway

10/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

10/29   My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/30   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

10/31   Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Giveaway

11/01   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

11/02   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

11/03   Margie’s Must Reads; Review, GA

 

 

Suzan is offering 8 ebook copies of A Most Handsome Gentleman on this blog tour.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!

 

45 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, giveaway, JAFF, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Teaching Eliza – Guest Post on Regional Accents & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today I’m sharing the stage with debut author Riana Everly, someone I loved chatting to in the last couple of weeks and whom I will love to get to know better in the future.

She has just published Teaching Eliza, a mash up of Pride and Prejudice and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and while discussing her book a few weeks ago, we realized how much we both loved regional accents. One thing led to the other, and she ended up writing a very interesting and original guest post explaining the different accents in the United Kingdom. She even added some information and a video for my friends who love North and South and I hope you like to re-watch the scene she chose as much as I did! (and yes, she was the one chosing it, the subtitles are just a curious coincidence).

It would also make me happy to know that we are sharing something new with you, that you enjoy knowing more about all these accents and that you get interested in perusing the novel.

But I will leave you to it, have fun!

 

 

A tale of love, manners, and the quest for perfect vowels.

From a new voice in historical romance comes this sparkling tale, wherein the elegance of Pride and Prejudice and the wit of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion collide. The results are clever, funny, and often quite unexpected….

Professor Fitzwilliam Darcy, expert in phonetics and linguistics, wishes for nothing more than to spend some time in peace at his friend’s country estate, far from the parade of young ladies wishing for his hand, and further still from his aunt’s schemes to have him marry his cousin. How annoying it is when a young lady from the neighbourhood, with her atrocious Hertfordshire accent and country manners, comes seeking his help to learn how to behave and speak as do the finest ladies of high society.

Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the professor since overhearing his flippant comments about her provincial accent, but recognizes in him her one opportunity to survive a prospective season in London. Despite her ill feelings for the man, she asks him to take her on as a student, but is unprepared for the price he demands in exchange.

“With her clever mash-up of two classics, Riana Everly has fashioned a fresh, creative storyline with an inventive take on our favorite characters, delightful dialogue and laugh out loud humor. Teaching Eliza is certain to become a reader favorite. It’s a must read!” – Sophia Meredith (author of the acclaimed On Oakham Mount and Miss Darcy’s Companion)

Teaching Eliza is a full-length novel of about 110,000 words.

 

.

You can find Teaching Eliza at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

.

 

“It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.”
George Bernard Shaw, Preface to Pygmalion

The linguistic landscape of England is distinguished by different accents that identify not only region of origin, but also social class. This is the crux upon which Shaw’s play Pygmalion – and consequently my new novel Teaching Eliza – is based. Henry Higgins, the male lead in Shaw’s play, is a professor of linguistics who claims to be able to identify a person’s place of birth to within a few miles, or a few blocks in London. He attributes his skill to the science of phonetics, or the study of spoken sound. He also claims to be able to teach anybody to speak like the highest-born of society, which is where Eliza Doolittle comes into the picture. She wants to learn to talk like a lady in a flower shop, and Higgins decided to teach her!

 

 

I must admit to a fascination with accent and dialect. Having moved to Canada as a child, I was always very aware that I spoke differently than my new friends and classmates. Sometimes I was teased for this, sometimes I was admired. (“You have such a pretty accent!” goes a long way to ingratiating yourself with me. Offerings of coffee and chocolate also work.) But it is something I have always been conscious of.

Chatting with the charming Rita about this blog post, we discovered a common interest in language and accent, and I thought it would make a fun topic to look at for a moment. In my story, Teaching Eliza, Elizabeth Bennet discovers that she is marked by her Hertfordshire accent, and seeks the help of an expert to learn to sound like the ladies of Town. That expert, conveniently, is Professor Darcy, who has all of Higgins’ skills and expertise, and equally all of his arrogance!

But what are the differences in accent? Some are easy to hear and describe, others are more subtle. There are far too many local accents to talk about in one short blog post, but here are a very few examples of what you might find in different parts of the country. Of course this is far from complete, and within each region, there will be further differences that might not include some of the characteristics I mention. Still, for a linguist wanna-be like me, it’s fascinating stuff.

 

Yorkshire

This is one of the more distinctive regional accents. Mr. Bingley worked hard to rid himself of his accent, but in truth, I find this a lovely and lyrical accent.

Some identifying characteristics include the following:

  • short ‘u’ sound in ‘cup’ is pronounced more like the vowel in ‘book’ or ‘put’;
  • short and rather pretty ‘a’ differs very little between words like ‘cat’ and ‘glass’;
  • long ‘a’ that is a monophthong (not blending with an ‘i’ or ‘y’ sound at the end, so ‘take’ sounds somewhat like ‘tek’;
  • ‘ng’ often becomes ‘n’, so giving sounds like ‘givin’;
  • in some areas, the vowel in ‘heard’ or ‘nurse’ is the same as the vowel in ‘dare’, but the ‘r’ is rarely pronounced;
  • a unique and rich local vocabulary, some words dating back to Saxon and Viking days. How fun is that!

 

West Country

The West Country accent is influenced by the proximity of the region to Wales, and it carries some echos of Welsh. It is distinguished by the even rhythm of speech and the retention of the ‘r’ sound after vowels. In the 2009 miniseries Emma, Mrs. Elton speaks with a West Country accent.

Some identifying characteristics include:

  • rhotic vowels. This is fancy talk for “pronouncing the ‘r’ sound after vowels in words like ‘carpet’;” most other English accents lost this historic sound, but it continues in North American and Irish accents;
  • the ‘a’ in words like bath, grass and path is flatter and more forward than in the London accents;
  • frequent metathesis where there is an ‘r’ before a vowel. So ‘great’ becomes ‘gurt,’ and ‘children’ becomes ‘chillurn’;
  • the continued use in some areas of the second person singular pronoun ‘thee’ and ‘thou,’ as well as the use of the verb ‘bist’ in place of ‘are.’

 

The London area, including the Estuary

This is the accent heard in the south-east of England, especially along the Thames estuary and the area around London. It shares many features with both the Cockney and RP accents (more on RP in a moment). Lizzy Bennet would have spoken a version of this in her village of Meryton, for Hertfordshire is not so very far from London. I have imagined Meryton in the western part of Hertfordshire, where there would be some influences of the Buckinghamshire accent. This accent would not have been very different from what was heard in London, but this is where class differences come into play, for the higher classes would have spoken with Received Pronunciation, and would have been horrified to be confused with a mere provincial tradesman or farmer!

 

Some identifying characteristics:

  • a definite distinction between the ‘a’ sounds in ‘trap’ and ‘bath’. This is known as the trap-bath split and it characterizes many southern English accents;
  • the use of a glottal stop to replace a ‘t’ at the end of syllables, such as ‘foot’ or ‘what’;
  • the replacement of a final dark ‘l’ sound (like at the end of ‘ball’) with something that’s almost a ‘w’;
  • intrusive ‘r’, which joins words ending with a vowel, so ‘India and China’ sounds like ‘India-r-and China’, and ‘Law and Order’ sounds ‘Law-r-and Order’.

 

Received Pronunciation (RP)

This is the ‘Queen’s English’, the accent spoken by the highest social classes, including Professor Darcy and his noble relations. It is taught in the best schools, and is the sign of education as well as class. Today, only 3% of the population speaks with this accent, and it is not identified with a region of England. This is what Lizzy hoped to emulate, so she might be accepted by the ton as one of their own.

 

Some characteristics include:

  • non-rhotic vowels. You never pronounce the ‘r’ in ‘parcel’ or ‘bird’;
  • the use of the aspirated ‘h’. “In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.” Each ‘h’ is sounded distinctly.
  • words such as ‘dune’ and ‘stupid’ have a y-sound before the vowel, so ‘dune’ and ‘June’ sound very similar;
  • weak vowels are still distinct and have not all blended to a schwa;
  • Mary, marry and merry all sound quite distinct

To play around with some different sounds, check out this cool site:
http://www.ipachart.com/

For a linguistic journey through Britain, check out this marvelous video:

Here is a clip from North and South, where you can swoon at the wonderful ending… I mean, where you can hear the different accents spoken by John Thornton and Margaret Hale. Listen to his closed vowels, compared to her open ones, and the different ways they pronounce similar letter combinations. Then you can swoon.

 

In this passage from Teaching Eliza, Mr. Bingley teases Professor Darcy about accents. Check out the rest of the book to see how Lizzy gets on with her own lessons. Enjoy!

*~*~*~*

The professor looked down his patrician nose at her and replied in haughty tones, “We are at the dawn of a new age, Miss Elizabeth. Times are changing, and men who might begin in Kentish Town with twenty pounds a year can end in Park Lane with twenty thousand.” His eyes darted quickly towards Mr. Bingley, whose own fortune of a hundred thousand pounds, Lizzy knew, was achieved in just this fashion. “These newly wealthy men want to drop Kentish Town, but they give themselves away with every word. Now, I can teach them, through my art and skill, to speak not as they were, but as they wish themselves to be. I can teach them to move in society.”

“Is that true?” These were the first words Mr. Hurst had uttered all night, so enraptured did he seem with the ragout set before him.

“Indeed it is,” replied Colonel Fitzwilliam with the enthusiasm of one fully apprised of the professor’s abilities. His own beautiful voice was surely approved of by his haughty cousin. “He has a remarkable history of success with people from all walks of life. I recall one young man, hardly a man, dragging himself up from the gutter and with an accent and vocabulary to match, and you would scarcely know him now! In fact, you have almost certainly heard his name, but would never know his origins.”

“Do say more, Professor Darcy, for I am most intrigued,” said Elizabeth.

“I see no reason to hide my talents,” he preened. “I can take ever so lowly a creature, a flower girl for example, with her kerbstone English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days, and within three months pass her off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.”

Arrogant, insufferable man! thought Lizzy, but she held her tongue and said only, “How fascinating!”

Mr. Bingley now took over the conversation and spoke volubly on his own great success as a student of the professor, recounting how he had learned to replace the broad and limiting sounds of his native Yorkshire accent with his current cultivated tones.

“Oh Lord, how dreadful it was at that,” the professor laughed. Lizzy realised she had never before heard anything resembling joy or playfulness from him and was stunned by the sound. “The challenge we had, eh, Bingley, forcing those troublesome vowels backwards and eliminating the glottal stop from the middle of words.”

“Oh, how true, Darcy! Even wairse,” he intentionally reverted to his previous pronunciation, making the professor groan, “was leernin’ to put oop with yair insistence tha’ I add in them pesky consonan’s at the ends o’ wairds.”

“‘Words,’ Charles, ‘wuhhhhds.’”

“Aye, Dercy, ‘wairds.’”

Bingley smiled impudently and the colonel roared with laughter, provoking disapproving glares from Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst.

 

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!

 

 

.

Oct. 19 From Pemberley to Milton

Oct. 23 Babblings of a Bookworm

Oct. 24 So Little Time… So Much to Read!

Oct. 25 Diary of an Eccentric

Oct. 27 Savvy Verse and Wit

Oct. 28 My Love for Jane Austen

Oct. 30 More Agreeably Engaged

Oct. 31 Savvy Verse and Wit

Nov. 1 Austenesque Reviews

 

 

 

Riana Everly giving away five copies of the ebook to blog readers through a random drawing on Rafflecopter.

The giveaway is international and to enter it you can click here.

Good luck everyone!

60 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

These Dreams – Guest Post & Giveaway

 

These Dreams is a very special book to me for a million different reasons, some of them you’ll understand when reading this last post of the blog tour, and it is to me a great honor and joy to be closing the tour of such an incredible book from a kind, talented and genuinely good person as Nicole Clarkston.

On this last post you’ll read about the Portuguese connection in These Dreams, and I would love to read your opinion about it. Did you like the Portuguese scenes, or was it too hard to bear? Did you start hating the Portuguese characters when you saw what they were doing to Darcy? Or did Amália got to your hearts immediately ? What about her love story, what do you make of that?

I know I’m filling you with questions, but I would really love to hear everybody’s opinion about the Portuguese connection and characters, especially after you read this post. I hope you enjoy it!!!

 

 

 

Nicole: Part of the inspiration for These Dreams came about a year and a half ago, during a chat with Rita about Colonel Fitzwilliam. She said she always wished she could see him fall in love with a Portuguese girl, but no one (that she knew of) had played with that idea. As I was not familiar with Portuguese history, she began telling me of the complicated relationship between the English and the Portuguese during this time.

 

Rita: Portugal was Britain’s oldest ally in Europe and in the beginning of the 19th century, Britain was finding new opportunities for trade with Portugal’s colony in Brazil and the Royal Navy used Lisbon’s port in its operations against France. This was obviously a great problem for Napoleon, as he wanted to deny the use of the Portuguese fleet to the British, so on July 19, 1807 he ordered Portugal to declare war on Britain, close its ports to British ships, detain British subjects on a provisional basis, and sequester their goods. Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I, declined to join the emperor’s Continental System against British trade, and that was the starting point of the Peninsula War— a military conflict for control of the Iberian Peninsula between Napoleon’s empire and the allied powers of Spain, Britain and Portugal that took place between 1807 and 1814.

Portugal was able to defeat the French with the assistance of the British troops. In fact, the Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen. William Carr Beresford, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese royal family. Beresford fought as part of a combined Anglo-Portuguese army under Wellesley.

However, the connections between Portugal and Britain do not end there. The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability, and economic stagnation that was in part created by the political and economic agreements Portugal made with Britain. The war with the French was over, but a new war over political and economical power was starting in Portugal, and the former ally was now Portugal’s greatest enemy.

 

Nicole: Our villain was an important character, and his development was integral to the plot. Some of what Rita told me about Portugal’s history and economy gave me some ideas and places to start digging for motives. I wanted to create a man with real and perhaps even admirable ambitions. He wanted to help his country and he wanted to set right what he perceived as an injustice, but his conscience was so twisted that to him, the ends justified the means. (Just to balance him out, there was a British character with even less conscience.) What Vasconcelos wanted was “good,” and he would stop at nothing to achieve it.

 

Rita: The aftermath of The Peninsula War signified Portugal’s traumatic entry into the modern age and the rise of several nationalist movements that wanted to defend the country against the British military intervention in our politics, and fight the economical impositions that were beneficial to Britain but detrimental to the Portuguese economy. When Nicole started talking about a Portuguese villain I thought that this scenario would be perfect for the rise of man such as Vasconcelos whose patriotism would go too far due to everything he was witnessing in his country. I can even relate to him as I am very patriotic myself and the British imposition was truly devastating to Portugal. Who would not want to defend his own country from a foreign power?

The nationalists started to have a voice during the Peninsula Wars and were involved in the liberal wars that started in 1820, which opposed the absolutists to the liberals. I like to think that Vasconcelos was a crucial player in these wars and that his fervent nationalism placed him in an important position amongst the absolutists who supported D. Miguel.

 

Nicole: After Rita gave me some interesting points in the history, a plot was starting to develop in my mind. I had already decided that Darcy and Elizabeth would face a heartbreaking separation, and Portugal seemed like a great place to send him. The next challenge would be to craft more believable Portuguese characters. I started with Colonel Fitzwilliam’s love interest, and even her name was carefully chosen.

 

Rita: I suggested a couple of names that could have been used on the 19th century and amongst them were my mother’s name, Amélia, and a very similar name which was the name of the most known portuguese Fado singer and national icon, Amália Rodrigues. Nicole wasn’t too fond of Amélia, but she loved Amália and from the moment she chose that name I created a vivid image of the character in my mind that was precisely the one I saw described in These Dreams.

Below you can see both Amália Rodrigues and Maria Amália Vasconcelos, or the representation of the character that Nicole chose…which reminds me we didn’t even talk to you about how she chose the lady that would portray Amália! I guess we will have to leave that to another time, but I also had a tremendous fun looking at paintings and telling Nicole which ladies could have been Portuguese and which were clearly British… She ended up choosing this beautiful lady and I think she is the perfect Amália!! There is a fierceness in her eyes that I find enchanting! And she is a bit similar to Amália Rodrigues too, isn’t she?

Speaking of Amália Rodrigues, as I mentioned before, she is a national icon due to the influence she had in our musical culture. She dramatically changed Fado by bringing lyrics from famous portuguese poets into the musical genre, creating her own emotional lyrics and working along with talented musicians, such as Alain Oulman, who modernised the national musical genre. Me and Nicole would like to share with you one of her musics, it’s not her best for sure, but it is called Fado Amália, and speaks of who she was and what she was doing in this world. I hope you like it 🙂

 

Nicole: We agreed that Amália should be strong, ladylike, a dutiful daughter, and enough of a spitfire when provoked to fight for what was right. What she lacks in Elizabeth Bennet’s delightful sense of humour, she makes up for in sheer backbone. She reminded me quite a bit of Margaret Hale; a lady in circumstances not of her choosing, who sacrifices for honour and justice. Amália endures quite a bit of her own grief during the story, so her character needed to reflect enough depth that she could believably stand, yet tremble because she is, after all, human.

 

Rita: To me Amélia is a much sweeter name and I’m glad that Nicole didn’t chose it because Amália is much stronger and fits perfectly in the character. She is my favourite original character in JAFF literature, and the perfect match for our good Colonel.

 

Nicole: Thank you, Rita, that means a great deal to me! Amália’s brother was our means of introducing her to Colonel Fitzwilliam. He was a soldier in the Anglo-Portuguese army alongside “Major Fitzwilliam,” in 1809-1810 we decided, and their history in battle had made them trust one another. I wanted to paint a noble Portuguese soldier, a character whose role is like Georgiana in the original; not central, but pivotal. His name was special to me as well, because I wanted a very traditional sounding name which could be shortened to a more intimate one.

Col. Fitzwilliam

 

Rita: The curious thing is that we found the perfect name! Rodrigo was a common name at the time, and it was shortened to Ruy, which is the name of my husband, even if nowadays it is spelled Rui, so this could not have been more perfect!

 

Nicole: I loved this name! It’s both dignified and playful.

After we had the characters fixed, the next challenge was manners and language. There were a few mannerisms I had to ask about (i.e. would the Portuguese greet one another with a kiss as some cultures do?) but the larger challenge was the language. I have a fair bit of experience with Latin and French, so several of the Portuguese words appeared to be cognates, but the usage was another matter. I wanted authentic, natural sounding speech, and that is something you just can’t get from Google Translate. There are a few key Portuguese phrases smattered about the book, and some of them are very special.

 

Rita: I was in a dreamlike state when I started seeing Nicole venture into the Portuguese language. I could not believe I was reading sentences such as “tive saudades tuas” and “Eu Amo-te Richard Fitzwilliam.”

Tive saudades tuas is not possible to translate because there isn’t an exact equivalent to the word saudade (saudades is plural). The word reflects the feeling one has when they miss someone or something, it doesn’t just mean we missed someone, it translates a feeling and it is very powerful in the Portuguese language.

Amo-te (I love you) is also very special because unlike English, Portuguese people do not use this word lightly. Amo-te is only used toward people and when the feeling is really strong. It would never be used in sentences such as, “I love this bonnet,” for example. In a sentence such as that, a Portuguese person would use the word “like” and not “love,” which makes the word really special.

These are just two examples, but Nicole used many more Portuguese expressions and words throughout the book, many of them were written by Nicole herself, and I can tell you she was really good at research. Google only mislead her a couple of times. 🙂

 

Nicole: Wahoo! Props to the programmers!

Another detail I wanted to get just right was the pattern of speech which would be natural for a Portuguese speaker who is not absolutely fluent in English. I made the assumption that, being a lady, Amália would have had a little bit less practice than her father who does business with the English all the time, or her brother who sat in army camps with English soldiers. Naturally we wanted her to be fluent, but we intentionally built charming little patterns into her speaking which give her away as a non-native speaker. I chugged right ahead by using the patterns I would have assumed for a French speaker, and Rita had to correct me in nearly every instance.

 

Rita: The masculine/feminine use of words was the most frequent mistake as it is one of the biggest differences between English and Portuguese, and things like Meu flôr, became minha flôr, but also the use of the word yes when making a question. A portuguese would most likely use “no” to end the question instead of the “yes”. And in the end we actually ended up using a mistake I sometimes make when I speak English as a way to “imperfect” Amália’s speech. It is something I know that is incorrect, and I never make the mistake when I’m writing  but when I’m speaking really fast my Portuguese brain makes me say things like “I did heard you” instead of “I did hear you”, that is also because of the differences between the languages, which I find really interesting.

Working on the Portuguese with Nicole was one of the things I loved the most during our collaboration, she is a very curious person who is always willing to learn but also share a lot of knowledge. We had lots of fun discussing linguistics and cultural references 🙂

 

Nicole: That was my favourite part, too! I was thrilled that Rita was willing to take the time to offer constructive feedback and to help me get the details right. We both wanted to honour Portuguese language and culture in this small way. We ended up knowing much more about each other and it was a joy to share both the differences and the similarities of life in modern Portugal and rural Oregon.

I suppose, in the end, those are some of the things Richard and Amália learn to negotiate as well, when they decide that those barriers between continents and people really don’t matter that much.

Thank you, Rita, for your friendship and for the heart you have invested into bringing this book to life.

 

Rita: I’m the one who should thank you for the friendship and the opportunity to work on such a beautiful project with you Nicole! 

I think it is befitting that we close this blog tour with the final moment of the writing process, the memorable moment when Nicole Clarkston wrote Fim (tTe End).

Nicole: That was the most satisfying word I have ever written! This book was a long journey, and it challenged me in new ways. I am delighted to know that it has touched so many already. For me, it enriched so many relationships, from my collaboration with Rita on the plot, with Janet on the stunning cover and many of the emotional elements, with Debbie and Don and Joy and Joana on the read-through process, and with all the lovely bloggers who opened up their pages. I have been blessed with new friends as well, and to everyone I express my most heartfelt gratitude for your support.

 

.

An abandoned bride

    A missing man

        And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy

is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far

from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear,

only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley,

and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared,

Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her

from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and

questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past.

An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under

mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and

another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might

have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain

and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

.

If you can’t resist and want to purchase the book immediately, you can find at:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

 

 

Nicole Clarkston is offering a giveaway of 10 eBook copies of These Dreams to readers commenting the posts throughout the blog tour. This is the final stop, so don’t miss this last chance to participate in this international offer.

To enter the giveaway comment the post and click here.

 Good Luck everyone!

36 Comments

Filed under Amalia, giveaway, Guest Post, JAFF, Nicole Clarkston, Pride and Prejudice