Category Archives: 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

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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.

 

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You can find Teaching Eliza at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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“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!

 

 

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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.

 

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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

On Equal Ground Review & Giveaway

Meryton Vignettes was a statement that Elizabeth Adams is trying to go beyond one-dimensional characters and the simple love story we may find in some Pride and Prejudice variations. On Equal Ground is the proof that she has what it takes to build a solid, mature book that will inspire readers who believe in real life and second chances. This book marks her literary signature, she is not afraid to risk controversial stories and executes them beautifully!

I have to start by saying that in this book Elizabeth Bennet meets and marries an older man when she is but 18, she falls in love with her husband and bears him 3 children during a very happy marriage, this means readers will need to be able to cope with this premise if they want to enjoy the book.

The story starts in 1809 and will follow the lives of the characters for many, many years.

This is a detail I enjoyed immensely because it allowed me to accompany the characters, especially Elizabeth, while events made them grow from young people into mature men and women. The end of the book follows this logic as well, and we will be gifted with information on the lives of all Bennet sisters and most of the co-adjuvant characters. The fact that I could see what occurred to these characters throughout their entire lives made me feel more connected to them, and this proximity made me love the book!

Elizabeth Adams also creates some interesting original characters in this book and even has the audacity to make us love them (you know I’m talking about Darcy’s rival). The relationship these original characters will establish with the ones we already know from Pride and Prejudice will allow us to see a different side of them, and I enjoyed that immensely, particularly the fatherly characteristics we will see Darcy displaying with young Robert. Their conversation in  the end of the book has such a peaceful tone in it that it made me come to terms with the entire premise.

Darcy and Elizabeth are better versions of themselves and we can still see the sparks between them, but their love story is different from cannon so we never know what will happen next. I particularly loved Darcy in this book, he is everything a gentleman ought to be 🙂

On Equal Ground is a well written, clean and sound book that shows an impeccable taste from the author, I recommend it to those who like real life stories and characters, and particularly to those who like quality literature.

 

You can find On Equal Ground on:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer 1 ebook copies of On Equal Ground to my readers.

ALL those who comment this post will be entered into the drawing! Let us know what you think of this book or Elizabeth Adam’s previous stories.

The giveaway is international and will end on the 10th of October.

Good luck everyone!

51 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

My all time favourite JAFF books with giveaways

I have been wanting to publish a list of my favourite JAFF books for a long time, but I always felt the number of books I had read would not justify such a list. Now that my blog has celebrated 2 years, and that I’ve read over 150 JAFF stories, I think it is justifiable to share with all of you which ones are my favourite.

There are several criteria that can be used to choose the best books one has ever read, such as the originality and interest of the plot, the writing style, the pacing, the ability to captivate the reader etc, but I always said that to me, a great book is one that has the ability to make me feel something. In my opinion the best books are the ones which cause such an impression in the reader that he will never forgets how he felt when reading it. That is what I consider a book memorable. And of course, I don’t think we can get caught in the story and feel so intensely attached to a book and its characters if the plot is not believable, or if the books is badly written, so if in the end I suppose all those criteria I mentioned before are also taken into consideration.

That being said, my favourite JAFF books of all times, and by no particular order, are:

 

A Peculiar Connection – Jan Hahn

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for the angst addicts such as myself 🙂

A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!” Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief. They must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them, but the journey is sooooooo wonderful that it’s impossible not to love this book.

 

Ardently – Caitlin Williams

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for the hopeless romantics who happen to love Bath 😉

What if Elizabeth actually went to the Lake District and was nowhere near Pemberley, and she and Mr. Darcy never met again until another four years had gone by? Now they are very different people, altered by marriage, time and situation, although, Mr Darcy’s failed proposal in the Parsonage at Hunsford still haunts both of them in different ways.

 

A Fair Prospect – Cassandra Grafton

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for the hopeless romantics who are eager for excellent dialogues and romantic scenes

Nursing his wounds after his rejection by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to London, a devastated and humbled man. The lady, meanwhile, is battling the unprecedented feelings stirred by having endured an innocent but intimate encounter with the gentleman in the aftermath of his proposal. Soon on her way to Town herself for an unanticipated stay, she is comforted by the presence of an old family friend, one Nicholas Harington – the son of a wealthy family whose position in society rivals that of the Darcys of Pemberley and who has emerged as a potential suitor for Elizabeth.

 

Darcy by Any Other Name – Laura Hile

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love romance and are willing to have an open mind 🙂

Two men are arguing while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes. Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins.

Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley.

Could there be anything worse?

 

The Unthinkable Triangle – Joana Starnes

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for the angst addicts such as myself 🙂

What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth Bennet’s hand and heart is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend? How is he to reconcile the claims of loyalty and kinship with the urge to pursue his heart’s desire?

 

The Madness of Mr. Darcy – Alexa Adams

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who can find the beauty of love after hardship and suffering.

The year is 1832 and regrets beleaguer Fitzwilliam Darcy. All he ever cared for has been taken from him: his pride, his sister, and his true love, Elizabeth Bennet. Now, having nearly murdered a man in a fit of rage, he might lose Pemberley, too. More than just his home, his very identity is at stake. In desperation, he seeks the help of Dr. Frederick Wilson, owner and proprietor of Ramsey House, a madhouse for fine ladies and gentlemen. Is Darcy’s confinement the inevitable end to his tortured descent, or will he rediscover what he lost in the most unlikely of places?

 

Haunting Mr. Darcy – Karalynne MaCrory

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love romance and are willing to have an open mind 🙂

That fickle friend Fate intervenes when an unexpected event threatens the happily ever after of literature’s favorite love story. The gentlemen from Netherfield have left, winter is upon the land, and after a horrifying carriage accident, Elizabeth Bennet finds her spirit transported as if by magic into Mr. Darcy’s London home. Paranormally tethered to the disagreeable man, it doesn’t help that he believes she is a phantasm of his love-struck mind and not the real Elizabeth. Somehow they must learn to trust, learn to love and learn to bring Elizabeth back to her earthly form before it is too late.

 

Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections – Abigail Reynolds

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love romance and adventure in a different scenario 🙂

When Darcy discovers that Lord Charles’ new target is none other than Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who refused Darcy’s offer of marriage, he cannot stand by and watch as the woman he still loves is callously ruined. What he doesn’t know is that Lord Charles has a dark secret, and that his attentions to Elizabeth may not be what they seem. After a midnight rescue, clandestine meetings, a long-lost son, conspiracies, blackmail, and an attempted elopement, everyone can agree that this house party is anything but dull.

 

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy – Jenneta James

My review (coming soon)      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who demand a good writing and are not afraid to wait for the happy ending 🙂

Elizabeth Bennett never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger. But when Mrs. Bennett accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

 

Mr. Darcy’s Voyage – Kara Louise

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who are eager for a hertfelt romance in a different scenario:)

In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley’s Promise. She’s prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down

 

The Falmouth Connection – Joana Starnes

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love intense romance 🙂

Just as Mr. Darcy finally decides to propose to the enticing Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she is summoned to Falmouth, to meet a relation she never knew she had.

Thus, the ill-starred Hunsford proposal is avoided – but before he could even begin to understand his luck, adverse circumstances hasten to conspire against him, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is compelled to follow the woman he loves to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few – if any – are what they seem to be…

 

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth – Victoria Kincaid

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love adventure and idyllic romance 🙂

It is 1803, and a treaty has allowed England and France to enjoy a brief moment of peace in the midst of the Napoleonic wars. Darcy is despondent over Elizabeth’s refusal of his proposal at Hunsford, so Colonel Fitzwilliam proposes a trip to Paris as a distraction. At a ball Darcy unexpectedly encounters Elizabeth, who is visiting Paris with the Gardiners. He sees this as his opportunity to court Elizabeth properly and rectify past mistakes. Before he can make much progress, however, England declares war again and Darcy must help Elizabeth flee France.

 

Darcy’s Ultimatum – Jennifer Joy

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love page turner romances 🙂

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s arranged life falls to pieces, his father, Mr. George Darcy, gives him an ultimatum: Marry by the end of the London Season or risk disinheritance. Can Darcy cast aside society’s frigid attitude toward marriage and find true love? Or will his desire to honor his deceased mother’s memory hold him back?
Elizabeth Bennet faces the greatest challenge of her life: Find a husband by the end of the London Season or be forced to marry the heir apparent of her family home, Mr. Collins. A romantic at heart, will Elizabeth find a gentlemen to meet her high expectations?

 

These Dreams – Nicole Clarkston

My review(coming soon)   Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who love Col. Fitzwilliam as much as they love Darcy (or almost as much)

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.

 

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My favourite genre is regency variations and this is the type of books I read the most, so it is natural that most of these books, if not all, are regency variations. Also, these are my personal list of favourites, I don’t mean to say they are better than any others, only that they were the ones I enjoyed reading the most 🙂

Are any of these books on your own lists? Have you read them all? Is there any that you particularly love and that I am not mentioning? Please do share! I’ve only discovered some extraordinary books that have been published a long time ago this year, so I’m not surprised if some amazing books are missing from this list because I haven’t read them yet and suggestions are always welcome 🙂

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I love these books so much that I would like to share some of them with you 🙂

I am giving away 5 signed paperbacks of some of my favourite books. As you know I was very fortunate to meet Joana Starnes, Caitlin Williams and Cassandra Grafton on my last trip to the UK, so I asked them to sign several books to giveaway to my readers 🙂 Today I am offering The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Volumes I, II and II of A Fair Prospect and Ardently.

Two winners will be randomly chosen by the comments left on this post and any review of the books listed above, and two other winners will be randomly chosen from the list of the blog followers. If you want to increase your chances of winning a signed paperback subscribe to follow my blog and comment the reviews  🙂

All volumes of a Fair Prospect are signed, but they will be offered to one single winner considering they are one single story.

The giveaway is international and will be open until the 30th of September. The winners will be announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Fitzwilliam Darcy vs. John Thornton

By Nicole Clarkston

It is a tremendous disservice to relegate both Pride & Prejudice and North & South to the category of romantic novels and simply leave them there. Both handle issues of far-reaching social impact with delicacy, but today, let us simply sit back and admire the masterpieces who are Fitzwilliam Darcy and John Thornton.

Delicious, aren’t they? What is it about these fictional characters that seems so real to us that I actually fear somewhat for my own safety in labeling them as fictional? Together, they represent two of the strongest, most iconic male characters ever conceived in literature, and, perhaps most fittingly, they were created by female authors. I believe that both Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell have bestowed on us far more than a few hours of entertaining reading. They have crafted paragons of imperfection- men already possessing honor and dignity, but lacking the requisite social skills and humility to win the objects of their hearts’ desires. Both must travel a very hard path, and in the process, they reveal to us some of the secrets of love and humanity.

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Filling in for Dad

Darcy, as we all know, is wealthy and powerful, the master of his own destiny at a young age, but all that prestige has come at a steep price. He has lost both of his parents, and must now manage his sprawling estate without the continued advice of his father. Everyone has a plan for his life, and so far, he has fallen into step just as he was expected to… but it chafes. He is mortified by all the women seeking his attention, and clearly has never been impressed by any. Though Austen is silent on this point, one begins to think that he would eventually have done his duty and married the least embarrassing and most convenient debutante at hand, simply to secure the required heir. He is certainly taking his time about doing it- perhaps not yet ready to completely fill his father’s shoes? Or could he be searching for something he cannot accurately describe, and has never yet encountered? However, he has his hands full enough without the bother of searching for a wife. In addition to all the expectations on him, he has been betrayed by one he used to consider a friend, and his own sister threw off his protection and put herself in harm’s way. It is a wonder the man is not gray by the time Elizabeth Bennet meets him.

Thornton has also lost his father, in a betrayal that will color all his future relationships with a deep, hidden sense of unworthiness. He spends the next sixteen years trying to bury that shame but has no time to admit that fact, because somewhere in his early adolescence, he had suddenly become the sole provider and head of the family. Thornton has neither the luxury nor the burden of a fortune and a great estate dumped into his lap. Rather, he contends with the family’s disgrace over his father’s suicide and debts, and one imagines that the boy never has a chance to properly mourn his lost father. He is driven by both pride and ambition, and devotes all his energies to raising his family from poverty to prosperity. This, I think, is where Thornton really stands out. Gaskell gives us hints that Mrs Thornton had once come from good family, but their change in circumstances at George Thornton’s death is not one which was easily reversed. The hard-working young John Thornton, however, defies the odds. Unfortunately, he has learned to measure his worth by what he has achieved. By the time he meets Margaret Hale, he has become well-regarded and wealthy, and is starting to think that maybe, just maybe, he might finally have earned the right to be loved.

I find it interesting that both men have been forced into a position of authority at a young age by the loss of their fathers. Both also find themselves responsible for their younger sisters, who give evidence that the gravity of life’s experiences has been quite masterfully spared them- perhaps to their detriment. Both men have at last come to a place where they feel comfortably in control of their fortunes, despite their own looming worries about traitorous friends or pending labor strikes. Both, however, are deeply private men, and likely very lonely men, ripe for overpowering infatuations with women who might be their intellectual equals.

 

The Crush

Darcy has no intentions of finding any woman appealing in that crowded country dance. There are none of his social sphere- hard as Caroline Bingley tries to persuade him otherwise. No woman in that room is even a candidate for the title of Mrs Darcy, until one walks away from him. Over their first several encounters, Darcy is repeatedly fascinated by this woman who seems not to be in pursuit of his purse, and who possesses the wit to close his mouth on more than one occasion. Elizabeth stands out not because she makes an effort to, but because her very nature is in such stark contrast to everything he has already grown weary of. He cannot help watching her, and learns that she is generous, ladylike, and well-read- all qualities which he admires. She is also devastatingly clever, and will not suffer insults in silence. He grows to respect her able, poised defense of herself, but her sparkling good humor and genuine zest for life may be the final blow to his denial of feelings for her. She is everything he lacks, and unlike anything he has ever seen, but oh, her family! The world is not fair.

 

Thornton is a tradesman- a manufacturer, lest we overlook that distinction- and as such, his society is not considered worthy of many of the gentry. Milton, however, is his own particular little kingdom, and here, the manufacturers reign. There is some confusion about whether he, a man of resources and authority, is on lesser, equal, or greater footing than the penniless gentlewoman he encounters. He is used to having his way, but Margaret coolly puts him in his place at their first meeting (which is different in the book, as Trudy Brasure’s post explains beautifully). She is clearly not intimidated by him, demanding his respect immediately, but he is well and truly gobsmacked by her grace and beauty. He becomes rather tongue-tied in her presence, which must surely be a new experience for him, and does little to impress her. She represents everything that he has long been working for- she is elegance, serenity, and gracious ease; the very living evidence of the kind of security he has been longing to provide and at last thinks he might have earned.

Throughout their early acquaintance she challenges his opinions, and though naïve, her intelligence inspires him to desire her respect. He tries to earn it, but the harder he tries, the more she scorns him. Thornton’s mother claims that other women were interested in him, but apparently he has never bothered with them. One wonders if his early experiences learning at the knees of his strong, determined mother might have taught him exactly what sort of woman was worthy of his regard. Unfortunately, he can sense from the beginning of their acquaintance that Margaret considers him unworthy of hers. This haughty Southern maid both repels and captivates him, and he spends each encounter bouncing between indignation and breathless adoration.

So, here we have two men who are ostensibly great catches for a marriage-minded young lady, but have proven rather elusive. The authoresses leave the readers to conclude that their heroes cannot be satisfied by a marriage of convenience, and that it will take a remarkable woman to jar them from their complacency. These women turn out to be somewhat unconventional, intelligent, and possessed of rather unique charms which manifest as astonishing beauty in the eyes of their enraptured beholders. Their attractions are on every level- physical, emotional, intellectual, and in Thornton’s case, even spiritual. In both cases, our gentlemen fight tooth and nail not to succumb- in the first case to a woman beneath Darcy’s notice, and in the second to a woman who considers Thornton beneath hers. It has been said that in North & South, the Pride was Margaret’s, and the Prejudice was Thornton’s. That observation is, perhaps, not at all inaccurate.

 

The Shoe Leather

When Darcy finally overcomes all his own objections to Elizabeth’s connections, he anticipates that she will accept him immediately. Oh, Darcy. Many a treatise has eloquently detailed why he never expected a refusal, but refuse him she does- mercilessly and jaw-droppingly. In apologizing for the delay in his confession of love, he manages to offend her so thoroughly that she clubs him over the head with a verbal ton of bricks before he escapes the parsonage that day. Ouch. Never has Mr In Control of the World been so humbled. She is wrong, entirely wrong, about everything! Isn’t she? Surely, a nice, civil letter will help clear things up. He scurries back to London with his tail between his legs, but at the very least, hopefully he has put to rights some of her misapprehensions. Sadly for poor Mr Darcy’s wounded pride, he is forced to admit that the only woman he has ever wished to impress also happens to be the only woman to see him for what he truly is- a man of too much conceit for his own good.

Thornton, in his more rational moments, knows very well that Margaret would never have him. Unfortunately, his judgement becomes a little hazy whenever he is around her, and for some while he has been privately watching her and fantasizing about her. All it would take to set off the powder keg of his growing passion is a simple sign from her that she might not despise him. When she feels compelled to shield him from his own workers, believing that her femininity provides her a natural, sacrosanct safeguard of sorts, she does so without considering what he might think of her motives, and with just as much pity on the workers as on the unprotected Thornton. Thus, when he shows up at her door the next day to thank her and to do what he considers his duty as a gentleman, she righteously slaps him down. The ensuing argument is glorious and deliciously highlights the stark contrasts in their ways of thinking. Thornton goes away heartbroken, but vowing to love her still. Margaret feels as though her innocence and dignity have been stripped away because her lofty motives have been mistaken for something so vulgar as affection for a man she does not like. Really, she doesn’t like him. At all.

Oh, the misunderstandings! The reader can see clearly from the beginning that the characters would complement each other in ways which even they do not yet fully comprehend, but those ladies are having none of it. Elizabeth is offended that Mr Darcy thinks he can insult with impunity, and still believe he is doing her a favor by offering his hand. Money cannot buy this girl, which we cannot help but admire, even though at the same time we shake our heads at her stubbornness.

Mr Thornton and Margaret’s argument is subtler. Margaret has never really come to terms with her own feminine maturity or the fact that she might be an object of desire. She is scandalized that Thornton could think she wished to protect him personally, finding such an emotion abhorrent to her maidenly sensibilities. She later confesses to herself that there was something of a spark there, else how could she have found such courage in the face of danger? Mostly, however, she feels that she acted out of sacrificial honor despite her personal feelings, and she certainly does not need him messing things up by claiming love for her. In addition, marrying Thornton for the security he might offer rankles, because in her mind, he is a giant social step beneath her, and in effect, she would appear to be marrying him for improper reasons.

 

The White Horse

Austen never gives us any indication that Darcy confessed his failed proposal to anyone. Plenty of authors have since toyed with that entertaining notion, but in the original, Darcy keeps his stiff upper lip and goes back to the business of living without Elizabeth Bennet. Apparently he is not doing a very good job of it, because at their next encounter, he is anything but composed. He sees at once that his letter has improved her view of him somewhat, and almost immediately he sets out to win her good opinion once more. Things might have continued rather swimmingly, until Wickham decided to take a holiday with Elizabeth’s younger sister. Darcy’s subsequent actions are why we all love him. He patches it all up and saves the day, but he doesn’t want Elizabeth to know about it. He doesn’t want her gratitude, because he senses that along with it might come a feeling of obligation, and eventually, resentment. He does want to restore her family’s dignity with a minimal amount of fanfare, so he goes about it quietly. He sets out on his mission knowing that she may forever be beyond his reach.

Thornton tries to go on with life too, but only after assuring himself that there is no other woman out there to equal the one he has lost. He refuses to allow his mother to abuse Margaret in his hearing, immediately taking upon himself the blame for her refusal. Clearly, he was not worthy, and he knew it beforehand. Slowly, Milton goes back to “normal” after the strikes, but Thornton has a new outlook on his business. Margaret has held a mirror to his face, and he does not like what he saw there. As he is processing his new ideas, he discovers Margaret in a compromising situation. Though he believes her lost to him and devoted to another, he steps in to save her from legal troubles because he cannot bear to see her come to harm.

His involvement is both a blessing and a curse, for now Margaret sees his inherent goodness, but his knowledge of her own personal fall from grace drives yet another rift between them. The modern audience is more caught up in Thornton’s misapprehension regarding the identity of Margaret’s companion at the train station that evening. Thornton naturally takes the man to be Margaret’s suitor, when, in fact, he was her embattled brother. This shakes Thornton and leaves him sick with jealousy, but the real damage to his regard comes when she lies about her presence at the station. He had been used to at least respecting Margaret’s nobility- which, incidentally, is the very virtue she claimed to hold over him at his failed proposal. Watching her trade her integrity for the sake of concealing that mysterious other man becomes an ongoing source of agony for him.

Unbeknownst to our favorite fellows, their fair maidens are both tormented with regret by now. Darcy and Thornton have begun to show themselves as men of purest honor, too good to behave resentfully when they had every right to. We want to shake them all- force them into the same room, bolt the door, and refuse to let them out until they have talked things through. Of course, that is not the way of the world, and by this point, we have four very anguished souls pining for the ones who got away. For the ladies to go to them and apologize for their grievous errors would be the vilest display of immodesty, and both Elizabeth and Margaret are feeling as though they have already sunk low enough in their loves’ eyes. Darcy and Thornton, for their parts, are quite simply too terrified to try again. They have learned the hard way that they were not all that they had considered themselves to be, and their new humility prevents them from reaching out at a number of points.

 

Humble Pie

Seeing Elizabeth and her family returned to respectability is possibly all Darcy can hope for. At least he settles the matter knowing that she is safe, and that he has done what he can to secure the family’s future. Elizabeth has the option again to marry, with her prospects no less limited than they had been before. In other words, she is now freed up to find someone else. In another attempt to right his own wrongs, Darcy encourages Bingley to return, and even attends his friend… you know, just to assure himself that he has done right by Bingley and Jane. Really, that’s all. Most distressingly for poor Darcy, he has no idea if Elizabeth is happy to receive him, or wishes him on another continent. Our shy hero goes back to staring at her and making her uncomfortable again. Darcy, Darcy….

Unfortunately for poor Thornton, Margaret is the least of his troubles. The month-long strike disrupted the flow of commerce in Milton so badly that nearly all the businesses are suffering. Thornton is behind on orders and income. Where once his mill had shown tremendous promise, now he is struggling for capital. Blow after blow then falls- he loses his only true friend, Mr Hale. As a consequence, the woman whose very presence in Milton is both inspiration and misery for him removes to London. He has lost all connection to her, until, most humiliatingly, Mr Bell also dies and leaves Margaret his heir. The penniless woman who had disdained him before now becomes his wealthy land lady, and has even more reason to look down on him. Thornton is at length faced with the prospect of confessing to her that he must give up his lease, but at least by this time he has learned the truth about her brother. Sorry that he has misjudged her, and knowing there is little chance for reconciliation, he makes the humbling journey to London where he will permanently sever ties with her.

The darkest chapters of the books are where our gentlemen shine the brightest. This is love as it was meant to be- putting aside one’s own interests to look after the welfare of another. Not only have they proved that they never were the heartless malefactors that their fair ladies had once taken them for, but they have also made tremendous strides to improve their already honourable characters. Both feel they owe it to their own sense of dignity to become the man their lady deserves, although both have by now given up hope. By stepping in and saving their ladies from disgrace at the hands of an imprudent relative, each might have had an opportunity to collect on her gratitude, but they refuse to stoop to that level. They do not stop there, though. Each makes a meek “final” journey from the North to see their lady one last time, setting right their affairs. It is likely that each bore a spark of hope, but it was not a strong one.

 

The Only Sensible Outcome

Well, we all know how a proper story must end, but in both cases, the final reconciliation is positively delicious- fraught with nerve-wracking angst, and at long last, joyous surrender. Apologies and forgiveness abound, and lingering feelings of shame are washed away. I shall not detail those scenes for you- either you have not read them and I do not wish to spoil them, or you have… and I do not wish to spoil them. Let me only say that the tender passion, tempered with the excruciating restraint of the period, is simply exquisite in both cases. We have glimpses- very little ones, mind you- of the strength of the couples’ new attachments, and even little peeks into a budding sense of play as it develops. It is a travesty long lamented that neither authoress returned to her story to pen a sequel- in fact, Gaskell was forced to cut hers entirely too short for our taste. We are left wanting more. And more.

So what is it about those two imaginary characters that makes them, to us, the absolute definition of gentle manhood? To love, passionately and uncontrollably, is at the same time their greatest vulnerability and their most profound strength. We adore that these two men, who both thought themselves quite the masters of their own destinies, fell flat on their faces when confronted with the kind of women whom even other women can admire. We swoon over their heartbreak, gasp our approval when we see them striving to better themselves, and rejoice when their loves finally see them for who they really are.

I dare not pick a favorite. Not only would my mind change as soon as I encountered yet another delightful take on one of these lovely gents, but I would likely offend the other man’s very loyal audience! I admire both so completely. It has been my privilege to borrow these characters from their original creators, continuing to torment and examine them from new angles. They are each an absolute fascination, and happy is the woman who finds her own Fitzwilliam Darcy or John Thornton.


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Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love.

Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours and Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck a N&S inspired novel which immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write 3 other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston,  her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkston.com

Pride and Prejudice Inspired Novels                 North and South Inspired Novels

Rumours and Recklessness                                 No Such Thing as Luck

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner                   Northern Rain

These Dreams                                                         Nowhere but North (coming soon)

 


 

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice