Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden – Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been trying to diversify not only the books I read, but especially the ones I review and promote here at From Pemberley to Milton, so I am very happy to have an opportunity to be a part of the blog tour of Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden.

This book is a mystery set in 1878 and I was very interested in the story when I read the blurb, but the excerpt we’re sharing today was what captivated me the most. I loved the writing style, especially the first person speech. Is this something you usually like too? Are you interested in diversifying your reading habits too? And is this the type of books you’d be interested in reading apart from Austenesque novels?

Now that I have Karen Odden under my radar, I believe she will be an author to follow 😊

I would like to thank not only Ms. Odden for visiting today, but also Laurel Ann Nattress for allowing me to be a part of this tour 😊 Thank you ladies!


NEW book blurb

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule. 
 
For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.
 
As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

Under a Veiled Moon 2022

You can find Under a Veiled Moon at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and Audible


As I reached the bottom step, a shadow emerged from the alley,  and I felt someone approach from behind. My right hand was on my truncheon even before I turned. 

Two hands came up in a gesture of surrender. “It’s just me.” Colin’s voice picked over the syllables in a way that told me he was two or three drinks along, but not so far gone that he didn’t care that it showed. His boots scuffed the dirt as he came near, and he lowered his hands and thrust them into his coat pockets. The night breeze, ripe with the scent of smoke and meat from the nearby butchery, blew Colin’s brown curls off his forehead. 

He must’ve been lurking in that alley, waiting for me. All that Ma said, all her worry, made me temper my voice. “Why’d you run off, Col?” I asked. “I’d have liked a proper visit with you.” 

“Ach.” His shoulders twitched as if avoiding a weight. “Elsie’s always harping at me like a bloody shrew.” His voice slurred over the last word. “But I stayed ’cause of a message I have for ye.” 

My guess was Elsie wasn’t shrewish so much as she was worried, same as Ma, but she had a different way of showing it. Smelling the whiskey on Colin’s breath and observing the surly set to his jaw, I was beginning to understand their concern. 

I shifted my feet to maneuver him into a position where the light from the window of the nearby pub would fall on his face. I hadn’t been looking at him closely enough of late. My strongest memories were of him as a young boy of six or so, slender and light-haired, his eyes sparkling with interest as I taught him how to whittle a whistle or tie a stopper knot that wouldn’t slip. 

Colin’s eyes were as brilliantly blue now as they’d been then, just like his older brother Pat’s, although Pat had never looked at me so warily. “Don’t bark at me, all right?” Colin asked. 

I replied evenly, “Am I likely to?”
He pulled a face.

“All right, I won’t,” I promised. “What sort of message?”
“It’s from O’Hagan.”
I stared. O’Hagan.

Those three syllables were all it took to bring me back to thirteen years ago, when I’d been one of O’Hagan’s regular boxers, in a bare-knuckles hall underground, no more than a sweaty pen at the bottom of a ladder, where the dirt wasn’t thick enough to absorb all the blood and cheap rotgut whiskey that fell. I’d boxed for O’Hagan until the night he’d asked me to throw a match, and I’d done something bloody stupid that ended with me fleeing Whitechapel, sleeping rough until I found my feet. 

“Why’d he send you, instead of coming to me himself?” I let him see my disgust at O’Hagan’s cowardice. 

Colin glanced back toward the house. “He knows you used to live with us. Mebbe he thought you’d listen if I was the one asking.” He sniffed. “Instead of payin’ him no mind like you well might.” 

I frowned. O’Hagan and I had declared a truce of sorts years ago. I had never come after him for keeping illegal boxing halls and a fleet of bookmakers, and in return, I’d been able to move about Whitechapel unmolested. I certainly harbored no affection for O’Hagan, but I wondered why Colin assumed I’d ignore him. However, it wasn’t worth asking, with Colin in this state. 

“He just wants to meet you,” Colin said. “To talk.” 

Guesses about why ran through my head with the speed of a fast current, but I asked merely, “About what?” 

Colin’s eyes veered away, and he shrugged. “Might have something to do with the Cobbwallers.” 

The muscles across my upper back tightened. 

O’Hagan belonged to the Cobbwallers now? I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that James McCabe’s gang was running boxing halls as well as everything else. But like all London gang leaders, McCabe demanded absolute loyalty and discretion from his members. I couldn’t imagine a circumstance that would cause O’Hagan to discuss anything about the Cobbwallers with me, a policeman. 

“Go on,” I said. 

“Two Cobbwaller men are dead.” Colin peered at me aslant. “Murdered.” 

My stomach lurched. In the wake of the Clerkenwell bombing, police had sought out and killed Cobbwallers. That was a decade ago, but it was a black mark in our history, and no doubt O’Hagan and McCabe remembered it. “Are they blaming police?” 

“Dunno.” 

His evasive look sparked hot fear along my nerves. “Colin, you’re not mixed up with the Cobbwallers, are you?” 

There was the briefest pause before he drew his head back as if in surprise and shook it dismissively. “Nae.” 

That hesitation made me long to press him further, but it was almost as if I felt Belinda’s hand, gentle on my sleeve, counseling patience. There would be time to ask again when Colin was sober. 

Besides, if I did as Colin asked, he might confide in me more readily. 

“All right.” I stepped forward and put my arm around his shoulder, tugged him close for a second. “Tell O’Hagan I’ll meet him.” As I released him, his eyes betrayed a flash of relief. …

I watched him stride away. He’d been a lively child, impulsive and mouthy and at times reckless of his own safety. Sometimes I’d catch him imitating Pat and me, in the way we’d carry ourselves, or wear our caps or hold a knife. It annoyed Pat to no end, and he’d shoo Colin off, but I didn’t mind. When I was one of the youngest members of Simms’s thieving gang, I’d watch the older boys swaggering and try it for myself later as I walked down a quiet street alone. So I’d give Colin a wink, and he’d give me a roguish smile back. …

Just how close were O’Hagan and his ilk brushing up against these people I loved? 

The thought put a thick knot in the soft place underneath my ribs. 


NEW author bio

Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.

Karen Odden headshot 2021

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

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Under a Veiled Moon Book Tour Graphic

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Last House in Lambton by Grace Gibson – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Grace Gibson has become one of my favourite writers due to the uniqueness of her writing style. I love her humour, her dialogues and her first-person narrative. Ever since reading Reckless, Headstrong Girl, which remains to date one of my favourite secondary characters book, I made sure to read everything she released, and I have not once been disappointed. So it is with a great pleasure that I am welcoming her at From Pemberley to Milton today to share an excerpt of The Last House in Lambton, her most recently released book.

I am adding this one to my TBR pile and I cannot wait to read it!

Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Gibson, and for giving me some feedback concerning my 3 Things I Like & Dislike in JAFF post. It’s nice to know some people like those types of posts too 😊


Hi Rita! I have been looking forward to being a guest on your blog for a few months now, so thank you for hosting me once again.

In March of this year, you published a wonderfully insightful post about clichés in JAFF stories, and I found your observations to be truly helpful, balanced and refreshing. Thank you for inspiring me to be more creative and encouraging me to think twice before leaning on an old, convenient crutch.

That said, in The Last House in Lambton, I made a conscious decision to use a well-worn plot line but— keeping your insights in mind—I set my intention to offer enough unpredictability to deliver a few surprises and add depth to a familiar scene. 

Anyone whose first impression of the premise of this story includes a stifled yawn is forgiven. We all know what to expect when Elizabeth Bennet ends up in Lambton. Of course she stumbles upon Mr. Darcy, sparks fly, and they live happily ever after. This sequence of events is perennially satisfying—in my opinion, it is required! 

But this time, hoping for a fresh take on a well-plowed ground, our heroine comes up against some rather interesting opposition in the course of the anticipated conclusion.

Here is an excerpt from Elizabeth’s point of view that perhaps highlights this:

***

Those words—”other than paying out wages and deciding what will be served at dinner”—rang loudly in my head four days later as I stood in front of Mrs. Burke, the housekeeper whose furlough had necessitated my arrival.

“You will need to visit the chandler on Tuesday—early, mind you, lest the best wax be claimed by the vicar’s wife. If you arrive too late, you will be given wax mixed with tallow and will only discover it when the candles give off a malodourous smoke. 

“The butcher is generally to be counted on. Still, you would do well to see him Wednesday shortly before noon, since the chickens are most always slaughtered in the morning. Never let him sell you a day-old bird—which he will try to do after taking one look at you—and whatever you do, do not forget to enquire after the pork bones for jelly…”

My mind wandered as I listened to an endless list of things to remember and consider. 

Mrs. Burke clearly disliked me. That said, she also enjoyed overwhelming me with the details of a position that defined her importance in the world. She was an imposing woman—tall, large boned, and straight-backed with a shock of red hair shot through with streaks of gray. The impression of an angry hawk was perhaps underscored by a pair of fearsome black eyes and a prominent beak…um, nose.

“My word, Mrs. Burke,” I said faintly, “I do hope you have written all this down for me.”

“I hardly have time to do such a thing,” she said, puffing up to her full height. “I am not now and have never been a scribe. Now, the medicinal teas, powders, and cordials are all clearly marked in the cabinet beside the bed. Mrs. Jennings has castor oil every morning first thing, tincture of rhubarb when she is feeling weak, and the spirits of lavender if you suspect she might turn maudlin, which she does from time to time. And…”

I listened in an increasingly weakened state. I had arrived not an hour before this meeting in the kitchen, disheveled and shaken to bits by a journey of three long days across the winter-roughened Great North Road. A hasty wash, a change of clothes and a lie-down of ten minutes were insufficient to restore my wits. As I struggled in vain to understand who Mr. Kelly was and why I should distrust his advice—or worse, why I should never open the door to Mrs. Edmonton—I decided that I would simply have to rely on Mrs. Jennings to guide me; failing that, I could always trust my own good sense and ability to learn.

If you are thinking this does not sound like the most fortuitous beginning to what was meant to be a holiday, Elizabeth confirms your suspicions very shortly with this confession:

Suffice it to say that everything that could have gone wrong, did. Things Mrs. Burke sternly suggested I remember and attend to, I did not; conversely, everything I had been instructed not to do, I did.

***

My hope is that throughout this story set in the village so close to Pemberley, readers encounter the unexpected, and that they find new and interesting facets of Jane Austen’s treasured characters. 

Thanks again for having me and for all you do for the JAFF community.


NEW book blurb

Does it ever stop raining in Lambton?

Darcy and Bingley depart Netherfield Park, leaving Elizabeth Bennet acutely aware of the monotony of her life. Seeking a reprieve, she volunteers to serve as temporary companion to Mrs. Gardiner’s elderly aunt who lives in Lambton. Nothing turns out as Elizabeth expects, and she is forced to dig deep into her reserves of common sense, humor, and stubborn persistence to prove herself equal to the dreary circumstances. 

Initially unaware that Pemberley is only five miles away, Elizabeth crosses paths with Darcy annoyingly often. When the gentleman rescues her from a shocking situation, Elizabeth faces some hard choices, at the same time struggling against the smoldering attraction that can neither be repressed nor fulfilled.

Mr. Darcy, meanwhile, in whose heart a fire has also been lit, is shocked by the lady’s stubborn refusal to accept his help. Alternating between alarm and begrudging admiration, he stands helplessly on the sidelines while she struggles to retain her independence. He, too, must make some hard choices in the end. Will he let her go?

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You can find The Last House in Lambton at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW author bio

In addition to mosaic art, which she creates at Studio Luminaria (her home-based glass shop in El Paso, Texas), Grace enjoys writing Regency romance and Pride and Prejudice variations.

Grace Gibson photo

Contact Info

Facebook 

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There is plenty more to discover about this book, so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

November 7   Babblings of a Bookworm

November 8   My Jane Austen Book Club

November 9   Austenesque Reviews

November 10 From Pemberley to Milton

November 11 My Vices and Weaknesses

November 12 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

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Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook of The Last House in Lambton to one of my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 18th of November. To apply to it, just leave a comment on this post and let us know your opinion of the excerpt 🙂  

The winner will be announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

28 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

A Dutiful Son by Kelly Miller – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m very happy to receive Kelly Miller at From Pemberley today. She is visiting to share with you an excerpt of here recently released A Dutiful Son, and also one of my favourite features, and something I hadn’t seen here for a long while, a character interview 🙂

Don’t you love character interviews? I think they are such an innovative and fun way to let readers know more about a certain book 🙂

I hope you enjoy them, and join me in congratulating Kelly on the release of a new book!

Thank you so much for stopping by Kelly! And thank you Janet for inviting me to be part of this wonderful blog tour 🙂


Thank you so much for hosting me today, Rita! I have an excerpt from Chapter 2 of “A Dutiful Son.” In this scene, Darcy and Georgiana are riding together in Hertfordshire when a figure is seen in the distance. This is in Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view, and the opening dialogue is from Georgiana.

***

Georgiana followed his gaze. “Do you recognise her?”

“Not yet.” The woman strode forward at a brisk pace. Soon enough, her thick mane of black curls—uncovered and…alluring—made her identity clear: Miss Elizabeth. She held a straw bonnet in one hand. Upon entering the path in their direction, she made an abrupt halt. In a hurried motion, she smoothed the bonnet and placed it upon her head, tying the ribbons beneath her chin before she continued.

“It is a dark-haired lady.”

He glanced at Georgiana. “Yes, I believe that is Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Oh, then this is a fine bit of luck.” Georgiana’s voice rose in fervour. “I should be pleased to meet her.”

They stopped their horses within fifteen feet of Miss Elizabeth or, rather—in the absence of her elder sister—Miss Bennet. He bowed. “Good morning, Miss Bennet.”

She curtseyed. “Good morning, Mr. Darcy.”

He and Georgiana dismounted. Darcy held the horses’ reins in one hand and drew his sister forward with the other. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet, I should like to introduce my sister, Miss Georgiana Darcy.”

Miss Elizabeth veered well away from the horses, presenting a warm smile to his sister. “Miss Darcy, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“I am pleased to meet you as well, Miss Bennet. My brother has spoken of you.”

“Oh?” Her dark eyes flitted towards him, and one eyebrow lifted. “I dare not ask what he said.”

Georgiana directed a slight frown his way. “He was most complimentary, I assure you, and it is unusual for him to speak so favourably of a lady he has just met.”

He tensed. Did Georgiana have to be so candid?

“Then your brother exercised an admirable amount of restraint.” Miss Bennet’s lips formed a crooked smile.

“Not at all.” Darcy’s sight travelled from Georgiana, who stared at him with raised brows, to Miss Bennet, whose serene expression betrayed nothing. Still, she must wonder why her name had come up. “Before you arrived, I had been telling my sister about the assembly.”

“Oh, I see. I take it you are not yet out, Miss Darcy.”

“No, I am not.” Georgiana smiled at him. “I often press my brother for details of the functions he attends. I must be a terrible nuisance at such times, but he is generous enough to indulge me.”

“You are never a nuisance,” said Darcy.

“I do not suppose our local ball bore much resemblance to the lavish affairs held in London.” Miss Bennet redirected her bewitching eyes to him.

“No, but I have attended similar functions in Derbyshire where our estate, Pemberley, is located. Country dances differ from balls at Almack’s Assembly Rooms, but I should not have preferred the latter.” Darcy sucked in a shallow breath as Miss Bennet perused his countenance.

“I admit your statement surprises me.” Miss Bennet hesitated as though choosing her words with care. “I…well…I should not have supposed you enjoyed yourself last night.”

His jaw tensed. “Why is that?”

“I do not believe you smiled for the entirety of the evening.”

Darcy pressed his lips together lest he inquire whether she had watched him for the whole of the ball. The notion of her taking a particular interest in him fomented a strange tingling sensation along his back. “Smiling is not as natural to me as it is to many others. Nevertheless, I found the assembly last evening to be a pleasant diversion.”

“Then this is a rare occasion when I am glad to be incorrect.” Miss Bennet’s beaming visage—so unaffected and engaging—inspired a desire to return her smile, but he resisted. Smiles at unmarried ladies could be misunderstood. Her gaze flitted between Georgiana and him. “Did the two of you have a destination in mind?”

“Not at all.” Darcy wrested his view from Miss Bennet to take in the surrounding countryside. “I thought to acquaint myself and my sister with the area. Do you have any recommendations?”

Miss Bennet raised a slender arm to gesture to her right. “The path I came from leads past Lucas Lodge and on to Meryton. If you continue on this path, it will reach the River Lea, a popular destination for fishing. I am bound for Oakham Mount. It is the highest point for miles around and provides a prospect of the valley below. The summit is a thirty-minute walk from here.”

His sister shifted to face him. “May we accompany Miss Bennet to Oakham Mount?”

“Yes, provided the lady does not mind.”

“You are welcome to join me.” Miss Bennet’s smile faded as Regal stepped towards her to reach a patch of grass. She took a backwards step, watching the stallion with narrowed eyes, and braced herself as though expecting an attack. He pulled Regal back.

Miss Bennet’s vision remained riveted on Regal. “The…um…trail is narrow in several places. I should not recommend you attempt it on horseback unless your mounts are calm and sure-footed.”

He brushed a hand over his jaw. Despite the recent and tenuous nature of their acquaintance, Miss Bennet’s palpable fear of horses seemed out of character. At any rate, he would not make her uncomfortable. “Our mounts are accustomed to a wide variety of rugged terrains, but since you are on foot, we shall leave them here.”

She nodded, and her smile returned. Once he had secured Regal and Pansy to a nearby tree, they set off. Georgiana and Miss Bennet walked abreast while he followed.

In a style reminiscent of her spirited exchange with him the night before, Miss Bennet drew his sister into a buoyant conversation, forming an almost instant rapport with her. Georgiana responded with a confidence and familiarity not often seen, even among family.


NEW interview

In my Regency Pride & Prejudice variation, “A Dutiful Son,” I have several original characters. One of them, Mr. Noah Voss, is introduced as the owner of Heather Manor, a Derbyshire estate that neighbours Pemberley. I thought readers might like to get to know him, so the two of us met well before the events in this story, and I asked him a few questions.

KM: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Mr. Voss.

NV: The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Miller. I am pleased to be featured in your upcoming new release, “A Dutiful Son.” This will be the first time I have ever participated in a work of fiction, so I am eager to find out what you have planned for me. What details can you share about the plot and how I fit into the story?

KM: Oh…um…I had expected to be the one asking the questions today, but I understand your curiosity. You will be a possible love interest for the heroine, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. You will meet her through the Darcys.

NV: Indeed? (Mr. Voss’s posture straightens) Please tell me more about Miss Bennet; is she attractive and kind?

KM: Yes, she is amiable, intelligent, and pretty. I think she is charming.

NV: (Mr. Voss grins) From your description, Miss Bennet sounds quite interesting. My mother is eager for me to find a bride. She is more than ready to step aside for a new mistress of our estate. (A gleam flickers within his blue eyes, and he tilts his head.) Hmm, I wonder if Miss Bennet could be that lady. I imagine that any friend of the Darcys must be a lady of quality.

KM: Miss Bennet has many admirable traits.

NV: How big a part shall I have in this story? Am I to be one of the major characters?

KM: You will be more of a supporting character, but you are significant to the plot, and you have one or two scenes that ought to be…memorable.

NV: I see. That sounds promising. Perhaps you will include me in a future book (he leans forward, eyebrows raised).

KM: I have no such plans at present, but anything is possible. Now then, would you please tell me a bit about yourself?

NV:  I should be happy to do so. My full name is Noah Alexander Voss, and I am four and twenty years old. My estate, Heather Manor, is perhaps one-third the size of Pemberley, but our income has increased steadily for the past few years. In addition to our crops, we have cattle and sheep. And last year, I began breeding fine thoroughbred horses and a variety of hunting dogs with great success. I expect the estate to clear four thousand pounds in profits this year.

KM: That is quite impressive. How well do you know the Darcys?

NV: Mr. George Darcy and my late father were close friends, and I have often sought his advice over the years. He is known to be a generous master. (Mr. Voss rubs his chin.)  In fact, if he has a fault, it is a tendency to be overly benevolent. Nevertheless, I respect him very much.

KM: I am sorry for your loss of your father.

NV: (Mr. Voss nods, his expression sombre) Thank you. He passed five years ago, and I miss him every day. As for Fitzwilliam Darcy, he and I have never been close. I should describe him as an acquaintance rather than a friend, but I believe him to be an honourable man.

KM: Why do you suppose the two of you never became friends?

NV: (His brow furrows.) Well, Darcy is several years older than me. He is also a quiet sort and not the easiest person to come to know.

KM: Have you ever met Miss Darcy?

NV: Yes, once years ago at a harvest fair. She was a child at the time.

KM: Thank you so much for answering my questions today.

NV: Well, it has been my pleasure, Mrs. Miller.


NEW book blurb

What will Fitzwilliam Darcy do when his beloved father stands between him and happiness?

Darcy has always emulated his wise and honourable father, George Darcy. But following a sinister act of betrayal by a former family friend, his father rejects his most benevolent principles.

When Georgiana forms a friendship with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy convinces his father to allow the association to continue. However, Elizabeth soon presents a thorny problem: she entices Darcy as no other lady has before, and with his father’s current outlook, he would not approve of her as a daughter-in-law.

Still, Darcy’s problem may resolve in time: his father, after getting to know Elizabeth, is certain to recognise her many admirable qualities and change his mind. But what if he does not?

In this Pride & Prejudice Regency variation, Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught between the influences of love and duty. Which of these will wield the greatest power? 

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You can find A Dutiful Son at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW author bio

Award-winning author Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their pets.

Kelly’s blog page is found at www.kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter handle is @kellyrei007, Instagram: kelly.miller.author, TikTok: @kellymillerauthor, and she is on Facebook: www.facebook.Author.Kelly.Miller

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There is plenty more to discover about this book, so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

October 18 – My Jane Austen Book Club

October 19 – My Vices and Weaknesses

October 20 – From Pemberley to Milton

October 21 – Babblings of a Bookworm

October 24 – Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

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Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook of A Dutiful Son to one of my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 28th of October. To apply to it, just leave a comment on this post and let us know your opinion of the excerpt and interview 🙂  

The winner will be announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

36 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

An Appearance of Goodness by Heather Moll – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very happy to welcome Heather Moll at From Pemberley to Milton once more to open the blog tour of  her recently released An Appearance of Goodness. Earlier this year I read and reviewed An Affectionate Heart that captivated me due to the intensity of the feelings the author was able to transmit, so I am looking forward to read this new book. Looking at the blurb I can tell it is a different type of story, but I believe the writting style will be the same, so the expectation is very high. Have you read any of Ms. Moll’s previous books? What about An Appearance of Goodness, are you as eager to read it as I am?

Thank you so much for visiting once more Heather, it is always a pleasure to have you here!


Thanks for welcoming me back to the blog Rita! I’m here with an excerpt from my romance/mystery An Appearance of Goodness. This scene is from early in the book when Elizabeth and the newly-married Bingleys have arrived at Pemberley the summer after Hunsford. While Darcy had expected the Hursts along with Bingley and his new wife, he hadn’t realized that Elizabeth was included. In this scene, Darcy and Elizabeth have a brief and uncomfortable moment alone right after they’ve arrived.

***

Darcy then realised the housekeeper did not know Elizabeth had arrived. As the others filed out, he gestured the footman by the door to come near. “Find Mrs Reynolds and tell her that another bed must be made up.”

Elizabeth looked miserably wretched, and he felt guilty at being the cause of her pain. Despite what happened at Hunsford, he could not have her think that she was unwelcome in his home. “So long as you do not mind being farther from Mrs Bingley, I shall have one of the principal bedrooms opened and aired in a few minutes. I believe it has a four-poster and new bed curtains. You do not mind that the furniture was not polished this morning? It shall be done tomorrow, of course.”

He stopped his unimportant rambling and felt all the awkwardness of their situation. How could he have imagined when he awoke this morning that he would chance upon being alone with Elizabeth?

After a stretch of silence she said, without looking at him, “A daybed will suffice. Perhaps a sofa in the library.” She tried to smile.

“It is no trouble. Just because you were not expected . . . there is plenty of room.” He turned away to hide a wince. He now sounded boastful, rather than welcoming. How am I to show her that I attended to her reproofs if I say such things?

“Mr Darcy? I am all gratitude to you for your kindness to Jane.” Darcy looked at her, and before he could refute anything remarkable in his notice of her sister, she added, “And your notice of me. You cannot have wanted, let alone expected to find me to be one of the party. I am certain the sight of me must be . . . distressing. What you must have felt when—”

“I assure you I felt only surprise.” She pressed her lips together and looked away. “You—so—your sister said you did not know that you would be staying at Pemberley?”

She shook her head. “Until this morning, I thought we were staying at the home of Mr Utterson, and Jane thought we would be at the home of Mr Balfour.” Elizabeth looked around the room, shaking her head.

“You appear unhappy, Miss Bennet,” he said softly. “I assure you that you are welcome at Pemberley.”

“Thank you,” she murmured.

He was very much concerned with the idea of making her stay at Pemberley a pleasant one. “You are naturally a cheerful person, and I hope that the next fortnight will pass happily for you.”

She tried to brighten, and she finally looked him in the eye. “Yes, I am determined to be happy and cheerful in whatever situation I may be. Happiness or misery depends on our dispositions as well as our circumstances, after all.”

“Misery!” he cried. The idea of staying at Pemberley, at spending a fortnight in my company, makes her miserable? He had thought it was merely overwhelming surprise that caused her distress, that the awkward moment might be passed over and he could be secure in the knowledge that his civility would be noticed, that she might think better of him.

“I, no, I hardly meant . . . I am sorry—”

Mrs Reynolds entered the hall, and Darcy gave her a nod to show that he had seen her. She waited by the door, and he turned back to Elizabeth. It would be a long and difficult fortnight, but he would show her that her admonitions at Hunsford had worked a change. Any other wishes were best to be disregarded.

“Let us hope,” he said so only she could hear, “that since they are not a permanent situation for you, neither my company nor my home should occasion misery to you.”

He bowed and left her to the care of the housekeeper, more wounded than he had a right to feel.

***

It’s an awkward reunion, but things will warm up fast between our favorite couple!


NEW book blurb

Can a Derbyshire meeting lead to love or will Pemberley be plunged into mystery?

In the rainy summer of 1812, Mr Darcy returns to Pemberley with a large party in the hope that coming home will help him recover from his disappointment. He lost Elizabeth Bennet’s good opinion, but Darcy did all he could to rectify his errors. Meanwhile, Elizabeth hopes that travelling with a newly-wed Jane and Bingley will raise her spirits and distract her from thoughts of Darcy.

When a misunderstanding causes the Bingley party and Darcy’s to spend a fortnight together at Pemberley, both Elizabeth and Darcy wonder if the other could love them. When the season’s wet and cold weather causes flooding throughout Derbyshire, Darcy’s attention reluctantly shifts from his guests–and Elizabeth–to managing the tragedy.

But when someone drowns and Darcy refuses to believe their death was an accident from the storm, he and Elizabeth must work together to uncover the truth before his houseguests leave, and before anyone else gets hurt.
◆◆◆
Content note: mature content, mild violence.

HeatherMoll_AnAppearanceOfGoodness

You can find An Appearance of Goodness at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


NEW author bio

Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of An Appearance of Goodness, An Affectionate Heart, Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write.

TMDAN Moll headshot

You can reach her throught the following social media:

Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/29e95d3a1e94/subscribeheathermollauthor

website: heathermollauthor.com
FB: @HeatherMollAuthor
Instagram: @HeatherMollAuthor
Twitter: @HMollAuthor

Book Bub: bookbub.com/authors/heather-moll
Goodreads: goodreads.com/heathermoll
Amazon: author.to/HeatherMollAmazon
Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/heathermollauthor


The blog tour is just getting started so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

Goodness blog tour


To celebrate the blog tour Heather Moll is giving away 1 Signed paperback copy of An Appearance of Goodness; 2 Stickers from Pemberley Papers and 1 Pink Jane Austen notebook.

 The giveaway is worldwide and is open from 10/03/2022 through 10/12/2022. To enter it click on the following link.

Good luck everyone!

Blog Tour FB

39 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Preludes by Riana Everly – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very happy to welcome Riana Everley at From Pemberley to Milton precisely on the release day of her most recent novel, Preludes. This book, which has an incredibly gorgeous cover, is a modernization of Persuasion and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I absolutely love Persuasion and I believe the sub-genre that works best for that book is modernizations, so I am curious to see which was Ms Everly’s approach on this timeless romance.

She brought you all a guest post about movie music, but also an excerpt of the book. I hope you enjoy both 🙂

Thank you so much for choosing From Pemberley to Milton to visit on release day Ms Everly! And best of luck with this new book 🙂 I know I’ll read it as soon as I can 🙂


NEW guest post

Thank you, Rita, for hosting me today. I am particularly thrilled and honoured to be here on release day of my new Austen-inspired novel, Preludes: A Modern Persuasion Improvisation.

This is a modern interpretation of Persuasion, set in my home city of Toronto, Canada, in the world of classical music. I am a musician, and being able to combine music and Austen in one work has been an absolute joy for me.

Anne Elliot and Fred Valore (he’s Italian, so I needed to change Wentworth to something more suitable) were lovers eight years ago, until he went to Europe to further his career. Anne was persuaded to stay home and finish her doctorate in composition, and the breakup was bitter. Now Fred has been appointed principal conductor of the orchestra where Anne has a position, and they have to work together, bringing up all those old memories.

In my novel, Anne is a successful composer whose soundtrack to a hit movie has brought her international fame. I talk a bit about her music, and it led me to think a lot about other movie scores that we’ve all come to know and love over the years. Think about John Williams’ score to Star Wars (yes, you’re hearing that Imperial March in your heads now, aren’t you?), or the love theme from Superman, and you’ll get a sense of how important these soundtracks are. 

I thought, then, that I’d ruminate a little bit on movie soundtracks, looking at the music to some Austen adaptations in particular. I’m not going to analyse these too deeply, but rather, just give some general impressions.

Of the adaptations I looked at for this post, the one with the most “authentic” music is the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice. I am absolutely not going to get into which version is my favourite, but the music for this one definitely has a lot going for it. Dario Marianelli’s beautiful music is quite Mozartian in feel, which is very much in keeping with the late-18th-century/early 19th-century setting for this production.

P&P2005poster

Listen to the selection entitled “Dawn,” which plays in the opening sequence, and you’ll see what I mean. The melody is gorgeous and clear, and the superimposed duplets and triplets (the one-two one-two and one-two-three one-two-three rhythms) bring Haydn and Mozart’s piano pieces to mind.

There is a lot of folk and traditional music in this production as well as what we think of as movie music, with lush orchestrations and sweeping melodies, such as this selection called “Liz on Top of the World.”

One lovely touch in this soundtrack is the piece called “Georgiana,” which is very much the sort of music a talented sixteen-year-old might be playing at musical evenings.

The 1995 BBC six-part miniseries also has some exquisite music, which I can listen to again and again. Carl David’s evocative score brings the music of the later Classical and early Romantic eras to mind, rather than the slightly earlier music of Mozart and Haydn.

The opening sequence, for example, really makes me think of Beethoven’s symphonies. You can hear the horses galloping through the fields, and the horns bring to mind both the outdoors that features so strongly in the adaptation (hunting horns, for example), and Beethoven’s sixth symphony, the Pastoral, composed in 1808.

A stronger musical echo is the theme that gets associated with Darcy. We hear it in the selection called “Elizabeth Observed,” and again in such selections as “Pemberley” and “Darcy’s Second Proposal.” I cannot hear this music without thinking of the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (b.1797), and specifically the slow movement of his String Quintet in C. However, that quintet (possibly the most sublime piece of music I’ve ever heard) wasn’t written until 1828, the last year of Schubert’s too-short life, long after the events of Pride and Prejudice.

Here is “Elizabeth Observed”:


And here is that gorgeous slow movement from Schubert’s piece:

Tell me what you think.

The music for “The Gardiners” is of an older style, harkening back to Mozart of the late 1700s, quite fitting for a middle aged and established couple.

And the music for “Rosings” brings to mind music that is older still. This piece, so ornate and grand, reminds me of nothing as much as the overture to Handel’s Messiah, composed in 1741, in its Anglo-Germanic Baroque glory.

Other Adaptations of Austen’s works have similarly interesting soundtracks. The most recent version of Persuasion, released just a couple of months ago, has a lovely score by Birdy and Stuart Earl. The music, in keeping with the aesthetic of the production, is more modern in feel with a bit of a beat, but still evoking the sounds of the Regency. No matter what people think of the movie itself, the music is very much in line with the artistic vision behind it. Here’s the opening sequence.

Martin Phipps’ score for the 2007 movie of Persuasion is more in keeping with what I think of as Movie Music, but he does bring in a lot of beautiful late classical motives and moments, and while it’s not my favourite adaptation of Persuasion by a long shot, the music is well worth listening to. Here is the opening theme:

Even more interesting is the music for the 1995 version of Persuasion. A great deal of this music is taken directly from the classical (well, Romantic) repertoire, with a great deal of Frédéric Chopin. Again, I am always happy to listen to Chopin, but the brilliant Polish composer and pianist was only born in 1810, which would make him four years old at the time of the action of Persuasion. Still, the music capture the capital-F Feelings of the movie so well. The rolling left hand line of the Prelude Op.28, no.3 is perfect for the ceaseless roll of the ocean that underscores the nautical theme behind this movie.

This is what happens when I start talking about music. I hope you’ll forgive my ramblings, but it is something I am passionate about. I hope that passion comes through in my novel.


Here is an excerpt from Preludes, where Anne and Fred talk about Anne’s movie score. They have been out biking with Sophia and Jeremy Croft, and are chatting over lunch. It is one of the first times they’ve been together since Fred returned from Europe, and emotions are still a bit raw.

***

Then Fred turned to Anne again. “I’ve been following your career, Annie.” He took a bite of the bean and corn salad. That he used the affectionate form of her name was not lost on her, and she wondered if he realised what he had said. “I’ve never told you how much I was blown away by your score for The Butterfly’s Kiss.” He put down his fork to grab a piece of focaccia.

“Oh. Thank you. I didn’t know you’d seen it. You were never much of a movie-goer.” Anne saw Sophia’s eyebrows shoot up towards her hairline, and Jeremy cocked his head. Uh oh. There would be questions later.

“I’m not. But when I heard it was your score, I had to go. Not a bad movie. But the music! I went out and bought the soundtrack and listened again and again, and then I went to see the movie a second time.”

Now his words came more quickly, and his eyes bored into hers. 

“Anne, what you did was genius. Having distinct thematic material for each character or place is lovely, but not new. But what you did next was fantastic. Taking that thematic material and reworking it in different keys and modes to reflect the action was just inspired. Setting the lovers’ themes in counterpoint with a pentatonic scale… well, I was in awe. And to do all of this, keeping it so technically perfect, and still make it sound effortless and natural, and, well, beautiful! I hardly have words.”

Anne suddenly felt very warm. God. She was blushing. She took a bite of the bread in her hand to hide her embarrassment. “Thank you,” she mumbled into her sandwich.

“No, Annie, don’t be coy. Tell us more. I’ve always wanted to pick your brains about how you write, but never felt I should ask. Trade secrets and all, I suppose.” Sophia leaned forward, elbows on the elegant tablecloth, leaning over her glass of iced tea. “I know something about music, but I thought it would all go right over my head. But if you tell Fred, I’ll probably understand enough that it will make sense to me, without turning you into a kindergarten teacher. Please. I’m really interested.”

Jeremy also sat forward, his eyes eager. As the president of the orchestra’s board of directors, he had more than a passing knowledge of music. He was here as a friend and was one of her biggest fans already, but it could never hurt to talk to him more about her technique and ideas. Her tenure as composer-in-residence was only for three years, after all, and then she would be out looking for more commissions. She would need all the cheerleaders and contacts she could find, and she would have to get used to talking about her art. Here was as good a place to start as any.

So she poured herself another glass of lemonade and took a bite of the warm focaccia and began to talk.

By the time she had finished, the salad and sandwiches were long gone, and had been replaced by warm apple pie topped with cold ice cream. And yes, there was coffee. Fred leaned forward, nodding and murmuring his approval or agreement at various comments, and Jeremy and Sophia sat with amazed grins on their faces. Anne broke off her monologue and gaped at her friends.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t realise I had that much to say. It… it must have been a bit much. I forget, sometimes, how much I work in my own head and how my thoughts don’t always translate well into words.”

“On the contrary, dear,” Sophia licked some ice cream off her spoon, “it translated incredibly well. I had only thought of your music as interesting and pretty—”

“Which really should be enough to keep a listener happy,” Jeremy added.

“—but now I see something about how it’s constructed. It’s like a building, I suppose. We see the facade and the paint and decorations, but never think about all the stuff going on underneath that keeps the stairs in place and lets the light in. Or a painting, which is as much the science of mixing colour as it is the art of a pretty picture.”

“You should write a book, Anne.” Fred looked quite serious. “You have described some of the techniques of composition exceedingly well. Others could learn a lot from you.”

“I did.” It came out as a mumble.

“‘Scuse me?” Jeremy asked.

“I did. I did write a book. My doctoral thesis. Part of it was the composition itself, part was an analysis of my work, and part was a treatise on composition as an art form.”

Fred’s demeanour went cold again. “Right. The thesis. Of course. You must be very pleased you stayed to finish it. Well,” he rose from his cushioned bench, “I think it’s time to get back on our bikes and return to the car. We don’t want to get caught in too much traffic on the drive back to the city.”

If he had slammed the door in Anne’s face, his import could not have been clearer. Another layer of bricks went up around the damage that was Anne’s soul.


NEW book blurb

A heartfelt and absorbing modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Eight years of heartache…

Anne Elliot is a successful composer, a shining light in the world of music. But her heart still aches for the man who left her eight years ago when she was persuaded to put her career above her heart.

Eight years of anger…

Fred Valore has found fame and glory as a brilliant orchestra conductor. He has studied in Europe, travelled the world, but cannot forget how Anne rejected him eight years ago. And now he’s coming home.

Suddenly, Fred and Anne are living in the same city again, and forced to work with each other. Old feelings are hard to ignore, but now Fred is waltzing about town with an attractive musician, and Anne has caught the eye of a handsome businessman.

When a whirlwind of misunderstandings gets in the way of a tentative reconnection, is their long-lost love doomed to remain a thing of the past? Or can they somehow find a path back to each other to make beautiful music once again?

~ ~ ~

Set in the vibrant and arts-loving city of Toronto, Canada, Preludes is perfect for Austenites and Contemporary Romance lovers alike.

Preludes 1

You can find Preludes at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


NEW author bio

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

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

You can contact her through the following media:

Website: https://rianaeverly.com/

Blog: https://rianaeverly.com/blog/ 

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/RianaEverly 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Riana-Everly/e/B076C6HY27


Riana Everly is offering a gift copy of the eBook of Preludes, selected randomly from people who comment on this post within five days of it going live. For September 29, then, she’ll take posts up to midnight EST (North America) on October 3.

If you wish to participate, please make sure we have a way to contact you if you win.

She will give away one copy at each blog she visits until October 31, but she does not have all her blog tour dates yet. Keep an eye out on her Facebook page for where she’s stopping next!


30 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you this week? Mine has been quite busy and I cannot wait for the weekend to come!

But today, I am very happy to welcome author MJ Stratton to From Pemberley to Milton. It is the authors first visit to this blog and she brought with her an excerpt of her debut book: The Redemption of Lydia Wickham. I was super excited when she contacted me because I have been reading more and more secondary characters novels, and I think there is much to explore in Lydia. This particular premise sounds really interesting because I don’t think we’ll encounter an annoying Lydia, but a more mature version of herself, someone who has learned from her mistakes and from what life has offered her. That is also visible in the excerpt that made me really want to read this book! I’m adding it to the TBR and you should expect a review soon 🙂 In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the excerpt and apply to the giveaway.

Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Stratton, I wish you all the best with this book, and may this be the beginning of a long writing career with many visits to From Pemberley to Milton. 😊


Newcastle, August 30, 1816

After the long journey north, Elizabeth Darcy and her husband wished for nothing more than a hot bath and a comfortable bed to sleep in. Their carriage stopped at The Great Northern Inn, where they requested accommodations. It was much too late to call on her sister, and so the two settled into their room for the night.

Elizabeth tossed and turned, unable to sleep for worry. Ever since her father’s letter had arrived, she had imagined many scenarios in which they would find Lydia. Each one became worse and worse in her mind until finally, she could rest no longer. She stood up and paced the room. Her mind turned to the revelations her husband had imparted to her on their journey.

“Your sister is not destitute, Elizabeth. It is not possible!” Darcy said.

“Fitzwilliam, do be serious. I know you provided Lydia with a handsome dowry, but you can hardly expect one such as Wickham to be prudent with it,” she replied.

“You fail to understand me, my dear. You have never asked for the particulars of the arrangement and so I have never provided them. Wickham never received access to the entirety of the 10,000 pounds. He received only the interest. That, combined with the 100 pounds per annum given by your father should have given them some 600 a year to live on.”

Elizabeth stared at her husband in shock. “How ever did you manage to get that scoundrel to agree to such terms?” she cried.

“You forget my dear, that I held markers for a number of Wickham’s debts. During negotiations, I gave him a choice: Either he accepted the terms I set down, or face the prospect of debtor’s prison. I held enough of his debts to see him incarcerated for over 20 years. As you can imagine, he accepted my terms; 500 pounds of interest per year in addition to the 100 per annum from your father. His debts would be taken care of in Brighton and Meryton, and I would purchase his commission in the regulars. The papers were signed and witnessed by myself and Richard. Wickham was given a copy. You must also not forget his officer’s pay. Truly, your sister should be living comfortably on nearly 800 pounds per annum.”

“This information turns an already puzzling situation into an even greater mystery! Truly, I wonder what we shall find in Newcastle.”

“Elizabeth?” Darcy’s tired voice sounded from the bed. “Whatever are you doing, pacing about the room in such a manner?”

Elizabeth walked back to the bed and sat down. “I am sorry, my dear. I cannot sleep for worry about my sister. Though we were never close, she is my little sister and I am frightened for her welfare.”

Her husband pulled her close before covering them both once more with the blankets. “I know you are concerned, but fretting all night will not hurry the morning. Let me help.” Darcy massaged his wife’s shoulders until he felt her relax. Pulling her to his chest, he breathed in the scent of her hair before closing his eyes. His now sleeping wife breathed quietly beside him and he soon joined her in peaceful slumber.

The next morning, the Darcys left the inn in their carriage and traveled to the address on Lydia’s letter. They stared in shock as the carriage stopped outside a small house at the end of a busy residential street. This was by no means the townhouse Lydia had described in her letters. Indeed, such a house could not be found in this part of town. Clearly, these homes belonged to the working class citizens. Dirty children ran and screamed through the streets. There were all manner of animals wandering around and the noise was deafening.

“This cannot possibly be the correct address!” cried Elizabeth. People were staring curiously at the fancy carriage that had stopped in the street and their looks were making Elizabeth nervous.

“It is correct, my dear,” said Darcy. “It would appear our suspicions were justified. Let us see what we can learn.” The couple exited the carriage and asked their driver to wait for further instructions before knocking on the faded white door of the house at the end of the row.

Lydia had just finished scrubbing her dishes when a knock came at the door. She removed her apron and tried to straighten her hair to cover the scar at her temple before she answered the knock. The smile on her face froze when she saw who was standing on her doorstep. Wordlessly, she stepped aside and allowed her sister and brother-in-law to enter.

She walked into her parlor and indicated that her guests should be seated. She sat in her favorite chair with her back straight and her chin up. Though she was mortified to see her sister and embarrassed at the thought of them disdaining their surroundings, she hid it. She took a moment to collect herself before speaking.

“Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, what a surprise! I was not expecting visitors this day.” Elizabeth said nothing but stared at her sister. The questions crossed her face before she looked at her husband. Sensing some unspoken signal, Darcy stood and excused himself to see to the carriage.

The two sisters sat in silence for some time before Lydia spoke. “Why are you here, Elizabeth?’  she asked in a soft voice.

Elizabeth’s mouth opened in shock. Clearly, Lydia did not entirely welcome the Darcys’ presence. The question was posed so honestly that Elizabeth had no choice but to believe that her sister was truly puzzled at their arrival. She chose her words carefully before speaking.

“Papa received your letter and was concerned for your well-being. Since Derbyshire is so much closer than Hertfordshire, Fitzwilliam and I volunteered to check in on you.”

Elizabeth started as Lydia laughed outright. “Do not take me for a fool, sister.” The bitterness in Lydia’s voice shocked Elizabeth. “I can well imagine what my father’s letter said,” she continued. “‘Oh Elizabeth, do check in on your silly, widowed sister. I cannot have my grandchild being raised wild.’” Elizabeth’s cheeks flushed at the accuracy with which her sister predicted their father’s words. Lydia stood up and walked to the window before turning around to face her sister. “As you can see, I am well, and there is no reason for worry. Consider your errand complete.”

Elizabeth stood up, shocked that her sister was dismissing her so easily. “And is this all the reply I am to expect? You are my sister and I have spent the last days of our journey here immensely worried about you! I cannot imagine losing my husband, but to lose a husband while expecting a child? We have all been terribly concerned!”

“Concerned for me or for my unborn child? Admit it, father seeks to insure the safety of his grandchild and could not care a fig for his youngest daughter. I confess, I deserve such treatment for the heartache I have caused my family, but this baby is mine! I am working so hard so that my baby might be provided for when he or she arrives, and you all seek to take that from me! I will finally have someone who loves me unconditionally and someone who I can lavish all my love and concern on. But it would seem I cannot even have that.”

Elizabeth stared at her. This was not the sister she remembered. This was a young woman who knew herself and knew her family as well. There was no doubt in her mind that Lydia spoke accurately in regards to their father and his concerns. But it was all so confusing. Armed with the knowledge Darcy had imparted on their journey, Elizabeth could not understand how her sister was in the state she was in. The principle from the 10,000 pounds had remained untouched and was to be settled on Lydia in the event of Wickham’s death, to be used for her support or for their children as they came of age. Her sister should have been living quite comfortably on the 600 pounds per annum interest. Despite that information, here was Lydia, living in a small, albeit clean home in the poorest part of town, making assertions that she was working to provide for her child.

“Lydia,” she tentatively began, “Why would you write the things you did in your letters to Mama? I cannot understand…”

Lydia held up her hand to quiet her sister before sighing. “I could not very well complain about my situation when all of this is a result of my own foolishness, now could I?” Elizabeth waited patiently for her to go on, so she continued.

“I hadn’t been married a year before my husband“ – her face twisted at the word – “showed me and all of Newcastle his true colors. I have been ostracized almost from the beginning by the other officers’ wives and our income is so small that we were forced to live with no servants in this tiny home. I’ve made do with what little I had; I learned to cook, I started a garden, and most surprisingly to you, perhaps, I began to economize. Despite all that, after Wickham died, I found myself in need of more than what the army was providing me quarterly. I do not know what percentage of our income Wickham was providing for the household expenses, and he did not leave any instructions regarding his finances should the worst happen. He had no will that I know of, and given the penury we lived in, I could scarce imagine that he would retain a man of business that could answer my questions. I needed a way to provide for myself, and so I found one.”

Holding up the pelisse she had been embroidering, she described to her sister the work she was doing to help provide for her family. Putting it back in the basket, she turned to her sister. “I finally saved enough to buy material for a new dress. Do you know the last time I had a new dress, Elizabeth?” Her sister shook her head silently. “It was before I went to Brighton. But this dress I love more than any of those others, because I earned it. So you see, Elizabeth, your silly youngest sister has grown up.”

Elizabeth was speechless. Lydia had indeed grown up. Gone was the girl who flirted with officers and talked of nothing but dresses and bonnets and lace. The young woman before her showed many signs of maturity. There were fine lines by her eyes from squinting in the candlelight and her hands were rough and worn from the manual labor she did daily. Her hair was tied in an untidy knot at the base of her neck and it was clear that there were no pins helping to hold it in place.

Lizzy was startled when she realized this Lydia was reminiscent of none other than Elizabeth Bennet at the same age. Clearly they had the same stubborn streak and even their looks were similar. Lydia had the same dark, curly hair and the same eyes, though they were a deep blue rather than dark. She was taller than her older sister too. Tears pricked her eyes and she crossed the room and wrapped her arms around her sister. Lydia stiffened in her arms before relaxing. Lizzy patted her back as she realized her little sister was crying softly.

It was in this position that Darcy found his wife upon his return from instructing his driver to park the carriage down the street. He caught his wife’s eye as she stood up and led her sister from the room. Once Lydia was resting in the bedroom, Lizzy returned to the parlor and related all she had learned to her husband.

Darcy paced the room in agitation as his wife spoke. “Curse the blackguard for his wicked ways!” he cried at the close of her recital. Darcy ceased his pacing as he felt his wife’s hand on his arm.

“Truly things are much different than we imagined them to be,” Elizabeth said. “Lydia has grown up. She has learned so much through her trials and has no idea that she is now a rich widow. I can only imagine that Wickham told her nothing of the agreement you had with him and provided her with funds for only what is necessary. I would guess she has lived on no more than the 100 pounds per annum allotted by my father these last years.”

Darcy nodded his head in agreement. “The question I must ask you, Elizabeth, is this: should your sister be made aware of her change in circumstances? Do you believe she has grown up enough to handle such information?”

Elizabeth was nodding before he had even finished. “I do not even recognize her as the sister I once knew. She has changed remarkably and I believe she deserves to know her own situation, especially as the information has been denied her until now.”

Darcy nodded his head in agreement. “Wickham must have papers stored somewhere in this house. When your sister wakes, we will discuss it with her.”

The next hour was spent in discussion. Darcy and Elizabeth decided between themselves the best way to tell Lydia of her change in fortunes and how best to explain the proposal they had for her. They marveled at how much they had learned and the day was not yet half over.


NEW book blurb

I may not be the most book-learned girl in the country, but I would like to think that I am wiser than I was, and much less silly.

Lydia Wickham used to think herself rather clever, having caught a handsome man and being the first to marry of her sisters. Soon, however, she finds herself trapped in a marriage to a man who is not what she thought him to be. Her pride keeps her from revealing her plight to her sisters and family, suffering in silence for years.

Unexpectedly, Lydia is freed from her marriage and begins life away from her misery in Newcastle. The changes in her are apparent to most, but there are those that resist seeing her for who she is and not who she was. As Lydia seeks to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become, she reunites with her loved ones and makes many friends along the way. But will Lydia get what she always wanted? Will she have what her sisters have, that which she craves desperately? Will Lydia Wickham find love of her own?

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is a full length novel centered on the idea that even a foolish 16 year old girl can grow up and become wiser.

Warning: this book contains brief, non-graphic mentions of spousal abuse and assault

You can find The Redemption of Lydia Wickham at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


MJ Stratton is giving away 3 eBook copy of The Redemption of Lydia Wickham. The giveaway is open until September 6th and to enter it all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us your thoughts about this story and click on the following link.

Good luck everyone!

10 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix by Lari Ann O’Dell – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very happy to welcome Lari Ann O’Dell at from Pemberley to Milton once more to share with all of you an excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix. This book has fantasy flavor to it, so I hope you like the subgenre, it appears to be growing doesn’t it? I hope you all like what Ms. O’Dell decided to share with you, and don’t forget to apply to the giveaway for a chance to win this book 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting once more Ms. O’Dell and thank you for organizing the tour Janet!


I’m so glad to be back at From Pemberley to Milton to talk about my new fantasy Pride & Prejudice variation, Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix.

One of my favorite things about writing variations is adapting the scenes from the original novel. When I started writing Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix, I started to think about which scenes I wanted to adapt and where I wanted to deviate from Jane Austen’s masterpiece.

What changes characters have magic? In this variation, Mr. Darcy is a powerful fire mage, he has a phoenix familiar named Dante, and he is master of Pemberley, which serves as a conservatory for magical creatures. He has a lot to be proud of. 

Elizabeth Bennet does have magical powers, but in the beginning of the book it does not appear that she has a water, nature, or fire affinity. She was educated at a prominent Seminary of Magic in London, and is considered to be very accomplished in Meryton.

One of my favorite early scenes in Pride & Prejudice takes place while Elizabeth and Jane are staying at Netherfield. It is the scene when the characters are discussing what makes an accomplished lady. 

In this scene, Mr. Darcy pays a compliment to Elizabeth when Caroline Bingley is trying to disparage her connections and accomplishments.

 

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

Elizabeth doesn’t quite catch his meaning, and still thinks he only looks upon her to find fault. 

I knew I wanted to include this scene, but how was I going to adapt it to fit within the magical world of this variation? Along with the traditional ladylike accomplishments, I had to add magical ones such as being educated at a Seminary of Magic and excelling at spell work. Being in possession of an elemental affinity would have been added to Caroline Bingley’s list, but as she does not have one herself, she did not want to mention it, as it would make her seem less accomplished. 

Again, Mr. Darcy pays Elizabeth a compliment, this time citing both love of extensive reading and an appreciation for magical creatures and fay folk, and she still doesn’t take it seriously. But the big magical twist on this scene is that Caroline Bingley is sort of punished for her diatribe. Her napkin catches fire and Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is also staying at Netherfield, must use his water magic to douse the flames. But who caused the napkin to ignite; Mr. Darcy, the known fire mage, or someone else?

And now I will share the scene. I hope you enjoy how I adapted it!

***

After dinner that evening, Elizabeth declined to join the Bingleys and Hursts in a game of cards. Mr. Darcy sat writing a letter and consulting some matter with Colonel Fitzwilliam. Elizabeth had a volume on magical aquatic creatures from her father’s library and settled into an armchair to peruse it.

“I say, Miss Elizabeth, why should you choose a book over a game of cards?” Mr. Hurst boomed. Elizabeth looked up, surprised to be addressed by the portly gentleman who had hardly bothered to say more than two words to her since the evening she had arrived at Netherfield.

Miss Bingley laughed. “My dear brother, Miss Eliza hates cards and prefers reading to all else, and it is not even a novel she has, but a musty old tome. Surely she is too much of a bluestocking to tolerate our conversation.”

Had Elizabeth cared for Miss Bingley’s opinion, she might have been offended. As it was, the detailed sightings of kelpies across England and Scotland were far more interesting than anything Miss Bingley might have to say. Still, Elizabeth could not allow a slight to go unanswered. “I deserve neither such praise nor such censure, Miss Bingley. I do not hate cards, and I take pleasure in a great many things, but I would not wish to spoil your even numbers. A fifth card player always crowds the rest.”

The others at the card table seemed to accept that answer, but Miss Bingley’s lip curled. It was then that Elizabeth noticed the conversation had caught Mr. Darcy’s attention. He glanced up from his letter. 

Miss Bingley seized on the opportunity to engage the gentleman’s attention. “Are you writing to dear Miss Darcy? Pray give her my compliments. I was just recounting to my sister that Miss Darcy had achieved full marks on her spell casting. I have never seen such talent in one so young, and her water magic is unmatched by any lady of our acquaintance!”

“I will pass along your compliments in my next letter,” Mr. Darcy said. “I have just finished the salutation, and I am sure I could not give your well wishes their due in a postscript.”

Elizabeth was surprised to hear such a remark from Mr. Darcy. Apparently he was in possession of dry humor, even if it was very slight. 

Miss Bingley did not seem to catch the sarcasm of his comment. “You are such a faithful correspondent, Mr. Darcy. Miss Darcy is very fortunate to have such a devoted brother. But I have always said that she is one of the finest young ladies of my acquaintance, and she is sure to take society by storm when she makes her debut.”

Mr. Darcy made no response.

“Charles, surely you must declare that Miss Darcy is in possession of all the finest accomplishments.”

Mr. Bingley appeared surprised to be drawn in to such a conversation. “I have yet to meet a young lady who is not called accomplished by society. It amazes me that they can have the patience to be as accomplished as they all are.”

Miss Bingley scoffed. “You cannot not believe that all ladies are accomplished!”

“They paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. They practice spell work. They sing, dance, and play for hours.”

Here, Mr. Darcy spoke, “Your list is comprised of common accomplishments, but it is lacking. The word is applied far too liberally. I cannot think of half a dozen ladies who I would call truly accomplished.”

Miss Bingley seized on the opportunity to agree with Mr. Darcy with great alacrity. “Indeed, you are correct Mr. Darcy. To be truly accomplished, a young lady must have been educated at a seminary of magic and excel at spell casting. If she is not blessed with magic, she must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, dancing, drawing, and the modern languages to deserve the word. And she must have an elegance of manner and must not gallivant through the standing stones, or the word will be half deserved.”

Elizabeth raised her eyes to Miss Bingley and longed to make a retort, but she would not allow the lady to bait her. Dante, however, ruffled his feathers in annoyance and cast a baleful look at Miss Bingley.

“To all this, she must add something more substantial,” Mr. Darcy said, “the improvement of her mind by extensive reading, and an appreciation of the magical world we inhabit. I could not call a lady accomplished who did not have an appreciation for the fay folk and the many magical creatures that reside in England.”

“Very well spoken indeed,” Colonel Fitzwilliam cried. “There are some in society that hold a disdain for the fay. I have met ladies who hold elves, nymphs, brownies, and all the rest in disdain, never realizing that the great households would not exist without the help of the fay folk.”

Miss Bingley frowned. “We must give the fay folk their due,” she admitted, albeit halfheartedly. “But I cannot declare that I have met anyone in Hertfordshire who deserves the word in the truest sense.”

Elizabeth kept herself from rolling her eyes at the comment, but only just. 

“Caroline, you are too severe upon your own sex,” Mr. Bingley said. “The ladies of the neighborhood are utterly charming and admirably accomplished.”

“I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, Charles. Surely, Mr. Darcy agrees with me.”

Mr. Darcy frowned, and Elizabeth watched in fascination as his hands clenched around the edge of the writing desk. Then, Mr. Hurst’s drunken voice mingled with a loud shriek, “Caroline, your napkin!”

And indeed, the cloth napkin had caught fire. Miss Bingley jumped from her seat and threw the cloth to the floor.

Colonel Fitzwilliam reacted quickly, waving his hand and summoning water to douse the flames. Elizabeth watched the scene with horrified fascination and a small touch of guilt. She thought of the incident at Longbourn, and of the boiling tea at Rose Cottage. Was this her doing? 

Her heart was gripped with a fierce anxiety. If she was somehow becoming a fire mage, she needed to know, so she could learn to control it. 

When the commotion died down, Elizabeth glanced back at the desk, only to find that Mr. Darcy had left the room.


NEW book blurb

A phoenix brings them together. Will a curse keep them apart? 

When the hauntingly beautiful song of a phoenix lures Elizabeth Bennet to the Netherfield gardens, she has a vision of an unknown gentleman. He whispers her name with such tenderness that she wonders if this man is her match. Unfortunately, her gift of prophecy has never been exactly reliable. 

Mr. Darcy is a celebrated fire mage, the master of Pemberley, and the man from her vision. But he is not tender; he is haughty, proud, and high-handed. His insult of her during the Summer Solstice celebration makes her determined to dislike him in spite of her love for Dante, his phoenix familiar. 

After Mr. Darcy is called away by his duties, Elizabeth’s magic runs wild, and it is only their reunion at Rosings that offers her any hope of controlling it. They are drawn together by their love of magical creatures and their affinity for fire. But Elizabeth soon has another vision about Mr. Darcy, one that may portend a grave danger to his life. 

Can Darcy and Elizabeth overcome misunderstandings, curses, and even fate itself?

Mr Darcy's Phoenix Cover LARGE EBOOK

You can find Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW author bio

Lari Ann O’Dell first discovered her love of Pride & Prejudice when she was eighteen. After reading a Pride & Prejudice variation she found in a closing sale at a bookstore, she said, “This is what I want to do.” She published her first novel, Mr. Darcy’s Kiss, two years later.

Born and raised in Colorado, she attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing. After graduating college, she wrote and published her second novel, Mr. Darcy’s Ship. Her third novel, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, is her first supernatural variation, and she is working on two more fantasy variations. She is now back at school and pursuing a degree in Nursing. She adores her three beautiful nephews, Hudson, Dean, and Calvin. She enjoys reading, singing, and writes whenever she can. 

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There is plenty more to discover about this book, so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

August 18 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

August 19 Austenesque Reviews

August 22 Babblings of a Bookworm

August 23 My Jane Austen Book Club

August 25 From Pemberley to Milton

August 26 My Vices and Weaknesses

August 30 Savvy Verse and Wit


Lari O’Dell is giving away 4 eBook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix. The giveaway is worldwide and will end at midnight central time, September 1st. To enter it click on the following link.

Good luck everyone!

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12 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am bringing you news about a different type of book. Instead of the usual Austenesque story, today we are sharing an excerpt of Big Swamp, a mystery set in southern USA, written by Kelly Dean Jolley and published by Meryton Press. This book caught my attention because of its setting as I am imagining it to be a dark small town mystery full of interesting characters whose lives I will love to follow. I have added it to my TBR and thought that even if this is not a JAFF book, you might be interested because it is published by Meryton Press, and well…the blurb does sound really good! And let’s not talk about the cover which is gorgeous!

Do you read other genres apart from JAFF? And if you do, are mysteries your thing? Let us know in the comments as you apply to the generous giveaway Meryton Press is offering. Thank you for visiting Mr. Jolley, I hope this is the first of many visits. 😊


Entering Ford’s BBQ in the summertime resembles descending into Plato’s Cave, if the fire in Plato’s Cave were used to cook BBQ. It’s dark inside; they keep the blinds closed in the summer, proof against the heat, and the scent of BBQ not only fills the air, but it has sunk deeply into the walls, the booths.

Talbot once remarked that a sliver of the paneled walls would taste like chipped pork.

There’s a regular menu on one side of the seating area and a list of specials on the facing side. A line, always there near lunchtime, runs behind the first set of booths and turns left tocontinue between the first and second set. A few moments inside add cold to dark. I’ve never quite figured out how they manage to keep it so cold with the pit fire going constantly: air conditioning in the Inferno.

We join the line—it’s not too long—and Rachel gawks around. “Wow,” she whispers, leaning close to me, the light scent of her fruity shampoo contrasting with the heavy tang of the pork, “this is the South.” I nod.

The roomful of trucker caps and sleeveless shirts turns to stare at Rachel, a blue-eyed, blonde, blue-state beauty standing in a red-state, red-meat stronghold. Rachel notices the stares. “Do you think it’s my shirt?”

I laugh noiselessly. “Sort of.”

She looks down at the logo again and then back up at me. She blushes deeply enough for me to see it in the darkened room. “Oh.”

The stares finally die down. I order my usual chipped pork sandwich with plain potato chips when we finally reach the counter. Rachel asks the waitress to make it two. The clerk looks at Rachel, and the waitress’s face mixes sudden admiration, annoyance, and envy.

We take our receipt to a booth in the corner and sit down, Rachel across from me. I reach up and crack the blind, and streaks of sunlight decorate our table.

Rachel sighs. “This is nice.”

“Even in the shooting gallery?”

It takes her a minute to understand that I mean the stares and glances down again. She shrugs. “You get used to it.”

I raise an eyebrow. “You do. I’ve never known the struggle.”

She laughs quietly. “That’s because women stare more artfully.”

Chuckling, I ask: “‘Artfully’?

She grins. “I have spoken.”

So she has.

There’s a pause in our conversation, and the waitress calls out our order number. I get up and get it, stopping at the corner of the front counter to fill two Styrofoam cups with sweet tea.

I bring the tray to the table, and Rachel takes her share. She unwraps the sandwich and delicately lifts the top bun, looking under it. “Did I order the pickles and the slaw?”

“It comes on the sandwich. You have to not-order it.”

She nods and drops the bun. She lifts the sandwich to her mouth. I expect her to take an exploratory bite, but she dives into the sandwich, a mouthful. When she realizes I am watching, she puts her hand in front of her mouth. After a minute, her hand still in front of her mouth, her eyes wide, she says. “You were right. My Ford’s delicious. So, so good.”

Pleased, I unwrap mine and start to eat too.


NEW book blurb

A Private Eye in a One-Eyed Place?

Ford Merrick is a softhearted detective in a sleepy southern town, Opelika, Alabama—a “one-eyed, blinking sort of place.” A provoking visit from beautiful Rachel Gunner complicates his work and his life. This stunning woman asks Ford to tail her uncle and discover what he is up to. Taking the case, Ford quickly finds himself swamped in mysteries: Who is Rachel’s uncle, and what is his secret business? Then there’s the mystery of an earlier death at Noble Hall where Rachel and her uncle now live. But the greatest mystery may be Rachel Gunner herself. Mired, Ford struggles to find his way, unearths tragedies old and new, and exposes his heart to a hard test.

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You can find A Big Swamp at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW author bio

Kelly Dean Jolley is the Goodwin Philpott Endowed Chair of Religion and Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University.  He lives in Auburn with his wife, Shanna, two dogs, two cats, too many books, and a collection of manual typewriters.  Beyond his academic publications, he has also published a book of poetry, Stony Lonesome.

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Facebook Author Page

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There is plenty more to discover about this book, so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

August 14 That’s What I’m Talking About 

August 16 My Vices and Weaknesses 

August 18 From Pemberley to Milton 

August 22 Elza Reads 

August 23 So Little time…

August 24 The Reading Frenzy 

August 26 Meryton Press Blog

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Meryton Press is giving away six eBook copies of Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends August 29th at 12:00 AM Central Time. To apply to it, click on the following link

Good luck everyone!

15 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

A Season of Magic by Sarah Courtney – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very happy to welcome Sarah Courtney at from Pemberley to Milton to share with all of you an excerpt of A Season of Magic. Ms. Courtney’s last visit was one year ago, and at the time I had the pleasure to interview her and discover she has a particular soft spot for fantasy, so this book comes as no surprise. What about you? Do you like fantasy romances? Which type of fantasy do you like the most? If magic and powerful mages is your thing, you may like this one 😉

But I’ll let you read the excerpt so you can tell us what you think of it.

Thank you so much for visiting once more Ms. Courtney and thank you for organizing the tour Janet!


Thanks so much for having me on From Pemberley to Milton! I’m so happy to share my newest book with you today, a fantasy variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice called A Season of Magic.

In this fantastical world based on Regency England, elemental mages have both control over an element—fire, wind, water, or earth—as well as an individual talent. Elizabeth Bennet loves her element of fire, but she has also spent her whole life working with metal, which she can shape and manipulate without needing heat or tools. When she is finally permitted to attend the magical university, the Season, she will need both of her abilities as well as her own wit and determination to survive it.

You would think Elizabeth has enough to contend with. She and Jane are alone in the world, the children of notorious magical murderers. Her teachers dislike her and would love to see her fail. And Lord Matlock’s nephew, Mr. Darcy, can’t seem to keep his eyes off her. She knows he is probably reporting her every move back to his uncle and the Mage Council.

But on top of all that, Miss Lucy Steele and Miss Caroline Bingley see her as an easy target. The Season isn’t just a university for magic, after all—it’s also where most elemental mages meet their future spouses. Whether it’s out of anger for what her parents have done, or whether it’s truly because they see her as competition, their little pranks are a constant annoyance. Miss Bingley’s ability to manipulate fabrics is a constant threat to Elizabeth’s limited wardrobe.

***

“Miss Bennet,” she said with a sneer, “while you may have nothing better to do than to pour over your books day and night, you may wish to see to it that you do not create enemies in the process.”

“Oh, I apologise,” Elizabeth said with false contriteness. “For some reason I was thinking that we were here to learn about magic.”

“How to use our elements, yes,” Miss Bingley hissed. “It is not as though history will be of any use. You had best be careful. You would not want to be thought a bluestocking.” Her eyes flickered downwards for a moment, and there was a gleam in them when she again met Elizabeth’s eye. “Or some country girl raised by foster parents who has never had a proper dress fitting in London.”

Suspicious, Elizabeth looked down. Her dress was no longer the simple green calico she had donned that morning. The green was light, almost grey, as if it had faded. The dress sagged at the waist and shoulders as if it had been made for someone larger and clumsily altered to fit.

“Goodness, does your maid not have time to alter your clothing, Miss Bennet?” Miss Bingley taunted. “It is just too, too bad. I suppose it takes her so long to remove the mud from your gowns and make you presentable that there simply is not enough time for adjustments.”

Elizabeth clenched her fists as she felt her face heat. “I warned you,” she said, controlling her fury.

Miss Bingley squealed and jumped back as her necklace fell from her neck and poured itself onto the floor in a little puddle of melted silver, the small emerald floating rather pathetically on top.

“My necklace!” Miss Bingley cried. “That was a gift from my brother!”

Elizabeth wondered what Mr. Bingley would think of the fate of his gift. “And I created many such necklaces to earn enough for my gown.” There was no point in hiding her metalwork or her connections to trade, as Miss Bingley already knew all about it. “If you are going to destroy someone else’s belongings, you had best look to your own.”

“How dare you!” Miss Bingley’s face was almost purple. She took a quick step towards Elizabeth, hand raised.

Elizabeth stumbled backwards when a man appeared behind Miss Bingley and grabbed the woman’s extended wrist. It was Mr. Darcy. He must have been watching them from the shadows.

“Miss Bingley,” he said firmly, using his hold on her wrist to place it on his arm. “Would you do me the honour of walking with me to ethics class?”

Miss Bingley gaped, her mouth opening and closing a few times before she snapped it shut. “Very well,” she said after a moment. Her eyes blazed at Elizabeth as she turned to go. “Clean up that mess, girl,” she called back just before they turned down the next passage and out of sight.

Elizabeth held out her hand. The metal leaped into her palm, and she stroked it with her finger, guiding it back into the shape of the necklace as it had been before as best as Elizabeth could remember of it. She had to bend down to pick up the emerald, as her metal powers did not affect gems, but she placed it into its original spot in the necklace before hardening the surrounding metal.

Perhaps she would leave it on Miss Bingley’s desk the next chance she got. Perhaps.

Or perhaps not.


NEW book blurb

Everyone knows Elizabeth and Jane’s parents were magical murderers. But blood isn’t everything.

When the girls are forced to reveal their elemental magic, it does not matter to the Mage Council that they did so only to save lives. Their parents were traitors, and the entire magical community is simply waiting for them to descend into evil themselves.

The Council reluctantly admits Elizabeth to the magical university (and unofficial marriage market) called The Season, where she will learn how to control her powers. If she can keep her head down and avoid drawing any untoward notice, she might be able to graduate and finally be accepted as a fire mage.

But fading into the background will be difficult. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, nephew to Lord Matlock of the Mage Council and a student himself, is assigned to observe her and report any misstep. One mistake could send her back to her foster parents, the Bennets—or worse, to prison. Yet when that mistake inevitably comes, he stands up on her behalf. Could he be an ally instead of an enemy?

When pranks between classmates become something more dangerous—and potentially deadly—Elizabeth will be forced to depend upon her friends—including Mr. Darcy. There’s something terrible lurking beneath the surface of the Season, and it will take everything Elizabeth has to survive it.

You can find A Season of Magic at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


NEW author bio

Sarah Courtney loves to read fantasy, fairy tales, and Pride and Prejudice variations, so what could be more fun than combining them? She currently lives in Europe where she homeschools her six children and still manages to write books, which has to be proof that magic exists!

Blog: authorsarahcourtney.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.sarahcourtney.1/

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There is plenty more to discover about this book, so don’t forget to check out the remaining blog tour stops 🙂

July 28 Austenesque Reviews

July 29 My Jane Austen Book Club

August 1 From Pemberley to Milton

August 2 Savvy Verse & Wit

August 4 My Vices and Weaknesses

August 5 Babblings of a Bookworm


Ms. Courtney is giving away one eBook of A Season of Magic to one reader at From Pemberley to Milton. If the winner is from the US and prefers a paperback, he/she may choose that instead of the eBook. The giveaway is open until the 6th of August, so don’t forget to comment to apply 🙂

The winner will be announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

25 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Colonel Brandon in His Own Words – Guest Post by Shannon Winslow

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m very pleased to welcome Shannon Winslow at From Pemberley to Milton once more. After the success of Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, she has decided to give Colonel Brandon his own voice and has released Colonel Brandon in His Own Words. I was super happy to see this happening because Brandon comes third on my Austen’s heros list, and I’m kind of hoping she will also release Captain Wentworth in His Own Words one of these days. But until then, I’ll have Colonel Brandon to fill my mind and heart. Ms. Winslow brought with her a guest post where she explains why she decided to write this book and where she also shared a small excerpt of it. I hope you like reading it!

Is Colonel Brandon a favourite of yours? Let us know in the comments 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting once more Ms. Winslow! It is a pleasure to have you here! I wish you all the happiness with this book 🙂


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NEW guest post

 

Thanks so much, Rita, for the chance to tell your readers about my brand new book baby: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words! Today, I want to share a little of what inspired me to write this novel and to write it now. I suppose you could say it was partly a matter of the head and partly a matter of the heart.

As for my head, I’ve long planned to write at least one novel related to each of Jane Austen’s six. That’s my goal. And with only Emma and Sense and Sensibility left to go, the tie-breaker was that S&S will be the theme at the JASNA convention in Victoria this year (which I will be attending, btw, yay!). So I thought the timing would be perfect to do this one first. Then my heart told me to make it a book about Colonel Brandon.

I’ve always had a deep fondness and special sympathy for Colonel Brandon (helped along, I suspect, by Alan Rickman’s poignant portrayal of him in S&S ’95). The colonel is my kind of hero. He’s a quiet man of genuine kindness and deep integrity, but he’s also a man of action when the situation calls for it. He’s just a really good guy, who tries to do the right thing, but has had some rough breaks in life. And since I always root for a worthy underdog, I have to root for Brandon to finally find all the happiness he deserves, which Jane Austen tells us, much too briefly, that he does:

Colonel Brandon was now as happy as all those who best loved him believed he deserved to be. In Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction. Her regard and her society restored his mind to animation and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband as it had once been to Willoughby. (Sense and Sensibility, chapter 50)

Because Austen’s book focuses on Elinor and Marianne, there’s no space to thoroughly tell Colonel Brandon’s story too. That was never her intent. But as wonderful as the paragraph above is, it doesn’t really feel like enough, does it? Luckily, as a writer, I knew I could do something about that! I didn’t have to be satisfied with a few lines telling me Colonel Brandon is happy, restored, and loved; I could take the time and space to show it’s true and how it came about. The same for his relationship with Eliza, the events of his youth, and his military years – things that must have shaped his character and experience of the world.

I got pretty excited about filling in all the very large and intriguing gaps in Brandon’s record. When I thought of the possibilities, my head told me there was plenty of scope for a whole new novel here. Not simply a rehash of S&S from a different point of view. No, I wanted a fresh approach. I wanted to bring in tons of new but compatible material to really flesh out Brandon’s character, to expand his story both in depth and across time.

Then, to give the book extra heart, I decided that the story must be told by Colonel Brandon himself, not by an impersonal narrator. It must be told in his own way – following along as his mind moves naturally from one event to another by association, rather than forcing things into strict chronological order. And it must all be viewed through the prism of his crisis with Marianne, which is where the book begins:

 

It is happening again, and I suddenly feel very old. Although I survived it once before – just – I have the gravest doubts that I can do so again. Some days, I do not even wish to.

The circumstances are quite different this time, it is true. But the pain is the same – the sudden wrenching in my gut each time I think of it, which I do nearly every minute of every day; the repeated jolt of panic in my brain, which tells me that I must do something to stop it; the hollow ache in my heart and the certain knowledge of my own pathetic powerlessness. It is all too familiar, for once again the hand of the woman I love more than life itself is being given irrevocably to another, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

It is no doubt weak and self-indulgent, as I have repeatedly told myself, but my mind will persist in entertaining questions of morbid curiosity. I cannot seem to help asking if, overall, it is better or worse this time. Is my disappointment more or less profound, the circumstances more or less regrettable? Will the resulting pain last as long as before and leave scars as deep?  

Perhaps it is only the proximity, but the current event appears worse – at least for myself personally – for I shall not only have the pain that she is lost to me forever, but the additional mortification of knowing she does not care for me. In truth, she thinks nothing of me at all. So, God willing, I shall be the only one to suffer, which was not the case before.

Poor Eliza.

I would not wish her fate on Marianne Dashwood, not for the world. In fact, that must be my chief consolation: knowing that Marianne is happy, even if it must be in the arms of another man. I would willingly sacrifice my own happiness and more if it would secure a lasting one for her. And yet who can say that her present bliss will endure, dependent as it is upon a man of whom I have every reason to think ill? And so my mind can by no means be easy.

I have been to her sister in Berkeley Street to have my worst fears confirmed, and now I know I should put Marianne from my mind and retire to Delaford to lick my wounds. And so I have made ready to do more than once. Still, as long as she is in London, I feel compelled to stand by – for what purpose, I cannot even conceive – at least until she is well and truly married. After that, it will be nobody’s right except her husband’s to be concerned for her welfare.

Until then, however, I will wait. Perhaps there may yet be some small service I can render. If I am needed, I swear I will not fail her. Whatever the cost, I must do better by Marianne than I did by Eliza… or by Rashmi.

Meanwhile, I have nothing to do but think of the past. Although there have been enough joys and compensations over the years, the regrets and failures continue to haunt me. I am in a dangerous state of mind.

 

Every time I read this, my heart breaks for him all over again!

A first-person account allows you to feel closer to the hero/heroine because you’re basically living inside that character’s head throughout the entire story. That’s true for the reader, of course, but probably even more so of the writer. I spent nine months of quality time with Colonel Brandon, and I grew to love and respect him all the more because of it! So in this book, you will see what Brandon sees and hear what he hears. You are privy to all his thoughts, internal debates, and emotions.

If you think about it, every one of us experiences life in “first person” – viewing the world from inside our own heads. We have no choice. So isn’t that the most realistic way to present a story? Besides, I really enjoy writing in this style. In fact, six of my eleven novels are done, like this book, in first person from a single character’s point of view. That includes my previous publication: Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words.

So, now with two first-person books from the hero’s point of view, is this a series in the making? Will there soon be half a dozen “in His Own Words” books lined up neatly on the shelf? I haven’t decided yet. I do still need an Emma book to finish off my goal, though. How about Mr. Knightley in His Own Words? I think it has potential! In the meantime, I hope you will read and enjoy Colonel Brandon’s story – with your head as well as your whole heart!


 

Colonel Brandon is the consummate gentleman: honorable, kind almost to a fault, ever loyal and chivalrous. He’s also silent and grave, though. So, what events in his troubled past left him downcast, and how does he finally find the path to a brighter future? In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen gives us glimpses, but not the complete picture.

Now Colonel Brandon tells us his full story in His Own Words. He relates the truth about his early family life and his dear Eliza – his devotion to her and the devastating way she was lost to him forever. He shares with us a poignant tale from his military days in India – about a woman named Rashmi and how she likewise left a permanent mark on his soul. And of course Marianne. What did Brandon think and feel when he first saw her? How did his hopes for her subsequently rise, plummet, and then eventually climb upwards again? After Willoughby’s desertion, what finally caused Marianne to see Colonel Brandon in a different light?

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Brandon’s point of view. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us about a true hero – the very best of men.

Colonel Brandon - KINDLE

 

 

 

You can find Colonel Brandon… in his own words at: 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

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