Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

Adventure Awaits by Virginia Khol- Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I know Pride&Prejudice is Austen’s favourite book for many readers, but what about Sense&Sensibility? How does that stand on your rank? It is my third favourite Austen book and even though there aren’t many S&S books out there, Virginia Kohl is working hard to change that.

After True Love Comes to Delaford, she brings us Adventure Awaits which will give the spotlight to Margaret Dashwood. I think Margaret would grow up to become my type of heroine, so I’m very curious about this book.

Mrs. Kohl is visiting today with an excerpt and giveaway of Adventure Awaits and I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Thank you for visiting Mrs. Kohl! It is always a pleasure to have you here 🙂


Margaret Dashwood, known to her family and friends as Daisy, has always dreamed of going on a grand adventure. With her first Season behind her, those dreams are relegated to the stories she tells her niece. 

Dr. Alexander Mallard came to the small village of Delaford straight out of medical school. With the knowledge and desire to help everyone he can, the young man settles into the life of a country doctor.   

The day their paths cross, an adventure grander than either ever imagined begins.  

.You can find Adventure Awaits at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

 


.

 

Since writing my debut novel, True Love Comes to Delaford, I knew I wanted Daisy to have her own story. The adventuresome young woman, who dreamed of traveling to exotic locations, would not simply settle for anyone. Could a true love match be found in the village’s new physician?    

***

Running his hand through his short, dark brown hair, Dr. Alexander Mallard sighed in frustration. The bruised and battered man in front of him would simply not listen to reason. The previous week’s severe thunderstorm and a spooked horse had turned the small town’s doctor into his newest patient. 

Since finishing medical school and moving to Dorsetshire in the spring, he had found a friend and mentor in the older man. Dr. Grant had taken him along on his rounds, introducing him to patients and the community at large. In the last few months, the four-and-twenty-year-old had gone on several calls alone when the good doctor was not available. However, this was his first time acting as sole physician. 

“You will not be able to assist anyone in your current state. What you need now is rest,” he calmly attempted to explain. 

Dr. Grant shook his graying head of hair, “I cannot leave you alone. You are not ready, my boy.”

With a smile for the other man’s evident concern, Alexander countered, “I have already taken care of a variety of patients and diagnoses. Besides, if I do not wade out to the deep part of the lake, how am I ever going to learn to swim?” 

The past three days had gone by without incident. He hoped that would continue but prepared himself for any eventuality.

Seeing the determination in the younger man’s dark blue eyes, his mentor heaved a resigned sigh. “Very well. If you need me, or my advice, for any reason, do not hesitate.”

“You should concentrate on getting better and not worrying about me. I will check on you when I return this evening,” Dr. Mallard replied, shutting his large black bag with a click.

The moment he made his way over to the bedroom door, Dr. Grant’s maid burst in. Having run up the stairs, the rotund woman took a moment to catch her breath. 

“The Delaney’s footman says the Mrs.’ time has come, Sir,” she announced between heavy breaths. 

“I have been given strict orders to stay in bed. Dr. Mallard will be handling any calls for the time being.” 

Not waiting for the middle-aged woman to repeat herself, Alexander strode through the open doorway toward the waiting servant. 

* * *

Several hours later, a hearty wail announced the baby’s joyous arrival. Dark brown eyes looked up from a face that resembled his mother’s exotic appearance. 

After an initial examination, Dr. Mallard handed him over to Mrs. Delaney. “Congratulations, you have a healthy baby boy.”

Witnessing the miracle of new life would always be one of the most rewarding parts of his profession. He watched the elated parents. Perhaps one day he would be the proud father holding a precious blessing of his own. 

Now where did that come from? 

Shaking his head to clear the surprising thought, Alexander determined that he must simply be caught up in the emotion of the moment. 

Once mother and child were settled, the young physician began to clean and pack up his supplies. His gaze turned to one of the room’s other occupants. Mrs. Brandon had sat down in a cushioned chair to rest, lovingly stroking her rounded midriff. According to Dr. Grant, the Delaney son’s future playmate would be arriving in late autumn. By then the older physician would be able to resume his rounds. Dr. Mallard believed that to be the Brandon’s preference since the other man had been present for the family’s previous blessed event. A knock on the door interrupted his musings. 

One of the Delaney’s servants entered the room and addressed the Major. “I apologize for the interruption, Sir. The doctor’s presence is urgently needed.” 

Quickly grabbing his bag, Alexander turned to the maid “What is wrong? Whose household am I needed in?” 

The young woman wrung her hands while hesitantly replying, “I do not know, Sir. I was only told of the urgency.”

Sensing that she was holding something back, he repeated himself, “I need to know in case there is any risk of infection.”

She looked around at the concerned faces in the room before meeting his gaze. “The footman would rather give the details to you personally.”

“This is ridiculous! I have never heard of such foolishness!” he declared, marching toward the corridor.            

If you enjoyed this excerpt, Adventure Awaits is available in both Kindle and trade paperback.


Virginia Kohl has been fascinated with the regency era since discovering Jane Austen’s works at the age of eleven. 

Originally from Germany, Virginia Kohl shares her Texas home with her illustrator mother and faithful rescue dog. When not passing her love of learning on to her students, this college math professor enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and being an active member of her local writer’s guild. 

Virginia Kohl can be reached at www.virginiakohl.com or www.facebook.com/VirginiaKohl3 

Her novels can be found at www.amazon.com/author/virginiakohl and at www.goodreads.com/author/show/17214552.Virginia_Kohl


Virginia Kohl is offering one ebook copy of Adventure Awaits to my readers. To apply to it all you have do to is comment on this post and let us know if S&S is your cup of tea. The giveaway is open until the 17th of August  and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

17 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Top 5 moments with giveaways

I started reading JAFF in 2010, created my blog in 2015 and in 2020 I’m celebrating the wonderful things this incredible community has given me.  Because of our common love for Pride & Prejudice, I’ve met wonderful people and developed friendships with ladies I’ve come to truly cherish. I’ve travelled to many different places, met many different people, and tried to bring a little of those trips into From Pemberley to Milton so you could also travel with me. Today, and as we are getting to the end of the blogs 5th anniversary celebration, I decided to share with you my top 5 moments of the many Jane Austen Road Trips I’ve done through the last years. Tomorrow, once I renovate the blog, I’m going to try to add a page dedicated to the road trips, but if in the meantime you’d like to see them, here they are:

 

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter I

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter II

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter III

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

My Jane Austen Road Trp – Chapter V

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter VI

 

All of these trips were special for one reason or the other, and choosing only 5 moments to highlight was not easy, but it was also fun to revisit these places and go down the memory lane. It made me want to travel again to have a Chapter VII to present to you, Maybe next time I can even make some videos and share with you on the new Facebook page, how does that sound?

Until a Chapter VII can be created, the most memorable moments of these road trips were:

 

1 – Meeting 5 strangers at the Orangerie in Kensighton Gardens –  My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter I

My first JAFF encounter had to be on this top 5. I was super nervous to meet people I had never seen before and who were already all together upon my arrival. I was the last one to arrive and not only I didn’t know anybody at the time, I was also meeting some of my favourite authors. I was really insecure and nervous trying to appear as comfortable as possible, and the first moments were strange but also decisive to make me feel at ease. These ladies were awesome and at ease (at least them seemed more at ease than me) and we ended up talking for hours about everything JAFF related. It was incredible! It was the first time I ever spoke to someone about this magnificent genre, and I didn’t know at the time, but it was the beginning of many beautiful friendships. At the end of the day I walked in Hyde Park with Ana and my husband, and felt so connected to her that she easily became of the people I love the most in this community. I’ve been with her a few more times in the UK, met her husband and would even be with her this summer were it not for Covid. Elizabeth Adams was the clue that brought us all together I think. If you’ve met her, you know she’ll make everyone really at ease and comfortable and will bring everyone into a conversation. She has organized similar meetings in London and we’ve even repeated this experience thanks to her (I don’t think I posted a Jane Austen roadtrip of that other meet up). In the meantime she has taught me how to do grilled cheese in her old Tennessee house, tasted my mom’s cooking in my own house in Portugal, and made me laugh like crazy in many different moments. The last friend I’ve kept from this meeting was Joana Starnes, but that takes me to another top 5 moment.

 

2 – Fangirling over my favourite author – My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter I

The day after that first meet up in London, I met Joana Starnes again in Richmond, we had some coffee, she signed all my books and we talked for hours!! It was then that I discovered how much we had in common in our JAFF preferences and when our friendship really started, I believe.

Again, I was super nervous, I mean, she was my favourite author and I was all alone with her, with no one else to divert the attention from me. With time Joana became a friend to me and not just an author, I’ve visited her family, had drinks with her and she even allowed me to read her manuscript of The Journey Home to Pemberley. And when I say manuscript, I really mean manuscript! Written with her own hands on a notebook. How cool is that? That one was hard to exclude from these top 5 moments…

 

3 – Finally visiting Pemberley – My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter V

Visiting Lyme Park had been a dream of mine ever since I saw the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Every time I imagine Pemberley or read a book that takes place there that’s how I picture it so visiting it had been a long time goal. I had spoken with Joana Starnes about visiting Lyme Park with her before but, for one reason or the other, we never made it there. This means that when author Lory Lilian discovered I was going to England in July 2017 for the celebration of Jane Austen’s 200 death anniversary and invited me to embark on a Road Trip through the country with her to visit Pemberley, I could not refuse!!!

I still remember the screams and giggles in the car as we drove through the estate until we reached the grand house! We were pretty much acting like Lydia Bennet at that moment! It was a glorious feeling, and I remember I could not stop looking at every single corner with amazement. I just wanted to stay there forever! We visited Pemberley with Mira Magdo (who even took us to THE POND), author Andreea Catana and editor Ellen Pickels and we even met Amanda Grange there too, but the highlight of that trip was being there, at Pemberley, feeling its magic and being mesmerised with its beauty. I truly felt there was no place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. Oh…I obviously returned the following day just to walk around Pemberley’s grounds 🙂

 

4 – The Winchester celebrations – My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

On July 18th 2017, due to the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, there were many events taking place all over the world, but the place to be was Winchester, and that’s where I was! This visit was part of a big Road Trip I took with author Lory Lilian, but the entire day at Winchester was very special and has to be on my top 5 Jane Austen Road Trip moments.

Lory, Andreea, Ellen and I were met by Joana Starnes and Mira Magdo at the garden in front of Winchester Cathedral, took some pictures, were interviewed by the BBC radio, attended a recital in the Cathedral, and travelled the streets of Winchester to find the house where Jane Austen spent the last weeks of her life, and where she eventually died on the 18th of July. The entire day was memorable! We met and saw many people on that day, and I even got to know and spend some time with Cassandra Grafton who wrote one of my all time favourite books,  A Fair Prospect trilogy.

Everything about this day was special, and I don’t think I’ll ever have a day like that, not only I was surrounded by like minded people, but also there was a special energy in the air that I cannot explain. Winchester was the place to be on that day and I’m glad I was there 🙂

 

5 – That one time I slept in an NYC hotel with a complete stranger – My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter II

If we are talking about memorable moments, then flying across the Atlantic to meet and sleep in the same hotel room with someone I had never met before has to be on this list. Back in 2016 I visited NYC and had a chance to meet Claudine Pepe, a fellow blogger and Jane Austen enthusiast. We had been speaking online for ages but we had never met before and were both a little afraid to share a room with someone we had never seen before, however, there was never an awkward moment or lack of subjects to talk about. We talked for hours about everything we loved and hated in JAFF, did some touring in the city and even went to see an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility by Kate Hamil performed by Bedlam’s actors. It was a lot of fun!!!

As I compiled everything for this post I realised there were many amazing moments and places I’ve visited that were never featured in this blog, so I really do need to think on a way to share that with you, and most of all, I have to go on another Jane Austen Road Trip! Let’s see…if the UK opens its borders without the need for a quarantine, I may take a flight to Manchester and visit Lyme Park again 😉 Until then, I hope you liked this post, and don’t forget, there’s another giveaway 🙂


Another incredible aspect about the JAFF community is the generosity of its members, both readers and authors. For today’s post 2 wonderful authors offered to giveaway some of their books to my readers simply for the pleasure of allowing other people to enjoy their works. They deserve a huge thank you from my part! It was very kind and generous of them to offer their books on this celebration. They are Lory Lilian and L.L. Diamond and they are offering the following to 5 different people:

 

1 Ebook from Lory Lilian’s portfolio – Readers Choice

1 Ebook from Lory Lilian’s portfolio – Readers Choice

1 Ebook from Lory Lilian’s portfolio – Readers Choice

1 Audiobook of Confined with Mr. Darcy by L.L. Diamond

1 Audiobook of Undoing by L.L. Diamond

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment on this post and let us know if there is any particular place you’d like to visit on a Jane Austen Road Trip, or tell us which book from these authors you’d like. Have you read many of their works? Share you love for JAFF with us until next Saturday and the winners will be announced next Sunday.

Thank you so much for the generosity Lory Lilian and L.L. Diamond!

Good Luck Everyone! 

19 Comments

Filed under JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

North & South Top 5 Variations with giveaways

I have to start by saying the title of this post is not exactly accurate because, well…I couldn’t narrow down my favourite North & South variations to just 5. I tried, I really did, but it was impossible to exclude one of the below books so, in fact, this is a Top 5 North and South novels, plus the magnificient North and South Anthology which was released last year. This book brings you 12 different North & South stories and deserves a place of its own in the genre.

I have never published my top 10 favourite books from North & South, and I will have to do it eventually, but this week to celebrate the blog’s birthday, I thought I had to bring to you the 5 novels I love the most. And the anthology, don’t forget about the anthology 😉 It would have been easier to just say this is my top 6 North & South books, but then I it would escape the whole “5” theme I’m using in this celebration. I know… I should have just picked 4 plus the anthology, but they are all so good that I really could not choose. 

And if you are new to this blog and you’re wondering why I’m talking about North & South, well, the blog’s name is From Pemberley to Milton because I love, read and review both Pride & Prejudice variations (hence Pemberley) and North & South variations (hence Milton). And if you’ve never read North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, do yourself a favour, go read it and then watch the BBC series featuring Richard Armitage 🙂

Fun fact: the distance from Pemberley to Milton is around 12 miles, so if the stories were placed in the same time (which they are not), Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton would actually live quite close to one another. Which means that a mash up where that places one of them in another time would be incredible, wouldn’t it? I keep asking authors to do that, so maybe one of them will think this is a good idea and write the story down 🙂

Anyway, I tend to digress, so without further delay, my favourite North & South variations (without any particular order) are the following:

 

Northern Rain – Nicole Clarkston

 

 

 

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who always wished there were more of regency-like social interactions in North & South 🙂

Northern Rain is a variation where Margaret sees a more vulnerable side of Mr. Thornton and decides to act on it. This is a very small change in the story but it will be enough to give readers a completely new story with characters so true to themselves that Gaskell could have written it herself.

In this story Nicole Clarkston kept all the North & South industrial specificites while keeping the story light, pleasing and romantic. It was perfectly executed and clearly one of the best I’ve read so far. Highly recommend getting a copy.

 

Collide – Melanie Stanford

 

 

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who want a page turner romance set in modern times but faithful to every single North & South detail.

Collide is the perfect modernization of North & South! In it Maggie Hale leaves her small town  to pursue her dream of becoming a contemporary dancer in Las Vegas, and it is there she will meet Jay Thornton, someone she will misunderstand but who will intrigue her more than she would like to admit. This book is a page turner that will keep you glued to it wishing you were the one in Vegas with Jay Thornton. I cannot recommend this book enough and I highly recommend reading the review to have a better view on how amazing this book is 🙂 I won’t forget it so soon and I’ve read it 3 years ago.

 

Nowhere But North – Nicole Clarkston

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for the those who love character driven, cozy and intimate romances.

Nowhere but North is a clean variation that starts with a forced marriage scenario and uses flashbacks to give readers a wider knowledge of the characters that will accompany us throughout the story. 

It is well-written, emotional and incredibly romantic! I could imagine myself by the fire with these characters having heart wrenching conversations. Again, I highly recommend reading the review because it is impossible to tell you in only a few sentences how incredible this book is. I believe it is my favourite from Nicole Clarkston and highly recommend it.

 

In Consequence – Trudy Brasure

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who crave for more Margaret and John Thornton’s moments 🙂

In Consequence is a North & South variation that starts with Mr. Thornton’s dinner party and follows the premise that it is not Margaret who is hit by the rock during the strike, but Mr. Thornton (genious, right?).

The book is full of swoon worthy moments and is incredibly romantic! The intensity of the romance will keep readers glued to it, but we should not disregard the profound knowledge that Ms. Brasure has of Gaskell’s work. This book is a true homage to Gaskell, and I obviously recommend it to everyone!

 

No Such Thing as Luck – Nicole Clarkston

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who always felt the North & South ending was too rushed.

No Such Thing as Luck steps away from canon and places Margaret and Mr. Thornton on board of a ship towards Cadiz. Despite the adventures this couple will face, the book is slow-paced and full of romance. The scenes between Margaret and Thornton are electrifying and unforgettable. This is a riveting and intense romance that will be in every readers hearts. I highly recommend it!

 

Falling For Mr. Thornton – Anthology

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

Perfect for those who cannot get enough of North & South.

Falling for Mr. Thornton is the only North & South anthology that exists and it brought together the best North & South authors that are out there. Every single story will be unique and their diversity is so appealing as the respect these authors showed towards Ms. Gaskell’s work. I loved every single story in this anthology and I cannot recommend this book enough. You’ll find many different settings, many different Thorntons, many different Margarets and many different outcomes. What’s not to love in this book?


To celebrate the blog’s anniversary, and our love for North & South, Nicole Clarkston has kindly offered to giveaway some of her books to my readers. As all giveaways this week, it is open internationally to readers commenting this post until next Saturday. Let us know if you’ve read any North & South variations or if you find Mr. Thornton as appealing as Mr. Darcy 🙂 Also let us know if you prefer ebooks or audiobooks for the giveaway please, and most of all, share with us your thoughts on Mrs. Gaskell masterpiece. All comments will be considered for the drawing and the 7 winners will be announced next Sunday. The prizes are as follows:

 

1 Ebook of No Such Thing as Luck

1 Audiobook of No Such Thing as Luck

1 Ebook of Northern Rain

1 Audiobook of Northern Rain

1 Ebook of Nowehere But North

1 Audiobook of Nowehere But North

1 Ebook of Falling For Mr. Thornton

 

Thank you so much for the generosity Nicole Clarkston, and Good Luck Everyone! 

15 Comments

Filed under JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Madness in Meryton – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you today? Can you believe July has come to an end? I did a lot of different things in July, but I still can’t believe that half of the summer has already past. I just hope August will move at a slower pace so that I may enjoy more beach reads 🙂

Today I am very happy to welcome once more author Jayne Bamber at From Pemberley to Milton. The last time she visited I was completely amazed by the cover of her book Outmatched, and this time it was the premise of her new book that captivated me. Madness in Meryton is influenced by Groundhog Day, and in it Elizabeth will relieve the same day over and over again. It is not the first time I see this premise on a P&P variation, but a Groundhog Day novel is always different and irresistible! At least for me, because  I am a sucker for Groundhog Day stories 🙂

Jayne Bamber decided to have Elizabeth repeat the day after her and Jane’s removal from Netherfield and I need to tell you, I am eager to read this story!!! But before I do read and review it, I’ll leave you an excerpt where Mrs. Bamber proves that alternative pairings are also her specialty 😉

Enjoy, and don’t forget there’s a giveaway 🙂

Thank you for visiting Mrs. Bamber, and the best of luck with this new release.

 

When Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their unruly younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and the tedious Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.
That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.
The next day, the same thing happens again.
And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the budding romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.
As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she soon realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….
Elizabeth must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

.

 

 

 

You can find  at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 


.

 

Hello, readers! It is a treat to be back at From Pemberley to Milton with an excerpt my upcoming release, Madness in Meryton. This is my sixth novel, and has proved to be the wildest ride yet – Groundhog Day meets Pride & Prejudice.

The day being repeated is the day that Elizabeth Bennet meets George Wickham and hears his slander of Mr. Darcy. There are plenty of romantic moments between Darcy and Elizabeth over the course of the story, but as many readers already know, I LOVE alternate pairings, and this time around I have pushed the envelope with my side characters, as you shall see in the excerpt below…. 

***

Richard knew he would need to prepare for what was to occur that evening, but there was something else he wished to do first. It was probably folly, but he was like a moth to the flame.

Caroline was on the swing again, and he crept up behind her as he had done the day before – she was crying again, and this time he rather pitied her. “Miss Bingley?”

She spun around and looked up in alarm. “What do you want?”

He shrugged. “Pleasant company.”

Caroline gave him a delightfully rude look. “If you are come to laugh at me, I beg you would go away.”

“I am not,” Richard replied, offering her a handkerchief. “I do not think so ill of you – perhaps you also need some pleasant company. May I sit with you?”

“I cannot think why you would wish to, but it does not matter,” she said bitterly, dabbing at her eyes.

She had not actually said no, and the swing was wide enough to admit two, so Richard sat beside her, obliging her to slide over and make room for him. His feet planted on the ground, he gave the swing a gentle nudge, and for a moment they sat in silence, swaying together. 

Caroline offered him his handkerchief back, but he pressed it into her hand. “Keep it. Every lady must have some memento of her admirer.”

“Do not tease me.”

Richard leaned closer as he looked at her. Her hair was even messier than it had been the last time, but he feared that if he reached out to touch it she would flee. Caroline Bingley was beautiful even when she was vexing – and very vexing when she was beautiful. Seeing her in such a state was disarming, but he could not let the moment pass. “Tell me why you are crying.”

“I am not crying,” she hissed.

He gave her a playful eye roll. “I have never understood why you dislike me – but I had not imagined you thought me stupid.”

She laughed in spite of herself and shook her head. “Nobody ever does.”

Richard smirked. He was daft indeed where she was concerned. “So, which of the two engagements are you not crying about? Does your brother’s choice give you pain – or Darcy’s?”

Caroline ignored him and leaned against the rope of the swing, staring out into the distance as tears slid down her cheeks. “We should never have come to this wretched place. What a horrid nightmare.”

“Such an opinion of country life will hardly endear you to a man of property,” Richard observed. Still she made no reply. “I wonder, Miss Bingley – you were so determined to have Darcy – what will you do now?”

She drew in a sharp breath and wiped at her face before turning to gaze at him, her head tipped sideways with a hint of challenge. “Colonel, I have no idea why you would say such things.”

Richard leaned closer to her, wishing to affect the same magnetism upon her that she aroused in him. “Because, I wish to discover what is going on behind those pretty blue eyes.”

His face was inches from hers, but Caroline did not recoil – she tipped her chin up, moving her mouth a little closer to his as she whispered, “If you kiss me, I will hit you very hard.”

A sly smile crept across his face. “Worth it.” He closed the distance between them, and gently brushed his lips against hers for a brief moment. Her body was very still, but her lips moved against his for just long enough to excite him – and then she sprang to her feet and slapped his face before running away. It stung a little worse than he had expected.


 

Jayne Bamber is offering one ebook copy of Madness in Meryton to my readers. To apply to it please click on the Rafflecopter link.

Good Luck everyone!

12 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

When Mary Met the Colonel – Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello dear readers,

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ve probably noticed that I started by reading regency variations focused on Darcy and Elizabeth, and only started diversifying my reading habits and including secondary character stories and modernizations after a while. When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid was one of the first secondary character stories I read, and I loved it so much that it was part of my 2016 favourite books list competing with all the other Elizabeth and Darcy centered stories.

Mary is my favourite female secondary character, and the Colonel is my favourite male secondary character, so Victoria Kincaid hit the jackpot when she decided to pair the two of them. The story is very short but a lovely read that I truly recommend. If you want to read the review I published 4 years ago, you can find it here 🙂

Today When Mary Met the Colonel is once more featured in this blog, this time to celebrate the release of the book on Audible, and I must say I’m very happy to hear about this release because the narrator is Stevie Zimmerman who happens to be one of my favourite narrators. I haven’t heard the audiobook yet, but having read the book, and having heard Stevie Zimmerman’s narrations before, I am confident to vouch for the audiobook. Today we bring you an excerpt and a giveaway, I hope you enjoy this scene, and if you’d like to apply to the audiobook giveaway, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post 🙂


Without the beauty and wit of the older Bennet sisters or the liveliness of the younger, Mary is the Bennet sister most often overlooked. She has resigned herself to a life of loneliness, alleviated only by music and the occasional book of military history. Colonel Fitzwilliam finds himself envying his friends who are marrying wonderful women while he only attracts empty-headed flirts. 

He longs for a caring, well-informed woman who will see the man beneath the uniform. During the wedding breakfast for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, a chance meeting in Longbourn’s garden kindles an attraction between Mary and the Colonel. 

However, the Colonel cannot marry for love since he must wed an heiress. He returns to war, although Mary finds she cannot easily forget him. Is happily ever after possible after Mary meets the Colonel?

.

You can find When Mary Met the Colonel at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

on Kindle Unlimited and Audible.


.

 

Hi Rita and thank you for having me back for a visit!  I am pleased to announce the release of my audio book of When Mary Met the Colonel, narrated by the inimitable Stevie Zimmerman.  As a bookish woman I have always sympathized with quiet and bookish Mary Bennet—as I’m sure many readers of Pride and Prejudice do. It was great fun to give her a happy ending—in my very first non-Darcy and Elizabeth variation.  Below is an excerpt from near the beginning of the book.  This is the Colonel and Mary’s second encounter—near Oakham Mount.  I hope you enjoy it!  

~~~

Mary shrugged. “Lydia is Mama’s favorite, and Elizabeth is Papa’s, so they will both have to settle for us.”

The colonel seemed a bit taken aback at her frankness. Why do I say such things? He has no desire to hear about my small troubles when he will soon be returning to the field of battle.

She opened her mouth to apologize, but then he spoke. “Forgive me, but why are you not someone’s favorite? You should be!”

He was well-versed in flattery, just as all gallant gentlemen, but the words still warmed her heart. “That is very kind of you to say.”

He frowned. “I do not believe in idle flattery.”

Mary restrained an impulse to shake her head. Perhaps he believed what he said, but she could not allow herself to credit such words—although part of her soul wished to soak them up as the ground soaks up rain.

“Are you close to your sister, Miss Kitty?” the colonel asked.

“We are only a year apart in age,” Mary responded, knowing that was not what he meant.

“Are you good friends?” he persisted.

Mary pressed her lips together. She did not wish to complain, nor did she wish to lie to this dashing young man. What could I say? Silence stretched between them.

The colonel gave her a sidelong glance, and Mary suppressed a secret thrill. “Perhaps you and Kitty will be closer now that Lydia is gone.”

Mary stopped briefly to pluck a wild flower from the side of the road. “We are quite different in temperament.”

His gaze returned to the road before them, but a corner of his mouth quirked up. “Indeed.” Silence reigned as they continued their stroll. Finally, the colonel said, “Perhaps you will not be at home long. You are of marriageable age.”

Why did her heart leap to hear such a commonplace observation coming from this man?

Her hand crushed the petals of the flower. “I do not have any expectations in that regard.”

“Why not?” He looked genuinely perplexed.

She had been overly candid with him; why stop now? Most likely she would never see the man again. “I am plain, quiet, and dull—with no dowry to speak of. I expect I will never marry.”

The colonel stopped so suddenly that it startled her, and he seized her arm. “Plain! Plain? And dull? Of all the—do not say such things about yourself! Why, you are one of the prettiest, most interesting women I have had the pleasure of encountering in my life.”

Mary’s mind was blank for a moment. Could he possibly believe what he said? Or was it more empty flattery? He seemed genuinely distressed that she disparaged herself, but nobody had ever said such words to her. She had expected to live her entire life without hearing such things.

No, I cannot afford to believe such compliments; it is too dangerous to nurture any hopes. Mary gave a short laugh and turned her gaze away.

He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to gaze into his eyes. “Listen to me, Mary Bennet! You may not be conventionally beautiful, but you are quite pretty enough to attract your share of attention—particularly if you take more care with your appearance. Certainly men who seek an empty-headed chit would not be interested, but you would be wasted on such men!”

He released her abruptly and stalked down the road toward Longbourn, kicking up a cloud of dust from the road. Mary stood frozen, her feet—and whole body—unable to move. Do I dare believe he is in earnest? There might be one man—a handsome, intelligent man—who found her attractive and interesting? She wanted to believe, but belief was so dangerous. However, she did know that she must speak with him.

His long strides had already carried him quite a distance; she raced to follow. She was panting by the time she caught up with him. “You-you do not mean that!”

He turned his head sharply. “Do I not?” His tone was almost angry. But then he stopped, lowering his head and taking a deep breath. “I must marry a woman of means. I am a second son.” Mary nodded, not sure where his conversation was leading. She had expected as much. “But if I did not—if I were Darcy or Bingley—I would consider paying court to you, Mary Bennet.” Mary gasped.

His fingers reached up and gently caressed her cheek. She closed her eyes, savoring the soft touch on her skin. When she opened them again, he had stepped away.

“You should be proud of yourself! Show others the best of yourself!” His voice was fierce and commanding, reminding her forcefully that he was indeed an army officer. His gaze was uncompromising. “Promise me!”

Mary blinked rapidly, feeling as if she dare not disagree. “I-I promise I will try.”

His body lost some of its tension, and his shoulders slumped. “Good. That is all I can ask.”

 


Victoria Kincaid is offering one audiobook copy of When Mary Met the Colonel to my readers. To apply to it all you have do to is comment on this post and let us know if you are a team Mary kind of person and if you have a US or UK Audible account. The giveaway is open until the 31rst of July  and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

23 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

In Plain Sight – Guest Post by Don Jacobson

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you are all in good health and that you’re keeping safe on your side of the globe. 

Things are starting to get back to normal in Portugal, but my area of residence is one of the few that has been seeing more and more cases lately, so we had extra confinements measures been announced today. I wasn’t happy to hear this, but that means more time at home, and that means more time for my blog and for reading. Maybe this will help me decrease my ever growing TBR! Speaking of which, I have a new book in it, it’s In Plain Sight, Don Jacobson’s latest book.

In case you’ve missed it, I revealed the cover for this book a week ago, and at the time I had a chance to look into this book more carefully and got very curious. I’ve read 3 books from the Wardrobe Series, so I know Don Jacobson is a natural storyteller, and this new book is totally focused on Darcy and Elizabeth, with a very different premise, so based on those two aspects alone, I know I am in for a treat. 

What about it? Aren’t curious about this book? Have you read it yet? In case you haven’t heard much about it, I’ll leave you with the blurb and Don’s guest post. I hope you enjoy 🙂


“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

         Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands

 

 

 

You can find In Plain Sight at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

.


 

Looking For the Helpers

Thank you, Rita, for hosting me today on your wonderful blog. I look forward to replying to your readers’ comments. DJ

American television personality Fred Rogers related that his mother gave him some essential advice as a young boy: Look for the helpers. This simple recipe distills the essential nature of well-functioning human societies. Persons we would consider “helpers” are those who act to relieve life’s pain, to bring people to a better place, to soothe and comfort.

Oddly enough, the man at the center of Pride and Prejudice was not someone who would ever actively seek out assistance. Darcy was far too confident in his abilities that he was constitutionally unable to ask anyone for aid. When his natural shyness was factored in, his self-assuredness often was construed as arrogant pomposity.  This attitude, of course, was deployed by Austen as a device to set Elizabeth Bennet’s teeth on edge and send events cascading throughout the book. 

Would that Darcy could have been more like Bingley, but then we would not be here today!

The novel grew from my sentiment that Darcy could be taught to set aside his insufferable pride at being Darcy of Pemberley independent (at least in is essentials) of the fraught love for Elizabeth. To do that, I had to strip away that cloak of wealth and invincibility. He could no longer be Fitzwilliam Darcy, one of Derbyshire’s greatest landowners. He had to become what he earlier would have seen as nobody, invisible to any who mattered. Fitzwilliam Darcy had to disappear before the man himself could discover how to be worthy of the name.

He, of course, could not do it alone. Nor, could he accomplish this solely through Elizabeth’s good offices. While her love would redeem him, he needed others to get him to the place where that force could be usefully applied.

As I wrote In Plain Sight, I found myself surrounding Fitzwilliam Darcy with a cloud of helpers. This grew from the essential inversion of Darcy’s position in the world: no longer was he the helper, but rather he, in his guise as Smith, was the helpless. No longer was he an independent actor. Instead he, as a convicted felon, was utterly dependent upon the whims of his warders, men who determined his work, his home, his food, and, most tellingly, his punishment.

In the Canon secondary characters often become grace notes: useful to amplify plot details or to establish the nature of other individuals, but not required to be painted in the same detail as Darcy or Elizabeth. Given the task assigned to them, In Plain Sight’s extra characters had to be deeper and richer so that readers could watch them help the solitary man, the prodigal. Thus, I had to build the supporting cast layer-by-layer as we move through the book.

Others may come to the forefront in the novel, but here are some supporting individuals I directed toward the rehabilitation of William Smith. Please note that I am not forgetting the essential nature of Elizabeth’s love for the convict Smith as being the ultimate force that eases his path back to Pemberley.

Henry Wilson: The youthful convict provides us with the power of Smith’s innate character. His backstory as one who formerly would have been ignored, if tolerated, by Fitzwilliam Darcy ignites the first central plotline. Later in the book, Wilson’s marriage to a young Darcy House servant, Annie Reynolds, moves the tale forward at Hedgebrook House where he has risen to under-steward and Annie, as Mrs. Reynolds’ niece, to under-housekeeper.

Mary Bennet and Edward Benton: The story of this young couple serves to educate Elizabeth while also working in concert to help Smith reclaim his honor and freedom. Benton stands as the antithesis to William Collins. Benton’s nobleness of character shows us that the man who had captured Mary’s heart was more than a simple country vicar. Likewise, his shining standard shows us that Mary has scruples and approaches life much like her older sisters. Mary creates an interesting counterpoint to Elizabeth deep in the novel when she, herself, hides in plain sight to avoid the seekers.

Richard Fitzwilliam: Delegated by the court to leave the army and assume Pemberley’s proprietorship, Fitzwilliam does much of the heavy lifting on Smith’s behalf in Book Two, being forced to behave much like the original Darcy. He also removes the threat to both Smith and Lizzy in Book Three. His sardonic sense of humor provides some comic relief (Many readers have enjoyed his conversations with his stallion, Imperator. My personal favorite was his tête-à-tête with Mr. Bennet at the Dower House.) to relieve the tension inherent in the novel. 

Mr. Bennet: In brief, Longbourn’s master becomes the savior of Henry Wilson, William Smith, and Elizabeth Bennet. He confronts and delays the book’s villain, Sir Thaddeus Soames as the reader transitions from Act Two to Act Three. He throws off his cloak of indolence (see the aforementioned confrontation with Richard Fitzwilliam) to stand astride the resolution of the Meryton side of the story.

I sought to avoid creating caricatures as I built the supporting cast. I will admit to leaving Mr. Collins much as we have come to see him. The power the helpers, though, brings a richer feeling to In Plain Sight by offering relatable and believable persons who can exist outside of the confines of the novel. 


Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television, and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories. 

 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

 

You can contact Don through the following media:

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)

Author Website 

Twitter  (@AustenesqueAuth)

.


The blog tour for In Plain Sight is right in the middle, but you can still go back to check all the previous stops. You can find the schedule below:


Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson. To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment this post and click on this link.

25 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Confined With Mr. Darcy by L.L. Diamond- Outtake

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I am very happy to receive at From Pemberley to Milton author L.L. Diamond who is visiting with an outtake of her latest novella, Confined With Mr. Darcy. 

This book has got to be a must read in 2020! The premise is everything perfect and the book could not have been released at a better time. What could be better during a pandemic confinement, than reading a P&P modernization where Elizabeth gets confined with Mr. Darcy? How perfect is this? Plus, have you looked at the cover? I was in love the second I put my eyes on it! You know I have a thing for covers, and this was definitely a MUST have, so I didn’t resist and got myself a paperback copy 🙂 I was also tempted to get an ebook copy because Leslie has kindly decided to donate part of the profit of these sales to the Jane Austen House Museum, but apparently my contribution was not necessary because, so far, she has been able to donate a very good sum 🙂 Anyway, if you haven’t got this book yet, consider it! The story seems amazing and you would be helping the Jane Austen House Museum 🙂

I won’t keep you much longer, I only wanted to thank Leslie for visiting today, and I’ll release you to read the outtake. I know you want to 😉


William Darcy has gone completely mental! Despite Elizabeth Bennet’s less than stellar opinion of him, some unknown force possessed him to invite her to Pemberley to wait out lockdown. Just because she’d be closer to her sister Jane, who’s isolated in the gamekeeper’s cottage with her husband wasn’t a legitimate excuse either. He’d invited Elizabeth—the only woman he’d ever really fancied—Elizabeth, who’d refused him without reservation at the Rosings Book Festival. Now, he spends part of every day in Elizabeth’s company while struggling to keep his feelings hidden from not only her but also his nosy sister and motherly housekeeper. What a bloody nightmare!
When William Darcy showed up on her doorstep, the last thing Elizabeth Bennet expected was an invitation to Pemberley, yet she now lives in the poshest of rooms and can walk the extensive gardens and the forests without limits. Even Tilney, her timid Maine Coon cat, is willing to brave strangers to explore his new surroundings, but Elizabeth has no idea how to behave around Darcy. If no one can say when lockdown will end, she could be living at Pemberley indefinitely. How do you live with a man you’re attracted to, but who tries your every last nerve? How is she supposed to stay confined with Mr. Darcy?

.

You can find Confined With Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


.

Thank you so much for having me today, Rita! Confined with Mr. Darcy has been such an amazing experience. As of Tuesday, we’d reached $450 for Jane Austen House Museum and the donation is still growing. I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s response to not only JAHM’s Covid-19 Survival Appeal, but also this attempt to furnish them some much needed funds to continue the work they do every day to preserve Jane Austen’s home and legacy. Thank you to everyone who has read or purchased a copy. If you’ve read Confined with Mr. Darcy on Kindle Unlimited and loved it, consider adding it to your personal collection, leaving a review, recommending it to a friend, or even giving it as a gift. Every dollar will add up!

For today’s guest post, I have one more outtake for you!! This is one someone said they wanted to read when I previewed chapters from the novella. It’s not crazy long, but I just figured I’d give you the crux of the situation. I think everyone has some idea of the past from their initial meeting that I wrote first, to the dinner scene, and now we have Rosings—yes that Rosings! Buckle up your seat belt! I don’t think Elizabeth is going to be very nice about things. Do you?

 

***

 

Elizabeth sighed and sank back into the comfy chair while she enjoyed the view of the water from her hotel room window. Yes, she’d hidden in her room rather than going to the dining room for dinner, but she’d been enduring Darcy’s company the entire weekend. He’d shown up at every single talk as well as dinner every evening. He’d even happened upon her at breakfast this morning. She simply couldn’t tonight.

It wasn’t like she’d wanted to spend nearly every moment of the event with Darcy. She certainly hadn’t even thought about him when she’d signed up, but the problem was she’d been too much of a chicken to tell him. Instead, she’d gritted her teeth, drank entirely too much wine, and bore it with as much grace as a pigeon hit by a car. Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic. She only felt like a pigeon that’d been hit by a car.

A loud knock nearly made her fall out of her seat. She watched the door for a moment like it might explode. What if it was him? A part of her didn’t want to answer it in case it was, but what if it was her uncle at the door? When she’d texted her uncle that she was going to miss that last event, she’d mentioned she had a headache. He might’ve come to check on her.

After blowing out a noisy breath, she approached the door and touched it gingerly when she opened it. Her stomach dropped to the floor when it was Darcy on the other side. She should’ve gone with her gut!

“The rep. at the Gardiner table said you have a headache. Are you okay? Do you need something? I can get you some paracetamol. I think the shop in the lobby has some.” He stepped through into the room while he spoke, and she glanced back and forth between the hallway and him. He couldn’t have waited for an invitation?

“No, I already took some. Thank you.” She hadn’t really, but if she sent him out for paracetamol, he would come back. She just wanted him to go.

He scratched the back of his neck and looked around the room for a moment, his eyes settling on the room service cart before he looked back at her. “Hopefully eating helped.”

“A little,” she said, watching him stand there in the most awkward manner.

He cleared his throat and opened his mouth twice before he blurted, “You must know how much I like you by now. I mean, I tried not to—I really did, but I couldn’t help it. Despite your horrible mother and your younger sisters, who behave like they’ve shagged half the county, you’ve fascinated me. From the first moment I saw you, I’ve fought with whether I should tell you how I feel. How much I enjoy being with you—talking with you. This weekend has been amazing, but I really want us to spend more time together. I thought maybe we could get away. I have a flat in Paris. We could go next weekend? We could take the Eurostar on Friday evening and return late Sunday. Think about it. We could walk along the Seine, go to the Louvre and the Musèe D’Orsay, eat croissants and crepes and drink champagne.” When his long and rambling speech ended, he simply stood there, his eyebrows high on his forehead.

“You’re mental,” she said. “Absolutely mental.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You’ve liked me since the first moment you saw me? Really? Do you remember what you said that evening, because I do? I remember every bloody word!” His mouth opened and closed, but she really didn’t give him time to answer. “I believe your exact words to Charles were, ‘Look! I’m not going to ask her to dance. I said she’s okay and I meant it. She’s not the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen.’” Elizabeth had dropped her pitch so her voice was almost as deep as she could make it. “And even if you’d apologized for saying that, there’s still what your cousin told me about you.”

“My cousin?” He frowned and stepped forward. “Which one?”

“The one who owns the biomedical company. What is his name: Robert …Richard? If you don’t remember, he was as pissed as a parrot by the end of the night. After he asked me to dance, he proceeded to tell me all about how you’d tried to break up Charles and my sister. What has my sister ever done to you?”

She paused for a moment, but again, left him no time to speak. “I can answer that because it’s nothing. She’s never so much as hurt a fly, but you wanted to break her heart. Very nice, Darcy. And now, you seem to think that you can waltz in here and sweep me off my feet by telling how much you like me—even though you don’t want to, and how my mother is so horrible. Oh, and let’s not forget my sisters, who’ve probably shagged half the county by the way. Let me tell you something. Regardless of what they do with boys their age, they are my sisters. They sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but I still love them.”

“I didn’t think—”

“That much is obvious. You always stand there like a stuck-up prig, staring, and passing judgement on everyone.”

He flinched as if he were pinched. “Is that really what you thought?”

“What else was I supposed to believe? You said I wasn’t pretty and then glared at me whenever we happened to be in the same room.”

“But you invited me to dinner…”

“No, you’d always have some excuse or another to ask to sit with me.” Her hands clenched so tightly at her sides that her fingernails dug painfully into her palms. “Believe it or not, I don’t like to be rude, so I let you. I couldn’t understand why, when we’d never had anything other than an awkward conversation, you wanted to eat together much less pay for my meal but you kept coming back. I’ve drank more in the past few days than I usually do in a fortnight. You are the rudest man I have ever had the misfortune to meet—”

“I’ve heard enough,” he said in an almost tired voice. “I understand that I was mistaken. Forgive me for taking up so much of your time.” Without another word, he strode through the door, letting it slam shut behind him.

Elizabeth dropped onto the bed and put her hands over her face, but quickly pulled them away. They were damp. When had she started crying? “Okay, he’s gone, Elizabeth. You can relax and let your hair down.”

She looked out of the window before peering back at the door. His expression right before he’d walked out made her chest hurt, but why? Since when did she care whether she’d hurt Darcy’s feelings?

“Oh bloody hell,” she said, picking up the phone and dialing the number for room service. “Yes…this is room 311. Could you please send up a bottle of Prosecco?”


L.L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans before following her husband all over as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and now England have all been called home along the way.
Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. Her most recent endeavours have included certifications to coach swimming as well as fitness instructor and personal trainer. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolour is her medium of choice with one of her watercolours featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Leslie also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!

Visit Leslie’s website lldiamondwrites.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @lldiamond2


13 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

So This is Love – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you today? I am very happy to receive at From Pemberley to Milton Laura Hile, an author who has marked me forever with one of my all time favourite books, Darcy by Any Other Name. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! But today she is not here to talk about that book, she is visiting to share with you an excerpt of her most recently release novel, So This is Love

I am currently reading this book and I’m really enjoying it, in fact, the excerpt we are sharing today is precisely the point where I stand in the book, and I am looking forward to see how the romance between Charlotte and Captain Blunt will evolve. 

I used to only read Darcy/Elizabeth centered books, but after reading so many stories, one cannot help but feel the need for something different, so secondary based novels now hold a new appeal to me. 

So This is Love is certainly holding my attention, and I hope you like reading the excerpt as much as I am enjoying reading the book. And there is a giveaway, so don’t forget to comment 🙂 Let us know if you are only interested in Darcy/Elizabeth stories, or if like me your tastes have changed over time. If so, is Charlotte one of your favourites? Or is she a character that holds little appeal for you? I’m looking forward to read your opinion, but now I think it is time to let you read the blurb and the excerpt 🙂


“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”

Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.

But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?

Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely.  She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.

.

You can find So This is Love at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


.

Excerpt Introduction (general): Mr. Collins is little more than a stranger when Charlotte Lucas agrees to marry him. This is a prudent choice, given her situation. But when Mr. Collins crosses the line, something in Charlotte snaps. How dare he be so familiar, so shamelessly forward! It isn’t as if he loves her!

Come with Charlotte as she breaks the engagement, is sent away to her father’s relations, and discovers a future that is vastly different from the one she envisioned.

Because “I am not romantic” is anything but true. Charlotte simply hasn’t met the right man.

In this story, she will.

****

In Chapter 6, the coach in which Charlotte and her brother are traveling is robbed by highwaymen. Now she and her handsome rescuer must ride double on his horse.

With a nod to the passengers, Captain Jack Blunt took the reins and led the horse down the coaching road at a walk. Once out of sight, he stopped and looked back at Miss Lucas. “The trouble is this: because of an injury my foot will not bear me the full two miles. I’ll mount up behind you now, and we’ll ride together.” 

“I’ll gladly dismount and walk.” 

While he appreciated the spirit of her offer, Jack was not about to allow a woman to walk while he rode. “After twenty-odd hours cramped in that coach?” he countered. “Without sleep? I have traveled like that many a time; it is brutal.”

“Brutal is certainly the word.”

“It will be easier this way.”

“Easier for your pride!”

“How well you understand me! We’ll bring this off, trust me.” 

“I have no choice but to trust you, Mr. Blunt. I’ll have you know,” she added, “that although I am no horsewoman, I am not a coward.”

“Assuredly not, merely worn to the bone. You gave as good as you got back there.” 

Blunt swung into the saddle behind her, and after a bit of adjustment, they settled in. Never mind that she was half sitting on his lap! He shifted the hilt of his sword so that it did not dig into her side. 

“That was a bad business you were witness to,” he remarked, as he urged the horse forward. “I regret having to shoot that fellow, but there was nothing else to be done.”

“His flintlock had already been fired, hadn’t it?”

“It had,” he said grimly, “but at the time I did not know this. Moreover, he threatened to shoot you. From my vantage point, it was likely that he would. Barring that, he’d bludgeon you on the temple, possibly killing you.” 

“That is just what you did to the other man!” 

Blunt hesitated. He would never make her understand. “It was the easiest way to disable him. It makes no difference; he’ll hang soon enough.”

He felt her stiffen. “These are not novices or innocents, Miss Lucas. They have been robbing travelers for many weeks; I cannot fathom why there was no guard today. You saw Marlow’s cheek where the bullet grazed him.”

“Yes,” she said quietly.

“You do understand,” he added, “that last week another driver was shot and killed along this same stretch of road?” 

He sensed her discomfort. Apparently she did not know. 

“Highwaymen are romanticized by women and fools. Any one of you might have been killed today, including your precocious brother.” He paused. “Now, unfortunately, Johnny will think highwaymen rob with empty flintlocks and are easily mastered.” 

“Thank you,” she said stiffly, “for coming to our rescue.” 

“You are welcome. Your uncle was, ah, disinclined to accompany me due to his gouty foot. A pity; a second horseman would have been useful.”

Miss Lucas slewed round. “You talked this over with my Uncle Allen? Do I know you, Mr. Blunt?” 

“Perhaps you have heard your parents speak of me,” he said gently, “as Captain Blunt.” 

It appeared that she had heard of him after all. “Forgive me, but you introduced yourself as Jack. I have always heard you called Jasper.” 

“I prefer Jack,” he said grimly. 

“And I prefer Diana,” cried Miss Lucas, “for it is a lovely name and she, unlike me, is beautiful. But my name is Charlotte. Plain, ordinary Charlotte. Wishing a thing were different does not make it so.” 

Blunt’s response was to laugh. “There is nothing of the ordinary about you, Diana.” 

“That shows how little you know.” 

Again he laughed. Poor Miss Lucas was out of her element entirely. Now when would she realize that she was leaning against his chest?

Presently she did become aware, and she pulled herself rigidly upright. Her traveling bag made this an awkward maneuver. Jack put a hand to her shoulder and gently drew her back. “It’s easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Miss Lucas.” 

“That,” she muttered, “is an outright lie. What a wretched day!”

“It is indeed. Go ahead and have your cry,” he offered. “Don’t mind me.” 

“You are as stupid as you are ignorant, Captain Blunt,” she said. “I never cry. Not in front of people.” 

“But there is only me. You have rightly characterized me as stupid; I cannot be said to count.” 

“Crying solves nothing. For me, it only makes everything worse. Besides, I am not pretty enough to cry.”

“What nonsense is this?” 

“It is very true. In my family, I am the sensible one. When I cry, I never get my way, nor do I get sympathy. People become upset, and sometimes they become angry.” 

He leaned sideways to look at her. “Angry?” 

“It is easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Captain Blunt.”

That scotched him! “Aye, aye, ma’am,” he said meekly. 

They lapsed into silence. “Look,” said Jack suddenly. “Everyone cries. Even battle-toughened men on a warship. Even me, and I am as hard as they come. Not in the heat of battle, mind, but after. When I read the service for the deceased, and we send crewmen to their watery graves, I weep. We all do. There is not a dry eye on deck.” 

She appeared to consider this, but no tears came.

“You’ve had quite a day. Bounced inside that coach for hours on end, covered with dirt from the road, robbed at gunpoint, witness to a killing—” 

“And deprived of food and drink,” she added. “Johnny ate most of the food Mother sent.” 

“Did he now? Johnny deserves to be flogged.” 

“It is not his fault, poor boy. He is growing and is always hungry.” 

Blunt dug in a pocket for his flask and uncorked it. “Here,” he offered. “Sip cautiously.” 

She sniffed it. “But this is …” 

“Cognac from your uncle’s cellar. Otherwise known as brandy.” 

She took a tentative sip, closed her eyes, and then took a larger swallow. 

“That’ll do, Diana.” Blunt removed it from her grasp. “Just enough to take the edge off.” He eyed the flask and then took a swallow for himself. 

He heard her sigh. “It’s only a swallow,” he protested. 

“That’s what they all say.” 

Blunt gave a shout of laughter. What an unusual girl! 

He stole another look at her; her eyelids were at half-mast. “I recommend you settle in and take a nap.” 

Of course she was horrified; it would be no fun if she were not. “I could never! And if I did, I would fall sideways. You would have to catch me, which you couldn’t do because I am so heavy. We would both end up on the road.” 

“Egad,” said Jack, grinning. “I’d not thought of that. Stay awake, by all means.” 

Which meant she would be asleep within the quarter hour. 

Sure enough, Captain Blunt was right.


 

Encourager. Believer. Author. Teacher. Friend.
By day, Laura Hile teaches at a Christian school. By night—or rather, in the early morning when she can think! —she writes Jane Austen and Regency romance with laughs and happy endings.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with middle school students!
She enjoys gardening (she is a weed warrior!), choral singing, and having coffee with friends.
Laura lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with her husband and a collection of antique clocks. One day she hopes to add a cat or three.

Other books by Laura Hile: Darcy By Any Other Name and the Mercy’s Embrace trilogy. She is a regular contributor to the A Very Austen anthology series.

Connect with Laura:

Website: https://laurahile.com/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2967234.Laura_Hile

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraHile

 


Laura Hile is offering one ebook copy of So This is Love to my readers. To apply to it all you have do to is comment on this post and let us know if you are a team Charlotte kind of person. The giveaway is open until the 22nd and the winners will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

25 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson – Cover Reveal

Hello everyone,

How are you this week? I have travelled south and am currently spending a few days in sunny Algarve. The weather is great, the beaches are incredible and the company could not be better, so I can’t complain about June so far 🙂

On the literary side, I’m very happy to receive Don Jacobson today who is releasing a new book with Meryton Press, and guess what? It is a stand alone completely unrelated to the Wardrobe Series! 

This full length romance takes a different take on Pride & Prejudice with the social roles being flipped. But I’ll let you read the blurb in a second, I just wanted to say what an honour it is to once more reveal a cover designed by the wonderful Janet Taylor. I love every single cover she works on and this one is no exception! I’m thrilled to share it with you today, and I am very curious to know your opinion about it.


“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

*****

Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!

         Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands


Curious about the cover? Here it is:

What do you think of it? I bet this isn’t what you were expecting, is it? This is definitely not the usual regency cover we often see in JAFF books, and I love the choice the author and the designer took to differentiate it based on the story itself. These workers will be pertinent to the story and it is up to your imagination to discover how…But could they represent someone that might be in plain sight, but not recognised? One name in particular comes to my mind 🙂

I love the detail that Janet always puts in her covers, and the palette of colours always seems to captivate me, this one in particular reminded me of my favourite painter, Vincent Van Gogh. I’m very curious about this book and I cannot wait to read it, the cover did that to me 🙂

But you haven’t seen the back cover yet, you probably know that my love for back covers is equal to the one I have for front covers and this one kept me thinking..

So, what is your opinion? I am very curious to know why we see different social classes on the front and back cover. Why do we see workers in the front and the gentry in the back? Does that mean anything? I love looking for clues in the covers Janet Taylor works on. She usually adds something of significance in the cover, and it has become a habit of mine to try to find it. Also, have you noticed how the woman sitting on the last row is looking back at that gentlemen as if they are discussing something of import? What could they be talking about? And why are the ladies in the back trying to listen to their conversation? Where are they looking?

Don Jacobson gives you more intel on the cover in the following guest post, and he even answers some of my questions, so if you’re curious, don’t skip it 🙂


 

Thank you, Rita, for hosting the cover reveal for my latest novel, In Plain Sight. The book is a Pride and Prejudice Variation of about 120,000 words in length, soon to be published by Meryton Press.

I am absolutely in love with this cover. Of course, having the amazing Janet Taylor at the drawing pad (oh, do not pick on me for being a throwback!) makes all the difference. Her superb eye finds the essential “it” in every piece of art. Her touch is evident in each element of the wrapper…front/spine/back. Nuances of added color draw the viewer much like Darcy passing Elizabeth through the line of dance: gently and elegantly with supreme confidence. 

As with many of our collaborations, I suggested the front cover artwork to Janet.  La Seconde Récolte (~1879) by Julien Dupre spoke to me of the whole idea that most of the population of Regency Great Britain was hidden in plain sight from the elites. My interest in this unseen (and the vast majority) group led me to consider using this as a device to explore the complexities of the Darcy and Elizabeth dynamic. After all, those of us in the enlightened 21st Century recognize that all individuals—rich or rude—have the desire to be loved and the capacity to love. Dupre’s harvesters are from the lesser classes. 

The back cover artwork is one of Janet’s discoveries and demonstrates the inverted lives of the ton when compared to that of the farmworkers. The painting also recalls the crux event in the book. I hope that readers will appreciate that this was the froth that was the lives lived by the upper reaches in counterpoint to the gritty reality of the existence of the lessers.

Many readers have engaged in my work through either The Bennet Wardrobe Series or the Lessers and Betters stories. All of those books feature secondary characters in the P&P universe. Truthfully, I did not have the courage earlier in my career to offer an original ODC story. However, I was never allowed to rest and continue delving into a world with which I was familiar. N-o-o-o-o, my good writing friends, Lory Lilian and Joana Starnes, pestered me every time a Bennet Wardrobe book published. When are you going to write a Darcy and Elizabeth story? When will we see how you would do it? Don’t you think you would enjoy writing an ODC?

Well, dear friends…thanks to you I did it. I found a way to overcome my fears, and I never would have done it without you, Lory and Joana, as well as the fine folks at Meryton Press. I am proud of In Plain Sight. Its truth resonates and has an authenticity that, I hope, will offer a different experience for fans of #Austenesque fiction.


On Oakham Mount, October 1, 1811

Elizabeth clutched her pelisse about her as the breeze cut to the bone. As the gusts increased in intensity, thickening strati scudded above. Dark clouds raised their hunched shoulders above St. Albans to the north. Hertfordshire weather, capricious as always, was changing its mind yet again.

The young woman—her decision made—stood and, bowing her head, made her way toward the point where the trail down to Longbourn cut through the turfy cornice crowning the peak, although only in rolling Hertfordshire would this hump be counted an alp. For as long as she could remember, this trailhead had been marked by an overhanging gnarled elm. As she approached the small gully cut through the rim, the tree, which had been swaying wildly, gave up the effort to retain its grip in the over-soaked soil. It tipped and, with a resounding crash, ripped free of the hillside and plunged into the path, its root ball exposed to the heavens and blocking any access to the route.

Even so, Elizabeth Bennet was not daunted. She was thankful that she had not been seconds faster on her feet. There was another footpath that dropped down the hill’s southwest slope toward the Mimram circling its base. This track was less well traveled.

While ’tis longer, what is an extra mile or two when my only alternative would have been to sooner endure Mama’s fulminations and Collins’s attentions? I can follow the river road back toward where it passes through Meryton and intersects Longbourn Lane. I shall be home in time to closet myself with Papa and devise a strategy to keep the peace while thwarting both Mama and Mr. Collins.

Gathering her skirts, she sped across the grass, splashing through day-old puddles and dampening her half boots until she reached the other path’s entrance. Lizzy peered downhill with rising dismay. Clearly, few if any employed the track connecting the river road and the summit. The way was overgrown with hawthorn brambles and weed stalks. Furthermore, it dropped into the shadows of woods that had not seen a forester in decades—if not centuries. The dimness beneath the overhanging boughs left Lizzy with a fell sentiment knotting her stomach.

Yet, there was nothing for it. With a last look behind her at the gray wall sweeping southwards toward her, Lizzy plunged downward.

As she moved through the forest, though, Lizzy did as she always had when rubbing shoulders with nature. She gave voice to her joy at being free of Mama’s glowering. Surrounded by the wonders of Hertfordshire’s varied countryside, Elizabeth sang and reveled in the way her rich soprano echoed off Oakham Mount’s southern ledges.

She hurried to make up for the time that was sure to be lost with the extra mile added to her walk. Elizabeth was aware of the opprobrium her mother would heap upon her shoulders for her tardiness. Haste, though, was not to be the enemy of good sense. Lizzy placed her feet with care lest she also have to explain to Mama why her skirts were coated in muck from hem to hip and not just the six inches the laundry maid had come to expect.

However, as Robert Burns mused about the best-laid plans

As the forest brightened, indicating her approach to the road, Lizzy relaxed for a moment, looking up to gauge the remaining distance before she would be on a graded surface—at which point, her foot caught an exposed root, sending her tumbling head over heels down the hillside.

As she rolled off the path and onto the roadway, Lizzy’s bonnet flew free as it was caught by a gust, and it landed in the opposite ditch.

Huffing in disgust as she hauled herself to her feet, Lizzy realized her headgear had gone missing. Scanning the area around her, the bonnet was not immediately visible. Rather than abandoning the wayward chapeau—and aware that a vision of her hatless self would set tongues to wagging—young Miss Bennet widened her search.

After a brief reconnoiter, her eye was attracted to a flash of color on the far side of the ditch. Her bonnet rested brim-down on a dry patch of grass, looking none the worse for wear. The sounds of the rushing Mimram, hidden from view by the far bank, drowned out the wind moving through the trees. 

Already a sodden mess, Lizzy shrugged, clambered down the embankment, and gingerly stepped into the weedy pool filling the sump. She focused on shuffling through the murk to avoid a freezing dunk. The water passed her half boots, filling them, and swirled up her calves. The discomfort quickly surpassed the inconvenience of wet feet. Throughout all of this, her eyes remained glued on her prize.

Biting her lower lip to stop her teeth from chattering, Elizabeth snagged the errant bonnet and clamped it over her unruly hair. She swiftly tied the ribbons beneath her chin and steeled herself for the return trip.

Then, from corner of her eye, she caught a slight movement amongst the grassy sedge about ten feet to her right and just below the road’s verge. Scoffing at the way she had jumped, Lizzy dismissed the rustling as a chance zephyr stirring the plants rather than evidence of anything more substantial…and dangerous.

She had almost calmed herself when the foliage, about two feet tall, shook with such violence that Lizzy let out a squeak and propelled herself across the mire and up onto the roadway. Her eyes never left the spot where the movement had originated.

Like a filly not only aware of the bridle in her groom’s hand but also entranced by the apple slice proffered by the other, Lizzy skittishly approached the trough’s lip. As she carefully looked down into the gully, she apprehended nothing…at first.

Then the brush was parted by a pair of hands followed by a face, misshaped by a rictus of unaccountable pain, surging up the slope toward her. The man’s gasp of inhaled breath—for ’twas a man—painfully conquered the river’s roar.

Like a castaway rising from the surf, he collapsed about three feet short of the rim, a wine-dark stain coloring his forearm.


The blog tour for In Plain Sight will begin in a few days and Don will be visiting again on the 22nd of June, so stop by to know more about this book. And of course, don’t forget to visit all the other blogs, each stop will have different information 🙂

32 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Chasing Elizabeth by Jennifer Joy – Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Hello everyone

I hope you’re all keeping safe and busy reading 🙂 Unfortunately my reading time is no longer at its best. I’ve been quite busy at work and with the gradual decrease of the social distancing measures it feels like I don’t have much time for anything anymore.

Hopefully June will bring more stability and with that I may be able to focus and read more. My TBR will appreciate that, especially since I keep adding titles to it, namely Jennifer Joy’s upcoming release. That’s right, you heard me correctly, she is releasing another book next week! Isn’t that awesome?! And if you aren’t excited yet, just wait until you read the blurb, it had me with the first two lines!

Today we decided to share with you the cover of this third book of the Mysteries & Matrimony series and an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it and keep looking for it at Amazon. It should go live next week 🙂 Now, I bet you would rather read the famous blurb, look at the cover and get a glimpse of the book with the excerpt, so here they are.


She shows him the meaning of home.

He gives her the adventure of a lifetime.

Elizabeth Bennet longs for a break from the confines of Longbourn. Her morning rides with her best friend at Lucas Lodge are her only relief from the endless tedium of a lady’s never-changing routine. 

Until she’s thrown from her horse and lands at the feet of a mysterious stranger… 

Fitzwilliam Darcy has not set foot in Derbyshire in three years. His is a life of danger and deceit as he closes in on an evil agency who threatens the safety of England. Only after he fulfills his mission will he return to his home — to Pemberley. 

That is the plan … until a fine-eyed maiden with a talent for getting into mischief upends his world.

If you like falling in love with Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth as they fall for each other, then you’ll love this sweet romance adventure based on Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

Chasing Elizabeth is the 3rd book in the Mysteries & Matrimony series of standalone novels.


Curious about the cover?

What do you think of it? I love the landscape on the back and the clouds in the sky, and this is certainly one of my favourite covers from Jennifer Joy.

It is also very distinctive, which is something I really appreciate. I love looking at a cover and identifying it with a certain author. Sometimes they are completely different, but I love it when authors keep the same design or add a small detail that is present in all their covers. Those details and consistency make my library much prettier  🙂


Several thoughts passed through Elizabeth’s mind in the split-second it took for her to fall to the sloppy ground. First and foremost, sidesaddles were an evil invention of man. Good thing she had freed her feet from the stirrups without getting too tangled in her skirts (another questionable invention when it came to riding.) Second, this never would have happened on Tempest. Third, and more important, who else was riding on her and Charlotte’s favorite path at the same early hour?

Two polished boots appeared not two feet in front of her nose. A deep, velvety voice said, “Are you hurt?” 

The gloved hand that hovered by her face was so clean, Elizabeth hesitated to take it. She lifted her own hand from the slippery muck to confirm what her damp skin and garments suggested. She was covered in mud. 

She looked up at the mannerly stranger, the morning sun casting an angelic halo around what she prayed was merely an apparition, a figment of her overactive imagination. The chiseled jaw, firm chin, and the arch of concern in the dark brow of the handsome man standing over her certainly fit the appearance of a dreamy hero. 

Elizabeth blinked, but he did not disappear. Nor did she wake to find herself at Longbourn, tucked into her warm bed. In fact, she was getting cold. She looked down. Yes, the mud was real. The man was real. Her humiliation was real. 

Clenching her fingers into fists, Elizabeth stifled a groan. What a lovely predicament she was in. As if it was not bad enough to be thrown from a horse when she considered herself a skilled horsewoman, it had been observed by a stranger who would always associate this unfavorable moment with her. That he was handsome only added to her vexation. 

“Pray allow me to assist you,” he said, moving his hand closer to her.

Handsome and a perfect gentleman. The affront against Elizabeth’s vanity multiplied. And yet, reason told her she could not ignore him and remain in the puddle all day. It was a quandary made of her own foolish self-consciousness. She could not extract herself from the muck without making a worse disaster of her riding habit, but neither did she wish to dirty his pristine kid leather gloves. 

Stuff and fluff, she was being ridiculous! There was nothing to do but make light of her situation. Then, maybe, the stranger would understand her blush to be the result of laughter instead of shame. Shame at her own bruised vanity (for, what import did she place on others’ opinions of her?) and for her delayed reaction. One would think she had suffered a blow to the head.

“Are you injured? Did you hit your head?” the stranger asked.

Ha ha! There it was. She could not take offense with his question when she had thought the same only a moment before. If anything, she must applaud the gentleman’s sound deduction.  

By the time Elizabeth’s smile reached her eyes, it had developed a sincerity of its own, and she laughed heartily as she placed her hand in his. “I thank you, sir. I assure you the greatest injury I suffered was to my pride.” 

The stranger pulled her to her feet before she could catch her breath.  

Now that the sun did not blind her, she considered the gentleman. His eyes were the same color of the lapis lazuli on her brooch. Life was especially unjust against her that morning. 

It became imperative that she explain. “The mud is slippery—” She cringed. Of course, mud was slippery. “And, mercifully soft.” 

Elizabeth bit her lips together before she said anything else nonsensical. Maybe she had hit her head during the fall. She wiped the mud from her brooch, avoiding his gaze until she had collected enough of her dignity to look him in the eye.

The gentleman watched her. He must think her mad. Or worse, foolish. She was tempted to offer another explanation, but the flinch at the corner of his lips stopped her. Whoever he was, he was not immune to the humor of their situation. It was some comfort — enough to latch on to. 

Her tension eased and her embarrassment subsided, Elizabeth felt amusement bubble up inside her. 

“Lizzy!” cried Charlotte from behind her. 

Elizabeth startled. She had forgotten all about Charlotte. Pulling her gaze away from the mystery man, who only then dropped her gloved fingers and stepped away, Elizabeth wondered how long he had been holding her hand. How long had she been staring into his eyes? 

Her cheeks burned once again. How could she act like a moonstruck maiden in the full light of morning? Had Elizabeth observed herself, she would have poked fun at her own folly and nonsense.

Mercer gathered the mare’s reins before she stepped on them — something that only occurred to Elizabeth to do when she saw it done. Some horsewoman she was! The gentleman must think her completely inept. 

She had never felt more helpless. Elizabeth did not like it one jot, and she determined not to continue in the same manner for a second more. 

Defiantly avoiding so much as a peripheral gaze at the gentleman lest her senses take leave of her once again, Elizabeth turned to Charlotte. “I am well. I ought to have known there might be other riders along the path instead of charging heedlessly ahead, and now I have received my due punishment.” She pulled her mud-caked habit from her body, the further consequences of her present state chilling her like another dash of cold puddle water. 

Elizabeth’s heart hammered against her ribs. “My father!” she gasped, feeling physically ill. There would be no hiding what had happened from him. The line she walked to maintain the freedom she cherished was a fine one … and she had crossed it.  

The poor gentleman behind her had every right to think her a complete hoyden with abominable manners, but if she did not return to Longbourn before her family gathered in the breakfast parlor, her father would use this incident to forbid her from ever riding again. That it was her own doing smarted the worst. 

Collecting the reins from Mercer and rushing him to assist her atop the dreaded sidesaddle, Elizabeth mounted, and with a heartfelt “Thank you!”, she threw an apologetic smile behind her as she took off past gaping Charlotte toward Lucas Lodge. 

Of what use were polite introductions when her freedom was on the chopping block? Elizabeth determined not to concern herself about the mannerly gentleman. She had graver matters to worry about.

However, the hint of his smile stuck with Elizabeth all the way back to the stables, and the image kept up with her as she ran to Longbourn…


 

Apart from the cover, Jennifer Joy brought to From Pemberley to Milton four e-book copies of Chasing Elizabeth to offer to our readers across the globe.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is comment on this post by sharing your thoughts on the blurb, the cover, or Jennifer’s previous books. Have you read any from this series yet?

The giveaway is open until the 6th of June and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced a few days later.

Good luck everyone!

80 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice