Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

Snowbound at Hartfield Review & Giveaway

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebook4 stars

Snowbound at Hartfield is a crossover of books and characters that I never thought possible, but maybe the issue is with my imagination because Maria Grace made these characters interactions completely plausible and interesting.

Pride & Prejudice will meet Persuasion and Emma when both Mr.Darcy’s party and Sir Walter Elliot’s are trapped in an inn during a snowstorm without any rooms vacant. Luckily this inn is close to Hartfield, and Mr Knightley, who is Mr. Darcy’s old friend, invites them all to stay with him and his family until the storm abates.

It is due to these circumstances that we will have in the same house Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Col. Fitzwilliam, Sir Walter Elliot, Miss Elizabeth Elliot, Mr. Knightley, Mrs Emma Knightley and Mr. Woodhouse. I’m sure you’re starting to imagine how much fun it will be to have Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot in close proximity! But Sir Walter will not even be the only person who will contribute to the amusement of Mr. Bennet, the Knightley’s neighbours are, after all, perfect to make sport of, and Mrs. Elton will always be a source of amusement for some and chagrin to others wherever she goes.

The originality of bringing all these characters together and developing a very different and unexpected couple has to be praised! The romantic couple in Snowbound at Hartfield is one I had never seen portrayed and would never think of, but Maria Grace made it work by showing us a deeper and darker side of these characters, one that is not often shown to us and will make us think of what is beneath the character’s usual façade. In fact, she picked up one of my least favourite secondary characters from Austen, and made her the love interest of one of my favourite characters succeeding to make me wish they would find happiness together.That wasn’t an easy task, and I still can not say Miss Elliot is a favourite of mine, but she deed redeem herself in this book, and Maria Grace’s approach to this character was remarkable.

The love story between Col. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Elliot will be very different from what we are used to, but they will be presented to us as two broken souls who can mend each other, and we can not stop thinking that they will do very well together.

Elizabeth Darcy and Emma Knightley are secondary characters in this story but it was very amusing and fun to see them described as matrons!

Snowbound at Hartfield is a creative, fun and romantic novella which will fill our hearts with the hope that it is never too late to find happiness. I recommend this book to any Austen fan who is looking for a secondary character story to read. This story is a quick read that will bring several of Austen’s characters into a new light, it is perfect to be read between two Darcy and Elizabeth centered books, and I’m sure any Austen aficionado will enjoy it.

 

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

Maria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the interview with Maria Grace posted on the 20th of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

16 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Maria Grace & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Maria Grace has been an important name in the Jane Austen community for many years. She has written several fiction books and novellas celebrating our dear characters from Pride & Prejudice, but also some non fiction works where she shares with us the costumes in regency, namely A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions and Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World.

Apart from all her work in JAFF, she has always been a dear author and I am very happy to interview her today regarding her recently released book: Snowbound at Hartfield.

I hope you enjoy this interview but if you still have any question that you would like to see answered, please do not hesitate to ask it in the comments. I’m sure Maria will be glad to answer you and it will enter you in the giveaway she is hosting.

 

interview

 

Hello Maria, welcome to From Pemberley to Milton. I know you have just released a new book called Snowbound at Hartfield. What can you tell us about it? What can readers expect?

Maria Grace – Snowbound at Hartfield is a romance about second chances and the difficult reality single adults, men and women, faced in the regency era. Even though it deals with some difficult subjects, there’s a generous helping of humor and lots of warm fuzzies as well.

 

FPTM – This book is a mash up of several Austen stories, and even though I’ve seen crossovers between two different Austen books, I never saw one putting together characters from three different books. How did you come up with this idea?

MG – The idea for Snowbound came out of a March Mash-up Madness theme we had last year at Austen Variations.

 

FPTM – But why Emma, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice?

MG – One of our readers suggested a scene between some of the Austen fathers, like Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot. I took that idea and ran with it. By the time all was said and done, Snowbound was the result.

 

FPTM – The book is written from 2 different points of view and one of them is Miss Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion. She is hardly ever seen in JAFF and I had never seen her as a main character, why did you decide to give her the spotlight on this novel?

MG – That came out of having Sir Walter Elliot as one of the fathers in the mash-up scene. I couldn’t imagine him traveling without company of some kind, and what more natural company for him to have that the daughter who still lived with him?

 

FPTM – Miss Elizabeth Elliot is a controversial character, what is her story on Snowbound at Hartfield? How did you decide to approach this character?

MG – We pick up Miss Elizabeth Elliot after she has had two very difficult experiences. First, the heir presumptive of the family, William Elliot has taken her friend, Penelope Clay ‘under his protections’–which is to say he has made her his mistress. Worse yet, she is living in his house, which was just not done. All this happened while Elizabeth was expecting an offer of marriage from him. On top of that humiliation, her younger sister Anne is married to the very desirable Captain Wentworth, leaving Elizabeth, the eldest sister who should have been the first to marry, the only one left unmarried.

So, Elizabeth is an humiliated spinster, whose financial situation requires her to live with her foolish father. In such a situation, she would be the mistress of the house, handling the management aspect of this home. With little money to work with, it would have been very challenging to live the lifestyle of a baronet, as her father would have required.

Living through all would tax anyone. To me, it seemed the perfect motivation for potential personal change, so that’s where I wrote her from.

 

FPTM – The other POV in this book is Col. Fitzwilliam whose character also takes an interesting turn in with a different side of him being explored. What can you tell us about his character?

MG -I think Col. Fitzwilliam is a complicated character. As a military officer of the era, he would have seen action in the Napoleonic wars. Those wars were brutal and horrific and it is hard to imagine a man who could experience that without some lasting effects. Those experiences impact him greatly, and leaving himself feeling ‘less’ than the man he used to be.  That is part of the challenge he faces in this story.

 

FPTM – Thank you so much for letting us know more about Snowbound at Hartfield Maria. Is there anything else you want to tell my readers?

MGSnowbound started as a bit of a lark, but the characters had a story to tell and wouldn’t leave me alone until I had allowed them to tell it. It didn’t end up to be the story I expected it to be, but after all was said and done, I’m very happy with the results.

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

biography

 

grace-38-lThough Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.

You can find Maria at:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors

Pinterest

 

giveaway-time

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebookMaria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the review that will be posted here on the 23rd of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

 

 

23 Comments

Filed under Emma, interview, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey Review & Giveaway

2-1-donwell-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

Last year I devoured Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes in one day and the book caused such an impression on me that I considered it one of my favorites from 2016.

The only issue I had with the book was that the second volume, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, would only be available in January 2017 and I didn’t want to wait that long to read it.

I eagerly waited until I could read Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, and when I put my hands on it, I was once again compelled to read it in one day. I simply could not stop reading this book, and that is because Ginger Monette has a fluid and enticing writing style that make her books true page-turners.

You don’t necessarily need to read Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes to enjoy Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey because even if this is a continuation of the story, readers will easily understand and get immersed in this new story, but the impact this second book will have is much different if you read the first, so I recommend reading Beauty from Ashes first.

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey starts with Elizabeth receiving very disturbing news that imply she is part of a conspiracy of traitors who helped German officers escape from the Allies on the continent (if you haven’t read the blurb yet, the book occurs during the first World War). She knows that traitors are convicted to death and that people associated to them will most likely be shunned by society, so in an attempt to save her own life and protect Darcy she goes into hiding.

When Darcy discovers Elizabeth is missing, he understands the reasons behind this and does everything in his power to find her and let her know that the news she heard are not true, that she is safe from the malicious rumors and they can be happy together, but Elizabeth outsmarts him and assumes a new identity as a VAD nurse. She becomes Miss Juliet Thomas, the assistant of Dr. Scott, who is sent to work at Hartfield facility.

In the meantime, Darcy is obliged to remain in the continent and is send to the front. Being unable to find Elizabeth, he is devoid of hope, and in an altruistic and heroic act gets seriously injured in battle. He is then sent back to England and transported to Hartfield which belongs to his family. In this new hospital he will be under Dr. Scott’s care and in close proximity to Elizabeth who will be crucial to assist him in his recovery.

It is at Hartfield, close to Donwell Abbey, that our characters will face their biggest trial in life. They will suffer, despair, lose all hope and regain it once more; they will laugh, cherish each other and grow as human beings, and in the end, they will have their happy ending.

This book is simultaneously powerful, intense and beautiful. It is very hard for me to cry with a book, but on Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey tears came to my eyes as feelings consumed and pulled me into the story and the characters reality. The path both Darcy and Elizabeth take in this book is a dark one, and the tone is completely different from Beauty From Ashes. In this book the characters are more mature and the relationship they establish is not a passionate love/hate one, it is based on understanding, friendship, respect and perseverance.

I particularly liked the fact that Darcy never gave up on Elizabeth, and that she yielded to her feelings in the end.

Darcy and Elizabeth are central characters in the book, but there are several cameo appearances of other known characters such as Col. Brandon and Marianne Dashwood. The ones I loved the most were John Thornton and Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. If you don’t love John Thornton yet, you will once you see how crucial he will be on Darcy’s life. I hope the author writes a Great War Romance based on John and Margaret’s POV very, very shortly 🙂 The stories intertwine in perfections and I would dearly love to see this romance through their eyes and experiences having Darcy and Elizabeth as mere secondary characters.

Summing up, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is full of depth, intensity and historical romance. It is incredibly well written and the development of the characters fears and war trauma is beautifully accomplished. I highly recommend it not only to JAFF readers but anyone who wants a good historical romance.

9-2-donwell-teaser-2-jpg

The Darcy’s Hope Saga is available for purchase on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Darcy’s Hope – Beauty from Ashes & Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey  

Amazon.co.uk –Darcy’s Hope – Beauty from Ashes & Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey 

To have a better idea of what this book is all about I would like to invite you read the blurb and the excerpt we brought you today 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

  1. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.

  • May be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers may experience some minor confusions without the context of the mystery of Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes.
  • Has a happy ending for Lizzy and Darcy.
  • Romance is clean. Minor language and some recollections of graphic war scenes.

 

***Excerpt***

Elizabeth bolted from the chair. “Fitzwilliam, wake up!” She nudged his arm in the darkened room, but he continued writhing with great heaving breaths. “Captain!” She squeezed his hand, but he jerked it away, whimpering.

On impulse, she slid her arms under his shoulders and held him close. Instantly his thrashing ceased.

Gently rocking him, she massaged the unbandaged hair at his temple and whispered against his cheek, “It’s all right. Just a dream.”

He breathing slowed, but his body remained tense. “My ribs…hurt.”

She lowered him back to the pillow, then tapped on his hand, Try to relax. All right now?

“Mmm…. Water. And morphine.”

She squeezed his hand and poured water into the hospital cup. She touched the pill to his lips then offered the porcelain straw.

He swallowed. “Who are you?”

Elizabeth froze and closed her eyes. How she longed to tell him the truth, then brush a kiss on his lips, assure him of her love, and promise to stay by his side.

She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.

“Thank you…Miss Thomas.”

Elizabeth sank into the wing chair and released a heavy breath. Could she bear to be so close and yet so far away from Fitzwilliam?

9-3-donwell-teaser-3

 

*** Author Bio***

3-1-headshotWinner of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 “Picture This” grand prize, Ginger lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Author Contacts:

Website: GingerMonette.com

Author’s Facebook: is here

Goodreads: here

Amazon: here

***It’s Giveaway time***

Ginger Monette would like to offer to three lucky winners ( open to US residents only) a tin of Downton Abbey Tea! All you have to do is click on the  Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

4-1-give-away-graphic

***Blog Tour***

Excited about this book? Follow the blog tour for more reviews, excerpts and information on Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.

Feb 1  The Ardent Reader

Feb 2 From Pemberley to Milton

Feb 3 My Jane Austen Book Club

Feb 4  My Love for Jane Austen

Feb 5  vvb32reads

Feb 6  Just Jane 1813

Feb 7  Savvy Verse & Wit

Feb 8  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 9  My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

Feb 10 Babblings of a Bookworm

Feb 11  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

Feb 12  Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

Feb 13  Half Agony, Half Hope

Feb 14  My Vices and Weaknesses

Feb 15  Diary of an Eccentric

Feb 16  Every Savage Can Dance

Feb 17  More Agreeably Engaged

Feb 18  The Calico Critic

Feb 20  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 21  More than Thornton

Feb 22  Margie’s Must Reads

Feb 23  Delighted Reader

Feb 24  Becky’s Book Reviews

Feb 26  Linda Andrews

Feb 27  Every Woman Dreams

Feb 28  Tomorrow is Another Day

7-1-tour-schedule-banner-dhada

27 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Audiobooks Giveaway Winners Announcement

giveaway-winners-announcement_final

Hello everyone,

I started this year with the pleasure of interviewing Stevie Zimmerman and learning a little more about the audiobook business and the narration process. I was also very lucky to receive as my guests Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J.Dawn King who shared with us their working experience with Stevie and also some news regarding their recently released audiobooks! J. Dawn King announced the release of The Abominable Mr. Darcy audiobook on the same day the post was released and Nicole Clarkston announced that The Courtship of Edward Gardiner would also be narrated by Stevie Zimmerman and released this month! In fact, the audiobook is already out, and to celebrate it, Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one copy of it to an additional winner !!! So today we’re announcing 9 lucky winners who will hopefully spend several hours listening to Stevie narrate the stories of our favorite characters 🙂

But before announcing the winners, I would just like to thank these wonderful authors once more for their kindness and support on this post and for the generosity to my readers. Ladies, you are some of the nicest people I have met in the JAFF community and I am blessed to have had an opportunity to get to know you 🙂 Thank you so much for all your support and friendship!

Now, without further ado, the winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – The Pemberley Library

Accusing Elizabeth – Anji


Rumours and Recklessness – Elizabeth Ehinger

.

Northern Rain – Kneyda


Compromised – Daniela Quadros & Darcybennett

 

The Abominable Mr. Darcy – Maureen C & Jessica Washer

.

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Eliza

Congratulations everyone! Can you please send me your e-mail addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so we can send you your audiobooks?

12 Comments

Filed under Audiobooks, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Best Part of Love Review & Giveaway

best-part-of-love-front-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

The Best Part of Love is everything but canon and it contains several aspects I usually dislike on a JAFF story: Elizabeth marries someone else, has a child from that marriage and worse than that, she actually loves her first husband! These 3 facts alone would lead me away from this book and I confess I would not have read it if I had not heard so many good comments about it. But I did read it and ended up considering it one of my favourite reads from 2016! And why is that, you may wonder? The Best Part of Love portrays one of the deepest and strongest love stories I have ever seen developed in JAFF, plus, it has an enormous amount of angst which is always a favourite of mine 🙂

When I started reading it I could not stop thinking that the author would have to be incredibly good to make me love this story, but the book is quite long and before I knew it Darcy and Elizabeth were spending time together and gradually falling in love with each other, well…at least for Elizabeth it was gradual, so I had not finished reading it and I already wanted to re-read it to go back to the small details from the beginning that were no longer in my memory.

With several new characters, plots, conspiracies and historical aspects we soon forget that Elizabeth deeply loved her previous husband and has a child, instead, we start focusing on the love she is growing for Darcy and all the beautiful moments they spend together.

I don’t want to say too much because knowing what may happen and especially when it happens may spoil the book for you, but let me just tell you that Elizabeth’s love for her previous husband will pale in comparison to the love she has for Darcy and that is just what I needed to overcome my initial worries. Elizabeth realises that what she felt was not exactly love, not quite…at least not an epic love, not the love she could only have for Darcy! Seeing her come to this conclusion was one of the best rewards I could have in this book.

The book is long but not slow paced and the story and character development kept me interested from the beginning until the end. In fact, the book truly needed to have this length or it would not be as good. We needed to see the characters go through a certain path to understand how strong and deep Darcy and Elizabeth’s love is.

The angst was expected and on several pages I kept thinking, “don’t say it, don’t say it, please just don’t say it”, of course they all said what I didn’t want to hear, so I just started thinking “this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening”. But it was happening and getting worse, with more moments than I can count when I felt like tearing my poor heart out! I don’t know how Darcy survived this, or Elizabeth! So when it comes to angst this book hits the charts and I just love that 🙂 If like me you love angst, this book is for you, but be prepared, some moments are just heartbreaking and you will probably cry a river.

Summing up, The Best Part of Love is a roller coaster of emotions that will keep you reading from the first page until the end. It has romance, adventure, mystery, angst but also several rewarding moments throughout the book that culminate in a happy ending that will give the readers an enormous satisfaction. It’s a different, interesting and hard journey, but in the end it will all be worth it 🙂

You can find this book at :

Amazon.com – The Best Part of Love

Amazon.co.uk – The Best Part of Love

.

***Book Blurb***

Avoiding the truth does not change the truth

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.

When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.

In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?

.

***Author Bio***

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

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

aidorazio-11-2016Contact Info:

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook: Amy D’Orazio

Twitter

Instagram: amydorazio

Pinterest

.
.
***Blog Tour***
bpolhorizontalbanner
 

  6 Jan My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

  7 Jan Just Jane 1813; Review

  8 Jan Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway

  9 Jan Every Savage Can Dance; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10 Jan Tomorrow is Another Day; Review

11 Jan Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway

12 Jan Half Agony, Half Hope; Review

13 Jan Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway

14 Jan Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

15 Jan Delighted Reader; Review

16 Jan From Pemberley to Milton; Review  

17 Jan A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life; Guest Post   

18 Jan Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review

19 Jan My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice; Vignette, Giveaway  

20 Jan Diary of an Eccentric; Review

21 Jan More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

.

***It’s Giveaway Time***

To enter the giveaway, click here!

38 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Stevie Zimmerman & Audiobook Giveaways

Hello Dear Readers,

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in traffic and as I’m not a particular fan of the radios we have nowadays I started buying audiobooks to have some distraction, and of that, I did become a fan. It started as a way to get distracted, but it proved to be a wonderful way to get to know more stories and to relive some of them in a different way. I started enjoying audiobooks so much that I no longer listen to them only in my car, now I listen to audiobooks every time I’m cooking, cleaning and even running (I couldn’t do it without audiobooks to distract me).

When my husband started to notice I was listening to books he found it strange as he had no idea this was such a common entertainment. Our discussions led me to investigate a little about audiobooks and I was surprised to discover that they are not as recent as I though going back for several decades.

I also found some interesting articles which told me that the audiobook releases are now almost always simultaneous with the publication of the printed book, and that we see around 36 000 new titles released per year. If you are curious about the growth of this industry, you can find our more in this Publishing Perspectives article about the FutureBook conference that took place in London a couple of months ago. I found it very enlightning and interesting.

As you may imagine most of the audiobook I listen to are JAFF and one of my favourite narrators is Stevie Zimmerman. When I heard she would be narrating The Courtship of Edward Gardiner this year I though it would be the perfect opportunity to interview her and get to know a little about the other side.

I’m sure some of my readers will be as curious as I am regarding audiobooks and Stevie, so today I’m sharing the interview with you. You can read it along with some author testimonials below:

 

***Interview with Stevie Zimmerman***

 

headshotCan you tell us a little about you? Who are you, what are your interests, your professional background etc?

I come from England and moved to the US when I married – my husband is an orchestral conductor and is half English half American. I have two children, both in college now. I am a theatre director and had wanted to be an actor when I was in school and college. I quickly discovered I didn’t have “it” to be a successful stage actor and when I started directing I felt really at home. For a few years I didn’t work while I had to make ‘real’ money, and then to bring up my two children. Over the last ten years I have been able to take on more work in both the theatre and the voiceover world and now it is a great balance.

 

And how and why did you start narrating audiobooks?

I stumbled into a night class on voiceovers several years ago and really enjoyed it. The teacher of the class said I could get work because of my English accent – and offered to help me for a rich fee! I decided to try it on my own. At first I was just doing short commercials and then got into some longer narrations for e-learning. Then a few years ago I found out about a website where authors and narrators could meet and produce audiobooks without going through traditional publishers who usually want to use famous names for their audiobooks – which I am not. Yet!  ; ) My very first book remains one of my best sellers and it was a regency romance so that became my main niche.  I’ve done other genres but the period romance is by far my most popular.

 

How do you prepare the narration of an audiobook?

I must be honest – I do not read the book ahead of time. The main reason for this is that I like to go on the same journey as the reader. Obviously there are certain things I need to know ahead of time so I ask authors if they have specific requirements in terms of accent and class and so on. There have been a couple of times when an author doesn’t reveal “James’ wonderful Scottish burr”  until Chapter 4 – and that is a pain! But otherwise I like to uncover the characters and story along with the reader. I don’t want to know at the outset that this person turns out to be evil, because if the characters and the readers don’t know I don’t want to put it into my characterization.

 

It’s interesting to know you don’t read the books before narrating them, I thought you did to choose which ones you would accept and which you would not.

When it comes to choosing which books to do, rather than read them ahead of time, which would probably be impractical as the audition process implies interest in a project before you get to see the full manuscript, I do some research on Amazon. I look at reviews, and sales, and I can judge the quality of the writing from the audition sample usually. There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve wished I’d been more cautious in auditioning for a title  – when I end up being a sub-editor for a book that has been badly written and lacked an editor. And sometimes reviews can be good even when the story is ridiculous. But I think I’m getting better at choosing! Certainly, Nicole, Jennifer, and Joy have well written and carefully edited books thank goodness!

 

What’s the hardest thing about narrating an audiobook?

It’s kind of a lonely occupation. I get caught up in the books and keep narrating for as long as my voice holds up – or until my dog Charlie grumbles about being ignored. But that can mean I spend several hours, as I put it – ‘in the basement talking to myself’.

 

When did you first heard of JAFF? And when and how did you start narrating JAFF?

I’m not sure but I think I first realized there was this whole genre when I was offered my first JAFF audiobook. I had been aware that there were spinoffs of other classic books like the really well known prequel to Jane Eyre – Wide Sargasso Sea – although I’ve not read it. But I had no idea there was such a huge interest in retellings and expansions of Austen’s books.  It’s a funny thing in a way, to look at a story that is so well known and retell it even though the outcome is inevitable. But I always think about Romeo and Juliet. Even if you were in the audience at the very first performance the ending is revealed in the prologue of that play, so the fact that we know what is going to happen doesn’t have to mean the story isn’t compelling and rich and enjoyable.

 

Who’s the most challenging JAFF character you’ve ever had to interpret while narrating a book? And why?

With most of Jane Austen you’re dealing with a large number of female characters, many of whom are of similar age and class. Look at  P&P – you’ve got five Bennett daughters, two Bingley sisters, Charlotte, and then the other female characters, Mrs B, Lady Katherine, Anne, and the other townsfolk. So that’s really hard, to come up with distinguishing vocal features without making caricatures.  That’s true of the men as well, but there aren’t quite so many of them. But the most challenging one I think is Mr. Collins. Finding a way of communicating his obsequiousness and social ineptitude without making him entirely ridiculous is tough. Some JAFF authors do write him to be ridiculous and that’s fun, but after all, we love Charlotte don’t we and we don’t want her married to a complete idiot. I must admit I like the P&P variations where she ends up with someone else.

I’m intrigued more authors haven’t expanded or retold other of the novels . It’s really more P&P fan fiction than Jane Austen. It’s the most popular of course. But I love the others too. Persuasion has always been my favourite.

 

Persuasion is a favourite of mine too, my second favourite Austen novel, but I’ve got another one in my heart and that is North & South. You’ve recently narrated Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston which is a N&S variation. Did you find it too different from P&P in terms of narration? I’m assuming the working class is a little harder to narrate, but I might be mistaken 🙂

I loved reading Nicole’s Northern Rain. I had actually listened to Juliet Stevenson reading North and South so I had her in my head a lot. It was a very different book from P&P variations as there was almost no comedy and, although it is at heart a romance, there is a lot of social history and political observation that marked the original too. The challenge with this book was to have a range of accent levels to reflect class and education, some accents very broad and others slight. And of course a large number of men to do! I hope I managed to distinguish between the various men of industry in the north, as well as the working class men and women.

 
Stevie thank you so much for your time! I really enjoyed talking to you and have only one more question: why should people listen to audiobooks?

I think the right narrator can bring a book to life like nothing else. If you’ve got multiple characters and you listen to a narrator with great acting chops you’ve got a movie in your head. I love listening to books on long drives, on walks with Charlie in the woods, when I’m tidying the house, times when I couldn’t read a book. It’s not a replacement – it’s a different experience. I hear from listeners who both read and listen to the same book and they say it gives them a new take on the book either way. Unfortunately the wrong narrator can kill a book. I’ve started several that I just couldn’t go on with because of the performance not the writing. But the right one! Wow! I listened to Dan Stevens (who was the romantic lead at the beginning of Downton Abbey) read a really long, complex historical novel that I might have struggled with on the page and he gave every single character the most wonderful, defined quality. I’d listen to almost anything he narrates.

 

Do you want to know more about Stevie? Check out her website: http://steviezim.wixsite.com/stevie-zim-voice

 

author-testimonials

Stevie is so well liked in the JAFF community that some of my favourite authors agreed to talk to us about their experience with her.

Jennifer Joy, Nicole Clarkston and J. Dawn King are my very specials guests today as they share their experience with Stevie, the narration process and the auditions.  They also bring several gifts for many of my readers as an incentive to started listening to books and share with all of us some very hot news!!!

 

authorwebJennifer Joy

There’s a reason why Stevie is so busy. It’s because she’s one of the best JAFF narrators out there! On the two occasions I’ve had the privilege of working with her, she’s always made the process easy with her timeliness and professionalism. Not to mention her narrative talents! The range of voices give each character a distinct sound— which is so important for audio listeners. We can’t have readers confusing Mr. Collins with Mr. Darcy, now, can we? With Stevie, that’s never an issue. (And she does an amazing Lady Catherine!) As an author and reader, I’m a fan!

 

 

Nicole ClarkstonNicole Clarkston

I first “met” Stevie through an audition she submitted to produce Rumours and Recklessness. For some reason, I was not getting notifications from ACX (Audible’s publishing platform) and I had forgotten to log in to check new auditions. Therefore, by the time I heard her sample, it was already a few days old.

I had no idea at the time what an honor it was. All I knew was that her voice was exactly what I had been hearing in my head as I wrote. She was so “light and pleasing,” to paraphrase Austen. You could hear the restrained laughter as she voiced Elizabeth, and the coiled agony in “Darcy’s” tones. No further auditions were necessary!

Stevie is a busy lady, so by the time I heard her audio sample she had already accepted some other projects. I was content to wait for her, it was well worth it. I still giggle when I hear her voicing Lydia, and Lady Catherine absolutely sent me into hysterics! No character was too small for special attention, and I was impressed that one person could so beautifully bring to life so many different people.

It was truly her take on Darcy which took my breath away. I was so impressed that her natural tones could take on a deep richness without sounding like “a woman trying to play a male part.” She is just fabulously talented in that regard. She has played Darcy in so many other JAFF books that she has a real handle on him.

When I published Northern Rain, I knew right away I wanted to see if Stevie was interested. Ana Clements had produced No Such Thing As Luck (with the same characters from North and South) for me and has done a spectacular job, but her career was taking a path away from audiobooks. I was thrilled beyond words when Stevie accepted the project, and giddy  every time she sent me a new file to preview. These characters were new to her, but she captured them beautifully. John Thornton’s voice was key, and she crafted him perfectly.

Stevie is a joy to work with. I enjoy chatting with her as she is working on a project, and she pays close attention to detail. When an author hands their baby over to a publisher or audio producer, there is a hope and a trust that the original vision will not be lost, but brought to life. I have learned I can depend on Stevie to catch the heart of the characters and create a wonderful listening experience for the “reader”.

Rita, can I make a little announcement? Stevie will be producing The Courtship of Edward Gardiner early this year!

 

a1i6hm0desl__ux250_Joy King

I have used three different narrators for my audiobooks and all three were excellent to work with. When I first place a book up for auditions, my nerves take over. (Yes, I become Mrs. Bennet.) I think to myself, “what if nobody wants to produce my story” and “what if nobody wants to listen to it.”

Catherine O’Brien produced ‘A Father’s Sins’, ‘One Love, Two Hearts, Three Stories’, and ‘Yes, Mr. Darcy’. Her ability to differentiate between characters by changing her voice is incredible. When our schedules didn’t work for the next project, I listened to many samples of other narrators and contacted Stevie directly. Within a few weeks, she had produced ‘Compromised’. As she posted each chapter and I listened closely to her reading, I was again reminded of how much theatrical skill a good narrator needs. Like Catherine, her characters are a pleasure to listen to. She has also produced ‘The Abominable Mr. Darcy’  which was released in Audible today!!

My latest project, ‘Love Letters from Mr. Darcy’ was narrated and produced by Jannie Meisberger. Like the others, she was an absolute delight to work with and was equally as quick.

Rita, these women are true professionals. They edit their own work carefully before returning the files to me. The challenge for an author is to wiggle our projects into their already tight schedules. All three of them are in high demand so it is a privilege and honor to be accepted by them.

My next audiobook I will be posting for auditions is ‘Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride’. This will be my first audiobook where the narrator needs an American accent. I’m considering a male voice and have two in particular I’d like to pursue to produce the project.

I’m always excited to hear my stories come to life at the hands of a capable narrator. The first time I listen, I follow along with the manuscript to check for errors. I find few. Then I listen to it again with my eyes closed to see how closely the character voices fit. The last time, my eyes still closed, I listen solely for enjoyment.

The demands for audiobooks has grown so I cannot imagine not having my Jane Austen fan fiction stories produced in this format. With the help of Catherine, Stevie, and Jannie, I truly believe these become the best they can possibly be.

 

giveaway-time

These authors are so generous they decided to start the year by bringing lots of goodies to my readers!

Jennifer Joy would like to offer a copy of Love Never Fails (one of my favourites from 2016) and Accusing Elizabeth.

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer a copy of Rumours & Recklessness and Northern Rain (yes, another favourite).

And J. Dawn King would like to offer two copies of Compromised and two copies of the just released The Abominable Mr. Darcy’

Let us know if like me you are a fan of audiobooks, and when/where do you listen to them, or if you are not yet convinced with audiobooks, and why not?

Every opinion is accepted and we would love to hear your yours 🙂

Let us know in your comments which audiobooks you would like to receive. If you are uncertain as to which you would like, you can always visit the authors Amazon Page and check the description of each book:

Jennifer Joy

Nicole Clarkston

J. Dawn King

The giveaway is international and is open until the 22nd of January, to be eligible all you have to do is participate in the audiobook discussion by commenting this post.

Good luck everyone!

70 Comments

Filed under Audible, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

2016 Favourite Books & 2017 TBR list

favorite-book-2016-copia

Good Morning fellow Janeites,

Welcome to From Pemberley to Milton’s first post of 2017!

I hope you all started this new year with your right foot and that you are as excited as I am to discover which new books our dear authors will present us with this year.

2016 was a particularly hard year for me in terms of time. I had an increase of activity at the office in the middle of the year that consumed much of my free time, so I could not dedicate as much time as I would like to From Pemberley to Milton. On the other hand, the increase of work stress led me to take reading as a refuge that allowed me to relax, so I pretty much read in every  single moment I had free, meaning I ended up reading more than I thought I would.

I’m probably not a fast reader, and certainly I’m not capable of reading as many books as most of you, but I’m quite proud of myself for finishing 2016 with 45 new books read. I re-read some great books this year, but I’m not including them on this list.

 

2016-year-sum-up-copia

Just like last year, I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to some of my favorite books from 2016. This list is not based on published books in 2016, but on the books I actually read in 2016. I thought this would be fair because I don’t always read books on their release year, and it would not be fair not to include them amongst my favorite just because their publication year was prior to the year I read them. Unfortunately I decided I would only select 10, or I would have no criteria whatsoever, but it was hard and some books that are not in this list come immediately to my mind as The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, Northern Rain, Miss Darcy’s Companion , Shadows Over Longbourn and A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories. But I should stop, or I’ll just continue mentioning books I loved… So, without further ado, my favourite 2016 reads are, without no particular order, the below:

favourites-list-final

 

darcys-hope-favouriteDarcy’s Hope – Ginger Monet

Publication year –2015

Number of Pages – 278

What I loved about it – The writing, the surroundings, the historical aspects, the romance, the intensity, Darcy and of course, Thornton 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

mbdd-favourite-2016Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter – Joana Starnes

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 322

What I loved about it – The growing stout love, the intimacy, the intensity, Darcy and of course, the angst!!!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

tcoeg-favouriteThe Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 182

What I loved about it – Little Lizzy, Little Fitzwilliam, Little Bingley and Madeleine! Overall the entire feeling the book transmitted 🙂

Review link – Coming soon…

Amazon link

 

 

 

darcy-by-any-other-name-favouriteDarcy By Any Other Name – Laura Hile

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 662

What I loved about it – The humour, the complicity and intimacy, the romance, Darcy and angst! OMG, the angst!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

elizabeth-papers-favouriteThe Elizabeth Papers – Jenneta James

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 210

What I loved about it –The writing, the writing and the writing! I love the tone Jenetta James transmits in her books and this one was just breathtaking!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

love-never-fails-favouriteLove Never Fails – Jennifer Joy

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 348

What I loved about it –The intensity and sadness of the first chapters, the humour in the next chapters, Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet!

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

remembrance-of-the-past-favouriteRemembrance of the Past – Lory Lilian

Publication year – 2011

Number of Pages – 432

What I loved about it – ODC’s journey throughout the book, Darcy’s honour, Darcy himself and Elizabeth’s jealousy 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

when-mary-met-the-colonel-favouriteWhen Mary Met the Colonel – Victoria Kincaid

Publication year – 2016

Number of Pages – 98

What I loved about it – Mary, Mary and Mary! And the Colonel of course 🙂

Review link

Amazon link

 

 

 

nstal-favouriteNo Such Thing as Luck – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2015

Number of Pages – 326

What I loved about it –The entire journey, but the ship scenes…sigh… They were worth the entire book! I should say that this is a favourite “in exequo” with Northern Rain, but I could only add one 😦

Review link – Coming Soon

Amazon link

 

 

best-part-of-love-front-favouriteThe Best Part of Love – Amy D’Orazio

Publication year – 2017 (I read the ARC copy)

Number of Pages – To be disclosed

What I loved about it – The stout love, the intensity and the angst!! I’m ready to re-read this book and I just finished it last week 🙂

Review link – Coming soon

Amazon link – Coming Soon

 

 

 

Are any of these amongst your favourites too? And which amazing reads am I missing? I have seen some people talk about their favourites in the last days and I know for sure that I probably didn’t read some truly good books that are amongst the hearts of my fellow Janeites, so any suggestion is welcome 🙂

2017 will be a true challenge because I don’t think I will be able to read as many JAFF books as I did this year, especially because I do want to read other genres this year, but I’m also very curious to see what is coming, and which books will carve my soul 🙂

I have a TBR pile that keeps growing, particularly because every time someone suggest a really book I tend to read it leaving my TBR pile exactly as it was, so this time I decided to make it public! Maybe this way I will feel obliged to stick to it and actually read the books I had chosen to read 🙂

So, you are all my witnesses, this year, I must read these books:

To Be Read JAFF & NSFF

Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept – Brenda Webb

Sketching Character – Pamela Lynn

Pulse and Prejudice: The Confession of Mr. Darcy Vampire – Colette L Saucier

Love Letters from Mr. Darcy – J. Dawn King

Master of Her Heart – Julia Daniels

The Rainbow Promise – Lory Lilian

The Darcy’s of Pemberley – Shannon Winslow

The Sheik of Araby – Lavinia Angell

***

To re-read JAFF & NSFF

Disappointed Hopes – Cassandra Grafton

The Second Chance – Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy’s Diary – Amanda Grange

A Heart for Milton – Trudy Brasure

***

Non JAFF:

The BookThief – Marcus Zusak

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George

Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

Bucky F*cking Dent – David Duchovny

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

 

What about you? What are your reading plans? Would you like to suggest anything, JAFF or Non-JAFF?

I know this was an extensive post, but I hope you have liked it and that you’ll keep visiting and talking to me about JAFF 🙂 I have some news that I’m looking forward to share with you, so speak to you soon 🙂

 

 

43 Comments

Filed under 2016 Favourites, Favorites, JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s shopping cart…A few ideas for Christmas gifts

transparent_christmas_mistletoe_decor_png_picture

Hello dear readers,

How are you this week? Have you done much Christmas shopping already? I haven’t even started yet, but I already have an idea of what I want to give to my family J For my friends, though…it’s been hard to choose something nice and original.

Last Christmas one of my best friends offered me a Pride and Prejudice mug that she found on Amazon, so I thought I could use her example and search for book related mugs for some of my friends as well. I started looking in Amazon and I confess I was really amazed at how many products are out there! I usually just use Amazon to buy books and cd’s, but when I started searching for mugs, I realized there are lots, and lots and lots of book related items for sale. I started looking for Jane Austen products of course, and discovered some very interesting things J That’s when I thought that maybe you would find them interesting as well, so today’s post is not a review or a guest post, but more of a free style post where I share my favorite Jane Austen discoveries on amazon…and Janet Taylor’s page, because who can resist buying her products?

When it comes to clothing I knew there were some t-shirts using Jane Austen’s sentences, but did you know there are also other types of garments such as socks?

My top 3 favourite items on clothing department were a pair of knee socks, a scarf and a tote bag. Aren’t they beautiful? (if the image is too small, click on it and it will take you to the amazon page where you can use the zoom on the images :))) )

The scarf is a little bit more expensive and out of my budget this year, but I’m convinced to buy the socks!

I also discovered some original and classy things in the jewelry department. Some of them will make good presents for my bookish friends, especially as they are not that expensive 🙂 The necklaces are just 16 dollars each and the bracelet 4,24.

And did you know that you can also find some items for men? I would buy this t-shirt for my husband if I had any hope he would ever wear it 😉

Adults are not the only ones who can get Jane Austen related gifts, there are also lot’s of items for children, and they can not refuse a presente can they? Well…they may not like it and throw it to a corner, but I think Janeites will not resist buying at least one Jane Austen item for their children once in their life 🙂

At least I think many children’s items are too cute to resist. My favourite discoveries were children’s books like Goodnight Mr. Darcy, Pride & Prejudice Babylit Counting Primer , or Sense & Sensibility Babylit Opposites Primer (I just added one because I din’t want to fill you with images, but there are so many nice children books about Jane Austen’s works our there!), the Jane Austen Action Figure and Jane Austen tattoos:

One of the funniest discoveries I made while searching for children’s items were the Jane Austen Bandages!! Isn’t that amazing? I think I’ll buy some for myself, and I will definitely wear them! I would never wish for Rui to get hurt, but a simple paper cut would be very funny if the only bandages available at home were the Jane Austen ones 🙂

And this wouldn’t be complete without stationary would it? I am a little obsessed with stationary, I just love all types of things 🙂 In fact, I do have some of the items on this list, but I always bought them on my travels and never in Amazon. Like I said…Amazon did surprise me 🙂 Below you’ll see Jane Austen note cards, Jane Austen’s mousepad  and Jane Austen Address book,

And…as I said, I do love stationary, so I couldn’t resist showing you more products…I could hardly leave Amazon’s webpage when I started seeing all these things! The last 3 items are a 2017 Persuasion Planner, a Persuasion mousepad, and Persuasion Coloring Book. Can you tell Persuasion is my second favorite novel? The last item made me realise that there are tons Jane Austen Coloring books and some of them will make great additional gifts to my 7 and 8 year old nieces 🙂

I also found some decorating items that I found particularly beautiful, but my favorite was this black and white Pride and Prejudice Poster.

But this all started with the mug Anabela gave me last Christmas didn’t it? So there is no better ending then showing you some of the mugs and cups I found:


If you have not completed your Christmas shopping yet, I hope this post might help you identify some Jane Austen products you could offer some of your friends and family…or give your friends and family some ideas of what they can offer you 🙂

I almost forgot, this is the mug that started it all…

20161213_204039

 

18 Comments

Filed under jane austen, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

A Very Darcy Christmas Review & Giveaway

sem-nome4.5 stars

Hello everyone,

I was very happy to know that Victoria Kincaid was releasing a holidays vagary. I had been wanting to read something from her for a while and this was the perfect timing to do it.

I have been reading several P&P books that occur during the Christmas periods and A Very Darcy Christmas from Victoria Kincaid was one of my favorites. It is a very light, fast paced book filled with humor but also romance from a quarter we would not expect.

After their marriage Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t have many opportunities to spend quality time together, so they are eager to spend the Christmas season alone at Pemberley while Georgiana is visiting Lady Catherine. All they wanted was some peace and quiet, but that is very far from what they will get.

While Darcy is out on estate business Elizabeth sees herself welcoming into her home guest after guest after guest who seem to think Pemberley is the perfect refuge for the holiday season. Hanging the greenery so soon might not have been a good idea after all, and in the blink of an eye Elizabeth is opening Pemberley’s doors to Georgiana who ran away from Lady Catherine’s matchmaking plots, the Lady herself who brings along 2 very different suitors, Mrs. Bennet who is obsessed with the idea of the French invading England and is seeking refuge in the north of the country, Mr. Bennet who has no choice but to follow his wife and try to minimize her hysterics, Lydia and George Wickham, and finally Colonel Fitzwilliam. Now, can you imagine what it would be like to have all these characters in one single house? Pemberley is big, but they do have to dine together, and the result of their social encounters is a never-ending laugh for us readers.

I’ve heard many people say that Mrs. Bennet’s obsession with the French made them laugh out loud several times, but even if Mr. Bennet’s method to calm his wife was just hysterical, and the results comical, I confess that for me the most humorous character was Lydia! I absolutely loved her character. She is Lydia in all her splendor, so you can imagine what kind of silly things she can do and say, but as if that is not enough, she actually manages to set Pemberley on fire not once, but twice!! The second time she does it is just marvelous with Darcy seeing it all happening in front of him but not being able to stop it. In fact, Darcy’s desperation throughout the entire book is just adorable, well, at least for us… Elizabeth will not think his black moods are so adorable…

But as I said this book is not just humorous, it also has a romance that I absolutely loved! I know that some people are not particularly fond of the couple Mrs. Kincaid decided to explore in this book, but I am. I love when authors choose to pair these characters, and Mrs. Kincaid did it extremely well! I loved the passion, the jealousy and the tender moments between these characters who developed a trust in one another that is absolutely superb.

This is a very entertaining book full of laughter and holiday spirit but it can be read at any other time of the year. It is funny, romantic and up to the standards Mrs. Kincaid already got us used to. She marvels at adding humor to her stories and yet keeping true to Jane Austen’s characters, and A Very Darcy Christmas is vivid proof of her proficiency in this type of stories.

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com – A Very Darcy Christmas

Amazon.co.uk – A Very Darcy Christmas

 

*** It’s giveaway time***

transparent_christmas_mistletoe_decor_png_picture

Victoria Kincaid brings her own Christmas gift to the readers at From Pemberley to Milton. She would like to offer one ebook copy of A Very Darcy Christmas to a randomly chosen reader who comments on this post. To increase the chances of winning, comment on the Guest Post that was published on the 3rd of December, comments on both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

The giveaway is international and ill end on the 15th of December, with the winner being announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone!

32 Comments

Filed under 4.5 stars, Pride and Prejudice

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Guest Post & Giveaway

tcoeg-blog-tour-bannerh

 

Hello dear readers,

Welcome to the last stop of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner blog tour! It’s been a long but interesting tour and I personally enjoyed all stops that brought us excerpts, reviews and vignettes of this wonderful book!

I would like to thank all bloggers involved in this tour as their dedication, efforts and kind words were essential to show everyone the worth of this story. Thank you so much for all your hard work and support!!!

I would also like to praise Nicole Clarkston for her creativity! I always love to read the new scenes she creates for the blog tours 🙂 My love for her vignettes started with Northern Rain, but it surely continued with The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, and I’m very happy to see she chose a seasonal vignette to finish the blog tour at From Pemberley to Milton 🙂

 

***Guest Post***

In keeping with one of my very favourite times of year, today I give you a vignette from the early days of Edward and Madeline’s marriage. Life is unfolding beautifully at their feet, and they celebrate the joyous day in their new home, surrounded by loved ones. I hope each of you will be similarly blessed this year.

-Nicole

***

First Christmas

Edward Gardiner slowly paraded down the staircase of his new home, his heart full and his spirits buoyant. This was to be his first Christmas as the master of a fine house, the first year of lavishly bestowing gifts upon so many now in his employ, and the first year of hosting his Meryton relations in London, rather than going to his sisters as he always had. Most importantly of all, it was his first year of waking with his very dearest treasure wrapped in his arms. Perhaps no other would have perceived the purpose of his motion, but he tipped his chin very slightly down and to the left as he walked, drawing a delicious breath. Madeline’s fragrance still lingered near his neck, where she had kissed and nuzzled him only moments ago.

It was with no small measure of satisfaction that he gained the bottom of the stairs to find the house still largely quiet. His sisters would remain abed at least another hour, and the Bennet children, fatigued from their journey, would likely follow suit. The only soul he expected to encounter was that of his brother, Thomas Bennet. In this, he was not disappointed, for the library had already been commandeered by that reclusive fellow. It seemed, however, that Bennet was not alone.

“Merry Christmas, Uncle!” Elizabeth chirped brightly from the window seat, where she had been flipping through one of his newest books. She set it aside carefully- for a mercy- and bounced to him with her freshly scrubbed face shining.

“And a very Merry Christmas to you, Lizzy!” he scooped her up and gave her a joyful peck on the cheek. “And to you, Thomas,” he turned, extending his greeting to his brother-in-law.

“Aye, it is that,” the other nodded agreeably, his eyes only briefly rising from his book. “For another hour or two, at least.” He lifted his brows, wetted his fingers, and turned a page.

Elizabeth peered up at her uncle with a quizzical little frown, a furrowed brow, and a teasing sparkle in her eyes. Edward sighed, shaking his head. “Come, Lizzy, have you seen all of the greens yet? Does the house not look beautiful this morning?”

She nodded. “Uncle, when may we open our presents?”

“Oh! You must wait, Elizabeth. Did you expect to open yours before your sisters are even dressed?”

“Yes,” she admitted guilelessly.

“I tell you what,” he chuckled, “I’ve a special surprise for your aunt. Would you help me to prepare it for her?”

Her brilliant eyes glittered afresh and she caught her lip between her teeth. “Oh, tell me, what is it? Did you buy her a phaeton and ponies?”

He laughed. “You must wait and see! Come, I think your father would enjoy having the library to himself anyway.”

Three hours later, Elizabeth stood beside her uncle as he welcomed the entire family to the drawing room. “Oh, brother!” cried Fanny Bennet, fluttering her fan. “I knew it would be lovely! Why, Sister, simply look at the bowers, and the ribbons, and… oh! The lace on that table, so charming! Where ever did you find such exquisite decorations?”

Edward beamed proudly at his wife, who had come to his other side. “Madeline deserves the credit. There, my dear, do you see? You feared making a poor impression, but I have never seen a lovelier home than my own this day.”

Madeline blushed prettily, catching her father’s eye as he bounced little Mary Bennet upon his knee. “My dear, I believe you would say so even if I had chosen to decorate the house in brown and yellow, instead of the proper colours!”

“It is a clever man who pays his compliments wisely,” affirmed Thomas Bennet, lifting his glass in a mock salute.

“Indeed!” Edward agreed. “And to that end, I know I am breaking somewhat with tradition, but I should like to give you the first gift, my dear. Lizzy?”

“Yes, Uncle!” Elizabeth dove for the pile of gifts, attempting to wrap her arms about an especially large one right in the middle. Three or four other boxes toppled as she dislodged the base of the stack, but she wrestled determinedly until she had dragged it free.

“Edward, you should not have!” Madeline objected. “What could possibly…?”

Edward laughed and bent to assist Elizabeth. The box was awkward rather than heavy, but even he found it more convenient to drag than to lift. “Open it, my love!”

Madeline bit her lip and tilted her head askance. The box was lovingly wrapped and decorated so beautifully that she hated to break it open. Moreover, her natural modesty objected to what was clearly a large and lavish gift from her husband. What was everyone else to think? Nonetheless, she grasped the ribbon and gave a gentle tug. Carefully she peeled away the folds of paper, taking the greatest pains that not one single corner should be ripped in her haste. Elizabeth started to bounce.

The paper fell away, Madeline lifted the lid of the box, and beheld… another box. She darted a quick look to Edward, and found his eyes dancing with mirth. This box was even more exquisitely wrapped than the first, and still quite large. Edward helped her to lift it out, and with a little laugh, she began to unwrap this box as well. Inside the second box was a third, this one wrapped in gold foil. “Oh, Edward!” she giggled in feigned exasperation.

Fanny Bennet and most of her daughters were beginning to grow restless. To cries of impatience and admiration, with not a little smattering of children clamoring to see over one another, Madeline worked her way through four more boxes. Where Edward had found such a perfect assortment of nesting boxes, she could not fathom, but his cheeks grew ever brighter as she continued to add to the mounting pile of discarded wrapping.

Inside the seventh box, Madeline discovered a nest of tawny packing material, concealing and protecting something precious within. She lifted her brows teasingly at Edward, catching Elizabeth’s bubbling delight as she did so. “For such a large box to begin, whatever is inside must be quite small!”

“It is often so, is it not, my dear? The most magnificent blessings are often in the smallest details.”

Her eyes pricked a little at the warmth in his tones, and she began to suspect that whatever lay within was some priceless treasure- something in which she would delight for the rest of her life. Blinking quickly, she began to search through the rustling packing material until her fingers found a small, humble little box. It was wrapped simply in brown paper and string, and fit within the palm of her hand. She raised her eyes to Edward and he gave her a small nod of encouragement.

Drawing breath, she pulled the string and reverently unfolded the very last of the wrapping, then lifted the lid of the box. Inside was a bright, shining key. She pinched it gingerly between her fingers and held it up with questioning eyes.

Edward came near to rest a hand upon her shoulder and spoke lowly into her ear. “It is a key to my study desk,” he told her quietly. “I know it seems a simple thing, my love, but it is yours as much as it is mine. Everything I am, every facet of my life, is as an open book to you. I want you forever by my side, Madeline, sharing in my heart, my labours, my hopes. I lay all before you, and desire you as my partner in every corner of this life.”

Her throat had tightened and her eyes burned in overpowering joy as she blinked down at his gift- that tiny little object which unlocked his entire world. “It is as you say, my love,” she whispered. “The most priceless treasures are often very small.” She looked up and caught Jane Bennet’s eye. Understanding at once, Jane leapt to the pile of gifts to find a small, soft parcel, and brought it to her aunt.

Madeline took it and gave it into Edward’s hand. “Merry Christmas, my darling!”

His brow creased, he tore silently into the folds of tissue. The item within emerged, and he held it up in some confusion. “What is it?”

Laughing lightly, Madeline took it from him and unfolded the downy material for him to examine. “It is a bonnet… for an infant.”

His face washed in wonder. “A… an infant? Madeline!” He gasped, then caught up his wife in his arms and spun her dizzily about. “Are you certain? We must speak of this at once!” Not delaying even a moment upon his resolution, the determined husband carried his surprised young wife from the drawing room and mounted the stairs. The remaining guests craned their necks to peer round the

doorway in curiosity as the couple departed so unceremoniously, the echoes of their laughter sounding through the entire house.

Thomas Bennet cleared his throat. “Well,” began he, with a suspicious twinkle in his eye. “It seems we must carry on without our host and hostess. Mr Fairbanks, sir, would you care to do the honours?”

Mr Fairbanks, his eyes weak and his smile radiant, took up the invitation. He clasped Mary’s little hand ever more fervently, glorying in the knowledge that soon he might cradle his own flesh and blood once more. Before he gave out the next gift, he hesitated and his squinted gaze passed over each person in that room- his new family. Slowly, he began to nod, as if confirming to himself all that his old heart whispered. “’And it was good,’” he softly quoted the ancient line. “Very good. Merry Christmas!”

 

***

I hope you have enjoyed this final vignette! It made me wish I could read more and more… But I’ve got to stop asking for more vignettes right?

In case you find Mrs. Clarkston’s writing as captivating as I do, you can always find out more about her and her work through the following contact links:

WebsiteNicole Clarkston

Goodreads Author Page

Goodreads Blog

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

.

***It’s giveaway time***

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one last eBook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner. All you have to do to be entitled to it is comment on this post. Let us know what you thought of this seasonal excerpt or just share your opinion on P&P’s secondary characters. The giveaway is international and is open until the 15th of December.

Good luck everyone!

25 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice