Category Archives: 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

 

 

 

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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)

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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.

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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?

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You can find Confined With Mr. Darcy at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


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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


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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.

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You can find So This is Love at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk


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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.

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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!

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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!

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Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

Rakes and Roses – Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I’m bringing to you an excerpt of Rakes and Roses, the third book in the Mayfield Family Series. This book was written by Josi S. Kilpack and published by Shadow Mountain as part of their Proper Romance Series. 

I’ve read a couple of books from the Proper Romance series this year and really enjoyed them, so even though I have not read Rakes and Roses, I imagine this is another great book from this publisher.

The excerpt we are sharing today is part of Chapter 9 and I hope you enjoy it. If you feel curious about this book, take some time to check the first books in the series: Promises and Primroses & Daisies and Devotion, they have high ratings on Amazon, and look really promising 🙂

 


A standalone novel in the Mayfield Family series with an unusual premise and an uplifting ending.

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.
Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.
When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.

 

 

You can find Rakes and Roses at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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She pulled the hood of her cloak forward to hide her face, took a step, paused to listen again, and then took another. There was no good time of day for a woman to be alone in London, but outside of business hours was the most unsafe. She gripped the strap of the satchel concealed by her coat. She must not lose the satchel.

The unmistakable sound of a groan turned her around, and she scanned the barrels and crates stacked on one side of the alley.

The moan sounded again.

With another glance to make sure no one was watching her, she moved toward the barrels, then gasped when she saw a foot, or, rather, a boot, sticking out. As she moved around the pile of crates, she inhaled sharply when a man’s body came into view. His face was a patchwork of bruises and blood that made his hair look as black as hers in the shadows of the alley. Hurrying forward, she dropped to her knees beside him.

“Sir,” she said in a soft voice, leaning close to him. “Sir, can you hear me?”

He groaned again. His shoulder was set at an awkward angle, and she cringed; a dislocated shoulder was relatively simple to fix, though the very devil for pain. The wound on his forehead was no longer actively bleeding, so Sabrina ran her hands up and down the man’s arms first—no breaks—then his legs to check for additional injuries. He tried to pull his right leg away when she attempted a tactile assessment, but she could already see the fabric of his trousers tight around his calf—possibly broken. The upper portion of his left leg was tender too.

Could he have two broken legs? One upper and one lower? Other than having fallen from a great height, there was only one explanation for such injuries. But it was an early Monday morning, not a late Saturday night when a man would have to be on his guard against a robbery. His clothing and boots marked him as a gentleman. What was he doing here this time of day? 

She tensed and looked about herself. Were his attackers nearby?

Sabrina felt a sudden urge to run for her carriage and get as far from here as she could, but she couldn’t leave him. She would fetch Jack! He could take over as the rescuer and call for

a doctor.

She started to rise, but the man groaned, drawing her attention and her sympathy back to his poor battered face.

“Sir,” she said again, leaning closer so he could see her face if he opened his eyes—at least one eye did not look too swollen.

“Wha-what . . .”

He must be trying to ask what happened. It was a mercy that victims of such violence often did not remember it.

“I think you’ve been attacked. Robbed, perhaps.” She looked down the passageway to where Adam would be waiting with the carriage. So close, and yet he’d have to leave the carriage to help her if she chose to go to him for help instead of Jack. “Have you a family member I can contact on your behalf? Do you live nearby?”

“No one,” he said, the words slow and . . . sad. “P-please.”

He opened his eye, and the blue of it stood out clear and bright amid his damaged face. With his good arm, he reached toward her face. She took hold of his hand before he touched her, then pushed the hair from his forehead, catching the first glint of its actual color—golden-blond. 

He was a young man, not past thirty. What on earth is he doing here this time of day? Perhaps he had not yet returned home from an evening of entertainment that had

ended badly. Oh, England, she mourned, do you not see what you are allowing to happen to your legacy?

“There must be someone I can call on for you.”

He shook his head and closed his eye, sending a tear to track through the drying blood on his face.

She felt her mother’s heart rise up in her chest—all the love and protectiveness she’d have given to her own child bursting forth like it had so many times before when someone in need crossed her path.

“No one would come,” he whispered.

No one? Could that be true? Unfortunately, Sabrina had known enough dissolute young men of society to know that it absolutely could be true. The poor foxes who did not outrun their hounds.

“I am Lady Sabrina,” she said, wanting to give what comfort she could and earn his trust.

“S-stillman,” he said. “Harrison Stillman.”

Her breath caught in her throat.


We are at the end of the blog tour, but you can still go back in time to learn more about this book! Here is the tour schedule:

May 04 My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)

May 04 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review) 

May 04 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

May 04 All About Romance (Guest Blog)

May 05 Timeless Novels (Review) 

May 05 Literary Time Out (Review)

May 06 For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)

May 06 Courtney Reads Romance (Review)

May 07 Fire and Ice (Excerpt)

May 07 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

May 08 History Lizzie (Review) 

May 08 Wishful Endings (Review) 

May 09 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)

May 09 Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)

May 10 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

May 10 Delighted Reader (Excerpt)

May 11 Frolic Media (Guest Blog)

May 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

May 11 Bringing Up Books (Review)

May 12 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

May 13 English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)

May 13 Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review) 

May 14 Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)

May 14 So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)

May 15 Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)

May 16 The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)

May 16 The Fiction Aficionado (Review)

May 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)

May 17 Half Agony, Half Hope (Review) 

May 18 Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)

May 18 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review) 

May 18 The Lit Bitch (Review) 

May 19 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview) 

May 19 Heidi Reads (Review) 

May 19 Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)

May 19 Laura’s Reviews (Review)

May 19 Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review) 

May 20 The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

May 20 Joy of Reading (Review) 

May 20 Austenesque Reviews (Review) 

May 21 The Calico Critic (Spotlight)

May 21 Getting Your Read On (Review)  

May 21 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt) 

May 22 Wishful Endings (Interview)

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Outmatched Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

How are you this week? I am very excited to bring to you an excerpt of Outmatched which is Jayne Bamber’s latest novel and will be released in 4 days. You may ask why I am excited about it, and I shall not refrain from telling you! I have a soft spot for mash ups, and I’ve seen several over the past years, but never have I seen a mash of Sense & Sensibility and Mansfield Park, and that is what Jayne Bamber will bring us! Isn’t that an interesting take on Jane Austen? I loved the idea 🙂

Another reason why this book capture my attention was the cover…you know I absolutely love covers and am not ashamed to admit I do judge books by their cover right? Well, this one is exquisite! I absolutely loved it and definitely want this paperback on my shelves!

Before letting you read this excerpt, I would like to thank Jayne Bamber for visiting once more. I wish you the best of luck with this new release. And now, without further ado…

 

“It seems you must disoblige one of your children, Sir Thomas, and you must be the chooser of the pain inflicted. Your son disinherited, or your daughter married to an imbecile she cannot love.”
When Sir Thomas Bertram returns home to Mansfield after his year in Antigua, he expects respite from his many troubles, in the bosom of his family. Instead he is met with blackmail, collusion, and the ominous threat of scandal.
When Mrs. Margaret Dashwood takes her daughters from Norland to Barton Park, she carries with her a secret hope that they might someday return, though she is not yet ready to pay the price for it.
A mutual connection bent on manipulation and revenge sets the stage for heartbreak, intrigue, and plenty of surprises as the worlds of Sense & Sensibility and Mansfield Park collide. Alliances shift along the way as familiar characters, bound by family ties, descend on Norland Park. There everyone has their own agenda, and constant peril looms as a large party of relations all scheme to outwit, out-maneuver, and outmatch their opponents.
Elinor & Marianne Dashwood, Maria Bertram, Fanny Price, and Mary Crawford forge new friendships and alliances amidst the chaos of conspiracy, romance, redemption and self-discovery, the likes of which Norland Park has never seen before.

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You can find Outmatched for pre-order at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 


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Hello, readers! It is such a treat to be back at From Pemberley to Milton. My new book, Outmatched will be out this Friday, and I am here to whet your appetites for this fusion of Sense & Sensibility and Mansfield Park with another excerpt!

With a wide cast of characters mingling together in such surprising ways, Mary Crawford emerges as nearly a heroine in her own right, and my favorite kind of heroine – a very flawed one. There are a few surprises in store for her over the course of the novel, but I am sure it shocks nobody that she and Marianne Dashwood bond over their love of music.

More excerpts will follow over the course of my blog tour, more chances to enter the raffle for a free eBook. For now I leave you with a little glimpse into the mind of Mary Crawford….

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Mary Crawford was happy when their walking party turned back to the house, and doubly so when their approach afforded her a glimpse of the equipage that conveyed her harp at last. Her instinct was to look over at Edmund, who had spoken to none but his mother and aunts during their excursion. Mary felt quite as though this was her last chance, for her performance on the harp had won him over once before, and if it did not succeed again on this occasion, she would be utterly at a loss. 

And yet, she wondered at it all. Little more than a fortnight ago, he had been the one to exert himself to bring her around. She had been warming to the notion of compromising her ideals, of really considering the life of a clergyman’s wife. She knew not what angered her more – that he had thought it right to expect such a concession from her, or that she had been very near to accepting it, only to find it all now in vain. To be sure, his withdrawal from her had whet her appetite – like Henry, she enjoyed the thrill of the chase. 

Or so she had thought. Already it had begun to wear on her. It was different for men – lovelorn Henry was every bit the star-crossed hero in his pursuit of Maria, which Mary wished rather than fully believed to be sincere. But for a lady, however gently-bred and well-dowered, to behave in such a way, even towards such an honorable man, must be a desperate and unbecoming thing, inviting censure and derision, or worse yet – pity. She did not make the rules of society, but she was obliged to follow them.

How it chafed! If Edmund was so inclined to sulk about, let him do as he wished. She was really almost resolved not to trouble herself any further. Whatever vexed him, he was not inclined to confide in her the way she would like – but better he should reveal such a deficiency in both trust and candor now, rather than once it was too late for her. 

Her pace back to the manor grew swift and resolute – she would enjoy herself here just as she set out to do, and she would play her instrument, even for an empty room! And yet she knew it would not come to that. Marianne Dashwood had expressed some musical inclination, and Mary took pains to attach herself to the girl as they made their way back through the meadow. 

Miss Marianne,” said she, “I hope you will join me in welcoming a new arrival to your brother’s house – I have sent for my harp, and I believe it is arriving even now.”

Still hanging on the arm of her handsome beau, Miss Marianne looked over at Mary, her eyes flashing with excitement. “You play the harp! Oh, but I never had the patience to learn – I should dearly love to listen to you.”

“I mean to subject you all to it, if I can,” Mary teased with a wink. 

“Let us all make merry music,” Mr. Willoughby rejoined, giving Mary one of the smiles that must have caught Miss Marianne at once. “If you will both play for the group, I shall add my own voice to the harmony. I am sure we must find someone to play violin, and then, you know, we might make a tour about the countryside like proper troubadours.”

Marianne’s tinkling laughter was music of a sort already, and Mary found it incredibly endearing. “Oh, you must sing, Willoughby! And when Edward comes, you must read some poetry for us – I am sure your example might do him good!”

“Your sister is sure to write me a very pretty note of thanks,” he whispered, though far too loudly.

Mary had lost the thread of conversation, but was not ready to relinquish the fine company. “Pray, who is Edward?”

“He is Fanny Dashwood’s other brother – do not let Robert Ferrars’ character mislead you, for Edward is everything amiable and kind.”

Mary laughed. She had not found Robert Ferrars to her liking at all, despite her hostess’ best efforts to unite them over dinner and afterward, and Miss Marianne’s candor engendered the same in Mary. “That is certainly a welcome relief! All I have had from Robert Ferrars is a preposterous rhapsody about parsonages – I was a guest in one recently – and yet such observations were not at all to my liking – or even sensible! Well, I am glad that Edward Ferrars will not be talking such nonsense to us all. Pray, when is he expected?”

Marianne chewed her lip. “I cannot say – but I am sure he must come very soon. Although I do think on the subject of parsonages he may have much to say, for I believe he aspires to join the church.”

“Oh – I had thought Robert Ferrars the younger son. Surely the elder would not take orders!”

“That is just Edward’s way. But you shall hear better sense from him than some of our party.”

“Than from most, if my information is correct,” Mr. Willoughby added. 

Mary furrowed her brow. He could be nothing to her, if the elder Miss Dashwood was already attached to Edward Ferrars – she was not like Henry in that respect. Yet what a disappointment that another dull clergyman was to come amongst them! She wished for all the world that if they were to have any addition to their party, which was rather a large one, that it be the sort of man she had hoped Edmund might prove to be. 

To Mary’s chagrin, her feelings must have been readily apparent on her face, and Mr. Willoughby leaned in to tease Marianne. “You shall not entice Miss Crawford with such language as this, Marianne. If she can expect only a clergyman whose feelings are engaged elsewhere, she shall grow quite desolate.”

Mary took the jape in good humor. “Oh, yes. Better to say we shall be joined by a handsome, brooding sort of fellow – a romantic hero of first rate appearance, with a decided air of mystery and fashion, prone to fits of passion and most eager to bestow his affections.”

“How very novel,” Mr. Willoughby drawled.

“It would be rather like a novel if such a person appeared amongst us,” Marianne laughed. “Surely I know of no such man, besides you, Willoughby – though you are far too open to be called mysterious, but for my meeting you in such heavy rain. Surely John and Fanny do not know anybody half so interesting, and would likely not admit him to the house if they did! But I shall hope for your sake nonetheless, Miss Crawford.”

Mary had let her disappointment over Edmund make her nonsensical, and she tried to laugh it off. “I am sure I shall not grow too desolate. I have my instrument now, and my very handsome harp must be the object of all my hopes and affections.”


We are halfway through the blog tour, so you still have time to learn more about this book! Here is the tour schedule:


 

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

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Lakeshire Park because this is Megan Walker’s debut novel, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find in it one of my favourite romances of the year. 

Lakeshire Park was perfect in every way, from the writing, to the characters, setting and relationship development. 

We are introduced to Amelia and Clara Moore whose only security in life is about to end with the demise of their bitter stepfather, Lord Gray. He has vouched to leave them nothing upon his death, and that event appears to be close due to his growing health issues. 

Faced with this terrible news, it is with some relief and hope that Amelia Moore accepts an invitation by Sir Ronald Demsworth to a house party at his estate, Lakeshire Park. Amelia has no interest in Sir Ronald, but her sister Clara is quite smitten with him, and Amelia is committed to guarantee her sisters safety and happiness. 

In Lakeshire Park they meet several guests, but the Wood siblings will stand out because Georgiana Wood is also invested in gaining Sir Ronald Demsworth’s attentions, and her brother, is as devoted as Amelia to help his sister achieve that goal.

With conflicting interests, the older siblings soon realize that it is best to keep the other from interfering in their sisters interactions with Sir Ronald, so they agree to spend the afternoons in each other’s company  as this will guarantee they will not interfere in Clara and Georgiana’s business. 

What started as a business-like agreement soon becomes a beautiful and deep relationship which was one of the aspects I loved the most about this book. Amelia Moore and Peter Wood’s time together is filled with beautiful and touching moments where they flirt, have fun together, reveal their deepest feelings, share past memories which carved their personalities, speak of the future and what would make them happy, discuss events as they are occuring in Lakeshire etc. As all these interactions unfold in front of us, we cannot resist reading a little more to see what else the author has lined up for us. Their relationship is not shallow, it is built on a series of moments that are well built and enthralling. The reader witnesses these two people slowly falling in love with each other in a playful manner that is refreshingly different from many romances that lately seem to follow the same formula for romance development.

Apart from the romance, which was clearly one of the biggest achievements of this book, the characters were also a feature I loved., particularly Peter Wood. In a romance that has everything to appeal to Jane Austen fans, the romantic hero is as different from Mr. Darcy as would be possible, yet he is just as compelling. Peter Wood is charming, teasing and funny, but also sensitive, responsible, honourable and honest. he is perfect in every way and I must confess I didn’t miss the Darcy features even a bit.

Last but not least, I need to mention how beautifully written the house party activities are. Megan Walker incorporated in the story all sorts of activities, such as picnics, horse riding, games and competitions, dancing, and  interesting discussions which transported me into Lakeshire Park’s house party. Many of these activities were fulcral to the romance and were written with a detail that I haven’t seen in many regency romances, and this made the book interesting and lively. 

Summing up, Lakeshire Park is a beautifully written and captivating romance with a unique story that will fascinate most readers. I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

Adiobook Narration:

Elizabeth Bennet’s Level

This is the second audiobook narrated by Justine Eyre that I’ve listened to and I must say I enjoyed this one much more. The narration style is pretty much the same, but I believe the playfulness that we can hear in  Justine Eyre’s voice is much more suited for this story. She has a very pleasant tone,and it was a nice experience to listen to her narration of Lakeshire Park.

 

 

You can find Lakeshire Park at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Audible.com

 

5 Comments

Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

Lakeshire Park – Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very pleased to bring to you today an excerpt of Megan Walker’s debut novel, Lakeshire Park. This book is not a Jane Austen Fan Fiction novel, but it is a regency romance, and certain aspects of the book remind me of the characters from Pride & Prejudice, so I believe you’ll still find this interesting.

I will be reading and reviewing this book shortly and will share my opinion with you, so if your curiosity is spiked, stop by on the 29th of April for the review.

I would like to thank Mrs. Walker for visiting today and Laurel Ann Nattress for once more organizing such an interesting blog tour.

Now, without further ado, here is the blurb and excerpt of this romance:

 

 

Brighton, England 1820 

Amelia Moore wants only one thing–to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own–without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter–and eventually playing by his rules–makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND

AUDIBLE | GOODREADS

 


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Moments later, the coachman rapped on the roof, and we looked out the east window just as the coach drove out of the lined woods and into an expansive clearing. There in the middle of the freshly cut lawn sat a grand estate, sandy- colored with four stories of parallel windows lining the front, reflecting the light from the setting sun. The double doors to the house were open. Our coach pulled into the drive, and a footman hurried out. 

He opened my door and helped me down, followed by Clara. Just as my nerves started to get the best of me, a beautifully dressed, ginger-headed woman walked out to greet us. She was elegant and fair, bearing an air of authority as she approached us. 

“Welcome, ladies. You must be the Misses Moore. I am Lady Demsworth, Ronald’s mother. Ronald has told me so much about you both, and it is such a joy to have you here at Lakeshire Park.” Sincerity flowed through every word, and she reached out for us, inviting us near. 

“Thank you so much, Lady Demsworth.” I urged Clara ahead, following behind her. “We are very happy to be here.” “Yes,” agreed Clara. “What a lovely estate. Amelia and I have missed the countryside dearly.”

Lady Demsworth took Clara’s arm affectionately. “That’s right. Ronald told me you were raised in Kent. I am sure Brighton is a vastly different environment. I hope this visit is a comfortable reminder of fond memories.” 

Clara smiled graciously. “Thank you, Lady Demsworth. It already is.” 

“I am sure you’re both ready to dress, but everyone is so excited to make your acquaintance. Might I introduce you to the party first? We’ve kept it rather small in hopes of a casual gathering and creating an opportunity to become better ac- quainted with Ronald’s closest friends.” 

“Of course we do not mind,” Clara said. “Mary will have just enough time to ready our things.” 

I followed closely behind the two as they entered the house, comfort enfolding me like a warm, heavy blanket. I tried to place the feeling, to name the unfamiliar warmth that relaxed my heart. All I knew was that here, nestled in the middle of nowhere, I could breathe. How I hoped these next two weeks were only the beginning, that we could finally find refuge within these walls once Clara made a match with Sir Ronald. 

We’d just reached the foot of the grand marble staircase when Lady Demsworth veered left. Another set of double doors, white and trimmed with gold, stood as the entrance to the bustling drawing room. 

Lady Demsworth fiddled with a string of pearls around her neck as though she, too, held high hopes for these next two weeks. As we entered the room, a click of the door sig- naled to me that the clock had finally begun. 

Two weeks to secure my sister’s happiness. 


 

Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn’t leave her alone, so she picked up a pen and wrote her first novella, A Beautiful Love: A Regency Fairy Tale Retelling which was published in 2019. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children. Lakeshire Park is her debut novel. 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


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April 06 The Silver Petticoat Review (Guest Blog)

April 06 Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review)

April 06 The Readathon (Review)

April 06 Getting Your Read On (Review)

April 07 Heidi Reads (Review) 

April 07 Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)

April 08 The Calico Critic (Spotlight)

April 08 Timeless Novels (Review)

April 09 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

April 09 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt) 

April 10 Courtney Reads Romance (Review) 

April 11 Clean Wholesome Romance (Spotlight)

April 12 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)

April 12 English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)

April 14 Joy of Reading (Review) 

April 15 The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)

April 15 Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Interview)

April 16 Frolic Media (Excerpt)

April 17 The Lit Bitch (Review)

April 18 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

April 19 Robin Loves Reading (Review)

April 19 My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)

April 20 Bringing Up Books (Review)

April 20 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

April 21 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

April 22 Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)

April 22 Austenesque Reviews (Review)

April 23 So Little Time…So Much to Read (Review)

April 24 Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)

April 25 Relz Reviewz (Review)

April 26 Bookish Rantings (Review) 

April 27 Probably at the Library (Review) 

April 27 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review) 

April 28 Laura’s Reviews (Review) 

April 28 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review) 

April 29 Heidi Reads (Interview)

April 29 Bookfoolery (Review)

April 29 From Pemberley to Milton (Review) 

April 30 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Excerpt)

April 30 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

May 01 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 

May 01 Impressions in Ink (Review)


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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice

The Bennet Affair – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

My guest today is Riana Everly, an author whose guest posts I always adore! We can tell Riana Everly does a lot of research to develop her stories and, in my perspective, that is always a sign of quality, which obviously increases my curiosity towards her books. 

Today she will bring you a guest post regarding her recently released book, The Bennet Affair. This story is full of intrigue, mystery and spies!!! Isn’t that a different and interesting take on Pride & Prejudice? Plus, the cover is absolutely stunning, so this book is really hard to resist! But I’ll let you read the guest post and a small excerpt so you can make your own analysis 😉

 

A tale of secrets, sweethearts, and spies!

Elizabeth Bennet’s bedroom in the ancient tower of Longbourn has always been her private haven. So what are those footsteps and shuffling noises she’s now hearing from the room above her head? Drawn from her bed one dark summer night, her clandestine investigations land her in the middle of what looks like a gang of French spies!
William Darcy’s summer has been awful so far, especially after barely rescuing his sister from a most injudicious elopement. Then he is attacked and almost killed nearly at his own front door in one of the best parts of London. Luckily his saviour and new friend, Lord Stanton, has a grand suggestion—recuperate in the countryside and help uncover the workings of a ring of French spies, rumoured to be led by none other than country squire Thomas Bennet!
Drawn together as they work to uncover the truth about the Frenchmen hiding in their midst, Elizabeth and Darcy must use all their intellect as they are confronted with an ingenious code machine, a variety of clockwork devices, ancient secrets and very modern traitors to the Crown. And somewhere along the line, they just might lose their hearts and discover true love—assuming they survive what they learn in the Bennet affair.
The Bennet Affair is a full-length JAFF novel of about 112, 000 words.

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You can find The Bennet Affair at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 


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Natural History and Bird-Watching Books

In The Bennet Affair, Mr. Darcy befriends a baron who is also a renowned ornithologist—an expert on birds—who has authored and illustrated several books on the subject. Indeed, the art and science of Natural History was something that was becoming more and more popular in England in the early nineteenth century, becoming almost a mania during the Victorian age.

One origin for this interest in nature and natural history was the Enlightenment, the philosophical movement that prioritized reason and the advancement of science. This was in some ways opposed to, but also complimentary to, the blossoming Romantic ethos of the time, which saw a move to restore people’s relationship with nature. This movement saw nature as pure and uncorrupted, an antidote to the human world, and therefore something almost spiritual. Natural Theology, as set out by William Paley in his book of that same name in 1802, emerged from this. It was the belief that natural science was proof of the existence and power of divine creation.

The popular interest in natural history was essentially egalitarian; there were groups for men and women, for workers and aristocrats, and even for children. Going out into the wild to find and identify plants, rocks, shells, and birds, became a common activity for families and organizations.

Of course, one needs books to guide the amateur along his pursuits, and books on birds were no exception. There were several available in the nineteenth century, most with exquisite artwork and excellent information on finding and identifying birds. Here are a couple of examples.

One beautiful set of plates is found in New Illustrations Of Zoology, Containing Fifty Coloured Plates Of New, Curious, And Non-Descript Birds, With A Few Quadrupeds, Reptiles And Insects. Together With A Short And Scientific Description Of The Same, by Peter Brown.

Brown was an associate of the great English naturalists Thomas Pennant and Joseph Banks. Though primarily an illustrator, he wrote the scientific descriptions of some species. His illustrations are accurate and very beautiful. These plates were published in 1776, and fifteen of the fifty plates are dated between January and May of 1775.

 

Figure 1 The Brown Hawk

Figure 2 The Purple Pigeon

Figure 3 The Blue-bellied Parrot

Another very popular book was A History of British Birds by Thomas Bewick. It was published in two volumes: Volume 1, Land Birds, appeared in 1797; Volume 2, Water Birds, appeared in 1804. These volumes are admired mainly for the beauty and clarity of Bewick’s wood-engravings, which are widely considered his finest work, and among the finest in that medium. The book was effectively the first “field guide” for non-specialists, in which Bewick provides an accurate illustration of each species, from life if possible, or from skins. Indeed, the book has been compared to works of poetry and literature, and features prominently in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Figure 4 Yellow Wagtail

Figure 5 The Sparrow-hawk

Figure 6 The Heron


In this excerpt from The Bennet Affair, Darcy and his friend Lord Stanton discuss birds.

 

Once again, the day passed pleasantly. The thrumming in [Darcy’s] head was now almost unnoticeable, a background murmur that could well be ignored, and his shoulder too had ceased its ache, except for when it was jolted. Darcy tried to imagine the pain the short carriage ride to his home would occasion, with the rumble of the wheels over the cobbled streets, and he realised the wisdom of the doctor’s command. Instead of having his broken bones jostled through the streets of London, he was quite content to talk companionably with his host and eat the man’s excellent food.

He was rather pleased to discover that he and Stanton had many interests in common, besides birds. When not reminded of his injuries and his enforced sojourn in the baron’s house, he could almost imagine he had been invited for a visit by a friend. They talked of the war, of their estates in the northern counties—the barony of Stanton was in Lancashire, not so far from Darcy’s beloved Pemberley—and of the latest developments in science and industry. Likewise, their opinions on politics were well enough matched that, if they did not agree completely, their differences were fruitful ground for discussion rather than argument, and they enjoyed the same tastes in art and theatre.

By the evening, Darcy insisted on having some paper and a pen to write a quick note to his sister, informing her of his unfortunate encounter and assuring her of his health and recovery. “I should not wish her to hear the news from another before she sees in my own hand that I am well,” he explained. He would not be denied this wish, and the supplies he begged were consequently brought. He composed his letter, and when it was sealed and inscribed with her direction on the front, he idled with a pencil and a small scrap of paper that Stanton insisted was of no value and would be discarded.

“My word, Darcy!” that gentleman exclaimed as he wandered to the writing table to refill his guest’s port. “You are an artist! That is a perfect rendition of the African grey parrot, the Psittacus erithacus. We had one in our home when I was a lad; from the detail of your drawing, you must have had one as well. And that sketch there: That is exactly the Dendrocopus major—the great spotted woodpecker—we were just discussing! You have captured it perfectly, down to the curve of its beak and the white shoulder patches at the wings! I had no idea you were skilled with a pencil!” He hurried to one of the many bookshelves that lined the room and retrieved a large volume. The title was embossed on the leather cover in rich gold and read “Birds of Britain by Raymond Orville Fynch.” Even though not supposed to read, Darcy could not help but notice this prominent text. Stanton opened the tome with the ease of long familiarity and found the page he sought. “See here! This is my own drawing and they match exactly!”

Darcy demurred, but was pleased with the compliment. “Those are fine words from one so skilled as yourself. I have always taken pleasure in rendering small images and scenes with paint or charcoal, although I have never devoted much time to the art. Where I have poured my energy is into technical drawings.” He glanced up and was satisfied to see the look of clear interest on Lord Stanton’s face.


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

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

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana’s blog at https://rianaeverly.com/blog/, and join her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/) and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!


 

The blog tour is just starting, so please do not forget to stop by at the next blogs to obtain more information about this book 🙂

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March 31 ~ Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
April 4 ~ My Love for Jane Austen
April 6  ~ From Pemberley to Milton
April 9 ~ Diary of an Eccentric
April 13 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm
April 15 ~ Half Agony, Half Hope
April 24 ~ Author Takeover at The Historical Fiction Club
May 8  ~ Austenesque Reviews


 

Riana Everly is giving away one eBook on each stop on this blog tour. To enter, just make a comment and leave an email address so she can contact the winner. She will enter names into a random number selector to pick the winner. The deadline for entering will be five days after the blog is posted.

Good luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF, North and South, Pride and Prejudice