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3 Things I Like & Dislike in JAFF – Plus a Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

How are you this weekend? If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ve probably noticed that I have been publishing only once a week instead of twice, and that is because I finally went on a much-expected USA Road Trip!!! After all the confinements and closed borders, I was able to travel across the Atlantic and visit some incredible places in a country I absolutely adore, and that of course took away all the free time I usually have for reading and blogging.

While I was there, I was able to spend a few days with Meredith Ezparza from Austenesque Reviews, and that was certainly the highlight of my trip! It was the first time I met Meredith and I really hope it was not the last time we spent some time together 😊 We’ve also had dinner with Elizabeth Adams and Victoria Kincaid, two authors I’ve come to love over the years, and all the conversations we had during those days reminded me of a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a long, long time. So, I thought this might be as good a time as any, and today I am finally publishing the ”3 Things I Like & I Dislike in JAFF”.

Of course there are a lot of things I like about JAFF, or I wouldn’t read and review this genre almost exclusively over the last years, but there are also a few things I dislike about it, especially after so many years of reading the genre. What about you? Is there anything you dislike in the genre? I would love to hear everybody’s opinion on this, so I am looking forward to reading your comments 😊 But, let’s start with what I like in JAFF Books!


3 things I like in JAFF

Darcy & Elizabeth

I believe this may be a point I share with many, many readers of the genre, but having Darcy & Elizabeth interacting with one another over and over again is definitely my favorite aspect about JAFF. I started reading this genre because I felt the need to spend more time with these characters, to continue their journey, to see them in different settings and situations. These are some of the best characters ever written in literature, they are perfect in their imperfections and most assuredly part of why JAFF is so successful. I simply cannot get enough of them, and JAFF books not only allow me to be with these characters more often, but also to be surprised by them 😊

The Endless Possibilities

When I explain people what JAFF is, they always ask me if I don’t get tired of reading the same story over and over again, and that is precisely the point, I’m not reading the same story over and over again, I’m reading different stories every single time! The possibilities in JAFF are endless! The smallest detail may change the entire storyline, and that is if we think of regency variations only, but we know that we also have other sub genres such as secondary characters or modernizations. The beauty of Jane Austen’s stories is that they have this huge flexibility that many other books do not have (North & South for example is not as easy to change), and that allows authors to go anywhere with the story and the characters. The endless possibilities we have with JAFF is probably what I love the most in the genre.

The Intensity

Darcy & Elizabeth have a beautiful love story, but JAFF authors are able to take it to the next level and give their relationship and their feelings an intensity that is breath taking! There is nothing like reading a book that makes your heart stop and that you cannot put down because letting go is just like letting go a part of yourself. Jane Austen created a beautiful story, but JAFF has created hundreds of books where that story is more intense, more captivating and more overwhelming for readers. Connecting at an emotional level is an important key to reader engagement, and JAFF excels at that 🙂

***

But just like everything in life, JAFF isn’t perfect, and there are a few things I dislike too! Of course, there are many things I dislike in books in general, such as poor writing style, namely a the telling instead of showing readers what is happening and/or what the character is going through, etc. But even if I am finding this more frequently in JAFF books, it is not exactly a specificity of the genre, so let’s see what I dislike in JAFF that appears to be more common in the genre:

3 things I dislike in JAFF

Repetitions

Unless a story is a different POV or set in a different time, I see no point in using the same scenes and/or the same drivers Jane Austen used. If the author is changing a detail in the story that would change the events, then he should really change the events and not just change a few events and repeat the majority of the others.

Readers do not need to read the same dialogues that exist in Pride & Prejudice only with minor changes, just like they don’t need to read the same events that make the story move forward. We do not need to have Lady Catherine visiting Elizabeth to tell her not to marry Darcy in every single book, or to have Lydia running off with Wickham, it would be more interesting to have these scenes replaced with new original ones. Unfortunately, I’ve read many books that change one detail in the story, but then continuously repeat the other events in P&P, and that is certainly something I dislike. Authors should remember that most JAFF readers read many books with these scenes, and therefore, reading them over and over again is a little boring.

Meaningless Scenes/Dialogues

This is not exactly a specificity of the genre, but something I see happening more and more these days and that really puts me off when reading a book. Well-written dialogues are a crucial element that helps introduce the characters, their chain of thoughts, and build up their personality, but characters should not be providing each other information they already know, nor make long confessional speeches or engage in too much chit-chat. Fiction isn’t real but it should sound real, and I am not imagining Mr. Darcy having long conversations about his feelings with Georgiana or even the Colonel, or Elizabeth analyzing every single word that was discussed in a conversation with Mr. Darcy.

The same thing is valid for scenes, they should exist only if they further the plot, if they have no relevance at all, then they could simply be cut off. We don’t need to read about Georgiana’s talents and watch her play the piano if it is not relevant to the story, nor should we see Elizabeth confiding in Jane every night when her feelings are already known to the reader. And, we don’t need to be in Elizabeth or Darcy’s head as they question themselves when they fell in love. And do we really need to witness the antics at Longbourn over and over again if that doesn’t add anything to the plot?

I’m starting to appreciate more and more books that stick to what is essential, and dislike more and more books that are filled with flourishings that add little value to the plot or the characters.

Clichés

A cliché is anything which makes us feel we’ve read something before, and I understand that in JAFF this is one of the biggest challenges, in fact, avoiding clichés is in my opinion what makes JAFF writers so good! Some people think that writing fan fiction is very easy because the characters already exist, but in fact, it is quite the opposite. Writing fan fiction is much harder than writing an original novel, unfortunately sometimes we still see many clichés in the genre, namely with the characters personalities and appearances. I’m not saying authors should change these, but maybe they could stop giving them so much relevance. I mean, most of JAFF readers already have their own idea of how the main characters are, there is no need to keep repeating how tall and handsome Mr. Darcy is, how Elizabeth’s eyes are full of life, and how very shy Georgiana is. It is particularly worse when these cliches are linked to bland characters. Do we really believe Mr. Darcy would fall in love with Elizabeth on first sight just because she has fiery eyes? Does Elizabeth need to walk out in the mud in every book? And what about Elizabeth climbing trees as a little girl, is that really that relevant to the story? Or just a little annoying because it has become a cliché?


NEW giveaaway time

When I was in Washington D.C I had the opportunity to meet for the first time Victoria Kincaid and asked her to sign a copy of President Darcy to offer to one of my readers at From Pemberley to Milton. After all, we were very close to the White House so it seemed fitting to have this book with us there. Have you read President Darcy? It is Victoria’s only modernization and I must say I loved it! President Dary was dreamy 😊

If you want to know more about it, you can read my review here. And if you’d like to win this signed copy of the book, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. Let us know what you think of the premise of this book, and please, feel free to tell us what you like and dislike in JAFF. I would love to hear more opinions on that topic too.

As posting has become a little too difficult to countries outside of the EU, I can only send the signed paperback to EU residents (it’s still possible for UK residents too), so I’ll be also offering an ebook copy of President Darcy to international readers.

The giveaway of both paperback and ebook is open until the 1rst of April and to apply you only need to comment this post.

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Along for the Ride by Alix James

Along for the Ride4 stars

Alix James has become one of my go to authors when I need a short story to read. Her writing style is really good and she is always able to pen down an absorbing and romantic story that captivates me for an entire afternoon.

While Along for the Ride was not as intense as most of her other novellas, it was still a very fun and charming short story.

While Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are visiting Rosings Park, the Colonel requests his cousin to do him a favor that will force him and Elizabeth to interact much more frequently, and in a more friendly manner. This will obviously create many dialogues between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth where they will discover how much they have in common, how much fun they have together, and where the reader is privy to exciting flirtations between them.

I had a great time reading this novella, and even though the ending seemed a little rushed, it was a very pleasant and agreeable story to read with a very endearing relationship growing between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. In this story, their relationship grows based on witticisms and intelligent flirtations, which is always a winning solution in my perspective.

Along for the Ride is a fun story with a fluid writing style that grabs the reader’s attention during the entire story, and I recommend it to those who want a cozy afternoon by the fire with a pleasant story to keep them company.

You can find Along for the Ride at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Audible

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Kidnapped and Compromised by Demi Monde- Excerpt

Good Afternoon everyone,

One of the great things about the yearly JAFF Get Together event is that is allows all of us to establish new connections every year, and in last year’s event it allowed me to get to know author Demi Monde! Well, in fact, I already knew some of her work, which I’ve also reviewed here at From Pemberley to Milton, but she had never visited my blog, so I am thankful to that event because it allowed me to get in touch with her, and share an excertp of her latest release, Kidnapped and Compromised, with all of you.

Ms. Monde’s books are all steamy, and a sub genre I don’t read often, but I am sure that many readers love this sub genre, and I believe the beauty of JAFF is it’s diversity, so I hope you enjoy the excerpt, maybe it is something new to you 🙂 I admit that I enjoyed Darcy Interrupted more then I was expecting!

Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Monde, it is a pleasure to receive you for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton.


NEW excerpt

Hello Dear Readers, it is a pleasure to be here to share more details about my new release, Kidnapped and Compromised. This is a steamy novella and a work of Austenesque fiction. 

kidnapped and compromised

Abducted and facing ruin, can Elizabeth’s wits save her from a dastardly plot? And will Mr. Darcy find her in time?  

When a false friend tricks Elizabeth, she is abducted by carriage from Meryton and carried hours away to a bawdy house. If Mr. Darcy does not rescue and pay her ransom, she will be sold to the highest bidder. 

Elizabeth must depend on her wits to survive. But the clock is ticking. Will Mr. Darcy choose to risk his life for the woman he secretly loves but who despises him? And if so, can he rescue her before it’s too late?  

This 40,000 word steamy Pride and Prejudice variation features kidnapping, compromise, forced marriage, rescue by Mr. Darcy, double wedding, Christmas holiday ball and a happily ever after.

***

This book opens near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, with the militia present in Meryton and Elizabeth Bennet’s opinion of Mr. Darcy set, no matter his opinion of her fine eyes.

Chapter 1

Mr. Darcy pulled the reins, bringing his horse to a standstill from cantering, and looked around the Hertfordshire countryside. He thought he had heard yelling. But all he saw was an open field, crops in rows, with no one in sight. Fox pranced forward skittishly, no doubt unnerved by his rider’s stillness. 

“Miss Elizabeth?”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

He had definitely heard it this time, over the sound of the horse’s hooves churning the damp earth underfoot. He had not imagined the voices calling for the desirable yet impertinent Elizabeth Bennet. Though she had believed Wickham’s stories about him, and questioned him at the Netherfield ball, he still admired her intelligence and beauty. But he could not have what he wanted. Her social connections and her family’s impropriety would never allow him to be with her in society or even to call on her in Hertfordshire. 

He fingered the smooth leather reins as he decided whether to give in to his desire to find the cause of the servants yelling for the Bennet girl or to avoid temptation. The more he was close to her, the harder it was to not speak to her, to make her notice him, to have her admire him.

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

Mr. Darcy nudged his chestnut stallion Fox with his heels and headed towards the figures near the forest. Any gentleman would offer assistance in this situation. And Miss Bingley was not here to tease him for paying too much attention to Elizabeth’s fine eyes.

“You there!” He spied a servant walking at the edge of the woodland. “What is the matter?”

The man pulled at his forelock. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet has not returned from her walk.”

Mr. Darcy had heard of her odd habit of lengthy, daily walks and had seen it for himself when she had hiked three miles to Netherfield to care for her sister. “Surely she cannot be lost? Has she not walked all over this countryside?”

The older man nodded. “Yes sir, but she—”  

“How long has she been missing? What is being done to find her?” Mr. Darcy’s horse shook his head and pawed at the ground, eager to return to cantering.

“Miss Elizabeth has been gone since right after the noon meal, sir. Mr. Bennet has all the servants out looking for her.”

Mr. Darcy frowned. That was nearly five hours ago. Even a country girl with a fondness for countryside rambles would have returned by now. His chest clenched at the thought of her injured on the ground, somewhere at the mercy of the local wildlife. “How many are searching for Miss Bennet? Is anyone on horseback? What is her usual walking path?”

The servant looked back towards Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family. “I do not know, sir. Mr. Bennet is at Longbourn and would answer your questions.”

Mr. Darcy spun his horse and kicked him into a canter. He searched the ground for a beautiful young woman lying injured as he rode. She must have twisted her ankle and was too far away to be heard yelling for help.

It was unconscionable that the Bennet girl was allowed to walk without a maid. Never would he have permitted his sister Georgiana to do the same. Perhaps Mr. Bennet would be more circumspect after this. However, Mr. Darcy doubted it. Control over his family was not one of Mr. Bennet’s strong suits, not with the way his younger daughters behaved at the assemblies or in town, flirting with the officers.

Mr. Darcy guided his horse down the short driveway of Longbourn.

Mr. Bennet looked up at the sound of Fox’s hooves clattering on the gravel path. The family’s patriarch stood in front of the house, directing searchers in his greatcoat and hat. Mr. Bennet turned in Mr. Darcy’s direction.

“Mr. Bennet, I came across one of your servants looking for Miss Elizabeth. May I offer my assistance?”

Mr. Bennet grimaced. “It would be much appreciated Mr. Darcy. However, I am sure my dear Lizzy has just lost track of the time. I have tried to curtail her long walks, but she will not listen to me.” 

He chuckled, most likely expecting Mr. Darcy to join in. But Mr. Darcy’s thoughts were far from amused as his opinion of the Bennet patriarch dropped lower. “Men on horseback could cover a greater distance. I am certain Mr. Bingley would provide his servants to help with the search.”

Mr. Bennet widened his stance as he looked up at the younger man who outranked him in every manner. “I thank you for your offer; nonetheless I am sure we will find her quite soon. There is no need to cause alarm among our friends and neighbors.”

Mr. Darcy gathered the reins, biting back the desire to tell Mr. Bennet that a proper search had not been done. He turned, giving his horse the signal to move away from the man and his doddering ways. The eldest two Bennet girls deserved all the credit for their characters. It was a shame they came from such a family.

A young maid darted out from behind the hedgerows lining the lane. Fox reared back in surprise, but Mr. Darcy quickly brought him under control. He turned to the girl, ready to lecture her on not startling horses.

“Oh, Mr. Darcy! I have a note for you. I was going to give it to Mr. Bennet, but since you are here…” She held the stationary up to him.

He plucked it out of her hand with a scowl. It could not be a message from Netherfield. Mr. Bingley would not have sent a young maid alone to find him. “Who is this from?”

“A man in Meryton asked me to give this to you.” The girl gripped her waist, breathing heavily. 

He unfolded and read the note, his heart stopping. Mr. Darcy pinned the servant girl with his stare. “How long ago did you receive this? Did you recognize the man that gave it to you?” 

“No, sir, but he had a red coat on. He must be one of the militia.” 

Mr. Darcy turned his head away to think. The maid curtsied and started towards the house.

“Wait!”

She stopped and looked back, clutching her apron. 

“Do not tell anyone. Miss Elizabeth’s reputation is at stake.”

The servant assured him of her silence and continued down the driveway to Longbourn. Mr. Darcy lifted the reins, intending to race to Netherfield and round up his friend Mr. Bingley and servants, but stopped. It was his fault entirely that the honor of Elizabeth Bennet was at risk. The fewer people that knew of this situation, the better.

He needed to move quickly. Mr. Wickham had abducted Elizabeth Bennet.


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Epiphany by Jessie Lewis

Epiphany5 stars

Epiphany uses Anne de Bourgh as a catalyst to change the events in Pride & Prejudice as a letter from Georgiana sends the heiress of Rosings Park to Hertfordshire a little before Christmas.

After reading Georgiana’s letter, Miss De Bourgh is convinced Mr. Darcy harbors tender feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, and because of that, she decides to travel with Mr. Collins to Elizabeth’s hometown to get acquainted with her rival and take some action. This change in the story will put everything in motion, and soon we will have many of our known characters in Hertfordshire testing Mrs. Lucas patience and Mrs. Bennet’s nerves.

It’s becoming a tradition to read a Jessie Lewis novel in January, just like it is becoming a tradition to rate it 5 stars because her writing style is always captivating. With this I do not mean to say this book is similar in tone to her previous, because it is in fact very different, but it is equally engaging.

Epiphany is not a humorous book per se, and the characters are not characterized in a cartoonish fashion, in fact, the book is centered in the romance and the characters are very close to cannon in essentials, however, it is an extremely funny book which had me laughing out loud several times, and that doesn’t happen frequently. It has a very classy type of humor that I enjoy and that is not made out of silly situations, but of an incredibly well penned succession of dialogues and attitudes. The timing of everyone’s intervention in conversations was perfect, creating cross dialogues that, despite their difference in content, reminded me somewhat of Seinfeld in style, and I loved it.

The book’s pace is also perfect just like the many situations Jessie Lewis created in the story and that, allied with the characters unexpected attitudes, made this novel an engaging read. I have to stand out Mrs. Bennet whom I loved in this book. I was moved, diverted, and even appalled with some of her attitudes. From her kindness towards Mr. Darcy on Christmas day to her remarks to Anne De Bourgh, everything she did was perfect, and even if she takes a small part in this book, I believe she was the character I loved the most.

Anne de Bourgh who is crucial in the story is a controversial character. She was perfect for this story as she was simultaneously funny but rude, a villain and a protector, a nuisance and someone you needed to have around. At times I wanted to love her but couldn’t, and in the next pages I wanted to hate her and couldn’t either. She was like a family member you don’t exactly like but can’t imagine spending Christmas without.

Epiphany was the perfect book to start the year with, it is well written, engaging and incredibly funny while also providing the reader with a sweet romance story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I haven’t mentioned their romance yet because there are many other details I loved in the book, but this is an Elizabeth/Darcy centered story, and I highly recommend it.

You can find Epiphany at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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In the Spirit Intended by Jan Ashton

in the spirit intended4.5 stars

In the Spirit Intended is a marvelous Christmas novella that I highly recommend to those who want to see Darcy and Elizabeth rediscovering love together.

In this story, after saving Lydia from a tragic fate, Mr. Darcy travels to Europe to escape his own sad future. In his mind Elizabeth would not accept him once more and getting away from her is the easiest path to follow. But when he returns a year later and finds himself obliged to spend the Christmas season at Bingley’s townhouse, along with his wife and her dearest sister Elizabeth, he soon realizes that no matter how far he travels he will not be able to escape his feelings.

I absolutely loved the premise of this book because it takes place some time after P&P events and I am getting partial to those stories, but what I loved the most was the entire setting Jan Ashton created.

This book focuses on Christmas traditions and events while giving us plenty of Darcy and Elizabeth moments that will make our hearts melt. I loved reading about what these characters were feeling and seeing them discover they cannot run from their feelings. I loved the honesty of their feelings, even when such feelings were jealousy and not just pure bliss over other people’s happiness. Those small details made this book feel real and honest, instead of a fairy tale story based on characters that could never exist in real life.

I also loved Lydia’s appearance and the new dynamics she created. She was a fun character to see in this book, and I usually do not like having her around. Mr. Bingley’s aunts were also very fun, and the perfect complement to this novella.

Summing up, In the Spirit Intended is a romantic, sweet, and also fun story to read around Christmas time. I loved reading it, and I highly recommend it to any Pride & Prejudice fan 😊

You can find In the Spirit Intended at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

Or you can read this and more Christmas stories in ‘Tis the Season Anthology, also available on Audible.

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An Angel in Her Pocket by Brenda J. Webb

an angel in her pocket4 stars

An Angel in Her Pocket is a Pride and Prejudice Christmas novella inspired by It’s A Wonderful Life, a movie that I haven’t seen but that is now under my radar.

In this book, a very peculiar angel, Grace Angelini, decides that during the Christmas season she needs to solve a situation that should not have occurred. In her opinion, Elizabeth Bennet shouldn’t have rejected Mr. Darcy’s proposal, so her mission is now to create the conditions for a second proposal to happen so that ODC may live happily ever after.

The story takes place some time after the P&P events, and in this novella, Mr. Bennet dies shortly after Lydia’s elopement and Mr. Collins takes over Longbourn, forcing the Bennet sisters to find accommodation elsewhere. Elizabeth is living in London with the Gardiners and looking for employment when Grace intervenes and finds her a position as governess to a sweet little girl whose Godfather happens to be Mr. Darcy.

This is a very sweet and cozy novella with a very interesting writing style. I’m not sure if this is also an influence of the movie, but the book is very cinematographic in the sense that the reader feels he is living in the story. We feel as if we are just there with the angel, Elizabeth and Darcy, and that makes the book very engaging.

I really liked the premise, and the fact that we are privy to the angel’s discussions concerning what is happening below, it is a very different take on P&P and it makes this story very diverting. I also liked the antagonist in this story, and the fact that she was not Miss Bingley. Elizabeth’s rival is just as annoying and conniving, and I loved how Brenda Webb developed her character.

In such a short novella, I would have liked to have more page time dedicated to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. The moments they shared were really sweet and romantic, but I was left craving for more.

Summing up, An Angel in Her Pocket is a short Christmas story that will engage readers attention and warm their hearts. It is a very sweet and vivid story with romance, humor and even some adventure. It can be easily read in one afternoon and I recommend reading it during the Christmas reason 😊

You can find An Angel in Her Pocket at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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Stranded at Pemberley by Jenetta James

Stranded at Pemberley4 stars

Stranded at Pemberley starts in December 1810 when the Gardiners, along with Elizabeth, are visiting a dying relation of Mrs. Gardiner near Lambton. On their journey back home, and close to Pemberley, they have a carriage accident where Mrs. Gardiner is severely injured and taken along with her family to Pemberley where she can get medical assistance.

Because of these events, Elizabeth is stranded at Pemberley during Christmas time, and in a style very similar to Jane Eyre, has several encounters with the taciturn owner of the house and sees a young lady peeking through the houses windows when Elizabeth is taking a stroll in the garden. Elizabeth doesn’t know what to think because she never met the owner and doesn’t know anything about the house or the family that resides, but she does understand the house is not exactly in a Christmas like mood. That, however, will change when Elizabeth is able to do what the members of the Darcy family have been unable to do for the last 4 months. I will not say much because I don’t want to spoil the story, but it is needless to say that Elizabeth will bring joy to Pemberley.

I loved the writing style of this book and its gothic elements were something I truly cherished because it brought some mystery into the story, however, I would have liked to see a little more development in the romance department as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship seemed a little too rushed. I believe that with only a few more pages to develop their romance, this novella would have been perfect.

Stranded at Pemberley is, nonetheless, a very cozy and well written Christmas novella that can be read in one single sitting, so I recommend it to readers who are looking for more of Darcy and Elizabeth.

You can find Stranded at Pemberley at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited

Or you can read this and more Christmas stories in ‘Tis the Season Anthology, also available on Audible.

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Five Daughters Out at Once by Jayne Bamber- Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today we are sharing an extra post with exciting news! A new Audiobook narrated by Stevie Zimmerman has been released, and it is none other then Five Daughters Out at Once! This book has such a twist that it has been on my radar for quite some time now, and with the audiobook available, it will ceertainly be added to my TBL! I haven’t compiled all my stats yet, but I am quite sure that at least a third of the books I review in this blog are audiobooks, so it makes me really happy to bring to you an excerpt of one. I wish we could share a sample of the narration, but I am not that technological and that may be a feature I have to learn in the future.

But I digresss, Jayne Bamber is my guess today and she brings you an excerpt of Five Daughters Out at Once along with a giveaway of an audiobook copy! I hope you enjoy it, and ggood luck !


NEW excerpt

It’s great to be back at From Pemberley to Milton, and celebrate that Five Daughters Out at Once is now available on Audible. Last time I was here, I shared an excerpt  from the house party Lady Catherine hosts at Netherfield which revealed that Frank Churchill is a rival to Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth Bennet’s affections in Five Daughters. Today’s excerpt builds off of that, and gives Charlotte Lucas time to shine as a wise and wonderful bestie. Elizabeth may not be putting her best foot forward in this scene, but Charlotte channels some big Knightley energy – will she get through to Elizabeth? There’s only one way to find out!

***

Elizabeth’s gaze inevitably alighted once more on Mr. Darcy, who had retreated from all Miss Crawford’s effusions of prickly wit and trite flattery. Miss Crawford was pursuing him now, laughing affectedly and with the evident expectation of arousing admiration. “Oh, Mr. Darcy, do come and advise me,” she cried. “If you will not play cards yourself, you must at least lend me your superior senses, for I declare I cannot bear to lose another hand to Mr. Tilney. I am quite undone!”

There was a burst of laughter from Lydia and Mr. Tilney, who had been unabashedly cheating, and supposed their mischief must give amusement to all; it nearly did, though Mr. Darcy looked as disgusted with them as ever. Mr. Crawford merrily threw his cards in the air, screwed up his face, and abandoned his sister with a cheeky laugh and jaunty stride, declaring she must take a new partner and allow him to admire Jane at the pianoforte. Robert Ferrars, after a whispered admonition from his mother, made haste in offering himself up to Miss Crawford, who only just managed to keep her countenance at the overtures of such an underwhelming and over-zealous partner. Mr. Darcy betrayed a slight quirk of his lips before retreating to a seat by the window and staring out of it while pretending to examine a book of illustrations.

“Mr. Darcy despises cards,” Elizabeth cried, answering Miss Crawford’s impatient tittering. “He is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.” Determined to ignore the disconcerting proximity of Mr. Churchill, Elizabeth grinned at Mr. Darcy.

He looked up at her, his earlier traces of mirth now vanished. “I deserve neither such praise nor censure. I am not as great a reader as I should like to be, and I take pleasure in many things.”

She arched an eyebrow at him, struck with an impudent whim to see what self-important nonsense she might elicit from him. “Such as?”

“I enjoy exploring the countryside of a morning,” said he. “Walking can be very agreeable, though I have found that on horseback I might traverse more ground. Do you ride, Miss Elizabeth?”

“Lizzy seems a fearless creature – but you have found her Achilles’ heel,” Charlotte said, turning away from Georgiana to join the conversation. “She was nearly trampled when she was a girl.”

“Lizzy, is this true?” Georgiana gasped. “But surely you can ride!”

Elizabeth had time only to shake her head before Mr. Darcy replied, “You astonish us all, Miss Elizabeth – to be sure, I had thought you capable of anything.”

She fixed him with such a look as to show she was not afraid of what he meant to imply, smirking as she said, “I did consider attempting to learn to ride – it might have been a useful thing indeed, these past two years – but there was enough to occupy me, and in the end, I could not overcome my original objections to the pursuit. Horses are perhaps not the most imposing beasts I have had to battle, but they are more easily avoided than some.”

 Beside her, Mr. Churchill began to cough; he recovered himself by leaning against Elizabeth, and dropped his voice so that he might be audible only to herself as he said, “What beasts you have battled indeed – Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy are inescapable!”

Elizabeth could see that Mr. Darcy had taken her meaning; she might have expected him to be affronted, but he looked rather wounded, and actually bit his lip – for such a stoic man, this little gesture was beyond the response she had expected. He moved away abruptly and began to address himself to Miss Crawford at the card table, inspiring immediate raptures and affected laughter from the lady.

Charlotte began to look very strangely at Elizabeth, her demeanor seeming to hint that she was wanting some private confidence with her friend; thinking of that awful incident in the garden, Elizabeth went to her friend directly and detached her from the others. “It is very good of you to entertain us all here,” she said, linking her arm through Charlotte’s as she led her friend to a place at some remove, where the music still provided by Jane might afford them a greater share of privacy. “I hope you are recovered from – when last we met.”

“Indeed I am,” Charlotte said with a thin smile. “But I worry for you, Lizzy, and how you choose to entertain yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is that you were quite rude to Mr. Darcy just now – do not look at me like that, I know you noticed his reaction. It is one thing to tease, when there is real levity in it, but I think you go too far with him – and I think Mr. Churchill encourages such conduct. I only wish to put you on your guard.”

Elizabeth was too stunned to speak for a minute or more. “I cannot think what Frank Churchill has to do with it – you know my reasons for disliking Mr. Darcy, and his inability to engage in friendly banter is certainly amongst them. But I have other reasons, you know I have – surely a misplaced jest is nothing to his offenses against me.”

“He has not insulted you in front of so many people,” Charlotte replied evenly. “And he did try to make amends – it was not a brilliant attempt, but you give him little chance to do better.”

“I should think that doing what is right need not the incentive of such flattery as he receives from Miss Crawford,” Elizabeth spat, glaring in that lady’s direction. “Shall I fawn over him as she does? Would you have me find perspicacity in his paltry attempts to converse?”

“I only mean to suggest that you have already resolved that everything Mr. Darcy says and does shall be disagreeable to you. You have made no secret of this to Mr. Churchill, who uses this knowledge to curry your favor.”

Elizabeth eyed her friend dubiously. “Frank Churchill has earned my favor, Charlotte, by being an open, affable gentleman.”

“Yet I fear you might not always find him a gentleman, Lizzy, if you continue to encourage him so boldly – he is very forward.”

“Anybody might seem forward when compared to Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said with some exasperation. “Might I again refer you to Miss Crawford?” The lady in question had now begun to brush some non-existent dirt from Mr. Darcy’s lapel, and laughed gaily as she rested her hand there a moment longer than strictly necessary.

“I have no wish to argue, Lizzy – you know I adore you, but it is my very affection for you that compels me to speak plainly. You have known Mr. Churchill but a week, and yet you carry on with the intimacy of long-established friends.”

“I should think that a mark in his favor,” Elizabeth interjected.

Charlotte shook her head, knitting her brows with concern. “Lizzy, I only wish you to think very carefully about what you want – about what sort of man might please you. Mr. Darcy… his opinion of you, I think, is not what you would posit.”

“It is rather worse, I daresay! He only looks at me to find fault – I ought to rejoice that he does not speak to me more often,” Elizabeth said, laughing bitterly.

Charlotte looked pained, but with a sideward roll of her eyes she soon appeared playfully resigned. “Laugh as much as you choose, but you cannot laugh me out of my opinion. I think there may be some other reason Mr. Darcy is often staring at you – and perhaps some other reason you dislike Miss Crawford’s behavior toward him. I should hate to see you remain so willfully blind to what that may portend, and let your fancy for Mr. Churchill prevent you from better understanding the feelings of a man ten times his consequence.”

At this, Charlotte gave Elizabeth a look of knowing triumph and moved away. Elizabeth stood, stunned, and began to hug herself from the strange and discomfiting sensations aroused by her friend’s suggestions. When she finally roused herself and resolved to be sociable once more, she looked around and found that Mr. Churchill was staring at her in such a way that suggested he was quite desirous of her attention. And so was Mr. Darcy.


After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance.

Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society – and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands?

Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart – Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document – and change – the lives of her new friends.Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans – for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound, and plans go awry, as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives. Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?

You can find Five Daughters Out at Once at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kindle Unlimited and now on Audible


NEW giveaaway time

To celebrate the release of the audiobook, Jayne Bamber is offeering one audiobook copy of Five Daughters Out at Once, to apply to it click on the below link.


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Mages and Mysteries by Victoria Kincaid- Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today is a very special day because not only it is Jane Austen’s Birthday, but also the day I welcome back at From Pemberley to Milton author Victoria Kincaid. Ms Kincaid is one of my favorite authors and it’s been a while since I had her here, so I am very happy that she is visiting in this special occasion. She brings you an excerpt of her most recently released Mages and Mysteries, her first fantasy novel, and I am very eager to read it! In fact, I just got the book in the mail today and was incredibly tempted to start reading it right away! But…TBR’s must be respected, and I’ll have to wait a little longer until I can read it. Until I do, and I post the review, I leave you with a little excerpt as a teaser 😊

Thank you for visiting Ms. Kinkaid, it is always a huge pleasure to have you here.


NEW book blurb

In Regency England, women are expected to confine their magical acts to mending dresses or enhancing their beauty, but Elizabeth Bennet insists on crafting her own spells to fight goblins and protect the people of Meryton.  She even caused a scandal by applying for admission to the magical Academy. When Hertfordshire is beset with a series of unexplained goblin attacks, Elizabeth is quite ready to protect her family and friends. If only she didn’t have to deal with the attitude of the arrogant mage, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Mr. Darcy doesn’t need to be associated with a scandalous woman like Elizabeth Bennet—no matter how attractive she is. But as the goblin attacks accelerate and grow more dangerous, Darcy realizes that he could use her help in identifying the cause—and is forced to recognize her magical ability.  Unfortunately, continued proximity to Elizabeth only heightens his attraction to her—which is particularly inconvenient in light of his engagement to Caroline Bingley.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy unravel the mystery of the goblin attacks before more people are hurt? And how can they manage their growing mutual attraction? It’s sure to be interesting…because when Darcy and Elizabeth come together, magic happens.  

cover

You can find Mages and Mysteries at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

and on Kindle Unlimited


NEW excerpt

Hello Rita!  Thank you for welcoming me back to From Pemberley to Milton!  I am very happy to introduce Mages and Mysteries, my 16th Pride and Prejudice variation, but my first fantasy variation. I read a lot of fantasy, so writing a fantasy variation has been on my bucket list for years. It was difficult, but enormous fun, and I certainly plan to write more of them. Mages and Mysteries has been well received by readers; I am very grateful that they have embraced the magical version of the Regency with all their hearts! 

The excerpt below is from very early in the book. The Meryton assembly ball was interrupted by news of a goblin attack on the drive—in front of the building. Darcy and Bingley raced out of the ballroom to fight the goblin with their magic. Elizabeth followed, although women aren’t supposed to practice major magic. When Bingley is momentarily injured, Elizabeth decides Darcy (despite his earlier arrogant comments about her) needs some help.  I hope you enjoy the excerpt! 

***

The creature loomed over Mr. Darcy, dwarfing him despite his tall stature. The paladin backed away even while he chanted the words to a spell. 

There had to be something she could do. If she could distract the goblin, it could give Mr. Darcy time to complete whatever spell he was attempting. 

Distraction….

Elizabeth gathered strands of ether from the air and braided them into an illusion, chanting a few words of Latin under her breath. She had some practice with creating illusions, but capturing the goblin’s attention would require something very realistic—not like the flat silhouettes on the ballroom walls—and sufficiently threatening to a goblin.  

The goblin pulled back two arms as it prepared to strike Mr. Darcy.  There was no time to waste. Elizabeth cast the illusion forward, willing it to appear in front of the hobgoblin.  

A phoenix burst into existence, a riot of gold, red, and orange—with feathers made of flames. It swooped down from the sky directly at the goblin’s face before circling away again. Elizabeth had observed this rare and glorious bird when traveling with her father to Cornwall, and she used this memory to fashion the illusion.  

The phoenix burned a line of fire as it ripped through the air toward the goblin once more.  It grabbed for the bird, which swooped away just in time. Elizabeth grinned. Her ploy was working! 

She had to keep her eyes on the illusory bird, not allowing her concentration to waver for even a second. As the phoenix again flew at the hobgoblin, the monster lunged forward swiftly and swiped at a tailfeather, nearly overbalancing when the claw encountered no resistance.  The hobgoblin stared in confusion at its own claw as though it were the reason the creature had missed the bird. Well, nobody accused hobgoblins of being great thinkers. Still, it would not be long before the creature recognized the nature of the illusion.

There was some movement from the shrubbery where Mr. Bingley had fallen. Thankfully the paladin was alive, but he was not yet standing.  However, Mr. Darcy had taken advantage of the goblin’s distraction to continue casting his spell, drawing down massive quantities of etheric threads while watching the phoenix apprehensively.

“The phoenix is an illusion!” she shouted to him.  His head jerked in acknowledgement. 

Elizabeth caused the phoenix to swoop in once more, low enough to be threatening to the goblin but too high for it to reach.  However, the goblin jumped up unexpectedly just as the phoenix passed overhead.  Its deliberate swipe sailed straight through the illusory bird, slicing through empty air. The goblin screamed with fury at the deception and immediately bowed its head to mount an attack on Mr. Darcy.  

Elizabeth allowed the phoenix illusion to dissipate. Perhaps there was something else she could do to fight the beast.

Mr. Darcy had retrieved his sword with a truly magnificent diving somersault and was on his feet instantly.  As the goblin lunged for him, the paladin ducked under its wildly grasping claws, inside the circle of its arms where the goblin could not easily reach. 

He stabbed upward, aiming for the place where a human’s heart would be. The bespelled sword slid through the goblin’s thick hide as if it were water. Mr. Darcy’s spell must have been designed to ensure a swift and sure strike.  The hobgoblin stared down in astonishment at the blade protruding from its chest. A second later, the skin of its chest turned to gray ash. The gray color spread rapidly through the beast’s torso, arms, legs, head, giving it the momentary appearance of a living statue. Then it collapsed inward as the ash disintegrated into a cloud. Moments later nothing remained but an enormous pile of ashes.  Elizabeth briefly wondered who would clean up that mess.


NEW blog tour

The blog tour is almost over, but there are still a few stops left 🙂 Check them out to learn more about this book.

December 6 Babblings of a Bookworm

December 7 So Little time

December 8 Savvy Verse and Wit

December 9 My Jane Austen Book Club

December 10 Probably at the Library

December 13 My Vices and Weaknesses

December 16 From Pemberley to Milton

December 28 My Love for Jane Austen

January 10 Austenesque Reviews


NEW giveaaway time

Victoria Kincaid is offering oneebook copies of Mages and Mysteries during her blog tour. Leave a comment here to be in the drawing for the international ebook giveaway. We will announce the winner shortly.


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Son of an Earl by Bronwen Chisholm- Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

After having interviewed her last October, I am pleased to welcome Bronwen Chisholm once more at From Pemberley to Milton. This time she is sharing with you an excerpt of her book Son of an Earl, the second novel in the Defying Propriety Series. This excerpt dwelves on Miss Adsila Carrington whom you’ve probably met at Babblings of a Bookworm and who has raised the interest of Viscount Grayson. I hope you like knowing more about these characters 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Chisholm, it is a pleasure to receive you at From Pemberley to Milton.


NEW excerpt

Hi, Rita! I am so pleased to be back at From Pemberley to Milton with you and your readers. The second novel in my Defying Propriety Series, Son of an Earl, is available for pre-order on Kindle. Here is the cover along with the blurbs for both the series and this book.

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.

All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.

son of an earl

Ashton Fitzwilliam, Viscount Grayson and cousin to Fitzwilliam Darcy, has always known what was expected of him. As the eldest son of an earl, he must marry a lady from the first circles of society, preferably one whose father will be a new ally to the current earl. He never anticipated meeting an intriguing American lady with a secret or two she is determined to keep hidden from the disapproving haut ton.

As we discussed after you did that wonderful presentation on blogs at the JAFF Reader/Writer Get Together this year, I am sharing an excerpt. Your readers might have seen the first chapter on my stop at Babblings of a Bookworm where we were introduced to the young American, Miss Adsila Carrington, who peeked the viscount’s interest. Here is a taste of his attempts to learn more about this intriguing lady.

***

Ashton returned to the breakfast room about the time he suspected his sister would be rising but found the meal had been cleared. Stepping into the hall, he beckoned to a footman.

“Has my sister already eaten?”

The man peered at him quizzically. “Begging your pardon, sir, but Lady Demetria always takes her breakfast in her chambers.”

“Of course,” he said while internally scolding himself. His sister did as their mother, yielding the breakfast table to their father, who had a fondness for reviewing his plans for the day, including a detailed, if one-sided, discussion of any bills coming before the House of Lords.

He wandered the halls, uncertain of his sister’s daily schedule or plans, until he heard her running scales on the pianoforte. Her eyes widened as he entered the music room, and she stopped playing when he took a seat.

“Have you a message for me?” Demi asked.

“No.” Ashton shook his head. “I did not see you last evening and wondered if you and Bedlington enjoyed the theatrical performance.”

Her eyes narrowed and she tipped her head. “You wished to ask me if I enjoyed my evening?”

“Yes,” he said with a laugh. “Can a brother not speak to his sister about her activities?”

“Certainly, he can.” She rose from the bench and joined him on the settee. “However, you rarely do so, and then only when there is something specific you wish to know.”

“Demi, you are far too suspicious.” He picked a bit of lint from his sleeve. “What was it you went to see?”

“Lord, I don’t know,” she said with a flutter of her hand. “Some comedy or such. It did not hold my attention, and I doubt it will play long.”

Demi’s sudden smile made Ashton’s skin crawl, making him think of her pet cat just before she toyed with a mouse.

“And you, brother? Did you enjoy the ball last evening?”

He frowned. “It was much the same as any other ball––a bit more insipid than some, but just as boring overall.”

“You met no one new?” she asked in an offhanded manner which felt quite calculated.

“I saw Lady Gertrude. Her fiancé was not there, but she had a friend with her, a young lady from Virginia.”

“You met Miss Carrington?” Her expression was suddenly unreadable.

“I danced with her as your friend was unavailable.”

“How did you find her?”

Ashton shrugged. “Her features are striking, but she rarely spoke, and then when she did, it was in a near whisper. I believe Lord Carlisle was pushing her towards Mr. Croome. It may be suitable as I am certain he would speak enough for both of them.”

Demi shivered. “That man is exceedingly dull, yet he believes himself an expert on nearly any subject. Only a deaf mute would suit him.”

Ashton chuckled. “I must agree with you. In fact, I nearly pitied Miss Carrington when he led her to the floor.”

“I am certain she will find a way to dissuade Lord Carlisle from the match. Gertie will help her if necessary.”

“And what are your thoughts on the young lady?” Ashton asked casually.

His sister studied him once more before speaking. “It appears she might be quite different among women, or perhaps in a smaller, more familial group. She stated her opinions most decidedly when we had tea last week.”

“I was surprised her father accompanied her to England but returned rather quickly. It appears she is to make her home here, though she prefers her native land.”

Demi crossed her arms and squinted at him. “Are you searching for gossip?”

“No!” Ashton huffed. “It was simply odd to me.” He rose from his seat. “I will leave you to your practicing.”

He was about to open the door, when his sister said, “From what Gertie says, there were limited marriage prospects for her at home, so her mother asked Lady Carlisle to sponsor her.”

Ashton turned about and bowed to his sister. “Have you plans for this afternoon? I thought, should you require an escort, I might attend you. It has been ages since we spent a day together.”

“We have never spent a day together unless Mamma insisted upon it.” Her lips pursed as she studied him. “Very well, I must visit a few shops and would appreciate an extra pair of hands to carry my purchases.”

“You were not going to have a footman attend you?” Ashton said with a smirk. “Very well. What else? Shall we take tea at Gunter’s?”

His sister had made her way back to the instrument. “Perhaps,” she said as she regained her seat. “Or, if you do not overly annoy me, we might visit Gertie and her new friend.”

“As you wish,” Ashton said with a slight tip of his head. Once in the hall, he allowed a smile to spread across his lips.

***

So, what are your thoughts on Lady Demetria? She has been fun to write. For more of this chapter, stop by Austen Authors on Wednesday, December 15.


NEW author bio

Bronwen Chisholm has released eight Pride and Prejudice variations since 2014. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

Bronwen Chisholm


NEW giveaaway time

Now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Rita will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Son of an Earl. The winner will be announced on the 18th of December.

Good luck! I can’t wait to read your comments.

Son of an Earl Blog Tour


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