Snowbound at Hartfield Review & Giveaway

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebook4 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

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

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

Good luck everyone!

17 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Maria Grace & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

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

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

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

 

interview

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

biography

 

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

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

You can find Maria at:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors

Pinterest

 

giveaway-time

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

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

Good luck everyone!

 

 

24 Comments

Filed under Emma, interview, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Giveaway Winners Announcement

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Hello everyone,

In the beginning of this month I reviewed The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, one of my favourite books from 2016. It was the only prequel I read of Pride and Prejudice, the last book from Nicole Clarkston, and hopefully one of her many works I’ll review because her writing style is just captivating and when I finish one of her books, I am already in need of another one 🙂

When Nicole Clarkston heard I was going to review her book, she immediately offered to promote a giveaway of both an ebook and an audiobook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, so today I’m happy to announce that the winners are:

 

Ebook – Karylee Marin

Audiobook – Me

.

I would also like to bring some very good news to readers who participated in my Interview with Stevie Zimmerman  post. Unfortunately I did not receive feedback from all winners, so I had to select 2 other readers for Love Never Fails from Jennifer Joy and The Courtship of Edward Gardiner from Nicole Clarkston.

I am always sad when I don’t hear back from winners, but that also means that someone else has a chance to win, and the two new lucky winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – Dung

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Mary

.

Congratulations everyone! Please send me your contacts to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that the prizes may be sent out to you.

8 Comments

Filed under JAFF

Darcy vs. Bennet – Review

Hello dear readers,

I never cared much about Valentine’s Day, and honestly I never do anything special this day. I think that we should show affection towards others, and get out and enjoy the company of someone else whenever we want, and not on a given day that society dictates, so I didn’t prepare anything special for the blog either. But I do have a review that I would like to share with you, and if you feel the same way I do, maybe this book will be your company for Valentine’s Day.

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When Darcy vs. Bennet came out last year, everyone was talking about it, and I heard that it was a love at first sight story. I’m usually not very fond of the love at first sight premise, for the simple reason that I don’t believe in it, so I was a little put out because I love Victoria Kincaid’s books and I was eager to read this one. But it was a Victoria Kincaid book nonetheless, so I had to read it! I filled myself with courage and gave it a go. Guess what? I should have read it the first time I got a chance because it was absolutely wonderful!!!

In Darcy vs. Bennet Mr. Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet at a masquerade ball, and even if they feel drawn to each other almost immediately, they do have a chance to dance, talk and get to know each other a little better. It is also in this masquerade ball that Elizabeth proves to be a trustworthy friend in the eyes of Mr. Darcy, by saving Georgiana from eloping with Mr. Wickham. But when she hears Mr. Darcy’s family name, she understands a relationship between them can never occur due to their parents’ feud and flees the party.

Mr. Darcy cannot forget the only woman who had thus far captured his attention and searches everywhere for Elizabeth, but knowing only her given name is endeavor is unsuccessful. Two years later, when he travels to Netherfield with Mr. Bingley, he reunites with Elizabeth and from the moment they recognize each other we are faced with a turbulent but poignant love story!

In this book Mr. Darcy senior is still alive and he is the true villain of the story, he is a despicable man and I loved to hate him in Darcy vs. Bennet. In fact, I believe he became my favorite villain in a JAFF story because it was due to his unrelenting demands that Mr. Darcy takes one of the bravest decisions he was ever asked to make on behalf of his love for Elizabeth.

I loved how strong and unbinding Darcy and Elizabeth’s love was in this book, and how far Mr. Darcy would go to be with her; how she made him a humbler man in a completely different way than we are used to see and how they suffered for their love. If I go straight to the point, I just LOVED this book!

In Darcy vs. Bennet I could feel once more the type of love Mrs. Kincaid developed in The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth: intense, secretive, intimate, insecure and resolute at the same time.

It is a fast paced book that captured my heart from page one until the end. I’ve read many of Victoria Kincaid’s books, if not all, and I know she is a diversified author. Among her works, one can either find a humorous and light book or a gripping romance that will touch our souls. Darcy vs Bennet is amongst the second category. It is an epic romance that I recommend to everyone.

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

11 Comments

Filed under JAFF

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Review & Giveaway

tcoeg-fc-final092816-nobld5 stars

Good evening dear readers,

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston was one of my 2016 favorite books, so you may imagine that I’ve been eager to review it and today I’m finally doing it!

In this Pride and Prejudice prequel, Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet with little Jane and Lizzy are traveling north to visit Mr. Bennet’s brother when Jane becomes sick. Because of that, they are forced to stop at a small town to allow Jane some time to recover, and while her father continues his trip to visit his dying brother, her uncle Gardiner stays behind to look after his nieces. This small town is none other than Lambton, and it is here that Mr. Gardiner will meet Miss Madeline Fairbanks, who will help him take care of Jane during her illness.

Mr. Gardiner’s relationship with Miss Fairbanks is an endearing and adorable one. He finds in her a mixture of the best attributes in Jane and Elizabeth, and discovers she is everything he could ever desire in a woman; she is caring, dedicated to her loved ones, gentil, but also smart, humble, and used to aid her father in his business, which shows him, she is the perfect partner in life for a tradesman.

Madeline Fairbanks’ impression of this young man from London is not the best at first, but soon she discovers he is everything a man ought to be, and it doesn’t take long for her to fall in love with him.

I loved seeing a younger version of Edward Gardiner. I am used to see him as a knowledgeable uncle and not as an insecure young man still trying to make is place in the world. I also liked seeing a younger version of aunt Gardiner who still blushes at some remarks made from a certain young man and finds herself accepting marriage advices from Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Bennet!

But the Gardiners are not the only P&P characters in this book, by the contrary, and that was one of the aspects that surprised me the most. We will find small versions of Lizzy, Jane and Georgiana, teenagers Darcy, Bingley and Wickham along with their fathers, and even Lady Catherine and Anne make an appearance! Seeing younger versions of all these characters was absolutely amazing, it was a very different approach that could not have given me more joy while reading the book.

I also adored how Nicole Clarkston linked Pride & Prejudice’s story with this prequel, it is as if all details are in place and everything was thought through to make us feel we are reading the same book. I could easily imagine this book as a prologue of Pride and Prejudice itself,

Not only all characters are pretty much the same in temper and personality, but we get to see how and why they became the adults Austen developed. It is interesting to see, for example, how Madeline Gardiner’s influence had a great impact in Lizzy’s behaviour, how Darcy’s father’s contributed to his sense of duty and honor and how Darcy and Bingley’s friendship started.

But the character’s personality and background is not the only connection between Pride and Prejudice and The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, if in P&P the Gardiners are essential to bring Elizabeth and Darcy together, in The Courtship of Edward Gardiner it is Lizzy who contributes to the happiness of the older couple.The reversal of their roles was just an example of Nicole Clarkston’s ability to play with words and situations, and bring to life a story that is perfectly harmonised with Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is a light, endearing and funny book that is the perfect company for an afternoon in the couch. You will laugh to see Jane compared to her mother, to see Mrs. Bennet called a sensible woman and Lady Catherine accused of being afraid of 8 year old highwayman.

Additionaly, Nicole Clarkston’s writing is fluid, agreeable and enticing. She makes us feel among the characters, and we can clearly picture every scene and every dialogue in our head. I was not expecting to love this story because it is not a Darcy/Elizabeth romance, but the story is so good and so well written that it captured my heart and ended up being one of my favourite books from 2016.

The book ends with an epilogue that I loved as we see Mr. and Mrs. Darcy remembering everything that happened in Lambton during the courtship of Edward Gardiner.

Last year I read the book but this year I had the pleasure of hearing it’s audiobook version and was impressed with Stevie Zimmerman’s narration once again. I already had a very good opinion of her, but I was amazed with the wide variety of voices she can make in this book. She is able to replicate not only the voices of male and female characters without sounding fake, but also small children and teenagers. If there is any doubt she is a great narrator, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is the best example to convince anyone otherwise. I highly recommend not only the ebook and print versions, but also the audiobook, which is the perfect company for your commutes.

You can find The Courtship of Edward Gardiner at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer my readers the chance to get to know these characters a  little better by offering one ebook and one audiobook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner.

To enter the giveaway comment this post and let us know if you would prefer the ebook or audiobook copy.

The giveaway is international and is open until Valentine’s Day.

Good Luck everyone!

49 Comments

Filed under JAFF

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey Review & Giveaway

2-1-donwell-cover5 stars

Hello everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

***Book Blurb***

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

Then she disappears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

***Excerpt***

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

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

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

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

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

“Mmm…. Water. And morphine.”

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

He swallowed. “Who are you?”

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

She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.

“Thank you…Miss Thomas.”

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

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*** Author Bio***

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

Author Contacts:

Website: GingerMonette.com

Author’s Facebook: is here

Goodreads: here

Amazon: here

***It’s Giveaway time***

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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***Blog Tour***

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

Feb 1  The Ardent Reader

Feb 2 From Pemberley to Milton

Feb 3 My Jane Austen Book Club

Feb 4  My Love for Jane Austen

Feb 5  vvb32reads

Feb 6  Just Jane 1813

Feb 7  Savvy Verse & Wit

Feb 8  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 9  My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice

Feb 10 Babblings of a Bookworm

Feb 11  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

Feb 12  Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

Feb 13  Half Agony, Half Hope

Feb 14  My Vices and Weaknesses

Feb 15  Diary of an Eccentric

Feb 16  Every Savage Can Dance

Feb 17  More Agreeably Engaged

Feb 18  The Calico Critic

Feb 20  Austenesque Reviews

Feb 21  More than Thornton

Feb 22  Margie’s Must Reads

Feb 23  Delighted Reader

Feb 24  Becky’s Book Reviews

Feb 26  Linda Andrews

Feb 27  Every Woman Dreams

Feb 28  Tomorrow is Another Day

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27 Comments

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

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter III

Hello everyone,

This month hubby and I flew to London to attend the wedding of 2 of my best friends. The wedding was very special and took place in a beautiful house in St. James Square where I had one of the best nights of the last few months. My friends were incredibly happy and we had an amazing time with them and all the other guests, but obviously a trip to London means an Austenesque escape for me so after discovering Lyme Park was closed until March, I decided to visit Chawton and Bath one more time… After all, it is impossible for one to grow tired of Bath 🙂

This is the type of trip a girl doesn’t do alone, so I invited a few friends to join Rui Pedro (who was practically dragged) and me in this adventure,  and that is how I ended up visiting Chawton and Alton with Joana Starnes and Ana from My Vices and Weaknesses on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Bath and Lacock the following day with Joana and Mira from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy.

This small road trip started in London with Rui doing his best to drive on the “right” side of the road, changing the gear with his left hand and understanding the priorities in roundabouts, thankfully Ana was there to give him a hand because I just kept thinking we were going to crash. We were still in the highway when we got a call from Joana saying she was already in Chawton and Jane Austen’s House was closed. Can you believe it? I took a 2h30 min flight, rented a car, drove for 2 hours, but didn’t check if the house was open before doing all that. The truth is, I never expected it to be closed! But it looks good from the outside doesn’t it?

chawton-2

I’ll have to post another chapter of My Jane Austen Road Trip anytime soon with pictures of the inside as well, luckily I had been there in 2015 and will be able to show you all the rooms next time 🙂

People say we have to look at the bright side of life, and in fact, this little lapse was the perfect opportunity to spend hours and hours talking about Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and JAFF with Joana and Ana 🙂 Rui just listened and waited with a patience of a saint 🙂 It also gave us some time to go to Alton and see some of the places Jane visited and it ended up being a perfect day!

Below you can see The Swan which was a coaching inn during Jane Austen’s life. She used the coach that stopped at this coaching inn when she travelled to London and I marvelled to think I was at another place she visited when she was alive. You can also see the site of the Bank of (Henry) Austen, Gray & Vincent between 1806 and 1812. Henry Austen was Jane’s brother and the bank handled some of her correspondence between Alton and London. It is not very impressive, but it has its significance for a Janeite like me 🙂

I truly did not want it to end! These ladies are amazing and I could talk and talk with them for ages! We hadn’t parted yet and I already wanted to repeat the experience…hopefully we will be able to meet once more this year, if not in the UK, maybe in Portugal 🙂 Seeing the places that marked Jane Austen’s life with these ladies was amazing, but the best part of the day was talking to them, and we can do that in any country :))

alton-1

I was sad when we parted but also expectante for the following day  which I hoped would be equally good 🙂

Monday morning I woke up in this beautiful but freezing scenery thinking that Elizabeth Bennet had to be nuts to regularly go on morning walks with the british weather, but I definitely recommend the hotel where we stayed (The Old Mill) for those visiting Bath with a vehicle. It is located in the countryside, 3 miles from Bath, and the peace and quiet we can feel there is enough to transport us back to the 19th century.

After a delicious english breakfast (I even had beans), I soon found myself in the center of Bath where I finally met Mira.

I have visited many places but none is like Bath, I absolutely love Bath!!! I loved it as much this time as the first time I was there and had the advantage of visiting it this time with true connoisseurs of Bath’s filming locations 🙂 We had not walked 500 meters when Joana pointed me the store where Anne and Captain Wentworth first see each other in Bath (swoon…), it looks very different and I didn’t go inside but it was nice to know that was the place. Now my imagination may drift to that store when I re-read Persuasion.

After a stop to take several pictures we headed out to the Royal Crescent were numerous more photos were taken and I imagined myself running towards Wentworth 🙂

This is probably one of the most known places in Bath, and I can see why. It is just astonishing! Pictures do not do it justice and they can only give a small idea of how beautiful and well kept this place is.

It was also one of the sites used for the filming of the 2007 Persuasion film, and even if I am on Ciaran Hinds team, and definitely prefer the 1995 version, everytime I see the Royal Crescent I think of this adaptation. Do you think there is a lot of discussion regarding favorite adaptations for Persuasion as well? I know there is a lot of talk regarding the favorite Pride and Prejudice adaptation, but what about Persuasion? Which is your favourite?

When I visited Bath in 2014 I didn’t enter the Assembly Rooms, so this time it was mandatory to see them. They were designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769 with the purpose of being a place for dancing and music. When they were completed in 1771 they were described as ‘the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom’.

During our guided tour I learnt they were bombed and burnt out during the Second World War and due to budget constraints the place was very close to become a parking lot! Luckily the funds were obtained in time and Sir Albert Richardson undertook the restoration of the building before it’s reopening in 1963.

The building has rooms arranged in a U shape and there are four main function rooms in the complex: the ballroom; the tea room; the card room; and the octagon, all of them absolutely stunning, don’t you think?

After a lot of time looking at the goodies in the shop and buying several things, we went to the Jane Austen Center. I had also been there in 2014, so we didn’t get inside the museum itself, we just stayed almost an hour in the shop buying more things and went upstairs for tea with Mr. Darcy 🙂

As I had been in Bath before and Joana and Mira visit it often, we accepted Joana’s suggestion to visit Lacock. I confess I didn’t know what Lacock was until she explained to me that it was Meryton!!! This was the village that BBC chose to portray the village of Meryton in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice adaptation, and where the Bennet sisters visited aunt Phillips,  sought the latest gossip, the latest fashions and the latest dose of attention from the officers.

The village is owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust and it felt like we were entering the 19th century due to picturesque streets and historic cottages untouched by modern alterations. How I wish we had preserved more places like this one!!! I spent a lot of time staring at the Red Lion and even made my own Mr. Darcy walk away towards it…he was just missing the Horse.

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Now without the car… and the horse 🙂

 

The Abbey in Lacock Village was also used for some of interior scenes, but we didn’t get a chance to visit it, which means there is a reason to go back 🙂

 

We were about to leave but Mira insisted we visited a bridge she spent 3 years looking for! Yes, 3 years, that is how much she loves Pride and Prejudice.

The landscape is beautiful isn’t it? But do you recognise it?

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It was another location used in the 1995 P&P adaptation. In it Elizabeth is forced to tolerate Mr. Collins ramblins on their way to Meryton…Poor girl 🙂

Looking at the size of this post, and the amount of pictures I shared, it may look like we did a lot of things, but in the end it felt that the time was not enough to talk about all the things we wanted to talk about, and it was very hard to say goodbye to these wonderful ladies!! Now we only have the internet to keep in touch and the hope of meeting again soon!

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But I can not end this post without sharing all the goodies I got from this trip :))) I hardly have a chance to buy these kind of things, so I tried to bring as many items as possible.

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If you are seeing anything you like, you can find them all in Jane Austen’s Center shop and The Assembly Rooms shop.

I hope you have enjoyed this long post and that you found these places interesting. If it has enticed you to see our favourite characters in all these places, there are plenty ways of doing so, not only you can buy the DVD’s of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and watch them a dozen times a year (if you don’t have them and don’t do that already!), but you can also watch them through Amazon Prime Video. This is an option I don’t have in Portugal, but I think it is just awesome!

Until my next Jane Austen Road trip, happy reading everyone! Or should I say enjoy your tv adaptations?

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Legally Darcy – Giveaway Winners Announcement!

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Hello everyone,

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. William Darcy of Darcy and Associates and sharing with all of you an excerpt of Legally Darcy, Denise O’Hara’s latest release. This was a fun experience which I hope you all liked as much as I did, but apart from the joy of interviewing such a character, I also had the joy to share with you Mrs. O’Hara giveaway of 2 ebook copies.

All my readers had to do was comment the blog post and the 2 randomly selected winners were:

 

***Ginna***

***Dholcomb1***

Congratulations ladies! Could you please send me na e-mail to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com to confirm to which e-mail Mrs. O’Hara can send you the ebooks?

Thank you and Happy reading!

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Audiobooks Giveaway Winners Announcement

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Hello everyone,

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

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

Now, without further ado, the winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – The Pemberley Library

Accusing Elizabeth – Anji


Rumours and Recklessness – Elizabeth Ehinger

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Northern Rain – Kneyda


Compromised – Daniela Quadros & Darcybennett

 

The Abominable Mr. Darcy – Maureen C & Jessica Washer

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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Eliza

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

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The Darcy Monologues

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Hello everyone,

I’m very happy to share with you today an interview with editor Christina Boyd where she speaks of a project I absolutely loved!! When I heard about it I could not believe I would still have to wait several months for it to come out, but I’ll let you hear all about it through Christina’s words 🙂 Who better than her to explain what The Darcy Monologues are all about?

 

***Interview with Christina Boyd***

 

There are many well-known names behind today’s exciting announcement in the JAFF community and the one person at the center of it all is here today to share this news with us; the lovely Austenesque editor, Christina Boyd.

Christina, there’s a buzz going around the JAFF community that you are heading a new project and it’s a pleasure to have you visit so many Austenesque blogs today to share your big news!

Can you share with us what you’ve been working on behind-the-scenes?

Thank you for hosting and shining your light on this project. I am excited and not a little proud to announce “The Darcy Monologues”—a short story anthology with sixteen of my very favorite Austenesque writers. I doubt anyone will be surprised by my list—authors I’ve either enjoyed working with and admire their work or authors I have simply fan-girl’d over for years: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

 

Wow, that is an exciting line-up of talent!

“The Darcy Monologues” sounds like such a fitting title for this anthology. Would you share with us how it was selected as the title, especially with so many authors involved in this project?

This project is collection of stories all told from Fitzwilliam’s point-of-view—set in Regency, contemporary, as well as other eras. Because the stories are strictly from his eyes, I felt it imperative we find a title that clearly illustrated the book would be more than one tale but all from his point-of-view. In an e-mail from “The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy” author, Sara Angelini, she mentioned how she had long wanted to write a story titled “The Darcy Monologues” or something like… So, in presenting the idea to the group, other ideas were thrown about. After a quick Google search, we learned there was a short story on Derbyshire Writer’s Guild by Judy-Lynne with the same title. She had written a short story described as six “extemporaneous rants” expressed by Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not one to be a copycat, we moved on to other names. But as time passed, nothing resonated with me as much so I felt incumbent to ask Judy-Lynne if she would be offended if we used the same title. Unfortunately, she is rarely on the fanfiction sites anymore and everyone I asked claimed they did not know how to get in touch with her. Finally! Finally, I connected with her through “A Happy Assembly” and asked her about the title use, she accepted, and I asked her if she was still writing and would she be interested in writing a short for the anthology. She said she wasn’t writing but agreed to the challenge. And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

How does this project differ from anything you’ve worked on before?

I’ve worked on two other anthologies, published in 2015 by Meryton Press: “Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer” and “Then Comes Winter.” Both were set-up as writing contests with a panel of judges reading and selecting the submissions. This project, I am self-publishing and have assembled my own dream team.

 

At this point, what can you share about your experiences working with so many talented Austenesque writers?

I feel lucky! Blessed. Not only that these talented writers have all graciously committed to this project—some having not written anything Austenesque in years—but have over a short period of time become so dear to me on a personal level.

 

What can readers expect from this anthology?

The authors have all committed to write a short piece from Darcy’s point-of-view, between 5000-15,000 words, and must have romance—but no scenes that I wouldn’t be able to share with my teenage daughter or eighty-year-old mother-in-law. Even with that last tenet, I am amazed how these writers can turn up the heat in a room. Have your fans handy—and even a few tissues!

 

It seems like we just can’t get enough of Mr. Darcy! What’s his appeal, Christina, 200 years later?

“Pride and Prejudice” is told in the third-person narrative, limited omniscient, from Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of-view. In my fiction, I have always had a weakness for the rich, powerful, noble, and handsome man who changes his ways for love, and a woman worthy of his efforts. I’ve long dreamt of putting together a collection of stories all from my favorite Austen hero’s eyes. Yes, “Pride and Prejudice” has been told before from Darcy’s point-of-view by the talented Pamela Aidan, Stanley Hurd, Amanda Grange, Janet Aylmer, and Mary Street, to name a few—but with all the amazing “Pride and Prejudice” re-imaginings out there, I wanted to read alternate stories in his own words.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today about The Darcy Monologues?

The anthology is scheduled for release May 22, 2017 and we have a few promotions planned in the coming weeks as we finish the editing process to spit and polish the collection.

 

Before we part, Christina, I hear you have some rather thrilling news to share with us on a personal level, which was just announced early this week. Care to divulge the details here too?

Well… I can barely believe it myself but…I won—I WON, the Omaze “Champagne Toast with Henry Cavill on the London Eye” experience! (Fundraiser to benefit the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.) You read that right. I won. I’m flying to London to meet my all-time favorite book boyfriend, the very talented British actor, Henry Cavill. I have never been to England, except layovers in Heathrow—which doesn’t count—so I feel like the French teacher who has never been to France. And here I get to go, stay in a luxury hotel, explore London, and have a champagne toast with Henry Cavill. Pinch me! And yes, if he is willing, I do hope to have him sign some swag for “The Darcy Monologue” giveaways—after all, he is my book boyfriend.

 

biography

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Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist under her own banner, Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

 

 

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We are giving away some really fun prizes to three lucky winners! One winner will receive a stash of gifts to enjoy with his/her own significant other. These treats include assorted British food and beverage snacks and a Mr. Darcy quote mug.

(This prize is open to a winner with a U.S. mailing address only)

Another winner will receive two stories from the anthology; a Regency story and a contemporary or alternate era short story. The winner will choose his/her prize stories based on the authors in this anthology. These stories will be distributed to the winner on March 15, 2017.

Our third prize winner will receive a walk-on role in one of the stories in this anthology. That’s right…This winner will have a piece of the action in one of our stories, which means having a character in one of these stories in the anthology named after her/him.

This is something every JAFF reader dreams about, isn’t it?

These giveaways are open for entries from Friday, January 20 until midnight, ET, on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

To enter these giveaways click on the image below:

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