Suddenly Mrs Darcy

Hello dear readers,

Two years later, I am finally reviewing Suddenly Mrs. Darcy! I read it when it came out but for some reason I didn’t review it, considering it is my favourite “forced marriage” scenario book, it didn’t seem right not to post a review, so here it is.

When I started reading this book I was shocked and amazed. The blunt, fatalist first person speech we see in the first chapters as shocking as it is surprising but it pulls us immediately into the book. The writing is riveting and addictive and I have now come to understand that Mrs. James writing style is unique and recognisable everywhere. When I read the first letter of Elizabeth in The Elizabeth Papers over an year later, I immediately knew it was a Jenetta James book due to the uniqueness of the writing style.

On this book, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are caught alone by Mrs. Bennet during the Netherfield ball while Darcy is trying to reveal to Elizabeth Wickham’s true character, and because of that they are forced to get married. As this happens so soon in the storyline, they haven’t been able to sketch each other’s characters yet, so the dynamics between them are very different, and the path they have to take to HEA will be much harder.

They will need to learn how to respect, trust and love each other and, it will not be an easy task when the communication between them is still so difficult because of their misapprehensions and prejudices. But watching them build a strong and powerful relationship is extraordinary, and Mrs. James was able to keep us glued to the storyline from the beginning until the end due to the intensity of the book.

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is very real, it is not overly romantic, it is not a fairy tale, it portrays reality and people as they are, it shows us a raw reality and it pierces into our soul. It is one of those books I recommend to my friends who don’t read JAFF because I know that the writing is so good, so unmistakingly good, that any reader will love it!

I believe that it takes a true talent to write as Mrs. James does, this is something that you can not learn, either you have the talent in you, or you don’t, and Jennet James certainly does.

If you are looking for a fairytale story full of fluff this is not the book for you, but you will be missing a magnificent work of art. If you are ready to accept some angst, you will love this book and it will render you speechless.

 

You can find this book on:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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From Pemberley to Milton’s 2017 Favourite Books

Good Afternoon everyone and a Happy New Year!!!

Today I’m publishing one of my favourite posts of the year, the one where I look back and see what I read and how that translates into figures 🙂 I love stats and even though I will not fill you with my own stats today, I did like analysing the statistics of my reading throughout the year. After looking at my 2017 stats I identified my favourite books and that is what I will share with you today, so welcome to my year in books 🙂

 

Last year I had read 45 books, but it was a true challenge to read so much (yes, for me that is a lot), so I choose to define a smaller goal for 2017. I intended to read 35 books this year and despite all the difficulties I had at work (too many extra hours, etc.) I was able to overcome that objective by reading 38 books. That may not seem a lot to you, but I was very happy to have achieved this number. It wasn’t always easy to find the time to read, and I’m happy about this number this year.

During 2017 I read a total of 10 230 pages and my average per book was 276 pages, with Christmas with Mr. Darcy being the shortest book I’ve read and These Dreams the longest. I didn’t read anything online this year so the 38 books are only referring to published works.

Not all the books I read in 2017 were published in the current year, in fact, most of them were published in earlier years, so my 2017 favourite books list does not include the best books published in 2017, but my favourite books read in 2017. I’m including both Jane Austen Fan Fiction books and North and South Fan Fiction books and excluding all other fiction novels (even though I only read one non-austenesque/Gaskell book this year: The Little Paris Bookshop).

To be honest, it was easier to choose my favourites this year than last year, maybe because I didn’t read as many books in 2017 than 2016, but it was still hard to leave a few titles behind, even so, it had to be done if I wanted to create my 2017 Favourite Books list.

Now that I’ve explained how I decided to create this list, and without further ado or any particular order, my favourite books read in 2017 are:

 

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These Dreams – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 674

What I loved about it – Everything! Darcy’s strenght, his connection to Elizabeth, Col. Fitzwilliam’s love story, the portuguese connection…

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

Collide – Melanie Stanford

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 298

What I loved about it – The Las Vegas setting, the main characters background stories and the intensity I felt while reading it.

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

When We Are Married – Caitlin Williams

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 319

What I loved about it – The humour, the page turner effect and how perfectly suited Darcy and Elizabeth were for each other in this book. I loved how the author described them and their love 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

The Darcy Monologues – Edited by Christina Boyd

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 415

What I loved about it – The diversity! There is a perfect story for anyone and any time 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

A Man With Faults – Lory Lilian

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 403

What I loved about it – The angst, Darcy’s dark place and the hot mush that followed 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

No Such Thing as Luck – Nicole Clarkston

Publication year – 2015

Number of Pages – 432

What I loved about it  – The romance, the intensity of the boat scenes and the perfect love story!

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

The Journey – Jan Hahn

Publication year – 2012

Number of Pages – 264

What I loved about it  – Darcy, Darcy and Darcy! The jealousy, the number of Darcy/Elizabeth’s scenes, the writing, the romance…everything actually 🙂

My review (coming soon)     Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey – Ginger Monette

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 350

What I loved about it  – The intensity of the story, of their romance and the page turner effect 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

A Lie Universally Hidden – Anngela Schroeder

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 406

What I loved about it – The romance, the intrigue, the writing, the characters…there is just too much to point out.

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion – Regina Jefffers

Publication year – 2010

Number of Pages – 394

What I loved about it – The has it all effect and his point of view 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 

 

Darcy’s Honor – Victoria Kincaid

Publication year – 2017

Number of Pages – 193

What I loved about it – Darcy and the intensity of his feeling, plus Lady Catherine 🙂

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

 


Green Card – Elizabeth Adams

Publication year – 2014 (re-published in 2017)

Number of Pages – 468

What I loved about it  – The american culture, the grilled cheese and their romance.

My review      Amazon.com    Amazon.uk

 

 

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Do you share any favourites with me? Which were your favourite books in 2017? I would love to hear your opinion and maybe get a few suggestions of great books to read this year, the 2018 reading challenge is already starting and all suggestions to fulfill it are welcome 🙂

 

For next year I will establish the same goal in  Goodreads, 35 books.

It’s not much but I don’t know how next year will be at the office and if it continues with the same rythm , reading 35 books will be a true challenge, which is why I prefer to aim for a small number but guarantee I can do it.

I will also try to read more non-autenesque books. I love JAFF and North and South fan fiction, but I miss reading other genres so I’ll establish as a personal goal 5 non-jaff books to read next year. I’ll start with 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny (which I should have read this year).

The to be read pile of austenesque books is too big this year because I was unable to respect my own TBR established last year, so I’ll have to make an extra effort to stick to my own list instead of allowing new books to get in the way.  I think this will also mean that in 2018 I’ll read more books published in previous years and not so many published during the year, but we’ll see if I’ll be able to resist new releases 🙂

Which goals are you establishing for yourself?

I hope you are able to achieve all your goals and that you have a fulfilling 2018 full of health and happiness!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Very Austen Christmas Giveaway winner

Good afternoon everyone,

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas full of love and joy amongst your loved ones.

I am going to start all the baking for the Christmas Eve, but before going I would like to announce the winner of A Very Austen Christmas ebook.

The winner will receive the ebook today in their email address or can choose to offer it to someone else, so I’ll wait to receive an email from you telling me the address to which you want the book to be delivered.

Now without further ado the winner is:

*** Mary***

Congratulations Mary!! Please let me know to which address you want us to send the ebook. My address is ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com.

A Merry Christmas everyone!

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And the winners are…

 

 

Hello everyone,

How are you today? Did you have a good week? I hope you are all ready for Christmas. Unfortunately I still haven’t had the time to buy all my Christmas gifts, so I’ll have a very entertaining evening at the mall today …

Before everyone is too busy with Christmas preparations I would like to announce you the winners of the latest giveaways that I hosted here at From Pemberley to Milton.

This month I had the honor to receive Victoria Kincaid, Don Jacobson and Regina Jeffers to whom I would like to thank not only for the generosity but especially the patience with me and my late replies! My daily work has been crazy again and I haven’t had much time lately but these authors were incredibly patient and kind towards me J

Now, without further ado, the giveaway winners are:

 

Christmas at Darcy House

*** mbresticker ***

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

*** barblibrarian ***

Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar

*** Betty Campbell Madden ***

My Jane Austen Superstar Survey * Ebook , winners choice

***Dung***

 

Congratulations everyone, I hope you enjoy your books! Can you please send me your email contacts so that we can send you your gifts?

I am going to finish my Christmas shopping now, wish me luck!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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A Very Austen Christmas Review & Giveaway

 

 

A Very Austen Christmas is the perfect anthology for this Christmas time and it gave me a tremendous pleasure to read it. It possesses the must have coziness, romance, humour, and even mystery this season requires and all with an engaging and quality writing. I felt transported to each one of them and that is not always easy to happen when I’m reading novellas.

This book has four different stories that will appeal to all JAFF readers not because they portray different characters or different genres, but because they all have a different feeling and atmosphere that makes each one of them engaging and irresistible.

 

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm was absolutely perfect for me and readers who usually like the same type of stories I do will certainly adore it! In this story, Mr. Darcy has a rival for Elizabeth’s attentions which allows him to be a little jealous  and I always love a jealous Darcy! The first story on the anthology has romance, humour and the perfect Christmas tone that always makes stories cozy.

I particularly loved to see Elizabeth playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as it is my favourite classic piece and I have always wanted to see it in a P&P variation. Robin Helm finally made my wish come true and the scene was just beautiful!

I also loved Anne’s character, how she spoke to Darcy and how she plotted at matchmaking, it was an interesting detail.

Her Christmas Gift has the coziness Christmas stories must have and I could not think of a better way to start the anthology, I absolutely loved it!

 

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile has a magical touch in it that I was not expecting. The humour and romance are very present in it but I already knew that Hile is a master at that so I was not surprised, but the magical touch of Aunt Jane was really endearing and part of why I loved the story this much. Well…that and charming Darcy! He is irresistible in this story!

Austen fans will adore this mash-up which brings together characters from Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park, and make it an incredibly funny and romantic plot with a little magical touch that will prepare each one of you for the Christmas spirit.

 

I love The Gypsy Blessing by Wendi Sotis because it has a special feeling that is hard to explain but that got into me and that made me very expectant regarding No Better Gift. When I read it I realised it wasn’t the whimsical kind of story I was expecting but I definitely did not get disappointed! This short story is perfect in showing us why Darcy and Elizabeth are the perfect match. We really get to see why they love each other, and I just adore that. I could not put it down because of al the wonderful moments they have together and I know readers will love it too.

 

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite was clearly the biggest surprise for me in the anthology. I absolutely love Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park cannot compete with it when it comes to my affections, so I was not expecting to love this story so much, but the truth is I loved it as much as I did all the others who have P&P characters, so I would dare to say that everyone will love it!

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey is tremendously funny and I had a great time seeing Edmund Bertram’s efforts to declare himself to Fanny Price. Even though Tom Bertram and Susan Price did their best to help Edmund in this endeavour, fate seemed to be against him, until mistletoe came to help that is.

The ending scene was adorable and I loved seeing this new side of Edmund, it made me love him a bit more than in the original. Just like Her Christmas Gift was the perfect way to start this book, Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey was the perfect ending.

 

A Very Austen Christmas is an anthology of stories that will transport you into the homes of our most beloved characters and feel the Christmas essence along with them. You can either read them one by one or read the entire anthology non-stop like I did, but I know for sure you will not regret it, the book is just what we need for Christmas.

My heartiest congratulations to the authors for coming together and creating a must read book in the Christmas season!

You can find A Very Austen Christmas at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis and Barbara Cornthwaite would like to offer one of my readers their very own Christmas present!

They have one ebook ready to be delivered to one of you, or a person of your choosing, on the 24th of December or the 25th if you’d prefer.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post until the 23rd of December mentioning your email. If you do not want to publicly post your email, or if you’d like to offer this ebook to someone else, please send me an email to ritaluzdeodato at gmail after commenting, this way, we will be ready to send out the ebook on the 24th to the lucky winner shortly after we announce it here at From Pemberley to Milton.

Good Luck everyone!

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The Darcys’ Christmas – A Guest Post & Giveaway with Maria Grace

Good Afternoon everyone,

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Is that a big tradition in your corner of the world?

In my family we all buy one gift for everybody so this season is a bit stressful with lots and lots of hours spent shopping. Unfortunately for me, the Christmas weekend is almost here and I haven’t bought any presents yet, which means that once this is over, I will need to find a way to enjoy the season and relax. That usually means finding a good, short Christmas story to read, so I was exhilarated to learn that Maria Grace had not one, but two such stories coming up this month. Today She brings you a guest post where she talks about both books and I hope you enjoy it before venturing into one of them 😉

 

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Thanks so much for having me Rita! I’m so excited to be visiting with you this Christmas season! It’s been a doozy of a year in these parts, so much that it calls for not one, but two Christmas books.  The two books go along with The Darcys’ First Christmas, kind of forming bookends to the story. Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811 tells the behind the scenes story of what might have happened during the Christmastide Darcy spent in London, while the militia (and Wickham!) wintered in Meryton. From Admiration to Love tells the story of the Darcys’ second Christmas as they try to hold Georgiana’s coming out at the Twelfth Night ball as Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh descend as very unwelcome guests. (The story was such fun to write, I hope you love it as much as I do!)

One of the things I most enjoyed about writing these books was learning about the holiday traditions of the era. One of these traditions is the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, celebrated on December 21st, became associated with charitable giving.  Elderly women (often widows) went ‘thomasing’ of ‘a-gooding’, at the houses of their more fortunate neighbors hoping for gifts of food or money. The practice had become especially common during since the Napoleonic wars dramatically increased the number of widows.

‘Mumpers’ would call at the principle houses in the parish and collect small coins or provisions toward Christmas dinner for their families. They often carried two-handled pots in which they received gifts of cooked wheat to make frumenty. The wheat was especially appreciated because the price of the commodity had soared. In exchange, they offered small gifts of holly sprigs, mistletoe, or handspun yarn and grateful good wishes to their benefactors.

Robert Chambers Book of Days notes “that at Harrington, in Worcestershire, it was customary for children on St. Thomas’s Day to go round the village begging for apples, and singing — ‘ Wassail, wassail, through the town, If you’ve got any apples, throw them down; Up with the stocking, and down with the shoe, If you’ve got no apples, money will do; The jug is white and the ale is brown, This is the best house in the town.’

Take a peek at how this tradition figured in  Darcy & Elizabeth: Christmas 1811

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December 18, 1811. London  

Darcy dismissed his valet and took a final glance in the mirror. Well brushed black coat, crisp white cravat, shoes polished to a shine. He was neat, proper, and hopefully unremarkable. Though it was only a small card party at the Matlocks’, it would be his luck to encounter some gossip writer skulking around the nearby streets, like a weasel waiting to sneak into the hen house. Scavengers and vermin, all of them. The back of his neck twitched.

Card play was hardly amusing. If he had any choice in the matter, he would skip the whole thing. But that would offend Aunt and Uncle Matlock, a greater price than he was ready to pay for the luxury of an evening at home.

He went to his study to get in a few minutes of work before the coach was ready to take him to Matlock House. A recent letter from Mr. Rushout required his attention. Just as he settled down to read it, the housekeeper peeked in and rapped on the doorframe. He waved her in.

She curtsied in front of his desk. A small, somewhat severe looking woman with dark hair and darker eyes, her size was deceptive. She had a sharp, quick mind and could recall the tiniest detail about anything related to her job. Darcy House had been without a mistress since Mother had died, but despite that lack of guidance, she ran the house flawlessly.

“Sir, it is coming up on St. Thomas’s Day. Have you any special instructions about the mumpers this year?”

Not something he had given any thought to at all. “Are there many of them?”

“We have a fair number who visit each year, and what with all the losses to the French, the numbers have only grown.”

Unfortunately, she was right. Napoleon had ensured England would not run short of widows.

“In the past, we have always had wheat for them, sir.”

Darcy chewed his lower lip. “Do that, and give them a few pennies as well.”

“That is very generous of you, sir.” Though she would never say such a thing, something in her eyes looked pleased.

“In these cases, I think it better to do too much than too little, do you not?”

“I know they will be very grateful.” She curtsied again and left as the footman appeared at the door to announce the carriage.

He settled into the soft leather carriage squabs. The smell of fresh polish lingered in the air, a bit too strong for his liking. So, he pulled open the curtains and the side glass for a bit of fresh air.

The streets were crowded this evening and the going slow enough that Darcy could clearly see the faces of those they passed. So many people—London was so crowded!

Peddlers, their faces dusty and worn, some bright-eyed though, calling out their wares with heavy packs on their backs or loaded hand carts. Tradesmen making deliveries, boxes piled high. The occasional dandy and his mates, parading around, hoping for notice. And the beggars.

They were everywhere, paupers, begging for help and sustenance. It was difficult to tell the deserving from the undeserving poor. How many times had he been counseled to give only to the deserving poor? But how was one to know who was truly deserving?

A woman, worn and tattered, with two young children in tow looked at him with hollow eyes. Her face was dirty, and so very, very tired. She was young for a widow. Probably a soldier’s wife. He waved at her with one hand and reached into his pocket with the other. She limped as she hurried toward his carriage, sending one of the children, a young boy ahead of her. Darcy tossed him a coin before the carriage was out of reach and the child ran it back to his mother. Tears ran down her face as she waved her thanks.

He leaned back and closed his eyes. How many young girls chased after a smart uniform? Certainly, the young women in Meryton had.  What would they do if they encountered real officers like Fitzwilliam, not mere militia? Would Miss Elizabeth consider marrying a soldier? Her mother certainly would not warn her against it.

If she did, how easily could she end up as that poor wretch in the streets? He gulped, stomach knotted. Far, far too easily, and through no fault of her own. Surely, her family though, they would take care of her, would they not? If her father were alive, there was no question, but if Collins was master of Longbourn—with his own self-righteousness and Aunt Catherine’s judgmental nature, charity would be hard to find from his household.

He scrubbed his eyes with his palm, but still the image of that woman remained. That was too cruel a fate for a woman like Miss Elizabeth. But what could he do about it?

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Tomorrow he would instruct the housekeeper to increase what was set aside for the mumpers.

 

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Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811

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Sweet, Austen-inspired treats, perfect with a cup of tea.

Full of hope and ripe with possibility, Christmastide tales refresh the heart with optimism and anticipation.

Jane Austen never wrote the details of Christmastide 1811. What might have happened during those intriguing months?

Following the Netherfield ball, Darcy persuades Bingley to leave Netherfield Park in favor of London to avoid the match-making machinations of Mrs. Bennet. Surely, the distractions of town will help Bingley forget the attractions of Miss Jane Bennet. But Bingley is not the only one who needs to forget. All Darcy wants this Christmastide is to forget another Miss Bennet.

Can the diversions of London help Darcy overcome memories of the fine eyes and pert opinions of a certain Hertfordshire miss?

Without the Bingleys, the Bennets are left to the company of Mr. Collins and the militia officers—entirely suitable company, according Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth disagrees, refusing an offer of marriage from the very eligible Mr. Collins. Mama’s nerves suffer horridly until Elizabeth follows her advice to make the most of the officers’ company.

Even Mr. Bennet seems to agree. So, whilst Jane pines for Bingley, Elizabeth admits the attentions of one agreeable Lt. Wickham. What possible harm can it cause, especially when her parents are so pleased?

 

You can find Darcy & Elizabeth Christmas 1811 at:

Amazon. com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon. ca

 

 

 

 

The Darcys’ First Christmas

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Sweet, Austen-inspired treats, perfect with a cup of tea.

Full of hope and ripe with possibility, Christmastide tales refresh the heart with optimism and anticipation.

Elizabeth anxiously anticipates her new duties as mistress of Pemberley. Darcy is confident of her success, but she cannot bring herself to share his optimism.

Unexpected guests unsettle all her plans and offer her the perfect Christmastide gift, shattered confidence.

Can she and Darcy overcome their misunderstandings and salvage their first Christmastide together?

From the award winning author of Given Good Principles, Remember the Past and Mistaking Her Character, Sweet Tea short stories offer the perfect bite to transport readers back to the Regency era for the first days of new love.

 

 

You can find The Darcy’s First Christmas at:

Amazon. com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon. ca

 

 

 

 

From Admiration to Love

 

Sweet, Austen-inspired treats, perfect with a cup of tea.

Full of hope and ripe with possibility, Christmastide tales refresh the heart with optimism and anticipation.

After the debacle of the previous holiday season, Darcy and Elizabeth joyfully anticipate Christmastide 1813, Georgiana’s come out at Pemberley’s Twelfth Night Ball culminating the season. With months of planning behind the event, even Lady Matlock is satisfied and sends Colonel Fitzwilliam to represent the family, assuring there will be no repeat of the previous Christmastide.

On St. Nicholas’, Anne de Bourgh and Lady Catherine arrive on Pemberley’s doorstep—never a good sign—demanding sanctuary against the de Bourghs who (according the Lady Catherine) are trying to retake Rosings Park for their family with plans to seduce and marry Anne. Needless to say, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are skeptical.

Not long afterwards, three gentlemen suitors appear at Pemberley, hoping to court Anne and obliging Darcy to offer holiday hospitality. Anne adores the attention whilst Lady Catherine makes her displeasure know, throwing Pemberley into turmoil that threatens the Twelfth Night Ball. Can Darcy and Elizabeth, with a little help from Fitzwilliam, soothe Lady Catherine’s nerves, see Anne to a respectable match, and still salvage Georgiana’s come out?

From the award winning author of Given Good Principles, Remember the Past and Mistaking Her Character, Sweet Tea short stories offer the perfect bite to transport readers back to the Regency era for the first days of new love.

 

 

You can find From Admiration To Love at:

Amazon. com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon. ca

 

 

 

 


Though 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.

 

She can be contacted at:

author.MariaGrace@gmail.com

Facebook:

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Random Bits of Fascination

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Maria Grace would like to offer to one of my readers one ebook copy of either one of her 2 recently released books.

The winner may choose a copy of  The Darcys’ First Christmas or Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811 and to apply to the giveaway it is only necessary to comment on this post and share your ideas with us.

The giveaway is open until Christmas, so all entries until the 25th of December will be taken into account.

Good Luck everyone!

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Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

Today I’m welcoming a very special guest who has contributed immensely to the JAFF community. Regina Jeffers has around 40 published JAFF books and she keeps producing quality novels to our delight. Tomorrow she will release  a new book called Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar and you can have an idea of what it will be like because today she is sharing an excerpt and a guest post I wish you all enjoy.

Please join me in welcoming Regina Jeffers to From Pemberley to Milton.

 

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In chapter six of volume one of Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth Bennet provide us several tidbits regarding the success of a marriage during the Georgian era.

~  “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely — a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better shew more affection than she feels.”

~ “But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out.”

~ “When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses.”

~ “As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him only a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined in company with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character.”

~ “ Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”

 

In my latest Austen vagary, Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar, the marriage between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet begins as a rushed affair, and our dear couple travel a rocky road before claiming some of the happiness we all wish them. So what were some of the realities of marriage in the Georgian era, specifically the Regency?

First off, remaining unmarried did not equal freedom for a woman of the Georgian era, rather she customarily experienced a life of penury, always at the mercy of benevolent relatives. Even Austen suffered after her father’s passing, which makes Charlotte Lucas’s speech regarding Mr. Collins evoke more sympathy: “You must be surprised, very much surprised—so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had time to think it over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’ character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.” However, when a woman married the important decisions of her life passed from her father’s control to that of a husband. Marriage was a lifelong contract between a man and a woman. It was a crap shoot, so to speak. Divorce was expensive and VERY public. Most couples avoided even the thought of such an act.

The Bastardy Act of 1733 created something called Knobstick Weddings. A knobstick wedding is the forced marriage of a pregnant single woman with the man known or believed to be the father. It derives its name from the staves of office carried by the church wardens whose presence was intended to ensure that the ceremony took place.The practice and the term were most prevalent in the United Kingdom in the 18th century. Motivation for these arrangements was primarily financial–local parishes were obliged to provide relief for single mothers under the laws regarding relief for the poor. After the passing of the Bastardy Act in 1733, it became the responsibility of the father to pay for the maintenance of the child. Local authorities therefore encouraged the woman to enter into a marriage with the person presumed to be the father in an attempt to reduce their spending and shift the responsibility to the identified man. On some occasions the parish would pay the man to marry the girl, while there are also accounts of more aggressive tactics. In one case, recorded in the 6 October 1829 edition of The Times, a man was coerced into marrying the woman he was accused of making pregnant. The authorities, referred to as the parish overseers, threatened to hang him if he did not go through with the arrangement. Feeling that he had no option, he agreed to the marriage and the pair were wed. However, those responsible for forcing the partnership were later called to face charges of fraudulently procuring the marriage.” [Knobstick Wedding]

 

Marriage, whether it was rushed or planned for months on end, was a very public affair, one designed not only to announce the ceremony, but to assure the public that the man meant to support his new wife. If a widow remarried, some would do so in what was known as a smock wedding. The custom saw the man marrying a woman who was naked or dressed only in a smock. In the 1700s in America, quite of few of these occurred, a left-over custom from the days the new Americans lived in England. The idea was if the woman appeared naked or in her underclothes that it absolved her from anyone collecting upon the woman’s debts or in case of a widow, from collecting upon her late husband’s debts. The idea was that a groom who possessed anything bought by a bride or her deceased husband would possess their indebtedness as well. The smock wedding prevented this situation. When marrying bricklayer Richard Elcock at Bishop’s Waltham in September 1775, it was observed that widow Judith Redding “went into one of the pews in the church, stript herself of all her cloaths except her shift, in which only she went to the altar, and was married, much to the astonishment of the parson, clerk, &c.” [A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding].

A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding also speaks of the devastating effect on women of being widowed, but also of being deserted by their husbands. If a widow, it was often imperative that she wed again. She not only depended upon the good graces of her new husband for her support, but the woman would need his support of any of her children still at home. Having her husband desert her for whatever reason left the woman in limbo (death on the battlefield, a criminal offense, abandonment, etc.).  She could not remarry or have legitimate children. If the man chose not to take care of her and provide for her, she could easily fall into poverty and be driven into the workhouse.

 

Resources:

Knobstick Wedding – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knobstick_wedding

Naked and Smock Weddings of Early New England http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/naked-and-smock-weddings-of-early-new-england/

A Survivor’s Guide to a Georgian Wedding http://www.historyextra.com/article/premium/survivors-guide-georgian-marriage

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Introducing Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line?

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

You can find Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from Chapter 20…

Five days. Five days of bliss had filled her world until it came tumbling down about her. And the devastation was all her fault. Despite her best efforts, Elizabeth had failed her husband, driving him from her life forever.

On Friday, Darcy and Georgiana had set out early to make a last-minute call upon the Matlocks to firm up plans for a traditional Twelfth Night celebration and then to the music store for more sheet music for Miss Darcy. Mrs. Annesley was to sit with Elizabeth in the case of callers in the absence of the Darcys, but the lady had turned her ankle on a worn strip of carpeting, and Elizabeth had insisted that Georgiana’s companion rest with her leg elevated, rather than greet the few visitors who had yet come for a look at the new mistress of Darcy House.

She was not expecting anyone else to entertain, but that had been her mistake. Mrs. Hyten and her daughter were just preparing to leave Elizabeth’s sitting room when Mr. Thacker announced, “Lieutenant Wickersham to speak to the lady of the house, ma’am.”

Elizabeth’s heart sank. She knew no one named Wickersham, but she did know a Lieutenant Wickham. Had Mr. Wickham taken her “I must consider your request before I approach my husband” to mean that the lieutenant was to call upon her personally? Or that her consideration was a guarantee that she would act as Mr. Wickham had asked? And what would her husband do if he discovered that she had admitted the lieutenant; yet, how could she deny him with Mrs. Hyten closely observing Elizabeth’s every action. The woman was known as one of London’s busiest gossips. “Show the lieutenant up, Mr. Thacker,” Elizabeth responded in the calm tone that Darcy often employed. To Mrs. Hyten she said, “The lieutenant is a relative of a relative in the Darcy family.” Which was not a lie exactly, for Mr. Wickham was the late Mr. Darcy’s godson. “Mr. Darcy has agreed to assist him in securing a commission in the Regulars. I am certain my husband simply overlooked his meeting with the gentleman.” Which were two untruths. Had her expression told Mrs. Hyten of her anxiety, or had Elizabeth appeared casual? She doubted so.

“Do you wish us to stay?” Mrs. Hyten asked with a lift of her brows. “We would be pleased to take the acquaintance of any of Mr. Darcy’s relatives.”

“I appreciate the offer,” Elizabeth assured. “But as this is a very private matter, and Mr. Darcy is a very private man, I think it best if I meet with the gentleman alone. However, I understand your caution, and so I will ask Mrs. Annesley, Miss Darcy’s companion, who rests in the room beyond,” Elizabeth gestured in the direction of her chambers, for Mrs. Annesley was further along the hall, a fact which would not create another lie, “or Sally to sit with me.” She stood to end the conversation just as Mr. Thacker directed Lieutenant Wickham into the room. “Thank you, Mr. Thacker. Please show the Hytens out and ask either Sally or Mrs. Guthrie to join me.” To Mrs. Hyten, she said, “I hope you will call again when the Darcys return to London in the spring. It has been a great honor to have your acquaintance, ma’am.”

With a departing curtsey, the Hytens left the room. The lieutenant waited only long enough for Mr. Thacker’s footsteps to recede before saying, “Very nice.” He glanced about the sitting room. “It is as I imagined.”

“You have never been to Darcy House?” she asked with a bit of curiosity. She would have thought Wickham privy to all the Darcy properties.

“My father was the steward at Pemberley. There was no reason for us to travel with the Darcy family to London. Obviously, I have often viewed the outside of Darcy’s domain, but I was never received within until this day.”

Elizabeth shook her head as if to clear it. Whether Wickham had ever been to Darcy House was not the issue. She needed to be rid of him before Darcy returned. “Thank you for the courtesy of a response, but I must insist on knowing why you are here, Mr. Wickham?” she demanded.

The lieutenant’s eyes narrowed. “You promised to speak to Darcy about a reconciliation. I pray you have not changed your mind.”

Guarded, Elizabeth had yet to sit or to invite him to do so. It was important to move this conversation along and to have the lieutenant showed out. “You err, sir. I promised to consider your request. I have not broached the subject to my husband, and until I do and he agrees, I must ask you to leave.”

She noted that Lieutenant Wickham stiffened. “It grieves me to hear so.” He broke off with a frown. “I thought I had found a champion in you, Mrs. Darcy.” His voice lowered, “I thought that you and I shared a hatred for all things Darcy.”

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed the excerpt because now it’s Giveaway time!!Regina Jeffers has an eBook of Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar available to one of those who comment below.

The giveaway is international and will end at midnight EST on December 16, 2017.

Good Luck everyone!!!

 

 

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The Bennet Wardrobe Series – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon dear readers,

Today is the first day of the conference Jane Austen Superstar where I will be speaking about Jane Austen Fan Fiction, so I though it would be befitting to share with you a guest post by Don Jacobson, who has released in the last couple of years  very different and intriguing JAFF works which not only are not canon, but also feature secondary characters. Don Jacobson is the perfect example that JAFF is not the same story being told all over again, it is a genre with many sub-genres that appeals to a vast audience who loves Jane Austen’s characters above all ,and who has standards that authors must meet to be accepted in the community.

Creativity has no limits in JAFF and Don Jacobson is here to prove it. I hope you all enjoy reading about The Bennet Wardrobe series 🙂

 

 

By Don Jacobson

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I must tell you that I am an adherent of the concept of solipcism that was used by the great master of speculative fiction, Robert A. Heinlein. Solipcism avers that the act of writing fiction creates the reality about which it is written.

Thus, the moment that Jane Austen finished writing Pride and Prejudice, the universe in which it existed was created. ODSC’s Hyde Park is now as real as our Hyde Park. Lest you think I am thoroughly fey when I refer to the existence of the Bennet family as if they were real individuals living in a real world, interacting with real world (and also period-appropriate fictional) characters, that is how I see them. Doing so gives me the freedom to paint their portraits without forcing my readers to consciously suspend disbelief.

As a result, I am able to create, as Weber said, webs of significance that inform the characters’ actions. I am able to establish ancestries and core experiences—traumatic and otherwise—that shape both primary and secondary characters.

I do tend to hew closely to the Canonical description of the Bennets as a hinge point around which both the past and future revolve.

Yet, those images established by Ms Austen are relatively thin…tending to offer the reader an immediate image of the characters in a slice of time.

Mr. Bennet is an indolent father. Mrs. Bennet is a nervous twit. Elizabeth is, well, precocious and impertinent. Darcy, a creature of his social class, is reserved to the point of being anti-social. Wickham, on the other hand, is the absolute antithesis of Darcy in every aspect: easy in company, seeking physical pleasure in all ways—sort of an adrenaline junkie. Yet, in all cases here, Ms Austen offers little explanation of why they—the actual person—were formed in this manner.

As for the secondary characters: Jane is the sweetest young woman to ever walk the face of the earth. Her soul mate, Bingley, is perfectly shaped for her in that he acts as “the new man,” happily and merrily enjoying the wonders of the new industrial age. On the other hand, his sister, Caroline, adheres so closely to rules and class-consciousness that she loses sight of her humanity. William Collins is a caricature (as is Lady C) of the moribund 17th and 18th Century English social structure that is in the process of dying in 1811.

Back to the younger Bennet sisters—nearly invisible most of the time: Mary moralizes and scolds. Kitty coughs. Lydia is, charitably, a flirt. Each sits and glowers, hides in the shadows, or flounces across the stage whenever the author needs her to do so. Then they are dispatched back to Austen’s toolbox against the next time they are needed.

As an historian, I have been trained to look for the discourse underlying the motivations of the actors making up our world. One often is better served to look at the individuals with whom the key players surround themselves.

In other words…while Winston Churchill’s words are important, students of Churchill gain a better understanding of the man by looking at the nature of those who allowed him to act upon his inner impulses. The same goes for ODC. Lizzy and Fitzwilliam could not move through Regency England as they did without others.

For those “others,” I immediately gravitated to Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and, eventually, Thomas.

I first started by asking myself: Why are they acting the way that they are in this twelve month window we see in P&P—roughly 1810-11? Was Mary emotionally abused as a child because she was less attractive than Jane or Lizzy? What terrified Kitty so much that she feared ever taking control of her life? Was Lydia so spoiled by her mother that she was irretrievably broken? Why did Thomas turn away from his responsibilities to the estate and his family in spite of the entail?

That naturally led to another question: What happens to Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and Thomas after the double weddings? Is Mary destined to live the remaining fifty-odd years of her life as a moralizing prude? Will Lydia turn into a pathetic woman of a particular age still trying to act as if she is seven-and-ten? Will Kitty be a non-entity, always in the shadow of others as “the girl who coughs?” Will Thomas ever become the pater familias or will he always avoid parenting?

Having written professionally for forty-plus years…and having become an avid consumer of JAFF by 2014…things began to turn creatively in my mind. Maybe it was the intersection of my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me. Now my protagonists could be immersed in different timeframes beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realize their potentials and, in the process, carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century.

The Bennet Wardrobe acts as something that is instrumental to create the circumstances for the entire scheme of things. What this does is give the Wardrobe itself agency—a form of control that determines where Bennets must go to discover what they must. This also, therefore, confers a sort of intelligence upon the Wardrobe. In a way, the Wardrobe becomes a character, although not one that is often seen. And, as with characters, that implies that the Wardrobe has a deeper purpose for being present…something that we will discover if we continue to research it, the travels of its users, and their destinies that they themselves chart.

The Bennet Wardrobe Series is a collection of novels, novellas and stories exploring how the Wardrobe impacted the lives of all members of the Bennet blood line growing out of the “wilds” of Hertfordshire.

The entire series will encompass six master novels, two of which have been published thus far. The books ought to be read sequentially as one story tends to grow from the next. Likewise, some characters appear in the foreground in one book with the same scene being presented in another book from a different point-of-view that will have them now moving through the background. There will be additional novellas as the need dictates. Here are the novels of The Bennet Wardrobe Series as they have been published/projected.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016/17)

The Exile (pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

The tentative publication schedule for the balance of the books is

The Exile (pt. 2): The Countess Visits Longbourn (12/17)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (6/18)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and the Soldier’s Portion (12/18)

Untitled (6/19)

Let us take a look at each of the four books currently available in the order in which they were published.

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The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Volume 1 of The Bennet Wardrobe (2016/17)

 The Keeper begins with an exploration of the origins of the Bennet Wardrobe in 1690 allowing readers to understand the roots of the Bennet Wardrobe Universe.

With both Jane and Lizzy married, The Keeper follows Mary Bennet as she emerges from her cocoon after December 1811. Yet, even as she overcomes her troubled teenage years and Canonical prosy nature, she is challenged by her sudden and total love for a man who mysteriously appears on the night of a great calamity.

The Keeper follows the life of Mary Bennet as she matures from the caricature familiar to JAFF readers into a confident young woman looking to make her mark in the rapidly changing world of the Industrial Revolution.  Novel of 110,000 words in both print and e-book.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

Volume 1.5 of The Bennet Wardrobe  (2016/17)

 Time is bent once again in 1883 as Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam uses the Bennet Wardrobe to seek his manhood. He travels over 30 years into his future to the middle of the most awful conflict in human history. His brief time at the Front teaches him that there is no longer any room on the battlefield for heroic combat. It is his two weeks spent recuperating at the Beach House in Deauville where he encounters an incredible woman, one who will define his near 10-year search for the love of his life after he returns to his own time.

This brief Pride and Prejudice Variation grew from the author’s efforts to sketch the events that shaped the personality of Henry Fitzwilliam. The young Viscount becomes a central character in The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque. Novella of 20,500 words in e-book only.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

 The Exile (pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Volume 2 (pt. 1) of The Bennet Wardrobe (2017)

Longbourn, December 1811. The day after Jane and Lizzy marry sees young Kitty Bennet called to Papa’s bookroom. She is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet intending to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall.

 She reacts like any teenager—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

 Her heart’s desire?

I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall!  Anywhere but here!

London, May 1886.  Kitty Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam. Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future.  And Miss Bennet must decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.

The Exile (pt. 1) is an 86,000-word novel detailing Kitty’s life from the age of seventeen to twenty-two.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

Volume 2.1 of The Bennet Wardrobe (2017)

 June 1801: The Bennet Wardrobe’s door to the future was opened in the bookroom at Longbourn. This time the most impertinent Bennet of them all, Elizabeth, tumbled through the gateway. Except she left as a ten-year-old girl who had been playing a simple game of hide-and-seek.

Which Where/When was her destination? What needs could a young girl have that could be answered only by the Wardrobe? Or were the requirements of another Bennet, one who began as younger, but had aged into a beautiful, confident leader of Society, the prime movers behind Lizzy’s journey?

 After Lizzy is transported back to 1801, Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess moves forward to 1816 to what may be considered the greatest writers’ workshop in history. T’was at the legendary Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva that Lord Byron gathered Mary Godwin, and Percy Bysshe Shelley for a vacation. Oh, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife, Elizabeth, were also present to act as catalysts that would transform vague ideas into timeless storytelling.

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess considers brief window of time between the end of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in 1892 and the beginning of Henry Fitzwilliam’s War in 1915. Novella of 41,000 words available in print and e-book.

Availabe at:

Amazon.com ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.ca

 

 

Don Jacobson would like to offer to one of my readers the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. The international giveaway is for an ebook copy and is open until the 16th of December. To enter it, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your opinion of the series with us. I’m looking forward to read your opinion 🙂

Good luck everyone!

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Christmas at Darcy House – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! I’m getting some rest after a crazy week at the office but also getting quite nervous about the conference I’ll be participating in next week, so I needed something to distract me from all this stress and Victoria Kincaid’s new release was the perfect present I could have received for that! Her stories are always so cozy and warm that they make me feel better. There is something special about them and they are always the perfect escape from this crazy world.

After having loved A Very Darcy Christmas so much last year, I was eager to get Victoria Kincaid’s new Christmas book in my hands! Luckily for me she didn’t make me wait much longer and had it released a couple of days ago. Today I have the pleasure of hosting her with a guest post and excerpt I hope you all enjoy.

 

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Thank you for hosting me, Rita!

One of the fun—and sometimes frustrating—aspects of writing Regency romance is that you need to do research to make sure you get the historical details correct.  Fairly often this research inspires plot points and sends the story off in new directions.  This happened during my research for Christmas at Darcy House.  While reading up on Christmas traditions in London, I learned that Astley’s Amphitheatre had special Christmas versions of its show.

Here is a succinct description of Astley’s from the British Library website:

“Philip Astley was a distinguished soldier who opened a riding school in Lambeth in 1768. Together with his wife Patty, Astley began to exploit the late Georgian fascination with outdoor spectacles by performing horseback tricks and equestrian skills to the paying public. Astley’s displays of horsemanship were gradually complimented by other visual spectacles of strength and skill, such as acrobatics and tight-rope walking. After his original premises were burnt to the ground in the late 18th century, Astley quickly re-established himself by opening his new ‘Royal Amphitheatre’ in 1795, itself rebuilt following a further fire in 1804 (and pictured here).

Astley’s Amphitheatre is often considered to be the first genuine British ‘circus’ owing to its many features that are still familiar today. Horses travelled at speed around a ring while acrobats and clowns also topped the bill. The Amphitheatre, however, combined other elements of performance more akin to traditional theatres, such as drama and song.”

Some scholars credit Astley’s Amphitheatre as being the first circus.  Astley was the one who devised the optimal size for a circus ring—he figured out the exact size to create the centrifugal forces that allowed for spectacular feats of riding.  Although acrobatic riding was the first impetus behind the Amphitheatre, it also featured clowns, jugglers, rope tricks, acrobats and other acts.

One interesting aspect of the Amphitheatre was that it comprised a circus ring in front of a proscenium stage (as you can see in this picture).  Performances took place both in the ring and on the stage—and sometimes both at once.  No doubt it was quite spectacular.

I couldn’t find any records of what they did differently at the Christmas versions of the show, so in the scene where Darcy and Elizabeth visit Astley’s, I invented some holiday-themed details.  Hopefully I came close to the original.

We also know that Jane Austen was a fan of Astley’s.  In one of her letters she mentions attending the show in London, and in Emma, two of her characters take in the Astley’s spectacular.

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His arrival had interrupted a scene of some mirth.  Wickham was grinning while Elizabeth giggled, and Mrs. Gardiner had her hand over her mouth as if to suppress laughter.  When Darcy stepped into the room, the merriment quickly died away.

The other man raised his eyes slowly to meet Darcy’s, a smirk forming on his lips.  “Darcy,” he drawled.

“Wickham.” Darcy bit off the word.

Everyone stood to exchange an awkward series of bows and curtsies.  Darcy seated himself in the closest available chair, which happened to be opposite Wickham’s.  Unfortunately, the other man was also adjacent to the settee where Elizabeth and her aunt were situated.  How did Wickham come to be in London?  Why was he visiting Elizabeth?  Was he actively courting her?  Darcy’s breakfast sat like a lump of lead in his stomach.

He could not forget Elizabeth’s disappointment that Wickham had not attended the Netherfield Ball and her spirited defense of him during the dancing.  The conversation had caused Darcy twinges of anxiety, but he had comforted himself that her meager dowry kept her safe from Wickham’s depredations.  In perpetual want of money, the man would never pursue a poor woman.

And yet here he was.

“I was not aware you were in town,” Darcy said pointedly.

Wickham gave him a lazy smile.  “I have a fortnight’s leave for Christmas and thought I would visit some friends here in London.”  In other words, he was in town to gamble.  “I would not have expected to see you in Gracechurch Street.”

Darcy stiffened.  “I am on good terms with the Bennet family,” he said sharply.  “And I made Mrs. Gardiner’s acquaintance yesterday.”

“This is my third visit,” Wickham smirked.  “The Gardiners are most charming hosts.”

Three visits already?  Perhaps he was courting Elizabeth.  The room was too warm and too close.  Sweat dampened the back of Darcy’s cravat, and he tugged to loosen it.  It was unfair that providence had gifted Wickham with such pleasing manners and easy ways with people.  He readily formed friendships while Darcy struggled simply to say appropriate words in social situations.

Mrs. Gardiner cleared her throat.  “Mr. Wickham and I both spent our childhoods near Lambton, in Derbyshire.”

Darcy suppressed a desire to shout that he knew very well where Lambton was.

“We have many acquaintances in common,” she continued.  Darcy no doubt had acquaintances in common with Mrs. Gardiner as well; unfortunately, they most likely took the form of having patronized the shops that members of her family operated.  How have I arrived at this pass?  His feelings for Elizabeth had brought him so low that he was beginning to regret his superior birth.

“I grew up at Pemberley,” Darcy said.

The older woman’s eyes grew wide.  “Oh…Darcy!  I should have realized—!”  She turned to her niece.  “You neglected to inform me that the Mr. Darcy of your acquaintance was Mr. Darcy of Pemberley!”

Elizabeth’s expression revealed no chagrin.  “I did not realize you would know the name, Aunt.”

So she had rarely discussed Darcy with her aunt, and yet Wickham arrived for frequent visits.  Darcy had the distinct impression he was losing a footrace he had not known he was running.

For the rest of the visit, Darcy remained an outsider.  Elizabeth knew how Wickham liked his tea.  Mrs. Gardiner inquired after his cousin’s health.  Wickham referred to incidents which had occurred at Longbourn after Darcy had left for London.

Darcy made only occasional forays into the conversation, but his subjects were not taken up by the others.  In desperation, he blurted out an invitation for Elizabeth to join him for a curricle ride through London.

She blinked at him, a faint line forming between her brows. “I thank you for your most generous offer, Mr. Darcy.  But I fear I might be contracting a cold and do not believe it would be prudent for me to remain outside for great lengths of time.”

“Of course,” Darcy murmured while Wickham smirked.  “Another time perhaps.”

Nevertheless, Darcy refused to quit the drawing room and leave Wickham in possession of the battlefield.  To do so would not only admit defeat but would also leave Elizabeth unprotected from the other man’s whims. As a result, both men stayed quite a bit longer than was customary.  Finally, Mrs. Gardiner announced she felt a headache developing; both Darcy and Wickham regarded that as an invitation to depart.

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A Pride and Prejudice Variation. Mr. Darcy hopes Christmastime will help him to forget the pair of fine eyes that he left behind in Hertfordshire. When Elizabeth Bennet appears unexpectedly in London, Darcy decides to keep his distance, resolved to withstand his attraction to her. But when he learns that Wickham is threatening to propose to Elizabeth, Darcy faces a crisis.

For her part, Elizabeth does not understand why the unpleasant master of Pemberley insists on dancing with her at the Christmas ball or how his eyes happen to seek her out so often. She enjoys Mr. Wickham’s company and is flattered when he makes her an offer of marriage. On the other hand, Mr. Darcy’s proposal is unexpected and unwelcome. But the more Elizabeth learns of Mr. Darcy, the more confused she becomes—as she prepares to make the most momentous decision of her life.

It’s a Yuletide season of love and passion as your favorite characters enjoy Christmas at Darcy House!

 

 

You can find Christmas at Darcy House at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

Did you enjoy the excerpt? And did the blurb get into you? Well, you have an opportunity to read this book quite soon because Victoria Kincaid is offering one ebook of Christmas at Darcy House to one of my readers.

All you have to do is comment on this post and let us know what you think of Victoria’s most recent release.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 16th of December, a very special date for all of us 😉

Good Luck Everyone!

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All the Things I Know Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re having a nice week. Unfortunately mine has been incredibly busy at the office as we are reaching the appraisals season and that means I hardly had any time for reading. I haven’t picked up a book in over a week, but I found some time to read the guest post from my visitor today, and I enjoyed it immensely! It reminded me of why I like guest posts so much. They are opportunities to discuss not only the books we love but also literature, and there is nothing I enjoy more than analysing and discussing literature 🙂

My guest is Audrey Ryan who has just released a Pride and Prejudice modernisation called All the Things I Know. You can read the blurb below, enjoy her guest post about flat vs round characters and participate in the giveaway!

 

 

Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.

What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?

All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.

 

You can find All the Thinks I Know at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post! I thought for this blog post, I would share my thoughts of “flat” vs. “round” characters and how they influenced both Pride & Prejudice and my own retelling.

So, what is a flat character? A flat character is one who doesn’t change through the course of the story. According to E.M. Forester in Aspects of the Novel, flat characters have had a lot of definitions through the ages,

Flat characters were called “humours” in the seventeenth century, and are sometimes called types, and sometimes caricatures. In their purest form, they are constructed round a single idea or quality: when there is more than one factor in them, we get the beginning of the curve towards the round.

In essence, a flat character is a personality made simple, even though such a thing doesn’t exist. We all know that each human being is complex—it’s part of human nature. A round character changes and grows throughout the course of a novel. As a reader, you learn the characters background and motivation which leads to finding empathy for them. I myself adore the round character because I believe all people are “round”.

Jane Austen is one of the few authors who uses flat characters expertly to show just what she wants about what the character represents. Their flatness is a device for the narrator to illustrate a value. For instance, Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins are not meant to represent a person, per se, but a point of view or value in society. Because the flatness is portrayed by a seemingly omniscient source, it is more likely to be interpreted fact by the reader. Yet these aren’t truisms, but commentary in a “novel of manners”. Our narrator is taking societal norms and poking fun at them through this device. The way this device is manipulated is what works for Austen’s use of flat characters.

All the Things I Know, in contrast to Pride & Prejudice, is not told from a witty omniscient narrator’s point of view. By filtering thoughts and observations through Lizzie’s first-person point of view, we as readers understand that it’s her perspective that prevents her from perceiving a character as “round”. In fact, part of Lizzie’s journey is learning how to see people beyond their stereotype. This means she needs to find the roundness in a person’s character. The recognition of this roundness is part of her maturation.

As I mentioned before, I adore round characters and there are very few authors (Austen aside, because she’s the master) who I think can pull off a flat character. I often find them annoying and can’t wait to get past their scenes. I like to understand people, especially when jumping into a fictional world. Did I keep some characters flat when I wrote All the Things I Know? To a degree, yes. Colin (Mr. Collins) and Geoff (Wickham) don’t change over the course of the book. However, we as readers understand that since we learn about them through Lizzie’s perspective, there’s probably more to the characters then she can see. To Lizzie, these two characters don’t do anything to redeem themselves and act at all in anything other than their best interests. They are flat to her.

In contrast, Barbie (Mrs. Bennet) and Lydia are given a much rounder treatment in All the Things I Know. There may not be a lot of change in their character development, but their background is fleshed out and their motivations are much more understandable. In some ways, we don’t blame them for the behavior we wish they’d change. This was done on purpose because these two characters are much more important to Lizzie’s internal life. Her development as a person is influenced by these two personalities, so these two characters ought to feel more real.

What do you think of flat characters? Who have you seen write them well?

 

 

Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream.

When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.

Contact Links:

http://audreyryan.merytonpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAudreyR/

https://twitter.com/AuthorAudreyR

Audrey’s Goodreads is just as a reader, but it’s here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3797528-audrey-ryan-andrea-pangilinan

 

 

 

12- 3   Austenesque Reviews;   Author Interview, Giveaway

12- 4   My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

12- 5   Babblings of a Bookworm; Character Interview, Giveaway

12- 6   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

12- 7   Night Owl Reader;  Review, Excerpt

12- 8   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

12- 9   My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway

12-10  Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

12-11  Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-12  Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-13  Savvy Verse and Wit; Guest Post, Giveaway  

12-14  My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

12-15  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

12-16  More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

 

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Meryton Press is offering 8 e-book copies of All The Things I know to readers following the Blog Tour. To participate in the giveaway leave a comment on this post and click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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