And the winners are…

Good Afternoon fellow Janeites,

How are you today? I am fully recovered from the surgery I had last month and feeling very optimistic about my reading challenge on Goodreads! One of the perks of being home sick is that we have a lot of time to read and I’m happy to say that I already read 20 books this year, which is a big accomplishment to me!

I am also back on track on with my weekly posts here at From Pemberley to Milton, and today it’s time to announce the winners of the giveaways held on the Author of the Month post for April. The Author of the Month was Victoria Kincaid and she was offering one ebook copy of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth to one of my readers. Additionally I was also offering a copy of my favourite secondary character book which is When Mary Met the Colonel.

The winners of these wonderful books are:

 

 

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth

*** Glynis***

When Mary Met the Colonel

*** Sharah McConville***

 

Congratulations ladies! Please send me your e-mails until the end of this week so your prizes can be sent to you 🙂

Happy Reading!!!

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Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon Review & Giveaway

 

Have you ever imagined a Jane Austen novel happening on an alternative reality? On a world that is not exactly as we know it? Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon will not develop the idea on an alternative reality but you will need to have an open mind and accept that England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes and that some people can not only hear, but also talk to them. These special people with what is called a preternatural hearing, work along with the dragons, who may take the shape of a bird or a cat, in order to maintain the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind, but that treaty is at a risk when the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley. In an attempt to recover it Mr. Darcy travels to Heartfordshire where he will meet a keeper that will enchant him and his dragon: Elizabeth Bennet.

If you are willing to accept this premise, I promise you will not let go of this book until you finish the trilogy! I had it on my TBR pile for ages but I was a little afraid of what I might find considering the original premise, however, as soon as I started reading it I got immersed  in the story and all my fears disappeared.

Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon is so well written, and the characters so well-developed, including the several dragons in it, that I immediately felt transported into this world, and what may seem a strange reality was all of a sudden the only possible one.

The character development is in fact one of the aspects I cherished the most in this book. Elizabeth is what every heroine should be in a story such as this, smart, intuitive and brave; Mr. Darcy has more to him than what people give him credit for in this first book and I am looking forward to see him surprise everyone in the second volume; each dragon was very different from the other and incredibly similar to their own keeper, I enjoyed the traits each one of them revealed and I am a little curious to learn more about Longbourn (Dragons are named after their estate); and Mary was the best surprise I had in this book! Maria Grace gave Mary the well deserved relevance she never had in Pride and Prejudice and made her one of the most important and loved Bennet sisters in this novel. I think Mary deserves the role the author gave her and once again I truly hope that we will see more of her in the next volumes.

In this book you will find an original and compelling story that will grab your attention from the beginning and whose adventure and mystery is addicting.

My only quibble with this book was the small amount of romance between Darcy and Elizabeth. I’m sure this is something that we will see more developed in the next books, but I would have liked to see them more in love in this first volume.

If you are trying to get away from the same stories for a while and feel the need for something a little different, I highly recommend this book. It will require an open mind but the characters are true to themselves, even Mr. Bennet who got to my nerves, and you will find yourself completely rendered to it.

Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon is not like anything I have ever read and you will not regret reading it.

 

You can find Mr. Darcy’s Dragon at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca


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Maria Grace has just released Netherfield: Rogue Dragon, the third volume in the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, and to celebrate it she is offering the reader’s choice of one of the three books. To enter the giveaway comment on this post and click on this link to formalise your entry. Don’t forget to visit From Pemberley to Milton next Thursday for a guest post from Maria Grace where she will talk a little more about this series, and another chance to win one of these books 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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Jane Austen’s Dragons – Guest Post & Giveaway

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Good Afternoon everyone,

After reviewing Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon last Monday, I’m pleased to receive Maria Grace with a guest post explaining how it is possible to have Dragons in Jane Austens world! It may seem a very different premise, but I promise you, once you start reading these books you are immediately involved in that reality, and it will feel as normal as having tea in the parlour with your neighbours. Still not convinced? Well…you better read Maria Grace’s post then 🙂

 

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Inspiring Jane Austen’s Dragons: Dragon of Mordiford

How is it even remotely possible that the world of Pride and Prejudice could make any sense with dragons? Ah, my skeptical friends, stay with me a moment, and I’ll show you how.

You’re rolling your eyes at me now. I know just it, but give me a chance and hear me out.  I promise, Jane Austen would approve.

Why, you say, rolling your eyes again. Because, if you take a glance at English mythology, it is full of dragons. Seriously, they are everywhere. Don’t believe me, here’s just a partial list: the Lambton Worm, the Dragon of Mordiford, the Dragon of Unsworth, the Dragon of Wantly, the Dragon of Longwitton, the Dragon of Loschy Hill, the Bisterne Dragon, the Worm of Linton, the Stoor Worm, the Sockburn Worm (or Wyvern), Blue Ben, and the Lyminster Knucker.

Even the father of fabled King Arthur has a dragon connection. King Uther Pendragon was said to have seen a dragon shaped comet that inspired the dragons that graced the standards he carried. With dragons just about everywhere in English myth, it seems likely that Jane Austen herself was familiar with many of these dragon legends.

One of the fascinating—and crazy making—aspects of mythology is the number of different accounts of the same story. Since, until the early modern era, tales relied on oral tradition for transmission, each teller would craft a slightly different version of the story, making finding the ‘real’ story nearly impossible. While there were moments in the research that made me want to beat my head against the wall, it did lead to an interesting line of thinking: What if… (A word of caution, when a writer says “what if”, it might be a good time to politely excuse yourself…)

So, that being said, what if Uther Pendragon saw a real dragon, not a comet? Would not others have seen it, too? Well, no, not if the dragons had a way of hiding in plain sight that only a select few people could see through and Uther was one of those…

Sudden I saw a world, hundreds of years removed from medieval England, where mankind and dragonkind could coexist, governed by the Blue Order, an organization founded by Uther Pendragon himself, on human and dragon partnership, dedicated to protecting the safety and interests of both species while keeping the dragons secret from the very large segment of the human population with hearing insufficient to detect dragon voices.

Moreover, another myth, that of the Mordiford Dragon, began to inform my heroine, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a woman whose sympathy for and understanding of dragonkind goes far and away beyond anything England has ever known.

The story of Maud and the Mordiford dragon (a wyvern actually, not the more typical ‘worm’) is set in the Herefordshire village of Mordiford. Maud finds a green baby wyvern while out walking one morning. Maud takes the baby back to her home as a pet and feeds it milk, comforting it by stoking its claws and cuddling it.

As the creature grows older, it starts dining on the Mordiford villagers, but refuses to injure his friend Maud. Not surprisingly, the villagers insist this is intolerable and find a nobleman (or condemned convict, depending on the version of the tale) to dispatch the beast. Maud was described as ‘insane with rage’ over the death of her wyvern. A painting of the creature hung in the village church until 1811 when the vicar ordered it destroyed as a ‘sign of the devil’.

So many inspirations in this tale! A girl who loved a baby dragon; who rescues dragons and cuddles with them; a grumpy wyvern that others cannot seem to get along with; Herefordshire/Hertfordshire, Mordiford/Meryton, ok, not the same, but it did make me do a double take for sure…oh so many things that came to play in crafting the characters of both Elizabeth Bennet and her wyvern Longbourn.

And Elizabeth was not the only one shaped by dragon legends. The Lambton Worm informed the character of Darcy. But that is a story for another time. In the meanwhile, I present for you, what Pride and Prejudice might have been had Jane Austen known about the Blue Order.

If you’re not totally hooked by now, here’s a preview of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon, to give you a taste of this world: http://randombitsoffascination.com/2016/10/03/pemberley-mr-darcys-dragon-ch-1/

What do you think about dragons and Jane Austen? Leave me a comment below for a chance to win your choice of e-books from this series.

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#1 Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon

England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are  blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind.  Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.

When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley,  the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg.  But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?

You can find it at Amazon.com.

 

#2 Longbourn: Dragon Entail

Her father and the family estate dragon insist she marry the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to wed. Will the help of her minor dragon friends be enough for her to she escape the fate of the dragon entail?

Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only  Elizabeth Bennet’s notes offer him any help. When his imperious Aunt Catherine takes matters into her own hands, things take a turn for the worse and Pemberley’s life hangs in the balance. He desperately needs more of Elizabeth’s help, but she ignores all of his requests.

Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal and Elizabeth get on with the all-important business of marrying the heir to her father’s estate. Except that he is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry—a bumbling, addle-pated dragon-hater who demands she gives up the dragons she lives for.

Can she, with the help of her dragon friends, find her way back to Pemberley before they both suffer their fate from the Dragon Entail?

You can find it at Amazon.com

 

#3 Netherfield Rogue Dragon

Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon, Pemberley, into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.

Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.

Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons’ unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon  against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined.

Can Elizabeth and  Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?

You can find it at Amazon.com.

 

 

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Maria Grace is offering one of the three books in the Jane Austen’s Dragon Series to my readers. You can choose which book to receive and to enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and click on this link to formalise your entry.

 Good Luck everyone!

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The Best Laid Flight Plans – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m very pleased to welcome to From Pemberley to Milton a fellow reader who has taken the great challenge of putting her ideas into paper and writing her own Pride and Prejudice story. Leigh Dreyer has been a follower of this blog for some time and I have discussed several books with her before she decided to become an author herself, she reminded me of how and why most authors used to start writing this genre, because of their love for Austen’s work and characters, and that makes her even more special because there is nothing better than a book that comes out of love.

She has written a guest post to explain how her book came to life and to present herself to you. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better, and that you like the excerpt she has brough to From Pemberley to Milton.

I will only add, welcome Leigh!!!


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Hello Dear Readers!

My name is Leigh Dreyer and today I have been blessed to be invited to From Pemberley to Milton to write about my debut novel, The Best Laid Flight Plans.

Let me introduce myself. I am happily married to a wonderful United States Air Force pilot and have two amazing children. We currently live in Las Vegas, although since getting married five years ago, this is our sixth base, so we do quite a bit of moving because of my husband’s flying. I met my husband when he, himself, was in pilot training at a base called Laughlin Air Force Base in Southwest Texas.

While I am a pretty voracious reader, I have loved romances since I was a young teenager. I first found JAFF in 2012 when I was working in Washington DC and riding the metro to and from work every day. I lived across the street from a Barnes and Noble and on a whim picked up the booksDeath Comes to Pemberleyby P. D. James and Longbourn by Jo Baker and loved them. I immediately started looking for other JAFF titles–browsing the shelves of the bookstore and Amazon. Soon, I moved to Hawaii, had my son, and while up at night with went through between 7 and 10 books a week. I devoured every JAFF novel I could find. I love them and these days have to force myself to read something else! I also love the amazing online community of authors and fans that really make the genre such a wonderful place to be.

About a year ago, my sister-in-law was looking for a book for her book club and I suggested One Thread Pulledby Diana J Oaks. I went to the book club meeting together with her and was able to meet Diana (who is fabulous, by the way). On the way home, I off-handedly mentioned to my sister-in-law that I had this idea for Pride and Prejudice, but set in pilot training and she encouraged me to write it, so I started and thus The Best Laid Flight Plans was born.

My father is a Master Instructor Pilot and he was the one who actually introduced me to my husband while he was in pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base. Additionally, my father in law is a pilot. It was incredible to work on this book and be able to interview men who have been through nearly every experience a pilot can have (aside from crashing, thank goodness). The knowledge of these men was invaluable as I was able to make the language and actions of the flight scenes authentic.

In the original Austen or any P&P-based JAFF, my favorite moment is always when Darcy and Elizabeth finally get together. I love all the angst and build up before, but I adore when Darcy declares his love.  There’s very few things in this world more beautiful than two people in love and my romantic heart goes pitter-patter. Those are the moments I curl up and can’t stop reading and the world around me falls away.


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In this modern Pride and Prejudice variation, Captain William “Fitz” Darcy has just received a new assignment as an instructor pilot at Meryton Air Force Base. Soon he meets the intrepid 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet, a new student at the base that he cannot keep out of his head. Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds Captain Darcy to be arrogant and prideful and attempts to avoid him at every turn. Despite Darcy’s insulting manners, Elizabeth soars her way through pilot training, but can she soar her way into love as well?

You can find The Best Laid Flight Plans at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca


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Excerpt from Chapter Two of The Best Laid Flight Plans

    Elizabeth Bennet smoothed her hands downs her starched camouflage ABUs once more and reached absently to the pins in her brunette hair, exhaling nervously. Again, she rehearsed what she would say, muttering under her breath. Putting her hand on the large, wooden door, she paused, stretched out as tall as her petite frame would allow, and walked in.

“Major Warby, sir,” Elizabeth said crisply.

The major did not look up from the papers on his desk, his hand hovering over one particular sheet, and staring back at his computer. Over his slouched frame, she could see the top of his bald head reflecting the cheap fluorescent office lighting.

“Major Warby?” To her dismay, Elizabeth’s voice lilted higher in question.

The major let out a noisy sigh and looked up, rolling his eyes as he did so. As he rustled the papers on his desk, tiny dust particles danced into the air.

“Hmm?” He grunted the question. Elizabeth hated when men grunted that way. They tended to do it a lot to her. And sighed. The sigh, especially, was always a sign she had disappointed them. The difficulty was however, she could never figure out precisely what she had done to offend. She persevered, thinking it would be best to have this sorry excuse for an interview over with.

“Sir, I’ve shredded and replaced the regulation binders as you asked. It took a little while because it was difficult to find all of the appropriate AFI’s for each flight when no one could tell me where the binders were exactly. You should be ready for inspection next week.”

“Thanks.” Major Warby grunted his response and gave her a bored look that seemed to politely invite her to get the hell out. She stepped forward, fidgeting, but ventured forth regardless.

“Sir, is there any other work I can complete?” She hoped against hope that there would be a task, anything, for her to do. Elizabeth Bennet hated to be idle. She was a useful sort of person who thrived in activity and one more day of mediocrity might just kill her.

“Bennet, look”—Major Warby spoke to her like he spoke to his three-year-old at the last Family Day picnic—“You’re in casual status. Do you know what casual lieutenants do?”

“Yes sir. They complete all work assigned to them and are available to their commanders for additional assignments as needed. Sir.” The sarcastic answer dripped from her lips before she could stop herself, so she smiled as she spoke to ensure it sounded more polite than she felt.

“Bennet. That was a lovely book answer, but really, do you know what you guys do?”

“Umm.” Elizabeth glanced at the white-painted cinderblock wall to her left and saw the clock ticking. She could almost hear its silent taunting.

“Bennet.” Elizabeth could hear the sigh as he said her name. “You wait. That’s it. Nobody cares about what you do or don’t do because you don’t have a real job. You just sit around waiting for your slot to come up. Now, can I do anything for you or are you just here to distract me from what I’m trying to finish before I can go home and have a drink?” He punctuated his question by raising his eyebrows, the wrinkles on his forehead becoming deep creases.

“No, sir. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I’ll just go sit at scheduling in case you need me.”

The major grunted in reply as Elizabeth exited, letting the door slam behind her. Her boots squeaked as she strode down the dull, tile floors. Oh, but she was bored. The assignment the major had given her had taken her two days. Two whole days that she was not sitting, bored, at the scheduling desk waiting for life to happen to her.

She turned left down the hall and looked at her favorite picture in the squadron. It was small and in a cheap, plain black frame, but she loved it. A loaded A-10 aircraft flying right above the cloud line where she could see the colors of the clouds. Most people thought clouds were big, white puffy cotton balls in the sky, but Elizabeth Bennet knew better. Clouds were a million colors: white and pale yellow with streaks of bright cerulean and cornflower blues, sparkling like pearls in the sunshine or darken in a sinister instant. This picture somehow captured what Elizabeth was so anxious to see for herself.

Elizabeth had only ever had one dream. She wanted to fly. When she was eight, she wanted to bend her legs, jump, and take off swirling through the skies. When she was twelve, she met a pilot during career day at school and decided to do everything she could to become one. She worked hard and blasted through her classes as fast as she could. And now, here she was, not quite twenty-one…and stagnant. Stuck as a casual lieutenant in a squadron that did not care whether she showed up to work or not. Elizabeth took another long look at the painting and sighed. She hated to wait.


 

Leigh Dreyer is offering a copy of The Best Laid Flight Plans plus Darcy and Elizabeth squadron patches to her readers. The giveaway will be open for 4 more days, so don’t miss it!

To enter the giveaway click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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Author of the Month – Victoria Kincaid

 

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have created a new feature called author of the month where each month I give a shout out to a specific author for a particular reason. This month’s Author of the Month is Victoria Kincaid and she was actually the reason why I created this feature. I remember reading President Darcy and thinking how incredibly diversified her work is and how that deserved to be talked about, and that is how I came up with the idea of the Author of the Month post.

In my opinion, Victoria Kincaid deserves a place here because she is very versatile in her writing and we never know what to expect from her which can be very thrilling for those of us who are following her work.

I absolutely loved the first book I ever read from her, The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, which is what we would call a regular what if story, but ever since writing that, Victoria Kincaid has presented us with a humorous book: Chaos Comes to Longbourn, seasonal books such as Christmas at Darcy House, a sequel:  A Very Darcy Christmas (another favourite of mine), a mash-up inspired novel: Darcy Vs. Bennet, a secondary character centered book: When Mary Met the Colonel (again my favourite of the genre), and a modernization such as President Darcy. The truth is, we never know what to expect next and I keep wondering what she will present us in her next release! The stakes are now getting very high because honestly I keep waiting for her to surprise us with yet another different approach to Pride and Prejudice.

I find her novels very easy and pleasant to read and that is the consistency she presents through all these different types of novels. No matter what sub genre she is writing, she makes it a page turner, I don’t even like modernizations and she made me love President Darcy! Victoria Kincaid has everything to be a bestseller in the genre, she is able to present varied books but always providing readers with an incredible need to keep reading. Her books have the perfect length, they are not too short nor too long, and they focus exactly on what readers want to read. It seems Victoria Kincaid is studying her audience and doing a great job at it! I dare say there isn’t anyone out there who hasn’t read and loved at least one of her books because she doesn’t write to a specific audience, she doesn’t specialise, she diversifies and tries something different each time, reaching therefore a wider range of audience. That is not an easy approach and Victoria Kincaid deserves my respect for going along this path.

Authors such as Victoria Kincaid keep the genre interesting and appealing to readers around the globe and for that I have to thank her, her contribution to the JAFF community is very valuable.

These are the books that made me choose Victoria Kincaid as author of the month:

 

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review  (coming soon)  Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review (coming soon)  Amazon.com

My Review   Amazon.com

My Review  Amazon.com

My Review (coming soon) Amazon.com

My Review (sorry, haven’t read this one yet)  Amazon.com

 

I know she is working on another novel and if I am not mistaken she will once more take our characters to France! But I will let her talk to you a little about that 🙂


Hello Rita, and thank you for having me as Author of the Month!  What an honor!  In your post you mentioned the wide variety of my books: secondary characters, modern, Regency, set in different countries, humor, etc.  I hadn’t really thought about that before, but I guess I do vary the setting and focus of each book quite a bit.  Greater variety gives me greater enjoyment in the writing process.  Each book is a new challenge because it’s different than the ones I’ve written before.  That way the writing is always a process of discovery.  I’m never quite sure how I will resolve the plot, although each one of my books has ended with a wedding.

You also asked me how I got the idea for The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, which is a particularly apt question since the book I’m in the process of writing now also takes our heroes to France during the war.  The seed for The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth sprouted when I learned that there had been a brief peace between England and France in 1803.  During that time, English tourists flocked to Paris—only to be endangered when hostilities resumed.  Suddenly hundreds of English citizens needed to flee France, and the French government was arresting any English men it could find.  I’d been reading Jane Austen Fan Fiction and thinking about writing a book of my own.  I thought the Peace of Amiens would be a great setting for Darcy and Elizabeth to encounter each other—and then be forced to escape France together.  Since that was my first JAFF book, I wasn’t at all sure how it would be received.  But it got a warm welcome from the JAFF community, and here I am—nine books later!

I don’t want to say too much about the plot of my work in progress, The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy, because it’s still in process.  But it starts with Darcy discovering that Elizabeth has been killed in a shipwreck off the coast of France.  Fortunately, she doesn’t stay dead. 😊  He goes to France and finds her alive, but without her memory.  They must evade capture and escape from France.  The new book required me to do a lot of research about the lives of everyday people in France during the Napoleonic Wars as well as about espionage between England and France.  I was surprised how little has been written about both subjects (at least in English), while there are tons of books devoted to military strategy, uniforms, canons, and naval battles.  But what I did find out was fascinating.  Toward the end of Napoleon’s reign, he was unpopular in many parts of France—having dragged them into endless wars that drained the country’s wealth and killed its youth.  The espionage activities were also quite different from what expected.  I didn’t know where the plot would take me, but I also ended up doing research on the Channel Islands, barge traffic along the Seine, and smugglers between England and France.  Thank goodness for the internet!

Of course, a lot of the research doesn’t show up in the book, although it’s still fascinating.  But other historical details push the plot in new and unexpected directions.  Hopefully my readers will enjoy it as much as they have enjoyed my other books.

 


Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two children who love to read, a cute (but clumsy) puppy, and an overly affectionate cat. A lifelong Jane Austen fan, Victoria confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

You can visit her website at www.victoriakincaid.com and her Amazon Author page here.

 

 

Victoria Kincaid would like to offer my readers a copy of the Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth and I would like to offer a copy of When Mary Met the Colonel, my favourite secondary character story so far.

The giveaway is international and ends on the 11th of May. To enter it you only need to comment on this post and let us know which is your favourite book from Victoria Kincaid and why 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

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Rational Creatures – Another Anthology Coming from The Quill Ink

Good Morning dear readers,

I am happy to bring to you some very exciting news when it comes to the JAFF community. In fact, what I am announcing today is something every Jane Austen enthusiast will be thrilled to know: Christina Boyd from The Quill Ink has once more gathered some of the best writers in the genre to honour Jane Austen and her feminist legacy. Each author will contribute with a unique story told from the point of view of an Austen female character that for some reason has shown the strength of character this anthology wishes to celebrate, but I will let Christina explain this project to you 🙂

I hope you get as excited as I am with these news, and I wish you all the luck for the fantastic giveaways Christina has brought for you 🙂


Christina Boyd

I am not a little proud to announce my third anthology in The Quill Collective series. Never heard of it? Aha! Likely because we have only coined the name when I decided to do another Austen-inspired anthology, and well, “series” would best indicate a number of books coming one after the other. You might better recognize the previous in the series as The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues.

When asked about doing another anthology, readers frequently suggest another Darcy book or Elizabeth’s stories… But for me, it seemed to make sense, during this time of forwarding feminist sensibilities and given the verve of the present equality movements that the female perspective might be embraced amongst the Austen fandom—possibly beyond our polite borders. After all, Austen wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day.

Jane Austen’s novels evoke romantic imaginings of fastidious gentlemen and gently-bred ladies … Yet through her veiled wit, honest social commentary, and cleverly constructed prose in a style ahead of her day, Austen’s heroines manage to thwart strict mores—and even the debauchery of Regency England—to reach their fairytale endings. But have you never wondered about her other colorful characters like Mary Crawford, Hetty Bates, Elinor Tilney, Louisa Musgrove, et al.—and how they came to be? In Persuasion, Mrs. Croft says, “But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” Those words have always struck me as terribly modern and I have wondered what Mrs. Croft might have been thinking of when she said those very words to her brother Captain Frederick Wentworth. I believe several of Jane Austen’s characters might have had feminist sensibilities, even if they yielded to the expectations of their sphere. It is our intent that in this collection of backstories or parallel tales off-stage of canon to remain true to the ladies we recognize in Austen’s great works—whilst stirring feminism in the hearts of some of these beloved characters. Thus, our title was born. Rational Creatures. Coming to you in October 2018. Stay tuned.

Once again, an extraordinary dream team of authors—I will refer to this group from here forward as #TheSweetSixteen—have entrusted their words to me. Previous anthology authors Karen M Cox,, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’ Orazio, Jenetta James, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams are joined by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Jessie Lewis, and Anngela Schroeder. And if that isn’t enough for your “wow factor,” acclaimed author, Jane Austen scholar, and Guggenheim Fellow Devoney Looser is to write the foreword! I know, right? Wow! Just wow. #RationalCreatures indeed.

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But wait! There’s more. Because this anthology is an homage to Jane Austen and her female characters, written by female authors, cover designed by Shari Ryan of MadHat Covers, and edited by me, Christina Boyd of The Quill Ink…it only made sense that our giveaways throughout this venture also highlight women-owned small businesses. And it is our sincere hope that whether you win any of our giveaways or not, you will support these business savvy, creative “rational creatures”:

  • Northanger Soapworks has specially created a “Rational Creatures” soap: fresh scent with notes of bergamot, apricot, and currant.
  • Paper & Slate has customized a “Rational Creatures” candle scent of white tea and plumeria.
  • PNW Vibes has bespoke tanks and tees, perfect for making the point that you too are a “rational creature.”

The Giveaways. Plural. And worldwide. The Quill Ink will giveaway three (3) prize packages of:

  1. An advanced copy of one story from Rational Creatures anthology; available in September
  2. One “Rational Creatures” custom soap by Northanger Soapworks
  3. One “Rational Creatures” novel candle by Paper & Slate
  4. One “Rational Creature” bespoke tank or tee by PNW Vibes
  5. E-books of The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Giveaway closes May 10 at 11:59 PM, EST. How to enter:

  1. One prize package will be sent to one randomly drawn name. Simply visit and comment at all three blog stops for this announcement: JUST JANE 1813, Austenesque Reviews and From Pemberley to Milton.
  2. Two of the same above packages will be available to two winners via Rafflecopter

Thank you for supporting another indie project by The Quill Ink. If the stories that have trickled in so far are any indication of the quality of stories for this collection, I am expecting Rational Creatures to exceed even my exacting standards. Am beyond excited for the possibilities. This is sure to be a diverting journey. I hope you will join us. Follow us at Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TheDarcyMonologues

And Goodreads.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39909769-volume-three-from-the-quill-collective

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“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion

Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.

In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hetty Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.

Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft


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And the winners are…

 

Good Afternoon everyone,

It’s been a while since I wrote to you and I feel terrible for being so absent during this month, April did not go exactly as I thought it would.

This month started really well for me because I took some days off and went to a Comic Con in Belgium with my husband and 2 friends who live in Paris. I loved spending these days with them but the main reason I went to this Comic Con was to have a chance to meet Gillian Anderson.

I don’t know if many of you know this, but if there is something I love more than JAFF, it is The X-Files! I grew up watching the show, it was an important part of my teenage years and it continues to be very close to my heart. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen every single episode of the 11 seasons but it has certainly been more than 5 times, so meeting Gillian Anderson, and having the opportunity to be with her at the VIP Meet & Greet was an unforgettable experience to me 🙂

I already liked Gillian Anderson, but I left Belgium loving her! She is a very interesting person who has been focusing her energy in the fight for women’s rights and equality lately. She wrote a very interesting book called We – A Manifesto for Women Everywhere which I highly recommend. I am very lucky to have a signed hardback copy of it thanks to Mira Magdo from Obsessed With Mr. Darcy who was a sweetheart and offered it to me a few months ago, but the book is  also available in other formats such as kindle and audiobook, if this is a theme that interests you, you should check it out.

Gillian Anderson also wrote a trilogy called the EarthEnd Saga which is a thriller starting with A Vision of Fire and ending with The Sound of Seas but I don’t think you will like the genre.

After returning from Belgium time flew by! I had a surgery scheduled for last week so I pretty much spent my time working hard trying not to leave any pending items for my colleagues in the office, and before I knew it, I was already home recovering from the surgery.

The first days have been a bit rough, and I’m still recovering, but I’m keeping positive thinking that the worst has passed and that it can only get better from now on.

I hope to be able to catch up with you and resume my regular posts twice a week at From Pemberley to Milton, and the first step for it is to announce the winners of the giveaways I hosted last month, so without further ado, the winners are:

 

*** The Assistant ***

Joan Rye

 

*** The Ladies of Rosings Park ***

Christina Boyd

Pam Hunter

 

*** The Journey ebook ***

Lúthien 84

 

*** The Journey – Winners choice of ebook or  paperback signed copy***

Maureen C.

 

Girls please contact me at ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so we can send you your prizes.

Until next time….Happy reading everyone!

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The Journey

I have to start this review by saying that The Journey is absolutely perfect! There isn’t one single aspect I disliked in this book, in fact my feelings are quite the opposite as I loved pretty much everything in it. If I could give it a 10 star rating I would, but as that is off the scale, let me say this is a solid 5 star book that will keep readers entertained for an entire day.

The beginning of The Journey is worthy of an Hollywood production. The first page is so exciting that it made me want to read more of the book, and as I continued reading it, I could not stop because the more I read the more I wanted to read. This book is probably one of the biggest page turners I have ever read in my life, I’ve read it twice and the need to continue reading non-stop did not abade the second time.

In this story, right after the Netherfield Ball, Elizabeth begins a journey to visit her relations in London in Mr. Bingley’s carriage with his sisters and Mr. Darcy, when they encounter  a band of highwaymen who threaten to abduct Elizabeth for their own amusement. Mr. Darcy immediately steps forward and offers himself as a hostage in her place, but when this is ineffective, he proclaims she is his wife in order to protect her. The highwaymen then decide to abduct them both to request a ransom, and this is how the most exciting and passionate journey begins.

Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to spend a lot of time together while confined in the room they are being held and there they learn more about each other and their own feelings, but that is not the entire story. The book will go beyond their abduction, and once they are back in society, they will be faced with very difficult choices that will keep the story as exciting as it was until this moment.

The dialogues in this book are witty and interesting and Mr. Darcy assumes the role of a protector than can only be described as the sexiest thing possible. He is the perfect gentleman in this book, but he is not perfect and by respecting his imperfections, Jan Hahn has mastered the art of creating the perfect Darcy. Plus, he is faced with jealousy in this book which is always a plus in a JAFF novel for me.

With this premise it comes as no surprise that Darcy and Elizabeth have many interactions with one another and that it allows them to slowly fall in love with one another, but the art in this book is that we are not just told by the author they love each other, we can see and feel it happening in the pages we are turning as if the pages themselves were pouring feelings.

I could feel my heart break into a million pieces at a certain point in the book and until this moment I cannot explain how it is possible for an author to convey so many emotions, and so intense, as the ones Jan Hahn created with mere words. I don’t know how a scene could be more perfect than the one that made me feel this way, and I have to congratulate Ms. Hahn on her mastery.

I love the connection Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth establish in this book and the fact that Darcy discovers about Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Collins proposal very early in the story. I always love books where that happens because I think it is crucial for Darcy to better understand Elizabeth and to speed up his admiration for her, also it could be the trigger for him to realize he could lose her to someone else, so adding this detail to the story made me love it even more.

The entire book is told from Elizabeth’s perspective but in the end we can see Darcy remembering what he felt or thought during the journey which was a sweet gift the author offered us.

The book is filled with angst, but after the turbulence Jan Hahn takes the time to show readers how blissful Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives can be. Nothing is rushed or out of place in Jan Hahn’s books and this is no exception. After a very angsty story, with many Darcy/Elizabeth moments, we are gifted with their happy reunion and can enjoy it for several chapters before it ends. We also get to know what happened to all the other characters in the book, which gives us some contentment when reading the last phrase.

I could not recommend this book enough for any reader looking for an exciting, romantic and passionate tale.

 

You can find The Journey at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

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Lover’s Knot – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m incredibly happy to be receiving today at From Pemberley to Milton one of the authors I admire the most in this genre, Jenetta James.

Jenetta captivated me on the first line of Suddenly Mrs Darcy some years ago and my admiration keeps growing with each new novel she releases. Her writing style is unique and captivating and she is now presenting us with a different type of novel, not a romance but a mystery! Of course there is plenty of romance there, but I know you will also love to see Darcy’s mind at work trying to solve a murder that could endanger someone he loves very much 😉 You guessed who it is didn’t you? Well, I’ve read the book and let me tell you that s the only thing you will guess! The mystery will remain until the very end, and even if you have good detective skills, I doubt you’ll guess who the murderer is 🙂

But enough of my prattle about Lover’s Knot, I’m sure you prefer to read an excerpt of it.

 

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And with that, she gave me the smallest smile and sat down. The light flickers on the cream of her gown as she sits and her slender shoulders lean back against the silk brocade of the chaise. I linger for a moment, simply admiring the scene before me—and her person. Something in the way she sits, how she folds her hands and holds her shoulders, makes me want to reach out and touch her. A creature of great power is coiling inside me, and she remains its owner. Content that the three ladies are conversing as though they are old acquaintances, and conscious that I am close to thoughts that may be a source of shame to me later, I obtain a drink for myself and stand to the back of the room. A number of my family accost me in conversation, discomforted as they are by silence. I exchange pleasantries with my cousin Edmund and compliment the Protheroe girls on their performance. The chatter of familiar voices and the clink of glasses on polished wooden tables accompanies the soporific melody of the music. I watch how Elizabeth’s head bobs towards my sister to speak in her ear and inclines to listen as the movements change. A chestnut curl kisses the nape of her neck and she has a habit of threading and re-threading her fingers together when she concentrates. She wears, I assumed her finest gown, which I had never seen before. It is a simple creation in cream silk and fits her form with an almost negligent beauty. This scene appears to me to be as far away from the Hertfordshire of our acquaintance as it is possible to be.

I become aware of Lavinia Protheroe stationed beside me a moment later than I should have.

“So. What have we here?”

She speaks with provocative leisure. Her grey eyes flick towards me and she takes a sip of her sherry, brow arching. “A young gentlewoman, who you apparently are acquainted with, but whom I have never heard of, apart from in passing from her aunt. Now, if it stopped there, it would not be odd at all, of course. The world is full of persons who have met on one, or even two occasions, meeting again, is it not?”

She pauses, employing her trademark Socratic technique. If she were a man, I would have maintained my silence. But Lavinia Protheroe is my godmother and was my mother’s best friend. She is in her fifties and I am a guest in her home. She is also, in her own manner, unbearably charming as well as ruthlessly inquisitive. At length, therefore, I answer her questions.

“It is.”

“There are even people in the world, I am told, whom I do not know.”

“Are you putting this to me as a topic to debate, or as a truth you have adopted?”

“You know I like a debate.”

“I do. But there is nothing to debate, as you well know. It is of course true that there are not merely some, but many people in the world with whom you are unacquainted. You may be the best connected woman in London, but what does that mean?”

In the corner of my vision, I see her smile, playfully. She has a way of drawing me out, and she knows it.

“I do not deny that you possess a sort of social brilliance. Because you do. But you do not know everyone there is to know.”

“How very bold you are this evening, Fitzwilliam. What can be the cause I wonder?”

“In any case, knowing and not knowing are relative terms. Just because one knows a person’s name, that is not to say that one really knows them, is it? Have you ever thought how many people of your acquaintance are barely more than mysteries in human form? Even if you had Miss Elizabeth Bennet on one of your lists, or you had played bridge with her mother or danced with her great cousin at your coming out or some such— you would not really know her. To go back to the matter at hand. It is not at all surprising that a young unmarried woman from Hertfordshire, who has never spent significant time in Town should have eluded you.”

“No, indeed it is not. But it is odd that you know her, while I do not.”

“You know I hold you in the highest esteem, Godmother. But you do not travel with me everywhere.”

“No indeed. I cannot abide horses, as you know. This is why I must ask questions, Darcy. And you must tell your poor, old godmother the answers and keep her abreast of events. Now—this Miss Elizabeth Bennet”—her eyes turned towards the ladies on the chaise and she flutters her fan enough for both of us—“how did you come to meet her?”

“You would not credit it if I told you.”

She raises her eyes and I know that far from deterring her, I have interested the lady even more.

“She was lately a guest at Netherfield. At Charles Bingley’s house—”

“Yes, yes. I understand what you refer to, Darcy. I read about it in the news sheets. And of course, I received your letter. Good grief. Was she … present?”

“She was. She discovered the crime, in fact.”

That fact sits like an ache in my head. In how many ways have I re-enacted the whole business in my head to avoid that aspect? I could have discovered the body or Bingley or Hurst, or one of the servants. If only Elizabeth had not gone to check on her sister, she would never have left Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. She would have been smiling over tea cups in the drawing room when some other unfortunate soul had seen what she had seen. Alas, it happened the way it happened, and there is nothing to be done about it.

“Then I am sorry for her. What a ghastly thing to have in one’s life, even accidentally. It speaks in her favour that she is here at all.”

“It does.”

“It also speaks for your regard for her that you tell me this. There are some, Darcy, who would see it as a sort of blot on a girl.”

“Nonsense. How can the innocent discovery of a crime whilst one is undertaking a blameless ordinary task be a blot on anyone’s character?”

“Hmm. You may very well say that. The world, is an unfair place. It is significant to me that you do not judge her for it. Indeed, you go further.”

“How so?”

“Well, as far as I am aware, you agreed to Georgiana being here this evening because almost everyone here is a Fitzwilliam or a Protheroe, and she so loves the music.”

“That is correct.”

“And yet, within moments of Miss Elizabeth’s arrival, you introduce her to your sister. And you have left them to themselves for most of the evening, forming their acquaintance without your presence.”

“Should young ladies not occasionally be left in peace to enjoy one another’s company, Mrs. Protheroe?”

“Of course, they should, Darcy. But you forget that I have known you and Georgiana all your lives. I saw you watch over her as a baby. I saw you as her brother and lately as her guardian. We have been by ourselves and with family, as well as with a smattering of others here and there over the years. The manner and the extent to which you have sought to protect her has not escaped me. It is not every new acquaintance whom you would permit, still less encourage, to sit with your sister without the chaperone of your own eyes. And so, I express surprise, nothing more. For now, at any rate.”

Having made her point, she ceases moving her fan, clicks it closed in her small hand, and rests her eyes on the ladies before us.

 

 

A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?

Lover’s Knot is a romantic Pride & Prejudice variation, with a bit of mystery thrown in.


 

You can find Lover’s not on :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

KindleUnlimited

 

 

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Jenetta James is a mother, writer, lawyer and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego. She has written, Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers as well as contributed short stories to both The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues.

 

 

 

Praise for The Elizabeth Papers, by Jenetta James:

“… a captivating novel … brilliant and fresh and unforgettable. It will definitely be on my Best of 2016 list and is easily one of the best Pride and Prejudice inspired novels I have ever read…” Diary of An Eccentric

“a story that feels up close and personal … poignant, stirring and beautifully crafted… a mesmerising page turner” JustJane1813

“… this is when we realise what an incredible work of art this book is, and how two different stories can be so perfectly interlaced that they become one single story … “ From Pemberley to Milton

“a novel that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen and romantic mysteries” Publishers Weekly

“Outstanding. Imaginative. Creative … brilliantly put together … totally unique in its style…” Amazon review (5*s)

“Love still conquers all … a beautiful read, not to be missed” Amazon review (5*s)

“… this book ranks with the best …” Amazon review (5*)

 

Praise Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, by Jenetta James:

 

“…a touching, sometimes dark, often playfully sexy interpretation of what might have been.”     –Joceline Bury, Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine

“Jenetta James’ writing made it incredibly easy for me to sink into Elizabeth’s story and connect with her emotionally.” —Austenprose

“…discerning premise, inventive intrigue, and beautifully developed romance! Ms. James is skilled storyteller with a compelling voice and satisfying respect for Jane Austen’s characters.” —Austenesque Reviews

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to follow the blog tour for more excerpts, guest post and reviews!

 

March 29 My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 30 Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 31 Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway

April 1 My Vices and Weaknesses/  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

April 3 So Little Time /  Guest Post & Giveaway

April 4  Austenesque Reviews / Author Interview & Giveaway

April 5 From Pemberley to Milton /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 6 Babblings of a Bookworm /  Book Review & Giveaway

April 7 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

April 8 My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 9 Diary of an Eccentric /  Guest Post & Giveaway

April 10 Laughing with Lizzie /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway

April 11 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

April 12 Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway

 

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Jenetta has selected a lovely giveaway package where one lucky winner will receive a Pride & Prejudice scarf, a Kindle cover and paperback copies of all five of her JAFF books.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

The winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.  To enter it, click here.

Good Luck everyone!

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The Assistant Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Morning everyone,

My first post this month is a guest post from Riana Everly who has recently release a Pride and Prejudice prequel called The Assistant, and whom I absolutely love to receive at From Pemberley to Milton.

Riana is an incredibly nice person with whom I love to chat, share experiences and talk about cultural differences, but her interesting remarks are not limited to our conversations, they extend to her guest posts and that is one of the reasons why I love having her in my blog. Apart from personalizing each guest post, and adapting it to the blog which is receiving her, she always does her best to bring to my readers interesting and different posts where you can learn something new. Today she explores the Milton connection with a brief survey of some types of textiles used for clothing in the 18th and 19th centuries and I really hope you enjoy this guest post and the excerpt of The Assistant she is sharing today.

 

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Weaving Fabric into the Story

Thank you, Rita, for hosting me on this stop on my blog tour for The Assistant.  In this tale of the romance between Lizzy Bennet’s favourite aunt and uncle, I have imagined Edward Gardiner as the son of a successful merchant who made a reasonable fortune in textiles. Edward, though still fairly young, is starting to take over his father’s business under the old man’s guidance. The Gardiners’ warehouse of exceptional fabric is one of the best places in London for the Ton to outfit their wardrobes for the next season, and there are always new arrivals of woollens, linens, silks and other fine bolts of cloth from across Britain and around the world.

What might Edward have in his warehouse, that the upper classes would seek it out so deliberately? In homage to the other part of this lovely blog (the Milton part, where cotton is spun into fine cloth), let’s take a quick peek at some prized textiles from the Regency period.

Muslin

Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave, originally from Mosul, Iraq, hence the name. By the end of the 18th century, it was being produced in Britain as well as being imported. It can come in different weights, but for Regency-era clothing, the very fine and delicate sheer weights were the most prized. Muslin takes dye well, and can have designs woven into it, such as dots or window-pane checks. It can be embroidered, and can even be shot through with gold or silver thread, much like can be seen in sari fabric. Muslin tended to be very delicate and frayed easily, and consequently it was mostly worn by the wealthy who could did not wear their clothing roughly and who could afford excellent laundresses and frequent replacement of damaged items.

This is Marie Antoinette in a muslin gown, from 1783.

In this picture) you can see how sheer the fabric can be.

This gorgeous dress is made of muslin made with metallic threads and then embroidered with a delicate design.

Silk

Silk was used for fine evening dress, and depending on wealth, day dress as well. The silk used for clothing had more body than the very soft silks we see in modern items like scarves, but were still thin and fine, with a soft sheen. Regency-era silk was crisp with good body, and came in a variety of soft colours, ranging from very light to very dark. Modern sari silk is a good approximation of Regency-era silk for clothing. Silk is strong and sturdy for its weight, and wore well. You can see how silk has more body than muslin in this close-up of a sleeve from around 1810.



The finest silk for Regency clothing was satin, and white satin was popular for weddings and very fancy events. This is Princess Charlotte’s wedding dress from 1816, made of white silk net with silver.

Silk, especially embroidered silk or with a pattern woven in, was also popular for men’s waistcoat fronts. This image is of an embroidered silk waistcoat from France from the early years of the 19th century.

Wool

England has been producing woollen cloth for centuries. It’s cool and damp climate is ideal for raising sheep, and wool production and trade were a mainstay of the Medieval English economy. Although traditional methods of producing woollen cloth were protected, by the middle of the 19th century, the north of the country was dotted with factories producing this staple textile.

Wool, especially superfine and merino was used for men’s coats, which were de rigeur summer and winter. This example post-dates the Regency era by a couple of years, but it shows a well-preserved blue woolen tailcoat.

Wool was also used for warmer clothing for both men and women, as well as for outerwear, from spencers to greatcoats. It could be dyed a number of colours, and was comfortable to wear.

This gorgeous light purple woollen coat dates from the early 1800s.

Women also wore extremely fine and beautifully woven woolen shawls, both for fashion and for warmth. Often imported from India, these Kashmiri—or cashmere—shawls were prized for their beauty and practicality.

This fashion plate from 1801 shows a gorgeous red cashmere shawl. That’s a large piece of fabric!

I hope this gives a taste of just a few of the fabrics Edward Gardiner and his father might have had in their warehouse, just waiting for the mantua-makers and tailors of the elite to come and turn them into the most fashionable outfits in London.

 

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Here is a short excerpt from The Assistant. It looks like Edward has some unusual friends!

The morning passed in usual fashion, with customers beginning to return to the shops and establishments to order fine fabrics for new garb, for replacing winter gear, and for redoing worn furniture and draperies. The London Season was in full swing as Parliament sat and the Members’ families sought their entertainment. Edward was summoned to conduct a personal tour of his latest silks for the wife and daughter of a certain marquess, and then, only hours later, to conduct a similar tour for the daughter of an earl, who had heard of the marchioness’ special treatment, and who would accept nothing less.

Since both parties purchased great volumes of highly priced silks and damasks, Edward considered this time very well spent indeed! At last, he bid most obsequious au revoirs to the over-dressed Lady Eleanor and informed his manager that he was going home for a while and would return later.

He was approaching his house when he heard his name called. His eyes jolted upwards from their contemplation of the muddy snow at his feet and he spied Hollings at the door to his house. “Mr. Gardiner, there is a messenger arrived at the back for you. He says it is a matter of some importance.”

Picking up his pace, Edward quickly strode into the family home. There, in the kitchen, enjoying a cup of hot tea and a plate of bread and cheese, sat a grubby man of indeterminate age, clad in rough country clothing. His ragged shirt was of indistinguishable hue— possibly it had once been white—and his labourers’ trousers were torn and filthy. He wore no jacket, although a heavy shapeless coat hung on a hook near the fire. A pair of mud-caked boots sat on some rags by the door. Unshaven and with a balding head of greasy hair, the man looked like the sort with whom an elegant citizen would never deign to converse, let alone entertain in his home. The man smiled, showing a blackened tooth to the world, and when he offered his hand to shake, the nails were caked with grime. Edward looked once, blinked, and then suddenly pulled the man up and caught him in a rough and affectionate embrace.

Now who can this odd visitor be? And why is he so poorly dressed? 😉 Read The Assistant to find out.

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A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

You can find The Assistant at:

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

 

 

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

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

You can contact Riana Everly through the following media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly

Website – https://rianaeverly.com/

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Riana Everly would like to offer to one of my readers an ebook copy of The Assistant. The giveaway is international and ends on the 14th of April. To enter it all you have to do is comment on this post and let us know what you though about such a lovely post 🙂

Good Luck everyone!

 

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