Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes - Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

As long time visitors to this blog may know, I am a big fan of Joana Starnes' books, so I was very excited when I heard she had a new one out. I am pleased to say that the blog tour for The Journey Home to Pemberley visits here today for me to share my review of the book, and offer you a giveaway opportunity. Let's look at the blurb!

Book cover: The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes
Book Description

A chance encounter in the wilds of the North brings more joy to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy than either of them dared hope for. But her world is rocked by blow after blow – and the truth would only cause him pain. ‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ is Elizabeth’s guiding precept, and she chooses her path. Yet time, circumstances and new acquaintances teach her she had made a terrible mistake.

How can she regain what she had lost and rebuild a future with the only man she will ever love, but for whom disguise of every sort is his abhorrence?

You can view the book trailer on YouTube.

My Review of The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes

This Pride & Prejudice variation opens with Darcy on his way home to Pemberley from his Uncle's house. Instead of travelling to Derbyshire with Bingley, as in canon, he is alone. Not wishing to stay at a particular inn he decides to press on for home but meets with an accident when he parts company with his borrowed steed. Luckily the horse returns to the inn, where some travellers from down south are not paying the abbreviated visit North as in canon, but are taking a more leisurely tour, as had been originally planned. A search for the rider sees an unconscious Darcy returned to the inn, where he is identified by the woman who last saw him in Kent, following his disastrous marriage proposal to her.

Elizabeth has had so many readings of Darcy's letter that she practically knows it by heart and feels vastly differently towards him than she did at their last meeting:
It had crept upon her oftentimes before, over the last four months, whenever thoughts of him had crept upon her. For she had thought of him. She could not help it.
Darcy, however, feels much the same as he did a few months previously, as Elizabeth very soon comes to realise:
It was no wonder that it should be the most insistent one which kept coming to the fore: the incontrovertible proof that, after all this time and despite everything, he still loved her and kept her in his thoughts.
When Darcy realises that Elizabeth and her relatives are actually headed to Lambton, they travel as one party, seeing the sights and becoming better acquainted. With a new understanding seemingly on the horizon, our dear couple seem to be zooming towards an angst-free happy ever after as they make their meandering way towards Pemberley. The story is light hearted and romantic, the couple are very much on the same page and their biggest obstacle to overcome would appear to be easily surmountable.

Until... the inn at Lambton has two letters for Elizabeth, one of which arrived quite a few days before the Gardiner party did. This means that matters are all the more hopeless than in canon as they have moved on. Elizabeth decides on the course of action that she feels is best, though it's a difficult one which brings her only despair:
Under the thick ice of her trance, anguish squirmed and twisted. It was neither silenced nor subdued. Just frozen for a while. Frozen and sluggish. Yet she knew full will it would revive, savage and deadly, to pierce through the ice and tear her apart.
When Elizabeth returns to Longbourn her family landscape is very changed, and her feelings have been turned upside down. She can see no hope of ever making the Journey Home to Pemberley herself.

This story is a very romantic tale, with a lot of interaction between Elizabeth and Darcy. It's a story very much focused on them and their relationship and all the other characters take a back seat. We go through harmony, acrimony, misunderstandings, silences, arguments, regret, compassion and passion. It's one of those stories where the action is in the thoughts and feelings of the characters. We go through highs and lows of emotion on the inside while far less is happening outwardly. I enjoyed this; sometimes you read a story where there is a lot of unlikely events and dastardly characters but this was dramatic in a much more understated way.

I felt very sorry for Elizabeth, and could certainly understand the motives that prompted her actions, because the disgrace which touched her family was dire. However, sometimes I wanted to give her a talking to! The story is written in the third person but very much from Elizabeth's perspective, which gives the reader a more sympathetic view of her character's thoughts and feelings than you would have had if it had been written from a more neutral perspective.

Canon Darcy may say that he has a resentful temper, but aside from his feelings towards Wickham we don't see evidence of it and this Darcy is almost as skilled as Jane Bennet in his capacity to forgive. It put the balance a little off for me, because I felt that all the misery to both Elizabeth and Darcy was caused by the events and Elizabeth's choices. Darcy did absolutely nothing wrong and he probably suffered the most, poor man!

I liked the characterisations in this story very much. The focus is very strongly on Elizabeth and Darcy, but I thought the other characters were well-drawn.

If you like a very romantic read and a rollercoaster of emotions I would certainly recommend this book. I very much enjoyed it and read it in one bonanza four hour sitting! There are some passionate scenes, but nothing too graphic. I'd rate this as a 4½ star read.

4.5 star read


Book cover: The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes
Buy Links

The Journey Home to Pemberley is available to buy now in ebook. In some countries it's also available in Kindle Unlimited. I think a paperback will follow - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Goodreads

Author Joana Starnes
About the Author

Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination, and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley; The Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s Companion; Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacy) and one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know and Rational Creatures). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

Joana Starnes has visited this blog with many of these works:
  • From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley ~ A Pride & Prejudice sequel - My review
  • The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion - My review
  • The Second Chance ~ A Pride & Prejudice – Sense & Sensibility Variation - My review
  • The Falmouth Connection ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation set where Jane Austen's beloved characters are compelled to leave their tame and reasonably peaceful lives in the south of England and travel to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few - if any! - are what they seem to be... - My review
  • The Unthinkable Triangle ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation that dwells on the most uncomfortable love-triangle of them all. What if Mr. Darcy's rival for Miss Bennet's hand and heart is none other than his dearest, closest friend? And how can they all find their 'happily-ever-after'? - Guest post
  • Miss Darcy’s Companion ~ a variation that explores what might have happened if the warm-hearted Miss Elizabeth Bennet were employed instead of the scheming Mrs Younge. - Guest Post / My review
  • Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter - a Pride & Prejudice variation that sees Elizabeth marrying for the good of her family - but the bridegroom isn't aware of her feelings - My Review
  • The Darcy Legacy ~  a Pride & Prejudice variation with some 'spirit' - My Review

They are available on all Amazon sites.

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.com

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.co.uk

Books by Joana Starnes on Goodreads

You can connect with Joana Starnes on Facebook, her website, Twitter, Instagram or Austen Variations.

Book cover: The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana StarnesGiveaway Time!

Joana is kindly offering an ebook giveaway to accompany her blog tour. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below:

Note Regarding Comments:
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Blog Tour Schedule

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Blog Tour: The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes


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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Winners' Post - Victoria Kincaid Audio Books and Abigail Reynolds' Ebooks

Lately we have been joined by some authors who have been so kind as to offer giveaways to commenters here on the blog.

Firstly, we were joined by Victoria Kincaid, who was celebrating the audio releases of Darcy vs Bennet and When Jane Got Angry by giving away an audio copy of each. I chose the winners using a random number generator and they are as follows:

Book cover: Darcy vs Bennet by Victoria Kincaid Traci King is the winner of an audio version of Darcy vs Bennet

Book cover: When Jane Got Angry by Victoria KincaidAlexandra Rivers won When Jane Got Angry

Congratulations both! Traci, I don't have contact details for you, so please can you contact me by the end of the day on Tuesday 17? If I don't hear from you by then I will choose another winner.

Alexandra, I'm pretty sure we are friends on Goodreads, so I will drop you a message.

You can learn more about the books in the post - and there is still time to win the audio books elsewhere on the blog tour. Details of the schedule are also in the post.

Abigail Reynolds also joined us with her new book, A Matter of Honor. You can read the guest post and excerpt here. Abigail was kindly offering ebook copies of the book to two commenters. Again, I chose the numbers using a random number generator. The names chosen were as follows:

Darcybennett  

and 

Sheila L Majczan

Ladies, I have both of your email addresses, and will drop you a message. 

Congratulations to the winners! I'd also like to give a big thank you to everybody who dropped by to read the posts and comments, and of course, a huge thank you to Victoria Kincaid and Abigail Reynolds for visiting Babblings of a Bookworm and providing the generous giveaways!


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Friday, 13 September 2019

A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods by Brigid Huey - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods by Brigid Huey
I have the pleasure of welcoming a new visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm today; Brigid Huey joins us for the blog tour for her debut novel, A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods. Publishers Meryton Press are also offering a giveaway!

Let's look at the blurb and then we can enjoy a lovely excerpt from the book :)

Book cover: A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods by Brigid Huey
Book Description

A surprise meeting

A baby alone in the woods

And a second chance at love

Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley with one thing on his mind ̶ to forget Elizabeth Bennet. Riding ahead of his party and racing a storm, he happens upon the very woman he wants to avoid. To his astonishment, she is holding a baby whose name and parentage are unknown.

Elizabeth Bennet never dreamed she had wandered into Pemberley’s Woods on her afternoon walk. But when she finds an infant alone in the storm, she turns to the last man in the world she wants to see ̶ and the only one who can help them both.

As the mystery of the baby’s identity intensifies, Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy to be quite the reverse of what she expected. But when the child’s family is discovered, will the truth bring them together, or tear them apart?

Monday, 9 September 2019

Letters from the Heart by Kay Bea - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

The blog tour for debut author Kay Bea's Letters from the Heart stops by at Babblings of a Bookworm today. I'm really pleased to welcome Kay here for a guest post. There's a giveaway opportunity too! Let's take a look at the blurb and then hand over to Kay.

Book cover: Letters from the Heart by Kay Bea
Book Description

The Bennet sisters of Longbourn lack both decorum and connections and do not possess a decent dowry between them. Even the best of the them is in every way unsuitable for a man whose income is as a good as a lord. But love is not so easily set aside and in January 1812, Mr Darcy persuades Mr Bingley to reopen Netherfield Park, the country estate from which they both fled only two months before. On returning to Hertfordshire, they discover a near tragedy took place three days after the Netherfield Ball and has changed the lives of the Bennet family forever. Mrs Bennet’s relentless fear of losing her place in society has led her to condemn her least favourite daughter to a life of isolation and pain that will greatly complicate Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey to happiness. Old bonds are strengthened, family ties are severed, and unlikely allies emerge as each of them struggles to make sense of the changes they face.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

A Matter of Honor by Abigail Reynolds - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

As long time visitors to the blog may know, I am a huge fan of Abigail Reynold's books and she's visited the blog many times. Therefore I am thrilled, and consider it a matter of honour ;)  to be hosting her on launch day for her newest book, A Matter of Honor. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to read it! Abigail joins us today with a guest post, excerpt and giveaway. Let's look at the blurb first.

Book cover: Mr Darcy's Honor by Abigail Reynolds
Book Description for A Matter of Honor

Pride & Prejudice goes to Scotland!

When Fitzwilliam Darcy, still smarting from Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection, discovers she was forced to flee her home in disgrace owing to his actions, his course is clear. He must marry her. It is a matter of honor. All he has to do is find her and propose. Surely that will be simple enough.

But Elizabeth does not want to be found, especially not by Darcy. From the moment he entered her life, he has caused disaster after disaster. Now he has followed her all the way to Scotland, foolishly certain it’s within his power to fix all her problems. But far more is at stake than Darcy knows.

Darcy’s quest takes him from backstage at Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, where mysterious Highlanders prove both friend and enemy. And now his search risks exposing long-hidden secrets that threaten his happiness and her future.

On the run and in danger, Elizabeth is forced to make impossible choices to protect those whom she loves – including Darcy. Her growing attraction to him is at war with her need for caution, and the stakes are impossibly high. Can she trust him to continue to fight for her protection when he knows the whole truth? And if he does, will it be for love… or will it be merely a matter of honor?

Guest Post from Abigail Reynolds

I’m so excited to be launching A Matter of Honor! Giving Darcy and Elizabeth to a new country to explore has been challenge and a delight. After all, what could be more fun than digging into Scottish history and being forced – forced! – to spend hours staring at pictures of the Highlands. It’s a sacrifice, I tell you. 😉 It’s been particularly interesting because of the amazing online records, especially the digital collections of the National Library of Scotland. I found everything from records of the weather for any given day to the original playbills for the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. Period maps, gazetteers, and travel guides gave me an amazing virtual tour of Scotland in 1812.

Playbill from Scotland
All but the first two chapters of A Matter of Honor takes place in Scotland, starting with several chapters in Edinburgh. Those playbills came in very handy as the Edinburgh Theatre Royal became a focus of activity for many of the characters. As an old theatre techie, I’ve always wanted to write backstage scenes, but English Regency theatres attracted pretty disreputable characters, and the people likely to show up backstage wouldn’t be the sort I could put in my books. Imagine my delight when I discovered the theatre in Scotland was forced into a sort of respectability lest the Church of Scotland force them to close!

Loch Ard
But as Darcy becomes a little too close to Elizabeth’s secrets, she flees from Edinburgh into the Highlands. I’m embarrassed by how much time I spent choosing the perfect Highland hide-out for Elizabeth. There were so many wonderful possibilities! In the end, I put her in the midst of the Trossachs, on the shores of Loch Ard, not far from Loch Lomond. I didn’t want her too far from Edinburgh in the days when travel on Highland roads was painfully slow, and it put our dear couple right in Sir Walter Scott country, just as his The Lady of the Lake was taking society by storm. And that turned into a plot twist by itself!

I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Scotland with Lizzy and Darcy in A Matter of Honor. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Book cover: A Matter of Honor by Abigail Reynolds
Excerpt from A Matter of Honor

Mrs. Graham excused herself for a few moments after an informal dinner in the drawing room, leaving Darcy alone with Elizabeth for the first time that day. Elizabeth had been particularly attentive to him at dinner, perhaps trying to distract him from the pain in his leg, which was nothing to the ache in his heart. But the laudanum-laced wine had relaxed him enough that he could drink in the lively expressions that crossed Elizabeth’s face and the way her hair shone in the candlelight without too much thought of the future, as if intimate dinners with her were something that could be a natural part of his life.

Now Elizabeth walked past him toward the bookcase, the slight sway of her hips almost hidden by her woolen dress, the curve of her neck outlined by the moonlight from the window. A surge of desire nearly overset Darcy, the longing to run his hand along that silver-lit skin so strong that he had to fight to keep himself on his chaise longue, broken leg be damned. In that moment, being lame forever seemed a small price to pay for being able to touch Elizabeth, to feel the silk of her skin, the little shiver she would give at his touch.
Then she turned and met his gaze, and he knew he was not alone in his desire. She wanted him, too. There was hunger and yearning in her fine eyes, and, as they stared at one another in silence, a hint of despair.
She bit her lip and shook herself, as if waking from a reverie, and looked away. She picked a book from the shelf at random, clutched it tightly, and hurried back to her seat by the fire, never looking his way.
The ache in his chest was like a burning coal he could not ignore. “Elizabeth,” he said softly.
She hesitated before raising her head. “Yes?” Her voice was weighted with resignation.
You cannot deny what is between us. Surely there must be some way we can work together to overcome whatever stands in our way.” He did not know why she might answer differently this time, but he could not remain silent.
Her hands tightened into fists. “Do you think I have not tried to find a way? But there is no answer. And trying to pretend otherwise only makes it worse.” Her voice caught. “Perhaps you have never before been denied something you wanted desperately, but there are very few in this world who have that privilege.”
His face burned at her reproof. “I have been fortunate, but I have faced adversity. It is not stubbornness but the strength of my sentiments which will not be denied.” Even as the words left his mouth, he knew it was the wrong approach.
As she looked at him, her pain evident in the lines of her face, she opened her mouth to say something, but apparently changed her mind. Instead, she rose to her feet and hurried from the room, her skirts swishing around her.
Elizabeth!” he called after her, but there was no response, just the sound of her feet on the steps.
Devil take it! He could not follow her, could not do anything but wait for her to return. If she did return. He pounded his fist on the arm of the chaise longue, wincing at the pain as the movement jostled his leg. Damn it! Why could she not have stayed and talked to him?
He heard someone outside the door, but it was Mrs. Graham’s quick footsteps, not the soft sound of Elizabeth’s slippers. The older woman hesitated in the doorway, looking back in the direction Elizabeth had gone, and then turned to Darcy with an exasperated expression. “I canna leave the two of ye alone for even a few minutes!”
It is nothing,” he said automatically. Another reproof was the last thing he needed.
From what I saw of Lizzy’s face, it did not look like nothing,” she said tartly. “I will give ye one piece of advice, whether ye like it or not. When a lass says nae, ye must take her at her word. Show her that much respect.”

I have the greatest of respect for her,” he said stiffly. But he had not shown it. She had begged him not to press her, and he had not listened. What a fool he had been!

Author Bio

Author Abigail ReynoldsAbigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can't follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a way to retain her sanity during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen's novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, Conceit & Concealment, Mr. Darcy’s Journey, and Alone with Mr. Darcy. Her books have been translated into six languages. A lifetime member of JASNA, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.


Buy Links

A Matter of Honor is available to buy now - in paperback, kindle and Kindle Unlimited Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Goodreads


Giveaway Time!

Book cover: A Matter of Honor by Abigail Reynolds
Abigail Reynolds is kindly offering a giveaway. Two lucky commenters on this blog post will be selected to win an ebook of A Matter of Honor. To enter, just leave a comment on this blogpost by the end of the day worldwide on Thursday 12 September. Please ensure that you leave your name. You can gain an extra entry to the giveaway by tweeting about this post, but please make sure you tag me @Frawli1978 to make sure I see it.

Note about comments: I love to read your comments, but a few blog visitors have reported difficulties in commenting while using the Safari browser. If you are unable to comment, please try using another web browser, such as Google Chrome, or please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Audio Giveaway from Victoria Kincaid - Darcy vs. Bennet and When Jane Got Angry

Today I'm welcoming Victoria Kincaid back to the blog. Victoria has visited the blog many times and is always a lovely visitor. She has been making some of her titles available on audio and has come here to tell us about it, bringing a giveaway with her!

I was sceptical about how much enjoyment I would get from audio books but I have been listening for a few years now, when commuting or doing chores, and find them a good way to get some extra reading time into the day. I particularly find them good for re-reads, as I know what's coming next which means I can muster the patience to read at a slower pace!

Let's hand over to Victoria to tell us about the stories she's just released on audio.

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Hi Ceri and thank you for having me as a guest! I was lucky enough to recruit Stevie Zimmerman to narrate two of my audiobooks recently. She always does a terrific job; I especially love the voice she gives to Mr. Darcy. Readers love her too, and I know they’ll be thrilled with her narration of Darcy vs. Bennet and When Jane Got Angry (click on the links to hear samples of her narration). Below are excerpts from both books and details about a double giveaway of free copies of both audiobooks!

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Book Cover: Darcy vs. Bennet by Victoria Kincaid
Darcy vs. Bennet
Darcy had barely taken three steps when he saw a vision. Clad in a pale yellow gown, the woman’s figure was light and pleasing. Lush curls of dark hair were piled high on her head, intertwined with tiny flowers. Instantly, Darcy knew he had not encountered her before. She was not moving or conversing with anyone; in fact, she seemed a bit lost.
When Darcy stepped toward her, her eyes flashed up to his, and his breath caught. Set off by the pale yellow mask, her eyes were a vibrant blue he had never seen before. There was something about her…as if he knew her already—which was ridiculous since he had never met her before. Without a conscious decision, Darcy took several more steps toward the mystery woman.
She had turned her face away and was now scanning the crowd. Seeking another man? He felt a twinge of unease, which was bizarre. He knew nothing about this woman.
A crease appeared between her eyes, and her mouth tightened. Was she in distress? “May I be of service, miss?” He bowed. “You appear uneasy.” What a ludicrous thing to say! Surely he could think of a better way to introduce himself to this vision of loveliness.
She was biting her lower lip, and Darcy wanted more than anything to alleviate her anxiety. “I was looking for my friend.” His surge of jealousy was instantly assuaged by her next words. “She is blonde and wears a blue dress.”
Ah, I believe she has accompanied my friend onto the veranda for a dance.”
Oh. So I have been abandoned.” Her lips quirked into a half smile. She sees her friend’s abandonment as a cause for amusement rather than resentment, Darcy noted.
As have I. Perhaps we may be abandoned together.” How did such flirtatious language emerge from his mouth? Usually he had no facility with words. Perhaps the mask offered him some kind of license? But her clear blue eyes held his in a captive gaze. No, it was her. Something about this woman stirred deep feelings so all he saw—all he could see—was her. The rest of the world simply fell away.
Her eyebrows tipped upward doubtfully. Was he being too forward with a woman he had just met? Darcy almost did not care. He would do anything, break any rules of propriety to stay with this enchanting creature. “Would you do me the honor of the next dance?”
She blinked rapidly and blushed, her gaze not meeting his. Was the request such a surprise to her? Of course, they had not been introduced, but a masquerade should allow them to dispense with such formalities. Then she gave him an arch look. “A stranger in a mask has just asked me to dance. What would my mother say I should do in this situation?”
Was she teasing him? He had seen other men engage in such banter, but it never happened to him. He cleared his throat. “I believe your mother would advise you to accept under the circumstances.” He found himself smiling at her. “I assure you, miss, I am not a highwayman despite the mask.”
She tapped her lips thoughtfully with her forefinger. “So you would have me believe you are a respectable gentleman? I would expect a highwayman to say so.”
Darcy could not prevent a laugh from bursting forth. At the beginning of their conversation he had suspected she might be unaware of his identity, but now he was sure of it. No woman ever dared to banter with Fitzwilliam Darcy in such a way; they were too eager to compliment his figure, his features, his clothing, his horse…and anything else he possessed. Every exchange with a marriageable woman was colored by awareness of his fortune—except this one, and it was delightful. How had such a woman found her way into the Berwicks’ masquerade?
He restrained an impulse to take the woman’s hand; he did not know her. “Very well, will you promise to dance with me if I promise not to purloin your reticule or jewelry?” As he said this, he realized she possessed neither. How odd.
She laughed, a bright, silvery sound. He had made her laugh! “Yes, I thank you. But this set has just begun.”
He glanced at the veranda where the couples had just begun their set. “Then perhaps we may take a stroll in the gardens before the next one commences.” Where had he discovered this new fount of gallantry and ease? Robert often teased Darcy about being stiff and formal in company.
The woman took his proffered arm, and they slowly walked toward the formal gardens, which were less crowded than in the area around the court. He had so many questions about this enchanting woman that his throat felt clogged with them. “I pray you, tell me your name,” he finally managed.
She slid him a sidelong glance. “It is a masquerade. Should not my identity remain hidden?”
He shrugged. “I do not wish to think of you as ‘that woman in yellow’ for the entire evening.”
Her laugh was genuine, not the polite tittering allowed for a lady of the ton. “Very well, my name is Elizabeth.”

Book Cover: When Jane Got Angry by Victoria Kincaid
When Jane Got Angry
Caroline Bingley is not my friend, Jane Bennet realized about five minutes into the woman’s visit at the Gardiners’ house. It was a startling realization. A disheartening one.
Jane had called upon Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst at the Hursts’ house on Grosvenor Square not long after her arrival in London. With the reasonable expectation of a prompt return call, she had waited at home every morning for a fortnight, but Miss Bingley had not appeared until more than a month had passed. Even this slight Jane might have ignored if Miss Bingley had appeared at all pleased to continue the acquaintance—or at least penitent about her lateness—but the other woman had given only scant and insincere apologies.
Although she should have been attending to the conversation, Jane instead was hearing the echoes of many conversations with her sister Elizabeth warning against believing in Miss Bingley’s regard. Jane struggled not to fidget in her chair as she recalled Lizzy’s words.
Belatedly she realized the conversation had faltered to a stop. I must speak. But, heavens, what had Miss Bingley and Aunt Gardiner been discussing? Jane’s memory was entirely blank. “We are enjoying very fine weather,” she said hastily. Trite but unexceptionable.
Aunt Gardiner blinked in surprise. Miss Bingley pursed her lips. “What has that to do with the fashion for long sleeves?” she sniffed.
Jane shifted in her chair. “Er…well…it is pleasant to wear long sleeves in fine weather.” The palms of her hands were growing quite moist. What a terrible explanation!
Miss Bingley shrugged disdainfully. “If you would call it ‘fine.’ It rained three days ago and ruined my slippers.”
Aunt Gardiner gave Jane a sidelong glance as if to say, “This is your friend?”
Jane raised her eyebrows in response, hoping to convey, “I may have been mistaken.”
It has been quite sunny and warm for the past two days,” Aunt Gardiner pointed out. “Particularly for February.”
Miss Bingley flicked a bit of dust from her skirt. “Yes, unseasonably warm. One does not know whether to wear wool or linen or cotton. It is most disconcerting.”
Her aunt rolled her eyes at Jane, who hid a smile. Was it even worth the effort of a polite conversation if a woman could complain about warm and sunny weather in February?
Maggie, the Gardiners’ maid, set down a tea tray laden with biscuits on the drawing room table. Aunt Gardiner poured a cup and passed it to Miss Bingley, who took a tiny sip as if she expected they might have substituted dishwater for tea.
Oh, good grief. Gracechurch Street might not be Grosvenor Square, but the Gardiners were hardly beggars in the streets. Even Maggie gave the visitor a scornful glance as she slipped from the room.
Jane supposed she should share the maid’s disdain, but she could barely summon the energy for it. Every aloof look from Miss Bingley weighed on her, as if every time the other woman glanced at her, Jane grew smaller and more insignificant—until she was in danger of disappearing altogether. She had believed in Miss Bingley’s friendship, thinking her sincere, if a bit arrogant.
Miss Bingley had been the one to solicit Jane’s company in Hertfordshire and treat her as the most intimate of friends. The complete alteration in the other woman’s demeanor was incomprehensible. Had Jane unwittingly given offense?
No. Lizzy warned me. This is through no fault of mine. It was painfully clear her sister had been correct about Miss Bingley’s lack of regard.
Her chest was hollow and achy; her eyes burned. Jane had not only lost a friendship, but she also had lost faith in her own discernment. What other errors in judgment have I committed?
Had Jane been wrong about Mr. Bingley’s regard for her? She had hoped that an acquaintance with Miss Bingley would allow her to see the woman’s brother once more. However, if Miss Bingley is not my friend, I may never see Mr. Bingley again. The realization bore down on Jane, pinning her to her chair like an enormous weight.
She tried to assemble a smile despite finding it difficult to breathe. Jane had slowly lost all hope of Mr. Bingley after he left Netherfield, but her arrival in London had rekindled those dormant embers. Now Miss Bingley’s disdain snuffed them out as completely as if they had been doused with water.
The chances were never very good. Any hopes likely were in vain. This reminder did nothing to ease her breathing.
* * *

Have you read either of these books? I've read Darcy vs. Bennet, which I enjoyed. I still have When Jane Got Angry on my to be read list. I am intrigued to know what changes that might make, if Jane Bennet had lost her cool!


You can buy these books now, in print or ebook, if you prefer, but also in audio.

When Jane Got Angry - Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Audible US / Audible UK / Goodreads

Author Bio

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 an overly affectionate cat, two children who are learning how much fun Austen’s characters can be, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

Visit her at www.victoriakincaid.com



Giveaway Time

Victoria is kindly giving away an audio book of each title. So one audio book of Darcy vs. Bennet for one winner, and When Jane Got Angry for another winner, which can be downloaded from either audible.com or audible.co.uk.

Audio Giveaway by Victoria Kincaid

To enter, please leave a comment on the blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Monday 9 September. Please ensure that you include your name in your comment and also tell me your order of preference for the audio books. That way, if you're chosen first you will get the book you want most!

You can gain one additional entry to the giveaway by tweeting about this post. To ensure that I find your tweet please copy me (@frawli1978) into your tweet.

Note regarding comments: I love to read your comments, but a few blog visitors have reported difficulties in commenting while using the Safari browser. If you are unable to comment, please try using another web browser, such as Google Chrome, or please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

Blog Tour Schedule

Victoria is visiting other blogs so you can learn more about the books and increase your chances of winning. Check out these other stops!

September 3 -- Babblings of a Bookworm
September 4 -- My Jane Austen Book Club
September 5 -- From Pemberley to Milton
September 6 – More Agreeably Engaged
September 10 -- Austen Authors
September 11-- Diary of an Eccentric
September 12 – Savvy Verse and Wit
September 23 -- Austenesque Reviews
September 21 - My Love for Austen

* * *

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Monday, 26 August 2019

Sanditon by Jane Austen

Sanditon Adaptation
In preparation for the mini-series, completed by Andrew Davies, which was starting this weekend on British TV I thought I should probably reacquaint myself with the fragment that Jane Austen started, and had to put aside when she became ill, and soon afterwards died. Apparently her working title was The Brothers but we know it as Sanditon.

This is the blurb, from Amazon:

'no person could be really well . . . without spending at least six weeks by the sea every year'

In Sanditon, Jane Austen writes what may well be the first seaside novel: a novel, that is, that explores the mysterious and startling transformations that a stay by the sea can work on individuals and relationships. Sanditon is a fictitious place on England's south coast and the obsession of local landowner Mr Thomas Parker. He means to transform this humble fishing village into a fashionable health resort to rival its famous neighbours of Brighton and Eastbourne.

In this, her final, unfinished work, the writer sets aside her familiar subject matter, the country village with its settled community, for the transient and eccentric assortment of people who drift to the new resort, the town built upon sand. If the ground beneath her characters' feet appears less secure, Austen's own vision is opening out. Light and funny, Sanditon is her most experimental and poignant work.

* * *

I’d read the first chapters previously, in a sense, as I’d read a completion - Sanditon, by Jane Austen and a Lady (Marie Dobbs) which I enjoyed very much. It’s going to be strange for me to see it go another direction in the adaption and yet I’m eager to see where the story is taken. I really hope they do the story justice.

Unfortunately, the fragment really didn’t get far beyond setting out the main characters, which is such a shame, as I would have loved to know where Austen was going to take this tale. We start off with Mr Thomas Parker having an accident. He’s gone to try and poach a doctor for his home town of Sanditon, which he is trying to develop as a fashionable seaside resort. Mr Parker is a fond husband, father and brother. He is a little obsessed with Sanditon, and making it a success. Mr Parker’s accident leads to him spending 2 weeks staying with the Heywoods and at the end of the two weeks he and his wife return to Sanditon. They would like to bring any number of Heywoods with them but although there are a LOT of them (parents plus 14 children, the eldest of whom have presumably moved out) they are forced to content themselves with the eldest daughter still at home, Miss Charlotte Heywood.

Miss Charlotte Heywood from Sanditon
An aside to this: Jane Austen mentioned a Miss Charlotte Williams in her correspondence to Cassandra, and said: “I admire the Sagacity & Taste of Charlotte Williams, those large dark eyes always judge well. I will compliment her, by naming a Heroine after her.’ and perhaps this was Charlotte Heywood, particularly as she appears to have good judgement.

Charlotte is quite lovely as a heroine. She is sensible and ordinary, and as such, the reader can really identify with her. She seems to be one of the few people who judges the other characters clearly. For example, this is her take on Mr Tom Parker, which seems to me to be fair:
His judgement is evidently not to be trusted. His own good nature misleads him. He is too kind-hearted to see clearly.
Mrs Parker is a sweet lady, fond of her husband and children, but not very strong minded.
So entirely waiting to be guided on every occasion that whether he was risking his fortune or spraining his ankle, she remained equally useless.
Upon going to Sanditon, Charlotte meets with Lady Denham, who is Mr Parker’s investment partner in Sanditon. Lady Denham has been married twice and is now widowed. Her first husband was rich, her second had a title. She is childless and has three families competing for her money. The families of both of her husbands and her birth family, the Breretons. She has a poor relative from her birth family living with her, and her good opinion is courted by the second husband’s family. Lady Denham has no illusions about the grabbiness of her relatives and yet, she is an unsympathetic and unlikeable lady.
She is very, very mean. I can see no good in her.
Miss Clara Brereton is the poor relative who lives with Lady Denham. She is beautiful and somewhat tragic. Reading between the lines, Clara gives off a vulnerable air. She has enemies, but she is aware of it. Charlotte’s judgement of Clara is, for her, quite whimsical.
She could not separate the idea of a complete heroine from Clara Brereton.
Sir Edward Denham is also introduced. He is a remarkable character; remarkably vain and stupid:
Why he should talk so much nonsense, unless he could do no better, was unintelligible.
But there’s also an intrigue to his character. He is determined to seduce Miss Clara Brereton, both to keep her out of Lady Denham's good graces and hence will, but also because he thinks rakes are both dashing and admirable:
With a perversity of judgement which must be attributed to his not having by nature a very strong head, the graces, the spirit, the sagacity and the perserverance of the villain of the story out- weighed all his absurdities and all his atrocities with Sir Edward. With him such conduct was genius, fire and feeling.
Sir Edward’s sister, Miss Denham is just coldly unpleasant. She cosies up to Lady Denham and tries to feel superior to everybody else:
The change from Miss Denham sitting in cold grandeur in Mrs. Parker's drawing room, to be kept from silence by the efforts of others, to Miss Denham at Lady Denham's elbow, listening and talking with smiling attention or solicitous eagerness, was very striking ~ and very amusing or very melancholy, just as satire or morality might prevail.
Mr Parker has two grown sisters, Diana and Susan. Susan is referred to as Miss Parker, and Diana as Miss Diana Parker so Susan must be the elder sister. They are both unmarried, and are both invalids when they have nothing else to do. Diana particularly is a busybody:
It would seem that they must either be very busy for the good of others or else extremely ill themselves.
They live with the youngest of Mr Parker’s siblings, Mr Arthur Parker. He is 20. His sisters think him an invalid and encourage him to think likewise. Charlotte’s opinion differs slightly:
Charlotte could not but suspect him of adopting that line of life principally for the indulgence of an indolent temper, and to be determined on having no disorders but such as called for warm rooms and good nourishment. 
A scene which I enjoyed very much involved Arthur, and after I read it I found myself snorting inelegantly over lunch when I recalled it as I was asked to pass this butter. This is Arthur’s excuse for not eating dry toast but preferring to butter it. Apparently dry toast has the following effect on one’s stomach lining: 
It irritates and acts like a nutmeg grater.
Following Arthur’s example, if one scrapes off the butter while one’s sisters watch, and then scrape it back on quickly, unobserved, before eating, there is no blame associated with eating toast which is not dry :)

We are also very briefly introduced to some further characters. A Mrs Griffiths brings her pupils, the Misses Beaufort and the rich Miss Lambe, a 17 year old heiress ‘half-mulatto’. A ‘mulatto’ means a mixed race person, usually with one black parent and one white. I don’t think that is was an offensive term at the time. I think this is the only non-white character in all of Austen. On a personal level, Austen may have heard of Dido Belle who was another mixed race person whose fortune placed her in a higher level than her race would otherwise have allowed. It would have been fascinating to see where Austen had taken this character! If only!

The Beaufort sisters seem fine enough, though they are clearly anxious for displaying both their talents and their persons. We only have a fleeting acquaintance with them.

The last character we meet is the remaining Parker sibling, Mr Sidney Parker, who apparently is 4th in the family, as he is older than Arthur. We know from his brother’s reports that Sidney makes him laugh despite himself so he sounds like a fun character. In addition the narrator tells us that:
Sidney Parker was about seven or eight and twenty, very good-looking, with a decided air of ease and fashion and a lively countenance.
From this description I have decided that Sidney was the possible hero, but what happened after that is uncertain!

As a beginning, the fragment is very satisfactory. There are some very interesting characters, and the possibility of an intrigue between Miss Brereton and Sir Edward. This is particularly interesting because it’s clear that he doesn’t have honourable intentions and it’s also clear that she’s quite aware of this and is determined not to be taken in. You get the impression that she is stringing him along, and given the fact that he doesn’t mean well by her, I have no problem with this at all!

Given the fact that Austen didn't have the chance to edit the fragment, it contains some of her acerbic wit. It was visible in her letters, and there are smidges of it here too. If she had been able to write Sanditon more, perhaps these delicious snippets would have been lost forever, but I enjoyed such lines as the following, which reminded me of the lines in Pride & Prejudice, where Elizabeth states, that one good sonnet will use up all of a person’s attraction for another:
I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a man of his description. He felt and he wrote and he forgot.
There was also such biting social commentary and ‘punmanship’ as:
The Miss Beauforts were soon satisfied with "the circle in which they moved in Sanditon," to use a proper phrase, for everybody must now "move in a circle" ~ to the prevalence of which rotatory motion is perhaps to be attributed the giddiness and false steps of many.
Also the chortleworthy one liners for the reader to enjoy:
The more wine I drink in moderation the better I am.
It’s such a shame that Austen lived such a short time. Who knows what would have happened in this story, and what else she may have written. It’s pointless to dwell on it though, we just need to be thankful for what she DID write.

Sanditon by Jane Austen, Completed by Another Lady (Marie Dobbs)
Have you read any Sanditon completions? The one I read was great, and I’d certainly recommend that (you can read my review of Sanditon, by Jane Austen and completed by Marie Dobbs here). The only shame is that you can’t get it on kindle. I got it second hand, which I think is the only way to get it at present, and currently the prices appear to be quite high, no doubt due to the adaptation. I’ve also read a short story by Abigail Bok based in Sanditon, which forms part of the Sunkissed: Effusions of Summer Anthology, but nothing else. While looking for links to add to this post I found a list of Sanditon continuations, but I haven’t read any more of them myself.

Let me know about any Sanditon recommendations that you have in the comments!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Giveaway Winner - Mrs Collins' Lover by Bronwen Chisholm

Book cover: Mrs Collins' Lover by Bronwen Chisholm
Recently Bronwen Chisholm joined me for an author interview during the blog tour to celebrate the launch of her new book, Mrs Collins' Lover. You can read the interview and read more about the book here.

Bronwen was kindly giving away an ebook of Mrs Collins' Lover to a commenter on the post. I selected the winner using a random number generator, and the winner was:

Sheila Majczan

Congratulations to you! I will drop you an email.

Thank you so much to everybody who stopped by to read the blog post and comment. Thanks to Bronwen for visiting the blog and providing a giveaway. I wish you all the best with Mrs Collins' Lover!

Monday, 19 August 2019

A Sister's Curse by Jayne Bamber - Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

I'm very happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to the blog today with her new Pride & Prejudice variation, A Sister's Curse. Jayne has joined us for an author interview, and she's also brought an excerpt of A Sister's Curse and a giveaway! Let's take a look at the blurb, and then we will have a chat with Jayne.

Book cover: A Sister's Curse by Jayne Bamber
Book Description

Two families from very different situations in life are linked forever after a fatal accident on the Great North Road. This tragedy breeds years of sorrow and misunderstanding as well as prosperity and even romance in an emotional coming of age tale not only for Elizabeth Bennet, but for her sisters, and even the adults who let them down.

For nearly two decades, Edward Gardiner is haunted by the difficult decisions he has made. Lady Anne Darcy must bear all the guilt and delight of being granted her heart’s desire... at a price. The Fitzwilliam family has motives and misgivings of their own as the Earl of Matlock tries to keep them all together, right the wrongs of the past, and pave the way for the next generation.

Fitzwilliam Darcy realizes too late what it means to be a brother, and is faced with a parts of his past he regrets, just as his desire to protect the family he loves leads him back to the woman he was destined to love the most… a woman who despises him.

Elizabeth Bennet struggles through the turbulence of adolescence, her judgement clouded by past trauma and the complicated dynamics of her extended family. Secrets are revealed and re-examined as she is forced to come to terms with the truth of her past and the promise of her future, in a family bound together by heartbreak.