Saturday, 4 June 2016

Blog Tour - The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James - Review

Blog Tour: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James Today the blog tour for 'The Elizabeth Papers' drops by for my review. Read on to see what I thought of the book and to find out more about the stops on the blog tour.

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Jenetta James’ ‘The Elizabeth Papers’ grips you from the opening page of the prologue – it starts with a letter from Fitzwilliam Darcy, written in his old age. Mr Darcy is desirous of setting up a trust which will only benefit his female descendents, stating as his reasons that a family of females may prove vulnerable, like Elizabeth’s family would have, had he and Bingley not supported them. Having a family of five daughters himself, in addition to his son, Darcy wants to ensure that his future female descendents will be safe. There is a hint in Darcy’s letter at some sort of mystery...
‘It is to be an entail in favour of the women in my family. It is in my mind to use the estate at Rosschapel for this purpose. You and I, alone in the world, understand the significance of that.’
We then flashback to Elizabeth’s diary – here she is a matron of five years’ standing and a mother of two girls so far, and pregnant again. Her marriage is very happy, but she is keen to provide Mr Darcy with an heir:
“If I knew some manner of magic that would assure Mr. Darcy of a son to join his two daughters, then I would do it.”
Another switch in time and viewpoint follows, to London in 2014 where we meet Evie Pemberton, an aspiring artist, and a man currently unknown to her, Charlie Haywood. Charlie runs a successful private detective agency and is not much bothered about the morals of a situation, just finding the facts and getting his fee. A new client wants him to look into the youngest Darcy daughter, Victoria, who, it is rumoured, wasn’t Mr. Darcy’s daughter at all. If this daughter’s female descendents (Evie and her sister Clemmie) are removed as beneficiaries of the trust, the amount received by the other beneficiaries will increase, and it’s a substantial sum.

So, Charlie begins his investigation – it seems as though there may be some papers relating to Elizabeth Darcy that may contain some sort of explanation, but where are they, what is the truth surrounding Victoria Darcy and can Charlie find out without completely alienating Evie?

The jumping around in time sounds confusing but I didn’t find it so; most of the jumps were between Elizabeth’s diary, as she deals with family pressures and worries more and more about what the lack of an heir might do to her marriage, and 2014, where Charlie begins to realise the potential implications of his work and his growing attraction to Evie.

We follow both sides, the past detailing events as they unfold and the present time taking steps in the investigation and I thought the two different parts flowed together surprisingly well. I found Elizabeth’s side of things was very plausible, because her most vital responsibility, as mistress of an estate is to provide an heir – I really felt for her. As time goes on the elephant in the room just gets bigger and bigger.
‘Although I have made merry at her expense all my life, I am now contrite. For I have never understood my mama better than I understand her now.’
The jumps to the future provided a real change of pace and there was a minor character that I particularly enjoyed. Charlie’s cousin, Peter, seemed like lovely bloke but he had a real knack for putting his foot in it!

The story was unusual in construction because not only was it set in two different periods but it’s also more than one genre – mystery and the most beautiful romance. The truth of the mystery wasn’t that hard for the reader to predict because there are indicators in Elizabeth’s diary before the events happen, but seeing how the modern sleuths fare made for an exciting read. There was more emotion in the historical part including an event that was written so touchingly that it made me cry! I thought the author captured Elizabeth’s character believably, which is important, as sections of the book are written from her perspective. I liked the opportunity to catch up with many of the main characters from ‘Pride & Prejudice’ – all of the Bennet sisters and their parents appear plus Colonel Fitzwilliam and even Caroline Bingley! I also really enjoyed the original storyline. For those who prefer to avoid sex and bad language there was only one instance of swearing that I noticed and no detailed sex scenes. I would certainly recommend this book and I’d rate it as a 4½ star read.

4½ star read

*I received an e-ARC of this book for my honest review courtesy of Meryton Press as part of the blog tour, organised by Leatherbound Reviews


Book cover: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James
Book Blurb

“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.” —Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an emerging and independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy.

How could Evie know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

Author Jenetta James
Author Bio:
Jenetta James is the nom de plume of a lawyer, writer, mother 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 practises 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. Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is her first novel.

Links:

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As this is a blog tour there are opportunities to read other reviews and learn more about the book and the author. Attached to some of these posts are giveaways, with four paperbacks and four e-books in total being given away. Check out the links below for more info as the posts go live! 

Blog Tour: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James
The Elizabeth Papers Blog Tour Schedule:
 30 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
31 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
1 June: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
1 June: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
2 June: Review at From Pemberley to Milton
3 June: Guest Post at Moonlight Reader
4 June: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
5 June: Review at Just Jane 1813
6 June: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
7 June: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
8 June: Character Interview at More Agreeably Engaged
9 June: Author Interview at Savvy Verse & Wit
10 June: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
10 June: Excerpt & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
12 June: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
13 June: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars

33 comments:

  1. Lovely review Ceri! I loved this book as well and I'm glad you did too. It was ironic to see Elizabeth sympathize with Mrs. Bennet; perhaps we all turn a bit into our mothers!

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    1. It was ironic wasn't it, and Elizabeth's daughters would have been far better off than Mrs Bennet's. In P&P I know Elizabeth understands why her mother needed a son, but here she feels some of the emotion for herself too.

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    2. Thank you ladies. Several readers have picked up on the slightly softer approach to Mrs. Bennet. I see that as an inevitable result of Elizabeth maturing and having a husband and family of her own...

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    3. I think that becoming a mother makes you see your own mother differently, walking a mile in another's shoes and all that, and Elizabeth is walking in them far more closely than she would have hoped to here!

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  2. So glad you liked it!
    (Hmmmm....I think you must be referring to the word B*st*rd...as far as the one swearing outburst.)

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    1. I think I missed that one, Christina! The one I was referring to was s**t. I'm not sure whether you class that as a swear word in the US, but it is one here.

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  3. This seems like it will be such an exciting read. I eagerly look forward to it.

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    1. It was exciting, Ginna. The past part was exciting because the truth of circumstances was being unfolded to you, and the present part was exciting because it was fast paced and a mystery. I hope you enjoy the story when you read it.

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    2. I'm thrilled that you use the word exciting Ceri - that was what I was aiming for but it is very hard to judge when you are doing the writing. Thank you:-)

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  4. This story sounds interesting!

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    1. I thought it was an interesting and exciting read, Kirsten, and I hope you do you when you read it :)

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    2. I hope that you enjoy it too Kirsten & thank you for commenting

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  5. It was lovely getting to relive my favorite parts of the book through this review, Ceri! I was especially touched with Elizabeth's conciliatory thoughts towards her mother. I've always found Mrs. Bennet to be a bit of an unsung hero, no matter how annoying or crass she can be. So glad you liked this wonderful book as much as I did!

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    1. Yes to that Beau... see my comment above. Thanks for your support:-)

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    2. Hi there Beau! I completely agree with you with regard to Mrs Bennet. I have a lot of sympathy for her. She is not purposely annoying or embarrassing, and her obsession with getting her girls married is understandable as it's the only way of securing their futures.

      Glad you enjoyed the book too :)

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  6. I thought this one was delightful, too. Yes, the transitions between story lines was smooth and easy to follow.

    Nice review, Ceri!

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    1. Thanks Sophia! I enjoyed reading your review too :)

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  7. The more read about this book the more I want to read it

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Vesper!

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    2. Hope that you enjoy it - good luck in the giveaway!

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  8. Carole in Canada5 June 2016 at 14:55

    Exciting, intriguing, enthralling are words that come to mind when reading your review! Looking forward to holding the book in my hands!

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    1. Hi Carole. Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

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    2. Me too Carole, I'm so excited for "paperback day"!

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  9. Interesting discussion here. Loved this book and will reread it.

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    1. Hi Sheila, thanks for dropping by. Wanting to reread is excellent praise for a book when there are so many out there we want to read!

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    2. That is such a lovely thing to read Sheila, thank you

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  10. So glad to see you enjoyed it. I am reading it now and am loving it!

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    1. Thank you Anna,glad to read that:-)

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    2. Glad you're enjoying the book too, Anna!

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  11. Question to the author: Do you think there's any way you could ever run out of ideas for books?

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    1. Hi - that is another excellent question - I'm not necessarily sure of the answer though! I think that stories come along in an unplanned way - sometimes several ideas at once and then none for a while. I don't know whether one day I may just stop having ideas - maybe but hope not:-) Thank you for your fascinating question and good luck in the giveaway, Jenetta

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    2. Thanks for the question Mai T, and thanks for the answer, Jenetta!

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