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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Blog Tour: Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes - Review and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
Today the blog tour for Joana Starnes’ latest novel, ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’ stops by for me to share my review of the book with you. There’s also a chance for you to win an ebook of the story for yourself! Let me share the book blurb with you:

“When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to accept an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Will she continue to feel trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?”

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Book cover: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
Let me begin by saying that Joana Starnes is one of my favourite Austenesque authors. I have enjoyed every book of hers that I’ve read, so I was very keen to read her take on a marriage of convenience. This is a premise that can be very angsty, particularly if Darcy is unaware of Elizabeth’s negative feelings towards him.

Here, we join the story as Elizabeth is taking a turn about Rosings Park. Colonel Fitzwilliam is just about to spill the beans about Darcy’s ‘assistance’ to his friend and unwittingly turn Elizabeth entirely against Darcy when Darcy himself interrupts. He has come from Rosings, where Lady Catherine has been consulted by her clergyman as he has heard that Mr Bennet has suffered an apoplexy. Rather than inform Mr Bennet’s daughter, Mr Collins is thinking more of his inheritance and Darcy is rightly disgusted. Having such a clear indication of Mr Collins’ ‘Christian nature’ and how likely he is to show compassion to Mrs Bennet and her daughters, Mr Darcy overcomes his scruples. He is determined to save the woman he loves from having to live on the charity of her relatives and he offers Elizabeth to convey her back to her family and his hand in marriage to boot. This is an offer that Elizabeth is forced to consider:
‘She turned towards the window yet again, prey to the same wretched and unsettling thoughts. Not for her own sake, but for her family’s, she could not dismiss Mr Darcy’s startling offer out of hand. Refusing Mr Collins when she did was, with hindsight, unpardonable enough. How could she compound the self-centredness by refusing Mr Darcy too?’
Due to Mr Collins’ attitude this isn’t really a mercenary move, but a practical one, and Elizabeth is determined to be a good wife, as far as she is able, despite the provocation she faces from her tiresomely high handed betrothed. I couldn’t help but feel bad for both of them. I pitied Elizabeth for sacrificing her dreams and ideals to support her family, even though she was unsure of how honourable her future husband would be (bearing in mind that she hasn’t been aware of his true dealings with Wickham). Once he has her in his power, legally he could do pretty much what he liked and she would be powerless to stop him.
‘Serve and obey. A terrifying burden when one could not also love and honour. How could she sacrifice herself thus – leave her old life behind and subject her will to his? 
Conversely, when everything stood in balance, from the best possible care for her father to shelter for her sisters and mother, how could she not?
Obviously, I felt huge pity for Darcy as well. It was painful to consider how a man of his pride would feel if he knew that the woman he adored had agreed to marry him even though she could scarcely stand him. It was particularly poignant as this Darcy is just so delicious. He is high-handed, but that’s mostly because he is used to managing his own affairs. Elizabeth is at first over-sensitive to his efforts, interpreting everything as slightingly as possible, but soon, despite herself, she becomes aware that Mr Darcy is more complex than she first gave him credit for.
‘Elizabeth had no glance to spare for her cousin either. Instead, her eyes were fixed on her betrothed – the gentleman whom no one could vex with impunity. A gentleman who had just faced her foe with all the fierce strength of an avenging angel.’
On the other hand, Darcy hasn’t been through the ‘Hunsfordisation’ of canon; he thinks slightingly of Elizabeth’s most beloved relations. Aside from the current worry of her father’s illness, Elizabeth also has the spectre of the future to fear:
‘The unconcealed contempt for her relations would be followed by contempt for her. And, before long, resentment. He would resent her for attracting him against his will, against his better judgement. How had she not seen the writing on the wall before accepting him and condemning herself to a fate no better than her mother’s?’
I thought there were some excellent points explored in this story, as Darcy has some pretty unpalatable faults in amongst his undoubtedly good qualities. I was a little surprised at the small amount of tension and conflict in the first two thirds of the book; considering the circumstances I would have thought there may have been more. Most of the angst related to the reader’s knowledge of the true circumstances rather than issues between the couple. When the real angst hits the story, it does so with considerable force, and is really quite painful. I was confident that there would be a happy ending but I had no idea how it could be brought about!

Joana Starnes stories don’t usually have sex scenes, but there are some here. They are not salacious, but instead illustrate the changing relationship between the couple. I would also say that they are not particularly detailed, so people who prefer to avoid such scenes may be safe reading these.

I very much enjoyed reading this story and I would certainly recommend it. It gets a 4½ star rating from me!

4.5 star read


Author Joana Starnes
About the author:

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Joana Starnes is the author of:
  • 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
They are available on all Amazon sites.

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.com

Books by Joana Starnes at Amazon.co.uk

You can connect with Joana Starnes on Facebook, her websiteTwitter, or visit ‘All Roads Lead to Pemberley’ on Facebook, for places, events and titbits that have inspired her novels.

Buy Links for 'Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter' - US / UK

Book cover: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
Giveaway time!

Joana is kindly offering to give away an ebook of ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’ to a reader here! To enter, just comment on this post by the end of the day on 29 November. This giveaway is open internationally. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.

Remember, as this is a blog tour there are other opportunities to learn more about the book, with excerpts, guest posts, other reviews and more chances to win an the e-book. See below for details:

Blog Tour: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
17 November / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
18 November / Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
19 November / Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
20 November / A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway
21 November / Margie's Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
22 November / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
23 November / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
24 November / Happy Thanksgiving
25 November / So Little Time... So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway
26 November Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway
27 November / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway
28 November/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway 
1 December / My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

2 December / Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

My thanks go to Joana Starnes for providing me with a hugely enjoyable book to review, and to Claudine of JustJane1813 for arranging the blog tour and allowing me to take part. Thank you, ladies!

48 comments:

  1. I am excited to read how Elizabeth and Darcy will overcome their problems :) I'd probably read this in one sitting haha

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    1. So glad to hear that Ceri's wonderful review caught your eye, Laurie, and I hope you'll like the story. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

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    2. I read it in one sitting, Laurie, aside from 5 minutes making a cuppa mid book :)

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  2. The long build up is just going to make the confrontation worse, - can't wait. I admit that I tend to skip any sex scenes hoping that I don't miss anything important

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Great to hear you're looking forward to the confrontation and I hope it won't disappoint. A wink and a nudge about 'the scenes' - I think you'll be safe if you miss about 1 page in Chapter 7 (around 25% on Kindle). There's nothing explicit before then (and hardly anything after), the emphasis being on the fact that she's nervous and he's an eminently decent man and very much in love. Best of luck in the giveaway and I hope you'll like the story.

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    2. Hi Vesper. What Joana says is certainly true. I only mentioned the sex scenes because I know some readers will choose to avoid reading a book which has them, and these are not detailed so I think you'd probably be safe reading them. The emphasis is very much on the emotion rather than anything else. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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  3. This story sounds so good. Can't wait to read.

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    1. Great to hear that! Many thanks and good luck!

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    2. I hope you enjoy it, Darcybennett!

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  4. The more I read about this book the more I want to dive into it! Great review, Ceri!

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. So glad you heard good things about it and that you also stopped by to read Ceri's wonderful review, Maria! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part :)

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    2. Thank you Maria! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  5. Thank you, Ceri, for this amazing and ever so detailed review, I'm so happy that you liked the book!! I was biting my nails because I knew that too much angst isn't your cup of tea and when angst hits here, it does hit pretty hard.

    I'm hugely honoured to be one of your favourite Austenesque authors, it's ever so kind of you to add me to that special list! Many thanks again for the wonderful welcome!

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    1. You're welcome, Joana! I very much enjoyed the book, and you have written so many that I've really rated highly that you certainly deserve your place as one of my favourite Austenesque authors!

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  6. Have read 75% of this book.
    He knows and she knows that he knows and unfortunately I don't know how Joana is going to give a HEA to ODC!
    Oh,the angst!! I'll have no nail left although my box of tissues is intact!!

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    1. Thanks, Mary, for reading the book and for stopping by to leave this lovely comment that got me giggling (BAD me!!!).

      Your poor nails, but great to know about the tissues :D Hope you'll be closer to their HEA by this evening ;)

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    2. Aha, the angst-juggernaut has hit! It's a whopper when it comes!

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  7. What an excellent review of a wonderful book, Ceri. Just enought to tempt, without giving away much in the way of spoilers.

    Vesper, I don't think you need to worry over much about the scenes in Darcy and Elizabeth's bedroom. It's all very tasteful and there's nothing explicit in them.

    P.S. As I've already read MBDD, please don't enter me in the giveaway.

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    1. Same as yours, Anji, it was a truly wonderful review!! Thanks EVER so much, lovely ladies, I'm so happy you liked the book. So kind of you to stop by, Anji, and reassure Vesper too :) Hugs and all the best!

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    2. Thank you for your kind words, Anji! I try very hard not to include spoilers but I still want to give a flavour of the book, so it's tricky sometimes. I am always glad to know if I've managed it!

      I completely agree with what you've said about the sex scenes, very tasteful.

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  8. Thank you, Ceri, for your thoughtful and enthusiastic review. I love the places in the text that you highlighted in your review. Great points too!

    I am thrilled you enjoyed this book by Joana and thank you so much for supporting this blog tour.

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    1. A fabulous review!! I loved the choice of quotes too, they pinpointed all the main issues, and as Anji said, it was so wonderfully detailed without spoilers (which is always SO hard to do!!)

      Huge thanks to you both for this amazing book launch!!

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    2. Thank you both, for your lovely comments. I was pleased to take part, thank you for arranging it!

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  9. this sounds like another wonderful book by Joana!

    denise

    dholcomb1 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. So glad that Ceri's great review made you think so, Denise! I hope you'll like the book. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Aw, it really was, Denise!

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  10. I love marriage of convenience plots particularly when the author takes the development slowly and hits on the troubles can come from such a marriage. Sounds like she did it well.

    Well-thought review, Ceri.

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    1. Forgot my email and glad for the giveaway opportunity:
      sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    2. Thanks for stopping by to read Ceri's wonderful review, Sophia Rose! I love marriage of convenience plots as well, it's so moving to imagine them treading on eggshells around each other and ever so likely to misunderstand each other's reasons and words. Hope you'll like this story too. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

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    3. Thank you, Sophia! I hope you enjoy it when you read it :)

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  11. Oh the tension conveyed in your review Ceri! Looking forward to diving into this book! Joana certainly knows how to build the angst! Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. A pleasure, Carole :) I'm so happy you liked Ceri's review, it was truly wonderful. Best of luck in the giveaway and I hope you'll like the book.

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    2. Thank you, Carole! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  12. Again, just dropping in to say how I loved this book and hope everyone reads it.

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    1. Thanks EVER so much for your wonderful words and your support, Sheila! You're so kind and I'm so happy that you loved the book.

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    2. So kind of you to drop in to give a commendation for this book Sheila! It's one I'd certainly recommend too.

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  13. Getting more curious about this story with every stop :)

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    1. Great to hear that, Kirsten :) Please check out the other blog tour posts, each have their own giveaway. I hope you'll enjoy the excerpts and the upcoming exclusive vignette. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

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    2. Thanks Kirsten. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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  14. Wonderful review. I am curious to see how this plays out.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to read Ceri's wonderful review, Becky, and I hope you'll like the full story. Best of luck in the giveaway!

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    2. That's one of the things I enjoy about the Austenesque genre. I have read marriage of convenience ones before, but each author has a slightly different take on it, and I'm always curious to see how they differ.

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  15. What a wonderful review, Ceri!!
    And congrats on another fantastic book, Joana ;).
    ~Marilyn Brant

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    1. Thanks ever so much for the wonderful words, Marilyn, and for stopping by to read Ceri's great review. You're always SO kind!

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    2. Thank you so much for your comment, Marilyn, I suspect I enjoyed it as much as Joana :)

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  16. Sounds like a lovely book, I'm looking forward to reading it! I love early marriage scenarios, as well as angsty stories :-)

    I can be contacted at:
    adidi678 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thank you, so glad to hear that! I hope you'll like this one as well. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for stopping by to read Ceri's lovely review.

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