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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Hope for Mr Darcy by Jeanna Ellsworth - Character Interview and Giveaway

Book cover: Hope for Mr Darcy by Jeanna Ellsworth
Today I have a visitor to the blog, Jeanna Ellsworth Lake. I've blogged about a few of her books previously - Mr Darcy's Promise and Refine Like Silver. Jeanna is currently working on the 'Hope' series, which have a theme of finding hope where there appears to be none. The first book, 'Hope for Mr Darcy' is out now, and will be followed by 'Hope for Fitzwilliam' and 'Hope for Georgiana' later this year.  Elizabeth from 'Hope for Mr Darcy' has dropped by for a chat and there's a chance to win a copy of the book too. Read on for more details.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Holidays With Jane - Summer of Love - Guest Post by Author Jessica Grey and Giveaway

You may have heard of the 'Holidays with Jane' series of anthologies - each book contains six modern versions of Jane Austen's major novels, each story is written by a different author and they are tied together by a theme, so the first book is Christmas Cheer, the second Spring Fever, third is Trick or Sweet and this latest book is a summer-themed book. I was really excited to see that the latest 'Holidays with Jane' was coming out this month and so I invited one of the authors, Jessica Grey, along to Babblings of a Bookworm to introduce us to the book with a guest post. Jessica brings along a book giveaway too. Read on for more details!


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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Winners - Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
Jane Odiwe recently stopped by with a guest post and excerpt of her latest book, 'Jane Austen Lives Again'. I also had the pleasure of reading the book, which I reviewed here. Jane was  very kindly offering a giveaway prize - a paperback copy of the book for two lucky commenters on the posts. Earlier this evening, I selected two winners at random, and they are:

Gabriella Parisi

and

Monica

Congratulations, ladies! I will be in touch with you. Thank you so much to everybody who commented on the posts, and huge thanks to Jane Odiwe for the guest post and giveaway!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet by Caitlin Williams - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet by Caitlin Williams
The blog tour for Caitlin Williams' 'The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet' stops here today with a post about the education a young lady may have been expected to receive in Austen's time. Read on to become educated on this topic yourself, and find out more about the blog tour and how you can win an e-book of the book.

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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Winner - Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes

Book Cover: Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes
Recently Joana Starnes joined me with an excerpt of her new book, 'Miss Darcy's Companion'. Joana was giving away an e-book of the story to a commenter on the guest post or my review of the book. Today a winner was selected at random. Mary was selected as the winner, but she has purchased a copy of the book. So I just drew another winner,

Bookluver88!

You were selected as the winner. I have your contact details form a previous giveaway and I will be in touch.

Thank you so much to everybody who commented on the blog posts, and of course, huge thanks to Joana Starnes for visiting and providing a giveaway!

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Change of Legacies – A Pride & Prejudice Continuation by Sophie Turner - My Review

A while ago, Sophie Turner dropped in with a guest post relating to treatment of some of the minor characters in her book 'A Change of Legacies'. You can read the guest post here. I've been meaning to share my review of the book with you and that's what I'm bringing you today.

The book is the second in a series of sequels to 'Pride and Prejudice'. Here's the blurb:

Book cover: A Change of Legacies by Sophie Turner
Book Two of the Constant Love Series

The preparations for Elizabeth’s birth and the beginning of Georgiana’s married life do not go as smoothly as either of them would wish, and they must each consider an alternate legacy for Pemberley, as they encounter opposite sides of the same “what if?”

Meanwhile, for the first time, Mary Bennet finds herself romantically interested in a man, but will her own character and his family get in her way?

A story of love and family; the sequel to A Constant Love. 

This is book 2 in the ‘Constant Love’ series. The first book in the series, ‘A Constant Love’, is a sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘A Change of Legacies’ picks up not long after the end of the previous book. Since this book is a sequel, there may be some spoilers for the first book of the series, but I have tried to keep things as spoiler free as possible. You can see my review of the first book here.

In book 1 we saw more of Kitty and Georgiana, as those two ladies were launched into society by the new Mrs Darcy. I was particularly keen to catch up with Kitty, because she was just lovely. I was less fond of Georgiana and the first part of ‘A Change of Legacies’ particularly focuses on her. Since this is a family saga-type story, I was expecting to follow the various characters through the next stages of their lives and instead this book took a different turn. Instead of presenting just the events we get some speculation on what could have happened if past events had unfolded differently. Georgiana is happy in her life, but she has begun to have dreams featuring George Wickham; specifically, she has recurring nightmares that instead of confessing her elopement plan to her brother while she was at Ramsgate, instead she allowed Wickham to convince her to elope. We all know from ‘Pride & Prejudice that Wickham’s chief object was unquestionably Georgiana’s fortune and so, once the knot is tied he would have no need to be kind to her - in Georgiana’s dreams, he is not kind to her at all – she is merely a captive, held while Wickham tries to negotiate for her dowry. This alternate dream storyline provides an interesting reminder of the rights of women in the period (i.e. very limited). Personally, I think that if Wickham had succeeded in eloping with Georgiana he’d have been careful to keep the charm up, show her off in public and try and force Darcy to accept him through gritted teeth as a brother and an equal, but this is Georgiana’s subconscious at play, not mine!

Although this is generally a saga-style story and therefore not filled with overly-dramatic events, the dream events are quite dramatic and these, coupled with another circumstance (I’m trying not to spoil anything here, hence the vagueness!) led me to be concerned enough about the fate of one of the characters that I had to peep ahead to check that the book wouldn’t be taking a sinister turn! Georgiana confides in Elizabeth of the dreams, resulting in Elizabeth having dreams of her own where she imagines the difference a successful elopement for Georgiana might have had on her past with Darcy.

By this time, Georgiana has joined the family at Pemberley. The Bingleys are staying with the Darcys while the former’s new manor house is being constructed. It’s quite a fair size house party, often including further sisters, which gives us a chance to catch up with them, and see how far they have come. Unfortunately, we don’t get a great deal of Kitty time (or Catherine, as she now prefers to be known). However, we get to see Mary, and how she is changing. Through the influence of a family connection of Georgiana’s, Mary comes to see herself afresh, and it’s a somewhat painful experience:
“His idea of being a Christian is in thinking himself more pious than anyone else, and entirely without sin. There is no kindness and no generosity in his Christianity, and certainly no forgiveness; he shall cast the first stone, every time.” 
His words cut through Mary painfully, for she recognised in them the way she had thought of herself all these years.
Poor Mary! But although it’s unpleasant to look at yourself and find something wanting, realising that is an important step in changing and Mary continues to become a more pleasant companion. It’s good to see her come into flower.

My favourite characters are always Darcy and Elizabeth, and we get some time with them here. There are some lovely interchanges between them:
“Fitzwilliam Darcy, sometimes I regret that I taught you to teaze so well,” she said. 
“You could not help it, even if you tried. Someone who is by nature so good at teasing must necessarily teach those close to her, so long as they are receptive to the teaching.”
If you like a saga-style story and enjoyed the first book in the series I should think you’d enjoy this read too. At the end of the previous book there were some story threads which hadn’t been resolved, but this is not the case with this book so there aren’t many leads on where the story will head in the next instalment, but when the time comes I’ll be interested to see where Sophie Turner will take her characters next. I’d rate this as a 4 star read.

4 star read

*I was provided with an e-book of this story by the author for my honest review.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe - My Review

This week I have been joined by Jane Odiwe, author of 'Jane Austen Lives Again', who gave us a guest post and excerpt from the book. Jane is also offering an international paperback giveaway to two lucky readers here. You can gain one entry to the giveaway by commenting on Jane's post, and another by posting on this review post.

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
My review:
Many an Austen fan has grieved the fact that Austen died at the age of only 41. We will never know if she had more wonderful stories to enrich our reading time, and if she’d outlived her sister Cassandra there may have also been a far larger selection of letters for us to get to know Austen better, since Cassandra destroyed a large proportion of them. But what if, through pioneering medical treatment (involving immortal jellyfish!), Jane didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil in 1817 but instead wakes alive and well in 1925! In appearance, she is about 21, but she has her previous memories of her life. Jane has had a short time to catch up with the major changes in the world, advances in technology and so-on. She isn’t that worried about feeling like a fish out of water, because as a studier of character she believes that people will still have the same motivations more than a hundred years after her time:
‘Though the people she saw were dressed in the fashions of the day, Jane was sure they were still the same in essentials. Human nature didn’t alter, even if their clothes, their hairstyles and their use of slang changed. People still loved and hated, won and lost, struggled, succeeded or sank.’
Unfortunately, due to the financial costs of her medical treatment being far higher than Cassandra could have anticipated, Jane is forced to get a job and finds a placement with a family. She believes at first that she has been employed as a governess to five small girls, however, upon her arrival at the house she becomes acquainted with the truth, which is that all her ‘charges’ are in fact, grown women, and some of them are (in appearance at least) older than Jane! Jane’s task is to help direct them. There are 6 offspring in all; the elder three, Will, Alice and Mae, are from Lord Milton’s first marriage, and the younger three, Beth, Emily and Cora are from his second marriage, to the very attractive Lady Milton. Jane is only employed to assist Lady Milton in managing the girls. Lady Milton is very keen to marry them off if possible, but she is somewhat despairing of the elder two girls at least; Alice is stuck in the fashions of years ago and Mae is hostile towards her stepmother. Lady Milton’s own daughters are bringing her no comfort in their unmanageability either. Knowing that there were five sisters immediately sent my mind towards similarities with the sisters Bennet, but this is not the case; instead, when we get to know the girls it’s easy to see that they all resemble Austen characters, but not all from the same novel. You can see characters from at least four of Austen’s novels in these girls, and a nod to a fifth.

It’s extremely entertaining to see events played out that echo events from Austen’s novels, and it’s also fun to see that sometimes characters play different roles, so the same character can be in essentials a character from ‘Persuasion’ but also play a part that happened in ‘Emma’, for example. I would add a word of caution here, because while it’s entertaining for an Austen aficionado to look for nods to Austen’s other works, if you are unfamiliar with them the large cast of characters may prove really confusing, because there are many characters who are introduced close together, and it might be hard to remember the state of relations between them all.

Jane Austen Writing by Jane Odiwe
'Jane Austen at Her Desk' by Jane Odiwe
Jane Odiwe is a very skilled artist; her pictures are just wonderful, and she really paints a picture with words here. The descriptive passages are just marvellous, described so visually that it was easy to imagine them, and this was an aspect of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed:
‘They were ascending out of the valley when she saw her first glimpse of the sea, a slice of lavender ribbon under an oppressive sky, and as the wreathed along the cliff top road she saw the greater expanse below, white horses crashing down on the beach, and a strip of sand stretching along an endless coastline.’
Jane Austen finds a place in this interesting family, and while learning about them, comes to terms with some things she finds out about herself. She is going through a huge adjustment in settling in a new area with new people and added to this she has the huge upheaval of settling in to a new time, with the change in societal norms. Through this, Jane still manages to retain her humour:
‘She felt quite shocked that she wasn’t at all horrified by anything he’d learnt that morning and began to feel her morals must be already corrupted.’
I would think that the hardest part in being transplanted to another time would be leaving your loved ones behind. We all know how hard it is when a loved one dies; how it hits you that you’ll never be able to tell them about something that’s happened, how you miss just the everyday interactions and knowing that they are there for you and care about you. By essentially travelling in time, Jane has outlived all of her loved ones and acquaintances. It must be akin to everybody you know suddenly dying. I can’t imagine how displaced that would make you feel. Jane doesn’t really dwell on this, but sometimes thoughts of the loss of the life she has left behind understandably overwhelm her:
‘It was silly to be so stirred up and emotional at thought of the past, but she was overwhelmed by a sudden desire for all that she had ever known, and for all those she had loved. She longed to share a conversation with someone who spoke the same language in the cadences and timbre of her youth.’
The only downside of this book for me is that, with such a large cast of characters, so many of whom are destined to end up together, none of the romances have a lot of page time individually. I was particularly interested in Alice’s story, even more than Jane’s. These stories were more fleshed out than the others, some of which were only briefly touched on. I also felt that the pace of the story increased towards the end. However, conversely, I enjoyed how many nods there were to other Austen books, and took great pleasure in spotting each of the story threads. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was excellently entertaining, and I’d rate it as a 4½ star read. I’d recommend it to any Austen fan, but particularly those who also enjoy stories set in the early part of the twentieth century.

4.5 star read

*I received an ebook of this story from the author for my honest review.

Giveaway time!

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
As I said at the beginning of the post, Jane Odiwe is offering to give away a paperback copy of 'Jane Austen Lives Again' to two readers here. To enter, just leave a comment on the giveaway post by the end of the day on Monday 20 June, and for a bonus entry, comment on this post too. This giveaway is open internationally. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you're the winner, so you don't miss out on your prize.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I have the honour of welcoming Jane Odiwe to the blog with a guest post, excerpt and giveaway. Jane has written numerous Austen-inspired books featuring Austen's characters and people from Austen's life. Ms Odiwe's latest book, 'Jane Austen Lives Again' has a highly unusual premise, seeing Jane Austen waking alive and well in 1925. Here's the blurb:

Book cover: Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe
When Jane Austen’s doctor discovers the secret to immortal life in 1817, she thinks her wishes have come true. But when she wakes up from the dead, a penniless Miss Austen finds herself in 1925, having to become a governess to five girls of an eccentric and bohemian family at the crumbling Manberley Castle by the sea. Jane soon finds she’s caught up in the dramas of every family member, but she loves nothing more than a challenge, and resolves on putting them in order. If only she can stop herself from falling in love, she can change the lives of them all!

Inspired by Jane Austen’s wonderful novels and written in the tradition of classic books like Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Jane Austen Lives Again is an amusing fairy story for grown-ups.

Now let me hand over to Jane Odiwe for a post about why she enjoys writing about Jane Austen as a character. Jane is very kindly offering a paperback giveaway to two commenters here - read on for more details!

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes - My Review

Blog Tour: Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes
Earlier this week Joana Starnes joined me with a guest post and excerpt of her new book, ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’ plus a giveaway of an e-book of ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’ to a commenter on the post. I was so fortunate as to read the book this week. Read on to see what I thought of ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’, and for the opportunity to gain a bonus entry to the e-book giveaway.

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Friday, 10 June 2016

Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Miss Darcy's Companion

I have a visitor to the blog today - Joana Starnes is joining me with a guest post and a giveaway of her latest book, 'Miss Darcy's Companion'. I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Joana for her post.

Book cover: Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes
Blurb:
Miss Georgiana Darcy is need of a companion, and she would much rather not have Mrs Younge. The recently bereaved Miss Elizabeth Bennet is in need of a position. When she accepts the one Mr Darcy offers, she finds herself in his near-constant company and gets to know him at his best. Not as he would present himself to strangers in some remote corner of Hertfordshire, but as his nearest and dearest know him. An excellent brother, landlord, master. A wonderful man, noble, kind – and impossibly handsome.

So who falls in love first? What of Mr Wickham and his dastardly ploys? And how is a lady’s companion ever to have a future with one who could marry into the best houses in the land?

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Monday, 6 June 2016

The Trouble to Check Her by Maria Grace - My Review

Book cover: The Trouble to Check Her by Maria Grace
A while ago Maria Grace visited Babblings of a Bookworm with a guest post and a really lovely excerpt of 'The Trouble to Check Her', a book which focuses on Lydia Bennet. Read on to see what I thought of the book.

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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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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Planned Reading for June 2016

Hello everybody! It's starting to feel like summer here. Obviously, with my colouring, summer is mainly about finding shade to hide in, but I still like it, because it's nice to read outside for a change :) I have a really busy month lined up here; I hope you'll be able to join me for at least some of the following: