Let me share the blurb with you, and then we can move on to a guest post that Sophie Turner has for us to enjoy. There is also a giveaway opportunity; 2 ebooks of 'Mistress' are available for you to win. Read on for more details!
One night, to decide his entire life's happiness.
Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.
Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.
Readers of Sophie Turner's more chaste Constant Love series should be aware that this novel contains decidedly adult content at certain parts of the story.
Guest Post from Sophie Turner - Horses
Good morning, Ceri. Thank you for inviting me to visit your wonderful blog to spend some time with you and your readers. I am really excited to share this post today, which discusses an important aspect of my new story, “Mistress.” Riding on horseback has been a favorite pastime of mine, and today I am exploring the role of horses in Jane Austen’s stories, as well in my new release. I hope you and your readers enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries does not open in a drawing-room, but instead in a field, with two gentlemen galloping along on horseback. For the miniseries, this established from the outset that this was going to be an Austen adaptation unlike any that had come before. For the gentlemen, it established that they did things outside of paying calls in drawing-rooms and dancing at balls; they were men, participating in a skilled, physical activity, and our first glimpse of Elizabeth Bennet is her, looking on with what is perhaps admiration on her countenance.
It’s safe to say Elizabeth wasn’t the only one admiring Darcy’s seat on a horse. I suspect a good portion of the viewing audience was, too!
Horses during that time were the only means of transportation (excepting feet, of course), whether ridden or pulling a carriage. They were a means of displaying wealth, through the quality of one’s horses, and a fast horse or a particularly sporty carriage was the equivalent of the sports car during the Regency. So I think it very likely that men like Darcy and Bingley were exactly as they’re portrayed here, sportsmen who enjoyed a good horse and a good gallop.
I rode myself for more than 10 years, and I think it’s for both of these reasons that I always find myself returning to horse plotlines in my stories. It’s a subject I already know a lot about, so it’s nice to have something that I don’t have to do a tremendous amount of research on.
Me, in much younger days!
And there’s also that weird little mystery of Pride and Prejudice that I just can’t leave alone: why is it that Jane rides, and Elizabeth does not?
Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, was determined to go to her, though the carriage was not to be had; and as she was no horse-woman, walking was her only alternative. She declared her resolution.It’s possible Austen merely did this to further the plot, so Elizabeth could show up at Netherfield with her petticoat six inches deep in mud and her eyes brightened by the exercise. After all, not all of the Bennet ladies play the pianoforte, and somehow I don’t feel compelled to keep returning to this. But being able to ride seems like a very useful thing for young women living on a country estate, particularly if the carriage can’t always be had.
It’s also possible this was intentional. In 1804, Austen’s good friend Anne Brydges Lefroy died after falling from a runaway horse. Riding, for women, was more dangerous than it was for men, for they of course had to ride sidesaddle, and their skirts often became caught up in the tack during a fall, resulting in their being dragged along the ground.
Still, though, many women rode, and even hunted. It took a LOT of guts, I think. Even after riding for a long time, my reaction to watching something like this is: absolutely not! Number one in the guts department was the Marchioness of Salisbury, who was still hunting at the age of eighty, when she was nearly blind. A groom rode with her and would shout, "Damn you, my lady, jump!" when she approached a hedge.
I think it’s safe to say that Elizabeth is never going to be a Marchioness of Salisbury. But I do generally feel compelled to have Darcy teach her about horses – it’s a good opportunity for them to spend time together, with the added benefit that it’s an activity with an aspect of physicality to it, as we see in Mistress:
Resigning herself at least to this, Elizabeth came over to where they stood, hesitantly reaching out to stroke the pony’s nose. She erred, in doing this, although with Chip it did not matter.
“Approach him a little from the side, next time,” Darcy said, gently laying his hand on her shoulder, and encouraging her to move to a better location, one which did happen to be nearer him. He ignored the thrill such closeness brought him, and continued, “We have yet to find that which will startle him, so it is of little matter to Chip, but it is good to get into the habit. Horses cannot see just before their noses, so for you to touch them without their seeing your hand approach is just like someone sneaking up behind you or I, and tapping us on the back.”
Heading out for a drive at Red House Carriage Museum
Because I’d already had Darcy teach her how to ride in A Constant Love, I decided to go with driving in Mistress, which ended up being a better fit for the story. I’ve never driven before myself, but had opportunity to sit beside the driver during a ride at the Red House Carriage Museum in Derbyshire, and paid close attention to what he was doing, as well as taking a close look at all of the carriages, considering what it would have been like to ride in one, or drive.
Siamese phaeton, at the Red House Carriage Museum
For those who can’t make it to Derbyshire straightaway for a carriage ride, this YouTube video gives a good view of what it would look like to drive a pony like Chip (at least Elizabeth and Darcy did not have to worry about oncoming traffic!). For those wondering if Darcy’s education in driving aids in his courtship, well, you’ll just have to read Mistress!
Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.
She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.
She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.
What if you can't wait for a giveaway and you need to get the book sooner? Well, luckily for you impatient readers, the book is available to buy. You can get it here: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA. Sophie has also made a Spotify playlist to accompany 'Mistress'.
We are late on in the blog tour, which means that there are quite a number of posts for you to enjoy! Here is the schedule: