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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Mistress by Sophie Turner - Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Mistress by Sophie Turner
I am very pleased to be welcoming Sophie Turner to the blog again today. Sophie has visited previously with her series of books which starts with a sequel to 'Pride & Prejudice'. 'The Constant Love' series has two books currently available, but Sophie's latest book is a stand-alone volume. Again, it's a sequel of sorts to 'Pride & Prejudice' in that it takes place after that timeframe, but here Elizabeth and Darcy didn't marry. Instead she married another. Meeting up some years later, Darcy thinks hopefully of a second chance at happiness, but Elizabeth is by no means keen to marry again.

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!

Book Cover: Mistress by Sophie Turner
Book Description

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.

Darcy and Bingley 1995 on Horseback
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.

Sophie Turner on horseback
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.”
Carriage Ride in Derbyshire
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
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!

Author Sophie Turner
Author Biography

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.

Book covers from Sophie Turner's 'A Constant Love' Series
Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.

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.

You can connect with Sophie Turner here:

• Facebook • Twitter • Sophie Turner’s Blog • Goodreads • Pinterest • Amazon •

Giveaway

Book cover: Mistress by Sophie Turner
Sophie is kindly giving away 2 ebooks of 'The Mistress' on each stop of the blog tour. To enter for your chance to win, leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Tuesday 4 April 2017. Leave your thoughts on the guest post, horses, or how you feel about Lizzy having married before (and since she's the current mistress of Longbourn, we can presume she made the sacrifice of marrying her cousin!).

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:

Blog Tour: Mistress by Sophie Turner
March 18 My Jane Austen Book Club - Launch Post & Giveaway
March 19 Of Pens & Pages - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
March 20 Margie’s Must Reads - Book Review & Giveaway
March 21 More Agreeably Engaged - Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 22 A Lady’s Imagination - Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 Just Jane 1813 - Guest Post & Giveaway
March 24 Diary of an Eccentric - Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 My Love for Jane Austen - Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 26 My Vices and Weaknesses - Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 So Little Time… - Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 28 Babblings of a Bookworm - Guest Post & Giveaway
March 29 From Pemberley to Milton - Vignette Post & Giveaway
Thank you to Sophie Turner for visiting us with this guest post and giveaway, and thanks too to Claudine from Just Jane 1813 for organising the blog tour!

68 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for being part of the blog tour and hosting me again here, Ceri! It's great to be back. :-)

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    1. It was lovely to have you here again Sophie!

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  2. I feel so badly for women who had to ride sidesaddle. I can't imagine how difficult that would have been. I keep thinking of Elizabeth's situation and was wondering as a widow of Mr. Collins with no children, is there another cousin that has now inherited Longbourn that kicks her out of her home. Perhaps, this is touched upon in the book, I can't wait to read!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, darcybennett! No big spoiler as it's covered pretty early on - the entail expired with Mr. Collins's generation, and any child, or failing a child, his wife, were in his will to inherit. So almost instantly, Elizabeth goes from having no freedom and no power to having both. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Entails are an interesting thing. They could last only a few generations so we don't know when the Longbourn entail would have run out.

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  3. If I had lived in that era, there's no way I would have been brave enough to ride sidesaddle. It would have been the carriage or my own two feet for me!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. LOL! I can't believe from all of the videos on YouTube that there are so many women who are doing it today...apparently it's made a bit of a comeback. I think I'd be willing to give it a try if I still had a horse I really trusted. But no jumping, thankyouverymuch. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Having broken my hip in the past anything lopsided scares me! That looks pretty uncomfortable.

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  4. I forgot about Chip. ;) Can't wait to read the final version.

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    1. Haha, yep, he's still in there! And after all of the concerns about the name, I discovered "chip" was already in use back then as in "chip off the old block," so it probably WAS a legit pony name back then. Thanks for your comment and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it alp :)

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  5. I have the same question as darcybennett about whether Mrs Collins is truly mistress of Longbourn now... looking forward to reading the story.

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    1. Thanks for your question, Miriam, and yes, she is - I had the entail expire with his generation. So Elizabeth went pretty much immediately from having no power and no freedom to having all of both. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. This sounds horrible but you'll know where I'm coming from -
      if you had to make an unwanted marriage in those days an early widowhood with an inheritance is the best outcome. Poor Lizzy!

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  6. Wow, what a lovely photo of you upon your horse. I did read this story, both as a WIP and as it was published and posted a review (5 stars). I loved it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sheila! It was fun to share a bit of my own background with horses. :-)

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    2. So glad you enjoyed the story, Sheila!

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  7. Ceri,I read this book recently and must confess to absolutely loving it!!! Darcy is such a gent,so kind,caring and considerate!! Oh!! Be still my beating heart!!! Highly recommended!!!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Mary! :-)

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    2. What wonderful praise, Mary!

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  8. LOL, a lot of talk about Lizzy and horses has been going around. I agree Sophie, I don't know how these women managed to ride sidesaddle. I believe one of the reasons for Elizabeth not being a horsewoman was lack of availability of a riding horse at Longbourn. I love JAFF stories with Darcy teaching her to ride or drive. :)

    Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for your generous giveaway, Sophie. :)

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    1. That's the thing that perplexes me, though. We know from Sense and Sensibility that it wouldn't have been appropriate for a young lady to have a riding horse without also having a groom who would have another riding horse to look after her. The sidesaddle, I think, was a bit part of that -- she would need assistance to get back on the horse if she needed to dismount. So if Jane rode to Netherfield, did a groom follow her? Was the groom who brought back the note? When were the two horses returned to Longbourn? And presumably the Bennets then have at least four horses, the two for the carriage/farm and then two riding horses. Unless they only had one riding horse that maybe Mr. Bennet used to visit his tenants and Jane rode occasionally, and they were no less worked up over letting Jane ride by herself to Netherfield than they were letting Elizabeth walk?

      This is why this whole thing makes me crazy trying to sort it out! Anyway, haha, thank you for your comment and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Oh yes, it makes me crazy too. ;)
      By the way, if you remember the opening scene in 'The Ideal Husband' movie, you can see that pretty ladies riding their horses on The Rotten Row were its main attraction.

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    3. I always assumed that too, that there weren't enough horses. Thanks for commenting Kate!

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  9. Thanks for a lovely and informative post Sophie. I also used to ride, but a back problem has put paid to that, sadly. Being a Brit, I've only ever ridden using a European style saddle as in your photo, but would have loved to had the chance to ride using a Western style one. Not sure if I'd like to have tried side-saddle though. It all looks a bit precarious to me!

    I read something, possibly on a blog somewhere, sometime in the not too distant past, about the use and purposes for which horses were intended. If my memory serves me correctly, it said that if horses were intended for dual purposes, such as use on a farm and for riding, then that was fine, but if a horse was purely intended as a riding animal then there was some sort of tax or duty to pay. If that was so, then maybe Longbourn's income wouldn't have been able to support enough horses for everyone to ride, plus that for a groom, or grooms, plus the grooms' wages. I hope I didn't dream that snippet up, by the way!

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    1. You're welcome, Anji! My knee was what was starting to go, after 10 years of riding. I still do it, but veeeery occasionally, like once every couple of years. I actually started out riding Western, but then I got a horse (the one in the photo) who turned out to be better at English, so I did more of that my last couple of years.

      What you said about the taxes sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't remember all of the details about it. They taxed so many things and so specifically back then! More factors to add to the mystery of Jane riding and Elizabeth not...

      Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Ok, Anji, what you've written is incomprehensible to me, Western v European saddles?! I have no clue what the difference is, having ridden a horse once in my life only :)

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    3. Ceri, if you imagine a saddle that you'd see on most horses here in the UK, and also in Sophie's photo of herself on horseback, that's a European saddle. Then in you think of the type of saddle you see in any Western movie, that's a Western style saddle. I've been told they're a lot more comfortable and you feel more secure riding using one of those.

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    4. Hi again! I was just catching up on my blog post notifications and saw this post by Regina Jeffers on her blog Every Woman Dreams. It talks about many of the taxes that were imposed during the 18th and 19th centuries and actually mentions the ones to do with horses and carriages. I'm so glad I hadn't dreamt that one up! Here's the link to her blog post:

      https://reginajeffers.blog/2017/04/14/tax-day-during-the-regency/#comment-13197

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  10. Who wouldn't want to read this? Looks delish!

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    1. Aww, thanks, Christina! And good luck in the giveaway.

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    2. It looks like an interesting read doesn't it Christina!

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  11. I got to stay with my aunt up at her mountain farm home each summer and she kept a few horses (and a mean donkey). I enjoyed working around them and exercising them, but I wasn't really a horsewoman. I can't imagine trying to do it sidesaddle at more than a walk.

    Love that your stories bring in this aspect and I had that curious thought a time or two about how Elizabeth didn't ride, but Jane did.

    Look forward to the rest of the story. :)

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    1. I think that's one of the things about them -- they're beautiful and noble, but also very large and not the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom, so there is that aspect of danger, particularly riding sidesaddle. And if they're mean! Thanks for your comment, Sophia, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks for commenting Sophia :)

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  12. Thank you for great post with videos! Susan Oakes who broke two records with her sidesaddle riding is magnificent, but such sport is reckless in my opinion. Every time she and her horse disappeared for a moment behind the brick wall before a jump I was left spechless with the only thought "Impossible!"
    It is a little bit surprising that Elizabeth Bennet is no horse-woman. I think that with her spirit and character she would have made a good one.I agree with the possible reasons why Jane Austen could have chosen Elizabeth to be a walker. And in my opinion being a simple walker gave Elizabeth more freedom of movement - no dependence on grooms or horses, no need for permission but pure opportunity for full solitude, if desired.

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    1. That video really boggled my mind, oloore. The most positive aspect of it, I thought, is that the horse definitely had to want to be making those jumps, because she couldn't urge it on with legs or spurs like you would otherwise. But I don't know how she OR the horse kept their balance!

      And I agree, it feels weird to me that a spirited, independent young woman like Elizabeth doesn't ride. I think part of it is that if a character like her was in a Georgette Heyer novel, she's probably not only ride, she'd also drive a high-perch phaeton! But I like the theory that being a simple walker gives Elizabeth more freedom of movement -- she can just walk out whenever she wants. She definitely feels that limit in "Mistress" when there are times when she can't. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Hi oloore. I think being a walker definitely gave Elizabeth more freedom and chances for solitude but it's always seemed a little surprising that she didn't enjoy horseriding.

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  13. Great post! When I think about riding sidesaddle, I think about the possible accidents, because it is a crazy way to ride!
    Anyway, thank you for the giveaway! I am really curious about this book! ;)

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    1. Hahaha, yeah, and it would have been so much more dangerous with those long skirts on that could get caught in the tack. Scary! Thanks for your comment, Daniela, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. It's a really frightening thought to think of riding sidesaddle fast isn't it, Daniela!

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  14. I have read your story and have given it 5 stars. Thank you for the pictures. I am a visual person and this helps when reading a story. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Shelley! I like doing these guest posts both for readers who are curious about the books, but also for those who have already read and want more context and visuals, so it's great to hear those helped.

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    2. It's great to hear that you enjoyed the story Shelley!

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  15. Interesting post. I always love stories that have the lady rebel and refuse to ride sidesaddle. I can't imagine it being comfortable or safe so I simply see them as smart.lol. Thank you for the giveaway. I am looking forward to reading this one!

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    1. Becky, haha, yeah, I enjoy a rebelling lady, and this seems a good thing to rebel over. Thanks for your comment, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. The only thing with refusing to ride sidesaddle is wondering how you'd manage your clothes. You couldn't possibly show some (gasp!) ankle! I know that split skirts could be worn but I have the impression that they were a US thing, and not in use in the UK.

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  16. Didn't think of her marrying her cousin - but also it could be that Jane's husband or Elizabeth's had the money to purchase it back so not sure. Looks very good though, cannot wait to see how her being married before plays out and how much it takes to win her heart - if it's because she is bitter or because she just doesn't want or need to be married! Maybe she hated marriage and that is what he has to overcome. Awesome! Thanks :) Erika Messer, hopefuldelights1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Erika! In this case, the simplest explanation is, unfortunately for Elizabeth, the accurate one. If you follow the links to the other stops on the blog tour, you can get a bit more context (and more chances to win!).

      And Darcy definitely does has his work cut out for him in winning her! Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Hi Erika. Thanks for stopping by :) I think, for many women, widowhood was the safest status. You were not under the control of your family, and you were able to own your own property and have your own money. Getting married again was a serious risk as anything you owned would become the property of your husband, or you might lose your income, if it was only until you remarried. We are so much better off these days!

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  17. Carole in Canada29 March 2017 at 19:58

    I had to laugh at the pony comment! Love your photo of you on your horse! My daughter has been riding since she was 6 and she is now 35 and owns 3 horses and a pony! She rode in a fun costume competition when she was about 12 sidesaddle. She took 2nd but said it was very difficult controlling a horse not use it either! I have ridden a little so I don't think I would even attempt other than dressing up in the gorgeous habit and posing for a photo!

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    1. Haha, thanks, Carole! I think it's something you'd have to really practice at a lot to feel comfortable. I sort of went down the YouTube rabbit hole watching sidesaddle videos for awhile and there are a lot of women who do it today and even hunt sidesaddle. I'd try it if I still had my own horse that I really trusted, but otherwise, thanksnothanks. Thanks for your comment and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I don't think I'd be brave enough to sit on a horse, Carole, leave alone sidesaddle!

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  18. I love horses! And I’m a novice rider, but I cannot imagine riding sidesaddle!!

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    1. Even for someone who has ridden quite a lot, it still looks very challenging. Thank you for your comment, NovElla, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I think it would take such a leap of faith to try sidesaddle.

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  19. I hadn't really noticed that you do include horse plotlines in many of your stories - I suppose it just felt natural that you should, given how important horses were in the Regency!
    Julia

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    1. Yeah, I think that makes it less noticeable. I think it's more noticeable for me because it's one thing I don't have to research. Thanks for your comment, Julia, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks Julia. I hadn't noticed the horse plotlines either.

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  20. I dream that one day I can ride a horse all by myself. But I live in the city and it is an expensive hobby if I decide to learn how to ride. You are lucky, Sophie, to have experience this when you were young.

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    1. Yes, I was very fortunate...we lived in a suburban area and there were stables and farms not too far out. Now that I live in a more urban area it would definitely be a much more expensive hobby to pick back up. Thanks for your comment, Lúthien84, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. That's a good point, Luthien, it can be expensive in urban areas to pursue this hobby.

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  21. Congratulations on this newest book! I am not crazy about Lizzy already being married. It feels so wrong. But i just read one with both of them widowed. I like that it appears Darcy has not given up hope.

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    1. Thank you, Patty! I think a lot of people who have not liked Lizzy being widowed have still liked this one. I think it does create a lot of possibilities for the building of their relationship beyond if neither of them is married, and that's what people have responded to. But I agree, there were times when I was writing it when it just felt so WRONG that they had not married in the first place. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I am with you, Patty, I don't like either of them having married (what if their spouse didn't die?!), though it's an interesting direction to consider, as it changes circumstances, particularly if Lizzy is now a woman of independent means.

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  22. I read this twice; once as a WIP and then when it was released. I loved it. The author was gracious enough to connect me on the Internet with an illustration of a certain position when I could not picture it in my mind. I did post a review. I loved this story and Darcy is just such a wonderful gentle love.

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    1. So good to hear that you enjoyed it, Sheila! I know we have similar taste so I always like to hear that you've rated a read highly.

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  23. Just to let you know I've posted the winners here: https://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/mistress-by-sophie-turner-giveaway.html

    And emailed you too, so please get back to me ASAP if you'd like to claim your prize. Thanks everybody for posting!

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