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Monday, 26 February 2018

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity, By A. D’Orazio - Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway

Blog Tour: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'Orazio
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Amy D'Orazio back to Babblings of a Bookworm with the blog tour for her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. I was lucky enough to reading the book for this stop, and I was really excited to do this, because I've spent many happy reading hours enjoying the stories she shared on the A Happy Assembly site (login required). Amy was a contributing author to the popular anthology Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues which I haven't read yet, but am looking forward to. She has also published a full length novel, The Best Part of Love, which I haven't yet been brave enough to read! I was reading it in installments online, and the angst levels were too much for me wait for the next chapter! I was a little concerned that this would be an angsty read as well because I'm such a wimp, but I reasoned that it would be easier if I had access to all the chapters and could find out what happened immediately!

I'll start off by sharing the blurb with you and then we will move on to my review of the book. There's also an opportunity to win a copy.

Book Description:
Book Cover: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'Orazio

Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?

Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him.

But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given.

More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept.

When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?

My Review

Book Cover: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'OrazioA Short Period of Exquisite Felicity picks up about a year after the events of P&P,  but things have not ended as they did in the original book - instead of staying behind at the inn at Lambton to read Jane Bennet's letter, Elizabeth went for a walk with her uncle and aunt and bumped into Mr Darcy. There she had a chance to apologise for her previous behaviour towards him, he had a chance to renew his addresses to her, and so began a short period of exquisite felicity, 9 days to be precise, where Elizabeth and Darcy were betrothed. No announcements were made, as Mr Bennet's consent was yet to be sought. Then Elizabeth sent Darcy a letter breaking off the engagement. No explanation was proffered by her, or sought by him, regarding why the engagement was broken. Darcy has spent the last year trying to get over his broken heart, and trying to understand why.
'It astonished him to think it had been above a year since he had last seen her. A year since he had heard her laughter and witnessed the sparkle in her eyes. A year since he had felt the lightness of her touch on is arm and—dare he think of it?—felt the warmth of her breath against his mouth and tasted the sweetness of her lips.
A year since she had savagely ripped his still-beating heard from his chest and stamped it beneath her dainty little foot.'
The past year has seen many changes in the Bennet family too - Mr Bennet has died, and three of his daughters have married. Jane is now Mrs Bingley, Lydia is Mrs Wickham, and Mary married the parson who replaced Mr Collins at Hunsford, plus both Jane and Lydia have become mothers. Lizzy has lived with a more distant relation for the best part of the year, at a spa town, as she has been quite ill during the last year.

Darcy joins the Bingleys' house party initially believing that Elizabeth is still away. Once he realises that she will be joining the party he is torn between never wishing to see her again and feeling compelled to do so. He needs to know why she broke off the engagement but shrinks from finding out in case the answer to that question may hurt him even further. Is a short period of exquisite felicity all the happiness he can ever expect in life? To forgive her seems as impossible as ever loving another.
'The notion of seeing her might put him at sixes and sevens, might fill him with despair and sorrow, and might rob him of sleep. But still, the alternative—to go away and not see her—was far, far worse.'
I felt like this was a book of two halves, in one respect. The first half was quite slow moving. We see thoughts and feelings mostly from Darcy's perspective, but we are also privy to Elizabeth's and both of them are so heartbroken. They are fearful of being hated by the other, he is angry, she is sorrowful, and they are both in such pain. I felt that this part of the book went on for too long once they were able to be on civil terms, particularly as so much could have been cleared up just by having a simple conversation. You just wanted them to hurry up and speak to one another, and the only thing that prevented them from doing so was that neither took the opportunity to do so.

After the halfway point the story really took off for me. There were some plot points that I foresaw, but there were some twists that I wasn't expecting, and I love that in a story, particularly as due to the nature of JAFF, a lot of stories have similarities.

Some of the characters weren't as I expected either. You so often see them presented in the same  ways that you come to anticipate particular behaviour, yet, if you go back to Austen's characters, so many of them are lightly sketched, so that there is scope for them to be different. A particular character was moved quite a way from their usual JAFF persona which may not please everybody - it's not a character I am particularly fond of from Austen's book, so it didn't bother me at all!

I liked that Elizabeth learned something about her own character - she is a very private person in P&P, and this is something that is considered here. In P&P Mr Darcy is also very private, but he opens himself up to Elizabeth, making himself vulnerable. Elizabeth keeps things to herself until far later in the book.

A minor character I particularly enjoyed was the elder Fitzwilliam brother. We never meet him in P&P, though of course we know he exists as Colonel Fitzwilliam is the second son, so this is an opportunity for an author to have free rein in creating the character. Lord Saye is so funny, and came up with some very Oscar Wilde style quotes.
'Saye cleared his throat. "This is neither proper enough for polite society nor scandalous enough to interest me, and therefore, I beg you would stop."
I would recommend this book to JAFF lovers, particularly those who are fond of angst. Although the level of angst isn't that deep, it goes on for quite a while. I would make sure you have planned in some reading time because I wouldn't have wanted to break off during the angsty bit and pick up later. I started the book early enough in the evening that I could read right through

Once through the angst, there were some plotting twists and turns which you could either try to fathom out, or just sit back and see where the author takes the story. I enjoyed the fresh take on the characters away from the norm, the betrayal that I only partly suspected, the magnifying effect of character flaws on events. A particular highlight of this book for me was the dialogue, it's often witty and sparkling. I would have liked a bit more romantic page time between Elizabeth and Darcy, though, as a lot of their time together is spent very uncertainly.

There are no sex scenes in the book but the book isn't prim and proper and there are references to bawdy behaviour, though not by E&D.

For me, this was a four star read. I look forward to reading more of Amy D'Orazio's works as they are published.

4 star read


Buy Links:

The book is available to buy now, in kindle and paperback. - Amazon US / Amazon UK. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelves.

Author Amy D'Orazio
Amy D’Orazio’s Author Biography:

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Contact Info:  

• Website • Goodreads Author Page • Twitter • Facebook • Pinterest     

Giveaway Time!

Book Cover: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'Orazio8 eBooks of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on February 21 – until midnight ET on March 8, 2018.

Terms and conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.


Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.



Blog Tour Schedule

Blog Tour: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'Orazio

February 21 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway
February 22 From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway
February 23 Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & Giveaway
February 24 My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
February 25 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway
February 26 Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway
February 27 Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
February 28 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway
March 1 So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
March 3 Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview
March 4 Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway
March 5 Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post & Giveaway

March 6 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

42 comments:

  1. At least Mary didn't marry Collins but why a parson and why the one at Hunsford

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    1. Good question Vesper! You'll find out when you read it :)

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    2. In the memoir written about Austen by her family Kitty gets a clergyman and Mary marries Uncle Phillips' clerk. I can see Mary marrying a clergyman, at least she won't have read Fordyce in vain!

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  2. You really should read The Best Part Of Love Ceri. I am no lover of angst but I did read it. However as you said for this book you need to keep reading apart from pauses to have a good cry!!!
    As for this one, I'm looking forward to it as Amy has assured me that although I will need tissues for the first half of the book, it does get better.
    I'm curious to see which character is so different!

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    1. Thank you Glynis! And yes tissues for sure although if you've made it through Persuasion its really much the same trajectory! I think we just all feel it a little more when its D&E!
      Thank you for coming by!

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    2. The problem with TBPoL is that I thought at one point my heart would literally stop. I'm sure it would be easier not having to wait days between chapters but I am not brave enough yet.

      There were 3 characters who I felt were quite different from how they were usually portrayed in JAFF, but none of them were necessarily different from the outline of their characters that JA sketched. I enjoyed seeing them in a different light.

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  3. Amy is the master of angst! Fortunately, I love it, so I love Amy's stories! I'm so glad you mentioned Oscar Wilde - that's always who I think of with Lord Saye. He is so witty and funny and I love how Amy uses him in her books.

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    1. As soon as Ceri said Oscar Wilde I immediately thought of Rupert Everett in Importance of Being Earnest! I know many think of him when they read about Saye!

      Thanks Gail!

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    2. Hi Gail. The humour of Saye really reminded me of Oscar Wilde, and I love his work, so it was very enjoyable to have an injection of that type of humour. I will imagine Rupert Everett as Saye the next time I read that character!

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  4. I have read all of Amy's books. There are quite a few unpublished ones I found. I read this one twice, once unpublished and then when it was published. I posted a review, also. I do love angst.

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    1. Me too Sheila! Its like a salted caramel where the salty brings out the sweet!

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    2. Hi Sheila. Sometimes I like angst and sometimes I don't, it depends on what has caused the angst, how believable I find it and how frightened I am of things turning out badly! A book without enough angst is pretty flat. So it's a hard balance to achieve. :)

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  5. Thank you for the review. Lord Sayre sounds like a great character and I look forward to finding out which character has quite a different persona from other jaff works.

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    1. Hi Darcybennett. I found 3 to be quite different, but I think that some readers might have more of a problem with one character than the others :)

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  6. Great review,Ceri. I'm looking forward to reading it as I loved The Best Part of Love.
    Cheers for sharing your thoughts!
    Hood folks going to plan with your new extension! 🏠

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    1. Thanks Mary! My house extension has had the start deferred for a week due to the knock on effect of the snow, so I am not stressed... yet. Thanks for the good wishes :)

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  7. Thanks for your review, Ceri! I’m glad you enjoyed the story so much. Amy certainly packs a JAFF story with emotive scenes and wonderful character development!!

    Thanks for supporting this tour!

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    1. I must echo Claudine and say thanks for having us Ceri!

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    2. Hi Claudine, thanks for commenting. I loved to see character development, as there is quite a bit of that in P&P but some JAFF stories don't have much at all.

      Thank you so much for organising the tour, I was pleased to take part.

      And thank you to Amy for firstly writing the book, and coming on tour with it :)

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  8. Great review Ceri. And I love lord Saye in all Amy's books.

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    1. Thank you Kate! He definitely has a spot in my heart too!

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    2. I would have liked a bit more Saye... not for the sake of the story but just because I liked him!

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  9. Thanks for the review Ceri - I agree about Saye's wit and also appreciate your observation that many of the peripheral characters in canon have the potential to be toyed with more in JAFF because Austen didn't develop them herself. Amy has used that to her advantage in this story, and to very good effect. I have to admit I love a bit of soul-searching angst from ODC, for which I mostly blame Austen, since she got me into it. From the moment she snatched Elizabeth away from Pemberley just before Darcy was about to propose again and sent Lydia off to Brighton with Wickham, I've been a bit of a sucker to see just how many hurdles ODB will jump to get his girl in the end. Thank God Amy doesn't make us wait 8 years for the HEA in this story like Austen did in Persuasion! LOL! Best of luck with the launch Amy!

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment Jessie. You've hit the nail on the head there, one of the things I like in JAFF is some of the soul-searching of P&P. I agree about enjoying seeing them jumping hurdles to be together too - so romantic!

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  10. Thanks for hosting Ceri and Amy...I grabbed this book as soon as it launched. I couldn't help myself. I read it first as a WIP and had to have it. I loved this story. The surprises rocked my world and I could not believe the twists and turns this story took. I will say... I love Saye... I just adore him and he was the star of this show. He couldn't help himself. What would we do without Saye in this story? Don't ever lose him.

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    1. No worries there, I love my Saye almost as much (almost) as I love Darcy :)

      Thank you!!

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    2. Hi Jeanne. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I loved the twists and turns too. Sometimes I am happy to be able to foresee what will happen in a story, but it's also nice to be taken by surprise.

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  11. Lovely review, Ceri. I am looking forward to reading this and so thrilled to hear Lord Saye is in it! I do so love this character that Amy has created...Rupert Everett indeed!

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    1. And see in my head he's a blonde! This is why I stay vague on the physical descriptions, much better to let the reader come up with it!

      Thank you Carole!

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    2. Hi Carole, thanks for your commment. Because Saye reminded me of Oscar Wilde I imagined somebody looking like him. But I never mind upgrading my imaginations to a more attractive version so I'll think about Rupert next time!

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  12. You need to read The Best Part of Love! I am so looking forward to reading this new book.

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  13. As soon as someone mentions the "A-word", I know that a book is going to be my type of read! Thanks for a lovely review, Ceri and like you, I must get around to reading The Best Part of Love, which is part of my humungous TBR List. Lord Saye sounds like a brilliant new character. Often in Austenesque fiction, the Colonel's elder brother is written as an unsympathetic and/or dissipated character, so this makes a welcome change.

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    1. Haha! The a-word, that is great!
      Thank you Anji!

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    2. I enjoy seeing the elder Fitzwilliam brother as a likeable character - I think it's the chance for the author to have some fun and I was glad that Amy took it :)

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  14. Thank you for this post! I really like the cover with the red cape!
    I liked The best part of love and I would like to enjoy this new novel by Amy D'Orazio!

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    1. Hi Loren. I like the cover too. I hope you enjoy reading the book when you get to it :)

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  15. Thank you for sharing a detailed review of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity, Ceri. I really like it a lot that you drop hints about the plot but not spoilers. I look forward to reading this novel since there are other Janeites who give it a thumbs up as well.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Luthien, I always try not to include spoilers so I am happy to think I have succeeded!

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