Friday, 25 January 2019

Through a Different Lens by Riana Everly - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book cover: Through a Different Lens by Riana Everly
Today I'm welcoming Riana Everly back to Babblings of a Bookworm. Riana has a new story out , Through A Different Lens, which explores as a variation a concept which I saw mooted as an explanation of Mr Darcy's behaviour some years ago.  Riana brings us a guest post and excerpt, plus an ebook giveaway. I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to her.

Book Description

A tale of second glances and second chances

Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy since he insulted her at a village dance several months before. But an unexpected conversation with a startling turn of phrase suddenly causes her to reassess everything she thought she knew about the infuriating and humourless gentleman.

Elizabeth knows something of people who think differently. Her young cousin in London has always been different from his siblings and peers, and Lizzy sees something of this boy’s unusual traits in the stern gentleman from Derbyshire whose presence has plagued her for so long. She approaches him in friendship and the two begin a tentative association. But is Lizzy's new understanding of Mr. Darcy accurate? Or was she right the first time? And will the unwelcome appearance of a nemesis from the past destroy any hopes they might have of happiness?

Warning: This variation of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice depicts our hero as having a neurological difference. If you need your hero to be perfect, this might not be the book for you. But if you like adorable children, annoying birds, and wonderful dogs, and are open to a character who struggles to make his way in a world he does not quite comprehend, with a heroine who can see the man behind his challenges, and who celebrates his strengths while supporting his weaknesses, then read on! You, too, can learn what wonders can be found when we see the familiar through a different lens.

This is a full-length novel of about 100,000 words.

Guest Post from Riana Everly - Lenses and Prisms and Crystals, Oh My!

Thanks so much for inviting me here today as I talk about my new book, Through a Different Lens.  In this book, two of my characters sit on the autism spectrum and they see the world rather differently than do most people. In that light, I thought I’d talk a bit about, well, light, and how we see it, and how it reflects on Mr. Darcy.

It is a common trait – although by no means universal – for people with Asperger’s Syndrome to have rather particular and intensive interests in specific topics. When my son was little, he was into dinosaurs. Now, many children find dinosaurs fascinating. I, for one, desperately wanted a pet brontosaurus until my parents convinced me its head would break the roof of our house. But his fascination went beyond that. He read books and memorized facts and could list hundreds of dinosaur-age creatures, and then tell you in which book and on what page he had read about them. When he got older, his interests changed, and in high school he became fascinated by ancient Aramaic grammar.  (He is a bit of a linguist, so perhaps this fascination was somewhat useful. But I digress!)

In Through a Different Lens, Mr. Darcy has some particular interests as well, one of which is the study of lenses and related items such as prisms and crystals. He has an entire workshop in his house dedicated to his study and collection, and it is there that he teaches Lizzy’s cousin and his friend to make the periscopes they use for a game in the park. It is also there that he keeps the crystal butterfly he had commissioned for his sister, and which entrances Elizabeth so much.

It’s easy, really, to understand Darcy’s fascination with these optical tools. They can literally change the way you see the world! Anybody who wears corrective glasses can appreciate the value of these simple slips of glass, for, by bending light and changing the focal point, they allow us to see clearly where otherwise the world would be a blur.

The earliest lenses were polished pieces of natural crystal, which could be used to magnify images or concentrate sunlight to start a flame. The oldest such lens that has been found is the Assyrian Nimrud lens, which dates back to about 750BCE. Similar lenses have been found in Babylonia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. It was not until the Middle Ages, however, when people began crafting lenses from glass. Reading stones were similar to these ancient magnifying crystals, and were used to enlarge the appearance of script on a page. Eyeglasses were first developed in Italy in the late thirteenth century, when two reading stones were set in frames that balanced on the bridge of the nose.

Prisms are related to lenses but work differently. Rather than focussing light, the angled flat surfaces of prisms splinter white light into its component wavelengths, resulting in rainbows. Prisms can also be used to reflect light and to shift the visual field. Where Darcy is fascinated by such theoretical details as refractive indices and dispersion, Elizabeth is entranced by the beauty of the refracted light—the rainbows. Lead crystal is often associated with prisms because of its refractive index, which is significantly higher than that of regular glass. In everyday language, that means it sparkles and shines and sets off little rainbows more than glass.

The gem of Darcy’s collection, at least as far as Elizabeth is concerned, is the crystal butterfly he had made by an artisan in Ireland. Ireland had become the centre of European lead crystal production in the late eighteenth century, after the British government granted it free trade in glass without taxation. Waterford crystal is still world-renowned for its quality and beauty. It only makes sense, then, that he would go to the experts in commissioning a birthday present for his sister.

Excerpt from Through a Different Lens

Book cover: Through a Different Lens by Riana Everly
“I am, for some reason, much less interested in the physical properties of prisms,” the gentleman explained to his guest, “but even I must admit they are quite beautiful. Whilst I do not study them as I do lenses, they are very closely related in the realms of optical science, and they can be most useful when putting the lenses to practical use. However, I admit that my interest seldom extends to the useful! I am content to study my lenses for their own sakes. Nevertheless, I have a reasonable collection of these prisms, and I hope you will find some interest in them.”

He opened the glass doors to a large cabinet that had been built to the specifications of the room, for it filled the space exactly and stood to its advantage in the full rays of the afternoon sun. On a set of shelves sat a bewildering collection of strangely shaped pieces of what looked like glass. Most were triangular or pyramidal of some description; others were the familiar tear-drop shapes found in the chandeliers of the finest homes. As the bright light streamed through the clear window, each beam filtered through the dazzling variety of glass and crystal and splintered into a thousand colours of bright rainbow light. The effect was marvellous and Elizabeth felt she had wandered into a magical realm.

As she gaped at the spectacular array of prisms, Mr. Darcy picked up one of the prisms and passed the precisely cut shape to Elizabeth. She held it in her hands and examined it. It was small—little more than an inch long—with a triangular base but square sides, and completely clear. “It’s lovely,” she whispered, watching ripples of light and odd half-reflections in the small facets of the item.

“Hold it to the window,” Mr. Darcy suggested, “turn it so the light from the sun meets one of the flat edges…. Thus!”

And as her hand tilted the small object to just the right angle, a tiny, perfect rainbow appeared on the wall opposite. “Oh!” she gasped in delight. Whilst the array of splintered light in the cabinet was stunning, how much more exquisite was this one, singular and perfect spectrum upon the far wall, created for, and by, her. She raised her other hand and held it immediately behind the prism and laughed as the rainbow danced upon her own flesh.

“Beautiful, is it not?” he smiled in return. “Look at this one,” he continued, handing her another, and then another, all of which she examined with delight as she turned them and tilted them in the sunlight, cooing at the variety of rainbows they produced on the dark walls and other surfaces of the room.


“You have surely heard of the atelier in Waterford in Ireland, where some of the best cut glass and crystal are produced.” Elizabeth nodded, unsure how this topic related to the previous one, if at all. “I travelled there two years ago, and commissioned a work for my sister, for her eighteenth birthday. It has recently arrived, and I have it safely at Pemberley, where I shall keep it for the next two years until she reaches that age, but I wish to show you something else.” Elizabeth screwed her forehead in confusion, but said nothing. There must be a purpose to this diversion.

Mr. Darcy moved to the shelves at the far end of the cabinet, and opening the glass doors, removed a small wooden box from the top shelf. He handed it to Elizabeth. “Open it,” he whispered.

Her hands nervously unhooked the hinged clasp, and she raised the polished lid to reveal a velvet interior, housing a small crystalline butterfly. “You may pick it up,” he assured her. “I trust you to be most careful. I should not show it to you were I not to have full faith in that.”
And there, in her hands, sat the most exquisite ornament she had ever seen. Each detail of the butterfly was a clean edge, cut from the clearest crystal she had ever seen. “It is most marvellous!” She hardly heard her voice as she spoke. “Truly, wonderfully marvellous!” 

Holding it now to the glass, she watched in rapturous delight as the multifaceted figurine 
captured the light streaming into the window and sent it exploding in a hundred different directions, lighting the butterfly from within and sending a myriad of tiny rainbows around the room. Even the boys looked up from their tasks to marvel at the display.

“The artisans used the same technique to cut the glass as they use in their drinking and display vessels. The idea for a figurine was my sister’s although she does not know this exists. It was merely a musing of hers one evening. This particular piece was the first, small attempt on the part of the artist, to see whether he could complete the larger project. The one wing is chipped—there,” he pointed to a minute irregularity in the edge, “and so it is not perfect. But it is too beautiful to discard, and so I keep it here to admire when I wish. It shows to its greatest advantage now, I see, being held by one as lovely as you.”

Elizabeth did not know what to say and blushed before finding her tongue. “You seem to have acquired a facility with words, Mr. Darcy,” she attempted to tease lightly.

“Perhaps I merely needed the right inspiration.” 

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Author Bio

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana's second novel, The Assistant, was awarded the Jane Austen Award by Jane Austen Readers' Awards, and her debut novel, Teaching Eliza, was listed on a list of 2017 Favourite Books on the blog Savvy Verse & Wit. For both of these honours, she is delighted and very proud!

You can follow Riana's blog at, and join her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!

Buy Links

Through a Different Lens is available to buy now!

Giveaway Time

Book cover: Through a Different Lens by Riana Everly
Riana Everly is giving away five copies of Through a Different Lens to readers world-wide! Just sign up through the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

If you prefer not to use Rafflecopter, send Riana an email message ( or leave a note on her Facebook page, and she will add you to the list for the draw.

Entries close at midnight Eastern time (GMT-5) on February 10, 2019, so the winners have something to read on Valentine’s Day.

Blog Tour Schedule

There are other stops on the blog tour where you can learn more about the book. Check them out here:

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  1. I love this excerpt. Darcy admitting his admiration of Elizabeth and she understanding more about him. I do like the way she recognised the difference between how he seemed and how he actually was.

    1. Thank you!
      He's definitely somebody she gets to know through his deeds rather than his words. This glimpse into his workshop is a glimpse into his mind, and she's not too upset at what she sees there!

  2. This sounds SO intriguing! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    1. When you read it, I hope you enjoy it! Good luck in the draw.

  3. I do love that there are characters with other abilities represented in this P&P variation. Definitely want to read it.

    1. There have always been people with different abilities, even if they weren't diagnosed. We're seeing more and more of this reflected in fiction, which is great. I didn't write this with a "mission" in mind, but if telling this one story of this one person opens the door a little more, well, that's okay too! :-)

  4. This sounds so very interesting. I am looking forward to reading it.

    1. I really enjoyed getting to know this Mr. Darcy. I do hope you love the story.

  5. I read this on a fan fiction site and would love to own my own copy in order to reread and post a review. Thanks for a chance to win.

  6. What a beautiful cover and what a delightful excerpt. I was captured immediately. How amazing... I'll never see crystal or prisms in the same way again. It makes me want my own crystal butterfly. Thanks Ceri for hosting and thanks to Riana for the generous giveaway. I have this on my wish list and would love a copy.

    1. I can't take credit for the cover, but I'll give a shout out to my amazing cover artist, Mae Phillips, for her beautiful work.
      I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and may there be rainbows wherever you go! Good luck in the draw.

  7. Oh,what a lovely excerpt! What a very interesting premise and I think the title quite clever!!
    Best of luck with your book,Riana.
    Ceri,thank you for hosting.

    1. Thank you so much! Having a child on the spectrum, I saw so many of those traits in Mr. Darcy. He sees the world through a different lens, but Lizzy learns to see him differently as well. I had a lot of fun with this book.

  8. This is an interesting twist and I think Matthew Macfadyen’s approach opened the possibilities to a lot of interpretations. Good luck with the release!