Friday, 12 July 2019

The Colonel by Beau North - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: The Colonel by Beau North
Today we're welcoming Beau North to Babblings of a Bookworm with her new book, The Colonel. This is a sequel to Longbourn's Songbird, a post-WWII Pride & Prejudice-inspired story. I loved that book and you can see my review of it here.

Beau has also contributed to a number of Austenesque anthologies in addition to the Groundhog-day themed The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, co-written with Brooke West. I enjoyed that one too!

Book Cover: Longbourn's Songbird by Beau North
I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to share an excerpt of The Colonel with you. First we'll have a look at the blurb and then hand over to Beau for the excerpt. There's also a giveaway opportunity for you at the end :) Be warned, though, that this is a sequel, therefore there may be spoilers for Longbourn's Songbird in the book description and excerpt.

Book Cover: The Colonel by Beau North
Book Description - THE COLONEL

“This isn’t a love story, but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night. This is the story of my father and the woman he spent most of his adult life loving, a woman who was never really his.” 

After letting his chance at love with Elizabeth Bennet slip through his fingers a second time, Richard Fitzwilliam loses himself in women, whiskey, and war as he tries to forget what he left behind. Putting oceans, continents, and decades between himself and his heartbreak, Richard seeks his future, only to be pulled back to the past again and again.

Shaken by recent events, Ben Fitzwilliam has left everything familiar behind, walking away from his relationship, his Manhattan apartment, his career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to return to his family home in Annapolis, Maryland. Struggling to navigate a world that makes less and less sense, Ben finds purpose where he least expected it: in his father’s private letters. With the help of Annapolis PD Officer Keisha Barnes, Ben attempts to uncover his father’s secrets, heal the rifts those secrets caused, and find the answers he seeks on far shores.

Spanning decades, continents, wars abroad and wars at home, The Colonel is the anticipated companion to Longbourn’s Songbird.

Book Cover: The Colonel by Beau North
Excerpt from The Colonel with Introduction from its Author Beau North

Thank you, readers at Babblings of a Bookworm for being here and thank you Ceri for hosting me today!

Like with Longbourn’s Songbird, I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t just a variation on Pride & Prejudice, but a family saga that dove deeper into the lives of the side characters. In Longbourn’s Songbird, the reader gets a glimpse into the hearts and minds of Jane Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, even Caroline Bingley. One of the characters I was dying to explore more was Georgiana Darcy. I wanted to see her a little older, a little wiser, and thanks to the guidance of her new sister-in-law Elizabeth, a little more confident.

I’ve always seen Darcy’s sister as a very lonely figure, coming of age in the shadow of her brother, a respected man responsible for the livelihoods of many. I wanted to know how her mistakes affected her, and how she would begin to step out of her brother’s spotlight and into her own.

So with that in mind, I’ve got an excerpt here for you that I hope will illuminate how I saw this version of Georgiana Darcy. Enjoy!

July 27, 1954
Pemberley Manor
Perhaps later in life she might have said that an unseen force guided her to the music room that day, but the truth was that she needed a bit of space and a few moments of quiet to calm her nerves. Had Elizabeth been there, she would have skillfully directed the spotlight on to herself, knowing that Georgiana was still easily overwhelmed at large gatherings. While Elizabeth was visiting Longbourn Georgiana was tasked with serving as lady of the house, hosting a wedding reception for the Goldmans, a couple who’d met working in her brother’s furniture factory.
At twenty-one years old, she felt much more up to the task than she had when she was younger, but she occasionally needed moments of solitude or she found herself getting frazzled and tense. She stole into the music room, looking for a quiet place to be alone when she saw the room was already occupied. She halted in her tracks, watching the unfamiliar man lightly touching the keys of her piano. His plain blue shirt and navy slacks told her that he was one of the factory workers. His frame was lean, his back broad and straight. Long fingers coaxed a few hesitant sounds from her piano. She thought it sounded like “Für Elise.”
She stepped into the room and he turned around, jumping away from the piano. Georgiana stilled, taking him in. Warm hazel eyes were set off by thick, midnight-black hair combed neatly back from a wide brow. His face would have been rather ordinary had it not been for his high, dramatic cheekbones. In a glance, she could tell that he was a few years older than she was, maybe even as old as Will.
“I am sorry,” the man said in heavily accented English.
“Please, do not trouble yourself,” she said. “Bądź spokojny.” Be calm. She’d learned a few phrases from the people who had come to Lambton for new opportunities, new lives.
His face lit with interest. “Mówisz po polsku?” You speak Polish?
Georgiana blushed and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I only know how to say a few things.”
He nodded, somewhat disappointed. “I will go,” he said. His voice was deep and rich.
“No, please don’t trouble yourself,” she said. She nodded toward the piano. “Do you play?”
“Not piano.” He hesitated a moment, his face going curiously blank. “My mama played.”
Georgiana nodded. A cold sensation began to spread through the pit of her stomach. She only wished it was not so familiar, this feeling she got when she was face-to-face with tragedy and pain.
“It was a beautiful wedding,” she blurted out. She didn’t want this strange, mesmerizing man to leave. His eyes, she noticed, were a brown so light they glittered like topaz. He smiled. It was a gorgeous smile, full of light.
“All weddings are beautiful,” he said with a solemn sort of happiness. He struggled for a moment to find the right words. “New families.”
“Hmm. I know what you mean. I love my brother, but we were a different kind of family until he married Elizabeth.”
He smiled crookedly at her, his delight genuine. “The singer!”
“Yes, that’s her. She’s taken my niece Maggie to see her grandparents in South Carolina, or I know she’d want to be here.”
He seemed ready to leave again when she pointed at the piano. “You can come play. Anytime.”
He shook his head. “I not so good.”
“I could teach you,” she offered, maybe too quickly. He gazed at her a long minute. He pointed at his chest.
“Ari Prenska.”
She smiled. “Georgiana Darcy.”
He frowned and tried a few iterations of her name before shaking his head in frustration.
“You can call me Ana, if you like.” She wasn’t sure why she’d offered such a thing. No one had ever called her Ana. She was rather swept up in the idea that it was something she could give him that would be his alone.
But why did she react so strongly, so quickly to this man? And would she ever see him again? And what would they talk about? He was a Jewish refugee with limited English who worked in their factory; she was the scion from two of the oldest and wealthiest families in the country. But he loved music, and he was beautiful, and she wanted to curl up in the sound of his voice, the way a cat would curl up in a sunbeam.
“Would you like me to?”
His brows raised in question.
“Teach you. Piano. English. Whatever you like.”
Broken as his English was, he still understood what she’d just said. He coughed, seeming flustered, before giving her a short bow–a gesture she found touchingly quaint–and left the room. Not running exactly but close enough. Georgiana sat with a huff at the piano. She ran her long fingers over the keys, imagining the ones he’d touched still warm, the strings of the instrument still vibrating.
She could relate.

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Author Beau North
Author Bio

Beau North is the author of four books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In her spare time, she is the co-host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast.

Book Cover: The Colonel by Beau North
Buy Links

The Colonel is available to buy now, in both ebook and paperback.

Giveaway Time!

Beau North is giving away Longbourn's Songbird and The Colonel. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter.

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Ceri!

  2. Hi ladies,

    Thank you for such a lovely excerpt and a snapshot into, perhaps,the beginnings of a tender romance between these two characters.
    This scene was fragile and uncertain,with a sprinkling of hope and promise.

    I’ve heard great things about this story and look forward to reading it!

    Best of luck with it.

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I read and loved this story. I did have to reread Longbourn's Songbird as it has been a few years and I wanted all the details fresh in my mind before reading this "companion" book.

  5. This beautiful excerpt got me excited to know of Georgiana's story. I'm sensing that she is falling in love with this Jewish immigrant although she doesn't know it yet. I would love to read these two books.

  6. ❤️this story. Such an emotional read. I love the cover.

  7. Loved LS. Looking forward to reading TC. Thank you for the giveaway

  8. Looking forward even more to reading The Colonel.