Thursday, 5 December 2019

The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I'm welcoming a debut author, Molly Greeley, who has written a book called The Clergyman's Wife. The wife in question is the former Miss Charlotte Lucas, who of course married Mr Collins in Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Let's look at the blurb and then we will hand over to Molly for a guest post about her thoughts about writing fiction based on other writer's characters, something that the Austenesque genre obviously does. We have a giveaway for US readers, too!

Book cover: The Clergyman's Wife - Molly Greeley (US cover)
Book Description

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..

In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Headstrong Books One and Two by Melanie Rachel - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I'm welcoming Melanie Rachel back to the blog with her latest Austenesque novels. She's written a three part story, and the first two parts are already available with the third to follow later this month. Unlike Melanie's earlier books, this latest series, Headstrong, is a contemporary story. Let's look at the blurbs of both books, and then you can enjoy an excerpt from book one, Headstrong Book One: Improvise. Melanie has also brought a giveaway for one of you!

Book cover: Headstrong: Book One: Improvise by Melanie Rachel
Book Description - Headstrong Book One: Improvise

A few months after teaming up with Major Richard Fitzwilliam to thwart a terrorist attack in Europe, USMC Staff Sergeant Elizabeth Bennet is back in the States as a civilian. Her training in cyber-security makes finding work easy, and she’s learning to fit into her new life. But there is lingering fallout both from the attack and her life before it that she's not yet prepared to face. Complicating matters is the major’s handsome cousin.

Co-owner of Darcy Acquisitions, CEO of FORGE, and guardian to his younger sister, Will Darcy is stretched to his limits. When Richard sets up an interview at FORGE for his friend Elizabeth Bennet, Will insults her instead of hiring her. In making amends, Will falls for the witty, troubled Marine with long legs and fine eyes.

Falling in love is easy, but do these two very different people have what it takes to make love last?

Book cover: Headstrong: Book Two: Adapt by Melanie Rachel
Book Description - Headstrong: Book Two: Adapt

The holidays are approaching, and Will Darcy has a lot to be thankful for. His cousin Richard is coming home from the Marines, his sister Georgiana is flying back from university for a visit, and he’s in love with Elizabeth Bennet.

But his well-ordered life is about to be turned on its head.

There's a prank war being waged between Elizabeth and Richard, which might be funny if he weren't constantly caught in the middle. Georgiana's hostility to Elizabeth is puzzling--how can she have it out for somebody she's never met? And just when Elizabeth is starting to trust Will with the truth about her difficult past, someone from his own reappears to cause havoc.

Strange things are happening all around, and Elizabeth seems to be in the middle of it all. Is she involved? A target? Or is she just caught in the crossfire of someone conspiring against his own family?

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston - Audio Book Giveaway

Book cover: Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston, narrated by Harry Frost
Earlier this year Nicole Clarkston visited the blog with her Pride & Prejudice-inspired story, Nefarious. You can read the post, which includes an excerpt, here. Nicole is very kindly offering a giveaway of the recently released audio version of the book, narrated by Harry Frost! I'll share the blurb below as a reminder of what Nefarious is about :)

Book Description

He hates everything about her.
She despises him even more.
So why is his heart so determined to belong to her?

Once trapped by marriage to a woman he loathed, Fitzwilliam Darcy is finally free again. Resentful, bewildered, and angry, he is eager to begin his life over—preferably with a woman who is the exact opposite of his wife.

He never imagined a short stay in Hertfordshire would bring him face to face with his worst nightmare; a woman similar in face, form, and name. He certainly never expected her to be so impossible to ignore.

Torn between what he believes he wants and what his heart cannot live without, his dignity begins to unravel. Will his desperation to escape his past drive a wedge into his closest friendship and destroy any hope of a future?

Will Miss Elizabeth Bennet prove to be as nefarious as his wife? Or, will the last woman in the world be his only chance at happiness?

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Book Cover - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
Buy Links

Nefarious is available in audio now - Audible US / Audible UK.

If you would rather read this in ebook or paperback, you will be pleased to know that it's available in both formats. It's currently on a kindle countdown deal in the US and UK which makes it a great time to pick up the ebook if you'd like to read it, but act quickly as it's a time limited deal! You can buy the book on Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads 

Author Nicole ClarkstonAuthor Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole’s books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole is part of Austen Variations, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook  Twitter, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

Giveaway Time!

Book cover: Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston, narrated by Harry Frost
Nicole is generously offering a giveaway of an audio version of Nefarious one of you. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post. If you have difficulties commenting then drop me an email with your comment and I can add it on your behalf and enter you into the draw - my email address can be found here. Leave your comment by the end of the day on Friday 6 December to be included. This giveaway is open to entrants who can download audio books from Audible.com or Audible.co.uk.


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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Watsons by Rose Servitova - Blog Tour - Spotlight

Blog Tour - The Watsons, completed by Rose Servitova

Recently there's been a lot of interest in Sanditon, Austen's unfinished work that she had to abandon writing when she became unwell with the illness that led to her death. However, she had another unfinished work that she abandoned years previously, The Watsons. This story started out by looking at a family, of which a few sisters are left unmarried. The youngest daughter of the family, Miss Emma Watson has been living with a rich aunt, but returns to her family home when the aunt marries. It is generally thought that the story of a family of unmarried ladies who would be reliant on the charity of their brothers when their father died was too close to Austen's own circumstances for her to want to write about. However, the beginning of the story is very interesting (you can read a post I wrote about it previously, here) and author Rose Servitova has taken up the tale to write a completion, and the blog tour for this book drops by today! Let's take a look at the blurb...

Book cover - The Watsons, completed by Rose Servitova
Book Description

Can she honour her family and stay true to herself?

Emma Watson returns to her family home after fourteen years with her wealthy and indulgent aunt. Now more refined than her siblings, Emma is shocked by her sisters’ flagrant and desperate attempts to ensnare a husband. To the surprise of the neighbourhood, Emma immediately attracts the attention of eligible suitors – notably the socially awkward Lord Osborne, heir to Osborne Castle – who could provide her with a home and high status if she is left with neither after her father’s death. Soon Emma finds herself navigating a world of unfamiliar social mores, making missteps that could affect the rest of her life. How can she make amends for the wrongs she is seen to have committed without betraying her own sense of what is right?

Jane Austen commenced writing The Watsons over two hundred years ago, putting it aside unfinished, never to return and complete it. Now, Rose Servitova, author of acclaimed humour title, The Longbourn Letters: The Correspondence between Mr Collins and Mr Bennet has finished Austen’s manuscript in a manner true to Austen’s style and wit.

Early Praise for The Watsons

“A gift for Austen fans everywhere – full of wit, informed imagination and palpable affection for Austen’s characters.” — Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society

“Very satisfying, sometimes moving and often laugh-out-loud hilarious.” — Jane Austen Regency World Magazine

Author Rose Servitova
Author Bio

Irish author Rose Servitova is an award-winning humor writer, event manager, and job coach for people with special needs. Her debut novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr. Collins & Mr. Bennet, described as a ‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication in 2017. Rose enjoys talking at literary events, drinking tea and walking on Irish country roads. She lives in County Limerick with her husband, two young children and three indifferent cats. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Book cover - The Watsons, completed by Rose Servitova
Buy Links

The Watsons, completed by Rose Servitova, is available to buy now in both ebook and paperback - Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Goodreads

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Have you read The Watsons, or any of the handful of stories based on it? If so what are your thoughts? Is there anything that particularly captures your fancy about this one?  Let me know in the comments!

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The Watsons Blog Tour Schedule

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Blog Tour - The Watsons, completed by Rose Servitova
November 18          My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)
November 18          Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
November 19          The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
November 20          Austenesque Reviews (Review)
November 20          vvb32 Reads (Review)     
November 21          All Things Austen (Review)       
November 22          My Love for Jane Austen (Spotlight)
November 25          From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
November 25          Diary of an Eccentric (Interview)
November 26          So Little Time… (Excerpt)
November 27          Impressions in Ink (Review)
November 27          Babblings of a Bookworm (Spotlight)
November 28          More Agreeably Engaged (Review)
November 29          My Vices and Weaknesses (Excerpt)
November 29          The Fiction Addiction (Review)

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Sunday, 24 November 2019

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues - Review


Book Cover: Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentleman Rogues by Various - Anthology Edited by Christina BoydToday I'm sharing a review with you of a book I read back in the summer - it's an anthology focused on some of Austen's less admirable characters, brought together by editor Christina Boyd - Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentleman Rogues. I took part in the blog tour of this book a couple of years ago - you can read that post, which includes an excerpt, here. Let me share the book description with you, and then we will move on to what I thought of it :)

Book Description

"One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." —Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there's more than one side to their stories.

In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes. "Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues" is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works.

What say you? Are you in? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy…even temporarily...but heaven help us if we marry one.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds - Review

Today I'm sharing a review that I wrote a few months ago but didn't have chance to share at the time. At the end of last year I took part in the blog tour for Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds. You can read Abigail's guest post and excerpt from the book here. I didn't have the chance to read the book at the time but over the summer I took a trip into a world where magic and faeries meets pride and prejudice. Let's look at the blurb and then I'll tell you what I thought of the book.

Book cover: Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds
Book Description

In a Regency England where magic and faeries are real…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a powerful magician who controls fire, water, and wind. What he cannot control is his growing feelings for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. But Darcy is also sworn to uphold the laws which forbid women to use magic, and Elizabeth knows it.

Elizabeth’s sentiments towards Darcy are quite different. She detests his arrogance, and she fears he will expose her use of forbidden magic. He is the last man in the world she would choose to help her on a difficult and dangerous task.

But when a magical war looms between the land of Faerie and their world, a Lord of Faerie demands that Darcy and Elizabeth serve together as his emissaries to make peace with the other mortals. That mission throws them into the middle of a chaotic power struggle between magicians whose power dwarfs their own, and everything Elizabeth has ever believed about her family, her friends, and her enemies will be called into question.

This magical variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice makes the land of Faerie as real as Regency London and Rosings Park, as bestselling author Abigail Reynolds presents new challenges for Darcy and Elizabeth in her longest and most enchanting story to date.

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Mr Darcy's Enchantment - My Review

Abigail Reynolds is one of my favourite writers of Pride & Prejudice variations so I was very keen to give this one a read. Although I know that there are a few others out there which meld magic with  P&P I haven’t read any published ones, which was another good reason to give this a go.

Mr Darcy’s Enchantment picks up the story in Kent, when Elizabeth visits the Collinses, so you can assume the previous parts of P&P have already happened, but there is obviously a major change in the fact that people can do magic. Actually, though, only men are allowed to practice, it’s not only frowned upon for a woman to do magic, but punishable, by a spell which changes the woman’s mind. This is a pretty terrifying thought, that a part of you will be, in effect, killed off. Therefore, as a woman who not only can practice magic, but actually does, in order to help people, Elizabeth has a good reason to be pretty wary of Darcy. The spell to lock up women’s minds is carried out by the Collegium of Mages and Darcy is a member of this. His uncle, the father of Colonel Fitzwilliam, is a very senior member. Darcy being tied to such an organisation is yet another reason for Elizabeth to despise him.

When Elizabeth decides to out herself in order to save another’s life she risks not only her mind, but her family’s respectability and her whole life as she knows it. Running away, she stumbles into a faerie ring and transports to the land of the fae, where she learns that there are even bigger problems, in terms of a looming war between the fae and mankind. Elizabeth will also learn that she has been mistaken in some of her judgements, and uncover some of the darkest secrets of her own family.

I found this to be a book of two parts. I really enjoyed the first part, which saw us in Rosings and later in the fae world. I thought the construction of the different types of magic was interesting and well-explained and I loved all the Darcy and Elizabeth time, as she realises how wrong she has been in her perceptions of him and her perceptions of how he considered her.

Later on, the book’s focus moves out much wider and while it was still good, and kept my attention I didn’t enjoy that part quite as much. I don’t think it was the magic. For me, it was that the story was so much wider than Darcy and Elizabeth so they were more part of an ensemble cast than having the starring roles. A whole new world is described and while I might like a tighter focus on Darcy and Elizabeth other readers may revel in the additional depth and breadth of the story.

One thing I did enjoy was uncovering some of the secrets in both Elizabeth and Darcy’s families. I gasped more than once at some of the the revelations. I really want to tell you some of the secrets, but even who the secrets involve would be potential spoilers in some cases! I anticipated some of the events, but some were surprising, which is always refreshing.

There is a glossary of terms at the back, which might have been more useful if I had realised that it was there before I finished reading the story! If I am reading something that makes me worry about the characters I may flick to the back of the book to reassure myself, but otherwise I try not to spoil the story, so I missed the glossary until that point. To be fair, I think I understood the terms anyway, as they are explained well in the story.

This is a long book and I stayed up far past my bedtime because I didn’t want to put it down, which is always satisfying. I was a bit undecided on the rating, but I think I’d round it up to a 4½ star read, and would recommend it to those who don’t mind some magic in their reading. Those who prefer to avoid sex scenes are safe, although there is an instance of a Regency lady wearing fairy attire, which would have been pretty racy by their standards :)

Now, I need to find some more magical variations. Any recommendations?

4.5 star read

*I was kindly provided with an e-book of this story by the author for my honest review

Buy Links

This book is available to buy in paperback or kindle. It's also available in kindle unlimited. Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads Shelf

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Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Covenant of Marriage by C P Odom - Blog Tour - Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: A Covenant of Marriage by C P OdomThe blog tour for C P Odom's latest Pride & Prejudice variation, A Covenant of Marriage, stops here today with an excerpt and ebook giveaway! Let's look at the blurb and then I'll share the excerpt with you.

Book cover: A Covenant of Marriage by C P Odom
Book Description

A Covenant of Marriage—legally binding, even for an unwilling bride!

Defined as a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or compact, a covenant is commonly used with regard to relations among nations or as part of a contract. But it can also apply to a marriage as Elizabeth Bennet learns when her father binds her in marriage to a man she dislikes. Against her protests that she cannot be bound against her will, the lady is informed that she lives under her father’s roof and, consequently, is under his control; she is a mere pawn in the proceedings.

With such an inauspicious beginning, how can two people so joined ever make a life together?

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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

There's Something About Darcy by Dr Gabrielle Malcolm - Blog Tour - Review

Blog Tour: There's Something About Darcy by Dr Gabrielle Malcolm
Today the blog tour stops here for Dr Gabrielle Malcolm's There's Something About Darcy. As you will know, Mr Darcy is something of a remarkable character. Even people who shun 'romantic' novels know his name. He is a by-word for the epitome of the perfect romantic hero - many people are searching for their Mr Darcy in a world of Wickhams.

The vast majority of Austenesque works are based on Pride & Prejudice, and part of that is down to the appeal of its hero. But why is Mr Darcy the chosen one rather than the more amiable Bingley, witty Tilney, dashing Wentworth or gentlemanly Mr Knightley? I have my own theories, as I am sure you do, and I was interested to see what Gabrielle Malcolm's theories are. Let's look at the blurb, and then I will share my review with you.

Book cover: There's Something About Darcy by Dr Gabrielle Malcolm
Book Description

For some, Colin Firth emerging from a lake in that clinging wet shirt is one of the most iconic moments in television. But what is it about the two-hundred-year-old hero that we so ardently admire and love?

Dr Gabrielle Malcolm examines Jane Austen’s influences in creating Darcy’s potent mix of brooding Gothic hero, aristocratic elitist and romantic Regency man of action. She investigates how he paved the way for later characters like Heathcliff, Rochester and even Dracula, and what his impact has been on popular culture over the past two centuries. For twenty-first century readers the world over have their idea of the ‘perfect’ Darcy in mind when they read the novel and will defend their choice passionately.

In this insightful and entertaining study, every variety of Darcy jostles for attention: vampire Darcy, digital Darcy, Mormon Darcy and gay Darcy. Who does it best and how did a clergyman’s daughter from Hampshire create such an enduring character?

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Winner - When Charlotte Became Romantic by Victoria Kincaid

Book cover: When Charlotte Became Romantic by Victoria Kincaid
Recently we were joined by Victoria Kincaid, who came here to share an excerpt of her new Pride & Prejudice-inspired novel, When Charlotte Became Romantic, which as the title suggests, focuses on the famously unromantic Miss Charlotte Lucas. You can read the excerpt here.

Victoria was kindly offering to give away an ebook of When Charlotte Became Romantic. I chose the winner using a random number generator, and the winner selected was...

Buturot!

Congratulations to you. I have your email address so will drop you a line.

Thanks to everybody who read the blog post, and all those who commented. Special thanks to Victoria for the giveaway.

If you weren't the lucky winner and would like to console yourself, why not treat yourself to a copy of When Charlotte Became Romantic? It's available to buy now.

Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads shelf

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Friday, 8 November 2019

The Bride of Northanger by Diana Birchall - Blog Tour - Review

Blog Tour: The Bride of Northanger by Diana Birchall

The blog tour for Diana Birchall's Northanger Abbey sequel, The Bride of Northanger, stops here today for my review of the book. I read Northanger Abbey a few years ago and would heartily recommend it. I was very interested to read this sequel, because so much Austenesque that I read is based on Pride & Prejudice and it's good to have a change. I have also read very few sequels of the stories, so I was intrigued to where Diana Birchall would take these characters. Let's look at the blurb, and then we will move on to what I thought of The Bride of Northanger.

Book cover: The Bride of Northanger by Diana Birchall
Book Description

A happier heroine than Catherine Morland does not exist in England, for she is about to marry her beloved, the handsome, witty Henry Tilney. The night before the wedding, Henry reluctantly tells Catherine and her horrified parents a secret he has dreaded to share - that there is a terrible curse on his family and their home, Northanger Abbey. Henry is a clergyman, educated and rational, and after her year’s engagement Catherine is no longer the silly young girl who delighted in reading “horrid novels”; she has improved in both reading and rationality. This sensible young couple cannot believe curses are real...until a murder at the Abbey triggers events as horrid and Gothic as Jane Austen ever parodied - events that shake the young Tilneys’ certainties, but never their love for each other ...