Friday, 21 September 2018

Emma and the City by Amy Hilliges - Guest Post and Giveaway


Book Cover: Emma and the City by Amy Hilliges
Today I'm welcoming an author to the blog for the first time. Amy Hilliges has written an Emma update, moving Miss Woodhouse to modern day New York. Think a cross between Emma and Sex and the City. Amy has visited here today with a guest post and giveaway. of Emma and the City I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Amy for her guest post, excerpt and giveaway!

Book Description

When arrows fly, Cupid better get out of the way . . . or risk being shot

It-girl and blogger Emma Worth appears to have it all: beauty, brains, connections and a fabulous Manhattan apartment. Emma makes it her business to tell others what to wear and who to date because she knows best. Obviously.

Despite her designer outfits and glitzy New York lifestyle, something's missing . . . If she only knew what it was. That is, until a hot A-lister swoops into her life and sends Emma's pulse racing and fills her head with red-carpet fantasies.

Emma's neighbor Adam Knightley is disapproving, telling her she needs to fix her priorities and stop chasing celebrity pipe dreams. The man would look hot on a red carpet himself, if only he’d stop frowning for more than five seconds.

When Emma’s matchmaking backfires and her meddling causes mischief, what's a girl to do? Try to lie her way out of it, of course.  Anyway, who cares, right? Because Emma's finally getting the kind of attention she deserves. Except in her fantasies, things looked a lot different. And it didn’t feel this heartrendingly painful . . .

Love her or hate her, Emma is back––with a sexy makeover, 21st-century problems, and another chance to redeem herself in this grippingly entertaining, thoroughly original retelling of the Jane Austen classic.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon Today I'm welcoming Lizzy Brandon to the blog for the first time. Lizzy is the author of Folly and Forgiveness, and has come here with her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Recognizing Love. Let me share the blurb with you first, and then we'll hand over to Lizzy for an excerpt from the book. Lizzy has also brought an international giveaway with her!

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Plans for September 2018

It's September! Already! How can this be?!!! Actually, I believe it; the weather is starting to have an autumnal tinge here. My kids are about to go  back to school (and in the case of my elder child, start a new school, eeeeeeeek!). The school holidays have gone pretty well. The extra building work we are having done is still happening, more slowly than I'd like, and this has had an impact on the things we've done over the school holidays. We haven't managed to get away, but I'll definitely try and get in a weekend away at some point. I managed to get some reading time in, hurrah, but not as much as I'd wanted.

Let me tell you about some of the visitors I have lined up for this month, all of whom have books out this month.

Book cover: Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon
I'll be welcoming Lizzy Brandon, whose new book, Recognizing Love is a Pride & Prejudice variation.

Book cover: Obstacles by Belén Paccagnella
The blog tour for Belén Paccagnella's book Obstacles is due to stop by. This book is P&P-inspired, but it's a modernisation set in the world of show jumping.

Book cover: Emma and the City by Amy Hilliges
I will also be welcoming author Amy Hilliges with her Emma modernisation, Emma in the City. It's sort of a cross between Emma and Sex and the City. Amy will be coming by with a guest post and I'll be shairng my review of the book.

As for what I'll be reading, I'm not sure... as you might recall, I have my old friend, the backlog list, so I need to choose something off that, but as autumn is a-coming, I might try and get in a Persuasion-inspired read too.

What do you plan to read this month? Have you read anything good lately that you'd like to tell us about? Please let me know in the comments!

Friday, 31 August 2018

Winner - Audio of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid

Book cover: The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid - Audio
Recently we were joined again by Victoria Kincaid, who had brought us an excerpt of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, which is an older book of hers which has newly been brought to audio. Victoria was kindly offering an international giveaway of an audio version of the story. A winner was chosen at random, and that person was:

Helen Maddix

Unfortunately, Helen didn't get in touch so I had to choose another winner.

This time I used the random number function in excel and the winner selected was...

Eva

Eva, I will be in touch.

Thank you so much to Victoria for the giveaway. Remember, if you weren't lucky this time you can treat yourself to the audio of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth now!

You can buy this book in print, e-book or audio to enjoy today - Amazon UK /Amazon USAudible UK / Audible US


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Sunday, 26 August 2018

Literary Book Gifts - Feature and Discount Code

These days there are so many lovely book-related items for we bookworms to buy and I am featuring one today. Literary Book Gifts has items such as t-shirts and totes relating to various authors, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Brontes, and the owner has offered a discount code for visitors to my blog.

Literary Book Gifts - Jane Austen Tote Bag
You could carry round your love of Jane Austen for all to see with this gorgeous tote bag.

Literary Book Gifts - Pride & Prejudice T-shirt
You could keep Pride & Prejudice close to your heart with a PnP tee.

Literary Book Gifts - Wuthering Heights T-shirt
Need suitable attire to run around on the moors seeking Cathy? There's a t-shirt for that too.

The full range of items can be found here: https://literarybookgifts.com.

If you'd like to have a discount, you can use the following code:

BABBLINGSOFABOOKWORM20 

This can be used to give you 20% off anything in the store with no minimum purchase, and can be used unlimited times.

I hope you enjoy your items, if you choose to take advantage of the discount. Thank you so much to Melissa from Literary Book Gifts for offering us the code!

Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid in Audio - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I'm welcoming the lovely Victoria Kincaid who is treating us again, this time with a guest post and a giveaway of an audio copy of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth. This is one of Victoria's earlier novels which has now been made available in audio. I'll start by sharing the blurb with you, and then hand over to Victoria for a guest post.

Book Description

Book Cover: The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid - Audio
What if Darcy and Elizabeth were plunged into the war between England and France?

In 1803 a treaty has allowed England and France to enjoy a brief peace in the midst of the Napoleonic wars. With Darcy despondent over Elizabeth’s refusal of his proposal, Colonel Fitzwilliam proposes a trip to France as a distraction. In Paris Darcy unexpectedly encounters Elizabeth, who is visiting with the Gardiners. This is his opportunity to court Elizabeth properly.  But before he can make much progress, England declares war again and Darcy must help Elizabeth flee France.

En route, Elizabeth and Darcy must battle brigands, French soldiers, illness, and their own mutual attraction – all without a chaperone.

When they return to England, they have their own secrets to conceal – even from those closest to them.

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Guest Post from Victoria Kincaid

Hi Ceri,  Thank you for having me back so soon!  I am thrilled that The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth is finally out on audiobook.  Narrator Stevie Zimmerman did a terrific job (I particularly like her voice for Darcy).  Readers are in for a real treat! 

Here’s an excerpt from near the beginning of the book:

Slumping into his chair, Darcy regarded Richard through half-closed eyes, unwilling for his cousin to realize how shaken he was by the news about Georgiana. “I can see you will not grant me any peace until I have revealed all.”

“Now you are talking some sense.”

Darcy grabbed the bottle of port from the table next to Richard and quickly poured himself another glass, quelling Richard’s incipient protest with a glare. He would not tell the humiliating story without fortification. But after sipping his port, he fell silent, reluctant to relive the farce.

“Well?” Richard prompted.

“I…proposed to a woman, and she turned me down….Something many a man has had to grapple with. Not much to tell actually.” He strove to keep his tone matter-of-fact and his voice steady.

“What?” Whatever Richard had expected, it was not that. He simply stared at Darcy. “You—?”

“Yes.” Darcy found his cousin’s shock oddly disturbing, as if it confirmed the enormity of his failure.

“I cannot believe it! All of London has been holding its breath waiting to see who you will marry. For eight years, you have not favored a single woman. You have been leaving a trail of broken hearts in your wake—”

“I hardly think…”

Richard ignored his protest and barreled on. “She refused you? Who in the world would do that? Who did you propose to? A princess?”

“Believe it, there are women in England who do not care about my fortune. At least one. She refused me because she does not care for me.” She was right to do so, a voice in his head whispered.

“She does not like you? Darcy, who is this paragon who has seen through you?” Richard meant it as a light-hearted jest, but it struck Darcy to the quick. He scowled; that was exactly what Elizabeth had done.

“Does it matter?” The words came out almost as a groan. Darcy rubbed his face, realizing how tired he felt. Hopefully, Richard would leave soon so he could stumble up to his bedchamber.

“Yes, because I am dying of curiosity.” Richard sat up straighter in his chair.

“I think I would rather let you perish.” Darcy no longer attempted to conceal his irritation.

“Wait, is this Miss Bennet we are discussing?”

Darcy sighed. “Yes.”

“I noticed you were in a foul mood when we departed Rosings, but I believed that was because you wanted her but thought she was beneath you.” Richard’s teasing tone disappeared, apparently sensing how seriously Darcy took this situation.

“It appears I am beneath her.” Darcy gave a mirthless smile.

“Come, it cannot possibly be that dire. I know she found pleasure in matching wits with you at Rosings. What reasons did she give for her refusal?”

“I am proud, arrogant, and insensitive.” Darcy ticked the points off on his fingers. “Also, her opinion of my character was shaped by conversations with our great friend George Wickham….And….I helped persuade Bingley to separate himself from her sister.”

“That was her sister you told me about?” Richard groaned. “I am afraid I conveyed that information to Miss Bennet.” He appeared genuinely contrite.
Darcy waved this concern away. “It does not matter. No doubt she would have discovered it another way.”

“These do not seem to me to be insurmountable obstacles. You can explain the truth behind your dealings with Wickham and fix the situation with Bingley. Then you only need to be nicer to her…I know that will be the hardest part.” He gave Darcy a wicked grin, his teasing nature resurrecting itself.

Darcy stood and started pacing, rather unsteadily, on the carpet before his desk. “I already refuted Wickham’s lies in a letter to her. I also confessed my sins to Bingley two weeks ago. Hopefully, he will forgive me someday.”

“That was well done.” Richard nodded approvingly. “Will he return to see the sister?”

“I believe he will visit Netherfield next week.” Darcy stared bleakly at the pattern on the carpet.

“You should accompany him. Perhaps you can change Miss Elizabeth’s opinion of you.” Richard’s voice was full of hearty encouragement.

Darcy considered it for a moment; perhaps his letter had altered her view of his character, but, no, it could not possibly change enough. He shook his head in despair. “I am afraid it is a hopeless cause. She made that abundantly clear.”

“Surely there is some small reason for hope.”

“She said she had not known me a month before she knew I was the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry. I defy you to find cause for hope in that.”

Richard gave a low whistle. “That is…impressive.…”

Darcy raised his eyebrows in appreciation of Richard’s reaction. “Indeed.”
Richard rubbed his chin with his palm. “Well, she is a spirited woman with decided opinions.”

“Yes.” That is why I love her.

“So, may I ask, what purpose does the port serve?” Richard’s voice was gentler and less teasing. Did he sympathize with Darcy’s despair?

“The theory behind the port is that it dulls the pain and causes me to forget, at least for a little while. It also helps me sleep. And then the following day, I feel so awful that I cannot think of anything else.”

“So that is the theory. How does it work in reality?” Richard asked.

Darcy shook his head, realized that it made the room sway, and stopped. “A life in tatters with drink is still a life in tatters.”


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Author Bio

Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.

She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, two children who are learning how much fun Austen’s characters can be, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

Visit her at www.victoriakincaid.com

Goodreads • Twitter • Amazon US Author Page •

Buy Links

You can buy this book in print, e-book or audio to enjoy today - Amazon UK / Amazon US, Audible UK / Audible US. Or, you can enter the giveaway to win an audio copy.


Giveaway Time

Book Cover: The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid - Audio
Victoria is offering an international giveaway of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth. To enter, just comment on this blog post by the end of the day on 29 August 2018. Please leave a way for me to contact you, should you be the lucky winner.

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Monday, 20 August 2018

Guest Post from Elaine Jeremiah, Author of Love Without Time

Today I'm welcoming a new JAFF author, Elaine Jeremiah, for a guest post about what drew her to writing in this genre, and an excerpt of her book, Love Without Time.

I'll start by giving you the blurb, as usual, and then hand over to Elaine for her guest post:

Book Description

Book Cover: Love Without Time by Elaine JeremiahWhen Cassie Taylor meets an ordinary-looking man in a bookshop, the last thing she imagines is the encounter will lead to her time travelling to Regency England.

Jane Austen-obsessed Cassie would love a romantic hero of her own to sweep her off her feet, but meeting Ted is seriously underwhelming. Then everything is turned upside down when Ted saves her life – and she nearly ends his.

Guilt-ridden and panicked into saying she’s Ted’s girlfriend at the hospital, Cassie takes a walk outside at night, loses her way and finds herself in the past. She meets a young Regency woman, Isabella, who takes pity on her, allowing her to stay at the majestic Westerleigh Hall. But not everyone there trusts her and Cassie will find there are many pitfalls to be avoided if she’s to survive in this world.

Can this be real? Is she dreaming? Will she ever get home?

Guest Post from Elaine Jeremiah

Author Elaine Jeremiah
I’ve been writing pretty much for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I wrote and told loads of stories. I wrote short stories at school, which people seemed to like – I won a competition – and told tall tales of warring cats and dogs to my younger siblings on long car journeys.

As I got older, I experimented with various genres. The first novel I ever wrote was called Fresher Girl, about a girl going away to university for the first time. It wasn’t great, but I kept persevering.

Five years ago, I self-published my first novel. But it wasn’t a Jane Austen fan fiction novel. It was more of a family saga, called The Inheritance, about two sisters – one who is sensible and works hard and the other who demands her inheritance from her father early, then loses it all in the space of a year.

It didn’t exactly set the world alight! I kept writing though and wrote two contemporary romances. Nothing that I’d written really felt right for me though, until my husband suggested I try writing Jane Austen fan fiction. I’ve been a huge Jane Austen fan all my life. I was lucky enough to grow up in the same county – Hampshire – that she did.

I’ve walked past the house in Winchester where she died many times and I ended up going to university in Winchester too. I have visited her cottage at Chawton a number of times, as well as Chawton House, where her brother lived. So I feel a real affinity with Jane Austen and when I started writing my first Jane Austen fan fiction novel, Love Without Time, I felt like I’d finally found my niche.

Love Without Time isn’t your typical Jane Austen fan fiction novel, as it’s not based around any of her novels. But it is about a girl who’s a huge fan of Jane Austen, who time travels back to Regency England, and all of the things that happen and problems she encounters there.

I thought it would be a fun idea to imagine what would happen if someone from the twenty-first century time travelled back to Regency England. What would it be like? What would they see/smell/touch? How would they react to their experiences?

I enjoyed writing the story so much, I decided to turn it into a trilogy and right now I’m hard at work on By Time Divided, the second book in the trilogy. I hope you enjoy Love Without Time if you get to read it. Big thank you to Ceri for featuring me on her blog.

Exerpt from Love Without Time

Book Cover: Love Without Time by Elaine Jeremiah
Just then I felt a wave of fatigue wash over me. And I had never been so thirsty in my life. I felt myself begin to sway, but a small hand which was surprisingly strong caught hold of me and set me upright. I looked to see who my rescuer was. It was the other young woman I’d seen, who’d been standing next to the woman who had questioned me. Her dark eyes regarded me with sympathy and I was comforted.

‘Miss Taylor, let me help you to a seat. And I shall get you something to drink. You must be so tired and thirsty after such an ordeal.’

‘Thank you,’ I said gratefully as she led me to a wooden chair at the side of the marquee. I sank down onto it; it felt like bliss to finally be seated and I also felt as though I really had been in an accident whilst on a long journey. I could sense everyone’s eyes on me again, but I ignored them as I closed my eyes. As I did so, my thoughts returned to my own time.

There was a sharp pain in my chest as I remembered Ted, as if someone had struck me. How could I have forgotten him, even for a moment? All my feelings of guilt for what had happened were renewed in my mind. I opened my eyes. I didn’t have much time to ponder this, as the young woman had returned with what looked like a glass of wine.

She stood in front of me with Isabella and the petite woman, who were watching me with concerned expressions. It was then that I noticed an older woman standing behind them, eyeing me as a hawk would a mouse.

‘Here you are,’ the petite young woman said with an anxious look, handing me the glass. I frowned for a moment – why were they not just giving me water – and then I remembered from my history books that very few people in Georgian times would drink water. It wasn’t safe.

I caught her eye; her expression had changed and she was giving me an odd look as if she’d seen my puzzled expression. But she didn’t comment on it. I took a sip of the wine and was glad I had, as I felt its warm tang soothing me from the inside out.

‘I’ve been very remiss,’ I said to her after a few sips of wine. ‘You know my name, but I have not enquired as to yours.’

‘Oh no, the fault is all mine,’ Isabella put in hurriedly, her face a little pink. ‘These are my childhood friends Eleanor Thorpe,’ she indicated the dark-eyed young woman, ‘and Mary Price. They are staying with me here at Westerleigh for a few months. And the two gentlemen you see here are my guardians’ son William Montague and his good friend Charles Radcliffe who is staying with us for a few days.’

Charles gave me a curt nod; he was the dark-featured gentleman I’d already spoken with. William looked friendlier, giving me a curious glance, which rather than making me feel scrutinised made me want to get to know him.  


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About the Author

Author Elaine Jeremiah
Elaine Jeremiah lives in England with her husband and their golden retriever. When she was young she wanted to be a famous actress and win an Oscar. Sadly for her that never happened.

Instead writing took over. She has written stories from a young age, winning writing competitions at school and praise from her teachers. Growing up she continued to write, inspired by events in her life and even dreams she'd had. In recent years, especially since graduating from university with a degree in English, she has had more time to devote to writing.

She has now written and self-published four novels. Her latest, 'Love Without Time', is her first Jane Austen-inspired story, a time travel romance, and the first in a trilogy.


Buy Links

Amazon UK / Amazon US - this title is available for Amazon Prime Readers

Monday, 13 August 2018

Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller - Guest Post

Today I'm featuring a new to me author, Carolyn Miller. She has written a Persuasion-inspired book, Winning Miss Winthrop. Let's have a read of the blurb and see if we can see the Persuasion influence, and then I'll hand over to Carolyn for a guest post about how she came to write historical novels, and in particular, novels inspired by Austen's work. Carolyn has also brought us an excerpt of the book.

Book Description

Book Cover: Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller
Catherine Winthrop is almost at her last prayers, rejected years ago by the man who stole her heart. When tragedy brings him back into her life, she must suffer further grief in silence, amid her family's pain and hostility, which eventually sends her to seek solace in Bath.

Jonathan Carlew might be wealthy, but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his life, bringing fresh challenges as he takes on the Barony. Caught between appeasing the Winthrop family's concerns and doing what he could to salvage their failing estate, he must also weigh the echoes of the past with the demands of his new responsibilities.

Two hearts must decide whether present speculation will condemn them to the dust of their memories, or if the whispers of forgiveness can provide freedom for the future.

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Guest Post from Carolyn Miller

I’ve always hankered for an era not my own. Growing up, some of my favorite authors included such notables as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Grant Bruce (an Australian author who wrote the Billabong series, about turn of the century Australian graziers—hello, I am Australian J), and of course, my favorite (perhaps because I could relate with the hair color of her red-headed heroine): L. M. Montgomery.

The writing of these ladies varied, from flowery flights of imagination to pragmatic epistles of life on the land, but their skill in drawing the reader into their worlds made for many a pleasurable hour, envisaging Jo, Anne and many other spunky, imaginative girls from an era so different from 1980s Australian suburbia.

Later, I came to appreciate the works of authors such as Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. (Just going out on a limb here to say I don’t think encouraging high schoolers to study Mansfield Park in necessarily the best introduction to appreciating the joy of Jane!) The films and TV adaptations of the 1990s helped bring Jane Austen’s books and the Regency era alive, and gave renewed appreciation for the wit and mastery of the language, the way so much could be said in just a glance, and a love for the manners and general swoon-worthiness of big houses (!), fancy gardens (!), and heroes of good looks and great amiability. (Apart from Mr. Darcy’s initial frostiness, of course, but he is – and always will be – the exception!)

As someone who perhaps longed to live in these times a little too much I suppose it was inevitable that I would one day write a story based in the Regency era. My writing journey started with contemporary stories, after I watched the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics and wondered why an Australian girl was walking into the arena holding hands with a US athlete. What was their story? Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find out, so I made it up J Thus began a very long journey to publication as I honed my craft through entering online writing contests and taking on feedback, among which came the realization that US publishers aren’t so interested in stories with Australian characters or settings, so perhaps I should write something they were interested in: historical romance.

So I kept writing, a Regency romance this time, something I hoped could blend the wonderful wit and memorable characters I love in Georgette Heyer’s Regency-era novels, with the social mores and subtlety of Jane Austen, along with my own Australian sensibility, and desire to write stories offering hope. I kept entering contests and started finaling and eventually gained the attention of a US agent, who agreed to represent this little Aussie (yay!), and eventually found me a US publishing home (double yay!).

Book cover: The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller
The Elusive Miss Ellison, an inspirational Regency romance with shades of Pride and Prejudice, became the first of my Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series, published by Kregel Publications. Last year was a wild ride with my author debut, then seeing two more books release, all while juggling writing, editing and learning more about the joys of marketing. A second series (Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope) is being published in 2018, with the first of these, Winning Miss Winthrop, releasing in March this year.

Winning Miss Winthrop is something of a homage to Persuasion, which vies with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Jane Austen. I love the angst of poor Anne Elliot, the way the social niceties of the day force her to hide her pain as she suffers from the thoughtlessness of those around her, the way she patiently holds true to her values even as all hope (and love) seems lost. And how can you not love someone like Captain Wentworth, unable to ever find Anne’s equal – especially when he looks like Rupert Penry Jones?

I wanted to create a similar character to sweet Anne, and so Catherine Winthrop was born, the eldest daughter of a Baron, who, after a family tragedy, is led to scandal-breathing Bath, a masquerade, and many misunderstandings, before finally being reunited with the man she thought lost. Ah, true love…


In 2015 I was extremely blessed to visit my sister in England, managing to see several places I’ve only ever dreamed about—or ‘seen’ in books, films or TV- and of course, my first port of call had to be Bath. A visit to this World Heritage-listed town, filled with grand Georgian buildings and cobblestoned streets, helps understand the need for sedan chairs instead of carriages (many streets are steep), whilst ‘taking the waters’ at the Pump Room and seeing the Assembly rooms gives new insight into Austen’s references to such activities in her novels—and also adding greater authenticity to my own work, as does a visit to the Jane Austen Centre (and enjoying high tea there ‘with Mr. Darcy’ J). I have a page on my website about my time there: www.carolynmillerauthor.com/a-trip-to-bath which is a fun way to connect a little more with some of the scenes mentioned in Winning Miss Winthrop.

Excerpt from Winning Miss Winthrop

Book Cover: Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller
White’s Gentlemen’s Club, London

“I lay you ten guineas the next lady who walks past is a complete fright.”

“Only ten? I wager five-and-twenty. What say you, Carlew?”

Jonathan Carlew looked up from his newspaper at his two companions. “I say a fool and his money is quickly parted.”

“Well, nobody shall ever accuse you of being a fool, you stingy old man,” Viscount Henry Carmichael said, tease in his eyes.

Jon hid his smile. Who would have thought one day’s difference in their birth dates would lead to years of such jests? “What some call stingy others call wise.”

“Your modesty overwhelms.” Major Thomas Hale, the third member of the party snorted. “Now, Carmichael, here comes our next contender. What say you, ugly or divine?”

“Must it be one or the other?” Jon asked.

“My dear fellow, a woman is either decidedly pretty or decidedly not.”

“One simply has to decide which of the two?” Jon suggested.

“Exactly.” The heir to the Earl of Bevington nodded.

“But surely that implies a degree of subjectivity, if, as the poets say, beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder.”

The major lifted his glass to peer through the bow window. “Well, I behold a fright. Carmichael, you owe me a pony.”

The viscount handed over twenty-five pounds, muttering about the audacity of such ladies to walk without consideration for the eyes of men.

“Can you imagine what the ladies must think of such ogling?”

“Ogling! Carlew, I resent the implication.”

“My apologies, Hale, but I meant no implication.”

Carmichael laughed. “You are a sly dog, Carlew. Next you will be saying a woman’s appearance ought count for nothing.”

Jon merely smiled.

“Well may it be for some to be fastidious about such things, but good heavens, if a man means to be leg-shackled then let it be to a lady whom he finds pleasing to gaze upon.”

“Does that hold true for the lady in question also? Indeed, if this line of reasoning is so, there would be many of us destined to singlehood on account of our less than perfect looks.”

The major gave a loud harrumph as Carmichael said, “You seem to forget the numbers of ladies at the ball last week who seemed very willing to overlook your ill-favored face.”

The tips of Jon’s ears grew hot. “I confess it had slipped my mind.”

That evening in question had been one of the more excruciating of his life. Perhaps if he’d learned to flirt like Carmichael or Hale he might be more successful in ensuring the women who flocked to him knew not to expect anything more than a deftly turned compliment. But as Hale had commented that evening, Jon’s more serious demeanor and deep voice lent a gravity to his words that only seemed to encourage the clinging young ladies with whom he had no desire to further his acquaintance.

“Next you’ll be saying a woman should not be judged on her face.”

“Should a man’s?”

His companions both stared at him before Hale gave another loud harrumph.

“Carlew, your observations are both unnecessary and unkind. Go back to your paper if you don’t mind.”

Jon chuckled, shook his head at his friends’ antics, and retired once more behind the screen of The Times. His smile faded, the printed words before him meaningless. While he didn’t begrudge them—they were his friends, who had helped keep him sane these past years when India had a way of hardening even the kindest of men—he couldn’t help but wonder how these gentlemen would rate the woman who had once caught his eye. Not strictly pretty, let alone divine, he couldn’t help but think she would rate rather poorly on Hale’s scale of attractiveness.

His fingers clenched. Relaxed. Not that he should care. These were foolish thoughts. He was unlikely to see her, and even if he did, she had long ago made her feelings abundantly clear.

No. Perhaps he was a fool after all. Surely two years of adventure and business should have been enough to rid him of these feelings.

Perhaps it was time to think on a lady who might not mind his connections to trade, at least until that far away day when he might assume the title. His earnings from his time on the Indian subcontinent should, correctly invested, hold out for quite a few more years, and the interest on his shares in his father’s companies was steadily improving, so Trelling said. Perhaps there was a lady who might not mind being married to such a man. He could offer constancy, and quite a tidy fortune, if little else.

His spirits dipped.

Perhaps one day there might even be one prepared to overlook the haze concerning the legitimacy of his birth.

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Buy Links - Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depository / Add to your Goodreads Shelf

About the Author


Author Carolyn Miller
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop and Miss Serena's Secret, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        website | facebook | pinterest | twitter | instagram

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Winners of the Don Jacobson Audio Giveaway

Recently Don Jacobson joined us for a guest post about audio books. He's recently made a few of his titles available in this format. Don was kindly offering to giveaway 2 sets of giveaway codes for US/UK listeners.

Don Jacobson Audio Covers

The winners were chosen at random and they are:

KateB

and

Betty Madden

Congratulations to you both. I have contact details for Betty, but I'm not sure about KateB so I'd really appreciate it if you could contact me within the next few days.

Thank you so much to Don for the giveaway, and best of luck with the audio titles!

Friday, 3 August 2018

What's Past is Prologue by Ann Galvia - Blog Tour - Review Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: What's Past is Prologue by Ann GalviaToday the blog tour for Ann Galvia's newest Pride & Prejudice variation/sequel, What's Past is Prologue stops by here for my review.  There is also a generous giveaway that you can take part in! I'll start by sharing the blurb with you and them move on to what I thought of the book.