Saturday, 23 September 2023

When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton

Today MJ Stratton is visiting with an excerpt and giveaway of her latest book When Given Good Principles, which came out yesterday. There's also a giveaway - read on for more!

Book cover: When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton
Book Description

“When one is given good principles, one must take care never to follow them in pride and conceit.”

George Wickham was content to ride the coattails of his well-connected friends, right up until they declared him a lapdog good for little else other than his connection to Fitzwilliam Darcy. Properly humbled, and with his father’s death imminent, he returns to Derbyshire in hopes of seeing the man who raised him before it is too late.

One last conversation with his father sets George’s feet on the right path and on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way he makes new friends and pursues new interests better suited to his disposition than that of a clergyman, eventually finding himself in Meryton, clerk to Mr. Philips, a country solicitor.

Stunned to encounter his friend Darcy and others he knows in the area, Wickham sets out to correct the poor impression Darcy has made on the citizens of Meryton… one lady’s opinion, in particular.

What happens when Mr. Wickham, charming, charismatic, and affable, uses his amiable nature to influence and guide the behavior and actions of those around him, and how will his reformation affect Darcy’s and Lizzy’s courtship? And what will happen when an unexpected source seeks to thwart his efforts?

When Given Good Principles follows an alternate path of our favorite Pride and Prejudice characters. Mr. Wickham joins Darcy and Lizzy in the spotlight in this Pride and Prejudice Vagary, featuring a reformed George Wickham and an unexpected villain.

Book cover: When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton
Excerpt from When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton

1 June 1804

Northmore Estate, Wiltshire

        Nineteen-year-old George Wickham was rather enjoying his time at Viscount Northmore’s estate. The summer weather was beautiful, the sport marvelous, and best of all, he was having the time of his life on someone else’s coin. George had met the viscount at Cambridge at the beginning of his first term. After being tormented for years at Eton, even with Darcy’s protection, it was a nice change to have a peer to be paying him some attention. Darcy had been his only friend through their years in school up until last term. Now George had been invited to spend the summer at Northmore with the viscount and several other friends. Yes, things were truly looking up.

        The door to the salon opened and a footman entered. “For you, sir,” said the stiff-lipped servant, as he handed the envelope in his hand to George.

        Immediately, George’s curiosity piqued. This was an express. No one he knew would send him such a missive…He tore it open, reading rapidly before collapsing in the chair.


        Your father fell ill three weeks ago with a spring cold. He has been unable to recover, and it has moved to his chest. We do not expect him to last through the summer. Enclosed are some funds to see you home to Pemberley.

        G Darcy

        George reread the missive in his hands many times, barely daring to breathe. His father? No. The man was a tower of strength. He had fallen from a ladder and broken his leg five years ago. The doctors had all claimed he would never walk again, yet six months later the man had been about his business as the Darcy’s steward as if nothing had happened. Surely Mr. Darcy was mistaken.

        Not that it mattered. He would be on the next post coach home, if possible. George refused to risk the chance that he would not be present if his father passed.

        He gathered his thoughts and strode out to find the viscount. There were voices coming from the library, and George assumed that was where the rest of the gentlemen in the party were. As he approached the door, he happened to hear his name. He stopped outside, interested to hear what was being said.

        “Come now, Northmore!” Lord James Rutherford said loudly. “What do you see in Wickham? He’s the son of a steward! Hardly a gentleman and definitely not worth your time.”

        “I concede that point, James,” Northmore said, “but Wickham is a useful fellow. He is passingly good at cards and willing to do just about anything to keep my patronage.”

        “So, he is a lapdog?” snorted Marcus Hawthorn, heir to a baronetage.

        “Very much so,” Northmore said. “Obviously he will not be in our circles once university is complete, but for now, I do not mind having him around. Besides, it is a connection to the Darcys, tenuous though it is.”

        “Ha!” guffawed James. “In that you are correct. We know old Mr. Darcy favors him. Young Fitzy is too much of a stuck-up prig to get close to. I hardly know anyone else in our set that is at Cambridge to actually learn.”

        The three laughed uproariously at their humor. George stood just outside the doorway, equal parts angry and dismayed. He had thought he was accepted in the group based on his own merits; that besides his lack of fortune and breeding, those of the first circles had seen his value and sought to cultivate his friendship for that reason. To find out he had been acquired due to his connections to the Darcys was appalling. For a moment, he wondered if this was what Darcy felt like all the time.

        George retreated a few steps, then made a show of entering the room loudly, which stopped all conversation. “Gentlemen,” he said in greeting. “Northmore, I have received an express and am required at home immediately.”

        Northmore’s apparent concern would have seemed genuine if George had not just heard their discussion. “Nothing terribly wrong, I hope?” he said.

        George swallowed tightly. “My father is ill,” he said mildly, trying his hardest to hide his distress.

        Northmore’s response was lukewarm. “Oh, well,” he said, “I do hope that all is resolved shortly. ‘Tis a pity that your holiday has been cut short.”

        Nothing was said about feeling regret at his departure. There was no expression of distress at his news. George felt as if the world had been laid bare before him. He was not wanted here. And so, he bowed succinctly at that remark and excused himself to pack. He was on the next post coach back to Pemberley, determined to forego all comforts until he was at his father’s side.

Author Bio

MJ Stratton grew up in a small town in rural Utah, moving back in 2021 after being away for ten years. Her love of Jane Austen was born at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Her first ever exposure to JAFF was watching Lost in Austen as a teen. MJ recently left her teaching job to be at home with her four children, and hopefully pursue her passion for writing more fully. After feeding her love of books by editing and beta reading for years, she hopes to commit more fully to penning her own stories. MJ loves food, growing things, and the quiet of the countryside. You can find MJ on Facebook and Amazon.

Book cover: When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton
Buy Links

When Given Good Principles by MJ Stratton is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time

MJ Stratton is giving away 3 ebooks of When Given Good Principles. To enter, please use the linked Rafflecopter

Note about comments:  If you'd like to comment on this post and have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add it for you :)

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Friday, 11 August 2023

Cyanide and Sensibility by Katie Oliver - Cover Reveal

Cover reveal graphic - picture shows a rosette saying 'cover reveal' in front of a full bookcase
Today I’m taking part in a cover reveal book blast for the next book in Katie Oliver’s Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery series. It’s called Cyanide and Sensibility. Let’s look at the blurb first.

Book Description

Murder is on the menu and Phaedra Brighton is called on to serve up justice in the latest Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery.

While Phaedra Brighton might not have a Mr. Darcy (yet), she's quite content with her loving family and loyal cat. Phaedra's sister Hannah is the Jane to her Elizabeth, and Phaedra is ecstatic that Hannah has decided to move home for her next adventure—opening a business. 

All of Laurel Springs is out in full force to celebrate the grand unveiling of Hannah's new patisserie, Tout de Sweet, including local celebrity Rachel Brandon. Hannah is a master of her craft, with confections so divine, one bite will make you think you've died and gone to heaven.

Of course, you never want that to happen literally. 

When one of Hannah's famous dark chocolate cupcakes sends Rachel's assistant to the hospital with poisoning, Hannah begs for Phaedra's help to save her reputation and budding business. But Phaedra has more questions than answers: Who was the cupcake actually meant for? And how far is the culprit willing to go to take their target off the menu—permanently?

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Saturday, 5 August 2023

Loving Miss Tilney by Heather Moll - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today Heather Moll is dropping by with an excerpt from her new Austenesque novel. I am always especially pleased when an Austenesque book isn’t Pride & Prejudice-inspired, as although that’s my favourite Austen book, most JAFF is based on P&P so it makes a nice change to have one that comes from another story. As you may well have guessed from the title, Loving Miss Tilney has its roots in Northanger Abbey.

I’ve been lucky enough to read this book already, and I’ll share my review with you in the next few days.

Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Heather Moll for an excerpt of the book. Heather has also brought a worldwide giveaway with her!

Book cover: Loving Miss Tilney by Heather Moll - cover shows a blonde haired young lady in Regency dress in an embrace with a young man, whose face is not visible to the viewer. She is looking down and to the side as if she is about to pull away from the embrace
Book Description

She’s forbidden to wed a nobody. He’s nothing in society’s eyes. Will their desperate schemes backfire before they find a way to be together?

Northanger Abbey. Eleanor Tilney can’t bear her lonely life any longer. Distraught when her tyrannical father throws her friend out of the house because the girl lacks an inheritance, the long-suffering general’s daughter decides anything is better than a future all alone. So in a frantic bid for freedom, she puts aside her tender feelings for a man of no standing to pursue a wealthy husband.

Philip Brampton understands that fortune is against him. And he tries gallantly to bury his distress and support his lonely beloved, even after she starts pursuing an arrogant buffoon. But when he catches the fellow about to kiss her, their resulting harsh words cause a heartbreaking rift.

Stiffening her spine in a world that refuses to acknowledge her value, Eleanor attempts to navigate the impossible situation without quashing her desires. And though his shy nature abhors a scene, Philip braces himself for a confrontation with her cruel and abusive patriarch.

Do these childhood sweethearts have any hope of achieving lasting happiness?

Saturday, 29 July 2023

Spells and Shadows by Victoria Kincaid - Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m really pleased to be welcoming Victoria Kincaid to Babblings of a Bookworm today with her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Spells and Shadows, which has a magical element.

Victoria has joined us with an excerpt of the book and an ebook giveaway. Read on for more details!

Book cover: Spells and Shadows - A Pride & Prejudice variation by Victoria Kincaid. Picture shows a young man and woman in Regency attire. They are in a creepy forest, with silhouettes of leafless trees. Both of them are holding what looks like a conjured ball of light
Book Description 

Spells and Shadows, A Fantasy Pride and Prejudice Variation

As a secret agent for the Mages’ Council, Mr. Darcy investigates a necromancer who is leading his followers down a dark path. When they discover him, a fight and a chase drive Darcy—injured and close to death—into the river. He is rescued and healed by Elizabeth, a talented mage at the Longbourn estate. Darcy cannot help developing feelings for her, but he dares not reveal his true identity while the necromancer’s creatures search for him.

Elizabeth Bennet is intrigued by the family’s new guest as he recovers at Longbourn. But mystery surrounds the man, and strange happenings plague the neighborhood while he visits. Elizabeth herself harbors a secret that she cannot share with the handsome stranger.

When Darcy’s enemies come calling, the Bennet family is caught in the crossfire. Worse, Elizabeth’s magic draws the necromancer’s particular interest. Darcy is falling in love with her and believes she returns his feelings, but the secret of his true identity could destroy their budding relationship—if they survive the upcoming danger.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy protect themselves and their families from the necromancer’s plots? What will happen when learn each other’s secrets? Can Elizabeth and Darcy’s love survive when it is entangled in a web of secrets, spells, and shadows?

Friday, 14 July 2023

Doubt Not, Cousin by Barry S Richman - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour Promo Graphic: Doubt Not, Cousin by Barry Richman
Today I’m happy to be welcoming a new visitor to the blog as the blog tour for Barry S. Richman’s book, Doubt Not, Cousin drops by. This is a Pride & Prejudice variation. Let’s look at the blurb, after which I can share a very romantic excerpt and ebook giveaway with you, courtesy of Meryton Press.

Book cover: Doubt Not, Cousin by Barry RichmanBook Description

Darkness, in many forms, must be conquered to emerge into the light and embrace one’s happily ever after.

Fitzwilliam Darcy. Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam.
Two cousins, closer than brothers.
One finds love despite his inner demons; the other resists love because of them.

Elizabeth Bennet. Kitty Bennet.
Two sisters, strengthened by adversity.
One willingly yields to love; the other pridefully misinterprets it. 

An epic saga steeped in intrigue and gift-wrapped in romance, Doubt Not, Cousin chronicles the trials and tribulations of three extraordinary families during England’s Regency era. 

… But who is the girl with the violet eyes?

Saturday, 8 July 2023

A Far Better Prospect by MJ Stratton - Except and Giveaway

MJ Stratton is visiting the blog today with a book which focuses on one of Jane Austen’s secondary characters; Mrs Hurst, formerly Miss Louisa Bingley, sister of Charles Bingley from Pride & Prejudice

We don’t see a huge amount of Mrs Hurst in P&P, and what we see isn’t necessarily to her advantage, although we have met her through the eyes of an unreliable narrator, so there is scope for her to be different to our perception. This is the heroine of A Far Better Prospect. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to M  Stratton for an except from the book and a giveaway opportunity.

Book cover: A Far Better Prospect by MJ Stratton - picture shows a woman in regency dress walking through a flower garden
Book Description 

Louisa Bingley had never defied her mother in her life, until she found something she wished to fight for. In love with a man with close ties to trade, Louisa refuses to give him up when her mother demands it.

But Mrs. Bingley is not to be reckoned with and through despicable means manages to force her daughter into a much more ‘appropriate’ marriage to a gentleman named Mr. Hurst.

Married to a man she does not love, the newly wed Louisa Hurst must learn to navigate her husband's expectations and demands while still holding on to the threads of herself. Through all of this she must also survive the malice of her younger sister Caroline, a responsibility thrust most unwillingly upon her.

Convinced contentment in life is all that she can expect, Louisa finds herself quite unexpectedly free to pursue her own happiness. But does she dare take the chance at allowing herself to feel again?

Along with Jane and Lizzy and all our favorites, Louisa Hurst gets her own happy ending in this Pride and Prejudice Vagary.

Monday, 26 June 2023

The Crimes of Elizabeth Darcy by Sophie Turner - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Sophie Turner back to the blog with what sounds like a potentially very angsty new book, The Crimes of Elizabeth Darcy, which is already getting some great reviews. Sophie has brought us a guest post and giveaway. Let me share the book blurb and then hand over to Sophie for her guest post. 

Book Cover: The Crimes of Elizabeth Darcy by Sophie Turner. Picture shows a silhouette of a face in profile. The background of the silhouette is black, but the picture overlaid on the silhouette is a boat on a sea at sunset
Book Description

After a tragic accident, Fitzwilliam Darcy is left for dead. His grief-stricken wife vows to do what is best for their children, including an ill-advised second marriage in the peerage.

Years later, Will Trevills leaves his happy life in Cornwall to discover the truth about his past. Thrust into a strange world after life as a fisherman, he gains a family he cannot recall. Lady Neston becomes Mrs. Darcy once more, and is grateful for her escape. But her husband questions his purpose as a gentleman, and cannot remember the love they shared.

Charged with bigamy, she may face the ultimate punishment, while the family she sought to protect has never been in greater peril.

Part thriller, part romance, and part courtroom drama, this Elizabeth and Darcy story is a long, absorbing read.

Readers should be aware that this story contains scenes of rape and sexual assault as well as a depiction of an abusive marriage and more general physical violence.

Friday, 19 May 2023

The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray - Review

Today the blog tour for Claudia Gray’s The Late Mrs. Willoughby stops by for my review. Let me share the blurb with you, and then I’ll tell you what I thought of the story.

Book cover: The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray. Picture shows silhouetted figures
Book Description

The suspenseful sequel to The Murder of Mr. Wickham, which sees Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney reunited, and with another mystery to solve: the dreadful poisoning of the scoundrel Willoughby's new wife.

Catherine and Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey are not entirely pleased to be sending their eligible young daughter Juliet out into the world again: the last house party she attended, at the home of the Knightleys, involved a murder—which Juliet helped solve. Particularly concerning is that she intends to visit her new friend Marianne Brandon, who's returned home to Devonshire shrouded in fresh scandal—made more potent by the news that her former suitor, the rakish Mr. Willoughby, intends to take up residence at his local estate with his new bride.

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley are thrilled that their eldest son, Jonathan—who, like his father, has not always been the most socially adept—has been invited to stay with his former schoolmate, John Willoughby. Jonathan himself is decidedly less taken with the notion of having to spend extended time under the roof of his old bully, but that all changes when he finds himself reunited with his fellow amateur sleuth, the radiant Miss Tilney. And when shortly thereafter, Willoughby's new wife—whom he married for her fortune—dies horribly at the party meant to welcome her to town.

With rumors flying and Marianne—known to be both unstable and previously jilted by the dead woman's newly made widower—under increased suspicion, Jonathan and Juliet must team up once more to uncover the murderer. But as they collect clues and close in on suspects, eerie incidents suggest that the killer may strike again, and that the pair are in far graver danger than they or their families could imagine.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Handsome, Clever & Rich by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway

I’m happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to the blog with her latest book, Handsome, Clever & Rich. It’s a Pride & Prejudice variation but some of you might recognise this title as being words Austen uses to describe Emma Woodhouse…

Let’s have a look at the book blurb and then I’ll hand you over to Jayne, who has brought us both an excerpt from Handsome, Clever & Rich and an ebook giveaway.

Book cover: Handsome, Clever & Rich - Austen's Emma Meets Pride & Prejudice. Picture is a painting of a pretty young lady in period feathered bonnet
Book Description

What if Elizabeth is not a Bennet by birth, but by marriage?

When Netherfield Park is let at last, the village of Meryton is inveigled in romance, intrigue, and a few less-than-happy reunions. The Bingley siblings return to the home of their youth, an estate purchased just before the death of their father. The neighborhood, especially the Bennet family, is ready to welcome them back with open arms, but Mr. Bingley’s attempt to make a good impression on his community backfires so badly that it is his awkward friend Mr. Darcy who is obliged to salvage the situation in the aftermath of Mr. Bingley insulting Jane Bennet at the Assembly.

Young widow Elizabeth Bennet begins her acquaintance with Mr. Darcy on amiable terms, but the reckless folly of his friend and the regrets from her own past create a bumpy path to Happily Ever After for them.

Not long after an injury obliges Elizabeth to recover at Netherfield Park, her estranged sister finally discovers Elizabeth’s whereabouts, and journeys from Highbury to Meryton in all haste, suitors in tow.

When one unexpected betrothal arises out of necessity, Jane Austen’s most notorious matchmaker is inspired to work her magic at Longbourn, Netherfield, and Lucas Lodge – but she, too, will have met her match in matters of meddling & mischief….

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Tuesday, 28 March 2023

The Sailor’s Rest by Don Jacobson – Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m very pleased to be welcoming Don Jacobson with a guest post and excerpt of his new book, which is released today! The Sailor’s Rest is a book which features characters from both Persuasion as well as Pride & Prejudice. First, I’ll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Don for a guest post and excerpt from The Sailor’s Rest. There’s also an ebook giveaway. Read on for more details.

Book cover: The Sailor's Rest by Don Jacobson. The picture on the book cover is a painting of ships in a dockyard
Book Description

The Sailor’s Rest: The Naval Adventure Jane Austen Could Have Written!

Jane Austen’s greatest lovers come together to be tested in the crucible of war on the Mediterranean’s blue waters and in the smoky confines of a prestigious London gambling den.

The Sailor’s Rest is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and is set on the stage of Napoleon’s 100 Days. Discover how the two betrothed couples—Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, along with Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot—find their love tried by separation, battle, and deception.

The novel immerses readers first in a mystery, then a sea chase, and, finally, a satisfying comeuppance. From the tattered rooms of a waterfront inn to three frigates engaged in a deadly game of naval chess, readers will experience the yearning as four hearts come closer to one-another. Before the tale ends, the audience will step into the gilded confines of London’s preeminent card room.

The Sailor’s Rest uses the characters formed by Austen as a starting point in an Austenesque excursion that will leave readers both challenged and richer for the experience.

The Sailor’s Rest is set in the Persuasion timeline of 1815 but leaves in place the age and plot constructs established by Austen in Pride and Prejudice. This is a full-length novel of 115,000 words.

Part mystery, part adventure - and all heart - This has the feel of a Hornblower epic.

Alice McVeigh, author of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel