Friday 11 November 2016

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner Blog Tour by Nicole Clarkston - Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston
 Today I am pleased to welcome author Nicole Clarkston to the blog as part of the blog tour for her new book. The book focuses on Uncle Gardiner and his courtship, which of course takes place before the events of 'Pride & Prejudice', as by the time we meet him he is a married father of four.

I will share the blurb of the book with you and than hand over to Nicole for a wonderful guest post featuring Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and what she did after she left Pemberley and Lambton. Read on for more details and a chance to win a copy of the book!

Book cover: The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston
Book Blurb:

Every great love has a beginning.

In Austen's Pride and Prejudice, we meet with perhaps the most sensible, caring relatives a lovelorn young woman could hope for: Mr and Mrs Gardiner. What is their story?

Edward Gardiner has just been refused by the lovely young woman he had intended to make his wife. Heartbroken and eager for a diversion, he accepts an invitation from his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennet, to accompany him along with his two eldest daughters to the north on family business. Gardiner's pleasure tour is interrupted, however, when his eldest niece falls ill and is unable to travel farther.

Stopping over in the scarcely remarkable village of Lambton, the men decide that Bennet must continue on, while Gardiner and the children remain. The only trouble is that Gardiner has not the least idea how he should care for one ailing niece and another who is ready to drive him to distraction... until he meets with Madeline Fairbanks.

* * *

The following episode takes place within the timeline of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner. This particular tale opens just as the main narrative leaves Lady Catherine’s misfortunes to follow the happy couple, immediately after the Lady’s disappointment in the town of Lambton. 

Her recent displeasure with her brother-in-law George Darcy, as well as her fresh insults by some impertinent Miss in the street, have set Lady Catherine off to confront another highly ungracious person: her brother, the earl of Matlock.

The Further Adventures of Lady Catherine de Bourgh

“Insolent child!” hissed the owner of the carriage, slashing down the shade with a vengeance. Lady Catherine settled herself back on the squabs, fire spitting from her eyes and a deep frown creasing over her countenance. 

Lady Catherine had suffered a most dismal afternoon. First, George Darcy had refused to listen to reason regarding the proper upbringing of his son- for who better to counsel him than the sister of his dead wife, and a mother in her own right? Then, as if to heap insult, he had obstinately rejected her prudent advice and any future guidance in the affairs of his daughter. And who was to shepherd the girl, should her father perish before she came of age? Why, an absolutely ignorant pair of young bachelors! 

The only possible salvation lay in Fitzwilliam’s engagement to Anne. Yes, perhaps thereby she might still mentor her young niece. Firstly, however, the lad must be made to learn his place! He had been rather abrupt with poor, gentle Anne during their drive, and her precious daughter’s complexion still bore symptoms of the mortifications she had suffered at the callousness of her cousin. Fitzwilliam might have been brought round, had he only come away to school as he ought! Now, it appeared that the legendary Darcy temperament would only fester within the halls of Pemberley. She expected to find a stoic, willful lad the equal of his father upon their next encounter.

All of this would have been quite enough to spoil her day, but the final injuries sustained in Lambton had been simply too much. Waving her handkerchief, she demanded wordlessly that Mrs Jenkinson procure for her the smelling salts. The nerve of that inn-keeper’s wife, to refuse her shelter! And that rude little country urchin, daring to insult her on the street! Lady Catherine de Bourgh had sustained quite enough shocks for one day. 

Unhappily, there remained yet one more indignation she must suffer- one which she would not have been required to face, had it not been for all of the others. Anne, sitting across from her, clasped her hands and rode in portentous gloom, her white face gazing back at her mother’s as the carriage rattled toward Matlock.

“Catherine!” the earl boomed as she stepped down from her carriage. He twitched his head at a footman, and the young man hastened forward to assist her.

Lady Catherine glanced about the perfectly smooth drive, drawing up to the imposing house of her youth. Dusk was spreading over the landscape by this time, and there was nothing else for it but to make the best of matters. She cast back her head, making absolutely certain that her brother understood that she would not bend to his wishes in their last disagreement; her arrival here was an olive branch, a token of her gracious goodwill. Despite his shameful conduct, she would perform the duty of her station and mend the breach.

“James,” she dipped her head grandly. She spoke no more to him, but to the footman she commanded, “See that Miss de Bourgh is made comfortable straight away! It will not do for her to take a chill in this night air.”

The footman scurried away with a brisk, “Yes, my lady!” but was ignored. 

“Catherine,” the earl repeated, this time with firm insistence. “What is all of this about?”

“I have come, James, so that Anne may be known to her cousins. That is all. I intend to take my leave again on the morrow.” So saying, she lifted her shoulders and strode majestically to the house.

Her brother, predictably, would not allow it to pass. An hour later, after she had dressed and descended the stairs once more, he cornered her in his study before she could greet Lady Matlock. He stood behind that massive desk of his and leaned upon it, much as she remembered their father doing when he spoke. “Now, Catherine, you will tell me why you arrive unannounced at my door so late in the evening!”

She puckered her lips and slanted him a withering look. “It is a long journey from Kent, Brother.”

“You quarreled with Darcy again, didn’t you?” he laughed. “What was it about this time?”

“He is a perfect swine,” she proclaimed stoutly. “Just like all of the Darcys! Why our father ever allowed Anne to engage herself to him….”

“They threatened to bring ruin on the family if he did not permit it, as I recall,” observed the earl drily. 

“Nonsense! Anne knew her place,” sniffed the Lady. “Had our father not desired the Pemberley estate, she never would have-”

“Let it go, Catherine,” he cut her off. “You are in my house now, not Darcy’s, and we have matters to settle if I am to be your host for… an entire night, did you say? Am I to presume that you have decided to capitulate on that little disagreement of last winter?”

“Not in the slightest!” she lashed out. “I shall see you brought to reason before I waver one jot!”

He groaned and began to throw his hands up in exasperation when the door opened. Lady Matlock entered, with her younger son Richard following in her wake. The earl made a swift effort to clear his expression as his wife approached.

Lady Catherine performed a stiff curtsey to her sister-in-law, which was almost as coldly returned. She then cast a baleful eye over the brown-eyed lad before her. Already at sixteen, he possessed an assortment of the masculine qualities which tended to mark the Fitzwilliam men. He was tall and broad of shoulder for his age- though, to be quite truthful, all suspected that his younger cousin would eventually claim the better figure. Still, there was nothing objectionable in his countenance- indeed, most considered him a steady and winsome lad, whose only fault could be found in his order of birth. The same could not be said for his cousin.

“Catherine,” James spoke sharply, “I expect you remember Richard, do you not?”

Lady Catherine’s cheek flinched in disdain. “I was present at his christening, James. Of course, I do! You will not draw me from my design by parading your son in here like a fattened bull. I will not be thus put off!”

The earl shrugged. “At least I do not trot out my daughter like a prize filly.”

“Obstinate man, I am ashamed of you!” she snarled hotly. Had he been any but her own flesh and blood… oh, hang it all, what did that matter? “You dare to speak so of your own niece! Duty and loyalty to your family-”

“Is that what you told Darcy?” he cut her off. “Now, seriously, Catherine-”

“I will not be silent!” she crowed. “You think to divert me with this addle-headed scheme of yours, as if I would be persuaded by one who holds no regard for the traditions of our family!”

“Tradition! You haven’t the least notion-”

Enough!” roared the countess at last. She stepped firmly between the feuding siblings, her hands raised defensively as though she expected one or the other might next throw a fist. “James!” she hissed to her husband, “you must not antagonise her!”

I antagonise?” he blurted. “Who showed up at whose doorstep, after vowing never to darken the threshold again? The, er, shades of Matlock had been polluted, as I recall.”

Insolence!” Lady Catherine howled in fury. “You dare to make light of this… this abomination you have wrought at our ancestral home? You then think I would further ally my daughter with this disgraceful circumstance! James Fitzwilliam, you deserve no notice from the de Bourgh line! I will not see my house and my name-”

“Catherine!” the earl bellowed. “When will you get it through your head that Anne would do just as well to marry Richard? Darcy is well positioned to attract the wealthiest heiresses in the kingdom, quite probably bringing another fine estate into the family fold. If Anne wed Richard, Rosings would be linked to Matlock- you know Matlock is every bit as fine as Pemberley! How do you suspect your daughter to be the loser by such an arrangement?”

Richard had been standing quietly by all this while, his lips pursed innocently and his eyes fastened on a painting above his father’s head. It was a trick he had learned from Darcy, and it was proving quite useful now, when his cheeks burned crimson from embarrassment. His gaze never wavered, either to his father or his aunt, as they continued their tirade.

“Anne linked to Matlock!” the Lady raged. “After you have disgraced the estate? The very notion is abhorrent! You are no longer worthy of my regard- why, your name ought scarcely to be mentioned in good society, and you would ask me to validate your scandalous disregard for duty, tradition-”

“Do not trouble me with this same argument, Catherine!” her brother interrupted. “I told you, did I not, that Darcy intended to do the same as I? And not only he! Why, I cannot think of a single man of influence who has not undertaken it at some time or other!”

“Indecent!” she declared. “Why, it ignores all of the claims of propriety, loyalty, the very interest of society!”

“Catherine, you never have been sensible to reason! Father was quite correct in marrying you off to old Sir Lewis, for if nothing else, it got you out of my hair! At least in Kent you could wreak no more havoc upon us here in Derbyshire!”

“I will interfere, James, for it is clear to me that you have lost your head! You ought never to have dared to alter what our father-”

The countess, who had been standing by with an expression of agonized forbearance, at last quit the conversation and beckoned for her younger son to do the same. They had made their appearance out of courtesy, but such a virtue was not highly prized in that heated study. As the debate between brother and sister raged on, Lady Matlock and her son crept quietly from the room.

Richard drew near to his mother, his eyes round. “Are you well, Mother? I fear my aunt is rather unpleasant this evening!”

The countess shook herself somewhat, once again donning her gracious demeanour. “Quite well, Richard. It is no less than I have come to expect. You know that every few years they have a good row. I suppose it will pass sooner or later.”

He glanced hesitantly back over his shoulder at the closed door, from which still emanated the shouts and furies of the Fitzwilliam family’s finest. “What set her off, Mother?” he wondered aloud.

The Lady brushed him off airily. “She disagrees with your father’s intention to engage you to Anne, for apparently only an elder son will do. As if Anne cares for a second estate, or could ever be strong enough to produce an heir!” she scoffed.

“Oh, no, Mother, I understand that well enough. Privately, I have no more desire to wed Anne than Fitzwilliam does, but that was not my question. Why is my aunt so put out with Father in the first place? We have not seen her here in six months, and I doubt we should have done so even today, had she not quarreled with my uncle.”

“Oh! That!” the countess laughed. “Why, ‘tis nothing of any real import. Your aunt disapproves of some of your father’s plans about the estate, that is all. She has vowed she would not even grace the house with her presence after such an… abomination, I believe that was the word she used.”

His brow wrinkled in thought. He could not recall any serious undertakings at Matlock at present. 

“Which plans does she find so abhorrent, Mother?”

“Why, the new French draperies in the drawing room, of course.”

* * *

Author Nicole Clarkston
Author Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don't ask).

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.

Contact Info:

Buy Link:

Blog Tour: The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston
Blog Tour Schedule:

21 Oct: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
22 Oct: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
27 Oct: Review & Giveaway Savvy Verse & Wit
01 Nov: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
08 Nov: Guest Post & Giveaway So little time…
10 Nov: Review & Giveaway My Kids Led me Back to Pride and Prejudice
11 Nov: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
15 Nov: Review & Giveaway at My Vices and Weaknesses
17 Nov: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
26 Nov: Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
30 Nov: Review & Giveaway at  Diary of an Eccentric
01 Dec: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

Giveaway Time!

Nicole Clarkston is offering one copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner on each stop of the blog tour. The format is readers’ choice (eBook or paperback) and is international. To enter, just leave a comment on this post by the end of the day on Friday 18 November. Please leave some way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.


  1. I'm so curious about the Gardiners story, would love to read it!

    lotsofgingers (at) hellokitty (dot) com

    1. Good luck in the giveaway, Kirsten!

    2. It's interesting to think how they could have met, Kirsten. How did a woman from Derbyshire meet and marry a man from Hertfordshire and end up living in London?

  2. Lady C. obviously didn't mellow much with time then! Getting all worked up over a set of curtains? Probably a good job she doesn't remember the "urchin" she met on the street when she and Elizabeth eventually meet again.

    1. Ooop,

      angmardee (at) hotmail (dot) com.

    2. And this time, the person she is arguing with is not some "nobody," but her "equal" in the society of the day. It went on for days, but I only recorded the opening volleys for your entertainment.

    3. That's a good point, Anji, if Lady C has mellowed with age, she must have been something to behold in her youth! I have always thought it would have been the other way around, and she would have got more disagreeable and set in her ways as she aged, especially once her husband was gone.

  3. Oh good the Fitzwilliam family is in the story

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. (cringe) The whole Fitzwilliam clan didn't make it over to Pemberley that week. Sorry, Vesper!

    2. Well maybe we don't get the Fitzwilliam family in the story, but at least we have them here!

  4. Loved that ending! I actually snorted. I seriously thought that I'd have to ask you what was so scandalous, but you thoughtfully decided to include the horrific information. I'm so glad you did! After reading this, I really, really want to read this book.
    As much as Lady C. is a self-centered old bat, she's awfully fun to read.
    Ginna Say What at gmail dot com

    1. Well, you knew it had to be pretty scandalous, right?

    2. It gave me a laugh too, Ginna :)

  5. Poor Lady C. She's really having a bad time of it,facing relentless infuriation at every turn!

    None of her relations seem to be owing down to her wishes,what is the Lady to do?!!

    Loved reading this excerpt and the light hearted way that it's penned!

    Please don't include me in the giveaway as I've read and loved this story.

    1. Tormenting Lady C is ALMOST as much fun as tormenting Darcy... but not quite. Thanks for stopping by, Mary!

    2. She must be most seriously displeased! Glad to hear you enjoyed the story. Thanks for commenting, Mary :)

  6. Oh man, I was dying to know what the 'abomination' was and that? Buahaha! What a hoot. Loved the excerpt and look forward to the rest of the story.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    1. SO unpatriotic! Good luck in the giveaway, Sophia!

    2. Thanks Sophia, glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  7. What a wonderful excerpt! I love your writing, Nicole, it's so bubbly and exciting! Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love the chance to win this book, but from the excerpts I've read so far it's pretty clear I'll read it either way :)
    Best of luck and have fun on the blog tour!

    1. You just made my day, Joana, what a compliment! I probably ought to clarify that this was actually not an excerpt directly from the book, but an additional scene which explains what LC did after she "left" the story. It wouldn't have fit into the flow of the narrative, but it is so much fun to torment her that I couldn't resist. Thank you, Ceri, for patiently allowing me to tell her tale!

    2. What lovely praise, Joana! I hope you enjoy the story when you read it :)

  8. I've never read anything like this before, it sounds so good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, darcybennett! I am always in awe of how much creative fun we can have with Jane's characters, and how many different ideas emerge.

    2. Glad you like the sound of it, Darcybennett!

  9. Oh that was fun! I can only imagine what she would say about the 'French' brandy! Thank you for the generous giveaway but like others, if I don't win, I will be buying the book! I recently bought 'Rumours and Recklessness'! Looking forward to reading it after all the wonderful reviews and comments made!

  10. Hah! Loved this excerpt! :D

    1. Of course, I forgot my email address!

  11. Thank you for the extra special excerpt, i so enjoyed the book! Good luck with the rest of the blog tour, it's been fun :)

    1. It has! I love chatting with everyone, and I think I have more fun writing the extra vignettes than I do with the main book!

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Tamara :)

  12. It went on for DAYS? What a miserable woman! I'm dying to know what "urchin" Bennet said to her, assuming that this urchin is indeed our dear Lizzy. This looks like a very intriguing book, and it will be interesting to learn how Mr. Gardiner met his future wife.


    1. Lady Catherine can be SUCH a bore. Good luck!

    2. It's an interesting idea for a book isn't it, 50of47.

  13. sounds wonderful

    every time I see the title, I'm remind of the tv show and movie, The Courtship of Eddie's Father


    1. I suppose one might say that the kids actually found the perfect woman for him, so... ;-)

    2. I'm not familiar with The Courtship of Eddie's Father', I'll have to look it up :)

  14. with that little appetizer I can't wait for the full serving

  15. I really like Lady Catherine in this book... because she does not get what she wants!!

    ana (dot) mr (dot) 1986 (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. My favourite type of Lady Catherine is the one who doesn't get what she wants :)

  16. I'm reading this wonderful book and I'm having a great fun. Little imp Lizzy is a handful, and Jane is her sweet self. I love Miss Fairbanks and a young Edward Gardiner.
    Great book, Nicole. Congrats. :)

  17. Ceri, please will you take my name out of the hat? I've been lucky enough to win a copy elsewhere.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Anji, and congratulations on your win :)


If you're not logged in to Google please leave your name in your comment or it will post as anonymous. Thanks! - Ceri