Saturday, 20 July 2019

Re-release of Undeceived by Karen M Cox

Book cover: Undeceived by Karen M Cox
Today I'm welcoming Karen M Cox back to the blog. Long time visitors will know that I'm a big admirer of Karen's work. I've been right through time with her - from the US depression in the Pride & Prejudice-inspired 1932, through to 1970s Kentucky with the Emma story I Could Write a Book through to 1980s and a spy story in Undeceived. Karen is re-releasing this latest story and has stopped in to tell us all about it. Let's take a look at the blurb and then hand over to Karen to tell us a bit more :)


...if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me? 
-Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 40

Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment—investigating the CIA's legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent.

Darcy’s charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.

Elizabeth’s confidence dissolves as nothing is like she planned—and the more she discovers about Darcy, the more she finds herself in an ever-tightening web of danger.

Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War era romance inspired by Jane Austen’s classic tale.

* * *
Guest Post from Karen M Cox

Hello Readers and Fans of Jane!

And thank you so much to Ceri for hosting me this morning to tell you about my re-release of Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game. It comes out July 23rd on various ebook platforms, but you can preorder it even as we speak. The print version will follow shortly after that, if you prefer paperback (nothing like a print book, is there?)

One of the things that inspires my muse is music. For each work, I make a play list—maybe not at the very beginning, but somewhere during that first draft stage, I start one. I refine it as I go along. Not to play while I’m writing, I’m way too distractable for that, but to ease me back into the story, or to think about plot and characters when I’m away from the computer. The playlist is like an anchor to the story, a touchstone that takes me into the world of my characters.

Join me in that world while you read Undeceived.

Undeceived will be 0.99 cents for the first 30 days after release (until August 22nd) so snag it before then if you’re interested.
* * *

This is what I thought of the first edition of Undeceived:

Book cover: Undeceived by Karen M Cox
Undeceived is a ‘Pride & Prejudice’-inspired story which, unusually, is neither Regency nor contemporary – instead it’s set in the early 1980s. Darcy is an established CIA agent and Elizabeth is new to the Agency. The CIA believes it has a mole in its Eastern European area of operation and Elizabeth has been tasked with surveilling Darcy, under cover of being his interpreter, to work out whether he is the mole. Unfortunately, she and Darcy do not get off to the best start. Before she is even given the assignment she has come to the conclusion that he’s not an agent she’d like to work with, after he is condescending to new recruits in a guest lecture that he delivers. Elizabeth sums up the ‘lesson’ thus:
“I have learned that there are some fatal flaws that even extreme hotness can’t erase.”
However, they are thrown together in each other’s company. Although Elizabeth finds Darcy frustrating, she is fascinated by him in equal measure. At first she is somewhat prejudiced against him, but as a fair minded person, she is willing to put that to one side to discover the truth and over time she comes to her own conclusions.

I thought this was a really exciting and compelling read. From the very first, you are drawn in, as the book begins with quite a dramatic scene before flashing back to previous events. I enjoyed the fact that the setting was quite different – the spy world, by its very nature, is not your run of the mill setting. There is also an element of mystery to this, as there are parts written from the point of view of the mole; and it’s not clear who the mole is. There are some clues, some red herrings and some twists. I enjoyed a little bit of speculation regarding the identity of the mole, and indeed speculation regarding other characters. In general I was quite successful in my conclusions, although there was one person who I didn’t suspect of being different to their initial presentation.

I enjoyed this different reason for Elizabeth’s prejudice. Not only do she and Darcy get off on the wrong foot, but this is compounded by further arrogance when she actually meets him one on one, and then she is asked to investigate him. I will be fair to her though, despite having a poor view of his personality, she is fairly unbiased from the first as regards his patriotism, though of course she is on the lookout for any sign of it.

I also liked that the author had chosen a timeframe for the story that I’m not used to seeing (as she did in her book “1932”), as most Austenesque reads are either Regency or contemporary, although I am not familiar with the nuances of the cold war so I might have missed some of the references there.

The story isn’t a direct ‘Pride & Prejudice’ re-telling, but there are moments from the canon story that are recognisable. For example, there’s a mirroring of the Netherfield stay, a Hunsford, a meeting at Pemberley and some re-adapted lines that you’ll recognise, such as:
‘He had never been as betwitched by any woman as he was by her, and if it were not for the fact that she worked for him, he really believed he might be in danger of falling for her.’
We get quite a bit of time in Darcy's head, and the description of his feelings towards Elizabeth are good to see. He also takes actions which put him in danger so that she isn't put in danger... sigh! All of this helps build your goodwill towards him, and helps you forgive his initial attitude.

For those of you who like to know these things, this book has some sex scenes but they aren't detailed at all and would be easy to skip.

I would certainly recommend this book. It was exciting, perilous, romantic and a very satisfying read. I was hoping for a wonderful reading experience from this author and I feel she really delivered. I would rate this as a 5 star read.

5 star read

Author Karen M Cox
About the Author

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance, a novella, and several short stories.

Karen was born in Everett WA, the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State before settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at age eleven. She lives in a quiet town with her husband and works as a pediatric speech pathologist.

Book cover: Undeceived by Karen M CoxBuy Links

Undeceived is available to pre-order now - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads shelf

Re-Launch Party

Karen is hosting a book re-launch party over at the Mr Darcy's Extensive Readers Facebook group starting at 8.30pm US Eastern time on Tuesday 23 July. If you can't join in at the time why not stop in later?

Monday, 15 July 2019

Winner - Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid

Book cover: Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid
Recently I was joined by Victoria Kincaid with her latest Pride & Prejudice-inspired story, Darcy in Hollywood, which as the name suggests, transplants Mr Darcy to the life of a modern-day movie star. Victoria joined us for a guest post and excerpt.

Victoria was also giving away an ebook of Darcy in Hollywood to a commenter on the post. I selected a winner using a random number generator and that winner was...


Congratulations! I think I have contact details for you, so I'll drop you an email now :)

If you weren't lucky enough to win but would still like to read the book I can offer you two solutions - firstly you could try following the blog tour - some will have chosen a winner, but the later ones particularly might still be open.

July 2  – Savvy Verse and Wit
July 10 – Diary of an Eccentric
July 15 – Austenesque Reviews
Secondly, you could just buy it for yourself, you definitely deserve the treat.

Darcy in Hollywood is available to buy now for kindle - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads Shelf

Thank you so much to Victoria Kincaid for the post and giveaway. I wish you all the very best with Darcy in Hollywood!

Friday, 12 July 2019

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

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

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

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

Monday, 1 July 2019

Winners of Taking Another Chance by Brenda Webb

Book cover: Taking Another Chance by Brenda WebbRecently I was joined by Brenda Webb, who has just released her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Taking Another Chance, which sees Darcy and Elizabeth not meeting after Lambton until 14 years have passed, gaaaaaaah! You can read the excerpt here, and don't worry too much, because Brenda guarantees us a happy ever after.

Brenda was very kindly giving away 4 ebooks of Taking Another Chance to commenters on the blog post. I chose the winners using a random number generator, and the winners are:


J W Garrett


Sophia Rose

Congratulations to all of you! I have contact details for J W Garrett and Sophia Rose and will email you, but I don't think I have contact details for the other winners. Therefore, please contact me to claim your prize. My contact details are available on the contact me page. If I don't hear from you by the end of the day on Thursday I will have to choose other winners, so please get in contact!

Edited to add - We've had to choose 2 further winners, via random number generator again. These are:



I have contact details for Dung, but not for Venita. Therefore please can you contact me.

Thank you so much to Brenda for the giveaway. If you weren't lucky this time, don't worry. You can still buy the book, you deserve the treat :)

Buy Links

Taking Another Chance is available to buy now, both in ebook and paperback - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon Canada / Add to Goodreads Shelf

Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid
Today we're welcoming Victoria Kincaid back to the blog with her latest book. As you can infer from the title, Darcy in Hollywood is a modern Pride & Prejudice variation which sees Mr Darcy as a Hollywood film star. Victoria has brought us an excerpt of the book and has also shared her thought processes in transporting Austen's characters to modern-day Hollywood while keeping them true to the characters the readers know and love. Victoria is also kindly offering a giveaway of an ebook of Darcy in Hollywood to one of you. Read on for more details!

Book Description

Rich and arrogant movie star, William Darcy, was a Hollywood heartthrob until a scandalous incident derailed his career.  Now he can only hope that Tom Bennet’s prestigious but low budget indie film will restore his reputation.  However, on the first day of filming, he nearly hits Bennet’s daughter, Elizabeth, with his Ferrari, and life will never be the same.  Okay, she’s a little sarcastic, but he’s certain she’s concealing a massive crush on him—and it’s growing harder to fight his own attraction….

Elizabeth Bennet has a lot on her plate.  She’s applying to medical school and running the studio’s charity project—while hoping her family won’t embarrass her too much.  Being Darcy’s on-set personal assistant is infuriating; he’s rude, proud, and difficult.  If there’s one thing she dislikes, it’s people who only think about themselves.  But then Elizabeth discovers Darcy has been doing a lot of thinking about her.

She might be willing to concede a mutual attraction, but events are conspiring against them and Darcy subject to constant public scrutiny.  Do Darcy and Elizabeth have any hope of achieving Hollywood’s elusive happy ending?

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Winners of The Meyersons of Meryton by Mirta Ines Trupp

Book cover: The Meyersons of Meryton by Mirta Ines Trupp
Recently I was joined by Mirta Ines Trupp with an author interview and excerpt from her Pride & Prejudice inspired book The Meyersons of Meryton, which sees the Bennets having a Jewish family living in their neighbourhood. You can read the interview and excerpt here.

Mirta was very kindly offering to give away some e-books of The Meyersons of Meryton. Some of the people who commented on the post said that they already had the book or that they'd read it so I didn't include them in the giveaway. Mirta offered to give away 5 copies of the book and from the comments, the winners are:

Pam Hunter

Unknown (A)

Megan H


If you commented on the post and wanted to enter the giveaway but I haven't named you above, please let me know.

I have contact details for Pam and Anji and will email you, but if Megan and A could contact me that would be great :)

Thanks so much to Mirta for visiting, and all the very best with your book!

Monday, 24 June 2019

Taking Another Chance by Brenda Webb - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Taking Another Chance by Brenda Webb
I'm very happy to tell you that today I'm welcoming Brenda Webb back to the blog. Brenda has visited many times and is always a lovely guest. She has a new Pride & Prejudice- inspired book out, Taking Another Chance, which has quite a bit of a time gap for our dear couple, where they are apart. Brenda is here with an excerpt, and she's brought a giveaway too. I'll share the blurb with you, and then hand over to Brenda.

Book Description

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have suffered profound heartache in the fourteen years since parting in Lambton when word of Lydia’s folly reached her family.

At the age of forty, Darcy is now a widower raising a teenage daughter, whilst Elizabeth, a spinster, has spent the intervening years in service.

Unexpectedly thrown into each other’s company by circumstances not of their making, has time stood still when it comes to matters of the heart?

Can their timeless love survive the newest obstacles to happiness?

Excerpt from Taking Another Chance with introduction from the author, Brenda Webb

Ceri, thank you so much for allowing me to visit and share an excerpt of my newest book TAKING ANOTHER CHANCE. I always enjoy visiting with you and your readers and giving away copies of my tales.

As a way of introduction to this story, I have always wanted to write a story where an older Darcy and Elizabeth find each other again and TAKING ANOTHER CHANCE is the result. The blurb above sets the stage for the story; however, for those who hate stories where Darcy is married to someone before Elizabeth, allow me to hint that the marriage began with deception and was of short duration.

Those who read my books know that I never have ODC in love with anyone but each other. After all, Some Loves Are Meant To Be!

Matlock Manor
The ball

As William made his way down the magnificent grand staircase, it occurred to him that under Isabelle’s watch nothing at Matlock Manor was done conservatively, especially soirées such as this one. The ball was scheduled to begin in less than an hour, and not only were pots and vases of flowers and greenery occupying every available space, vines and cut flowers had been woven through the rails of the staircase and placed atop every doorway. In addition, the candles in every chandelier in the house were lit, whilst numerous candelabra had been scattered throughout the house, lighting all the recesses not reached by the chandeliers.

Though pleased for his cousin, William was secretly glad Pemberley’s furnishings were less ostentatious, for Matlock Manor reminded him too much of Rosings Park under Lady Catherine’s reign. That woman had died three years to the day after his marriage to Lady Cornelia, with the estate passing to his cousin Anne.

Anne had survived her mother by a mere two years, during which time Lord Matlock helped her run Rosings Park with the aid of a steward. After Anne died there were no de Bourghs alive to inherit, so the estate passed to Lord Matlock. After his death it became part of the family holdings and the steward continued to manage it under William’s watchful eye because Viscount Sele, the new Lord Matlock, showed no interest in doing so. William hoped that once Richard became more comfortable managing Matlock Manor, he could pass part of that responsibility on to his cousin.

As these thoughts were going through his head, William was oblivious to the fact that Lady Parker was waiting to accost him in the foyer. The minute she heard his boots on the marble floor, she swept out of the nearest parlour as though she had no idea he was there.

“Mr. Darcy,” the blonde-haired beauty purred as she floated towards him. “It seems we are the only ones dressed for the ball. And how handsome you look, too!”

William could not deny that Lady Parker was beautiful, and tonight she looked even more so, wearing a teal-coloured, silk damask gown with a delicate, gold-sequined net overlay. The gown’s sleeves were fashioned off-the-shoulder, and the bodice was cut so low that, for a brief moment, William found himself pondering what could be holding it up.

He quickly recovered. “That is not true. I was just talking with your sister and Richard, and they are both fully dressed.”

Ignoring his curt reply, Lady Parker walked over to weave her arm through his, lifted her chin and batted her eyelashes. “What a shame you cannot dance. I would love to be your partner tonight.”

“It is not that I cannot; it is that I choose not to. I will not chance ruining an unsuspecting partner’s foot should I misstep.”

“I am willing to take my chances,” she said brazenly.

“I am sorry, but I am resolute on the matter.”

“I could refuse to dance and keep you company.”

“Since my cousin is hosting this ball for your benefit, do you not think that would be inconsiderate?”

Suddenly, Lady Matlock called from the landing, “Darcy, Richard needs to speak with you right away. He is in his dressing room.”

Whilst Isabelle disappeared as quickly as she had come, William feigned disappointment. “Duty calls. Please excuse me.”

Cursing under her breath as William started back up the stairs, Lady Parker walked on to the ballroom.

Elizabeth had come downstairs to fetch flowers from the conservatory in the hope that having flowers for their hair might coax a smile from Lady Marianne and Lady Marjorie, who were disappointed at not being allowed to attend the ball. Instead, they were to stand in the receiving line to greet the guests and then retire. Having found the perfect rose buds, Elizabeth was unable to go up the rear stairs because footmen were carrying a table down them; thus, she hurried towards the grand staircase. Stumbling upon Lady Parker’s ambush of William, she barely managed to stop before rounding the corner into the foyer. Holding her breath, she listened as he successfully parried each of Lady Parker’s advances, which reminded her of a similar scene involving Caroline Bingley years ago.

Covering her mouth to keep from laughing, she thought, Poor man! After all this time, you are still being pursued by the ladies.

As soon as the foyer emptied, Elizabeth rushed up the stairs, praying that she could present the flowers to the girls without encountering William. That was not to be, however, for the instant she pinned two white rosebuds at the back of Marianne’s head, William knocked on his daughter’s dressing room door.

“Come!” Marianne called and William walked in. Elizabeth froze.

“Would you excuse us, please?” he asked.

“Of course,” Elizabeth replied.

Picking up the pink rosebuds she had selected for Marjorie, she hurried into the hall and proceeded straight to that young woman’s dressing room. Cautiously laying her ear against the door and hearing nothing, Elizabeth tried the handle. The door opened, and she slipped inside to find Marjorie alone and weeping.

“Whatever is the matter, my dear?”

“Papa treats me like a child!”

“You may feel that way now, but once you have a daughter of your own, you will understand.”

Whilst drying her eyes on a lace-trimmed handkerchief, Marjorie retorted, “How can you possibly know that? You have no children.”

Elizabeth’s expression became wistful. “I once witnessed the downfall of a young lady who followed her own counsel. Believe me, the outcome was dreadful, not only for her but for her family as well. You should thank God every day that your father cares enough to limit what you do until you are mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with making your own decisions.”

Marjorie’s brows furrowed. “Is this woman the reason you are in service?”

Surprised at Marjorie’s intuition, Elizabeth replied, “I am in service because I chose to be.” Changing the subject, she held up the pink rosebuds. “I found these in the conservatory and thought they would look beautiful in your hair tonight.”

Marjorie’s face brightened. “They are lovely. Will you pin them in?”

“Of course.”


This makes me a bit sad, but I am taking heart in Brenda's comment that she guarantees me a Darcy and Elizabeth happy ever after!

* * *

Author Brenda Webb
Author Bio - from Brenda's Author Page

Before my obsession with all things Jane Austen, I worked as an administrative assistant to the president of a CPA firm. No longer working, I enjoy spending time with my family and indulging my love of storytelling.

Born on a farm in Cullman, Alabama, I proudly admit to being a country girl, and after years of living in the city, I finally achieved my dream of moving back to the country. My husband and I now reside on a three acre mini-farm, sporting chickens and numerous rescued dogs and cats.

Always a voracious reader, I rediscovered Jane Austen books after watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. Searching for everything relating to Miss Austen, I eventually stumbled into the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. After reading many of other people's stories, I decided to try my hand at writing a tale that kept coming to mind and began posting that story on online in 2009.

By November of 2010, I started my own forum,, and many readers followed me to this site. Several of my friends insisted that I publish, and in April 2011, Fitzwilliam Darcy an Honourable Man became available.

I have since published the following novels: Mr. Darcy's Forbidden Love, Darcy and Elizabeth, A Most Unlikely Couple, Darcy and Elizabeth - A Promise Kept, Passages - A Pemberley Tale and Proof Of Love - A Pemberley Tale. I also published a novella - A Twist of Fate.

I post all my stories on the forum before I publish them and, just to set the record straight, any similarity between the names in my books and those of television or movie characters is purely coincidental. I have never watched soap operas and I watch little TV/movies other than BBC productions and those relating to the 1800s. In addition to the characters that belong to Jane Austen, my character's names come entirely from my imagination.

Anyone is welcome to join the forum and read my stories and an array of stories by a number of talented JAFF writers. Just register at

Buy Links

Taking Another Chance is available to buy now, both in ebook and paperback - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon Canada / Add to Goodreads Shelf

Giveaway Time

Book cover: Taking Another Chance by Brenda Webb
Brenda is very generously giving away 4 ebooks of Taking Another Chance. This giveaway is open to people who can accept ebook gifts from To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Sunday, 1 July. You can also earn an additional entry by tweeting about this giveaway. To ensure your tweet entry is counted please tag me, @frawli1978 in the tweet. You can only earn one additional giveaway entry through tweeting :)

* * *
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Sunday, 23 June 2019

GIveaway Winner - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston

Book cover: Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
Recently Nicole Clarkston visited us with a scene from Nefarious. This Pride & Prejudice variation is written from Mr Darcy's perspective, but the scene Nicole shared was written from Elizabeth's point of view. You can enjoy the scene here.

Nicole was offering a giveaway to commenters on the post. The winner, chosen by random number generator, is:

Michelle H.

Congratulations, Michelle! As your comment did include contact details please can you contact me before the end of the day on Tuesday, or I will have to choose another winner.

Thanks so much to Nicole for her wonderful post, J. W. Garrett for her inspiration, Janet Taylor for arranging the blog tour and to all of you who visited the post and took time to comment.

Remember, for those who were unlucky in the giveaway, you can still get your mitts on a book. Nefarious is available to buy now, both in ebook and paperback - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller
The blog tour for author Kelly Miller's debut novel, Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley stops by today. First I'll share the blurb with you and then we will have an excerpt of the book. There's also an opportunity to win a copy of the book.

Book cover: Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller
Book Description

What will the master of Pemberley do when confronted with the mercurial whims of an all-powerful angel?

Fitzwilliam Darcy's well-ordered life is about to become a chaotic nightmare. A man of fortune, property, and social prominence, he has everything he could desire. Blissfully married to his wife, Elizabeth, they have a two-year-old son. With so much to live for, Darcy is shaken by a near-fatal riding accident. After a miraculous escape, he is visited by an otherworldly being: an angel of death named Graham. Threatening dire consequences, Graham compels Darcy to guide him on a sojourn in the world of mortals.

Darcy immediately questions the angel’s motives when he demands to be a guest at Pemberley. Can he trust Graham's assurance that no harm will come to his wife and child? And why does Graham insist on spending time with Elizabeth? How can Darcy possibly protect his family from an angel with power over life and death?

In this romantic fantasy, the beloved couple from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice must contend with both human and unearthly challenges. Are the fates against them? Or will their extraordinary love conquer all?

Monday, 17 June 2019

The Meyersons of Meryton by Mirta Ines Trupp - Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: The Meyersons of Meryton by Mira Ines Trupp
Today I'm welcoming a new visitor to the blog, Mirta Ines Trupp. Mirta has written a book which brings a Jewish family into P&P. She has joined us today with an excerpt from The Meyersons of Meryton, an author interview and an international ebook giveaway! Let's take a look at the blurb first.

Book Description

When a new family, thought to be associated with the House of Rothschild arrives in Meryton, a chain of events are set in place that threaten the betrothal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to her beloved Mr. Darcy.

Rabbi Meyerson and family are received at Longbourn. This inconvenience leads to misfortune, for when the rabbi disappears from the quiet market town, Mr. Bennet follows dutifully in his path.

Her father’s sudden departure shadowed by the Wickhams’ unannounced arrival has Elizabeth judging not only her reactions to these tumultuous proceedings but her suitability as the future Mistress of Pemberley. A sensible woman would give her hand in marriage without a second thought. Can Elizabeth say goodbye forever to the one man who has captured her heart?

The Meyersons of Meryton is a Pride and Prejudice variation. The narrative introduces Jewish characters and history to the beloved novel and, although there are some adult themes, this is an inspirational and clean read.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
I'm delighted to be welcoming Nicole Clarkston back to the blog with her latest Pride & Prejudice-inspired story, Nefarious which is already receiving great reviews. It sounds like an angsty one. Let's take a look at the blurb and then I'll hand over to Nicole for an excerpt and giveaway.

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?

Wraparound Book Cover - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston

Excerpt from Nefarious

I cannot believe Mr Collins touched me in such a way! I had almost persuaded myself that it was merely the effect of his terminal oafishness—that he truly was the clumsiest, dullest, most insensible man alive, and that he was likely unaware of what his hand had just done. But then, Mr Darcy had to call him out over the matter.

The nerve of that man! It was worse because all in the vicinity heard every word of his scathing remonstration. Even had they not seen what Mr Darcy had—and I did have to ponder a moment about why that man had been watching my posterior—no one could misunderstand that Mr Darcy was accusing Mr Collins of some impropriety towards myself. My shame was complete.

“Mr Darcy,” I snapped, “in the future, if you decide to take upon yourself the mantle of the knight in armour, I will thank you not to create so gauche a scene as you have just done.”

The miscreant, he gritted his teeth and leaned close, as if he thought the entire episode my fault!

“Then you make a habit of permitting gentlemen improper liberties?”

“I do not, but I could have taken the matter up with my father, without causing a public disturbance.”

He clenched his fists, his face changed colours, and he opened his mouth…

Well… I shall not think now of the scornful, shameful exchange that followed, save to recall that he had insulted my father, sneered at me, made a mockery of every chivalrous notion a proper gentleman ought to have expressed, and then… and then… I buried my heated face in my palms.

He dared me to dance with him.

It was no common banter, such as our precious skirmishes. No, this was nearly a hostile demand, an expressed doubt of my courage… a confrontation from which I could not back down.

After it was over, and he had stalked his sullen way back to the corner where he liked to stand, I fled to the ladies’ retiring room to fan my crimson cheeks and wash down my humiliation with great draughts of punch.

“Here, now, Lizzy,” Charlotte protested, “you will make yourself ill!”

“A capital notion,” I declared, and reached for another glass.

“But what is this?” she cried. “It is not like you to hide here in the retiring room.”

“Nor is it like me to accept a dance with Mr Darcy. What could I have been thinking?”

Charlotte’s eyes widened. “You did what?”

“Please, do not make me repeat myself, Charlotte. What am I to do? I cannot possibly stand up with him! How am I to do it?”

“It is simple,” she scoffed. “You place your feet side by side, and stand in the line facing the gentlemen…”

“Charlotte, I know you delight in teasing me, but I cannot bear it just now. I shall have to be civil to him for a full half an hour!”

“Why should you behave any differently than you have always done? It was he who asked you to dance, was it not? I suppose he knows you well enough by now to understand what sort of company he is to expect. You needn’t talk at all, if you do not wish to, you know. Why, when I danced with Jonathan Sanders, we said not a single word to each other.”

“Jonathan Sanders is not Fitzwilliam Darcy,” I groaned.

“Indeed, not! Mr Darcy is ten times as handsome. Come, Lizzy, I know very well that you admire the man’s person. How could you not? Now, surviving the dance shall be the simplest thing. All you need do is keep your mouth closed and look on his face. The time will pass agreeably enough.”

“How simple you make it sound!” I sighed.

There was nothing simple about it. All through the dinner, I felt his scorn for my family’s antics, but that was not the worst of it. I was partnered with the highly amiable Mr Bingley during the first set after dinner when we both saw Mr Darcy clasp Jane’s hands like a jealous boor. Poor Jane!

And poor Mr Bingley! I thought my partner would tear his friend’s head off right there on the dance floor, but he had the good grace to continue, as if nothing were amiss. However, as soon as the strains died away, no one had to encourage Mr Bingley to escort Jane away from Mr Darcy. He took her from the floor at once, leaving me standing there facing the brute alone.

For a moment—an instant, really—I saw a flash of something in his eyes that threatened to draw me, lead me on to some folly. It was fear, I am sure of it. I stiffened my spine. I was determined to punish him for his infamous behaviour to Jane, and I would begin by tormenting him.

It was easy… in theory. I knew very well how wildly uncomfortable he was whenever he was forced into proximity with me. If his feelings were anything like mine, I knew precisely how to play him, just as the violinist coaxed both sweet and discordant notes from the same instrument. A step near, a clash of gazes, a brush of hands, and his desolation would be complete.

Unfortunately, so was my own.

The dance was the Allemande, which required more physical intimacy than many others. That I should have had to dance it with Mr Darcy was nothing short of a celestial injustice! We clasped each other's fingertips and twirled together, then fell into step dos à dos. His face was so near, and I could feel the heat of his body through the thin fabric of my gown sleeves. He was indignant, provoked by my challenges, and his good sense—or whatever sense he possessed—was ebbing.

“Are you so determined to view each of my actions in the worst possible light?” he demanded of me at length. “Do you so readily discount my position and understanding?”

“Your understanding is woeful, at best,” I shot back, “and always has been regarding my sister. As for your position, it means less than nothing to me against the interests of one I love. Indeed, sir, your arrogance knows no bounds!”

“You mistake me yet again, Miss Elizabeth. I meant to say that I am no wet-behind-the-ears lad. I have moved among Society for many years, and never have I slipped so grievously as to offend a lady during a ball. My actions earlier were as startling to me as they were to Miss Bennet, and I deeply regret any discomfort I may have caused her.”

“May have! Sir, the only reason I remained here on the floor with you rather than rushing to attend her is that I did not wish to deepen her humiliation any more. What cause could you have had for taking such a vulgar liberty and frightening her so?”

“I… I cannot tell.”

“You do not even know!” I cried.

“I do. I simply cannot tell you.” He sealed his lips and looked, for just a second, miserably unhappy.

“Then, sir, I am afraid we have nothing more to say to one another.”

We separated for the moment to face another couple, and I tried with all my might and main to act as if the man had not triggered something deep within me. I could not decide if it were rage, or something uglier. Destructive fascination? Much as I loathed the man, there was some mystery at work that caught at my thoughts, tugged all my feelings, and made me itch to piece together the puzzle of his existence.

We returned to our places, and I stared back across the set at the man I could not help but despise. Surely, I must despise him… mustn’t I? I fixed my glare, readied my tongue for the next sally, but something in his look drew me in. There was something so broken, so lost in his expression, that I found myself studying him once again.

His lips were moving—very faintly. No sound emerged, but he looked for all the world like a man whispering a deep confidence to one he hoped might listen. I could almost swear the words shaped by his mouth were,  “I regret…”

Curiosity burned within me, and I mouthed back, “What did you say?”

He did not answer, of course, but his expression appeared startled. He blinked, and then it was our turn to come together again. With each pass, each step, his movements were more sluggish, more hesitant.

 “Miss Elizabeth,” he faltered at last, “I pray you, let us have some conversation.”

“Do you seek to relieve your own feelings on the matter, or flatter mine?” I asked.

“I seek to make myself understood, and to mitigate our obvious discord. Or do you prefer that everyone believes us both to be unsociable and taciturn?”

“Surely you cannot claim such a criticism for yourself!” I protested. “Or do you imply that we share such a fault, both of us unwilling to speak unless we can say something that will amaze the whole room?”

“Faith, I imagine we have more than certain faults in common, but for now I seek only to make what amends I may.” His figure seemed to darken, his entire body leaning close, hanging on my response.

I felt my own face heating, for there was something not unwelcome in the way he seemed so desperate for my absolution. He was nearly likeable in that moment, and that revelation unnerved me so greatly that I fell back to my defences.

“Then you are to be pitied,” I retorted, “for you shall be disappointed on both counts. We, sir, are nothing alike, and it is too late for you to make your amends. A man such as you ought to have every advantage, every natural feeling of kindness for others. But from our first introduction, you have impressed me with your arrogance and conceit. I have told you this before, and you do not improve with correction. You hate everyone but those who you see as useful, for they are merely objects for your amusement! You take no pains to truly understand others—you simply expect them to conform to you. And you have the audacity to think yourself above reproach!”

“Are you so blameless?” he shot back. “You wilfully misunderstand me, and then refuse to hear any sort of justification. Has it ever occurred to you, Miss Elizabeth, that no man lives or acts independently of his experiences? That simply…”

The dance called for another pirouette just then, so I spun about, his arms surrounding me in a way I found distractingly appealing and looked over my shoulder at him. “Simply what? What excuse have you to offer?”

“Simply…” he choked, “… seeing you… being in the same room with you… I cannot bear it.”

That one brutal statement was the culmination of all my embarrassment, all my feelings of inferiority.

His words scalded my pride and reminded me once again that fascinating as he was, striking as I might find him, Mr Darcy was truly a swine, and his company toxic for me.  “Then I shall not ask it of you any longer!” I cried, snatching my hands away. “Good evening, sir.”

I fled the room, tears of humiliation pricking my eyes. Once—just once—could I not pass the time with an amiable gentleman who was a pleasure in company, appealing to the eyes, and perhaps even found me agreeable? And would it be too much to ask that he not flirt with other women like Mr Wickham or insult me like Mr Darcy while we danced?

At least there was one other in this whole house who could sympathise with my plight. I dashed the tears from my cheeks and set out to find Jane. In comforting her, I might salve my own wounds. I set my teeth in determination and resolved to forget all about Fitzwilliam Darcy.

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Book Cover - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
Buy Links

If you can't wait to read this, the good news is that Nefarious is available to buy now, both in ebook and paperback - Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads 

Author Bio:

Author Nicole Clarkston
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, or her personal blog and website,

Giveaway Time!

Book Cover - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
Nicole is generously offering a giveaway to 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 Saturday 15 June to be included. This giveaway is open to international entrants.

Option 1: $10 Amazon Gift Card plus eBook or Audiobook of winner’s choice; International
Option 2: Signed Paperback of winner’s choice; US only

Blog Tour Schedule

Blog Tour - Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston
Nicole is also visiting some other blogs. Why not check out their stops on the blog tour to find out more about the book and increase your chances of winning?

June 3rd - More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway
June 4th – From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway
June 7th - Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
June 8th – Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway
June 11th – So Little Time…; Guest Post, Giveaway
June 13th - Savvy Verse & Wit; Guest Post, Giveaway
June 15th – Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

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Monday, 20 May 2019

Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell - Author Interview and US Giveaway

Book cover: Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell I'm welcoming author Allie Cresswell to the blog for the first time. Allie has written 3 books based in the world of Jane Austen's Emma. These books focus on the ladies from the Bates family. The first, Mrs Bates of Highbury is about Mrs Bates when she was younger, The Other Miss Bates is about Jane Fairfax's mother, and Dear Jane is about Jane Fairfax herself.

Book Description

The final installment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day.

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

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Allie has kindly joined us for an author interview, which is fantastic as I get to ask her lots of nosey questions. She's also brought a US giveaway for a copy of Dear Jane. Read on for details!

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Mist of Her Memory by Suzan Lauder - Blog Tour - Character Interview and Giveaway

Blog Tour - The Mist of Her Memory by Suzan Lauder
I'm welcoming Suzan Lauder back to the blog today as part of the blog tour for her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, The Mist of Her Memory. Suzan is joining us today with a character interview with Mrs Gardiner, and there's also a giveaway opportunity from Meryton Press. I'll start by sharing the blurb, and then hand over to Suzan.

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Book cover - The Mist of Her Memory by Suzan Lauder
Book Description

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton?
What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?
Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”
̶ author L. L. Diamond

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Winner - Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews

You will have to forgive me if this post looks a little off - my laptop may have died so I am resorting to my tablet to post this!

Book cover: Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews, illustrated by Jane Odiwe
Recently I was joined by blogger turned author Sophie Andrews for the blog tour of her debut work, Be More Jane, which shares advice that Sophie has gleaned from the works of Jane Austen, illustrated by some gorgeous pictures by the talented Jane Odiwe.

Sophie's publishers were giving away a hard copy of the book to a commenter on the blog tour post. A winner was selected using a random number generator and that person was....

Dung Vu!

Congratulations to you! I am pretty sure I have your email address, so I will drop you a mail.

Thank you so much to everybody who visited the post and commented. Special thanks to Sophie and her publishers, CICO Publishing, for coming here as part of the blog tour, and for providing a giveaway for us. I wish Sophie all the best with this beautiful book!

If you weren't lucky enough to win a copy of the book, you can buy it now.

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If you'd like to be friends on Goodreads then please invite me - just say that you visit my blog when it asks why you'd like to be friends with me.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber
A few months ago I took part in Jayne Bamber's blog tour for Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, which featured characters from more of Austen's books than just Pride & Prejudice. When that book was released Jayne made it clear that there would be a sequel and I'm happy to tell you that this has now been released - Unexpected Friends & Relations. Jayne has popped in to visit us today with a guest post and giveaway, which is below.

I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Jayne. Just to warn you, though, that this book is a sequel; therefore the blurb and the excerpt could contain spoilers for book one and the guest post certainly does, so if you haven't read book one yet but would still like to enter the giveaway, scroll down quickly!

Book Description

Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.

Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.

Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.

Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in in area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.

Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.

Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as wells as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.

After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations purse destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.