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.

Guest Post from Jayne Bamber; Ten Things to Expect in Unexpected Friends & Relations

Book Cover: Happier in Her Friends Than Relations by Jayne Bamber
Volume 2 of the Friends & Relations Series is here! To celebrate the new release, I’d like to share a few hints with you of what you can anticipate in this continuation. Volume 1 focused largely on Elizabeth & Darcy’s  relationship, but this volume is of a broader scope, and focuses on several heroines and smaller characters. I have a post scheduled next week to drop some hints about the gentlemen in the story, but as female friendship and sisterhood play such a large role in the tale, I’d like to start with the ladies of Unexpected.

#1 Though not a primary character in this volume, Jane Fairfax plays an unexpected role in shaping the lives around her in Highbury, and the many romantic entanglements that take place there.

#2 Now happily married to Robert Fitzwilliam, Kate is the acting mistress of Rosings Park until Julia Darcy comes of age. Kate became the protege of Lady Catherine in Book 1, and had a fairly drama-free courtship with Robert. In volume 2, Kate comes into her own as a married woman, whose sunny confidence imbues her with a desire to make herself useful to her sisters – much like he mentor. She also gets the opportunity to play hostess at Rosings Park, and while her husband Robert might have a care for the expense of it, Kate is happy to enjoy the togetherness of her extended family.

#3 Despite launching herself into the falling action of volume 2 in an attempt to save herself from an unwanted marriage, Eleanor Tilney manages to find brides for both of her brothers, while forging new friendships and even taking on a new identity along the way.

#4 Emma’s prediction for Harriet comes to pass – her parents are discovered, and her life is turned upside down. From quiet country life, to London ballrooms, and back to the country, Harriet comes to terms with her change in circumstances and finds her footing within a large and complicated new family.

#5 Volume 2 opens with Lydia behaving exactly as one might expect, but she is forced to understand the value of friendship over self-interest. Given over to the care of perhaps the one person in the realm of Austen who is particularly qualified to knock some sense into Lydia, she learns hard life lessons, not just about the men she obsesses over but the women in her life who will stand by her side even when the gentlemen do not.

#6 In volume 1, Georgiana’s actions were a driving force of conflict between the primary characters, and in volume 2 there is still some fallout for Georgiana to answer to. The one comfort for Georgiana is the very new experience of sisterhood, after a lifetime of near solitude at Pemberley; she is thrust into a great deal of company at large family gatherings, where she is begins to learn from her past mistakes, and helps an unlikely friend do the same.

#7 After being taken under Lady Rebecca’s wing, Mary opens volume 2 five months later, having dedicated herself to the improvement of her mind and accomplishments. She is, for the first time in her life, surrounded by positive, uplifting women, and is forced to re-examine her views, not only of the world, but of herself. Though Fordyce’s Sermons have taken a backseat to reading novels and dancing at balls, Mary is still put in more than one moral quandary, but emerges with just the right amount of confidence to take a leap at love.

#8 It is no secret in volume 1 that Lady Rebecca, a fan-favorite original character, has a violent aversion to all things sentimental. In the classic Austen style, a character as self-assured and even self-righteous, at times, as Lady Rebecca is due for a good shake-up, and she receives more than one over the course of volume 2. She is forced to admit to wrongdoing, experience emotion, and even suffer the indignity of being in love and in some doubt of a return.

#9 Imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen to a wealthy, stuck-up heroine with a life so charmed it’s almost impossible to like her... and then double it. Though still much as she ever was in essentials, Emma path to HEA is guided by two unfortunate departures in Highbury, and two interesting additions to the community.

#10 One of the biggest surprises in Unexpected is Caroline’s evolution. Caroline Bingley ended volume 1 becoming Caroline Sutton, forced to wed Seymour Sutton, the churlish second son of Lady Catherine’s neighbor Sir Gerald. Determined to recover her position in society, Caroline flirts with the threat of scandal at every turn, taking on more than she is sure she can handle, amidst previous enemies and her husband’s extended family.

Honorable Mentions

Anne Elliot makes a brief appearance in this volume, with a promise of meeting our characters again in book 3. Mary Crawford also appears briefly, to tell a shocking tale to Caroline, and inspire her to matchmaking. Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe also make appearances, having made other friends in Bath besides one another. We also glimpse sir Gerald Sutton’s two daughters, catty Cynthia and sweet Cecily, who have their parts to play in the drama.

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Excerpt from Unexpected Friends & Relations - depicting the first glance of Emma Woodhouse and her friends in Highbury….

Book Cover: Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber
    Mr. Knightley stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I had been thinking of going to Town soon. There was another matter I have been considering, and it involves you, Emma.”
     Mrs. Weston glanced up at Mr. Knightley and breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh good, you are finally going to tell her.”
     “Tell me what,” Emma asked nervously. Though he was nearly twenty years her senior, Mr. Knightley had long been one of her dearest friends, and as much as she confided in him, she had hoped he was always equally candid – had he been concealing something from her?
     Mr. Knightley shifted uncomfortably in his seat, crossing one leg over the other, and then uncrossing them again. “I happened to meet your cousin, Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam, at the very same ball where I encountered Sir Gerald.”
     Emma regarded him in some confusion. “Why should you not wish to tell me that you had seen Cousin Rebecca? I am sure it can be nothing to me, as I have not seen her since I was practically a child. She is nearly a stranger to me, though I believe she and Isabella were always much closer.”
     “Yes,” Mr. Knightley replied. “I understand she and Isabella saw each other occasionally in London, where Lady Rebecca chiefly resides. She is rather like you, in some ways – confident, with a fanciful temperament, though I suspect her of being rather devious. She expressed a sudden eager interest in visiting with you, when she discovered my connection to your family, though it was my belief at the time that she merely meant to needle me by implying that she might be less than a good influence on your behavior, and so I concealed my having met with her from you, for fear of exposing you to any sort of mischief on her part.”
     “Mischief? What sort of mischief? Surely my cousin Rebecca is a very fine lady, too grand even to notice me, I think.”
     “Do not abuse yourself so, Emma,” Mrs. Weston said gently. “Mr. Knightley imparted his encounter with her fully to me when he returned from Town, and I am not so unfavorably disposed toward your cousin, even if she has rather neglected you. I think it odd that she should not have at least sent her condolences after…. But then again, I know nothing of the lady, nor the particulars.”
     Mr. Knightley grimaced. “In her defense, I will say that it was John’s wish that we not involve that side of the family. He looks upon the Fitzwilliams in particular as rather a headache – they are lively and impudent people, and John has never cared for them.”
     Emma nodded, a sudden, blurry memory coming back to her – a visit from her Fitzwilliam cousins in her thirteenth year. Had Isabella had a brief partiality for their cousin Richard, the one who had joined the army? She had been so young the last time she had seen them, but it did seem a familiar notion to her that John Knightley, not yet her brother-in-law at the time, had not been keen on his wife’s relations during their visit, and even her father had found their presence at Hartfield fatiguing.
     “Hmmm,” Emma sighed. “Is she truly a bad sort of person?”
     Mrs. Weston cocked her head to one side and stared expectantly at Mr. Knightley.
     “I daresay our friend thinks I am being ungenerous,” he replied with playful frustration. “I shall not say that I dislike your cousin Lady Rebecca so very much – rather that I distrusted her a little. Do you not recall, when first you met Harriet, that you took it into your head to make a match between her and Mr. Elton?”
     “Yes,” Emma huffed. “Fool that I was! I truly had no idea his attention was directed elsewhere, though I daresay now he may be regretting the opportunity he has missed!”
     “Yes, and as you may recall, I attempted to dissuade you from your attempts at playing matchmaker, even before you were obliged to abandon the scheme, after….”
     After my world was shattered? After Mr. Elton spurned my friend and attempted to prey upon my grief? “I see,” Emma said, though she was not sure what her dealings with Mr. Elton had to do with her cousin Rebecca.
     “What I mean is,” Mr. Knightley continued, “I got the distinct impression that your cousin shares a similar inclination to orchestrate the lives of others according to her own fancy, and I thought her interest in you, given your own proclivity for matchmaking at the time, must be a bad thing indeed. I distrusted the influence she might have upon you, with the great similarity in your temperaments. However, I begin to see now that if she is still really interested in you, her companionship might be a very fine thing for you, with Miss Smith now leaving Highbury.”
     Emma chewed her lip again. It had only been five months ago that Mr. Knightley had scolded her for the attempt at matchmaking with Harriet and Mr. Elton, and yet how long ago it seemed now, when such tragedy had befallen her family. How she longed to return to the days when her greatest worry was merely that Mr. Knightley disapproved of her! “I forgive you for not telling me sooner, though it was rather high-handed of you,” she replied. As she had not heard from Rebecca, despite her cousin’s expressed interest in visiting Highbury, Emma could only suppose that it could all come to nothing, and she merely shrugged. “I daresay it matters not.”
     “But should you like a visit from your cousin,” Mrs. Weston prompted her. “I believe it could be arranged. I am sure she could not refuse paying you a visit at such a time, and she did tell Mr. Knightley that she would like to come to know you better.”
     Though Emma did not wish to appear a charity case to her relations, she was curious what sort of person Lady Rebecca might be, as Mr. Knightley thought them similar enough to at least be capable of getting into some sort of mischief together. A little mischief might be a fine thing indeed, when life had been so dismal during the longest, darkest winter of her life.
     “I shall think on it,” she decided. “I would need John’s permission before formally inviting her to come to Hartfield, and I cannot promise my cousin any of the entertainments she might enjoy in London. I do not know that she would take any pleasure at all in staying at a house in mourning, though perhaps I shall at least write her a letter. Would you take it to her for me?”
     “I shall,” Mr. Knightley replied, gazing earnestly at her. “And I will say this, I have begun to reconsider dismissing her influence on you as a necessarily evil thing. She is a lively woman, and I believe she would more than make up for the loss of Harriet’s company, if she were to consent to visit you.”
     Mrs. Weston moved to sit next to Emma. “I think it a fine plan, Emma, a fine plan indeed.”

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Thanks for joining me on the second stop of my blog tour! See the full schedule for the blog tour below, and follow me on Facebook for updates on the final installment of the Friends & Relations  Series, coming soon!

Author Bio

Author Jayne Bamber
Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.

Jayne's favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.

After years of dating Wickhams, Collinses, and the occasional Tilney-that-got-away, Jayne married her very own Darcy (tinged with just the right amount of Mr. Palmer) and the two live together in Texas with a pair of badly behaved rat terriers, and a desire to expand their menagerie of fur babies.

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Book Cover: Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne BamberBuy links

Unexpected Friends & Relations is available now on Kindle, both to buy and in Kindle Unlimited. The paperback version is coming soon! - Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads Shelf

Giveaway Time!

Jayne Bamber is offering an e-book giveaway to accompany the blog tour. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter – winners will be announced on 20th May.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thank you so much to Jayne for visiting Babblings of a Bookworm as part of the tour. There are plenty more stops lined up for you to visit - see below for details.

Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour

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  1. Julia Darcy another deception by Fitzwilliam Darcy

    1. Ooh! I haven't read the first one yet. I am very intrigued!

  2. Congrats! Book one is fabulous, for those who haven't read it. Book two fits the same bill!

    1. From what I've read, it looks really good. Glad to hear such enthusiastic feedback for it :)

  3. Wow! All the information that you give us - I'm overwhelmed! Can hardly wait to read this. But if there's going to be a book three, I will have to wait to read until they're all available.

    1. That's the only thing with a series, isn't it! I think book 3 might be the last one, so you can read them all then.

  4. Girl, you know I want to read the second one! I helped with editing the first, how could I not?!

    1. Let me know if you want an ARC!

    2. I hope you enjoy the second as much as the first, Christina :)

  5. I think Mr Knightley understands Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam character exactly

    1. He is often a clear judge of character, so that would make sense.

  6. Sounds really good. Definitely on my wishlist.

    1. Hi Darcybennett. It's on my wishlist too!

    2. Darcybennet, your name came up in comments on the story William by Jannet Doe. She recommended a story you wrote but when I asked about it she said that you took it down. She spoke highly of it but said that at the time there were some problems with plagiarizing. Sorry I didn't get to read your story but I understand.

  7. I read the first in this series and look forward to the rest. Thanks for the review and the excerpt.

    1. Thanks Sheila! I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

  8. Carole in Canada21 April 2019 at 20:24

    Didn't peek as I haven't read the first but plan to. I love a good long story and to have it throughout two books is great! Thank you for a chance at the giveaway! Congratulations!!!

    1. Hi Carole! I hope you enjoy the books when you read them.

  9. I did not peak as I have yet to read book 1 Congratulations on your newest release! Thank you for your generosity in the give away.

    1. Hi Deborah Ann! I hope you enjoy the books when you read them.

  10. I'm looking forward to reading the first book as well as this one. Is this part of a series? If so how many do you plan?

    1. Hi Dung. I'm sure I've read somewhere that there is one more book currently planned in the series.


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