Monday, 21 September 2020

Sanctuary Volume 3 by Cat Andrews - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Recently Cat Andrews joined us with Sanctuary Volume 1 and I shared my review of the story with you. Sanctuary Volume 2 is already available and Volume 3 is due out this week. Cat has joined us with an excerpt from Sanctuary Volume 3. She’s also offering an ebook giveaway for those of you who buy your ebooks from The winner can choose which of the 3 volumes they would like, so if you’re just waiting for volume 3 you could have that one, or you could start the story at volume 1.

Don’t worry that this post will contain spoilers for volume 1, the spoilers are very slight, only that Will and Lizzy got together and I am pretty sure you had suspected that!

Also, join me here later this week, where I’ll be sharing my reviews of volume 2 and 3. You can comment on the review post for a bonus entry. Let’s look at the blurb for Sanctuary Volume 3 and then I will hand over to Cat for an excerpt.

Book Description: Sanctuary Volume 3

She studied him in the gray, dreary light of the morning, and her heart ached as she wondered how she was going to tell him that once again, the past was forcing its way into the present.

Will Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are deeply in love, and together with Will’s young son Jack, they are looking forward to their happily ever after on the shores of Great Diamond Island.

For Will, the future has never looked brighter: he’s wild about Elizabeth, has found a best friend in Charles Bingley, and his new consulting business is slowly gaining momentum—as is his fledgling relationship with his father.

Elizabeth, too, is deliriously happy: she’s crazy about Will and is embracing her role as Jack’s “new” mom, she loves her job at the Portland Children’s Library, and is looking forward to having her younger sister Lydia settled close by.

It seems they’ve left their troubled histories behind and are heading into the future as a blissful family of three. But can anyone truly forget—or escape—a past that is determined to reassert itself? Can a new love withstand the forces that seek to destroy it?

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour - Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Kelly Miller back to Babblings of a Bookworm with the blog tour for her her latest book, Accusing Mr Darcy. Isn't that an exciting title?! Who is accusing Mr Darcy and why? Let’s look at the blurb, and then I will hand over to Kelly for an excerpt from the book. There's also an ebook giveaway accompanying the blog tour, details below!

Book Cover - Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller
Book Description

Could Fitzwilliam Darcy harbour a shocking, sinister secret?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet count themselves among the many guests of the Kendall family, whose estate lies amidst the picturesque hills, gorges, and rocky slopes of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Elizabeth’s cousin Rose Kendall believes her dashing brother-in-law, Captain James Kendall, is Elizabeth’s ideal match. Rose’s husband, Nicholas, hopes his good friend Darcy—a rich, proud, and taciturn gentleman with a spotless reputation—will fancy one of the other eligible lady guests. 

News of a brutal killing at a neighbouring estate sends a wave of shock through the genial group of friends and family. When one of the Kendalls’ guests is attacked, all of the gentlemen become suspects, but the former Bow Street runner tasked with investigating the crime finds the evidence against Mr. Darcy particularly compelling.

In this romantic mystery, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice cross paths with a ruthless killer. When faced with dire warnings against Mr. Darcy, will Elizabeth heed them or follow the dictates of her heart?

Monday, 31 August 2020

Sanctuary Volume 1 by Cat Andrews - Guest Post, Excerpt and Review

Book cover: Sanctuary Volume 1 by Cat Andrews

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Cat Andrews here with her debut novel, Sanctuary, which is a story split into 3 volumes. Online readers might have heard of this story before; I first read it posted on A Happy Assembly, but I’m not sure if it was posted on other boards too. It’s a modern, Pride & Prejudice influenced story. I’ll share the blurb with you, and then hand over to Cat for a guest post and excerpt and we will round off with my review of Sanctuary, Volume 1.

Sanctuary Volume 1 Book Description

“Do you ever wish you had a second chance to meet someone again for the first time?”

When Elizabeth Bennet left her Massachusetts hometown two years ago and settled on Great Diamond Island, off the rocky coast of Maine, all she wanted was a fresh start, somewhere to forget a past full of heartbreak and trauma—a place that would allow her to rediscover herself and what it felt like to be happy. 

Will Darcy is ready to leave the family drama and noise of New York City behind. He moves to Great Diamond Island in an effort to build a better life for himself and his young son Jack, hoping it will provide a quiet place for them to heal from their grief after a tremendous loss.

Elizabeth meets Will within moments of his setting foot on the island, but the handsome newcomer’s offhanded dismissal of her is anything but a “meet cute.” But as the days pass, Will’s chance encounters with the bright-eyed, pretty young woman—and Jack’s insistence on befriending her—cause Will to see Elizabeth, and himself, in a different light.

But as they draw closer and take tentative steps toward something more than friendship, will they be able to step outside the shadows of their pasts?

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m happy to be bringing you a post from Don Jacobson today. Don has visited Babblings of a Bookworm many times and his posts are always popular. Many of his visits have been to do with his Bennet Wardrobe series, but this one is a stand-alone novella, The Longbourn Quarantine. Don has brought us a guest post and an excerpt of the novella, and Meryton Press are offering an ebook giveaway of The Longbourn Quarantine on this blog post. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Don.

Book Cover: The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson
Book Description 

“Papa handed Mama a brace of pistols. Her tears, Mr. Darcy, her tears: yet, all she did was nod when Papa looked at us and said, ‘You know what to do if they enter the icehouse.’”

Refugees flood the roads. A feared specter has escaped London’s grimy docklands and now threatens the wealthy districts. Amongst that ragged steam is a single carriage jostling its way toward Meryton. Inside are the Darcy siblings along with Charles and Caroline Bingley. They desperately seek the safety of Netherfield Park.

For all their riches, they could not evade the epidemic’s dark hand. Bingley’s leasehold had been reduced to rubble as roving bands raped, pillaged, and burned. The only sanctuary was Longbourn where, once installed, the Darcys and Bingleys were barred from leaving by a fortnight’s quarantine.

Events converge with disease in The Longbourn Quarantine. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy abandon old prejudices to face grief and mourning. Pride is set aside as Death hovers nearby. The couple forges ahead knowing that love unexplored is love lost: that words must be said lest they remain unspoken in the time of smallpox.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Retold by Gemma Barder - My Review

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Retold by Gemma Barder
What do you do when you have a review backlog and a TBR list that would fill a room if it was all physical copies? You go on Netgalley to have a nose, and stumble across something you want to read, d’oh! In my defence though, it was a quick read, which at least helped me in my quest to get back on track with my annual reading challenge. The book that I’m bringing you a review of today is Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, but retold for a younger audience by Gemma Barder.

Book Description – from Amazon

A beautiful and accessible children's book adaptation of Austen's famous story, Pride and Prejudice, featuring contemporary black and white illustrations and a free Audiobook accessible via QR code for an alternative, entertaining and engaging listening experience. 

Mrs Bennet is desperate to find rich husbands for her daughters, so the arrival of a charming new neighbour is welcome indeed. Sadly, the friend he brings with him is not. Mr Darcy seems to have even more pride than money. Nobody likes him least of all Elizabeth Bennet. But not everyone is who they seem...

This adaptation is part of The Complete Jane Austen Children's Collection (Easy Classics), featuring the following 8 books: Emma, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Love and Friendship and a personal My Story Journal (available to buy as a box set). These stunning books are a perfect gift and introduction to classical literature for children aged seven and up. 

Sweet Cherry Easy Classics carefully adapt classic literature into accessible stories for children, with the aim of introducing these timeless tales to a new generation.

Book Description – from the back of the book

Mrs Bennet is desperate to find rich husbands for her daughters, so the arrival of a charming new neighbour is welcome indeed. Sadly the friend he brings with him is not. Mr Darcy seems to have even more pride than money. Nobody likes him – least of all Elizabeth Bennet. But not everyone is who they seem and love can change everything. 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Retold by Gemma BarderMy Review of Pride & Prejudice, retold by Gemma Barder

This version of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice has been rewritten for a younger audience. As it’s a children’s version, one of the important jobs the author has had to do is explain some of the things that might not make sense to a modern child. I thought the author here did a great job of explaining things within the flow of the story. Although this is a simplified version, all the important plot points are covered. Having said that, there were some things that I felt were misrepresented – some facts relating to Wickham, and it being said that Elizabeth had overheard the ‘tolerable’ insult and made sure Mr Darcy knew that she had heard. This just didn’t happen, and if it had the relationship dynamic would have been quite different and he wouldn’t have been thinking of her regard so smugly later on! In the main though, the plot is covered well and explained clearly. 

The book has quite a few illustrations, which are very nice, although I would have loved to have seen them in colour. I read this on kindle, but I believe the illustrations are also black and white in the printed copy.

This book is part of a set of books retelling Austen’s stories - the six main novels plus Love and Freindship (sic) and another book - I'm not entirely sure what this one is, but it's called My Story Journal so presumably it's one for the child to write in.

The question is whether to buy or not to buy. Well, I am not entirely sold on the concept of classics being rewritten for children. The first time I read Pride & Prejudice as a teen I didn’t know anything about the story, and was able to discover it fresh. I think much of the enjoyment in Austen comes from her use of language rather than her plots – she truly was a mistress at turning a phrase – and while there are echoes of some of her quotes in this book, it’s a simplified version and doesn’t use such sophisticated language. 

My concern is whether a child reading a book such as this would be dissuaded from picking up the original, feeling that it’s a book they’d read already. Reading the plot of an Austen story is by no means reading Austen! However, if you like buying classics rewritten for children, I would say that this is a good rewrite – it has all the main plot points and most of the facts clearly described and is quite a good read in its own right. It also has a very cute cover so if I bought it for a child I'd be inclined to get the hard copy. This would be a good addition to the bookshelves of a child who reads classic rewrites and I'd rate it as a 4 star read.

*I received this book from Netgalley UK for my honest review

Author Bio

Gemma Barder is a children's author with 15 years experience of writing fun, exciting and engaging books for children. She started her publishing career in children's magazines, before moving on to editing books and part-works. She soon found her happy place as a freelance writer - tapping away at her laptop in her slippers at her home in Leicestershire, with her husband and two daughters close at hand, and with a cup of Earl Grey.

Collection of Jane Austen Stories, retold by Gemma Barder
Buy Links

Pride & Prejudice adapted by Gemma Barder is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Ms Barder has also retold Austen’s other novels and you can get the whole collection in a paperback boxed set. 

Pride & Prejudice - Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA (looks like paperback is not released yet in Canada) • Add to Goodreads shelf

Boxed Set of Paperbacks - Amazon US • Amazon UKAmazon CA (Unfortunately I couldn’t find the set on Amazon CA – hopefully it will be on there at some point)

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What do you think about the idea of rewriting classics for children? On the one hand, might it  make them feel less intimidating to a reader and make readers more likely to try them? Or would it put readers off the full versions because they feel they've read them, and will they miss out on all the magic of them? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments. 

Note about comments: Unfortunately I’ve had some spam comments lately, so have turned on comment moderation, which means that your comment won’t appear straight away. If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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Saturday, 8 August 2020

Giveaway Winners - Victoria Kincaid, Virginia Kohl and Maria Grace

Phew! I am a bit behind on posting winners, so I have a big winners' post for you today. All winners were chosen using a random number generator.

Audio Book cover: When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid

Firstly, Victoria Kincaid came to visit with a post about the audio release of When Mary Met the Colonel. You can read the post here. Victoria was kindly giving away an audiobook for an Audible US/UK listener. The winner chosen was...

Chelsea K!

Congratulations! Chelsea, I don't think I have your email address so please can you contact me by the end of the day on Tuesday to claim your prize.

Book cover: Adventure Awaits by Virginia Kohl
Next, Virginia Kohl visited with her Sense & Sensibility-inspired Adventure Awaits, which focuses on Margaret Dashwood. You can read the post here to enjoy an excerpt from the story. Virginia was giving away an ebook of the story to an reader. The winner selected was...


Congratulations! I have your email address so will drop you a message.

Book covers: The Dragons of Kellynch and Kellynch: Dragon PersuasionMost lately Maria Grace visited with her Jane Austen's Dragons series; the Persuasion arc of the story has been completed with the publication of The Dragons of Kellynch and Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion. You can read the post here. Maria was kindly giving away ebooks of both stories to a commenter here. The winner chosen was...


Congratulations! I will drop you a message too.

Thanks to all these lovely authors for their posts and for the giveaways. If you weren't lucky enough to win this time then you can always treat yourself!

Note about comments: I’ve had some spam comments lately, so will be turning on comment moderation, which means that your comment won’t appear straight away. If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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Monday, 27 July 2020

The Dragons of Kellynch and Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion by Maria Grace - Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m happy to be welcoming Maria Grace back to the blog. As you may know, Maria has written some stories weaving Dragons in with Austen’s stories, and she has two books which cover Persuasion, The Dragons of Kellynch and Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion. The story picks up Anne and Wentworth’s stories from five years before the start of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and covers the entire Persuasion novel. The second of the two books release earlier this month and to celebrate Maria has been having a blog tour. She’s stopped by here for a guest post and giveaway. Let’s take a look at the blurbs for both books and then hand over to Maria Grace.

Blog Tour: Jane Austen's Dragons - Persuasion

Book Descriptions

Book cover: Dragons of Kellynch by Maria Grace
Dragons of Kellynch  

In order to secure her future, a young lady must marry well.

One would think Anne Elliot, a baronet’s daughter, would find the marriage mart far easier to navigate than a more ordinary woman. One would be wrong.

After refusing a poor, but otherwise perfect sailor, on the advice of her friend Lady Russell, Anne finds an unhappy choice before her: marry deathly dull Charles Musgrove or hope against hope that another suitable proposal might come her way before she becomes a spinster on the shelf.

Anne’s disgracefully independent choice to refuse Charles’ offer turns her world entirely arsey-varsey and not in the expected  turned upside down sort of way. She begins to see things … hear things … things like dragons.

And once one sees dragons, one talks to them. And when one talks to them, nothing is ever the same again.

Must a young lady marry well if she hears dragons?

Book cover: Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion by Maria Grace
Kellynch: Dragon Persuasion

Keeping a hibernating dragon should have been a simple thing.

Should have been, but it was not. Apparently, nothing involving dragons was ever simple, at least not for Anne Elliot, junior Keeper to dragon Kellynch.

With the estate in debt, Anne’s father in denial, and the dragon’s treasure missing, Kellynch’s awakening was shaping up to be nothing short of catastrophe. Not to mention there was the pesky matter of her own broken heart and resentment against the old friend who had caused it.

Captain Frederick Wentworth had spent his life making something of himself in the Navy. With the  war that kept him employed at an end and a small fortune in prize money, he found himself beached and at loose ends. What was he to do with himself now—take a wife like Laconia, his dragon Friend, insisted? Not when none compared to the woman who had broken his heart.

Working as an agent of the Blue Order, managing dragon matters across England, seemed a much better alternative. At least until investigating one such matter sent him directly in the path of Anne Elliot, the woman who had ruined him for all others.

Now a royal dragon rages, a sleeping dragon lurks, and too many treasures have gone missing. Can Anne and Wentworth lay aside resentment, pride, and heartbreak to prevent Kellynch’s awakening from ending in bloodshed—or worse?

Jane Austen meets Pern in a fantastical regency romp bound to delight readers of Jane Austen and Anne McCaffrey alike.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Adventure Awaits by Virginia Kohl - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Adventure Awaits by Virginia Kohl
I’m pleased to be welcoming a new visitor to the blog today, author Virginia Kohl. Virginia has written two Austeneque books, which unusually are based on Sense & Sensibility. Of all the variations and sequels I have read, I think I’ve probably read the least based on S&S, so I’m really pleased to feature this book today. Adventure Awaits is a story about Margaret Dashwood. Virginia has visited us with an excerpt of the story and there’s also an ebook giveaway for those who get their ebooks from Let’s look at the blurb first.

Book Description

Beautiful, venturesome Margaret Dashwood, known to her family and friends as Daisy, has always dreamed of traveling to exotic locations. With her first Season behind her, those dreams are relegated to the stories she tells her niece.

Alexander Mallard, a handsome young doctor, came to the small village of Delaford straight out of medical school. With the knowledge and desire to help everyone, he soon settles into the life of a country physician.

The day Daisy and Alexander's paths cross, an adventure grander than either ever imagined begins.

Book cover: Adventure Awaits by Virginia Kohl

Monday, 20 July 2020

Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber
I am happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her new book, Madness in Meryton. This book has a Groundhog Day theme, with one day repeating. I love this idea, as an author can have such fun with it and go to lengths that wouldn’t be allowable due to the lack of consequences! Jayne’s also offering an ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Jayne for an excerpt.

Book Description

Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, and two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their quarrelsome younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and their tedious cousin, Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.

That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for the officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham reveals to Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.

The next day, the same thing happens again.

And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.

As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….

Elizabeth Bennet must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Missing Jane by Bronwen Chisholm - Winner

Book cover: Missing Jane by Bronwen Chisholm
Recently Bronwen Chisholm visited with a post about her new novella, Missing Jane, in which Jane Bennet has mysteriously gone missing. You can read the post here

Bronwen was kindly giving away an ebook of Missing Jane to a commenter on her guest post. I chose a winner at random and that person was:


Congratulations to you, I will drop you an email :) Thanks so much to Bronwen for offering a giveaway.

Maomac has been lucky enough to win at another stop of the tour. Therefore I chose another winner who was: 


Hopefully Buturot would like to claim their prize. I will look to see if I have your email but please can you contact me

If you weren't a lucky winner this time then check out the other stops on the blog tour, where there might be other opportunities to win.

Blog Tour - Missing Jane by Bronwen Chisholm

Or, you could forget games of chance and just treat yourself to a copy; Missing Jane is available to buy now for Kindle.

• Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

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Friday, 17 July 2020

When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid - Audiobook Giveaway

Audiobook cover: When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid
Today I'm happy to be welcoming Victoria Kincaid back to the blog with a guest post and giveaway of her new release, an audiobook version of When Mary Met the Colonel. You can guess which Mary and which Colonel the title refers to :)

Victoria visited me with this book when it came out (you can read her guest post here) and I also reviewed it. I'm really pleased to see that more Austenesque titles are making their way to audio. It's great that the option is there for people who can't read print for whatever reason. My audio reading has taken a huge hit since lockdown because my commute was my main audio reading time, and I would often solve the dilemma of exercise or reading by taking a lunchtime walk while listening to my audio book! Audio reading can also be an enjoyable way to limit the dent that things like housework makes to your reading time.

Let's look at the blurb and I will hand over to Victoria for an excerpt from When Mary Met the Colonel.

Book cover: When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid

Book Description

Without the beauty and wit of the older Bennet sisters or the liveliness of the younger, Mary is the Bennet sister most often overlooked.  She has resigned herself to a life of loneliness, alleviated only by music and the occasional book of military history.

Colonel Fitzwilliam finds himself envying his friends who are marrying wonderful women while he only attracts empty-headed flirts.  He longs for a caring, well-informed woman who will see the man beneath the uniform.

A chance meeting in Longbourn’s garden during Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding breakfast kindles an attraction between Mary and the Colonel.  However, the Colonel cannot act on these feelings since he must wed an heiress. He returns to war, although Mary finds she cannot easily forget him.

Is happily ever after possible after Mary meets the Colonel?

Monday, 13 July 2020

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow - Guest Post

Blog Tour: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Today I’m welcoming a first time visitor to the blog, Shannon Winslow. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of hosting Shannon previously, I’ve featured a Persuasion anthology that she contributed towards. Funnily enough, although most Austenesque books are based on Pride and Prejudice, Shannon’s latest book isn’t a P&P work either. Murder at Northanger Abbey is an NA sequel, which picks up after Austen’s books closes. As it says in Northanger Abbey, “There must be murder” and although Catherine only now expects to encounter murder in novels, it appears that just has she has learned to be sensible, she will be encountering it in real life too.

Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Shannon Winslow for a guest post.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Book Description

Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel

Newly married to her beloved Henry, Catherine’s eyes are now open to the grownup pleasures of wedded life. Yet she still hasn’t quite given up her girlhood fascination with all things Gothic. When she first visited Northanger Abbey, she only imagined dreadful events had occurred there. This time the horror is all too real. There’s been a murder, and Henry has fallen under suspicion. Catherine is determined to clear her husband’s name, but at the same time, she’s afraid for her own safety, since there’s a very good chance the real murderer is still in the house.

This delightful sequel reprises the mischievous spirit of Austen’s original spoof on the Gothic novel, while giving Catherine a genuine murder mystery to unravel.

Guest Post from Shannon Winslow 

As Jane Austen’s earliest novel (first written, although last published), Northanger Abbey occupies a unique place in her canon. And it boasts a few unique features as well. For one thing, in it, Austen occasionally comes out from behind the narrator’s mask to address her readers directly, even sometimes using the words, “Dear reader…”

For the most overt example of what I’m talking about, I would direct you to chapter five, where Austen (referring to herself as “I”) launches into a protracted statement in defense of the novel as a literary form:

Catherine and Isabella… shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; – for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding – joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it…

 As with much else in Northanger Abbey, Austen’s diatribe (of which this is only a fraction), was no doubt written more in tongue-in-cheek humor than as a serious complaint. In the final line of the book, Austen again shows herself, as she tells us directly that we readers must decide for ourselves the lesson to be learned from the tendency of this work.

 This technique – the author speaking directly to readers – was not uncommon at the time, but it’s long out of fashion now. In fact, were you as a writer to attempt such a thing today, or otherwise draw attention to your presence, your editor would probably shake her head, mark the offending phrase in red, and accuse you of “author intrusion.”

However, since my goal was to carry on in my Northanger Abbey sequel with the same playful tone and quirky style as the original, I thought I might just get away with it!

And so, dear reader, as you peruse Murder at Northanger Abbey, keep your eyes open for places, here and there, where your authoress breaks into the story – sometimes very obviously and sometimes less so. Here’s an example taken from the final chapter:

 …However, as this tale comes rapidly to a close, you will be wondering about Henry and Catherine. You will wish to be assured that they are also safe and well, to witness for yourself their early perfect happiness at Woodston restored, and to catch at least a glimpse of the years ahead.

Far be it from me to deprive the reader this satisfaction, although we must agree to be discreet. We must grant them a degree of privacy. After all, they are still essentially newlyweds. And yet I owe you this much…

 I trust you won’t consider this a spoiler, since I ALWAYS write a happy ending to my novels!

I’ve read that in certain circumstances – especially in works of satire or where the narrative voice is firmly tongue-in-cheek – author intrusions can contribute to the humor. I hope you agree because, believe me, I wrote Murder at Northanger Abbey with my tongue firmly in my cheek the whole time!

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Author Bio

Author Shannon Winslow
Shannon Winslow says she was minding her own business - raising two sons and pursuing a very sensible career - when she was seduced by the writing bug a dozen years ago. Stirred by the novels of Jane Austen, she set out to produce more stories in the same vein, beginning with a sequel to her favorite, "Pride and Prejudice." "The Darcys of Pemberley" (published in August 2011) quickly became a best-seller, praised for being true to the original's characters and style. Several more Austen-inspired novels have followed. "Winslow is one of the few authors who can channel Austen's style of prose so well that I could not tell the two apart if I tried," reports one reviewer. A life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Winslow resides with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.

You can connect with Shannon via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Buy Links

Murder at Northanger Abbey is available to buy now in Paperback and Kindle.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Note Regarding Comments: I love to read your comments, but a few blog visitors have reported difficulties in posting comments. If you can’t add your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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Friday, 10 July 2020

Missing Jane by Bronwen Chisholm - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book cover: Missing Jane by Bronwen Chisholm
Today I’m very happy to be welcoming Bronwen Chisholm back to Babblings of a Bookworm with a post about her latest story, Missing Jane. Bronwen has come here today with a guest post and giveaway.

What I find particularly exciting about this story is that it crosses over into Wales, which is the part of the UK where I come from. I’m not sure how polite the society was here in Regency times, which is why Wales may be a bit of a mystery to some historical romance readers (there is also the interesting point of the moving border, which means that although I live about 30 miles from the England/Wales border, the part of Wales I live in was part of Monmouthshire which was technically considered part of England in those times!). I think the closest Austen gets to Wales is a mention of a picture of Tintern Abbey (also in Monmouthshire) in Fanny Price's little room in Mansfield Park.

Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I will and over to Bronwen for her guest post.

Book Description

Mr. Bennet is dead; his daughters “scattered to the winds,” according to Mrs. Bennet.

And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.

Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.

Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?

Sunday, 28 June 2020

And the winners are....

Lately life has been really busy and I've got a bit behind with the blog. So this is a big winners post, where I am trying to catch up. All winners were chosen by using a random number generator. 

Book cover: Rebellion at Longbourn by Victoria Kincaid
 Firstly, Victoria Kincaid stopped by with Rebellion at Longbourn - she brought us an excerpt and was giving away an ebook of the story. 

The winner of Rebellion at Longbourn is.... Nightstitcher!

You can still read the post here, and it includes buy links, if you'd like to console yourself for not winning by treating yourself to a copy.

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Book Cover: So This Is Love by Laura HileNext, Laura Hile joined us with her Charlotte Lucas story So This Is Love. Again we had a fantastic excerpt and an ebook giveaway.

The winner of So This Is Love is.... Maria!

Congratulations. You can still enjoy the post here, and there are buy links on the post if you'd like to pick up a copy.

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Book Cover: A Timely Elopement by Joana StarnesOur next visitor was Joana Starnes who has brought out A Timely Elopement, which I read and reviewed.

Joana was giving away two ebooks of A Timely Elopment, and the winners are:

Suzan Lauder

You can read my review of the book here and in the review post are also some buy links if you'd like to treat yourself. 


Congratulations to all the winners. Please can you contact me to claim your prize. If I haven't heard anything by the end of Wednesday I will offer the unclaimed prizes to the reserve winners.

Thank you so much to these authors for visiting and offering a giveaway and thanks to everybody who visited the posts and commented.

Friday, 26 June 2020

In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveway

Blog tour: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
Today the blog tour for Don Jacobson’s new book, In Plain Sight stops here for the last stop of the tour. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Don for an excerpt. There’s also a chance to win a copy of the book. Please read on for details!

Book Description

At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner - Review

Blog Tour: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Today I’m very pleased to be taking part in a blog tour for the eagerly anticipated book The Jane Austen Society, by Natalie Jenner. I’ve seen such praise of this book online in the run up to its release that I was excited to get my mitts on a review copy to find out if it lived up to expectations. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll start telling you what I thought of the book.

Book cover: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Book Description

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes - Review and Giveaway

Book Cover: A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Joana Starnes back to the blog with her new book, a Pride & Prejudice variation called A Timely Elopement. I’m going to share my review of the book with you, and Joana is kindly offering an ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb, and then I’ll tell you what I thought of this book.

Book Description

What if Mr Darcy’s first proposal was interrupted by a bearer of ill tidings? The worst tidings: an elopement!

Ah, but whose elopement would allow Elizabeth and Mr Darcy to spend quite so much time together and overcome their prejudices and his stubborn pride?

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The blurb of this book doesn’t give much away, does it!

A Timely Elopement – My Review

Many Pride & Prejudice variations start us off at Hunsford, at Darcy’s disastrous proposal. This one takes off there too, but sends us in a new direction for me. Just at the point where Darcy is about to kindly inform Elizabeth that he is proposing against his own better judgement, they get interrupted. Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives with news of an elopement, and although it involves George Wickham, this time he’s left the Bennet girls alone. He has run off with Darcy’s cousin, Miss Anne de Bourgh!

As it would be dishonourable to ask a lady to marry him when a family scandal is unfolding in front of his eyes, Darcy reassures his lady love that once it’s all sorted he will follow her, post-haste, to Hertfordshire, as he takes it for granted that she will jump at the chance to accept his most flattering proposal. Only here’s the thing; she doesn’t want to marry him.

Elizabeth is shocked to hear that George Wickham has behaved in such a fashion and realises that her judgement has been seriously at fault when considering his character and his relationship to Darcy. However, Darcy still interfered in Jane and Bingley’s relationship, was rude in Hertfordshire, is prideful and arrogant and she has never, until now, considered that he might even like her, let alone admire her. She feels bad at piling more bad news on top of the news of his cousin’s elopement but in fairness to him, Elizabeth knows that she has to tell Mr Darcy that she will not accept his proposal:

With a quiet sigh, Elizabeth drew her hand away, uncomfortably aware that she must tell him that. It would be cruel to let him labour under a misconception.

But she doesn’t get the chance, the Collinses have arrived home and Darcy leaves. Elizabeth must find a way to clear up the mistake. If Darcy arrives in Hertfordshire it would be hugely embarrassing for him and potentially could set off a disastrous possible chain of events for her if word gets out and she finds herself with no option but to marry him. Being offered an opportunity to accompany Lady Catherine to town, Elizabeth decides to go in order that she might have the opportunity to tell Mr Darcy that she won’t be accepting his very surprising offer.

Having the opportunity to see more of Mr Darcy, Elizabeth begins to see that he is a very different person to what she had thought, and has a much more attractive side to his personality.

She had seen him in his home. No ceremony. No reserve. No trace of the despot she expected. Not his sister’s keeper, but her whole world; her protector and succour.

Spending more time together also gives Mr Darcy the opportunity to get to know Elizabeth better. More specifically, once he realises that she has fault to find in his manners and behaviour, he starts to question his attitude somewhat:

If she had not seen his offer of marriage for the tribute that it was – a heartfelt homage to her delightful person – then she might have also failed to find due proof of his devotion in his honest recitation of the impediments he had brought himself to overlook in order to have her beside him.

I really enjoyed this story; there were some lovely sparks of humour, and I enjoyed Darcy’s character in particular and his slow steps in realising his mistakes and blunders. I thought his relationship with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, was delightful. I also liked the fact that the story didn’t follow the lines I expected; due to the nature of this genre, the fact that it’s based on Pride & Prejudice I have often seen scenarios played out in other works, and you can feel like you’re travelling down the same road. However, this story took me in directions that I didn’t anticipate, which was refreshing.

The only thing I would have liked would have been for the story to be set over a longer time-frame as I felt opinions and feelings changed quite quickly. There was also one character that I felt was let off too lightly, I wanted to see them suffer just a little!

Overall, this is a romantic, amusing, low-angst read, which I would recommend. There’s some passion too, but nothing graphic. I’d rate it as a 4½ star read.

4.5 star read

Author Joana StarnesAbout the Author

Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination, and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.

She is the author of Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley; The Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s Companion; Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, The Darcy Legacy and The Journey Home to Pemberley) and one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy MonologuesDangerous to KnowRational Creatures and Elizabeth). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

Book Cover: A Timely Elopement by Joana StarnesBuy Links

A Timely Elopement is available to buy now in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Joana's other books are also available in paperback and audio so let's hope these will be too!

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Book Cover: A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes
Giveaway Time!

Joana is very kindly offering to give away an ebook copy of A Timely Elopement to two lucky visitors to Babblings of a Bookworm! To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Sunday 21 June. If you have any difficulty commenting, please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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