Monday, 30 November 2020

Back to the Bonnet by Jennifer Duke - Excerpt and UK Giveaway

Book promo picture: Back to the Bonnet by Jennifer Duke
Today I’m happy to be welcoming a new visitor to the blog, Jennifer Duke. Jennifer has written a Pride & Prejudice-inspired book, called Back to the Bonnet.

This book is a Mary Bennet-focussed book which gives her a secret life, including time travel. Sounds pretty wild! Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Jennifer for an excerpt from Back to the Bonnet. Jennifer is also offering a UK ebook giveaway.

Book Description

“Oh really, Miss Mary!” He lowered his voice and leant closer. “Does convention hold you back? You who deny all conventions of time, twisting it from its proper course?”

Matrimony is not a destiny that attracts plain but clever Miss Mary Bennet.

With her family’s fortunes threatened by their own foolish mistakes, deceptive rogues and the inconvenience of male heirs to her family home, the future looks unstable, even bleak. But Mary possesses a secret weapon . . . a bonnet that allows her to travel in time.

In orchestrating events according to her own inclinations, Mary takes an unconventional route to protect her family from ruin. However, she is unprepared for the dark path down which duty and power will lead her.

Excerpt from Volume One, Chapter Twelve - ‘Sermons & Scandals’

Book cover: Back to the Bonnet by Jennifer Duke
    Mr Chamberlayne bowed. Will you do me the honour?”

    Thank you,” I whispered, placing my hand in his. It is most kind of you to ask me when there are so many other women to chuse from.”

    But, my dear, there is no other Miss Mary Bennet.”

    As he led me down the dance, I made a small squeak, unable to hide my surprise.

    What is it? Did I tread on your toe?” he asked, before taking the hands of the lady next to me and turning about with her.

    My sister Lizzy,” I said, when he was opposite me once more. Shes dancing with Mr Darcy.”

    He squinted over at them. What of it?”

    To me, the look shared by Lizzy and Mr Darcy might either betray a mutual desire to partake in a duel or to make straight for Gretna Green. She always said she would never dance with him.”

    Women are always changing their minds about one thing or another,” he said, rolling his eyes. Not at all like men.”

    I glared at him. Lack of obstinacy is hardly a flaw. However, you wont find me being so changeable.”

    Of course not,” he said, smile lines creasing at his eyes. You never change anything, do you?”

I continued in conversation with him at supper and Charlotte came to sit opposite us.

    You surprise me, Miss Mary,” said Chamberlayne. He made to pour me wine but I placed my hand over the glass. I thought you would be an advocate of Mary Wollstonecrafts ideas.

    What I mean is that there are certain roles we adopt in society and certain boundaries within which we navigate that have been established for our own good and to ensure stability.”

    You just want to be careful that a boundary does not become a noose,” he said.

    Whatever do you . . .” my words trailed off as my attention was drawn to Mama who was toasting Janes good fortune with anyone who would clink glasses with her. Her boasts rang out across the room that Jane would soon be engaged to Mr Bingley and that this piece of good fortune would throw the rest of us into the way of other men of wealth. I clutched my cutlery, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks.

    Chamberlayne glanced at her. Can I serve you some chicken, Miss Mary?” he said, spearing a slice from the dish in front of him.

    I ventured to look at Mr Bingley who, thankfully, appeared not to have heard Mama. Mr Darcy, on the other hand, was regarding her with an expression of unconcealed alarm. Lizzy, too, had gone quite red and even whispered to Mama in an attempt to prevent further inappropriate speeches of unfortunate volume.

    I assumed that Lydias cheeks were merely rosy from the amount she had had to drink, rather than from any kind of embarrassment, for she chattered away merrily, holding out her glass to be refilled by an obliging officer.

    It is a most elegant room,” said Charlotte, taking in the high ceilings and fine windows. Mr Bingley has found himself a most charming residence, do not you think?”

    Indeed,” said Chamberlayne, grasping the subject with enthusiasm. Though I admire older buildings. Your house is Elizabethan, is it not, Mary?”

    As I looked up from my plate, I realised that my friends were trying to draw me out of my mortification. It is.”

    A manor built in the traditional E shape, for the queen,” said Charlotte.

    Indeed,” I said, though I like to think of it as an M. It could be an M you know, if seen from another perspective.”

    How whimsical! Is that because of your own name?” asked Chamberlayne.

    No. You see, at the age of six, when a historical book taught me that Queen Elizabeth had had her cousin Mary executed, I considered that, from another angle, the E shape might look like an M. So, in my mind, our house has been M shaped from that time, in solidarity with the unfortunate queen who lost her liberty and her birthright, followed by her head, of course.”

    Chamberlayne laughed. She did try to have Elizabeth assassinated, though.”

    I shrugged.

    When supper was cleared away and people began to get up from their seats and mingle about the room, Mr Bingley tapped his glass with a spoon.

    I should just like to thank you all, once again, for joining me at Netherfield this evening. I for one am having a most agreeable time.” A grin stretched across his face. All there is left for me to wish for is a song. The pianoforte awaits! Whom can we persuade to sing for us?”

    The gathering had quietened to listen to Mr Bingley and the muteness continued in the general tentativeness that is generally felt when no one wishes to push themselves forward as the focus of attention. In the lull, a twittering of laughter could be heard. I looked towards a door which must have led to the small room with the paintings. There was another burst of giggling but louder this time.

    Surely we can prevail upon somebody?” said Mr Bingley.

    Miss Morris, a girl I did not know well, looked frantically about the room, then rushed over to open the door. The doorway framed the room inside like a theatre curtain drawn back to reveal a scene from a licentious play. Mr Denny sat in a too relaxed posture on the chaise longue and Lydia threw her arms about him and kissed him on the lips. Catching sight of their scandalised audience, Mr Denny moved Lydia aside.

    Miss Morris, allow me to explain. I did not know that Miss Lydia was about to—”

    Were meant to be engaged!” wailed Miss Morris as she fled the room to the accompaniment of shocked gasps, piteous comments and accusations.

    Mama had been struck into silence, which was quite something. Papa went white. Lizzy was crying with humiliation and Jane looked close to fainting when Miss Bingley swooped upon her saying, You will get your family out of this house at once. At once, Miss Bennet.”

    Through the doorway I could see the painting of the woman holding the bonnet and the other standing behind. It seemed almost as though they were looking at me, willing me to do something.

    Were going.” Lizzy gripped my arm, frowning at me. Mary, I do not see how you can be smiling at a time like this. We need to leave. Now.”

    Tearing my gaze from the portrait, I looked at Lizzy. Ill get my bonnet.”

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Author Jennifer Duke

Author Bio
 

Jennifer Duke grew up in Basingstoke - a town in Hampshire, England, which Jane Austen visited for shopping and balls when her family lived in the nearby village of Steventon. Loving stories from a very early age and being the second of four sisters, Jennifer delighted in reading stories to her younger siblings.

She went to Bath Spa University to study English Literature with Creative Writing and gained a 2:1, later going on to achieve a distinction for her MA in English Literature at Oxford Brookes University.

She has had many jobs - including coffee barista, trainee English teacher, nursery nurse, nanny, housekeeper and dog walker - but kept returning to writing fiction.

A longstanding love of Jane Austen's novels led to her first published novel Back to the Bonnet.

As well as writing, she is interested in mindfulness, environmental issues and painting. She loves animals, history, art, travel and being out in nature. Currently, she is working on a fantasy novel inspired by ancient art at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave in the south of France, a story set 35,000 years ago - a slight change from Regency England! She also has plans to write a post World War Two romance inspired by Jane Eyre.

Back to the Bonnet is available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook formats.

You are cordially invited to sign up to Jennifer Duke’s newsletter via her website homepage or contact page.

Website: jennifer-duke.com / Goodreads page / Twitter: @JenniferEDuke / Facebook: @inkwellies / Youtube: Jennifer Duke - author

Book cover: Back to the Bonnet by Jennifer Duke
Buy Links

Back to the Bonnet is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.   

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada  / Amazon Australia / Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time!

Jennifer is running an eBook giveaway for UK residents only (or those who buy their ebooks from Amazon UK, due to gifting restrictions): To enter, visit Jennifer’s author website and sign up to the newsletter, which you can do on the homepage or contact page. Include ‘UK’ in the ‘last name’ box; if you are a UK resident, and you will be automatically entered into the giveaway.

A winner will be selected at random on 12th December and contacted shortly afterwards to arrange the receiving of their free eBook.

Even if you are not based in the UK Jennifer would love for you to sign up for the newsletter, so she can keep in touch with you about future giveaways and offers!

Note about comments:  If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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Friday, 27 November 2020

A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Anngela Schroeder back to the blog with her upcoming Pride & Prejudice variation, A Life Worth Choosing. This book has such a great premise, melding my favourite book, P&P, with one of my favourite Christmas films, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Now, let’s look at the blurb and then hand over to Anngela for a guest post, excerpt and giveaway opportunity.


Book cover: A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder
Book Description

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.” 

Reeling from the unexpected rejection of his proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy prepares to quit Hunsford for London but not before he defends himself against Elizabeth Bennet’s accusations. He cannot forgive her harsh words; her assertion Mr. Wickham would have made a better son has cut him to the core.

Suffering an accident while delivering the fated letter, he wakes to a world he does not know—and to those who do not recognize him. With a new life, a different  name, and a fresh chance at winning the woman he loves, Darcy must decide which is A Life Worth Choosing ––the past he remembers or a future he has created for himself.

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Monday, 23 November 2020

Fitzwilliam Darcy Undone by Sue Barr - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Fitzwilliam Darcy Undone by Sue Barr
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Sue Barr back to the blog with her latest book, Fitzwilliam Darcy Undone. This book is a Pride & Prejudice variation set in a world where magic exists.

First, I’ll share the blurb with you, and then I’ll hand over to Sue for a bit of a saucy excerpt, and a giveaway opportunity.

Book Description 

She’s the outcast in her family…

Elizabeth knows she’s different from the rest of her family. She has visions and strange dreams and sees things others do not. With the advent of the odious Mr. Darcy and his friends from Netherfield Park, as well as the amiable Mr. Wickham of the _____shire Militia, her powers seem to increase and her greatest fear is that she won’t be able to contain them and will be discovered.

He has eight hundred years of tradition to uphold…

No Darcy has married a non-magical woman since arriving on the shores of England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  However, his kind – Miatharans – are dwindling in numbers. Miatharan magic only flows through aristocratic blood lines, so his strange obsession with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is puzzling as she is not of noble blood. Just a country squire’s beautiful daughter who has him slowly becoming undone.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Blog Tour: Northfanger: A Gothic Austen Mash Up by Jayne Bamber

Book cover: Northfanger by Jayne Bamber
Today I’m happy to welcome Jayne Bamber back to the blog with her new book, Northfanger: A Gothic Austen Mash Up which sounds like a seasonally spooky read. Let’s look at the blurb, and then I will hand over to Jayne for an excerpt. There’s a rafflecopter link too, if you’d like to enter to win a copy!

Book Description

A campy, vampy fusion of Pride & Prejudice with Northanger Abbey...

Elizabeth Bennet and her cousin Catherine Morland travel into Kent to visit the recently married Collinses in the village of Hunsford, near the great estate of Rosings Park. Elizabeth anticipates that the visit will be very dull indeed, while Catherine believes adventure and romance await them there, just as in the gothic novels she adores.

Within a week, both women have their expectations subverted by the sudden arrival of a vampire into their midst. The ladies at the parsonage take flight, accompanied by the outraged Colonel Fitzwilliam, his outwitted cousin, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy – and an out-of-control fledgling vampire.

Proving herself indispensable during the undead Darcy debacle, Elizabeth becomes the heroine her cousin Catherine always knew she was – and enviously wishes to be herself – as she leads them to Bath in search of the wily Silas Bennet, an expert in all matters vampiric.

But amidst the hunt for Uncle Silas, other predators enter the fray, all in search of one very old man, and a very young vampire. In Bath they encounter the Tilneys, the Thorpes, and an array of familiar faces and vicious villains bent on wreaking bloody havoc, leading a merry band of misfits to take shelter in a place too spooky not to hold secrets of its own: Northanger Abbey.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Be Your Own Heroine by Sophie and Charlotte Andrews - Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway

Book cover: Be Your Own Heroine by Sophie and Charlotte Andrews
Today I’m happy to be welcoming a previous visitor and a new visitor all in one post! Sisters Sophie and Charlotte Andrews have written Be Your Own Heroine, which has the sub heading of learning the life lessons from heroines in literature, including Pride & Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennet. Sophie Andrews has visited Babblings of a Bookworm before, with her book Be More Jane, but her sister Charlotte is a first time visitor and I welcome them both. The publisher, CICO books, is also offering a giveaway of a physical copy to a UK or US address!

Let’s begin by looking at the blurb.

Book Description

Having brought you the wisdom of Austen in Be More Jane, eager reader Sophie Andrews joins forces with her sister Charlotte and turns her attention to what can be learned from the heroines of other stories from past and present. Whatever your taste in authors, there will be strong female characters you can relate to, from Jo March, the tiger-sister in Little Women, to Eleanor Oliphant, the socially bemused heroine of Gail Honeyman's prize-winning first novel. There are spirited young women such as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series; and then there are the survivors – July in The Long Song and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Sophie and Charlotte show how these six inspirational young women can inspire you and guide you through life's challenges. Whether you are faced with hard times at home, in love, or at work, these characters have something to teach you.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Silver Buckles by Grace Gibson - Blog Tour - Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour Graphic - Silver Buckles by Grace Gibson
Today I’m happy to be welcoming a new author to Babblings of a Bookworm from Meryton Press. Grace Gibson has joined us with a guest post as part of the blog tour for her Pride & Prejudice variation book Silver Buckles. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Grace for her post.

Book cover - Silver Buckles by Grace Gibson
Book Description

She staggered a great man. He was reeling. She was overwhelmed. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy, standing irritably at the edge of the Meryton assembly, declines to dance with Elizabeth Bennet. In a mood of revulsion, he rejects her without concern of being overheard. Country pretensions are always in need of squashing, and what better way to make clear he would not partner anyone outside his party? However, when he looks over at her, she does not appear humbled at all. She is secretly laughing at him!

Elizabeth is perversely delighted to encounter such an outrageous snob as Mr. Darcy. When he approaches her with a stiff, graceless apology, she coolly brushes him off, believing that, like most annoyances, he will go away when properly snubbed. But no! The man then puts out his hand and, not wishing to create a scene, compels her to stand up with him.

They go through the steps of the dance mutually disdainful and intent upon wounding each other. But by the time the musicians end their tune, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have traded barbs with such accuracy, they are unaccountably amused and engaged. Will this most inconvenient flirtation drive them apart—or, like silver buckles, are they a matched pair?

Friday, 16 October 2020

As Only Mr Darcy Can by Laura Hile - Excerpt and Giveaway

Banner - As Only Mr Darcy Can by Laura Hile
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Laura Hile back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her newest book, As Only Mr Darcy Can. Laura is visiting us with a delightful excerpt for you to enjoy plus an ebook giveaway for one of you. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Laura for the excerpt.

Book Description

What a tangled web!

Mr. Darcy’s departure has solved nothing. He loves Elizabeth Bennet as much as ever—and he has left her vulnerable to Wickham’s lies. Why not send her a warning? Anonymously, of course. He must conquer his obsession, yet he must also do something to protect her.

But when Darcy is dunned for a bill of Wickham’s—an old trick—he sends the magistrate’s men with a warrant. Wickham, however, is nowhere to be found. At the same time, a titled lady appears in Hunsford. Why does she look so familiar? What of her pointed interest in Darcy’s sister? Is there anyone who will believe what Darcy suspects?

Elizabeth has her hands full when she comes to Hunsford. Her army-mad youngest sister causes trouble everywhere! What is more, those cryptic Valentines keep arriving. And then there is Mr. Darcy, a man she is determined to dislike. Why must his suspicions about the unknown lady match hers? Sparks fly as she joins forces with him to discover a truth that is both laughable and treacherous.

As for being at odds with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth’s heart has other ideas. Will a nonsensical demand ruin what has grown up between them?

As Only Mr. Darcy Can is a feel-good Regency romp, featuring all your friends from Pride and Prejudice. Intrigue, romance, and laughter are waiting for you.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Riana Everly back to the blog with her latest book, Death of a Clergyman. Name a clergyman we could do without – why yes, Mr Collins does spring to mind! But how did he die? In this case, not naturally. So we have a mystery on our hands. And who is a serious minded person who would be drawn to looking into this mystery? Why, Miss Mary Bennet! I know that this book will already be drawing some of you in with it being a mystery and having a focus on Mary.

Riana has come here today with my favourite type of guest post, where authors are so kind as to share with us some history that they have gleaned from their research, to save us having to research for ourselves. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Riana, for her guest post, an excerpt from Death of a Clergyman and a giveaway for you.

Book Description

Mary Bennet has always been the quiet sister, the studious and contemplative middle child in a busy family of five. She is not interested in balls and parties, and is only slightly bothered by the arrival of the distant cousin who will one day inherit her father’s estate. But then Mr. Collins is found dead, and Mary’s beloved sister Elizabeth is accused of his murder. Mary knows she must learn whatever she can to prove Elizabeth innocent of this most horrible crime, or her sister might be hanged as a murderess!

Alexander Lyons has made a pleasant life for himself in London, far from his home village in Scotland. He investigates missing documents and unfaithful wives, and earns an honest living. Then one day Mr. Darcy walks into his office, begging him to investigate the murder of Mr. Collins and to prove Elizabeth innocent of the crime. It seems like a straightforward enough case, but Alexander did not count on meeting a rather annoying young woman who seems to be in his way at every turn: Mary Bennet. 

As the case grows more and more complicated, Mary and Alexander cannot stop arguing, and discover that each brings new insight into the case. But as they get close to some answers, will they survive the plans of an evildoer in the midst of quiet Meryton?

Friday, 9 October 2020

A Wilful Misunderstanding by Amy D'Orazio - Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Book cover: A Wilful Misunderstanding by Amy D'Orazio
Today I am happy to be featuring another of Amy D’Orazio’s stories as the blog tour for the Pride & Prejudice-inspired A Wilful Misunderstanding stops here today. Let’s look at the blurb, and then we will move on to my review of the book. Quills and Quartos are also giving away an ebook to one of you. Read on for details.

Book Description

The moment he saw her at the assembly in Meryton, he knew he loved her.

WHEN FITZWILLIAM DARCY MEETS ELIZABETH BENNET in the fateful autumn of 1811, their mutual infatuation is immediate and undeniable. Within months, they are married and spend a blissful winter at Pemberley, falling more deeply in love with each other than either might have imagined possible. But spring in London proves more challenging to them. Accident and artifice join to devastating effect for the young couple, destroying their felicity and creating an outcome neither might have imagined.

TWO YEARS LATER, happenstance reunites them. Sorrow and anger have built walls between them but the love they once shared still remains. Will it be enough to conquer the sins of the past? Is the love they still hold within them strong enough to prevail over the anger and mistrust that tore them apart?

Friday, 2 October 2020

Play with Fire by J Marie Croft - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Play with Fire by J Marie Croft
You might well have noticed that quite a few authors and publishers have been putting out novellas lately. I know some people like to get their teeth into a longer read but this year has been such a stressful one that some of us want the escape of reading but don’t have the concentration to take on a longer book! J Marie Croft is visiting us here today with her new Pride & Prejudice novella, Play with Fire to share an excerpt, and Meryton Press are offering to give away an ebook of the story to one of you. Read on for more details!

Book Description

Madness! It was nothing but madness from beginning to end, and Darcy was caught up in it. 

What do occupants of Netherfield Park do on a dreary Saturday while the Bennet sisters are still in residence and they have nothing at all to do? They take a page from Mansfield Park, of course, and decide on a theatrical.

 

In the process of planning and performing the play, certain participants get more than a little carried away, especially Fitzwilliam Darcy where Elizabeth Bennet is concerned. There might even be a kiss...and a skirmish...leading to a duel.

 

No one involved in the play had set out with the intention of creating a scandal. None performing in the theatrical began with the aim of ending with blushing faces, or bruised bodies, or blemishes on their reputations.

 

Blame it on The M├ęsalliance.

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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 Amazon.com. 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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