Friday 31 January 2020

Mr Darcy's Perfect Match by Kelly Miller - Blog Tour - Vignette, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Mr Darcy's Perfect Match by Kelly Miller
Today I'm welcoming Kelly Miller back to the blog with a post about her new book, Mr Darcy's Perfect Match. First, we will look at the blurb and then I'll hand over to Kelly for an excerpt from her book and a vignette, which is a deleted scene. In this case, they are a really well-matched pair, showing what could have happened and what actually did happen! Meryton Press is also offering a giveaway :) Read on for more details!

Book Cover - Mr Darcy's Perfect Match by Kelly Miller
Book Description

When secrets are revealed and a family agenda works against him, can Fitzwilliam Darcy recover his damaged spirits and find happiness?

Following his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to London from Kent broken-hearted and dejected. One bright spot penetrates his sea of despair: his sister, Georgiana, has finally recovered her spirits from the grievous events at Ramsgate the previous summer. She has forged a new friendship with Miss Hester Drake, a lady who appears to be an ideal friend. In fact, Lady Matlock believes Miss Drake is Darcy’s perfect match.

Upon Elizabeth Bennet’s arrival at the Gardiners’ home from Kent, she finds that her sister Jane remains despondent over her abandonment by Mr. Bingley. But Elizabeth has information that might bring them together. She convinces her Uncle Gardiner to write a letter to Mr. Bingley providing key facts supplied to her by Mr. Darcy.

When Mr. Bingley discovers that his friend and sisters colluded to keep Jane’s presence in London from him, how will he respond? Given the chance, will Darcy and Elizabeth overcome their past misunderstandings? What will Darcy do when his beloved sister becomes a hindrance towards winning the lady he loves?

Saturday 18 January 2020

Sanditon by Kate Riordan - My Review

Book cover: Sanditon by Kate Riordan 
Today the review roundup blog tour for Sanditon by Kate Riordan stops here for my review of the book. This is the novelisation of the Sanditon completion mini-series. In the UK, this aired last year, so I've watched the whole series... twice... but it's just started showing in the US. Let's take a look at the blurb and then we will look at what I thought of the book.

Book Description

In the vein of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen's beloved but unfinished masterpiece-often considered her most modern and exciting novel-gets a spectacular second act in this tie-in to a major new limited television series.

Written only months before Austen's death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself... and ultimately find love.

Book cover: Sanditon by Kate Riordan
My Review of Sanditon by Kate Riordan

As this is a novelisation of the series I think I should start by telling you (briefly and in as spoiler-free fashion as is possible) what I thought of the series. In preparation for watching it I read the fragment of Sanditon. by Jane Austen. It really is a fragment, introducing a whole cast of characters but not much more. My deduction from the fragment was that Charlotte was a very normal heroine, who I liked very much. Sidney Parker was the likely hero, and pretty much the rest of the characters were comic relief, all of them being odd in their own way. There was clearly rivalry for Lady Denham's money, and Clara Brereton was pitted against the buffoon Sir Edward Denham and his unlikeable sister Miss Denham in the quest of it.

I felt that in the adaptation, in terms of characters some were the same and some were changed - our heroine Charlotte and Lady Denham were the same as I had envisioned, for example, but Sir Edward Denham is most certainly no buffoon, but a ruthless man, focussed entirely on the pursuit of his inheritance. Miss Denham is cold and unlikeable - until I started to pity her, and then I was absolutely on her side, not in securing an inheritance, but in finding the happiness that I felt she deserved. What about the person I had earmarked as a hero, Sidney Parker? Well, he isn't portrayed as the character that I had expected (like Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey but more handsome, if you are interested!). He's more a Mr Darcy but with less polish and subtlety. I was a bit frustrated by that, because a Mr Darcy-style love/hate hero almost feels like a default choice, due to the success of Pride & Prejudice in popular culture. We literally only just meet Sidney at the end of the fragment. He is described as lively, leading me to expect a light-hearted hero rather than the burdened, sombre and sometimes churlish character in the adaptation. However, his description in Austen's fragment is given by people whose judgement may be faulty, so I wouldn't say that this deviation is counter to Austen's starting point.

I started off watching the adaptation hoping for something that I could believe that Austen herself had written but I had to abandon this hope - we are through her material by midway through the first episode and some of the content I felt was decidedly not Austen. There is some sexual content and although I think Austen would certainly have been aware of sex, she would not have written about it! There is also nudity but I felt this was acceptable nudity. It's in the context of seabathing, which men did in the nude in those times. Once I gave up my admittedly unreasonable hope of somebody channelling Jane Austen and writing something that I could believe came from her I decided that I would need to enjoy Sanditon as an historical drama on its own merits. And I did enjoy it, aside from some frustration at hairstyles I deemed too modern, until the ending.

I am sure you will have heard our splutters of indignation across the pond, as UK viewers found that they were robbed of the 'happy' ending that we had expected so I don't see it as a spoiler to mention it. Instead we are given an ending that I felt was an opening for a second series which left me feeling a little cheated! However, as people viewing it now will have been warned  of the ending, perhaps you won't be as cross as I was about it. I hope that we are treated to a second series, because aside from Charlotte's story, I felt that other stories had been started but not finished, such as that of Miss Lambe, Jane Austen's only non-white character. I also wanted to know what fate had in store for Arthur Parker, who I have a fondness for - he is so funny, and not enough time was devoted to him.

So, moving onto the book. This is a novelisation of the series, rather than a book that has been translated into an adaptation. I think the big plus from this is that we don't get any moments that jar because they've been changed in the adaptation. Everything is just the same, but just enriched by the extra detail that can be added in a book such as characters' thoughts and motivations! There were some things that the book didn't deliver on as well as the adaptation - little details, such as the impressions left on the viewer from looks and visual hints. For example, there was a character who I was sure things wouldn't work out for based on something visual, although I will be fair and say that Kate Riordan dropped hints in other ways in relation to this particular person.

I really enjoyed reading this book; it took me through the series in my mind with additional embellishments of detail. The author's style isn't like Austen - probably more modern and simplified compared to her in terms of language, but you could feel absolutely immersed in the life of Sanditon.

Obviously, huge spoilers for the series abound in the novel, so I'd recommend that if you enjoy the series, you then move on to the novel; personally I wouldn't do it the other way round because I so enjoyed reliving it in my mind.

As stated above, there is some sex in the adaptation but the same scenes in the novel are decidedly non-graphic, which I felt was a good choice.

My recommendation is to give the adaptation a chance, bearing in mind that it isn't Austen, and there is no telling where she would have taken the story. If you enjoy it then I'd certainly give this novelisation by Kate Riordan a go. I enjoyed it, and I'd rate it as a 4 star read.

4 star read

Sanditon books
My thanks go to Grand Central Publishing who provided me with a copy of Sanditon by Kate Riordan for my honest review, and a copy of The World of Sanditon by Sara Sheridan, which I hope to read soon! I'd also like to thank Laurel Ann from Austenprose, for organising the blog tour.

Author Bio

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist from England. Her first job was as an editorial assistant at the Guardian newspaper, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the lifestyle section of London bible, Time Out magazine. There she had assignments that saw her racing reindeers in Lapland, going undercover in London's premier department store and gleaning writing tips (none-too subtly) during interviews with some of her favorite authors. After becoming a freelancer, she left London behind and moved to the beautiful Cotswolds in order to write her first novel.

Book cover: Sanditon by Kate Riordan
Buy Links

Sanditon by Kate Riordan is available to buy now, in paperback, ebook and on audio.

Amazon US / Amazon UK/ Amazon CA / Audible US / Audible UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Indiebound / Add to Goodreads Shelf

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January 13              Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog
January 14              History Lizzie
January 17              Babblings of a Bookworm
January 20              Confessions of a Book Addict
January 20              Living Read Girl
January 25              Margie’s Must Reads
January 26              My Jane Austen Book Club
February 03            The Lit Bitch
February 10            Unabridged Chick
February 10            Laura’s Reviews
February 13            Bookfoolery
February 14            Half Agony, Half Hope
February 17            Scuffed Slippers, Wormy Books
February 18            Impressions in Ink
February 23            From Pemberley to Milton
February 24            So Little Time…
February 24            Vesper’s Place
February 26            Austenesque Reviews

February 28            My Vices and Weaknesses

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Friday 10 January 2020

Find Wonder in All Things by Karen M Cox - 2nd Edition - Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M CoxToday I'm welcoming back a friend to the blog, Karen M Cox. Karen was amongst the first authors that I discovered when I found the Austenesque genre. What I particularly like about Karen's work is that she moves Austen's works into different eras. This year, she is re-releasing some of her books, and the first one to be re-released is Find Wonder in All Things. This is a Persuasion re-telling, set in the 1990s. I read the first edition of this book, and you can read my review of this, from the very first year that I began blogging!

Now, let's look at the blurb, and after that we will move on to an excerpt of the book. Karen is also offering a giveaway to accompany the blog tour - you can read more about that later :)

Book cover: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M Cox
Book Description

“There could have never been two hearts so open… Now they were as strangers”

Mountain Laurel Elliot is like her name—she blooms best in the cool comfort of shade, hidden in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia. Alone on her mountain, she lives a private existence with only her pottery—and her regrets—for company.

James Marshall had a secret dream and Laurel was part of it, but dreams sometimes lead to unexpected places. James’s heart broke when Laurel cut him loose, but he moved on—and became successful beyond his wildest dreams.

For one glorious summer, James and Laurel had each other, but life has kept them far apart.

Until now.

“a magnificent modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” -Austenesque Reviews

Winner of the Independent Book Publisher’s Award 2012: Gold Medal in Romance and
Next Generation Indie Finalist in Romance 2013

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Blog Tour and Giveaway - Thaw by Anniina Sjöblom - Review

Book cover: Thaw by Anniina Sjöblom
Today I'm happy to be featuring an author who has made the jump from the forums to publishing as the blog tour for Anniina Sjöblom's debut Pride & Prejudice-inspired novella, Thaw stops at Babblings of a Bookworm for my review of the story. Let's take a look at the blurb and then we will move on to my review. There's also an ebook giveaway :)

Book Description

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one false step can involve a lady in endless ruin. On a rainy November day in 1811, Miss Elizabeth Bennet finds herself wondering why no one ever bothered to tell her about this.

A few blithe steps on a morning walk, taken after a succession of rain, lead to unexpected events that irrevocably change the course of Elizabeth’s life, placing her fate in the hands of the haughty and conceited Mr. Darcy – the last man in the world she had ever thought to marry.

As long winter days slowly pass, she writes letters to her loved ones, trying to come to terms with her new role as a wife and the Mistress of Pemberley. But can she ever learn to love her husband? Will he overcome his arrogant notions of rank and circumstance?

And most importantly – will the shades of Pemberley ever recover from being thus polluted?

Wednesday 1 January 2020

The Post of Many Winners

Happy New Year to all of you! December took its toll on me unfortunately. I am trying to catch up and it turns out that I am woefully behind on winner posts. So let's get on with it :)

Book cover: Audio Version of Nefarious by Nicole ClarkstonFirstly, Nicole Clarkston was kindly offering an audible code to allow a download of her Pride & Prejudice variation Nefarious from Audible US or Audible UK. The chosen winner of this was...


Congratulations! I have your email address and will drop you a line :)

Book covers: Headstrong One and Two by Melanie RachelThen I was visited by Melanie Rachel, who visited with an excerpt from Headstrong Book Two. Book Three is now also available, so the modern Pride & Prejudice-inspired series is complete. Melanie was offering a choice of the first two books in the series, with an option to choose a physical book for a US reader. The winner of this giveaway was...


Congratulations! I also have your email address so I will email you.

Book cover: The Clergyman's Wife by Molly GreeleyWe had a guest post from Molly Greeley in relation to her Charlotte Collins story, The Clergyman's Wife. The publishers were kindly offering a US paperback giveaway. The lucky chosen winner was...


Congratulations Candy, I'll drop you a message.

Book cover: Falling for Mr Thornton by various authors
I reviewed the North & South-inspired anthology of short stories, Falling for Mr Thornton. Some North & South bookmarks were being given away, and the winners of those were...

J W Garrett
Sophia Rose

Congratulations, ladies, I will message you on Goodreads.

I have one giveaway which is far older than any of these. One whole year ago I posted a giveway and I forgot to choose winners! The post was a blog birthday giveaway, and I was asking for feedback. The feedback provided took a bit of going through, but was actually really interesting. I was very touched by the feedback, because I had some wonderfully kind comments! I also felt heartened because the comments which showed me that my blog visitors like the same kind of posts that I like.

I was offering a giveaway of a small bundle of Austen-y things including a Jane Austen £10 note, some book earrings and a book up to the value of £15 from the Book Depository, however, due to popularity, I have decided to swap the book earring giveaway for another book up to the value of £15 from the Book Depository.

Prize BundleThe winner of the bundle is...

Eva Edmonds

And the winners of the book up to the value of £15 from the Book Depository are...

Shelley Hoisington 
Alexandra Rivers

I will be in touch.

Phew! What a list! Thanks to everybody who visited the blog posts, particularly those who commented, and the kind authors and publishers who offered giveaways. To find out more about any of the above books please click on the blog post links, where you can learn more and find buy links. Thank you all for bearing with me!