Friday 31 December 2021

Happy New Year - Welcome 2022

Happy New Year 2022
Hello to all of you. I just wanted to wish all of you a very Happy New Year and hope that 2022 is a good year for you. Usually at this point I'd share my pick of this year's reads but I have had the worst reading year that I've had in a long time :( I've read very few books and reviewed only a tiny fraction of them! So I haven't reviewed enough to make a fair pick from. 

Home office
Home Office with Co-worker Cat
I am not sure why I've struggled so badly this year, you would have thought that 2020 would be the worst, with the pandemic starting and all the uncertainty and unknown, but I think that deep down I was expecting things to go back to 'normal' in 2021 and that just hasn't happened. The expected three weeks of homeworking that I started back in March 2020 is looking like the ongoing situation now. At least now I have a separate space to work, as we've made a small home office in the garage. It doesn't look like much but actually it's a really cosy and comfortable space and it's good for me to have a space away from the other parts of the house.

I also started a new job within the same company and this is good for me too, as I am doing different things, dusting off old skills and learning some new ones. I'm in a small team - I already knew three of my team pre-pandemic, but only know the other four people through video meetings, and although it's not the same, they couldn't have been more helpful or welcoming to me, which makes me feel very fortunate.

I feel in a lot of ways that my life has shrunk, as if I don't go anywhere or do anything. It's so much harder in the current climate to do things and go places, and of course it being winter doesn't help. I am trying to go into 2022 looking for positivity and to broaden my horizons again. I hope for a better year in 2022.

So, how was your 2021? I know a lot of you squeezed plenty of reading in, so if you have any recommendations of good books you read in 2021 I'd love to hear about them. Are there any books coming in 2022 that you're really anticipating? Let me know in the comments.

Again, I want to take the opportunity to wish you a happy, safe and fulfilling 2022. I hope the year brings you good things!  

Thursday 23 December 2021

Kidnapped and Compromised by Demi Monde - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I’m pleased to be welcoming
Bella Breen (writing as Demi Monde) to the blog with an excerpt of her upcoming Pride & Prejudice novella, Kidnapped and Compromised, which is described as a steamy novella. The book will be released on 26 December. Let’s look at the blurb and then Bella will introduce an excerpt of the book and share a giveaway opportunity with you.

Book Description 

Abducted and facing ruin, can Elizabeth's wits save her from a dastardly plot? And will Mr. Darcy find her in time? 

When a false friend tricks Elizabeth, she is abducted by carriage from Meryton and carried hours away to a bawdy house. If Mr. Darcy does not rescue and pay her ransom, she will be sold to the highest bidder.

Elizabeth must depend on her wits to survive. But the clock is ticking. Will Mr. Darcy choose to risk his life for the woman he secretly loves but who despises him? And if so, can he rescue her before it's too late? 

This 40,000 word steamy Pride and Prejudice variation features kidnapping, compromise, forced marriage, rescue by Mr. Darcy, double wedding, Christmas holiday ball and a happily ever after.

Friday 17 December 2021

Winners - Pemberley's Christmas Governess by Regina Jeffers, Mages and Mysteries by Victoria Kincaid and Anngela Schroeder ebook!

You may have noticed that we have had lots of authors offering giveaways lately, and I have just caught up with comments so am in a position to post winners!

Book cover: Pemberley's Christmas Governess by Regina Jeffers
Firstly, Regina Jeffers visited us with Pemberley's Christmas Governess. You can read more on that story here. Regina was kindly offering an ebook of the story to two commenters on the blog post. Regina chose the winners who were:



Jen D

Congratulations both, I will try to message you, but I am not sure I have contact details for Jen. Please can you contact me?

Book cover: Mages and Mysteries: A Fantasy Pride and Prejudice Variation by Victoria Kincaid
Next up, Victoria Kincaid visited with her magic-infused Mages and Mysteries: A Fantasy Pride and Prejudice Variation. You can learn more about the book here. Victoria was giving away an ebook of the story to one comment. I chose that person using a random number generator and it was....


Congratulations, I will be in touch with you.

Anngela Schroeder also visited with her new story, Comfort and Joy: A Pride & Prejudice Novella. Anngela was offering a giveaway of winners choice of an ebook of one of her back catalogue of stories. I chose the winner using a random number generator and that person was...


Please can you get in touch to claim your prize, I don't think I have your contact details.

Thanks to all the lovely authors who visited and everybody who commented. For those people who need to get in touch, my details can be found in the Contact Me section.

Five Daughters Out at Once by Jayne Bamber, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman - Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Five Daughters Out at Once by Jayne Bamber, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to the blog to celebrate the audio release of Five Daughters Out at Once, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman. Jayne visited us with the print version of this book too, and you can read more about that here.

I am so happy when Austenesque authors make their books available in audio. Not only does it make the book available to those who cannot read print, for whatever reason, but it can enliven our travelling and chore time, and also brings us closer to Austen’s time, when reading aloud was a common way that people would spend time together.

Let’s look at the blurb and then I will bring you an author interview with Jayne, and share an excerpt with you. Jayne is giving away an audiobook of Five Daughters Out at Once to accompany the blog tour. Read on for more details!

Book Description

After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance.

Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society – and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands?

Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart – Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document – and change – the lives of her new friends.

Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans – for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound and plans go awry as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives.

Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?

Monday 13 December 2021

Murder & Miss Austen's Ball by Ridgway Kennedy - Guest Post and Excerpt

Murder & Miss Austen's Ball by Ridgway Kennedy
Today we are welcoming a new author to Babblings of a Bookworm. Ridgway Kennedy has joined us with a post about his upcoming book Murder & Miss Austen’s Ball, which releases on the anniversary of Jane Austen's birth, on the 16th of Decmeber. plus an excerpt. Let’s look at the blurb, and then I will hand over to Ridge.

Book Description

With her 40th birthday approaching and with three well-received novels in hand, Miss Jane Austen determines that she will host a ball. She has her reasons – quite sensible reasons. With the end of the war, the nation is in economic turmoil and, close to home, her brother’s bank is in distress. She has gained confidence and sees a way to gain her own means and independence.

A dancing master is sent for; a dancing master arrives. There is confusion, music, a literary rescue mission, a murder, a mystery and a puzzle that must be solved; even if the quest flies in the face of propriety. A mousetrap is set; it captures the wrong prey. Honor must be served, even if it involves headlong flight. And a mystery must be unraveled, even if it involves dark secrets.

Music & Dance

One unusual aspect of the story is the degree to which music and dance pervade its telling. The act of playing music together brings people into a special kind of intimate relationship. The story weaves in scenes of dance preparations, making music, teaching dancing and provides an inside look at a ball from the musicians’ and dance leader’s perspective. One scene follows a couple down the set through a longways dance.

A line on the cover promises “a novel with musical accompaniment” as we plan to provide readers with “audio illustrations” – online access to custom tracks that will be recorded to go along with the book. Some e-readers may even be able to click and hear the music. Most of the melodies will be tunes Miss Austen might have heard, danced to and even played. But there is one newly composed melody—The Dancing Master’s New Tune we’ll call it for now—that takes a prominent place in the tale.

Friday 10 December 2021

Son of an Earl from the Defying Propriety Series by Bronwen Chisholm - Except and Giveaway

Book cover: Son of an Earl by Bronwen Chisholm
Happy Friday to you all!

I’m happy to be welcoming Bronwen Chisholm to the blog today. Recently Bronwen joined us for the first book in her Pride & Prejudice-inspired Defying Propriety series. The second book, Son of an Earl, is coming out on 22 December and should be available for pre-order today! Bronwen has come here today with a guest post, excerpt and an ebook giveaway of Son of an Earl.

It’s a nice long read, so grab yourself a cuppa and I will hand over to Bronwen for her to introduce the excerpt.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Comfort and Joy: A Pride & Prejudice Novella by Anngela Schroeder - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Comfort and Joy: A Pride & Prejudice Novella by Anngela Schroeder
Today I’m welcoming Anngela Schroeder back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her upcoming Pride & Prejudice novella, Comfort and Joy, which goes down a path I am sure a lot of you will enjoy reading – being stranded! Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Anngela for an excerpt from the book, and an ebook giveaway,of a book from her backlist.

Book Description

While visiting Lambton with the Gardiners only weeks after Mr. Bingley has vacated Netherfield Park, Elizabeth Bennet, takes her two young cousins Victoria and Emily and their swooning friend Katie Joy Harris on a holiday ramble through the Derbyshire countryside. With Jane back at the Inn at Lambton, and her Aunt and Uncle on a day trip to Manchester, the girls' adventure becomes treacherous when a snow storm traps them unexpectedly. Taking shelter in an abandoned cottage, they have to face their fears of being stuck in the snow, or discovery by a highwayman.

Monday 6 December 2021

Mages and Mysteries: A Fantasy Pride and Prejudice Variation by Victoria Kincaid - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m really pleased to be welcoming Victoria Kincaid today, with her latest book, Mages and Mysteries: A Fantasy Pride and Prejudice Variation. As you will have gleaned from the title, this is a P&P variation set in a world where there is magic. I love to see magic incorporated into P&P, because each author’s magic world is different. Victoria is also giving away an ebook of Mages and Mysteries to a commenter on this post! Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Victoria for a guest post and excerpt.

Book Cover: Mages and Mysteries by Victoria Kincaid
Book Description - Mages and Mysteries

In Regency England, women are expected to confine their magical acts to mending dresses or enhancing their beauty, but Elizabeth Bennet insists on crafting her own spells to fight goblins and protect the people of Meryton.  She even caused a scandal by applying for admission to the magical Academy. When Hertfordshire is beset with a series of unexplained goblin attacks, Elizabeth is quite ready to protect her family and friends. If only she didn’t have to deal with the attitude of the arrogant mage, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Mr. Darcy doesn’t need to be associated with a scandalous woman like Elizabeth Bennet—no matter how attractive she is. But as the goblin attacks accelerate and grow more dangerous, Darcy realizes that he could use her help in identifying the cause—and is forced to recognize her magical ability.

Unfortunately, continued proximity to Elizabeth only heightens his attraction to her—which is particularly inconvenient in light of his engagement to Caroline Bingley.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy unravel the mystery of the goblin attacks before more people are hurt? And how can they manage their growing mutual attraction? It’s sure to be interesting…because when Darcy and Elizabeth come together, magic happens. 

Friday 3 December 2021

Pemberley’s Christmas Governess by Regina Jeffers - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Pemberley's Christmas Governess by Regina JeffersI love a seasonal read in the build up to Christmas and today I’m happy to be welcoming Regina Jeffers back to the blog with her newest release, Pemberley’s Christmas Governess: A Holiday Pride and Prejudice Vagary. 

Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Regina for a guest post about the life of a governess and an excerpt from the book. She’s also kindly giving away an ebook of Pemberley’s Christmas Governess to two lucky commenters on this blog post. Read on for details.

Book Description 

Two hearts. One kiss.

Following his wife’s death in childbirth, Fitzwilliam Darcy hopes to ease his way back into society by hosting a house party during Christmastide. He is thrilled when his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam sends a message saying not only will the colonel attend, but he is bringing a young woman with him of whom he hopes both Darcy and the colonel’s mother, Lady Matlock, will approve. Unfortunately, for Darcy, upon first sight, he falls for the woman: He suspects beneath Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s conservative veneer lies a soul which will match his in every way; yet, she is soon to be the colonel’s wife. 

Elizabeth Bennet lost her position as a governess when Lady Newland accused Elizabeth of leading her son on. It is Christmastide, and she has no place to go and little money to hold her over until after Twelfth Night; therefore, when Lieutenant Newland’s commanding officer offers her a place at his cousin’s household for the holy days, she accepts in hopes someone at the house party can provide her a lead on a new position. Having endured personal challenges which could easily have embittered a lesser woman, Elizabeth proves herself brave, intelligent, educated in the fine arts of society, and deeply honorable. Unfortunately, she is also vulnerable to the Master of Pemberley, who kindness renews her spirits and whose young daughter steals her heart. The problem is she must leave Pemberley after the holidays, and she does not know if a “memory” of Fitzwilliam Darcy will be enough to sustain her.

* * *

Saturday 20 November 2021

Gentlemen of Gloucestershire by Michelle R Wood - Excerpt

Book Cover: Gentlemen of Gloucestershire by Michelle R Wood
Hi there everybody! I am pleased to be welcoming a new visitor to my blog today, Michelle R Wood. Michelle is is writing a sequel to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Much as I love books based on Pride and Prejudice, Austen wrote some other wonderful books and it's so good to see some love going their way! The book Michelle is bringing with her today is called Gentlemen of Gloucestershire and she has brought an excerpt for us to enjoy. I'll share the blurb with you and then will hand over to Michelle to introduce the excerpt.

Book Description

Mrs. Catherine Tilney née Morland began her marriage to the Reverend Henry Tilney with every expectation of happiness. When a crisis emerges and her new family is put in danger, she must become the heroine she has been in training for all her life.

Gentlemen of Gloucestershire is a sequel to Northanger Abbey featuring dramatic scenarios, comic situations, witty banter, and hopefully wisdom gained through the evolving relationship of a young couple with plenty to learn about themselves and each other.

Monday 8 November 2021

Skirmish & Scandal by C P Odom - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Skirmish & Scandal by C P Odom
I’m really pleased to be welcoming C P Odom back to Babblings of a Bookworm with his new novella, which lends its title to the Skirmish & Scandal series of novellas from Meryton Press. There is a mini blog tour for Skirmish & Scandal and I’m happy to be hosting an excerpt and giveaway on this stop. Let’s look at the blurb and then move on to the excerpt.

Book Description 

Astounding! Mr. Darcy’s baited hook is for Elizabeth Bennet!

In the Regency era, surface appearances of politeness and civility often conceal more intense and hostile activity. More than one wealthy or noble family of seemingly sterling reputation is torn apart and sometimes all but exterminated by savage intra-family feuds.

That situation unexpectedly confronts Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Skirmish and Scandal when Darcy’s interest in Elizabeth as a future mistress of Pemberley becomes known to Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her noble Matlock relations. Determined to prevent an affront to the reputation of their aristocratic clan, the most prominent members of the family gather with Lady Catherine to confront Darcy and force him to choose a more suitable wife. The resulting conflict and its aftermath involve furious arguments, abduction, pursuit, and personal clashes that narrowly avert meetings on the field of honour.

How can such emotionally intense and seemingly insurmountable personal conflicts between the couple result in an amorous resolution?

Friday 15 October 2021

In Essentials by Helen Williams - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: In Essentials by Helen Williams
Today I’m happy to be welcoming a new visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm. The blog tour for Helen WilliamsPride & Prejudice variation In Essentials stops by here today. Helen has brought us a really lovely excerpt, and Meryton Press are also offering an ebook giveaway to accompany the blog tour. Read on for more details!

Book Cover: In Essentials by Helen Williams
Book Description

Five months after Darcy’s disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet,

he discovers that the woman he ardently loves is suffering from a grave illness.

Despite an affliction that has left her altered, Elizabeth Bennet is still the same person in essentials: witty, sanguine, and obstinate. However, her future is uncertain, and she struggles to maintain her equanimity—especially when Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to Netherfield and seems determined to improve her opinion of him. Now she must decide whether she is brave enough to trust him and embrace happiness, however fleeting it might prove to be.

* * *

Wednesday 29 September 2021

As a Proper Lady Would by Bronwen Chisholm - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Well hello everybody! I am posting again after a longer than expected summer hiatus, in which I started a new job and like everybody else in the UK tried to do some home improvements! Now the autumn is coming and the nights are drawing in it’s time to make time for some reading.

Today I’m welcoming author Bronwen Chisholm back to the blog. Bronwen has a new book coming out on 1 October. The story is a Pride & Prejudice variation called As a Proper Lady Would and it’s the first in a series. Bronwen is joining us with a guest post, and she’s kindly brought a giveaway with her! Without further ado, I will hand over to her.

* * *

Hi, Ceri! I am tickled to visit with your readers here at Babblings of a Bookworm again. The first novel in my Defying Propriety Series, As a Proper Lady Would, will be available October 1st on Kindle and in paperback. Though I did a cover reveal last week at Austen Authors, it has changed slightly. Here it is along with the blurbs for both the series and this first book. 

* * *

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.

All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.

In this first book of the Defying Propriety Series, we watch as Elizabeth and Darcy learn what society expects of them, while attempting to achieve what they truly desire in life. The well-known characters, as well as a few new ones, grow from childhood to a marriageable age; some reveal different facets of their personalities, while others are doomed to follow the same paths.

* * * 

 Ceri asked me to talk about how I got the idea for this series and what inspired it. At first, I thought I had already covered this at my monthly blog on, but then I realized I only covered the initial idea. So, quick summary: I wrote a scene that I never intended to complete, which I posted on Austen Authors where the readers’ comments inspired me to write the first scene in this book, and then I couldn’t stop.

So, let’s back that up a bit. I have a tendency to get scene ideas lying in bed either before I fall asleep or just after waking up. If it’s the “before sleep”, I usually forget the really good stuff by the time I wake up (yes, I should jot it down, but they usually come the very moment my eyes are drifting shut, and I just can’t force myself to wake up to do it). If they are in the morning, my mind runs with it until I am able to get it on paper. Luckily, in this instance, it was a morning idea.

The idea was a scene with nine year old Fitzwilliam Darcy and his ten year old cousin, Phillip Fitzwilliam (the colonel in this series is named Phillip, click here for that explanation), playing war while their uncle, Lt. Anthony Fitzwilliam, watches them. The comments got me thinking about what Darcy, Elizabeth, and the other characters would be like as children. The opening scene came to me, and then I just couldn’t stop.

As the series blurb says, so much of who we are comes from our childhood experiences and the people in our lives. It was a blast thinking about what made Wickham such a rake, why Lizzy and Jane were more ladylike than Lydia and Kitty, and how Caroline became such a social climber. And the best part, I got to add new characters here and there.

That leads us to the series. Up until now, I have written stand alone stories (Mistress Mary and the General is technically a spin off of Behind the Mask, but it can be read alone). When I got to what should have been the end of this story, there were just too many lose threads. The only couple who had married was Darcy and Elizabeth. Yes, Jane appeared to be engaged, but there were at least two other couples making eyes at each other, and then there was Darcy’s eldest cousin, the viscount. I quickly realized I could not say it all in one book. So that is how the book and the series began.


Now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Ceri will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of As a Proper Lady Would. Good luck! I can’t wait to read your comments.


Author Bronwen Chisholm
Bronwen Chisholm has released seven Pride and Prejudice variations since 2014. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at


Book cover: As a Proper Lady Would by Bronwen Chisholm
Buy Links 

Usually I’d add a buy link but I couldn’t find one! I’ll link instead to Bronwen’s works on various Amazon sites. Remember, As a Proper Lady Would will be released on Friday 1 October in paperback and kindle.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time!

 As Bronwen said, she is offering a giveaway for one of you. To enter, please leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Tuesday 5 October. If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

Blog Tour Schedule

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour. Details are below:

As a Proper Lady Would Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Spies of Our Acquaintance by Brigid Huey

Book cover: Spies of Our Acquaintance by Brigid Huey
I’m happy to be welcoming Brigid Huey back to the blog with her new novella. It’s the latest in the Skirmish and Scandal series from Meryton Press and is called Spies of Our Acquaintance. Let’s look at the blurb, and then I will bring you an excerpt. There’s an ebook giveaway too! Read on for more details.

Book Description 

French spies in Meryton!

Can the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice “keep calm and carry on” when Napoleon’s war comes to their neighborhood?

After Mr Darcy apologizes for insulting her at the Meryton Assembly, Elizabeth Bennet begins to see another side to the gentleman she has sworn to hate forever. As their acquaintance grows into friendship, Elizabeth finds herself intrigued by this man from Derbyshire.

Darcy, meanwhile, cannot stop thinking about Miss Elizabeth. After the nefarious Wickham appears in Meryton, Darcy resolves to warn her of the man’s previous offenses. Matters become more urgent when Wickham proves to be involved in espionage for the French!

When Darcy and Elizabeth are captured by a French spy, they must work together to find a means of escape. With reputations and hearts at risk, what consequences will result from their perilous adventure?

Wednesday 4 August 2021

The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Christine Combe - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Christine Combe
Today I’m welcoming a new visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm. Christine Combe joins us with her upcoming book, The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy, bringing us an excerpt and the chance to enter an ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Christine.

Book Description

When Elizabeth Bennet moves with her widowed sister and niece to an estate in Derbyshire, she does not expect to find herself captivated by the mysterious steward of Pemberley. Though cautioned not to spend more time in his company than she ought, Elizabeth finds she cannot stay away from him.

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father lost half the family fortune to a pair of swindlers, and the rest to gaming and investments that gave no returns. He knows he is no good for the daughter of a baronet, but he falls for the lively Elizabeth in spite of every reason he should not.

When the two determine their mutual attraction cannot be denied Darcy decides to accept the challenge of re-entering society more for the sake of Elizabeth’s reputation than his own. Because both know if won’t be easy for him to regain the good opinion of the ton, Darcy goes to his noble relations to seek their assistance and Elizabeth joins him in London to support his efforts.

Of course, the expectation of whispers and snobbery is scant preparation for facing down the harshest critic of them all; one’s own family.

* * *

So this sounds like a bit of a switch in circumstances for Elizabeth and Darcy! 

* * *

Excerpt from The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy, introduced by Christine Combe

Back cover of book: The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Christine Combe
Greetings, fellow Austenians! I’m so excited to be visiting Babblings of a Bookworm today to talk to you about my upcoming release, The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy. It’s my first standalone Austen variation, and I really hope you’ll like it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

In this new story, circumstances are vastly different for ODC: Elizabeth and her sisters are the daughters of a baronet, and Darcy has no fortune. But as always, the stars align and one of literature’s most beloved couples unite, determined to take on the world together! 

In case you haven’t visited my blog or been following along as I posted the chapters at A Happy Assembly, here’s the 2nd half of chapter one:


The next day, on seeing that the rain had eased and the sun was shining through what clouds remained, Jane saw to Margaret’s needs before she and Elizabeth set off in the carriage for the three-mile journey to Longbourn. They would arrive in time to break their fast with the family; afterward, Jane would speak to their father about searching for a new home.

As the Bingley carriage trundled along, Elizabeth considered what her father’s reaction would be. She did not believe he would object overmuch—after all, Jane was past the age of majority and she had a sensible head on her shoulders. She’d been married, and had spent the whole of her widowhood almost entirely on her own; Elizabeth had stayed with her often, of course, and various other family members had made occasional two- or three-day visits. Their aunt Mrs. Gardiner had stayed an entire fortnight just after Charles’ death just to tend Margaret—who’d just turned a year old four months prior—as Jane had been inconsolable those first weeks and had barely risen from her bed.

The only real concern Sir Thomas might have with the plan was Elizabeth’s joining her sister in moving away. Though Jane could certainly be trusted as a guardian, the latter was the baronet’s favorite child, and parting with her would be difficult for him.

First objective, Elizabeth mused, would be gaining their father’s blessing. Second would be convincing their mother to accept that the decision was not hers to make. The third would be locating a suitable home to reside in—on this matter, she was sure, their mother would make her opinion known: only an estate would do if Jane was determined to avoid Town. It need not be so large as Netherfield, but the daughters and granddaughter of a baronet would absolutely not be allowed to lower themselves so far as to reside in a cottage.

The former Mr. Bennet’s elevation to a baronetcy some fifteen years prior had given an already silly woman with weak understanding and an illiberal mind more airs than she was perhaps entitled to. But one could not convince Lady Bennet that she thought her family more important than they truly were—after all, her husband’s title had been bestowed upon him by request of Prince Edward himself!

Shortly before the youngest of their five daughters was born, Mr. Bennet had been elected mayor in Meryton, the market town nearest their estate. To amuse his wife during her confinement, he made an address to the king, though without expecting any response. Quite surprised then, was he, to receive one, and as soon as Mrs. Bennet was out of her lying-in following Lydia’s entrance into the family circle, they made for London for his presentation. He’d expected little more notice than to receive a “trifling knighthood.”

However, upon discovering him to be the same Thomas Bennet with whom he had been engaging in an “ongoing private war” of chess-by-post for some years, Prince Edward had declared that a man of such intelligence and wit as he possessed deserved greater reward than a mere knighthood. It was then announced that he had convinced their Majesties to bestow upon him a baronetcy and a “small” fortune of twenty thousand pounds.

“How very necessary was that fortune, Lizzy,” her father had once said, “for it enabled me to provide you and your sisters dowries which you would not otherwise have had.”

Ever since their place in society had risen, Jane Gardiner Bennet had ceased to be overly concerned about the entail preventing Longbourn’s being passed to one of her husband’s children—for surely five thousand pounds each and a titled father would attract many a wealthy gentleman. Jane had successfully fulfilled her mother’s dreams for her by capturing the attentions of the very young Mr. Charles Bingley, so Lady Bennet expected similar matches were to be found for the younger girls in turn.

As such, no daughter of hers would be allowed to live in a house meant for poor relations or tenants to reside in.

“We’ll have to find an estate, you know,” said Elizabeth aloud as the carriage turned up the drive to their childhood home.

“Indeed,” Jane concurred. “Mamma would never abide our taking only a cottage. A baronet’s daughters should be seen—”

“—to be living like a baronet’s daughters,” Elizabeth finished with a grin.

The two were greeted warmly by Mrs. Hil—the longtime Longbourn housekeeper—when they entered the front hall. Soon their youngest sisters, Catherine—whom the family called Kitty—and Lydia, came excitedly down the stairs, followed at a more sedate pace by the middle Bennet girl, Mary. The five sisters greeted each other with smiles, kisses, and embraces as though it had not been only a few days since last they’d seen one another. The noise soon drew the attention of Lady Bennet, who was as profuse with her praise of Jane as was her habit, before she then scolded her for not bringing Margaret along.

“Why would you deny me a visit with my only grandchild?” the lady asked indignantly.

“I have denied you nothing, Mamma,” Jane replied calmly. “Meg is hardly of an age to be making morning calls, and you know you are perfectly welcome to come to Netherfield and see her anytime.”

“Well,” said Lady Bennet with a huff, “you can be sure I will at the earliest opportunity. I have been so very busy of late, you know—I am always visiting this neighbor or that, to show the charity and compassion the wife of a baronet ought to bestow upon her fellow man.”

Elizabeth only just stopped herself rolling her eyes in a very unladylike fashion at her mother’s pompous remark—which was really a euphemism for going about town and gossiping with her friends—though her restraint hardly proved necessary as Lady Bennet had already turned away to lead them into the dining room.

Breakfast passed pleasantly for about ten minutes until the lady of the house said to her eldest daughter, “So, my dearest Jane, when would you care to begin planning your Season? Margaret needs a father, and I am very sure your beauty and fortune will attract many admirers to your drawing room in Grosvenor Square.”

Before a startled Jane could even respond, Lady Bennet continued with, “Of course, we must take Lizzy with us—she is almost one and twenty already!—and has also not had a proper debut. You know I cannot bring Mary out in London without having the two of you married. Oh, for shame, I could not do it!”

Elizabeth was stunned by how oblivious her mother was to how much her talk upset Jane, and looked to her father to see if he would speak up on her sister’s behalf. Imploring him to act proved unnecessary, however, as Jane herself took up her own defense.

“Mamma, I shall not be going to Town for the Season,” said she in a voice that only just shook.

Lady Bennet’s eyes widened. “Not go to London? Not go to London?! But of course, you must go! How else will you find another husband if you do not?”

Jane drew a breath, and Elizabeth’s pride in her rose as her sister sat straighter, looked her mother in the eye, and said, “I do not want another husband, Mother. Not at this time, for my heart is still held by Charles. Further, I intend to remove from Netherfield and find another home for Meg and me.”

Lady Bennet gasped; Mary’s eyebrows rose toward her hairline, and Kitty and Lydia giggled as they were wont to do whenever their governess wasn’t around.

Taking advantage of her mother’s shocked silence, Jane turned to Sir Thomas. “Papa, now the subject has been brought up, I should like to say that I intended to seek your counsel after breakfast, as well as your permission for Lizzy to come and live with me in my new home.”


All eyes turned to Lady Bennet. “Jane Bennet Bingley, I forbid you to take my granddaughter out of the only home she has ever known and away from her only grandmamma! And how can you be so cruel as to deny your sisters the chance to marry as well as you did? You know I cannot marry the rest of them if you are not!”

“Firstly, Mamma, you cannot forbid me from taking my daughter anywhere,” said Jane with a hint of fire in her voice. “Secondly, I have already been married—that will be enough for the society matrons you desire so much to become acquainted with, as well as their husbands, and the sons to whom you hope to marry your younger daughters.”

The rapid blinking of her eyes was Lady Bennet’s initial response, then she sniffed, raised her nose a little higher, and said, “Ungrateful child! Oh, you have no compassion for my poor nerves. Do as you will then—ruin your daughter’s future at your peril by staying from Town to find a new father to protect her. But I’ll not allow you to ruin your sisters’ chances, young lady! You shall not be taking Elizabeth wherever it is you mean to run off to. Oh, my nerves—do you see what you have done? Such fluttering and spasms I now have all over me!”

“Oh, do please control yourself, Lady Bennet,” spoke up Sir Thomas at last. “Jane is not being an ungrateful child just because she refuses to bend to your whims, my dear. She is well within her rights to both refrain from visiting London—which I commend you for, Jane, as you know well my thoughts on that subject—and to remove with her daughter to any place of residence she should wish. As to Elizabeth’s joining her, that is for me to decide.

“Now, my daughters,” he went on, turning his attention to Jane and Elizabeth, “shall we retire to my study to discuss?”

The baronet did not wait for their response; he simply rose and took his leave, and expected them to follow. Neither minded; the sisters stood in silent unison and departed to the sound of their youngest siblings twittering madly and their mother sputtering nonsensically about betrayal and ill-usage in her own family.

Sir Thomas’s study was, perhaps, the only room within Longbourn that was not kept immaculately tidy. Oh, the housekeeper herself came in to dust and tidy up every day, but he was such a collector of books and maps that every available surface had been taken up by them—there were books even on the two visitors’ chairs that sat before his desk, which his two daughters had to move before they could make themselves comfortable.

“So, Jane… You truly mean to give up Netherfield?” Sir Thomas asked when they were all settled.

Jane cleared her throat delicately, and Elizabeth noted color in her cheeks; the poor dear had always been just a little intimidated by their father.

“Yes, Papa,” she replied. “That is, I do mean to move out and live elsewhere. I have no plans to sell the estate—I mean to keep it for Margaret, that she may be assured of a home if I should marry again.”

The baronet nodded slowly. “A very wise decision, my dear. It seems you have given the matter much thought.”

Jane inclined her head as well. “I have, sir. In the interim, I have thought to let the estate, or to offer residence to you, Mamma, and my sisters. Even before Mamma first spoke of my marrying again last week, I had decided to seek your advice. My heart is just too full of grief and memories of my husband for me to remain comfortable in our home. I need to get away, at least for a while.”

“And you are certain London does not appeal to you?”

“It does not, sir. I confess that I dread the very idea,” said Jane. “I have always lived in the country—I find that, normally, being surrounded by nature relaxes me. And I daresay it is a more pleasant and healthy environment for a young child than Town.”

Sir Thomas chuckled. “Indeed it is.” His eyes then flicked to Elizabeth. “What say you, Lizzy? Do you approve of Jane’s plan?”

Elizabeth glanced briefly at her sister before replying, “I do not think it my place to approve or not, Papa. Jane is a woman grown; she has been a wife, is a mother—and more, she knows her own mind. If she is determined to go, I daresay we cannot stop her. Or rather, we should not.”

“And does her wish to have you accompany her on this removal from Netherfield appeal to you?” her father pressed.

She chanced a smile. “It does indeed, sir. I should very much like to be of use to my sister in any way I am able.”

“So you’ve no desire for a Season in Town?”

Elizabeth laughed. “Oh, Papa! While I can imagine it would be delightful to attend many balls and parties, I have no desire at present to parade myself about in the hopes of securing a rich husband. I am not yet one and twenty—only Mamma is distressed by my being older than Jane was when she married dear Charles. At present, I have no desire to turn my mind to matrimony.”

Sir Thomas seemed almost relieved to hear her speak so, and smiled as he said, “Very wisely spoken, Lizzy.”

He sighed then and sat back in his chair, lacing his fingers over his slightly protruding middle as his expression turned contemplative. “I imagine that removal from Netherfield means also removal from the neighborhood, so Purvis Lodge is out of the question—as is the great house at Stoke.”

Elizabeth laughed again. “Mamma could never abide the attics at Purvis Lodge, for she has already declared them dreadful, and the drawing rooms at Stoke are not large enough for her taste.”

“But it is not your mother’s tastes we must appeal to,” Sir Thomas rejoined, though he grinned as he said it. His eyes then looked to Jane again, and when next he spoke there was a hint of emotion in his voice “My dear girl, I do understand your need to get away, thus I will not only offer my blessing but my assistance in locating a suitable home for you. And Lizzy may join you, as it is your express wish as well as hers.”

Jane’s relief was obvious. She blinked away tears as she rose and went around the desk to embrace him, before kissing his cheek and saying, “Oh, thank you, Papa! I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your understanding.”

Sir Thomas patted her arm. “Well, well, now… Now we’ve got the two of you sorted, I shall begin sending out inquiries on Monday. In the meantime, I will work to convince your mother it was all her idea in the first place—only then shall any of us have peace.”


Jane is moving out, and taking Elizabeth with her! Tell me what you think in the comments below to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy!

Contest open until August 14, 2021. Good luck!

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Author Bio

Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen's work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on the next book in the series.

Christine Combe’s Blog / Facebook page


Buy Links

The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy is due out on 7 August. I can’t see any pre-order links, so will just pop a link in to Christine’s other Amazon books, so if you’d like to buy at least you’ll be in the right ball park!

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAGoodreads Author Page


Book cover: The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Christine Combe
Giveaway Time

As Christine said, above, she’s giving away an ebook of The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy to a commenter on her blog tour. Please leave a comment by the 14 August. If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour schedule!

Blog Tour Schedule

Blog tour schedule: The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Christine Combe

Thanks so much to Christine for visiting, and all the best with the book!

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