Monday 25 January 2021

Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again by Elaine Jeremiah - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again by Elaine Jeremiah
I’m happy to be welcoming Elaine Jeremiah back to the blog today. Elaine has joined us with her new Pride & Prejudice variation, Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again. She has an excerpt for us to enjoy, plus she’s also offering a giveaway for two lucky commenters on the post. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Elaine.

Book Description

Little does Elizabeth Bennet think the journey across muddy fields from her home at Longbourn to Netherfield Park will change her life forever. 

But an unexpected encounter with the proud and haughty Mr Darcy leaves her injured and vulnerable. Worse still, she is left alone with him for a significant amount of time. Her reputation at risk, she is forced to make a decision about her future. Now her life will never be the same again.

Can Elizabeth ever be happy? Or will she always loathe Mr Darcy?

Monday 18 January 2021

Determination by C P Odom - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Determination by C P Odom
I’m happy to be welcoming C P Odom back to Babblings of a Bookworm with his latest book, Determination. This is a Pride & Prejudice variation with a lot of Colonel Fitzwilliam by the sound of it, which I know will please a lot of people. Meryton Press are also offering a giveaway to accompany the blog tour. Read on for an excerpt of Determination and details on how to enter to win an ebook.

Book cover: Determination by C P Odom
Book Description

“Love at first sight” was, in the considered opinion of Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, simply a laughable concept, not one that occurred in real life. Certainly not in the life of an experienced man-of-the-world such as himself. 

This was so patently obvious, based on his own experiences and observations, that he had given it little thought. It was, after all, a fanciful concept emanating from the new romantic literature written exclusively for the diversion of the fairer sex. In fact, until he observed the smitten nature of his cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy, he would not have been certain that such an emotion as true, fervent love existed at all. Marriage was a matter of money, social standing, and property, an arrangement far too critical to be influenced by transitory emotional attachments.

But his cousin had become quite besotted with a lovely but quite penniless daughter of a Hertfordshire gentleman and had determined that he must make her his wife. Unfortunately, due to his emotions overcoming his normal good judgement, he had made an incredible botch of his offer of marriage. It should have been a simple affair to accomplish, given his wealth and position, but he had bungled it badly, and Fitzwilliam had dutifully set about trying to untangle the muddled threads of his affections for Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Then his own world became almost as chaotic when he made the accidental acquaintance of Miss Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s beloved elder sister. Seized by emotions he would have previously deemed impossible for such a level-headed person as himself, he found himself facing a commander of a regiment of His Majesty’s Dragoons, he faced different but equally substantial obstacles as his cousin. Only a man of true determination would be able to find a path through such impassible, thorny undergrowth.

Monday 11 January 2021

Fallen by Jessie Lewis - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Fallen by Jessie Lewis
I’m very happy to be welcoming Jessie Lewis back to the blog with the blog tour for her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Fallen, which is released today. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Jessie for an excerpt from the book. Quills and Quartos are also offering a giveaway of an ebook of Fallen to a commenter on this blog post. Read on for details.

Book Description

The air was all gone, and coldness overtook her, as though she had fallen into icy water and was sinking into the blackness. Her stomach churned, as it was wont to do these days. He would not marry her. She was ruined.

THE ARRIVAL OF TWO ELIGIBLE GENTLEMEN at Netherfield Park sends ripples of excitement through nearby Meryton. But Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy are not the only additions to the neighbourhood raising eyebrows. An unremarkable cottage in the woods between Netherfield and Meryton also has new tenants. One of them—a lively little girl with an adventurous spirit, a love of the outdoors, and a past shrouded in mystery—draws the notice of more than one local.

ELIZABETH BENNET—YOUNG, INTELLIGENT, and UNFASHIONABLY INDEPENDENT—forms a poor first impression of the haughty Mr Darcy. On closer acquaintance, and against her better judgment, her disgust begins to give way to more tender feelings. Yet standing in the way of any potential romance is the closely guarded history of a certain little girl in a cottage in the woods. Elizabeth might be ready to disclose her hidden affections, but she is about to learn that some things are better kept secret, and some hearts are safer left untouched.

Friday 1 January 2021

Review of 2020 – My Pick of the Year

Bye bye 2020
Happy New Year to you all! 2020 was really quite a year, wasn’t it! Unprecedented in so many ways. While New Year’s Eve is never an event I look forward to (because deep down I want to go to one of those huge, swanky 1980s parties that you see in films, like the one in When Harry Met Sally) I actually love the New Year itself, as it’s such a time for reflection and hope for the future.

I found 2020 a mixed bag because on the one hand it was very trying; the stress, the worry about one of us potentially catching Covid and becoming really ill, the home-schooling, the isolation, the worry about the potential effect on my kids’ mental health from being away from school for months, all took a burden on my mental energy. Like many people, I spent the majority of the year feeling like a wrung out dishcloth! I also found working at home while the kids were homeworking really difficult, so hard to concentrate! This meant by the end of the day I was pretty much only good for zombie time in front of the television.

On the other hand, I don’t think I have ever had a year when I have spent so much time feeling grateful for what I have – mine and my family’s continued good health, our lovely home, the fact that I have a job which continued to employ me right through the pandemic and allowed me to stay at home, meaning that I didn’t have to send my children to the hub schools for keyworkers. I was so grateful for the company of my family too, that I wasn’t living alone. Although I became sick and tired of walking in my local area, I also appreciated that we have green space close to where we live to walk around. So, although I found 2020 taxing I also found it a very rewarding year in some ways.

However, one way in which 2020 was entirely dreadful was the effect on my reading. If I am stressed I find it difficult to immerse myself in the written word. My audio reading time was cut overnight to pretty much zero as I used to listen on my commute and during solo lunchtime walks in my work lunch hour, and I lost both of those times. I didn’t get anywhere near my modest reading target for 2020. This is something that I need to rectify in 2021, I want to read more this year.

Although I didn’t get anywhere near as much reading done as I wanted, in terms of quality of reading, I was lucky, because the books I did get to read were good ones! So here’s my pick of the year:

Book cover: Thaw by Anniina Sjöblom
First up was Thaw by Anniina Sjöblom. This is a forced marriage scenario which diverges early on from Pride & Prejudice. Here, Elizabeth marries Mr Darcy after a compromise, which was entirely innocent. It’s told in the form of letters from the new Mrs Darcy to various people, and we see her icy relationship with her husband begin to ‘thaw’. I thought this was a wonderfully charming story, and you can read my 5 star review of it here.

Book cover: 1932: Pride & Prejudice Revisited by Karen M Cox
My next 5 star read was 1932: Pride & Prejudice Revisited by Karen M Cox. This was the second edition of the book, and it’s had a number of improvements to an already excellent story. This is a P&P inspired story set in 1932 in Kentucky. Mr Darcy is a well-to-do farmer, and the Bennets have moved to the same town, having fallen on hard times. The thing I probably enjoyed most about this story is Mr Darcy, who first manages to delude himself as to his feelings, and then lets his pride get in the way. You can read my full review of the second edition of1932 here.

Book cover: Miss Austen by Gill Hornby
Miss Austen by Gill Hornby is a story about Jane Austen’s elder sister Cassandra. This lady, as you may know, undertook an editing of the documents left after Austen’s death. In this story we see Cassandra visiting a family connection in order to try and get hold of letters that Jane would have sent some 20 years ago before they are re-discovered. While finding the letters Cassandra looks back at the events laid out in the letters. I absolutely loved this story, and heartily recommend it as a 5 star read. You can read my review of Miss Austen here.

Book cover: Sanctuary Part 1 by Cat Andrews
Now for a complete change of scene – modern times in New England! Sanctuary by Cat Andrews is a Pride & Prejudice flavoured modern read rather than adhering closely to the plot of P&P. It tells the story of two people who have been hurt by life in different ways and have moved to an island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Elizabeth Bennet moved there to make a new life after the end of an abusive marriage, Will Darcy and his son Jack are making a new start after the death of Jack’s mother. It’s a story in 3 parts. You can see my 5 star review of the first part of Sanctuary here. I read all three books but haven’t posted reviews of part 2 and 3 yet.

Book cover: A Wilful Misunderstanding by Amy D'Orazio
The last of my 5 star reads in 2020 was Amy D’Orazio’s A Wilful Misunderstanding which is a Pride & Prejudice variation. Here Elizabeth and Darcy didn’t get off to a bad start, but instead married after a whirlwind romance. When doubts are planted in Darcy’s mind about his wife’s fidelity a rupture is caused between the couple. When they meet again a few years later there is a lot of lost ground to be made up. This is a story with a good pinch of angst which kept me glued to the page! You can read my review of the story here.

Book cover: Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl anthology edited by Christina Boyd
Given that my concentration wasn’t up to much in 2020, the anthology Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl made for nice, small reading chunks. This anthology brought together short stories from some of my favourite Austenesque authors, edited by Christina Boyd. They were all inspired by the heroine of P&P. Some explored variations on Austen’s story, others took Elizabeth to another time. You can read my 4½ star review of the anthology here.

Book cover: Being Mrs Darcy by Lucy Marin
I love a forced marriage scenario, and Being Mrs Darcy by Lucy Marin is a fresh take on it. So often Mr Darcy is madly in love and Elizabeth hates him. Here, the couple meet earlier, when Georgiana visits Ramsgate. Impulsively intervening in a twilight meeting of Georgiana and Mr Wickham, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are strangers, forced to marry. You can read my 4½ star review here.

Book cover: Disenchanted by Kara Pleasants
With Kara Pleasants’ Disenchanted we find ourselves in a Pride & Prejudice variation set in a world where magic exists! I loved how magic was intertwined with several of the events and characters of P&P, and there are also some mysteries to unravel. This was a 4½ star read for me, and you can read my review here.

In another change of scene, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner takes us to Chawton, Jane Austen’s last home, just after WWII. In this story, a group of otherwise disparate people are brought together by their love of Austen in order to save her home for future generations. This was a story that really drew me in. You can read my 4½ star review of it here. If you choose to read it and like the audio format, please note that the audio of this book is narrated by Richard Armitage!

Book cover: A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes
The last of my pick of the year is A Timely Elopement by Joana Starnes which picks up at Hunsford Parsonage. Mr Darcy is proposing, but just as Elizabeth is about to reply they are interrupted by the news of an elopement and the story takes a turn. This was a lovely story, which took turns that I wasn’t expecting, always refreshing in the a variation of P&P when you have read so many! I rated this as a 4½ star read and you can read my review here.

So, this is my pick of 2020! I recommend each and every one of these books to you if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading them already.

How was your 2020? Please let me know in the comments! If you’d like to recommend one of your 2020 reads to please do! I have a rough idea of some of the books I’d like to read in 2021, but I am always open to suggestions!

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

Also, if you're on Goodreads and you'd like to join an Austenesque readers' group, Sophia Rose has set up a group for 2021, the Austen Lovers TBR Challenge 2021. It's a lovely, welcoming group, but you will find your to be read list growing rather than shrinking!

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