Wednesday, 28 July 2021

A Learned Romance by Elizabeth Rasche - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover - A Learned Romance by Elizabeth Rasche
I’m welcoming a new visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm today. Elizabeth Rasche has just brought out a Pride & Prejudice-inspired book called A Learned Romance. This looks to be a sequel of Pride & Prejudice, focussing on Mary Bennet. Let’s look at the blurb, and then I’ll hand over to Elizabeth Rasche, who has joined us with an excerpt and an ebook giveaway. Read on for more details!

Book Description

“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning"--Jane Austen, Persuasion, chapter 4 

MARY BENNET HAD NEVER WISHED for anything more than to be known as the meek and pious Bennet sister, the one who sweetly brought peace to her family.

BEING THE LAST UNMARRIED BENNET SISTER, the pressure to partake of a London Season with the nouveau riche Wickhams was considerable, no matter how little she desired it; but, her young sister Lydia would not hear a refusal. Mary hoped she could pass her days as quietly as a mouse and maybe encourage her still-wild sister to become a more demure wife and stop quarrelling so much with her husband.

BUT WHEN LYDIA'S FLIRTATION with scientist begins stirring gossip, Mary discovers it is not enough to stay meek and quiet. She must protect Lydia’s reputation by drawing the man’s attentions her way, and convincing the world it is Mary, not Lydia, who attracts Mr Cole. If she fails, Lydia’s disgrace will taint every family member connected with her—Bennet, Bingley, and Darcy alike—and Mary will have no hope for her own future. But alluring a gentleman is hardly the sort of practice Mary has a knack for. Though it goes against every fibre of her being, Mary must turn aside from the peace she craves and uncover the belle within—all while finding her heart awakening in the illusion of romance she has created.

Excerpt from A Learned Romance, introduced by Elizabeth Rasche

Hi Ceri!

Thank you so much for hosting me here today. It is an honor to have my book featured on your site, and I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity. I hope you and your readers enjoy A Learned Romance.

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Book Cover - A Learned Romance by Elizabeth Rasche
The London Ladies Information Society had had enough of the general squalor of Maddox’s Assembly Rooms, and with donations from the Informed Ladies of London Association and a host of other groups, they had gathered enough money and volunteers for a thorough cleaning and refinishing of the assembly hall. Lydia, still keeping her head down to please Lieutenant Stubbs, did not come to assist, but Kitty agreed to go with Mary and aid in the transformation.

Mary was all too glad to enter the dark assembly hall and escape Kitty’s company. The whole ride there, Kitty had been repeating her husband’s denunciations of Lydia’s conduct, and though Mary had tried to mollify her by agreeing, the rant had continued. It was a relief to slip into the mass of ladies and know Kitty could not speak of such things therein. Did my preaching ever sound like that? Mary supposed it must have. She must have alienated the very people she intended to persuade, again and again, all because of her self-righteousness and insulting tone.

Mary hoped that after evading her sister, she would find Mr Cole at once so that she could help him with his lecture preparations, but Mrs Appleton found her first. “Miss Bennet, I am sure you will not mind scrubbing the hallway floor.” For most people, Mrs Appleton was a nonentity. She barely spoke, was inattentive at lectures, and wore the demure sort of matronly clothing that allowed a woman to fade into the background.

“Scrubbing?” Even with such an unimpressive person as Mrs Appleton, Mary hesitated to displease. “I thought there would be servants who did that sort of thing…?” It was true that Mary had been told the ladies would be cleaning and restoring the building, but as a gentleman’s daughter, she had supposed they would be supervising a horde of maids, not taking an active part. And since she had hoped herself to slip away with Mr Cole, she had worn her best afternoon frock to allure him.

“You must come along here.” Mrs Appleton led her into the hallway, pointed out the relevant parts of the floor, and provided Mary with a scrubbing brush and a bucket. Mary looked down at her new white muslin and bit her lip.

“Could I dust, like Miss Poppit?”

But Mrs Appleton had already walked away, and Mary lacked the courage to refuse the task altogether. She bent down, tucking up her skirts as best she could, and attempted to scrub. A few minutes of awkward struggles to preserve her gown and yet remove swirls of grime from the floor soured her mood. I am supposed to be helping Mr Cole. I am supposed to be distracting him from Lydia! Her annoyance with the task grew, but she wiped her face and persisted.

“Miss Bennet, what on earth are you doing?”

Mr Cole’s amused voice startled Mary out of a grim reverie involving Mrs Appleton and a witch’s cauldron in the macabre assembly hall. She pressed her scrubbing brush into the floor with vehemence. “I am cleaning this floor, obviously.” The bitterness in her voice was for Mrs Appleton, not Mr Cole, and he seemed to sense it was not personal.

“It looks like dirty work.”

“Does it?” This time her acid tone bit at him in particular.

“I cannot think you were intended to do that.” Mr Cole squatted next to her. “Who set you to this?”

“Mrs Appleton. She thinks that I ought to scrub, while Miss Poppit waltzes about and preens and dusts.” She stopped scouring long enough to look him in the eye. “Why is that? Why do ladies set people like me to scrubbing floors and set people like Miss Poppit to light dusting?”

His lips pulled into a smile. “The Lord tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, perhaps.”

Mary gave a disgusted look at the bucket, which now bore a thin film of oil over its soapy water. “I do not see why Miss Poppit is a tender lamb, and I am always some great woolly thing.”

A laugh erupted from Mr Cole, and he hauled Mary to her feet. “I do not see why, either. Let us go into the office, and you can help me as you promised.”

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Author Elizabeth Rasche
Author Bio 

          After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, which is over 4,000 miles from Derbyshire. (Doesn’t everyone measure distance from the center of the world, Pemberley?)

She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), London, Bath, and of course, Derbyshire. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of Flirtation and Folly, as well as The Birthday Parties of Dragons. Her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest.

 

Book Cover - A Learned Romance by Elizabeth Rasche
Buy Links

A Learned Romance is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf


Giveaway Time!

Publishers Quills and Quartos are giving away an ebook of A Learned Romance to one of you! To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post. If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

A winner will be chosen a week after the blog tour ends and announced on Quills and Quartos Facebook page. I’ll keep an eye out for the announcement and will add it to the comments in this post as soon as I can.

Blog Tour Schedule

Please see below for the blog tour schedule.

Blog Tour Schedule - A Learned Romance by Elizabeth Rasche

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If you'd like to be friends on Goodreads then please invite me - just say that you visit my blog when it asks why you'd like to be friends with me.

17 comments:

  1. I look forward to reading this book.
    Thank you.

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  2. I had a bit of a laugh with Mr Cole's and Mary's banter. Really liked that dialogue there even as the circumstances around it felt bitter. Thank you for the except and giveaway, and my email is PaducahTigress (at) gmail (dot) com.

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    1. They do like to banter, don't they? Thanks, Jen.

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  3. Ha! I like this Mary. Sounds like a great story.

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  4. The cover looks gorgeous. Thank you for the excerpt

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    1. The cover artist did a fantastic job. I'm obsessed with chessboard-looking floors so I was so happy when I saw one on the cover, haha!

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  5. Enjoyed the excerpt. Looking forward to story of Mary Bennet.

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    1. I love Mary and it feels great to be able to contribute a story about her life after the events of Pride and Prejudice.

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  6. Would love to read as I love Mary.

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  7. Is Mrs. Appleton the aunt of Miss Poppit? Perhaps she hole that Miss Poppit will catch Mr. Cole. Looking forward to this one.

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    1. Ooh, interesting notion! I didn't envision them as being related, but perhaps Mrs. Appleton prefers boosting Miss Poppit's chances to helping Mary. Miss Poppit is much more elegant and popular, after all, and Mrs. Appleton might be interested in keeping in her good graces. Nice idea!

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