Wednesday 12 April 2023

Handsome, Clever & Rich by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway

I’m happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to the blog with her latest book, Handsome, Clever & Rich. It’s a Pride & Prejudice variation but some of you might recognise this title as being words Austen uses to describe Emma Woodhouse…

Let’s have a look at the book blurb and then I’ll hand you over to Jayne, who has brought us both an excerpt from Handsome, Clever & Rich and an ebook giveaway.

Book cover: Handsome, Clever & Rich - Austen's Emma Meets Pride & Prejudice. Picture is a painting of a pretty young lady in period feathered bonnet
Book Description

What if Elizabeth is not a Bennet by birth, but by marriage?

When Netherfield Park is let at last, the village of Meryton is inveigled in romance, intrigue, and a few less-than-happy reunions. The Bingley siblings return to the home of their youth, an estate purchased just before the death of their father. The neighborhood, especially the Bennet family, is ready to welcome them back with open arms, but Mr. Bingley’s attempt to make a good impression on his community backfires so badly that it is his awkward friend Mr. Darcy who is obliged to salvage the situation in the aftermath of Mr. Bingley insulting Jane Bennet at the Assembly.

Young widow Elizabeth Bennet begins her acquaintance with Mr. Darcy on amiable terms, but the reckless folly of his friend and the regrets from her own past create a bumpy path to Happily Ever After for them.

Not long after an injury obliges Elizabeth to recover at Netherfield Park, her estranged sister finally discovers Elizabeth’s whereabouts, and journeys from Highbury to Meryton in all haste, suitors in tow.

When one unexpected betrothal arises out of necessity, Jane Austen’s most notorious matchmaker is inspired to work her magic at Longbourn, Netherfield, and Lucas Lodge – but she, too, will have met her match in matters of meddling & mischief….

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Excerpt from Handsome, Clever & Rich, Introduced by Author Jayne Bamber

It’s great to be back at Babblings of a Bookworm! Today I am here to share another excerpt of my new release, Handsome, Clever, & Rich, which is now available on Kindle Unlimited.


As you may guess from the title, this Pride & Prejudice variation features appearances from several characters from Emma, including the titular heroine herself! The biggest deviation from the original story, however, is that Elizabeth is a Bennet not by birth but by marriage in this retelling.


For those of you following my blog tour, you may also know that the Bingleys have history in Meryton – they grew up at Netherfield, and have returned, after a considerable absence, just in time for the Meryton Assembly, where it is Bingley that insults Jane with those infamous words, “She is tolerable, I suppose….”


Poor Mr. Darcy is more accustomed to giving offense himself than to seeing his amiable friend do so, and now he is taking on the arduous task of damage control – unfortunately, the neighborhood has already decided against Mr. Bingley, and even the Bennets have slammed the doors of Longbourn in his face! Despite an amicable beginning between Darcy and Lizzy, the dubious courtship of Jane and Mr. Bingley will remain a point of contention between them, as you can see in the excerpt I am sharing today….




Book cover: Handsome, Clever & Rich - Austen's Emma Meets Pride & Prejudice. Picture is a painting of a pretty young lady in period feathered bonnet
Elizabeth closed her eyes and let out a long, trembling exhale. Silent tears slid down her cheeks, and Darcy stood at once, offering her his handkerchief. “Please, Miss Bennet.”

“I am not Miss Bennet,” she snapped, shaking from the force of her distress. “I am –”

“You are upset, and you have every right to be,” Darcy said. He seized her hand and thrust the handkerchief into it, letting out a sharp breath at the realization that neither of them were wearing gloves. He took a step back as she peered up at him, her eyes wide and glistening with powerful emotion. Her lips parted, but she appeared too stunned to speak.

Darcy pressed on. “I have no wish to cause you dismay, nor allow my friend to cause anyone in your family further pain. My only hope is that you might all come to understand, in time, that Bingley truly does have the best of intentions toward all of you, but most of all Miss Bennet. Last evening, you questioned why a man of my intelligence would keep such company as the Bingleys, and I hope it pleases you to know that I have given that matter considerable thought this morning. Bingley has been foolish, but he is not without merits. He is a man of tremendous feeling and complexity, and he wishes to improve himself.”

Elizabeth scoffed at this, but Darcy stepped closer to her and continued to argue his case. “You do not know him as I do,” he murmured, looking imploringly at Elizabeth. “You also said that you perfectly understood the reason for Bingley’s blunder, but I have heard his justification myself, and though I cannot like it, I can understand the reason for his lapse in judgment last evening. My history with him is such that I know him to be capable of better. He wants only an opportunity to explain himself, and to apologize for his grievous error in decency. Can you not approve? If not for his sake, for mine, as your friend, and for your sister, who need not feel his behavior as keenly as she does at present.”

Darcy could scarcely account for what had moved him to make such an impassioned appeal; he pushed away the creeping sensation that he might not have fought so hard had not his prospective ally been a beautiful woman. He held Elizabeth’s gaze, each of them staring at the other in a state of heightened feeling as the air between them grew thicker; for a moment Darcy cherished some little hope that he might have touched her heart. 

The sky suddenly flashed white, the bright light piercing through the green canopy above them, and Elizabeth flinched at the subsequent peal of thunder. In an instant she was roused from her reverie, and took several steps backward. 

“I hardly know what you imagine I should have to do with it,” she quipped. “As I said last night, it can have little to do with you or me. If Jane did not wish to see Mr. Bingley this morning, the least he can do is respect her wishes, and surely Mr. Bingley is just the sort of man to do the least he can. As to our friendship, Mr. Darcy – I enjoyed our debate last evening, and you are a very fine dancer, but beyond that you have no right to presume.”

“I presume nothing,” Darcy insisted, holding up his hands in a defensive pose as he watched all the good will he had built with her come rapidly unraveled. “You said yourself that your opinion, good or bad, might rise or fall – that your resentment was not implacable, and yet….”

“And yet it is my good opinion of you that begins to alter, rather than my low estimation of Mr. Bingley,” she spat. “What else can you expect by making such an appeal? Perhaps it is only right that you care more for the best interest of your friend, rather than Jane, but the reverse is just as true for me – I will not be party to anything that hurts her, and I despise such meddling tendencies as you wish to contrive with me. Did you really expect me to rejoice in the prospect of such a scheme? To welcome such addresses toward my sister, from an inferior man who would send his friend to do his bidding?”

Her chest was heaving from the energy of her outburst, and Elizabeth was glowering at him still when the rain began. Darcy moved closer to her, hardly knowing what to say; she backed away again. 

“I cannot stay here,” she murmured, averting her gaze. “I ought never have allowed you to stay, to speak to me so….”

“It is three miles back to Longbourn,” Darcy blurted out. “Let me escort you home – it will be faster on horseback.”

She looked over at Shakespeare and groaned, her expression of horror obscured by the rain falling harder now. “No,” she cried. “No, I do not like horses. I cannot stay here a moment longer.”

 She turned and fled. Darcy called out to her, despite the weighty knowledge that he had already transgressed more thoroughly than even Bingley had done. “Elizabeth, please!”

She spun around, her eyes wide and furious, and she began to shout at him. “How dare you….” The force of her movement on the slippery slope was too quick on unsteady ground, and she tumbled backward before finishing her sentence.

Darcy reacted at once, skirting the thick patch of hawthorn as he rushed to the place where Elizabeth had fallen. It had been muddy even before the rain began, along the banks of the creek; he proceeded with caution as he approached, but when he saw her laying sprawled out on her side in the shallow water there, he abandoned every concern for himself to get to her. 

He rolled her on to her back, careful as he placed his hand on her shoulder and crouched over her. The side of her face was muddy, and a small amount of blood trickled from her temple. “Good God, Miss Elizabeth!”

Her eyes fluttered as she shook her head. “Mmmph… Benjamin.”

“No, it is not Benjamin – it is Mr. Darcy. I am here, I will help you.” Darcy quickly assessed her position, hoping nothing was broken as he gently lifted her in his arms. This was the easy part; though she groaned with discomfort, she did not cry out in any acute pain as he cautiously shifted her in his embrace. The hard part, he knew, would be in ascending the muddy bank without taking a tumble himself.

Darcy looked about, finding a place where the foliage on the ground was thickest, that it might give his boots better purchase as he took slow, deliberate steps away from the creek bed. Once he was back on level ground, he assessed Elizabeth’s condition once more. The heavy rain had caused the blood to streak down the side of her face, but the gash itself was a small one just above her ear. He slowly shrugged his right shoulder, where her head had come to rest, and a moment later she looked up at him.

Her whole body tensed, and she pressed a hand against his chest as her startled cry gave way to a moan of pain. “Mr. Darcy!”

“You fell,” he said softly.

“I know!” She squirmed in his arms and cried out again. “Put me down!”

“I will, if you can bear it. I fear you are too injured to walk.”

Elizabeth began to writhe and kick at him. “Put me down this instant, or I shall scream!”

“I doubt anybody would hear you, to come to your aid – which is what I am trying to do,” Darcy retorted. “I will set you down if you would kindly cooperate with me a moment longer – I have no wish to see you hurt, even if we are not to be friends.”

Elizabeth clenched her jaw and glared up at him as Darcy slowly lowered her to her feet, her body cold and trembling against his. She shoved him away as soon as her feet touched the ground, and in the next instant she was doubled over in pain, holding herself about the ribs as she cried out in anguish. The side of her dress that was covered in mud had also ripped, and Darcy could see her lift one foot off the ground, her ankle twisting as she tumbled backward onto the grass. A few yards behind her, his horse let out a restless cry, and Elizabeth covered her face with her hands and shrieked. 

“You are injured,” Darcy said, kneeling beside her as he blinked away the raindrops that pricked his eyes. 

“This is not happening,” she cried, sobbing and shaking.

“It is, I am afraid. You need a doctor.” Darcy reached for her ankle to examine it, but she scrambled backward. She looked over her shoulder at Shakespeare and screamed again, her body quivering with fear.

“Leave me alone – take your horse and go,” she shouted at him.

“You cannot even walk,” Darcy huffed, his frustration mounting. “If I leave you here alone and injured in the rain, you will die.”

Again Elizabeth screamed, rolling over onto her uninjured side as she pounded the earth with her fist. Darcy knew they could not remain at such an impasse, despite the impropriety of their circumstances, and all her other reasons for disdaining his assistance. She could be angry all she liked, once they were both safe and dry. Without warning her of his intentions, Darcy scooped her up in his arms once more, and began to carry her toward his horse.

“No,” she cried. “Please, no! It is too dangerous!”

“I will not allow any further harm to come to you, I swear it,” Darcy replied. “It is the only thing to be done.”

Elizabeth clutched his lapel and looked up at him in high alarm. “Please, I beg you – I do not like horses.”

“Do you know how to ride?”

“No, I was never permitted to learn. Benjamin was going to teach me, but he…”

Elizabeth’s words gave way to sobs, but Darcy swiftly guessed the rest. Mrs. Bennet had told Bingley that her son broke his neck in a fall; Darcy began to imagine what sort of fall she had meant. 

“Shakespeare and I will not let you fall,” Darcy whispered into Elizabeth’s ear, tightening his grip on her just enough to give some reassurance without harming her injuries. They reached the place where his horse was tethered, and Darcy murmured a few placating words to the great stallion before he began to lift Elizabeth up. “All you have to do is hold on for a moment. Can you do that?”

Elizabeth slumped forward and wept as she clung to the reins, but she managed to stay on the horse while Darcy removed his coat and wrapped it around her before climbing up behind her. Once in the saddle, he drew Elizabeth closer. “Lean back against me,” he said softly; she gasped and trembled against him, but in the end she complied. “I will make sure you do not fall. We will take it slow so that you are not jostled about too much, but there is some need for expediency – Netherfield is much closer.”

Elizabeth made no reply, though he had expected her to protest. Her body slumped back against his as the horse began to descend the muddy hill, and Darcy realized Elizabeth had fainted in his arms.



So sorry to leave you all hanging at such a crucial moment! As you may suppose, it will be Elizabeth to convalesce at Netherfield. What might that mean for Jane and Mr. Bingley? How will Mr. Darcy make amends when angry Lizzy regains consciousness? And will Mr. Darcy play matchmaker, or will some other Austen character step in to take on the role? Follow my blog tour for more glimpses into the twists and turns of Handsome, Clever, & Rich - and don’t miss your chance to win a free digital copy of the book! 

Author Jayne Bamber
Author Bio 

Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.

Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.

Facebook / Blog 

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Same, Jayne, same. I always dreamed I’d be Elizabeth Bennet, but sadly I am closer to Mrs Bennet. My poor nerves!

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Book cover: Handsome, Clever & Rich - Austen's Emma Meets Pride & Prejudice. Picture is a painting of a pretty young lady in period feathered bonnet
Buy Links

Handsome, Clever & Rich is available to buy now in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. I believe a paperback is due to follow soon.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time


Jayne Bamber is giving away an ebook of Handsome, Clever & Rich. To enter please use the Rafflecopter

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

Blog Tour

Jayne Bamber's Handsome, Clever & Rich has been visiting a number of blogs. Please check out the stops for more posts about the book :)

Blog Tour Graphic for Jayne Bamber's Handsome Clever & Rich - Jane Austen's Emma Meets Pride & Prejudice


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  1. Patricia Finnegan12 April 2023 at 18:03

    Another new book to add to tbr pile! I love when there's references etc to other books by Jane

  2. LOL, she's quite the tartar in this segment. What a teaser excerpt! ;)

  3. Poor Lizzy!

  4. Congratulations on your new book. Interesting changes in the story. Always eager to read blending of characters (Buturot)


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