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.”

“NO!”

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!

* * *

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!

* * *

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.

 

 

 

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.

Monday, 26 July 2021

The Olive Branch by Sarah Courtney

Book cover: The Olive Branch by Sarah Courtney
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Sarah Courtney here with her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, The Olive Branch. Now, some of you might have picked up a hint of who this book features from the title. Here’s a quote from a letter in P&P to give you a hint.

I flatter myself that my present overtures of goodwill are highly commendable, and that the circumstance of my being next in the entail of Longbourn estate will be kindly overlooked on your side, and not lead you to reject the offered olive-branch.

So it’s a book about Mr Collins! Let’s look at the blurb and then we will hand over to Sarah for an excerpt and ebook giveaway.

Book Description 

Elizabeth Bennet faces an impossible choice—wed Mr. Collins or watch him destroy her entire family.

Given a choice, Elizabeth would never dream of marrying the pompous, ridiculous Mr. Collins. But when she refuses his offer, he threatens to reveal a shocking secret that could ruin the Bennets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has no intention of giving in to his unsettling attraction to Elizabeth Bennet. Still, before he flees to London, he cannot resist seeing her one last time and discovers, to his dismay, that she is now betrothed to her odious cousin. She did everything in her power to evade Mr. Collins at the Netherfield ball, and the woman he sees before him now is not merely unhappy, but afraid. Elizabeth is in trouble, and Darcy cannot bear to abandon her in her distress.

As the wedding day looms, Darcy and Elizabeth become desperate to break the engagement without scandal. It is only when a stranger arrives—a stranger Mr. Collins seems to fear—that Darcy and Elizabeth have any hope of extricating her from this frightening predicament.

As Mr. Collins’s plan begins to unravel, it is clear that Elizabeth may not be the only one in danger. Will she and Darcy be too late to stop Mr. Collins’s vile plans?

The Olive Branch is a clean, full-length Pride and Prejudice variation of about 90,000 words.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Mr Darcy's Persuasion: An Austen-inspired tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright - Review

Book Cover: Mr Darcy's Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright
Today I'm posting a review of a book I read quite some time ago, but I have been very slow in writing my review of this, unfortunately. Mr Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright features characters from both Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion, as you will probably have guessed from the title. I will share the blurb with you and then move on to my review.

Book Description

Two of Jane Austen’s classics collide in this intriguing tale of pride, prejudice and persuasion, set in England’s beautiful West Country.

In the aftermath of the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are determined to find respite—Darcy from the allure of the lady and the feelings she evokes in him, and Elizabeth from the drama unfolding at Longbourn.

Fate is not done with them, however, as they both—unbeknownst to the other—take refuge on the Kellynch estate in Somersetshire, home to Sir Walter Elliot and two of his daughters.

Whilst Elizabeth takes solace from her friendship with Anne Elliot, Darcy finds little comfort in his reacquaintance with the woman fast taking hold of his heart and senses—or, indeed, in the eldest Miss Elliot’s company, whose fluttering eyelashes make her intentions plain.

As for Anne, it is five long years since she last laid eyes upon Frederick Wentworth, and though her regret lingers, she has found some contentment in life... until distressing news of the captain arrives.

When hints of deep secrets emerge—some recently stolen, others harboured for decades—the mystery begins to wrap tendrils around Darcy as he struggles to free himself from its ever-tightening bonds.

Can Darcy discover the truth before it is too late? Will Elizabeth even care if he does? And just what has become of Captain Wentworth?

If you enjoy Austen-inspired variations, then you’ll love this tale of romance, friendship and mystery from award-winning writing duo, Cass Grafton and Ada Bright.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Forgotten Betrothal by L M Romano - Blog Tour, Author Interview & Giveaway

Book cover: Forgotten Betrothal by L M Romano
Today I’m welcoming a new author to Babblings of a Bookworm. L M Romano has written a Pride & Prejudice variation called Forgotten Betrothal, which sounds potentially angsty to me! Let’s look at the book description and then we will settle in for a chat with L M Romano to learn more about both her and Forgotten Betrothal. Publishers Quills and Quartos are also offering an ebook giveaway so please read on for more details. 

Book Description 

Enlightenment dawned, sharp and painful in its glaring exactitude. He knew. From the moment she had uttered her true name, he had known that she was not free. So why was he here? Why did he still look at her in that way? Why could she see the adoration in his eyes and the torment in his features? Had he come to say goodbye? To leave her to this fate?

How can an innocent stroll through Hyde Park change the course of so many lives?

Confused and chastened following her cruel rejection of Mr Darcy’s proposal, Elizabeth Bennet returns to her aunt’s home in Gracechurch Street. Unable to find solace while pondering her terrible misjudgment of his character, she is overwhelmed with guilt for how she treated the puzzling gentleman from Derbyshire.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has retreated to his London home after being spurned by the lady he loves, and after serious reflection has come to the realisation that he never deserved Elizabeth’s good opinion.

A chance encounter brings the opportunity to seek forgiveness, and possibly, a new start to their budding romance. But the introduction of a stranger into Elizabeth’s life threatens to reveal old family secrets that have the potential to truly unravel her world and all that she holds dear.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Twists of Fate by Joana Starnes - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Cover: Twists of Fate by Joana Starnes
I’m happy to be welcoming back an author who I have featured many times, Joana Starnes. Joana has written a new book, Twists of Fate, which is a Pride & Prejudice variation coming out later this month, and it looks like it will be an excellent read! 

Joana has been so kind as to come here with a guest post and ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Joana.

Book Description 

What if Mr Collins shocked Elizabeth with his base conduct at the time of his proposal, thus sending her dashing out of her house, and into the arms of Mr Darcy? What if that accidental encounter was witnessed, and impropriety was assumed? What if Mr Darcy was glad of the excuse to marry his heart’s desire – only to have his best hopes blasted within hours of his wedding? What if he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once?

Evil rumours, an early marriage, a dreadful misunderstanding, an old secret and good intentions gone awry. What if ‘I do’ is not the end, but the beginning of the adventure? 

Friday, 2 July 2021

Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel by Alice McVeigh – Excerpt

Book Cover: Susan; A Jane Austen Prequel by Alice McVeigh
Today I’m welcoming a new visitor to the blog. Alice McVeigh has written a book based on Lady Susan, Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel, which came out this week. I’ve only read Lady Susan, which forms part of Austen’s juvenilia, once, but it’s really something, and I am excited to see a book based on this character, particularly as according to the blurb, it's the first book of a series. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll share an excerpt. 

Book Description

Susan is a Jane Austen Prequel (or Pride and Prejudice Variation) brilliantly capturing Austen's own Lady Susan as a young girl.

 

As the BookLife review put it for Publishers Weekly: "McVeigh's prose and plotting are pitch-perfect. Emma mingles with Pride and Prejudice in a delightful confrontation between the two books' worlds... This Austen-inspired novel echoes the master herself."

 

Familiar characters abound - Frank Churchill, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy himself - but Susan - mischievous and manipulative - is the star. This is Austen that even Austen might have loved, with a touch of Georgette Heyer in the romantic sections. Fans of Bridgerton will also relish this classic regency romance, the first in a six-book series.

 

Sixteen-year-old Susan Smithson - pretty but poor, clever but capricious - has just been expelled from a school for young ladies in London.

 

At the mansion of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, she attracts a raffish young nobleman. But, at the first hint of scandal, her guardian dispatches her to her uncle Collins' rectory in Kent, where her sensible cousin Alicia lives and "where nothing ever happens."

 

Here Susan mischievously inspires the local squire to put on a play, with consequences no one could possibly have foreseen. What with the unexpected arrival of Frank Churchill, Alicia's falling in love and a tumultuous elopement, rural Kent will surely never seem safe again...

Monday, 28 June 2021

Mistress of Netherfield by Julia Winter - Blog Tour, Deleted Scene and Review

Book cover: Mistress of Netherfield by Julia Winter
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Julia Winter, a new author, to the blog. Julia has written a Pride & Prejudice variation, Mistress of Netherfield, and she’s visiting here today with a deleted scene from the book and a giveaway opportunity. She was also so kind as to provide me an ebook of Mistress of Netherfield to read and so I’ll share my review below. Let’s look at the blurb first, and then I’ll hand over to Julia.

Book Description

It is a truth universally acknowledged that on escaping an unhappy marriage, a young widow will be delighted to remove to the dower house and lease the marital abode to a single man in possession of a good fortune, provided he looks elsewhere to fulfil his want of a wife.

Forced into an unwanted marriage at the tender age of sixteen, and freed six months later by the death of her abusive husband, Elizabeth Grayson (née Bennet) has finally found a measure of peace. The inheritor of her husband’s estate, Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is now a wealthy young widow, independent and self-reliant. With an eye always on improving her four sisters’ woefully small dowries and providing for her mother, who will be homeless when her father dies, Elizabeth is pleased to lease out Netherfield to the Bingley family from the north of England, making her home in the dower house in Meryton and vowing that she will never remarry.

Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire is rich and well-connected, but reserved in company with anybody outside the very few he counts as friends. Towards those friends, he is loyal and steadfast, the staunchest of supporters. So when a young man comes to him with a tale of the clandestine marriage and mysterious death of Darcy’s old schoolfriend, James Grayson, and begs Darcy’s help to investigate the widow’s role, Darcy agrees. Visiting Charles Bingley, the new tenant of Netherfield, Darcy is very soon torn between his loyalty to his dead friend, and his burgeoning attraction to the widow.

Throw two unprincipled rogues and an elopement into the confines of Meryton, and how will Darcy’s dilemma over Elizabeth ever be resolved? And is she willing to put aside her misgivings, and trust again?

(British English spelling and grammar used throughout)

Monday, 21 June 2021

Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game by Karen M Cox - Audio Release and Giveaway

Audio Cover: Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game by Karen M Cox
I’m happy to be welcoming Karen M Cox back to the blog. She’s celebrating the audio release of Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game. This is a Pride & Prejudice-inspired story, transported to the 1980s and involving spies! I read the book some time ago, and really enjoyed it; you can see my review of it here.

I’ll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Karen for a guest post about the audio book, narrated by Elizabeth Grace, and a chance to win a copy.

Book Description

“...if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?” 

-Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 40

Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment—investigating the CIA's legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent. 

Darcy’s charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.

Elizabeth’s confidence dissolves as nothing is like she planned—and the more she discovers about Darcy, the more she finds herself in an ever-tightening web of danger.

Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War era romance inspired by Jane Austen’s classic tale.