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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog Tour: The Darcy Brothers - An interview with Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy!

Today I am part of the blog tour for the new release, The Darcy Brothers, written by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds.

"Theo Darcy is everything his disapproving elder brother, Fitzwilliam, is not – easy-going, charming, and full of fun. A tragic event as children severed their bond of friendship, but now they are together again. They are still at odds, though, this time over the love of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the truth about George Wickham. Will Wickham manage to divide the brothers again? And more importantly, which Mr. Darcy will Elizabeth choose? 

 Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors.

 The Darcy Brothers was first conceived as an interactive group writing project and has developed into a full-length novel featuring the charismatic Theo Darcy."

I have the very great honour of welcome Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy to my blog today, who has been kind enough to answer a few questions about him and his brother, Theo.

Welcome Mr Darcy! I am very glad that you were able to pop by and agree to answer a few questions for me! 

1. So, to begin, have you and Theo always been at odds? 

Not at all. As children, we were best of friends, until I outgrew childish pranks.

2. Do you see your tastes as being in every way different from Theo's? 

Well, Theo has excellent taste in brandy and fine wine, and I would like to think I share that. (laughs) We like many of the same things. It is more an issue of our attitudes toward life and sense of responsibility. It would be enjoyable to do nothing but what one pleases, but the world would not be a pleasant place if no one attended to their responsibilities.

Very profound Mr Darcy, and very true.

3. Tell me something positive about your brother. I know there must be something! 

(Long pause)  Theo has an admirable sympathy for anyone less fortunate than himself who has been wronged. Perhaps it makes him feel heroic. But I have seen him take the part of a servant against the master if he feels the servant has been wronged.
That is certainly an admirable trait.

4. Do you ever wish you were not the eldest son?

What would be the point of wishing that? I would still be the eldest son. I admit there were times when I wish I could be as frivolous as Theo – for a short time only, I might add. But my temperament is well suited to my responsibilities. It would be a disaster if Theo were the eldest son.

5. When Theo was born, how did you feel about having a younger brother?

I was thrilled by the thought of a new playmate. I understand I sulked for quite some time when I learned it would be years before he could play at toy soldiers with me.

I can imagine that must have been a test of your patience, especially at that young age!

6. Are you jealous of Theo in any way?  

I envy his easy way with strangers, and how quickly he wins their liking.
7. Why do you seem to struggle with your brother's ease and charm, and yet you don't seem to mind it in your good friend, Mr Bingley?  

It is not Theo’s ease and charm I object to, but his failure to apply himself to anything but his pleasures. Bingley is well aware that I do not approve of his impulsive behaviour, which reminds me of Theo.

8. What sort of woman would you like to see Theo marry? 

An heiress who can support him in the style he enjoys. (Laughs) I suppose I would like to see him marry a strong-minded, serious woman who might be able to make something of him. I see you have made quite a success of your internet journal at a very young age – perhaps you would be willing to take on my undeserving brother?

Now that is a very interesting proposition! I thank you for your kind words about my success. Perhaps I could try and take Theo in hand for you! 

9. Who do you think Elizabeth Bennet likes best, you or Theo? 

My dear Miss Sophie, everyone likes Theo best, and I assume Miss Elizabeth is among the majority. I could wish for her to be more discerning.

And finally, use one word to describe the following:

Georgiana - quiet

Theo - wastrel

Colonel Fitzwilliam - adaptable

Mr Bingley - loyal

Miss Caroline Bingley - derogatory (Let us hope she doesn't read this, for I don't think she would thank you for such a description!)

Lady Catherine – permit me to skip this one, I beg you! (I thought you might say that!)

Anne de Bourgh - tired

Miss Elizabeth Bennet - bewitching (It is all in the eyes...)

Miss Jane Bennet - smiling

Mrs Bennet – ill bred

Mr Bennet -  droll

Thank you again for stopping by Mr Darcy!

It has been my very great pleasure.


Abigail Reynolds
Cassandra Grafton

In addition to their collaborative effort in The Darcy Brothers, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds between them have published over two dozen Austen-inspired books, including national bestsellers.
Monica Fairview

Monica Fairview (Mr. Darcy’s Pledge) holds down the fort for the team in London while Abigail Reynolds (Alone with Mr. Darcy) supplies cute cat pictures from Cape Cod, Susan Mason-Milks (Mr. Darcy’s Proposal) inspires with views of the Seattle skyline, Maria Grace (Remember the Past) frolics in the Texas bluebells, and British expat Cassandra Grafton (A Fair Prospect) has the critical responsibility of keeping the team supplied with much-needed chocolate from her home in Switzerland.

Susan Mason-Milks

Look for them at the Jane Austen Variations group blog (www.austenvariations.com) where they are all founding members. 




Prize: Two eBook copies of The Darcy Brothers.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment or ask Theo or the authors a question.
You can increase your chances of winning by visiting the multiple stops along the tour! Unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews with Theo Darcy and, if he can be persuaded, his brother, excerpts, and supplementary material such as letters from Theo to his friends and family.


The Darcy Brothers


B&N Nook



Good luck to all the authors with the release of this new story! I will be reviewing it in the near future so watch for my review!

Your affectionate friend,
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Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Jane Austen Gift Shop: Jewellery review

I am sure many of you have either browsed, and probably bought, something from the wonderful online shop, The Jane Austen Gift Shop. Today I am going to be reviewing some of the wonderful jewellery I have bought from the shop.

The Jane Austen Replica Ring - purchase here!

I have admired this ring since I first saw it for sale at the gift shop a few years ago. So when I finally received it for my 19th birthday this January just gone, I was overjoyed!

        Jane Austen's Ring

It is such a beautiful ring and so well made! I haven't taken it off since it arrived! It looks just like Jane Austen's own ring, and it really stands out on your hand due to the beautiful turquoise stone, but it still looks very elegant as the size of the stone and thickness of the band, I think, is just perfect.

I love the extra detail of having "Jane Austen" engraved on the inside of the band.

On the website it says it takes 6 weeks to arrive, as it is made to order (and to your size), however for me it took 4.5/5 weeks, which was great.  

I also ordered the default size (as I wasn't sure about my ring size) and it fits me perfectly, and I wear it on my middle finger.

This is something every Jane Austen fan should have! (While it is very reasonably priced, there is a cheaper silver alternative to this gold plated one - see it here!)

Book Charm Bracelet - purchase here!

I absolutely love this charm bracelet which I was given for my 18th birthday.

It is very well made and very elegant!

Each book charm is very cute and delicate looking, but sturdily made.

The quotes inside each book are a lovely touch, and the 6 chosen quotes are well chosen.

It hangs very nicely on the wrist as well.

A really great present for any Jane Austen fan! (You can also purchase all of the individual book charms separately - have a look here!)


Darcy heart charm - purchase here!

I bought this for myself a little while back as I am, and always will be, a Darcy fan! It is a lovely charm!

It is a good size, not too big or too small, and it is sturdy.

The engraving of the word "DARCY" and the pretty pattern in the corner is well engraved. It sits nicely on the neck, very flat, and it makes a lovely necklace.

Keep your eyes peeled as I will be reviewing some other products from the Gift Shop in the next few weeks!

Your affectionate friend,
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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Highlights from 2014!

What a year 2014 has been! Here is a post with my highlights, both of events, things I have done and people I have met, and also of the books I have read!

Let's start with the books... Here are my favourite reads of 2014, in no particular order I might add!

To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth - read my full review here!

... this is a very different and unique book. It is emotionally very touching and I was completely drawn into it as I read. It was a book where reaching the 'happy ending' - and not just for Lizzy and Darcy - has never felt more satisfying!

Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth - read my full review here!

A thoroughly enjoyable read, particularly when you need a good book to cheer you up, and it is the perfect book for curling up with after a trying day at work; brilliantly funny and wonderfully romantic which will leave you feeling perfectly content and with a huge grin on your face - well I did anyway!

Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan- read my full review here!

This is a book which should grace the shelves of every Austen fan, in my opinion! It really is a very interesting and a very unique book and a fantastic way of celebrating 200 years of Austen's work.

Rainy Days by Lory Lilian - read my full review here!

It is a superbly written book with an inventive story which is full of humour and wit, breath-taking romance, wonderful characters and great drama to keep you turning the pages and racing to the end!  I enjoyed every single second of this book. Just read it!

A Father's Sins by Joy King - read my full review here!

I really enjoyed this story. It was unique and different. This is a much more serious variation than I usually read, but it was an interesting and enjoyable change ... The story was very dramatic and fast paced but had romance and humour - a perfect mix! Joy really is a talented author and I can’t wait for more!

The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes - read my full review here!
I really enjoyed this story. It has a good balance of pain and sorrow, but also plenty of romance and some humour! I loved going along the journey through Darcy’s eyes and it was very clever how the author intertwined the characters from Persuasion and I loved the whole idea of the switching of partners from two of Jane Austen’s wonderful novels.

A Second Chance by Joana Starnes - read my full review here!

Joana Starnes really has done it again. Humour, romance, tension and a wonderful mix of characters and story lines - it's got it all!  ...this was so well written and such a clever, brilliant and different story.

Haunting Mr Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory - read my full review here!

I really cannot express just how much I loved this story! The plot itself was extremely clever and unique, it was absolutely hilarious and also supremely romantic. Just read it. End of.

Dear Mr Darcy by Amanda Grange - read my full review here!

I found the format refreshing to read as well as being very clever and it worked brilliant for the story. I never imagined I would enjoy it so much! The letter style was absolutely fascinating and showed so much more insight into so many of the characters we already know and love as well as adding some very interesting new characters ... If you love Pride and Prejudice as much as I do, then I highly recommend that you read this story.

Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice by Heidi Ashworth - read my full review here!

I really loved this story. It think it may even have become my favourite of this authors novels, for I loved the more serious nature as it resulted in such beautiful and heart-wrenching romance, the most powerful of all her stories in my opinion. But yet there was still some wonderful humour throughout.  The characters, and not just the hero and heroine, were also brilliant and very strong, really adding to the story.

Now onto the things I have been up to during 2014!

Jane Booker (centre)
I have seen some wonderful performances on stage this year. I saw a fantastic performance of Sense and Sensibility in April. It was a brilliant performance, with a cast of nine.

I think my highlight of the play would be the performance of Edward and Robert Ferrars, who was played by the same actor. Seeing him play both the shy and sensible Edward and the silly and outrageous Robert was pretty funny! It was also nice to see Jane Booker playing Fanny Dashwood and Mrs Jennings, who was Mrs Shaw in North and South (2004).

I also saw an absolutely unbelievable performance of Pride and Prejudice in October, adapted and performed by the fantastic Two Bit Classics - and as suggested in the title, yes there were only two of them playing the 21 different characters!

I can't begin to describe to you how brilliant and clever it all was - it was so good I saw it twice!

 I am interviewing the actors in Two Bit and I will be posting the interview very soon - keep your eyes peeled for that one, it is going to be a good one!

I made a wonderful purchase in April - I spent my 18th birthday money on a beautiful 1820s writing slope!

Vincent Warren Low

And what was even more exciting was that it had a name on the top, and thanks to the wonderful and lovely Hazel Mills I was able to find out all about who owned it - he even had a memoir! To see more pictures and read more about it, have a look at my post about it here!

I have also managed to tick off quite a few of my film locations this year! Of course, I couldn't resist making up a few comparison shots!

In August I visited the beautiful Stourhead Gardens, which was the location of the first proposal in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice.

In October, I visited Basildon Park, which was Netherfield Park , also in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. I visited here with the lovely Joana Starnes, who I met this year and have since been on many delightful outings!

And at the end of October, I went to see if Lady Catherine was at home, at Belton House - Rosings in the 1995 mini-series!

Cassandra Grafton, me, Joana Starnes, Abigail Reynolds

And now, back to June when I spent two lovely days in Chawton with Joana, during the Regency Week.

Joana Starnes, me, Cassandra Grafton

On the first day, I met the lovely Abigail Reynolds and Cassandra Grafton. We attended the Regency Day in Alton, followed by a stroll through the pretty Selborne.

Joana Starnes, Monica Fairview, Cassandra Grafton,
Abigail Reynolds, me, Jane Odiwe

On the second day I was lucky enough to have a tour of Chawton House Library, where I met with Cassandra and Abigail again, as well as Jane Odiwe and Monica Fairview.

Joana and me in Chawton Cottage gardens

Joana and I also attended the Jane Austen House Museum's open evening, which was a lovely end to the day!

Onto August, which was a month of preparation as I put together my first regency outfit, ready for the festival in September!

It was such fun choosing all my accessories and designing my dress with the lovely Sarah from Marion May.

To see my full post about my outfit and links to where I purchased everything, have a look here!

And onto September, and possibility the best day of the year - The Jane Austen Festival Promenade 2014!

Joana and me

It was a fantastic day! I met with the lovely Joana again, and met Hazel for the first time in person!

Me, Joana Starnes, Hazel Mills and her husband Keith

I also made the acquaintance of the lovely Míra Magdó!

Míra Magdó and me in the Assembly Rooms

Adrian Lukis aka Wickham!

It was amazing to be among so many Janeites! (Not to mention that I met Wickham!) To see a full account of my day, take a look at my post here! 

During October I had a lovely surprise when I had a message from the lovely Barb Chancey saying she had been practising her new felting hobby and had made something I would be interested in, and she then sent me a photo of mini-me!

It is really cute!

This is the photo it was based off, taken by hazel at the Festival in September.

Also in October I went to visit with the lovely Hazel in Cambridge and she took me to see Cambridge university, Rosings (Belton House) and I saw Two Bit's Pride and Prejudice for the second time with her. It was a brilliant week! I also was in awe of Hazel's book collection - this is all Jane Austen novels!

Hazel Mills and me,
in front of her impressive collection!

In November I made an amazing purchase, meaning I now own an 1894 Peacock edition of Pride and Prejudice!

It was my Christmas present and it is stunning! My thanks must go to Hazel who found on for such a reasonable price and in such good condition!

And finally December, when I had another fantastic day when I performed a piano recital for the Jane Austen Society of Cambridge's Birthday Lunch. It was lovely to see Hazel again and also Míra who was so kind as to drive an awfully long way to come and see my performance. It was a very nerve-racking day but I really enjoyed it! Here is a video of the recital...

My recording studio in my bedroom!

Another exciting event in December was the completion of my first audiobook! After recording a few extracts for authors, I was persuaded to look into audiobook narration, and so a few months down line I am narrating audiobooks! I have completed my first one, Snow Storms and Kissing Games by Sarah Johnson, and it will be on sale on Audible and iTunes in a week or so!  


I hope you have all had a good 2014 as well!
Bring on 2015!

Christmas at Basildon Park (Netherfield 2005)

Your affectionate friend,
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