Saturday, November 01, 2014

Blog Tour: To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth - with giveaway!


Today I am part of the blog tour for the lovely Jeanna Ellsworth's latest story, To Refine Like Silver. Jeanna has also provided a giveaway - details at the end!

"If Mr. Darcy had met Elizabeth Bennet in his beloved Derbyshire, would he have recognized her as the love of his life instead of dismissing her as someone “not handsome enough to tempt” him? This alteration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice adds a little spirit, flirtation, and charm to everyone’s favorite characters.  Early in the summer of 1811, Elizabeth Bennet travels to Derbyshire to help her aunt and uncle settle in as new owners of Saphrinbrooke. Elizabeth is soon introduced to the estate’s nearest neighbors: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sister, Georgiana, who is suffering the results of a fateful trip to Ramsgate. Having endured several life tragedies herself, Elizabeth reaches out to the young lady of Pemberley. Under her radiant influence, both Darcy and Georgiana begin to look for help outside of themselves. To Refine Like Silver is a romantic and spiritual journey where more than one of our favorite Regency characters must learn to fully rely on God. Their trials bring depth to the beloved story, and Mr. Darcy ultimately learns that our trials do not define us; rather they refine us."


This book is completely different to any other book I have read before. It is also very unique in the world of Jane Austen fan fiction and a really interesting take on Jane's beloved characters. They are taken on a very different journey than we know, but it was fascinating to see the characters we love given such a different journey and I really enjoyed it. What surprised me the most with this book was how much the story touched me as I read; this is a very spiritual book. It doesn't preach 'at' you, but many of the characters go on a spiritual journey, but it didn't feel like you were reading a sermon or being told what to do, it was very enlightening and sweet to follow the characters on their journeys. But more on this later!

As I said, the story and backgrounds to many characters, particularly the Bennet family, is very, very different. Elizabeth has had may trials to deal with in this story, but as a result she is an amazing character. She is so strong and positive. She has many of the good traits we love in Elizabeth, but they are magnified, as it were, because of her experiences. You can't help but love this Lizzy. She needs this extra strength of character as during the first half of the book she is a real help to both the Darcys, but in very different ways. How she helps them is amazing and a really wonderful journey to read and feel apart of. Of course, I mentioned Lizzy has had some horrible experiences in her past and they do come to haunt her in the second half of this book, but then it is lovely as the tables are turned and we see Darcy helping Lizzy! But I don't want to spoil all the good bits for you and give away the plot so you'll have to read it yourself for the details!

I don't know where to start with Darcy! He is such a charming character in this story.  As Elizabeth meets him in Derbyshire, he is relaxed and at ease and they get off to a much better start, and immediately Darcy is interested in Elizabeth. You will love him! He is more flirty and fun and even quite bold and forward with Elizabeth! It was lovely to see the side of him we begin to see in canon at Pemberley and when they are engaged, right from the start. As well as the fun and flirtatious side, Darcy also goes on a journey through the story and you get to know him and his character really well. Watching him trying to deal with what has happened to Georgiana - which is much worse than in canon! - is heartbreaking and you feel so much compassion towards him. Seeing so many different sides to Darcy and his true nature means you can't help but love him! And as he falls more and more in love with Elizabeth he is just adorable. And for me, Darcy's journey I found the most touching to read and follow.

Individually Darcy and Lizzy are brilliant characters in this tale, but their relationship together is just perfect. As I said, they meet in much better circumstances and get off to a better start and immediately like each other - Lizzy even claims that "He was going to be a good neighbour"!  It is very different to hear Lizzy say as much about Mr Darcy straight away, but it is quite refreshing! They both start falling for each other very quickly and have such a delightful courtship - they are so flirtatious with each other and it is adorable! (For example when Lizzy asks "Are you calling me impertinent?", Darcy responds "Does it rain in England in November?" - I love it!) They quickly become very easy and open with each other as well, which is due to how Lizzy helps Darcy in this story. As I said, the spiritual aspect of this book is just great. Lizzy starts to teach the rather cynical Darcy, due to events in the recent past, about how to forgive and remember the past only as it gives you pleasure! It really was amazing watching how Lizzy helped him, and then how he helps Lizzy later on in the story. You will really love Lizzy and Darcy, I know you will!

The other major character in this story is Georgiana. It is hard to explain what she goes through without giving away the story, but poor Georgiana has suffered and is not coping well. Until Elizabeth comes along. Lizzy really has a task with helping bring Georgiana out of her saddened state. Georgiana really is very altered and not in a good state, and so the journey she experiences is the most dramatic and I found myself very emotional involved in her journey and just willing her to become herself again. The relationship the two of them build up as a result is just wonderful and so... pleasing to read. Also, what was very sweet was how the relationship forming between Darcy and Lizzy helped Georgiana as she wished to see her brother happy. When the three of them were together it made for some of my favourite scenes!

As I said, this is sort of a book in two halves, and in the second half the past comes back to torture poor Lizzy, but luckily Darcy is around to help! Again, I don't want to give away all the juicy details but suffice to say that seeing Darcy help Lizzy in a similar way to how she helped him was really lovely and really seems to strengthen their relationship. Ok, a word of warning, you will not like Mrs Bennet. At all. But just roll with it! Mr Bennet had an interesting alteration, being an ex-clergyman, and he had a really interesting roll throughout the story and I liked this twist to his character.

Where would we be without Mr Wickham! He makes plenty of appearances and... well let's just say there are some surprising and... moving situations and conversions involving him. 

While Bingley never let Netherfield, he meets Lizzy (and his Jane!) in Derbyshire and is as amiable as we expect! We also get to see more of his almost brotherly relationship with Darcy which was nice. However, don't even get me started on Caroline Bingley who still manages to cause problems! She is not at all happy with this Miss Bennet who seems to have caught Darcy's eye and she does all in her power to get her out of the picture and made me very angry in the process! But, she receives her due, eventually, and that is all I shall say on the matter!

I mentioned the spiritual theme to this book and how it touched me and affected me reading it, not only due to the characters' journeys, but also on a personal level. What I was delighted to find when I got to the end of the book was a section entitled 'Darcy's Prayer Book'; in the story Elizabeth gives Darcy a prayer book which she has written of praises to help her which she feels will help him in a similar way to overcome his struggles, and he copies some of her prayer book into one of his own. Many of her little mottos she lives her life by were great and important for everyone to remember, and I had wished I had jotted some of them down as I read, and so when I found the prayer book nicely printed for me at the end I was thrilled! It is a lovely addition and the perfect ending to such a touching and emotional story.

One last thing I must mention is Jeanna's wonderful talent with metaphors which is aways a brilliant running theme through her stories - it is very unique as I have never come across anything similar. In this story, as suggested by the title, the ongoing metaphor is about refining silver, and how the process of refining ourselves is similar. Darcy spends the book listening to Lizzy's clues about it and works to find out the full meaning behind this metaphor and it is just brilliant. I won't give it away as it is so great to see it unfold through the story, and how a variety of different characters are refined through the story! I always love this aspect to Jeanna's novels.

As you can see, 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!
 

**GIVEAWAY - ends Monday 10th November**

In celebration of the release, the lovely Jeanna is offering 1 paperback copy (US only) and 1 ebook copy (international) of her story.

To enter, leave a comment below and the two winners shall be picked randomly.


Please leave your email address and state whether you will be entering for the paperback or the ebook. I will then pass on the winners email addresses to Jeanna who will be in touch.


Good luck, and thank you again to Jeanna for offering this giveaway! And good luck with the book!




Your affectionate friend,
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63 comments:

  1. This is the first review I have read of this book and I am intrigued by your opening comment- "This book is completely different to any other book I have read before". Looks like I will need to add it to my wish list

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. I hope you do get to read it! Sophie has done such a good job on the review! She is amazing. She touched on all the best parts of the book but then left you wanting more. She didn't give anything away either!

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    2. I am so pleased you enjoyed the review and it made you want to read it - it is brilliant! Good luck!

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  2. I am quite intrigued by this review and
    can't wait to read it. Thank you for the
    giveaway. I would love the PB copy!
    ladysusan46(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I am so glad! It is so fun to hear that people are intrigued by it. Good luck in the giveaway

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    2. I am so pleased! Good luck!

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  3. This sounds so interesting and intriguing. I would love to read this! I would love the paperback copy! dramaqueen4ever96@gmail.com

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    1. I love that people want the paperback. It feels so endearing and romantic. The smell of a book...the turning of the pages,,. it all is so fun! Good luck. Thanks

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful read. Glad to hear Darcy & Elizabeth helping each other through difficult times & going through a spiritual journey.

    Great review & thank you for the giveaway. Please enter me in for the paperback one. My email address is tdungnvu (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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    1. They really do help each other. I have been told that Elizabeth seems to perfect but Sophie points out that she struggles quite a bit at the end of the book. No on is without trials. We each have our mountains to climb. Live is about making moments into memories and then growing as a person.

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    2. Thank you! She certainly isn't perfect. She has her trials in this story! Good luck!

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  5. I read this book before it was published and was drawn in by Jenna's metaphor. I like the idea of finding the path to being a better person and one that God intended us to be. The spiritual journey may not suit all readers, but for me it was uplifting. Best of luck on your publication, Jeanna. Jen Red jenred88@yahoo.com prefer paperback but e-book will also do. Jen

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    1. Jen, so good to hear from you! We have made the book even better! Some of the controversial parts we smoothed over and then added a few scenes to make it fun. I hope you get to read the edited version. I know you will like it just as much if not more. It is true that a spiritual journey is not for everyone but maybe there is that one person who needed the message. If so, then the book was a success.

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    2. I completely agree - the metaphor is just great! Good luck!

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  6. Sounds like a touching story. I love her books and writing style. I would like to enter for the paperback.
    saganchilds(a)gmail.com

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    1. *giggles* thanks so much. I am flattered that you like my other books. This is my favorite of all I have written. Good luck with the giveaway!

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    2. Isn't she brilliant? Good luck!

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  7. Although I'm not a spiritual person in the same way that Jeanna is, I find the premise of this book very intriguing. Your review, Sophie, makes me want to read it even more!

    Please could you put me in for the ebook draw!

    angmardee(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. She has a way with words, does she not?? She is so honest in saying that it touched her and it makes me feel so good to know its message helped someone. It is a romance novel, first and foremost, the spiritual journey is just one of the plot tracks that I use to lead the reader on the right track. I use the metaphor to guide them. You don't have to be religious to enjoy the book. Forgiveness and gratitude are not religious principles, they are principles that make good men better.

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    2. Thank you very much! Good luck!

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  8. I SO want to try this author! Thank you for the review and giveaway! I would love the paperback copy and my email is i_lovenuk(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Yay! I am so glad Sophie's review made you want to read it! She is amazing. I hope you win!

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    2. It is a great read! Good luck!

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  9. This review has made me REALLY want to read this book!! Can you please enter me in the ebook competition, and my email is lambaa97@hotmail.com :)

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    1. Thanks Amber! I could not have asked for a better review. She puts so much heart into it! I reread it several times. I admit, it makes me smile each and every time.

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    2. Aww you are all too kind! I cannot speak highly enough of this book - good luck!

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  10. I and excited with this little preview and want more if possible electronic book , since I do live in USA ... ♥
    lilianchy@gmail.com

    Thanks ... ♥

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    1. Thank you so much! She really captured people's interest, didn't she? I am indebted to her for her kind words. If you live in the US, you are still eligible to get the paperback, or did you mean you don't live in the US?

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    2. Thank you very much! Good luck!

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  11. Loved this book. Completely different than most sequels/variations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The Gardiners inherits a small estate in Derbyshire near Lampton and Lizzy goes to help her aunt and uncle. Since she has helped at Longbourn, Lizzy was the choice to go help them. Darcy meets Lizzy within weeks of his new neighbor's arrival when he pays a visit welcoming them to Derbyshire. Darcy is immediately drawn to her because she is unlike any woman she has every met. When Lizzy meets Georgiana, she knows that she must help her. She sees in Georgiana's eyes pain like she suffered. After Lizzy shares her prayer notebook, Darcy begins to lose some of the stresses he has had on his shoulders. Lizzy teaches both siblings F.R.O.G. She challenges Darcy to find the meaning To Refine Like Silver. Goes through much efforts to figure this out. Struggles, but is determined to fine the answer so that he can propose to Lizzy. Through Lizzy's teaching the siblings about trusting in God, both heal. Darcy forgives Wickham, Wickham changes for the better. Excellent writing.

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    1. Thank you Carol! What nice things to say! Perfect summery. I love that you see that Darcy loses some of this stresses. In really you just gets help from God because he turns towards him. He learns to Fully Rely On God (FROG). I'm glad you liked the journey to understanding how silver is refined. Each of us have a refining process that takes place whether we know it or not! Thank you for your kind words too.

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    2. Great summary of a brilliant story!

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  12. What a wonderful review, Sophie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and thank YOU, Jeanna, for writing such a hear-warming story!!!! I love the variations that give Elizabeth and Darcy a chance to know each other without the encumbrance of his misplaced pride and her ill-informed prejudice. Also, anything that gives more prominence to Darcy's relationship with Georgiana can be nothing but delightful ,as it's bound to show the caring side of him, the Darcy that we know and love! I'm looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for the chance to take part in the giveaway.

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    1. I will admit my Darcy's are like a page from my journal. He isn't so prideful. He is not so rude and not so shy. This book was fun to write because the first impressions never were negative. So the love story unfolds quickly. Darcy is in his element and his home town and so he is much more relaxed and fun to be around. Georgiana really is a large portion of getting them together. She is such a darling in this story. My heart goes out to her. Part of the spiritual journey is seeing Georgiana pull out of her depression. And with Elizabeth's help, she does!

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    2. It really is such a lovely story and I loved seeing Darcy and Georgiana! Good luck!

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  13. A Great review! Sounds like a very interesting take on a book that we all love so much! stinelutts(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Thank you! I am tickled you think so! It was truly a great review! I wish I could cross the ocean and hug her when I first read it! Good luck with the giveaway!

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    2. So glad you enjoyed it! Good luck!

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  14. Yet another one I MUST read after reading your review. If you like it I know I must! It sounds utterly lovely.

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    1. It is so lovely! Good luck!

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    2. I owe so much to Mrs. Darcy. She is so kind and so are you! Thank you of your enthusiasm. I really hope you get a chance to read it! Good luck!

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  15. Really interested of e-book as I live in Norway :)
    kyllisiil at yahoo dot com

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    1. Norway~ Wow! How cool is that! Would love to send a book to Norway! I have a brother in Law that served a mission in Norway. He has brought my sister there a few times in their marriage. It tickles me to know that we reach all over the world with her blog. Good luck!

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  16. Ooops, I just realised that the paperback was US only. Please don't enter me in the draw for the e-book (I've got it already!)
    Thanks again for a great post, ladies!

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  17. I love stories set in Jane Austen's universe and this one sounds like a winner. Please enter me in the drawing for an e-book. Julieshops4you@hotmail.com

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes I wonder if live in a Jane Austen Universe!

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  18. This Darcy and Lizzy were such lovely, lovely people. I fell in love with them all over again reading this story. Sigh!!! It had the potential to be a heartbreaking tale but was made happy by the author. Please don't enter it as I have it on Kindle and ebook.

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    1. It is amazing isn't it! I loved them!

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    2. Joy! I am so glad you stopped by! And even more tickled that you enjoyed the book! I'm glad your copy found its way to you. It is hard to deal with difficult issues but if we look outside of ourselves, we usually can find that we need to pull through

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  19. The plot intrigued me and your review is very detailed! I'd like to read this book! Can you enter me for the ebook?

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    1. Thank you - I always try to be detailed! Good luck!

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    2. She was very careful to draw you in but then not give anything away either! Sophie always writes such good reviews. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  20. Oh, I am so excited about this new book. It sounds wonderful. I am such a big fan of Jeanna's other books. Thank you for the giveaway!!:)
    I would love to win a paperback copy!
    kellik115(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. She is a wonderful author! Good luck!

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    2. Thanks Kelli! It still seems weird to think that people out there have read what I wrote! I'm serious! It doesn't feel real. Good luck!

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  21. Lovely review as usual, Soph! :) This book really sounds very different from the other Austen inspired novels I have read. And it sounds so sweet, too!! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Ebook for me if I win :)
    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Maria, I hope you get a chance to read it. It is different and I hope in a good way. Few people put themes of gratitude and forgiveness into JAFF but it worked with the metaphor I wanted to use. I hope you enjoy it!

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  22. It sounds wonderful... I dearly hope I get picked, paperback please!!
    mslizshw @ yahoo.com

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