Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Stronger Even Than Pride by Gail McEwen

I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for the lovely Gail McEwen's latest release, Stronger Even Than PrideMy thanks must also go to Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews for asking me to be part of this tour.

I have asked Gail a few questions about her love of Jane Austen and her new story! I always enjoy finding out more about people behind the stories!

About the book:

" “…in his behaviour to me there were stronger influences even than pride.”

When George Wickham speaks these words to an impressionable Elizabeth Bennet, she can have no idea how true they will turn out to be. Stronger Even Than Pride, Gail McEwen’s latest novel, explores whether love can survive the biggest obstacles fate—and a most ruinous stubbornness—can conjure up to separate two people destined to be together. After Miss Bennet refuses to read the faithful narrative of Darcy’s dealings with Mr Wickham, this Pride and Prejudice variation takes an unexpected turn when she chooses to exonerate the wrong man.

Events quickly spiral out of control and Fitzwilliam Darcy is forced to watch helplessly as the woman he loves slips further and further from reach. Can there be a happily ever after for them? Can a love, stronger than pride, redeem even the worst mistakes?"

Welcome Gail! Thank you for stopping by my blog for this interview about your latest release!  Although I haven't yet got round to reading one of your stories - so many books, so little time! - they sound interesting! 

Thank you for having me, Sophie!

1. Obviously as a writer of Jane Austen fan fiction, you are an avid Janeite and very much enjoy Jane Austen’s work. How did you first come across Jane Austen and fall in love with the regency world of dancing, carriages and courtship?

It was the result of the best and worst summer of my life. A dear friend needed to escape a bad situation at home and she came to live with my family for a few months. Along with seven children and a few bags of clothes, she came with movies! ET’s S&S, Paltrow’s Emma and A&E’s P&P taped from television. Almost every afternoon we’d send the kids outside to play, get a tall glass of ice water, curl up on the sofa and indulge. With her seven and my four, we really needed that mental break.  

2. Of Ms. Austen’s six major novels, need I ask which your favourite is? I would assume from your stories that it is Pride and Prejudice. What appeals to you so much about Pride and Prejudice? The characters, the story, the humour?

It’s the characters. I love the humanity of them – Jane shows us their frailty as well as their nobility, how they fight to overcome their faults yet sometimes fail, honestly portraying flawed but very likeable characters. I also love the constraints that manners required – all the subtle communication when so much had to be said without the freedom to say anything.

3. Now, aside from Pride and Prejudice, which other work do you particularly like? And which is your least favourite work of Ms. Austen’s, if you have one?

Persuasion is my #2 – I like it more as I get older. My least favourite has to be Mansfield Park. I’m ashamed to say I have only read it once. I disliked Fanny so much I could never bring myself to try it again. I’m sure I’m missing a lot by ignoring it all these years… maybe one day I’ll pick it up and give it another go.


4. In your stories you take Ms. Austen’s plotline and explore a ‘what if’ idea and take the story down a completely different route - a darker route in this latest release. Why did you want to write these variations? Did you want to explore the world of Lizzy and Darcy a little more? I adore reading these ‘what if’ variations as I cannot get enough of Lizzy and Darcy!

Mostly, I just wanted to see if I could do it! Before this, I co-wrote The Lord & Lady Baugham series with my partner Tina Moncton. They are set in Jane Austen’s world, with Elizabeth and Darcy as important, but not the main, characters. Stronger Even Than Pride is my first full on Pride & Prejudice variation.

5. Do you think there is another one of Ms. Austen’s stories which would have the potential for a ‘what if’ variation, or do you think that Pride and Prejudice holds the most possibility? 

They are all brilliant stories (my opinion of MP notwithstanding) and all have great potential for variations – but the truth is, the audience for other story ‘what ifs’ is just not the same. Everyone loves Lizzy and Darcy!

6.  Mr Darcy and Elizabeth have to be one of the most famous couples in all of literature. What appeals to you about those characters? Who is your favourite to develop and explore in your stories? Or perhaps you enjoy writing another character, like Wickham for example? Wickham certainly seems to play a big part in the latest story by the sounds of things! 

I enjoyed exploring the less-than-wonderful sides of Elizabeth and Darcy. Not that I think either are bad, but they are human (in our minds anyway) and humans are not always perfect. Sometimes they try to do what’s right, but fail. Sometimes they don’t want to do the right thing at all. Sometimes they’re selfish, and sometimes they just make terrible mistakes.
But you're right, I enjoyed writing Wickham very much. I wanted him to be despicable, but not evil, so I had to do a lot of thinking about how to portray him.
7. Stronger Even Than Pride sounds very intriguing! What gave you the idea of having Elizabeth choose to not read that oh-so-important explanation letter from Darcy, and consequently taking the story down a completely different and darker path? Where does your inspiration come from?

The biggest reason I chose this particular ‘what if’ is that I wanted one that hadn’t been done before. Plus I’ve always been intrigued by Mr Bennet’s claim that Elizabeth would be neither happy nor respectable, and could scarcely escape discredit and misery, if she married a man she couldn’t look up to. I wanted to see what that would look like, and to see if or how she and Darcy could still find their way to each other. I also found it telling that Mr Bennet says this to his favourite daughter after he has already given Darcy his consent. That made me think that he was equally careless with all his daughters, even if he liked some better than others.

8. Of all your stories you have now written, which has been your favourite to write? Or do you not have a favourite and love them all equally?

I love them all for different reasons: I’m very proud of my original novel, To End All Wars… I believe it tells an important story that is too easily forgotten. I love the Baugham stories because I adore Holly and his lordship and my brilliant partner makes writing them a genuine pleasure.

But Stronger Even Than Pride was my biggest challenge and stretched me the most – because of this twist, I had to be very confident in my own mind of every action and thought I gave them, of every decision they made, while keeping their basic character consistent with Miss Austen’s originals. I know not all readers will agree that I have accomplished it, but I’m okay with that. I feel a great sense of accomplishment having finished it according to my vision.

Thanks again for stopping by and best of luck with this latest book! 

And thank you! It’s an honour to be featured on your beautiful blog.

Author Bio:

It took a few decades, but Gail finally took her English teacher’s advice and “became a writer.” It’s not that she didn’t want to be a writer – she always wanted to be a writer – she just didn’t know how to go about it. Because, truthfully, if one is going to write, one must eventually allow others to read what has been scribbled in that notebook shoved in the back of the drawer.

Gail eventually worked up enough nerve to share her efforts with the anonymous world of the internet, after that she ventured out to college classes, writing contests, and eventually found a publisher.

Gail’s newest book, Stronger Even Than Pride, is a wicked twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Depending on your measure, her success is either modest or phenomenal – while she is in no danger of growing either rich or famous, she is a published, award-winning author! Gail chooses the latter yardstick.

So it just goes to show – you should always listen to your teachers.

My thanks again goes to Gail McEwen for this interview and to Jakki for setting up this tour!

I wish Gail all the best with this latest release as well as any stories in the future!

Your affectionate friend,
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Joy King: Guest Post - with giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Joy King to my blog. Joy has recently had her first story, A Father's Sins, published and she is going to tell us a bit more about the story, particularly how the love-to-hate character Miss Bingley plays a part in the story!
Joy has also provided me with a VERY generous giveaway (details to follow at the end) - you really don't want to miss this one!
Throughout the post you will notice a variety of pictures which Joy tells me she used as inspiration when writing - some are just the various Caroline's from adaptations, but some, as you will see, are not!
"How do Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet overcome the consequences of poor decisions made by their fathers when Darcy and Elizabeth were young?
In A Father's Sins, Mr. George Darcy, father of an illegitimate child raised by his steward, Mr. Wickham, agreed with his wife, Anne, that the firstborn son of their marriage would be heir to Pemberley. However, Mr. Darcy loved his eldest son, George Wickham, and indulged him by bringing him to Pemberley to live after the death of his wife. His heir, Fitzwilliam Darcy, paid a heavy price for this decision.

Mr. Thomas Bennet, an educated gentleman and father of five daughters, favored his second born, Elizabeth. Unexpectedly, his wife gave birth to a son and heir. Mr. Bennet, at the persistent urging of his wife, chose not to have his youngest children vaccinated for smallpox. When the plague hit Longbourn it devastated their family. Elizabeth paid the heaviest price for this decision of her father.

What happens when Darcy and Elizabeth meet? Will they be able to overcome the consequences of the choices their fathers made? When George Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. William Collins, and the Fitzwilliam family arrive in Meryton, how will that impact their growing attraction? How does the same decision by Mr. Bennet influence the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley? Will love have a chance?"
Sophie, thank you so much for your invitation to your blog. When I am stressed, harried, overworked, under pressure, I love to browse your blog, Laughing With Lizzie. The photos make me chuckle, sigh, and swoon. Definitely a mood changer!

You are most welcome, Joy. I am very glad to hear my blog can help brighten your day! First, are you Joy or Dawn or J. Dawn?

I am just Joy. If my Mom is angry with me, though, I am Joy Dawn (spoken very quickly and with much force).

I would like your opinion on a matter of global interest. Why do you think we love to scorn Miss Caroline Bingley?

The importance of a bad woman in a good book is first found in the Bible. Eve must have been temptation incarnate to have Adam do something to displease his God over a piece of fruit. Since then, it appears that, whatever the medium, readers and viewers love to have someone to scorn or blame. This is typically a character that stands in stark contrast to the hero or heroine. In Pride and Prejudice we have George Wickham and Caroline Bingley. They are both a delight to develop and I thoroughly enjoy the many different variations of their characters in the many adaptations of the novel.

So tell me about Miss Caroline Bingley in ‘A Father’s Sins’, please.

In my book, Caroline Bingley is ambitiously seeking to attach herself to the Darcys to elevate her own standing in society. She comes off as comical in her efforts to achieve her goal. In fact, here is an excerpt from my book where she decides to compromise Mr. Darcy so that he is forced to offer her marriage. They are at Netherfield Park. The next day, all occupants of the estate are planning to permanently remove themselves for their homes in London. Please enjoy the following:

“My, my, cousins, but this room is busy at this hour of the night.” It did not surprise the Colonel that Darcy could not sleep. Too much was riding on the events that would unfold in the morning. He was, however, surprised to see Georgiana. “Poppet, what are you doing awake at this hour?”

“Apparently, like you, I was unable to sleep and it is just as well. We are about to partake in a real life drama. William is the intended victim and you and I shall be the witnesses to the crime.”

“What is this you are speaking of?” The Colonel was puzzled.

Before Darcy could enter the conversation, Georgiana spoke again. “Richard, tonight Miss Caroline Bingley is going to try to trap William into marriage. We need to have a plan of action, a strategy. Something like you would use in the military.” Darcy could tell that his young sister was getting some sinister delight in these circumstances.

“Into battle we shall go!” The Colonel could not hide his pleasure at watching his usually composed cousin facing down a hungry predator.

“Richard! You shall wake the house.” Darcy reprimanded him.

“Hush, please, both of you. Your voices are deep and loud and we do not want to discourage Miss Bingley from coming into the library. This is just too, too fun.”

“Georgie!” Both men exclaimed at the same time.

“Oh, come on you two. This is better than what the gothic novels, that I am not supposed to read, contain. Now, hush!” she whispered. Like a general on a campaign, she positioned them where she felt best; her and the Colonel sitting in the high-backed chairs with their backs to the library door, where they would be invisible to anyone entering, and Darcy standing at the fireplace. The three cousins had just gotten into position when the door handle moved for the third time since Darcy had entered the room. The door slowly opened and the flicker of a candle  approached.

Spying Darcy, Miss Bingley assumed they were alone. “Mr. Darcy, were you unable to sleep? Is there anything that I could do to see to your comfort? Might I, perhaps, get you something warm to drink from the kitchen?”

“I thank you, Miss Bingley, however, it is inappropriate for us to be in the room together so late at night. I shall retire immediately to my room.” He started to move past her to the door.

“No!” Caroline Bingley was not going to allow her last opportunity to pass without accomplishing her goal. Quickly, she placed the candle on a table and undid the belt on her robe, pulling the front open and sliding it off onto the floor. Darcy quickly turned his back to her when he realized her intentions.

“Miss Bingley!” He was horrified and amused at the same time. Realizing how affronted she would be if she only was aware of his feelings, he steeled himself not to chuckle. This was not working out well for Miss Caroline Bingley. There were two witnesses that she was unaware of being in the room, and her own housekeeper had kindly and effectively warned him in advance. “Please, dress yourself. As much as I would dislike seeing you in such a state, I am confident that my cousin and sister would dislike it even more. Now, dress yourself.” He repeated when he heard no sound of movement, nor any rustling of fabric.

“Mr. Darcy, what have your cousin or sister to do with us? You are a reasonable man. Surely, you know how deep my love is for you and how I long to be your wife. Our marriage would unite our families and you, then, could call your best friend brother. There are so many advantages for us to wed. Please, Mr. Darcy,…” she paused before she could say another word as the noise of the turning of the library door handle sounded once again. This time, it was not a hesitant turning, but one of force. Mrs. Hurst charged into the room.

“Ah, ha!” she exclaimed. “Mr. Darcy, you have compromised my sister and will have to wed.” The only thing in her vision was Mr. Darcy and Miss Bingley, both standing with their backs to her. She could clearly see her sister’s form, silhouetted in the firelight. Had Mr. Darcy but turned around, he could have seen the same.

Suddenly, from the chairs to the right of Mr. Darcy, came laughter. At this, Caroline Bingley was moved to action and she quickly recovered her robe and wrapped it around herself, not even taking time to put her arms in the sleeves. Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana rose from their chairs and faced the Bingley sisters at the same time that Darcy turned to confront them.

“Miss Bingley, Mrs. Hurst, what is the meaning of this?” Darcy asked, though he knew the answer. He had to admire Miss Bingley for her attempts at an explanation as her own sister spit and sputtered at seeing Georgiana and the Colonel.

“Oh, Mr. Darcy, I was unaware you were here. I had been dreaming of reading a book from this very library and must have walked in my sleep. However did I end up here?” She blinked her eyes rapidly as if she were just awakening from a deep sleep.

At this, the Colonel and Georgiana only laughed louder. Georgiana was overcome by such a fit of mirth that tears poured from her eyes and she ended up tipping over onto her cousin, Richard. It was obvious that Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst completely missed the comic aspect of this spectacle. Realizing that he would get no help from his relatives, Darcy walked around Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst to open the library door and yell for a footman. When the man responded, he asked him to retrieve Mr. Bingley and Mr. Hurst directly and escort them to the library. Bingley would have to deal with his sister as Mr. Hurst would have to deal with his wife.


What a most amusing except! Thank you for posting that. Caroline really did make a fool of herself! Now I really cannot wait to read A Father's Sins! (I will be reading it very soon so watch for my review!) 
**GIVEAWAY - ends Friday, 4th July **

Joy has provided me with a very, very generous giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive a £50 gift card for the Jane Austen Gift Shop  ! Yes - £50! This giveaway is open internationally. 

To enter, leave a comment below and the winner will be picked randomly.

Please leave your email address. If you are the lucky winner, I will pass on your email to Joy who will be in touch.

Good luck!

Thank you again to Joy for this great post and for the most generous giveaway! I wish you all the best with this story as well as any future ones!

Your affectionate friend,
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Masha Laurence: Guest Interview

Today I welcome the wonderful artist Masha Laurence to my blog! Masha specialises in custom watercolours and illustrations inspired by classic literature. Her drawings are beautiful!

I have asked Masha a few questions about her work and how she goes about coming up with such wonderful illustrations, particularly the inspiration behind her Jane Austen prints, of which there are many!

She has also been so kind as to offer a giveaway of three lovely prints to one lucky winner - I will give the details below!

Visit Masha's blog here. And her lovely shop on Etsy here.


1.  The majority of your lovely prints in your shop seem to be orientated around Jane Austen; her world, her works, her characters. How did you first come across Jane Austen; reading one of the stories? Seeing an adaptation? Which story is your favourite?
 I first came across Jane Austen watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice adaptation with my mother-in-law.  It was love at first site.  I have since read and re-read all of Jane Austen’s books and many spin-offs too.

I love all of them really, for different reasons.  But my favorite story is Persuasion, because it mirrors my own love story in a small way.

2. Why do you love Jane Austen and what is it that appeals to you about her work? What inspired you to begin painting Austen related artwork in the first place; her wit? The strength of her characters? Did you think that the beauty which just resonates (well I think it does!) from her books and the world she creates needed to be drawn?

What I love about Jane Austen’s work is first romance, I love how funny it is, and how witty, how clean, how polite and how honest it is.  Some people might think that Jane Austen glossed over things of her era, but I think she was incredibly honest about her life and I love how she made everything turn out beautifully in the end, unlike what really happened to her and Cassandra.  What first inspired me to paint Jane Austen related pieces was my love of costumes.  I grew up in a theater family and my mom was a costumer who took me to work often, I remember wandering through big hallways lined with costumes for ballets and operas and wanting to be big enough to try one on.  I scribbled dresses on everything I could growing up and after we watched Pride and Prejudice and every other JA movie I could lay my hands on my mother-in-law suggested that I draw some of the heroines, because it looked like something I am always drawing anyway.  Yes, the beauty does resonate from her books and I am so glad I can put it on paper in my own way.

3. You are a really talented artist! The elegant style of your paintings is delightful. They really have a charm about them! When did you start drawing? Were you ever taught how to draw and paint? Of course, you must enjoy sketching and painting; do you find it relaxing? (I really wish I could draw!) 
Thank you.  I started drawing like I said, when I was little, my dad is also a self taught artist and he painted murals on our walls and floors and whenever I would come into his room he would hand me crayons (very rare commodity in Russia at that time) and let me draw.  I believe we are all born with a creative spark within us and I do find it relaxing, and challenging too, but mostly, like any creative hobby that helps us escape the real world I really love how art takes me someplace else. 

4. How exactly do you go about drawing the characters? Do you base them off actors who have portrayed them in adaptations? Or do you use your own ideas of what they look like for the drawings? On the subject of film and television adaptations, which is your favourite?
I base my characters on many different things.  To be completely honest I am not a good portraitist, so if you were to look at the models I base my characters on you wouldn’t recognize them.  I get inspired by JA or other period movies.  I look up good images from movies on the internet.  I look up poses and facial expressions on Getty Images and costumes on Pinterest and in books.  But most often I will just be reading a Jane Austen novel and a paragraph will jump out at me and I can see it in my mind, so I get to work on it as soon as I have time and search for the right pose, the right face, the right costume, put it all together and voila, those turn out the best.  I believe in inspiration. 
My favorite movie adaptation is Pride and Prejudice of 1995 and the close second is Northanger Abbey done in 2007.  And 2009 Emma, my husband and I watched that one together and we both just loved it.

4. Who's your favourite of Jane Austen's wonderful characters? (Mr Darcy?! He is mine!) How about when you draw them; who is your favourite to draw? Who did you find the easiest? And the hardest to draw?
You can have Mr.Darcy, as handsome and mysterious as he is, I prefer the sincere and caring Mr.Knightley and straightforward and open Captain Wentworth.  My favorite to draw are the heroines, they don’t have annoying legs that are so hard to get right, just lovely flowing skirts that are easy to draw.  The hardest are people with smiles and hands, if you look at my paintings I try to hide their hands and they never have a full smile, I am still learning the necessary skill for those.

5. I believe I saw somewhere on your shop that you can also do custom orders? What type of things do you do for this? Do you enjoy doing special requests?
I do custom orders quite often. A lot of us have favorite parts of Miss Austen’s novels that we would like to see in a piece of art.  And when people come to me with those questions I get to sketch out their ideas on paper until I catch their vision and go on to paint it.  I do enjoy special request very much as they are challenging and interesting, it is always fun to see what other people want to see in a piece of art.  One of my requests was a Lizzy and Georgianna at the piano, even though it’s not in the book,  and another was a portrait of the Bennet sisters in the room with their parents when Kitty’s cough was bothering Mrs.Bennet and another one of Captain Wentworth walking the pier on a windy day in Lyme.

Thank you for a most interesting interview. It is always good to find out more behind an artists inspiration! 
Sophie, thank you for having me on your lovely blog.  


**GIVEAWAY - ends Monday, 30th June **

Masha is providing three lovely 5x7 prints for a lucky winner! This giveaway is open internationally. 

To enter, leave a comment below and the winner will be picked randomly.

Please leave your email address and please say whether you are in the US or UK or otherwise (please state country). If you are the lucky winner, I will email you to ask for your mailing address. 

Good luck, and thank you again to Masha for this interview and for offering this giveaway!

(Visit Masha's blog here. And her lovely shop on Etsy here. )

Your affectionate friend,
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Monday, June 02, 2014

Mr Darcy's Pledge by Monica Fairview - with giveaway!

I was very pleased when I was asked if I would review Mr Darcy's Pledge (Volume I) for the lovely Monica Fairview. (I was provided with a review copy but this is my honest, unbiased opinion.) And I was not disappointed as I really, really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the second volume to be published so I can see how this story is going to resolve! How I hate cliff hangers!

"Torn between his heart and his mind… Mr. Darcy must make a choice.
Fitzwilliam Darcy has always been able to keep his emotions under control. That is, until he falls under the spell of Elizabeth Bennet and surprises himself by blurting out a proposal to her like a moonstruck youth. Stung to the quick by her rejection, his pride in tatters, and left with no possibility that she will ever return his regard, Darcy determines to put all thoughts of Elizabeth behind him. But not even Town with its boundless opportunities for amusement can keep the image of Elizabeth Bennet from pursuing him everywhere he goes.
By the time Darcy leaves Town to travel up to Pemberley, he has learned one thing. There is only one way of overcoming Miss Bennet’s bewitching hold over him and Darcy is desperate enough to try it. The solution is to get married. And this time, he is not going to choose a wife by allowing his emotions to lead him by the nose.
His choice will be entirely rational…
In Volume I of this Pride and Prejudice variation, Monica Fairview traces Mr. Darcy’s journey as he struggles to come to terms with the upheaval Elizabeth Bennet has caused in his life…and his heart."

First off, this was another very well written variation. The writing style was excellent; it was easy reading, flowed very well and the language was very good. Another thing which I loved about her writing was her talent for description and painting the picture of the surroundings and the scene, creating a really strong image of what's going on - it is perfect for readers who see the story play out like a film in their head as they read, like I do! So for me it was so much fun to read, for with the brilliant descriptions it made the images even stronger! (She also made Pemberley sound even more idyllic than it already was to me, if that is possible!)

As you can probably guess from the blurb, this story is going to have some angst and will most likely annoy you at times! It did me - Darcy can't give up on Elizabeth and go after ANOTHER WOMAN?! But although frustrating at times, it was a fun story.

Elizabeth's blunt rejection of Darcy has hit him hard. Really hard. As he comments himself, "he had been unlucky enough to fall in love with one of the least practical woman in England." As a result, Darcy reverts back to head over heart attitude, not allowing his actions to be ruled by passion. He realises he needs a wife, and he will find one, and go about finding one in the most business-like manner he can - he even starts writing lists of what he requires in a wife! He WILL be organised and make a rational choice, for being controlled by his romantic impulses in the past didn't go well...

Seeing Darcy in this state and truly seeing into his thoughts after the rejection was heart breaking! I felt so sorry for him and I wanted to jump into the book and hug him! (There were also times when, because of his decision to try and forget Elizabeth, I wanted to jump into the book to either shake him or slap him round the face!) I am finding that the more and more variations I read, the more we see into his thoughts, and I pity him and love him more and more! But this was particularly true with this book, as the description of his inner turmoil was so powerfully written! He is so sweet and so very confused as he struggles with the battle of his head vs. his heart!

I really, really fell for Darcy all over again in this variation. As well as seeing him in his dejected state and watching his bumbled attempts to move on and his search for a suitable, appropriate wife, we also get some sweet glimpses into his past and I loved hearing of Darcy's childhood antics!  (He also has a great valet, Briggs, who is a forward, but funny and cheeky, servant and has a good relationship with his master, even if Darcy has to throw a cushion at him to keep him in check sometimes! I always love what I call Darcy 'behind the scenes' moments, when he abandons his master of Pemberley mask.)

We are also privy to the journey he experiences after the painful rejection as Elizabeth's words really start to sink in and the humbling and realisation begins. This is also sad to read as he reviews his past behaviour and replays Lizzy's harsh comments in his head over and over and starts to see that she was right.

Another reason why I fell for Darcy in this book was thanks to Georgiana. This book is written completely from the Darcys point of views, and it switches between both Darcy and Georgiana throughout which I really, really enjoyed. It meant we got to know both Darcy and Georgiana really well, as well as see plenty of them together, and I always love to see more of their strong brother and sister relationship which we see glimpses of in the original.

Before I talk more about the siblings together, let me start with Georgiana. She has always been one of my favourite secondary characters so it was very nice to read the sections where we see her thoughts and feelings. We really get to know her well and she goes on her own journey in this story, as she grows more confident (and even teasing, especially of her brother!) and it's fantastic to see. She really made me smile through the story, and there were many times when I was willing her on as she battled certain unwanted visitors - but I won't ruin it for you! 

Back to Darcy and Georgiana. I think their relationship was my favourite thing about this book. We really get to see just how close these two are and it was delightful, and really touching. They are just how I imagine them to be; Georgiana running to the window when she hears what she hopes is her brothers carriage, Darcy giving her a real brotherly welcome and swinging her around (picture the scene in the 2005 film!). Their bond is just brilliant. There are many instances throughout with sweet scenes between the pair, as Darcy begins to involve his sister in his search for a wife. It really was fantastic.

Unsurprisingly, as this is only the first part of the story, Elizabeth doesn't come back into it until after half way through. But I didn't find this a problem as I thought I might (as I love to see Darcy and Lizzy together) because Georgiana and Darcy were just brilliant together and could really hold the story and my interest in it without the need for Elizabeth. But, she does come back into things and it is sweet when she does, for then comes the charming and gallant Darcy!  There are some fun, cute - and slightly awkward! - scenes (including a wet shirt scene!) which take place during Elizabeth's time at Pemberley (why she ends up having to stay there I will not reveal!) and I cannot wait to see them more in company in the next volume. Georgiana and Elizabeth also get on very well, as would be expected, and I look forward to seeing their relationship develop too.

A few other interesting relationships to read about, as it is from Darcy or Georgiana's point of view, was that between the Darcys and the Bingleys.
Caroline shows up, of course, her sights still set on Darcy, but as I said earlier, Miss Marshall makes her seem the better option and I even felt sorry for Caroline at one point - unheard of I know!

There are some tense moments between Darcy and Bingley as the issue of the separation of him and Jane has to be sorted, but also some funny scenes and a nice insight into their relationship as good friends, as well as heartbroken, disappointed lovers!

All I can say is, when is the next instalment coming out!? I really cannot wait to read the next volume to see how it will all resolve, for of course the story leaves you with a few cliff hangers and unanswered questions! The ending was brilliant though, as you learn just why the book is called Mr Darcy's Pledge! 

I am completely drawn into this wonderful story and will be reading volume II as soon as it comes out!


I am very lucky to be able to offer a giveaway of an ebook copy of this story (internationally)! 

To enter please leave a comment below and include your email address so that I can contact the randomly selected winner and which format you would like if you are the winner.

The giveaway will end on the 8th of June.

Good luck!

I wish Monica all the best with this story and with the final touches for volume II, as well as any other stories in the future!

Your affectionate friend,
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