Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Mistaken by Jessie Lewis - with giveaway!

I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for Jessie Lewis's new release, Mistaken.  My thanks also goes to Janet Taylor for inviting me to take part.

"Fitzwilliam Darcy is a single man in possession of a good fortune, a broken heart, and tattered pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a young lady in possession of a superior wit, flawed judgement, and a growing list of unwanted suitors. With a tempestuous acquaintance, the merciless censure of each other’s character, and the unenviable distinction of a failed proposal behind them, they have parted ways on seemingly irreparable terms. Despairing of a felicitous resolution for themselves, they both attend with great energy to rekindling the courtship between Darcy’s friend Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane.     Regrettably, people are predisposed to mistake one another, and rarely can two be so conveniently manoeuvred into love without some manner of misunderstanding arising. Jane, crossed in love once already, is wary of Bingley’s renewed attentions. Mistaking her guardedness for indifference, Bingley is drawn to Elizabeth’s livelier company; rapidly, the defects in their own characters become the least of the impediments to Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness. 

Debut author Jessie Lewis’s Mistaken invites us to laugh along with Elizabeth Bennet at the follies, nonsense, whims, and inconsistencies of characters both familiar and new in this witty and romantic take on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice."

Thank you, Sophie, for inviting me here today to talk to your readers. I’m nearing the end of the blog tour for Mistaken now, and there’s one fundamental aspect of the book I haven’t yet talked about: Jane Bennet’s journey. 

Love it or hate it, read it with relish or revulsion, there’s no getting away from the fact that Jane takes a very different path in Mistaken than Austen led her down in canon. This wasn’t an arbitrary change; the decision to test her strength of character under trying circumstances was very deliberate. The reason can be summed up in one word (or one name): Darcy.

I’ve always been fascinated by the journey Darcy makes in Pride and Prejudice. He is often touted as one of the most enduring romantic heroes in literature—largely, in my opinion, because he actually changes his ways for the woman he loves. Yet, before he earns his Romantic Hero stripes, he’s very far from perfect. Granted, Elizabeth’s wilful misunderstanding causes much of his initial antagonism, but there is plenty of which to disapprove in his character at the beginning. In Austen’s words, he is “haughty, reserved and fastidious…continually giving offence.” He owns himself to having a resentful temper and admits at the end of the novel to having been selfish all his life. Given how much we all come to adore him, it is conveniently easy to forget quite how unlikeable he is to begin with.
Austen doesn’t show us his descent into resentment and conceit, we only see his scramble out of it after Elizabeth’s rejection at Hunsford. Nonetheless, my question has always been: how did he end up so thoroughly disagreeable without forfeiting the esteem of his nearest and dearest? It’s true that those we’re closest to aren’t exactly predisposed to look for our faults; thus, Darcy’s loved ones seem wholly oblivious (or indifferent) to his flaws. We see Bingley tease him for “standing about … in [a] stupid manner” at the Meryton assembly, but teasing is a far cry from condemnation. We hear Colonel Fitzwilliam accuse Darcy of not making small talk with strangers because “he will not give himself the trouble,” yet there is no admonition in this pronouncement, only vague amusement. Even Caroline Bingley is blind to Darcy’s faults, claiming he “may hug himself” because he has no defects at which Elizabeth can laugh. It takes Elizabeth, a relative stranger, to see the imperfections in Darcy’s character.
This led me to wonder how far down the path of bitterness and conceit an essentially good character could travel before anybody tapped them on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but you really are behaving like an almighty twit.”
Enter Jane Bennet. Similarly to Darcy, she is inherently good and surrounded by loving friends and family, none of whom are anticipating that she will undergo any remarkable character alteration. But perhaps they ought to have, because as Elizabeth tells us, “people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.” (P&P ch9)
Austen’s Jane Bennet is portrayed as sensible, kind, and saccharinely modest, but she is not without faults. She is excessively diffident, something we see when she refuses to blame Bingley for abandoning her, insisting there had merely been “an error of fancy” on her side. Mr. Bennet accuses her of being too complying, and Elizabeth teases her (with a hint of exasperation) for her credulity.
“Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in any body. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life.''
“I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one; but I always speak what I think.”
“I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough; -- one meets it every where. But to be candid without ostentation or design -- to take the good of every body's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad -- belongs to you alone.” (P&P Ch24)
These were the traits I accentuated in Mistaken to set Jane on the slippery slope away from her canonical forgiving nature. Some bad advice, a want of perspective, and certain run of the mill human sensibilities such as jealousy, insecurity and disappointment, soon land Jane in such a muddle of resentment that she’s “in the middle before she knows she’s begun.” And just as Darcy’s friends did, Jane’s loved ones remain oblivious to the change in her until it’s too late.
It’s easier to read Darcy’s early hubris and resentment, because readers never see him before he becomes that person and thus there is no comparison, whereas Jane Bennet has been immortalised as sweetness and light since Pride and Prejudice first went to print. Watching her make bad decisions is difficult, but readers shouldn’t be put off. I wanted Jane’s journey to mirror Darcy’s after all, and we all know that after Elizabeth’s rejection, he well and truly redeemed himself. Mistaken Jane hasn’t had the advantage of a “Hunsford” moment, but she is equally good at heart, and what better proof of virtue is there, than the ability to reform? All she requires is a little self-awareness. The question that fascinates me now is, will readers forgive her as readily as they did Darcy?
The snippet below, from early in the book, shows how Jane’s disappointment, diffidence, jealousy—and mother!—are beginning to work against her reason to change her outlook on life. Thank you, everyone, for dropping in today to join in the Mistaken blog tour. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section, or you can contact me on any of the social media pages listed in the author bio below. I’d love to hear from you!
Wednesday, 20 May 1812: Hertfordshire
Jane started when the parlour door was flung open and her mother swept in.
“Ah, good, you are both here,” said Mrs. Bennet, dropping into her favourite armchair. “Come closer, girls. I would speak with you.”

Jane looked enquiringly at Elizabeth, who looked back at her with equal bemusement. Both set their work aside and moved to sit on the sofa.

“It is clear after yesterday,” began Mrs. Bennet, “that you are both in dire need of some direction. Jane, I shall begin with you. Mr. Bingley arranged that picnic in your honour, yet you spent most of the afternoon sitting out of games and refusing to speak to him. He will think you are not interested if you continue to be so unforthcoming.”

Her mother could not have made a more distressing observation, for Jane was all too conscious that the easy and treasured friendship she and Mr. Bingley once enjoyed had been eclipsed by awkwardness and reserve.

“You like him, do you not?”

“I love him!”

“Then you must show it, or he will never offer for you.”

Jane gasped.

“I think what Mama is trying to say,” Elizabeth interjected, reaching for Jane’s hand, “is that perhaps Mr. Bingley needs a little encouragement. If you only spoke to him a little more—”

“Oh, as you do?” Jane had not meant to say the words aloud, and she was sorry when Elizabeth recoiled. Yet, now it was said, she found she could not regret it. All day at the picnic, whilst she had struggled to think of a thing to say, her sister had delighted the guests—and, more particularly, the host—with her easy conversation and clever wit. Watching Mr. Bingley watch her at archery had been deeply troubling, akin to watching the entire neighbourhood watch them dance together at the assembly. Both incidents had kindled a wholly unfamiliar yet potent sentiment in her mind: envy.

“She is quite right, Lizzy,” Mrs. Bennet said. “You must desist from flirting with Mr. Bingley.”

Elizabeth’s expression of pained disbelief was nothing to Jane’s dismay. Surely, her dearest sister would never usurp Mr. Bingley’s attentions by design. Yet, if her mother believed it…

“I assure you, ma’am,” Elizabeth said tightly, “I flirted with nobody yesterday, and certainly not Mr. Bingley. Indeed, it grieves me that you consider me capable of it.”

Mrs. Bennet clicked her tongue impatiently. “Do not get on at me, girl. I did not say your manner was at fault—only your focus. Leave Mr. Bingley alone and—”

“You speak as though I am Lydia, pestering the poor man for attention! If Mr. Bingley and I have become better acquainted, it is only through my attempts to help you, Jane, when you have been too shy to speak to him.”

“You have no business being friends with Mr. Bingley!” her mother objected, negating the necessity of Jane saying the same thing. “No, you must direct your efforts towards Mr. Greyson.”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “Mr. Greyson?

“Why, yes! He likes you very well. You could secure him in an instant if you would only use the same charm on him you have done with Mr. Bingley.”

“Madam, I have used no charm! And I do not wish to persuade Mr. Greyson of anything.”

Mrs. Bennet’s expression grew pinched. “You will do as you are told. If you had done your duty and married Mr. Collins, none of this would matter. Then, you could have flirted with whomever you chose!”

Elizabeth surged from her chair with an angry growl and stormed to the door. Mrs. Bennet followed her, screeching at her even after she quitted the room about wilful ways and ingratitude. Elizabeth’s only reply was to close the front door with excessive force. Mrs. Bennet turned back into the parlour, her lips pursed and her face and neck suffused with a deep flush.

“Obstinate, headstrong girl!”

Jane was unused, but not entirely averse, to the sense of vindication that overcame her. “Not quite so charming now, Lizzy,” she muttered. Her complacency was not to last. In the next moment, her mother rounded on her.

“You could learn a good deal from your sister. She has gentlemen eating from the palm of her hand. You would do well to take a leaf from her book before Mr. Bingley changes his mind again and disappears off to this Nova Scotia place he keeps wittering on about forevermore!”

She stomped from the room shouting for Hill, and Jane was left to all the satisfaction of having forced her to say what gave no one any pain but herself.

Author Bio:

I’ve always loved words—reading them, writing them, and as my friends and family will wearily attest, speaking them. I dabbled in poetry during my angst-ridden teenage years, but it wasn’t until college that I truly came to comprehend the potency of the English language.
That appreciation materialised into something more tangible one dark wintry evening whilst I was making a papier-mâché Octonauts Gup-A (Google it—you’ll be impressed) for my son, and watching a rerun of Pride and Prejudice on TV. Fired up by the remembrance of Austen’s genius with words, I dug out my copy of the novel and in short order had been inspired to set my mind to writing in earnest. I began work on a Regency romance based on Austen’s timeless classic, and my debut novel Mistaken is the result.
The Regency period continues to fascinate me, and I spend a good deal of my time cavorting about there in my daydreams, imagining all manner of misadventures. The rest of the time I can be found at home in Hertfordshire, where I live with my husband, two children, and an out-of-tune piano. You can check out my musings on the absurdities of language and life on my blog, Life in Words, or you can drop me a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on my Facebook page, Jessie Lewis Author, or on Goodreads, Jessie Lewis.

Buy Links:

Mistaken(Amazon US)
Mistaken(Amazon UK)
Mistaken is also available on Kindle Unlimited

Blog Tour Schedule:

10/03My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, Giveaway
10/04Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
10/05Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway
10/06Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
10/07My Love for Jane Austen;Character Interview, Giveaway
10/08Of Pens and Pages; Review, Giveaway
10/09From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/10Half Agony, Half Hope;Review, Excerpt
10/11Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, Giveaway
10/12So little time…; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/13Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway
10/14Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Giveaway
10/15Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
10/16Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, GA

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Mistaken by Jessie Lewis. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

My thanks again goes to Jessie for this great extract! My thanks also to Janet for setting up this tour.

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


  1. I look forward to reading about Jane's journey in this story. I hope by the end she is a better person.

    1. Thanks darcybennett. As Darcy and Elizabeth show us in canon, the first step to self-improvement is self-awareness, and all the characters get a healthy dose of that in Mistaken ... eventually ;)

  2. Love the idea of this Jane, makes her a more rounded character

    1. Yes, life is not quite so easy when everything ceases to be perfect - and men have arrived in Elizabeth and Jane's world and messed up their little Meryton utopia something chronic. It makes for an interesting time for the two sisters, Vesper! Thanks for stopping in to comment :)

  3. A Resentful Jane? Who would have thought? And who is Mr Greyson?
    Yes I definitely need to read this book.

    1. I hope you enjoy the read Glynis! Thanks for popping in!

  4. Such a different Jane! Nonetheless intriguing!

    1. She's still the same in essentials, Maria. She's just tested in a way that Austen didn't test her in the original. That's what I love about JAFF. I hope you enjoy the variation! :)

  5. Having loved the book I have also derived great enjoyment from this blog tour. It has given me new insights into the author's interpretation of characters old and new. I will reread it with a new insight that will undoubtedly make it even more enjoyable than the first time around. Thank you Jessie for such an accomplished and obviously well reachered, thought out and executed first novel. Cannot wait for your next one. When can we expect it?

  6. Interesting take on Jane. It does feel different to hear her jealous of Lizzy and I'm looking forward to her redemption. Good comparison to Mr. Darcy. Thanks for the informative post and the excerpt. Enjoyed both!

    1. Jane never changes in essentials, Janet. She just, like Elizabeth does in canon, takes a short detour away from rationality to be swayed by the bad influence of others - and then takes a while, as Darcy did, to recognise that she's gone awry. I hope you enjoy reading about how Elizabeth and Darcy overcome not just their own faults but those of the people around them. Thanks for organising this blog tour, Janet, so I could talk about my characterisations. And thank you Lizzie for having me here at Laughing with Lizzie, it's a pleasure to be here :)

  7. I loved Jane's journey in your story Jessie! For me it really illustrated how much a person can change when under stress ... I don't want to say too much but when the pretty sister who is always the favorite suddenly isn't anymore... it makes a girl bitter! Anyway, that's what makes good JAFF in my book, I love to read a different take on things. Thanks again for a great book!

    1. Thanks, Amy! Yes, it's true - even good people mess up sometimes. And those who have never made a mistake before are less likely to be equipped to put it right straight away. And I agree with you - the fun of JAFF is the variety. Thanks so much! :)

  8. I liked that you pointed some likeness between Darcy and Jane's faults being ignored by their friends and family. Very interesting.
    I'm looking forward to reading the published version.

    1. Mistaken begins just after Hunsford, so the theme of recognising, correcting and/or accepting one's own and each others faults runs strongly throughout the story. It was challenging but great fun to write. I hope you enjoy the read!

  9. I'm looking forward to reading about Jane's journey as well. I do hope she learns from her experience and comes out a better person too!

    1. I reckon if Elizabeth can shake off her pride and prejudice then Jane can overcome an untimely bout of insecurity and bitterness ;) I hope you enjoy reading about it. Thanks Dung Vu!


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