Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Longbourn to London by Linda Beutler

Today I am pleased to be part of the blog tour for the lovely Linda Beutler's latest release, Longbourn to LondonMy thanks must also go to Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews for asking me to be part of this tour.

Linda is going to tell us a little about her inspiration behind this story. 

"A courtship is a journey of discovery, but what do we know of the official betrothal of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? We may assume there were awkward social events to navigate, tedious wedding arrangements to negotiate, and Bingley’s toplofty sisters to accommodate. How did Darcy and Elizabeth manage these travails, and each other?
     Longbourn to London is not a Pride and Prejudice “what if,” nor is it a sequel. Rather, it is an expansion of the betrothal of Jane Austen’s favorite couple. We follow Lizzy’s journey from spirited maiden scampering about the fields of Hertfordshire to nervous, blushing bride in Mayfair, where she learns the unexpected joys of marriage to a man as willing to be teased as she is to tease him.
Join us as IPPY award-winning author Linda Beutler (2013 Silver Medal, Independent Publishers Awards, for The Red Chrysanthemum) imagines the betrothal and early honeymoon of Jane Austen’s greatest couple.

Includes mature content."

Sophie, thanks so much for the opportunity to connect with you and your readers!

Imagining a Courtship
By Linda Beutler, author of Longbourn to London; The Red Chrysanthemum

We are told so little of the betrothal period of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, but by the end of Pride and Prejudice, we know their characters thoroughly. The depth of Darcy’s love for Elizabeth, as evidenced by his patience and sacrifice, is truly swoon-worthy.

     Her love, as I read it, hinges upon his letter to her at Hunsford, revealing a man who cares so deeply he is willing to explain everything—a momentous surprise she eventually memorizes, literally absorbing it into her whole being.

     And the second event that opens Lizzy’s heart is her visit to Pemberley. Seeing the grandeur of the estate brings home to her how much he loved her. We have no evidence anywhere in the story that either she or he doubted her ability to become a proper mistress to Pemberley.  There she sees his portrait, and muses upon how her personality would have enhanced his. To me, at that moment, it all comes together…she is in love with him, too.

     Once we have a second proposal, followed by a couple of key conversations, all becomes vague and hurried, just when THIS modern reader—me!—wants to learn more of the events that bond them as a couple. I am not alone in this. Even my mother, re-reading P & P five years ago for the first time in 50 years, said, “It’s all so rushed and unsatisfying at the end.”

     In Longbourn to London, my goal was to explore those six weeks; to fill the time with details and to examine how their families and friends would have responded to Lizzy and Darcy as an engaged couple. As a novel, it really isn’t much of a plot, I freely admit. None-the-less, it was great fun to great a P & P story that didn’t have to include Wickham, or the Hunsford proposal, or the cat-fight with Lady Catherine. All of these things were already written by Jane Austen, and I only needed to reference them as memories.

    Bingley and Jane, being betrothed a bit longer than Lizzy and Darcy, lead the way to watching other minor characters respond. I tried to keep everyone “in character”. Bingley is giddy, Jane is serene. Caroline Bingley eventually has a meltdown, but her sister and brother-in-law, the Hursts, are more pragmatic about their adjustment to Lizzy and Darcy, and begin to court Lizzy’s favor as well as Darcy’s. Mrs. Bennet loves the idea of Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy a good bit more that she actually loves her daughter, and becomes slightly obsessed with everyone’s pre-wedding health. Aunt Phillips is a harrowing advisor, while Aunt Gardiner provides more useful advice. Mr. Bennet is moved to become a bemused hero for his favorite daughter.

    As I am not very keen on the introduction of loads of new characters to P & P “what-ifs” (those of you who have read The Red Chrysanthemum will already have guessed as much), the only unknowns here are Mrs. Chawton, the housekeeper of the Darcys’ London residence, and Sarah, the housemaid chosen by Darcy to become Lizzy’s lady’s maid for their week in London. Mrs. Chawton is similar to Mrs. Reynolds at Pemberley. Sarah is in awe of the opportunity she has been granted, but given Lizzy’s ability to form firm bonds with sisters and friends, turning to Sarah as a confidant is second nature for the new mistress of Darcy House.

    As the secondary characters flutter around Darcy and Lizzy, our dear couple remains the core of the story. They begin exchanging secrets. Lizzy teases Darcy, as we expect, and is delighted as he sharpens his wit on her. She watches with astonishment as Darcy makes himself somewhat more open to her family, and he is concerned to distraction when he realizes the married women of the neighborhood are filling his bride-to-be with wedding night jitters.

    Speaking of which… yes, I take up the development of their physical relationship in no small way, starting in the very first chapter with their very first kiss. To be honest, if mature content is not your cup of tea, Longbourn to London might be a difficult read. Rather than saving most of the “hot parts” for the end of the story, dreams and musings on the topic are woven throughout, and it is impossible to say “skip the last three chapters” or “mind your step around chapters three and seven and thirteen…” or some such. In the first place, what else does Darcy have to think about when the wedding details mainly fall to Lizzy, Jane, and Mrs. Bennet? And as for Lizzy, she has her Aunt Phillips to contend with. Lizzy is not allowed to ignore the coming of her wedding night, even should she wish it.

There you have it, Sophie and your Laughing Lizzies… I can’t say much more without the liberal sprinkling of spoilers! Thanks so much for the opportunity to explain a bit of my “process” and the undeniable inclination to “expand” Pride and Prejudice.

Thank you Linda for explaining you inspiration for this story and why you wanted to explore their courtship more. I am with you - my favourite chapters are when they are engaged and so I always like to read more about that time! 

My thanks again goes to Linda Beutler for this post and to Jakki for setting up this tour!

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

Your affectionate friend,
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Leaving Bennet Behind: Chosen by Sarah Johnson - with giveaway!

I recently was contacted by the lovely Sarah Johnson asking me if I would review her new book, Chosen, for her, and I was happy to! (I was given a review copy but this is my honest, unbiased opinion/)

This is the first book in a series titled 'Leaving Bennet Behind.' Each story will tell of how each Bennet sister finds her match and leaves the name of Bennet behind! Chosen tells us of Elizabeth Bennet's story. 

"The Bennet family changed dramatically when Mr Bennet nearly lost his life. The rekindled love between him and his wife encouraged a unifying bond amongst their five daughters. Their story unfolds as each eligible young lady walks down the aisle, taking her husband’s hand and forever leaving the name of Bennet behind.
Fitzwilliam Darcy was a tormented man. His sister’s recent accident and the lifelong difficulties she was now to face plagued him. While visiting his friend, Darcy crosses paths with a young lady. He is immediately captivated and soon seeks out an introduction and dance with Elizabeth Bennet. Could it be that his parents, though they are no longer with him, are leading him right to the arms of a family who can help both he and his sister heal from all they have suffered? Will the instant connection Darcy and Elizabeth both feel for each other be able to weather the storms that come when a secret past connection is revealed?"

First off, the writing. The language was generally very good and appropriate; it flowed well as I read. I did enjoy the author’s style; we get to see into the thoughts of many different characters through this book which was really interesting as we got to know them all very well, but more on that later. As we see the perspectives of so many, there is a lot of switching between different points of view, but this was done well. Once I was into the story and used to her style, which didn't take long, the jumps between characters felt smooth and it was easy to follow.

Back to the multiple perspectives; as I said, it was really interesting to get to know so many characters in such detail, and especially to see into the thoughts of some more unusual characters. As a result of this, there are lots of conversations between a real range of characters. I enjoyed it a lot. Seeing more into the thoughts of Caroline Bingley was fun! And we get to know Mary Bennet a lot more, which I really loved. (But while it was a story with many characters, Darcy and Lizzy are still the main two!) 

As well as this, we hear about the backgrounds and pasts of many more, which really gives them depth. However, I say we get to know the characters much better, but the characters we get to know are often very different from the ones that we know in Pride and Prejudice! 

I was intrigued by the premise of this story. Illness and serious accidents can really alter a family. I know this myself from experience! It makes you re-evaluate your priorities and makes you realise what is actually important in life. This is why so many of the characters are so different, especially the Bennets. Although they are very different from the original, it was a nice change to see the Bennets actually getting on, and of course there are still aspects which are recognisable. Due to the circumstances, Mr Bennet’s accident, the changes in the characters seem very reasonable and believable. 

Some of the most interesting characters who have been most affected by the accident would be Mr Bennet himself. The way it has improved his relationship with his wife is really sweet, as well as seeing how it has affected his view on how he cares for his daughters. The Bennet family as a whole are a really close-knit family, which makes a lovely change; we get to see interesting relationships between other sisters like Jane, Elizabeth and Mary. Even Kitty and Lydia are much more subdued and even likable! 

The Darcys, as well, are affected by a similar accident which has befallen Georgiana. Poor Georgiana has been through a lot and I really felt for her. The accident seems to greatly alter Darcy's priorities and so when he meets Lizzy, his mindset is very different from canon.

The relationship built between Mr Bennet and Georgiana is very sweet as they can relate as both have been through a very similar accident. Mr Bennet also becomes like a father figure to Darcy, which is nice to see given Darcy has been without a father for so very long. 

As well as Mr Bennet being very useful for the Darcys, whose accident has only just happened whereas Mr Bennet’s happened a few years ago, Elizabeth also becomes a real comfort for Darcy as she had to experience what Darcy is going through when her father had his accident.

The characters really are different - I mean, even Mr Bennet and Lydia are getting on! Of course, the evil characters stay evil - that's Caroline, Wickham, the ones that we don't like, as well as some surprising new ones actually! Other particularly interesting changes to characters are others like Mr and Mrs Hurst who have a very sweet relationship. I have already mentioned Mary who has her own little story being set up in this one. (I will go into details about specific characters shortly.) 

Aside from the changes in characters due to illness, another interesting aspect which I enjoyed was the idea of fate. Without wanting to give too much away, Darcy lost his parents very young and has been very lonely with a lot of responsibility ever since. As soon as Darcy meets Elizabeth, he feels an instant connection to her, as if it is his parents who have led him into her path, that it is his parents who have ‘chosen’ Elizabeth for him - hence the title! This made for some really, really sweet conversations and a very touching ending - but I don't want to give all the good stuff away! I would say that the Darcy, in this story, could be seen as a lot more sentimental and almost emotional, however it worked with the premise and didn't feel out of place - I'm telling you, serious illness makes you rethink what actually matters! (And I have to say, the sentimental Darcy is really rather cute - some of the things he says to Lizzie are just adorable! You will love him!) 

As is hinted at in the blurb above, Darcy and Lizzie do have a slight past connection - another reason why he feels an instant connection to her. It is kept as a bit of a mystery and I was intrigued throughout the story trying to work out what exactly the connection was - it kept me hooked, but I don't want to spoil it for you! 

Right now to some more specifics about characters, and of course we must begin with the hero and heroine! 

Although Elizabeth has been through much as a result of having to deal with her father's accident, she is still the witty, high-spirited Elizabeth that we know, expect and love. One big alteration is that she likes Darcy straightaway - no pride, no prejudice, no misunderstandings for a change! Something I particularly enjoyed about getting to know this Elizabeth was the past memories of her childhood which really showed her character. There was some lovely stories about her climbing – and getting stuck in! – trees! We also learn of her Grandma Bennet who she was very close to, and the stories painted of their time really helped you see how it shaped her into the Lizzy we know, and it was sweet to have a glimpse into the young Lizzy. 

I have already mentioned that Darcy is quite different from the rather proud man that we expect. But you can't help but feel sorry for him as you read his thoughts about his past and how he had to deal with the passing of his mother, and then his father and all the responsibilities as a result of becoming Master of Pemberley so young, and now the accident with Georgiana! His thoughts and feelings are particularly well described. Again, seeing into the thoughts of Darcy is always interesting as he is quite an elusive character until very much towards the end of Pride and Prejudice. You really get to know this Darcy, and although he is different, he is still a Darcy we can easily fall in love with - I did pretty much straight away! 

I mentioned early that Elizabeth liked Darcy immediately, as did Darcy with Elizabeth. They get off to a much better start, and do dance at the Meryton assembly! I have now read a few variations where the relationship between Darcy and Lizzie is a lot smoother and the problems come from other areas rather than misunderstandings between themselves, and I really like to read this. Their courtship and relationship through the first half of the story is very sweet - Elizabeth helps to bring Darcy out of his sad state of mind as a result of Georgiana's accident, and Darcy is very, very charming! Some of the conversations they have are really just too cute, as well as often very funny! Another thing I always enjoy in the book is when Darcy and Elizabeth engage quite a lot before the end - I much prefer that to them marrying on the last page of the book! They get engaged almost in the middle of this book, I believe, and it was lovely to see how their relationship changed once they were engaged, and don't worry, the second half is far from boring - the drama doesn't stop as they have other problems to face, but at least they could face them together! I don't know what else to say other than Darcy and Elizabeth are just adorable. They are very much a young couple in love - and we all like to read a happy Darcy and Lizzy don't we?! 

Now aside from Darcy and Lizzy, the beloved characters such as the Bingleys obviously still come into the story. Beginning with the not so charming Caroline Bingley - she is as scheming and awful as we want her to be and expect her to be. Bingley, on the other hand, is just Bingley - very much in love with his angel, Jane. It was a lot of fun to see into the thought of Bingley a bit more; for one, about his feelings for Jane, but also about his opinion on his own sister, Caroline! As I already mentioned, Mr and Mrs Hurst are surprisingly lovely and have a really sweet and very different relationship and I enjoyed it. They aren't too keen on Caroline either, and this resulted in some funny scenes and conversations! 

I have already touched on Mr Bennet and how he plays a role in the story, but one of the most interesting and enjoyable changes has to be the relationship of Mr and Mrs Bennet. We know that Mr Bennet was attracted to a pretty face and a lively disposition when they were younger, but it is lovely to see the love they would have felt initially, at least for a little while on some level, rekindled. Seeing them work together as parents – and very successfully – to their daughters was really lovely. 

Back onto Georgiana; I have already mentioned how it is impossible not to feel sorry for her. The accident has left her incapable of walking, and they are unsure if she will ever walk again. Her development in the story as she comes to terms with her disability is touching and her relationship with Elizabeth and the other Bennet daughters, particularly Mary later in the story, is just wonderful. I always like to get to know Georgiana better as she seems like such a lovely girl in Pride and Prejudice. I am greatly looking forward to seeing how her story continues in the other novels of this ‘Leaving Bennet Behind’ series. 

As well as the characters we all love, there are some wonderful new additions to the story. Colonel Fitzwiiam, of course, still comes along but so does his delightful brother Alex Fitzwilliam. It was lovely to see Fitzwilliam with a brother; there was a lot of fun brotherly banter going on! Alex himself was a wonderful character and became quite a major part of the story in his own way and takes quite in interest to one of the other Bennet ladies, and I'm greatly looking forward to see how that goes on in the future stories! 

Another new addition is Lord and Lady Rosebery, The Fitzwilliam parents. They were lovely. Their relationship with their son, as well as with their nephew and niece, Darcy and Georgiana, was very nice to see. We really don't meet much of Darcy's family so it was nice to get to know him more through some of his nicer relations - we don't get the best impression from Lady Catherine!

Darcy and Elizabeth are the central characters of this book, but the story which will be picked up in Volume II, Jane and Bingley, is touched on through this book as well, as is the one which I believe will be central to Volume III, Mary’s story. The way she has set up all these other plots and also some other exciting mystery which hasn't been resolved has certainly kept me into wanting to read the next volumes once published, to find out what happens to the other Bennet girls and how they leave the name of Bennet behind. She certainly has me hooked! 

I really have enjoyed the story and as you can probably tell, I can't wait for the next volumes of this series. Back on this story in particular, I really enjoyed the better start between Darcy and Elizabeth as well as the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet. The idea of how illness can affect so many and change the attitude of so many was really interesting to read about. All the new characters were lovely and the fact that we get to know so many of them so well was brilliant and quite different as many variations I read very much focus on just Darcy and Elizabeth, and at a stretch Jane and Bingley as well.

There was mystery, drama, plenty of romance, humour and brilliant characters - what more could I ask for? I am on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment in this wonderful story - but don't panic, although this is Volume I in a series, this story has its own happy ending, no cliffhangers - for Lizzy and Darcy at least!


Sarah also has also just published a novella which sounds like a lot of fun! I will be reading this soon as well so watch for my review! 

"A sudden and fierce snow storm causes Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia Bennet, as well as their would-be rescuers, Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, to take shelter in an empty cabin. Lydia’s suggestion to pass the time with games might be just what Bingley needs to prove Jane truly cares for him. Will Elizabeth’s prejudices of Mr Darcy hold up under the scrutiny of being stranded with him? What changes could possibly come from the effects of ‘Snow Storms & Kissing Games’?"

**GIVEAWAY - ends Thursday 21st August **

Sarah has provided me a wonderful giveaway with four prizes! 

First prize is a paperback copy of Chosen
Second prize is an ebook copy of Chosen.
Third prize is a paperback copy of Snow Storms.
And fourth prize is an ebook copy of Snow Storms
This giveaway is open internationally.  
To enter, leave a comment below and the winners will be picked randomly. 

Please leave your email address. If you are one of the lucky winners, I will pass on your email to Sarah who will be in touch. 

Good luck!

Thank you again to Sarah for this giveaway, and I wish you all the best with this story as well as the future ones! 

Your affectionate friend,
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Remember the Past by Maria Grace - with giveaway!

Today I welcome the lovely Maria Grace to my blog who has just released her new story, Remember the Past. Maria has sent me a fascinating post about the Anatomy of a fan as well as an excerpt from her new book! I have been honoured with a review copy of this story so watch for my review in the next few weeks!


Thanks for having me Sophie! It is so nice to get to visit with you.

One of the things I enjoy most about the writing process is the creation of memorable, three dimensional characters that the reader can get to know and remember like an old friend.

In Remember the Past, one of my favorite characters to create was Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  In this book, she ended up being a very different character than from even what I envisioned at the start.  She took a life of her own and insisted that she break the typical mold. 

One of her distinguishing characteristics is her fans.  Lady Catherine always has a fan with her. While she does not use ‘the language of the fan’ she does use her fan to express herself and make her point very clear when speaking to her nephews, Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam.

I had to do a bit of research on Regency era fans in the process of developing her character and I learned a few interesting things about fans that you might find as interesting as I did..

Several different forms of fans existed, going in and out of style like most fashion accessories.

The earliest fans, often made of wood or feathers attached to a handle, did not fold. Thus, they were called fixed. Their popularity faded with the convenience of the folding fan.

Several forms of folding fans exist.
Brise’ fans consists of sticks only with no leaf. Individual sticks that get wider from the rivet  to the top are fastened together with a ribbon or decorative fabric band.   The sticks might be decorated individual with painting, gilding, piercing or carving, or together to form a scene or image when opened.  Inexpensive brise’ fans might be made of wood. Ivory, tortoise shell and mother of pearl could be very fashionable.

            Pleated fans are the most common folding fans. Sticks are held together at the bottom rivet and a leaf or mount is attached to them. Leaves might be made from paper, silk or other fabric, kid, lace, feathers or vellum.    

Cockade fans were are a type of pleated fan in which the stiff pleated leaf is attached to two sticks.  The sticks open full circle and fasten together to form a hand.
                        Cabriolet fans are pleated fans with a leaf of multiple, separate strips.  These leaf strips were made of chicken skin (vellum) since it was the only material strong enough to withstand the wear and tear in such narrow bands.


While useful, fans are most often considered a fashion accessory and prized for their beauty.
Master artists and individual ladies alike decorated fans with paintings on silk and paper leaves. Landscapes were popular themes, as were the depiction of persons. Biblical and mythological themes were favored by some, while others leaned toward caricatures. As demand for decorative fans increased, designs were printed, rather than painted or paper or silk, permitting the production of less expensive fans.

 Here’s a little excerpt of the book so you can get a peak of Lady Catherine in action with her fan.

Remember the Past

Aunt Catherine swept into Darcy’s office, her skirts swooshing like the winds on the cusp of a thunderstorm.
“What can I do for you?” Darcy lowered his book enough to catch a glimpse of her face. Hers was an expression he would just as soon not see.
She thumped her hands on his desk. “What did you say to her?”
“To whom?”
She shot him a milk-curdling glare.
Yes, he knew, but had no desire to discuss it. He lifted his book a little higher. “I said nothing.”
“The poor girl was beside herself when she fled to her room.” She pulled her fan from her pocket.
“Miss Elizabeth is in no way given to such inappropriate displays.” No, she was not going to apply that instrument to him.
Distance, he needed distance. Perhaps the window…who was he fooling? Little good it would do, but he had to try something to deter her.
“What did you find to criticize, Darcy? Was her behavior—”
“Enough!” He whirled.
She stood far too close, her eyes far too penetrating and perceptive. “What happened?”
Escape was impossible.
She edged closer still, tapping her closed fan in her palm. Shuck. Shuck. Shuck. He hated that sound.
“Nothing. Fitzwilliam and I found the boys playing at swords with the Admiral and Miss Elizabeth.” He stared over her head, anywhere but at her.
Miss Elizabeth had been a sight, sword in hand. How easily she eluded Fitzwilliam’s feints. Mesmerizing … He tugged his collar.
“She joined in their games?”
No, he would not acknowledge the question, not even with a twitch.
“She assumed you disapproved—which is not at all difficult, considering the fierce mien you usually wear.” The fan slapped his cheek hard enough to sting.
“You go too far, madam.”
“I do not go far enough. Your mother would be horrified by your lack of hospitality. My dearest Anne would never have stood for it.”
He glowered and sidestepped.
“The poor girl has been through enough. She does not need you adding to her sorrow.”
 Shuck. Shuck. Shuck.
“What are you talking about?” He ground his teeth and stomped across the room. Away from that wretched fan.
“You are not a simpleton. You can puzzle it out.”
“I cannot fathom to what you allude.”
“Oy,” she chased him down. “What kind of reception do you think a woman like her received from the ton?”
“You mean one sponsored by a prince, with a father as decorated and connected as the Admiral, and possessing a handsome fortune?”
She flipped her fan open and fluttered it sharply. “Miss Elizabeth is all those things as well as striking and intelligent, unconventional and outspoken.”
“How does that signify?”
“Must I spell it out?”
“I have no time for this. Tell me plainly or leave me.”
“The poor dear has been treated infamously by no less than three suitors, men more interested in her fortune and connections than in her.” She folded her arms, tucking her fan into her elbow.
“Of what concern is this to me?”
“When she discovered their duplicity, she rejected them soundly. Naturally, they spread vicious gossip about her to well-connected, jealous women only too happy to take revenge on one so far above themselves in fortune and consequence and character.”
Just one of the reasons he avoided London. “And I imagine she told you of this herself.”
“Certainly not. The dear girl rarely speaks of herself, or had you not noticed? No, it was her sister—after she inquired what were your intentions toward Miss Elizabeth.” She poked him in the chest with her fan.
“My intentions?” He sputtered and edged backwards. If his ears grew any hotter they would surely ignite. “They have been here less than a se’nnight. What intentions—”
“You think you are subtle with those looks you and Fitzwilliam give both those girls.”
“Enough, madam.”
“They are worthy young ladies. And their fortunes—”
“I am not in need of a woman’s fortune to fill my coffers. Pemberley is quite solvent, thank you.” He strode to his desk.
“My Anne’s dowry—”
“Is set aside for her younger son. I have not touched a pound of it, nor will I.”
Her voice softened to something quite tender. “Your management is impeccable.”
“Thank you.”
“You cannot deny Miss Elizabeth is a brilliant match, though.”
“I am in no mood to give consequence to young ladies slighted by other men.” He slammed his hands on the desktop.
“Stubborn man! At the very least, as a gentleman you should apologize for discomposing her.”
“I do not wish to elevate—”
“Oh do not fear,” frost crackled on her voice, “she is certain of your contempt. Your apology will not raise hopes she did not have to begin with.” She swished a cloak of indignation around her shoulders and stormed out.
Darcy shut the door behind her, emptiness filling his belly until he sank into his favorite chair. What was more troubling, that others saw his admiration for Miss Elizabeth, or that Miss Elizabeth could not?
He knew her to be upset, but the possibility of hurting her was insupportable. Somehow, he had to rectify the misunderstanding. She must not be somewhere in the world thinking ill of him.

Book Blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet’s father, Admiral Thomas Bennet, assures his daughters that his retirement from His Majesty’s Navy will be the start of a new life for them all. Little does he know his family's battles have only just begun. 

Well-connected and in possession of a good fortune, their entry into society should have been a triumph.  However, their long-awaited first season in London proves a disaster, and the resulting scandal sends the Bennets fleeing to the wilds of Derbyshire.

Widower Fitzwilliam Darcy, the master of Pemberley, wants for nothing, most especially not a wife. From the moment the Bennets arrive in Derbyshire, Darcy’s neatly ordered life turns upside down. His sons beg to keep company with their new playmates, the young Bennet twins. His mother-in-law sets her cap for Admiral Bennet. Worst of all, Darcy cannot get his mind off a certain bewitching Miss Elizabeth Bennet, but she has sworn never to let another gentleman near her heart. 

Darcy’s best efforts to befriend and assist the Bennet family go horribly awry, alienating first Miss Elizabeth, then her father, and finally endangering what both men hold most dear. Can the two men Elizabeth loves most set aside their pride to prevent catastrophe for their families and win the love they seek?

**GIVEAWAY - ends Tuesday 19th August **

Maria has provided me a giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Remember the Past. This giveaway is open internationally.  

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

Please leave your email address and which format you would like for the ebook. If you are the lucky winner, I will pass on your email to Maria who will be in touch. 

Good luck!

Thank you again to Maria for this giveaway to for such a fun post and an intriguing excerpt! I cannot wait to read it! I wish you all the best with this story as well as the future ones! As I said, watch for my review in the next few weeks! 

Buy Links

Author Bio
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, sown six Regency era costumes, written seven Regency-era fiction projects, and designed eight websites. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.

She can be contacted at:

Random Bits of Fascination (

Austen Variations (

English Historical Fiction Authors
White Soup Press (

On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace

Your affectionate friend,
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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Blog Tour: The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter by Rose Fairbanks

Today I welcome the lovely Rose Fairbanks to my blog. She has recently published a Pride and Prejudice novella and has stopped by to give us a taster today! I will be reviewing the story in the new few weeks so keep eye out for my thoughts!

"When Fitzwilliam Darcy visits Hyde Park with his sister, he expects nothing more than a quiet walk on a fine day. Instead, he meets a young woman who challenges his ideas and pulls his sister out of her melancholy. He soon realizes Elizabeth Bennet is the only woman in the world with whom he could spend the rest of his life.

Elizabeth, clever and self-assured, refuses to change for the sake of gaining a husband, a prospect she finds impossible regardless. With wit and independence rather than fortune, she is entirely convinced no sensible man would have her, and she cannot respect a fool. Can Darcy prove to be this impossible man? Or is a figure from his past an insurmountable obstacle to a future with The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter?

This was previously posted on various forums in a draft as St. Michael's Little Summer."

I chose this excerpt because it’s one of my favourite conversations between Darcy and Elizabeth. In this scene, although very newly acquainted, Georgiana asked if they might convey Elizabeth to Netherfield in the Darcy carriage as they all happened to be arriving on the same day.


Georgiana and Mrs. Annesley were able to sleep after their scheduled stop. Darcy took advantage of the relative privacy. “Miss Elizabeth,” he began, “I believe you promised me a debate.”

She grinned at him. “Indeed, sir! Well, I will allow you to choose the subject then.”

“I have been accustomed to ladies going first.”

“And I have been accustomed to allowing those at the disadvantage to lead.”

Darcy raised his eyebrows, “You perceive I am at the disadvantage? Even after knowing I out ranked your father?”


“I am confident, sir. I have found gentlemen always hold back when competing against a woman. I am convinced it is because when they lose to me they can then falsely congratulate themselves on not performing to their best ability and pretend to be able to keep their pride.”


Darcy laughed at the image she created. “I can see you will be stubborn about this so I shall humour you. Your words just now have decided the topic for me. Let us debate faults and virtues.”

“And shall you list yours, Mr. Darcy?”


“It is not for me to consider my virtues but I can list my faults well enough, I believe.”

“You find yourself blind to your goodness but exceptionally aware of your flaws? That is rather singular. Most suffer from a conceited opinion of self-worth.”

“I am not self-deprecating but I do enjoy the study of philosophy and theology and believe in meditating on my character. I had previously thought my greatest fault was an implacable resentment; my good opinion once lost is lost forever. However, I have recently realized I am guilty of pride and vanity as well."


“You did not list obstinacy as a fault, sir.”


Darcy smiled, “I think you begin to understand me. I consider it more of a virtue, in my case.”


“I wonder if you mean obstinacy or conviction. Are you so reckless as to adhere to your opinion out of obstinacy once your conviction is gone?”

“On occasion as a master I have had to face a decision in which I held no overwhelming certainty in my choice. To waver when a matter must be decided upon is to mark it for failure. I would rather remain steadfast in my previously made plans, even if I am not perfectly convinced of their correctness, than to sit in indecisiveness.”

“As a leader of men I see that would be a necessary quality. If you are later convinced that your prior belief was incorrect, do you make amends?”

“Of course. I am guilty of pride and vanity, but not arrogance and conceit. As master it might wound my pride to admit an error but it would be dangerous to lose the respect of my servants and tenants out of conceit.”

“As I see it your virtues then are wisdom, benevolence and steadfastness. I would think now, sir, it is time to evaluate my own faults.”


“Miss Elizabeth, you are without fault, I am perfectly convinced.” He spoke with all seriousness but she did not perceive it.


Laughing merrily Elizabeth replied, “I did not know you could tease, sir! Without fault, indeed! Last evening I spoke on many of them. I am impertinent and outspoken and you may infer I am perhaps too self-assured in my opinions."

"I stand by my statements of last night; I do not find you impertinent. I admire the liveliness of your mind and I find myself quite sick of deference.”


Elizabeth blushed and before she could reply Georgiana awoke then and the threesome conversed about their favourite activities.

What a brilliant conversation! I can't wait to the read it!

**GIVEAWAY - ends Sunday 10th August **

Rose has provided me a giveaway!  Two lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter. This giveaway is open internationally. 

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

Please leave your email address and which format you would like for the ebook. If you are one of the lucky winners, I will pass on your email to Rose who will be in touch.

Good luck!

Thank you again to Rose for this giveaway! I wish you all the best with this story as well as the future ones! As I said, watch for my review in the next few weeks!

Your affectionate friend,
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