Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Second Stay at 4 Sydney Place

At the beginning of November I had another trip to Bath - I had a few people to meet. Once again thanks to 'Bath Boutique Stays' I was able to stay at 4 Sydney Place again (for those who maybe missed my last post it is the very house where Jane Austen lived with her family from 1801-1804.)

Once again I had a lovely time. I stayed in the second floor apartment this time, Mr Darcy's apartment. This visit felt even more special because Mr Darcy's apartment contains the room in which Jane and her sister, Cassandra, actually slept in while they were living there. So I was sleeping in the same room as Jane Austen had, 210 odd years earlier! Wow...  

The living and dining room

Mr Darcy's apartment has moved into top spot for me. Emma's is lovely, but Darcy's has just edged it! I liked the more masculine décor.

It was a bit misty though!

You don't have the garden as you do with Emma's (not that I mind at this time of year!), but being on the second floor meant there was a lovely view over Bath actually.

It was looking very autumnal as well!


I like the compact but fully equipped kitchen too - even if my father (who was staying with me) couldn't work out the touch screen hob!

The bathroom was particularly nice too, more spacious than in Emma's apartment.

 My favourite room, however, has to be the bedroom - I'll give you three guesses why!

Yes! The rather fun décor in this room; some appropriate wall art...

...and a lovely painting of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

There was a lovely dressing table as well, which I also discovered very prettily reflected the quote on the wall too!

While I was there I had a catch up with friends from the Jane Austen festival, and attended a Jane Austen Dancers practice session, and also saw the lovely Gabby Malcolm (check out her book - it is a great read!)

I also had a lovely breakfast at the Pump Rooms one morning. I do like it in there.

Some wonderful musicians kept me entertained as well. (I would quite like a classical trio to accompany my breakfast every morning!)

Gorgeously decorated room.

I don't even mind the famous Bath waters myself!

The Pump Rooms

During a spare moment I also popped into Bath Cathedral. It is a beautiful place. 
Stunning ceiling. 

It looked beautiful lit up in the evenings too.

There was a special display for Remembrance Day as well.

              I added my cross.

I bought my first Christmas decoration while I was there as well; Jane Austen for my fee of course!

I also finally got myself some of the Bath gin! (Love the winking Jane!)

It was another very lovely trip to Bath, and I already can't wait to return - which I am doing in December, to have a look round the famous Christmas market!

So, that is two apartments at 4 Sydney Place down, and two to go! Currently Mr Darcy's second floor apartment takes top spot! As before, the hospitality and welcome I received at 4 Sydney was just great. I really do enjoying staying there, and not just because Jane lived there - that is just an added bonus!

Your affectionate friend,
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Longbourn's Songbird by Beau North

I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for the lovely Beau North's release, Longbourn's SongbirdMy thanks must also go to Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews for asking me to be part of this tour.

Book Blurb:
“Someday some lark is gonna spell you with a song, Will Darcy. She’ll call you with music and you’ll be as good as lost.”

In the autumn of 1948, young millionaire Will Darcy comes to the sleepy, backwater town of Meryton, South Carolina to visit his best friend, Charles Bingley. When Darcy becomes enchanted by a local beauty with a heavenly voice, his business dealings with Longbourn Farms may close the door to his romantic hopes before they are given a chance to thrive.

Still healing from heartbreak, Elizabeth Bennet takes solace in her family, home, and the tight-knit community of Meryton. That foundation is shaken when Will Darcy makes a successful offer to buy the family farm. Blinded by hurt, will Elizabeth miss the chance to find in him the peace and comfort her heart truly needs?

Confronting the racial, economic, and social inequalities of the times, Longbourn’s Songbird is an imaginative romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and told through the lens of post-WWII America, a story layered with betrayal and loss, love and letting go.

I’d like to first off thank Laughing with Lizzie for participating in my blog tour! I feel so lucky to have landed such a great blog with such an engaged following.

For those of you who don’t know, Longbourn’s Songbird is set in 1948 in South Carolina. A romantic time and place for some, a terrifying and oppressive one for others. I try as best I can to show both sides of that coin. I haven’t lived in the South for quite a few years now, but it is the place that made me, for better or worse.

The Southern United States is a beautiful, difficult place. It’s a wilderness tempered with strict, if unspoken, rules of society. Like in Austen’s time, a young southern lady’s reputation was her most valuable asset. Genteel good manners were lauded, and proper comportment expected at all times. The public display of high emotions were taboo and even speaking above a certain volume was frowned upon.


Naturally, over time many of these rules have relaxed somewhat. A lady may slouch if she wishes, though she should expect some side-eye from any nearby matronly types. A lady may let her displeasure be known when she is met with cruelty or unkindness. And, thankfully, a lady may speak at any volume she chooses.


The final draft of Longbourn’s Songbird was not as colloquial as it could have been. Many of my “southernisms” I removed from the manuscript. For my first stop in the blog tour I thought it might be fun for the girls to let loose a little, so to speak. I’m going to take this opportunity to provide you with some of my favorite southern expressions, spoken the young ladies of Longbourn’s Songbird, who are for this engagement only, allowed to be as informal as they please.


A’Larking - harmless mischief

“Papa’s gone and hidden mama’s smelling salts again.” Jane shook her head, a small smile playing across her lips. “You’d think he’s too old to go a’larking like that.”


Bowed Up - In ill humor, disapproving

“Who is that man and why is he so bowed up after just walking in the door?” Elizabeth asked. “Why, that’s Mr. Darcy!” Charlotte replied.


Cain’t Never Could -roughly, “you’ll never know if  you don’t try”

“Mama I can’t walk all the way to Netherfield!”

“Well, Jane, cain’t never could. Do you want to see Mr. Bingley’s sisters or not?”


Dills My Pickle - annoys

“That Mr. Darcy is always looking down his nose at us. He really dills my pickle.”


Fixin’ - To be on the verge of an action, to prepare

Kitty pulled her gloves as she called to her sisters in the next room. “We’re fixin’ to walk into Meryton if anyone wants to join us.”


Horse Sense - common sense

“Jane and Lizzy at least have horse sense,” Mrs. Gardiner said to her husband. “But those other three!”


Make Lincoln Wink - frugal, miserly

“Oh please,” Anne said. “You know mother’s can squeeze a penny hard enough to make Lincoln wink.”


Reckon - to believe something is true

Charlotte looked down at her hands. “I reckon you think I’m making a mistake, marrying Mr. Collins.”


And of course, we can’t forget the best, most well-known, and quite possibly the most complex bit of Southern terminology…


Bless Your Heart - 1. term of sympathy 2. term used to indicate someone not blessed with an abundance of education, wit, or sanity 3. term used to indicate misfortune


“I can’t walk into to Meryton today, Elizabeth.”

“Bless your heart, Jane, are you feeling poorly?”


“Here comes Aunt Phillips to wag her tongue at Mama,” Mary said with a sigh.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Yes, I guess Mr. Bingley’s return has given her plenty to discuss, bless her heart.”


“That’s quite a story Eliza, are you sure that Mr. Darcy was so very cruel to George Wickham?”

“Of course I’m sure, Charlotte! That devil Darcy took everything from the poor man, bless his heart.”


I hope that any readers from the area will chime in with some of their favorite Southernisms. Or, what are some of the more perplexing/charming phrases from where you hail from?

Thanks everyone!

Author Bio:

Beau North is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with English Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, an internet collective focused on pop culture. This is her first novel.

You can connect with Beau on Twitter @beaunorth and on Facebook, or via If you’ve enjoyed this book, we welcome your fair and honest review on Goodreads and Amazon.



** GIVEAWAY - ends Wednesday 18th November**
One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Longbourn's Songbird. It 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 Jakki who will be in touch.

Good luck! (All giveaway books are ordered at the same time. Therefore, winners from the beginning of the blog tour will have to wait longer to receive their book than winners from the end of the tour. Thank you in advance for your patience.)

My thanks again goes to Beau North for this fun post - I have learnt a lot from it! My thanks also to Jakki for setting up this tour!

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

Your affectionate friend,
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