Giveaway Winners Announced for The Harrison Duet

The Harrison Duet, by Syrie James (2014)It’s time to announce the 3 winners of The Harrison Duet, giveaway. The lucky winners drawn at random are:

One digital copy of The Harrison Duet

  • Diane who left a message on Feb 12, 2014

One Muslin Book Bag

  • Schilds who left a comment on Feb 17, 2014

Two Jane Austen Note Cards

  • Donna Holmberg who left a comment on Feb 14, 2014

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 27, 2014 or you will forfeit your prize! Mail shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and to author Syrie James for her guest blog and great giveaways.

Cover image courtesy of Syrie James © 2014; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2014, Austenprose.com

A Romantic Valentine’s Day Celebration with Author Syrie James: The Harrison Duet & Giveaways

syrie valentines banner

Please help me welcome multi-talented author Syrie James. In addition to her best-selling The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Syrie has written eight critically acclaimed novels in the historical fiction, romance, young adult, and paranormal genres. Renowned for her spirited heroines, swoon-worthy heroes and romantic plots, who better to chat with us during Valentine’s week, a time when cupid’s arrow is so acute! Her latest release is The Harrison Duet, a combination of two full-length contemporary romance novels which includes: Songbird and Propositions. Originally published years before Fifty Shades of Grey changed the way we think about love affairs, you will be intrigued by their similarities and mesmerized by the Harrison siblings who each find an unexpected love. Two sexy romances in one steamy volume! 

Syrie has kindly shared a brief introduction to this new edition and offered a giveaway chance for three prizes: one digital copy of The Harrison Duet, two note cards from the Jane Austen House Museum at Chawton and one book bag resplendent with all the covers of her books to three lucky winners. The Contest details are listed below. 

Welcome Syrie:

It’s February, the month of romance! To help you celebrate in style, I’ve combined two of my most romantic novels, Songbird and Propositions, into a single volume at a special introductory price. I’m thrilled to say that Christina Boyd of Austenprose gave each of the books in The Harrison Duet a five star rating, and said they kept her “turning pages well into the wee hours of the morning.” The Harrison Duet is available now for download in eReader editions (promo price ends Feb. 26) and the print edition will soon follow. As a bonus, the book also includes my short story, “Jane Austen’s Nightmare.”

The Harrison Duet by Syrie James 2014 x 200These are very personal love stories. In looking over all the books I’ve written, I find that an immediate attraction between lovers and a whirlwind courtship is a recurring theme—and here’s why! From my great-grandparents to my parents to my own relationship with my husband, my family has many examples of couples who met, fell in love, and married within a matter of weeks—or months—all marriages which have stood the test of time and have been very happy.

The lovers in The Harrison Duet are similarly overwhelmed by a powerful romance. Both novels feature strong, intelligent, accomplished heroines who meet men who are every bit their equals, and who discover a love so deep and profound, it forces them to rethink their futures and the very meaning of romance.

In Songbird, when Southern California radio deejay Desiree Germain hosts a contest on the air, she is immediately taken by the voice of caller number twelve, Kyle Harrison, a handsome, wealthy entrepreneur from Seattle. They embark on a passionate love affair that plays havoc with the life Desiree has struggled so hard to control. It might take a Maserati, dozens of red roses, and a lot of airplane tickets…but can Kyle convince Desiree to risk her heart and her career for love?

“I loved it! A beautifully written, almost lyrically told story about two people overcoming their fears and the profound love they share.” —The Book Hookup

“Provocative, sultry romance! Songbird hits all the right notes…Syrie James’s realistic characterization of two strong personalities kept me turning pages well into the wee hours of the morning.” —Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Read an excerpt from Songbird here.

Hearts from SyrieIn book two in The Harrison Duet, Propositions, freelance advertising artist Kelli Ann Harrison can’t resist teaming up with ingenious Grant Pembroke to create an ad campaign for a casino account in beautiful Lake Tahoe. But a high-voltage charge sizzles between them from the start. They make a wonderful creative team—but can business and pleasure mix? If Kelli and Grant play their cards right, can a whirlwind love affair last forever?

 “I loved, loved, loved this perfectly crafted, lush love story…This poignant, steamy romance will have you believing there can be love at first sight. 5 stars!” —Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Read an excerpt from Propositions here.

I hope The Harrison Duet will touch your heart and make you believe in love at first sight!

BONUS MATERIAL: “JANE AUSTEN’S NIGHTMARE” 

This short story, originally published in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is a first person narrative by Austen herself, in which she unexpectedly meets some of her own characters—many of whom have a few choice words for her about how she portrayed them.

“A clever story which asks the question, what would happen if Jane Austen met her literary creations?…This story just proves why Syrie James is one of my favorite authors.” —For the Love of Austen

“It is only fitting that the collection begins with the woman who started my journey onward into the world of Jane Austen and subsequent retellings and inspired novels, Syrie James with ‘Jane Austen’s Nightmare.’… The short story personifies every writer’s nightmare – that the characters will not like how they have been drawn and will seek justice. From characters perceived as too perfect to those with a great number of flaws, Austen meets them all in her nightmare set in Bath.” — Savvy Verse and Wit 

Win an ARC of JANE AUSTEN’S FIRST LOVE!

Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James (2014 )

Post a review of The Harrison Duet, Songbird or Propositions on Amazon.combn.com or Goodreads, email the link(s) to authorsyriejames@gmail.com, and you’ll be entered into a contest to win one of several free advance copies of Syrie’s next book, Jane Austen’s First Love, due out August 5, 2014! For every review posted you will receive an additional chance to win! Reviews must be posted by April 15, 2014.

A GRAND GIVEAWAY 

Enter a chance to win one of three prizes being offered:

  1. A digital copy of The Harrison Duet, by Syrie James
  2. A muslin book bag featuring images of all of the covers of Syrie’s books
  3. Two Jane Austen-inspired note cards from the Jane Austen House Museum at Chawton, England

Syrie book bag Syrie Note cards

To qualify for the giveaway, just leave a comment stating which one of Syrie’s books is your favorite and why, or what intrigues you about reading The Harrison Duet, by 11:59, February 20, 2014 PT. The winners will be drawn at random and announced on Friday, February 21, 2014. Shipment to US addresses only.

Author Syrie James (2012 )Author Bio:

Syrie James is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed novels The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, Dracula My Love, Forbidden, Nocturne, Songbird, and Propositions. Her next novel, Jane Austen’s First Love, is due out from Berkeley on August 5, 2014. Follow Syrie on twitter, visit her on facebook, and learn more about her and her books at syriejames.com.

The Harrison Duet, by Syrie James
Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (2014)
Digital eBook
ASIN: B00IDER454

Further Reading:

Cover image courtesy of Amazon Digital Servies, Inc. © 2014; text Syrie James © 2014, Austenprose.com

Giveaway Winners Announced for The Forgotten Sister

The Forgotten Sister by Jennifer Paynter 2014It’s time to announce the 3 winners of a print or digital copy of The Forgotten Sister, by Jennifer Paynter. The lucky winners drawn at random are:

  • Ruth Clapp who left a message of January 30, 2014
  • Lynn S. who left a comment on February 4, 2014
  • Carol Settlage who left a comment on January 31, 2014

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 13, 2014 or you will forfeit your prize! Let me know if you want a print or digital copy. Mail shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Jennifer Paynter for her guest blog, and to her publisher Lake Union Publishing for the giveaways.

Cover image courtesy of Lake Union Publishing © 201; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2014, Austenprose.com

The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice Book Tour with Author Jennifer Paynter & Giveaway!

The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice, by Jennifer Paynter (2014 )Please join us in celebration of the new release of author Jennifer Paynter’s debut novel, The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice, published this month by Lake Union Publishing. 

Jennifer has joined us to chat about her inspiration to write her book, a revealing look at one of Jane Austen’s most misunderstood characters from Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet. Her publisher has generously offered a giveaway chance for a paperback or Kindle digital edition of The Forgotten Sister to three lucky winners. Just leave a comment with this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all. 

Welcome Jennifer.

What first led me to think of Mary Bennet as a possible heroine was an observation by Jane Austen scholar, John Bayley. In his memoir of his wife, British novelist Iris Murdoch, Bayley wrote that ‘the unfortunate Mary is the only one among Jane Austen’s characters who never gets a fair deal from the author at all, any more than she does from her father.’ 

I immediately wondered what sort of story would emerge if Pride and Prejudice were to be retold from Mary’s point of view. How would Mary feel about her father, for instance? Wouldn’t she resent being constantly ridiculed by him? (When Mary first appears in Chapter 2 of Pride and Prejudice, she’s sarcastically framed by Mr Bennet as a ’young lady of deep reflection’ who reads ‘great books and makes extracts’.) And how would Mary view her two older sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, and their so-eligible suitors, Messrs. Bingley and Darcy? And would there be room in any retelling for Mary to have a life of her own? Could she find a friend for herself outside her immediate family, and even, eventually, a lover?

I’m much more at home writing dialogue than descriptive prose, and as an early exercise in getting to know Mary I noted down all her speeches in Pride and Prejudice—there are only half a dozen!—and afterwards used them as milestones in The Forgotten Sister. I figured it would be cheating to edit out Mary’s speeches. The challenge instead would be to place them in a newly imagined context: the world inside Mary’s head. For although I wanted to stick to Jane Austen’s script and not ignore Mary’s unattractive aspects—her moralizing and pedantry—I also wanted the reader to appreciate what a difficult hand she’d been dealt. She’s the only plain one of the five Bennet sisters, and as a middle child she’s isolated within her own family, having no confidante among her sisters. And neither of her parents favours her— Mrs Bennet spoils her youngest daughter, Lydia, while Mr Bennet favours his second daughter, Elizabeth.

I found the key to understanding Mary in her childhood—her birth-order as the third successive daughter of parents desperate for a male heir, her loneliness growing up between two pairs of closely bonded sisters, and—hardest of all perhaps—having to endure the brilliant unkindness of her capricious quick-witted father. In seeking to give Mary a ‘fair deal’ I used the childhood experience of the late Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer. Like Mary Bennet, Diana was the third successive daughter of parents desperate for a male heir. (Just as the Bennets needed a son to keep the Longbourn estate in the family, so the Spencers needed one to inherit the earldom.) Diana’s biographer, Sarah Bradford, describes how Diana convinced herself that she should have been a boy and that, being a girl, she was a disappointment and regarded as a lesser being.

In a further attempt to gain the reader’s sympathy for Mary, I farmed her out to a wet-nurse for the first two years of her life. This was a common enough practice at the time. Claire Tomalin in her biography Jane Austen: A Life describes how the Austen children, after being breast-fed by their mother for a few months, were handed over to a wet nurse until they were weaned.  The family of Mary’s wet-nurse, the Bushell family, do not appear in Pride and Prejudice of course, although they’re important characters in my book, but after I’d made up names for them I was delighted to discover that a Dame Bushell had actually done the Austen family laundry! In a letter to her sister Cassandra dated October 1798 Jane Austen wrote: 

‘Dame Bushell washes for us only one week more, as Sukey has got a place. John Steevens’ wife undertakes our purification. She does not look as if anything she touched would ever be clean, but who knows?’  

For the rest, I stuck fairly closely to Austen’s characterization. My Mary works hard for knowledge and accomplishments. She’s equally eager to show off her singing voice and is just as deluded about her performance. I emphasized her religious enthusiasm by giving her a pious tutor, and I attributed her fondness for quoting other people’s words to a sort of social nervousness, a not-knowing what to say. To help her overcome this, the mother of her tutor encourages her to compile a so-called ‘Commonplace Book’ in which wise and witty sayings can be noted—and endlessly quoted. (I had great fun with Mary’s Commonplace Book!) 

I found the hardest part of The Forgotten Sister to write was the ending when Mary arrives in the penal colony of New South Wales. Even though I was writing about Sydney, my own hometown, the setting was remote from Austen’s world of the famous ‘three or four families’ in an English country village.  (And to find out why Mary Bennet would end up in a penal colony, you’ll just have to read the book!)

Author Jennifer Paynter (2014)Author Bio:

Jennifer Paynter was born and educated in Sydney. She has previously written two stage plays and several anthologized short stories, and is a member of the Jane Austen Society of Australia. The Forgotten Sister is Jennifer’s first novel. Visit Jennifer on her website jenniferpaynter.com.

GIVEAWAY CHANCE

Enter a chance to win one of three paperback or Kindle digital copies available (winner’s choice) of The Forgotten Sister, by Jennifer Paytner by sharing your favorite Mary Bennet quote from Pride and Prejudice or stating your decided opinion of Mary Bennet, and what intrigues you about this novel! The contest is open until 11:59 pm PT, February 06, 2014. Winners will be drawn at random from the comments and posted on Friday, February 07, 2014. Paperback shipment to US addresses, digital edition internationally. Good luck to all.

The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice, by Jennifer Paynter
Lake Union Publishing (2014)
Trade paperback (440) pages
ISBN: 978-1477848883

Book cover courtesy of Lake Union Publishing © 2014; Text Jennifer Paytner © 2014, Austenprose.com

Austenprose’s Top Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2013

Jane Austen Pop Art Banner

Huzzah! It has been a banner year for Jane Austen-inspired books in 2013. The bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice motivated many authors to take up their pens in celebration resulting in a fabulous selection of new titles. From historical and contemporary novels to non-fiction and scholarly, Austen-inspired books were present in several genres making our favorite author even more popular than ever.

We reviewed 76 books and short stories in 2013. Here is our annual list of top favorites .

Top 10 Austenesque Historical Novels: 

  1. Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  2. One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
  3. Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)
  4. The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel, by Pamela Mingle (4 stars)
  5. Longbourn: A Novel, by Jo Baker (4 stars)
  6. The Passions of Dr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (4 stars)
  7. Falling For Mr. Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory (4 stars)
  8. Darcy’s Decision: Given Good Principles Volume 1, by Maria Grace (4 stars)
  9. When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Simonsen (4 stars)
  10. Young Mr. Darcy in Love: Pride and Prejudice Continues (The Darcys and the Bingleys) (Volume 7) by Marsha Altman (4 stars)

Top 5 Austenesque Contemporary Novels: 

  1. Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, by Marilyn Brant (5 stars)
  2. Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (5 stars)
  3. My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White (4 stars)
  4. Sense & Sensibility (Austen Project), by Joanna Trollope (3.5 stars)
  5. Finding Colin Firth: A Novel, by Mia March (3.5 stars)

Top 5 Austenesque Paranormal/Fantasy Novels:

  1. Jane, Actually, by Jennifer Petkus (5 stars)
  2. Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (4 stars)
  3. Austensibly Ordinary, by Alyssa Goodnight (4 stars)
  4. Attempting Elizabeth, by Jessica Grey (4 stars)
  5. A Jane Austen Daydream, by Scott Southard (4 stars)

Top 5 Austen-inspired Nonfiction Books:

  1. Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Jaffe (6 stars)
  2. The Annotated Northanger Abbey, edited by David Shapard (5 stars)
  3. Walking Jane Austen’s London, by Louise Allen (5 stars)
  4. Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor, by Fitzwilliam Darcy (5 stars)
  5. The List Lover’s Guide to Jane Austen, by Joan Strasbaugh (4.5 stars)

Top 5 Austen-inspired Scholarly Books: 

  1. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, by Paula Byrne (5 stars)
  2. Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins (5 stars)
  3. Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks (4 stars)
  4. Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, by Janine Barchas (4 stars)
  5. What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan (4 stars)

Top 3 Austenesque Young Adult Novels: 

  1. The Trouble with Flirting, by Claire LaZebnick (4.5 stars)
  2. Emmalee (Austen Diaries), by Jenni James (4 stars)
  3. For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund (4 stars) 

Top 3 Austenesque Self-published Novels:

  1. Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  2. One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
  3. Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)

Top 3 Austen or Austenesque Audio Books:

  1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (5 stars)
  2. Mr. Darcy’s Diary, by Maya Slater, read by David Rintoul (5 stars)
  3. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World (A Pride and Prejudice Variation), by Abigail Reynolds, read by Rachel E. Hurley (4 stars)

Top 3 Regency Romance Novels: 

  1. The Tutor’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen (5 stars)
  2. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig (5 stars)
  3. Blackmoore: A Proper Romance, by Julianne Donaldson (5 stars)

Debut Austenesque Author:

  1. Diana J. Oaks, One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy (5 stars)

Our thanks and congratulations go out to all of the authors and their publishers, whose endeavors entertained us so aptly. A very grateful thank you to all of our loyal readers.

The Austenprose review staff

Related posts

Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Happy Birthday Jane Austen: A Celebration with Recommendations of the Best Books in My Personal Library and a Giveaway!

*throws confetti in air* It’s Jane Austen’s 238th birthday today! Let the party begin by entering a chance to win a beautiful collector’s edition of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen, published by Race Point (2013). Details are listed below.

St Nicholas Church, Steventon Jane Austen Tour 2013

The festivities are especially poignant to me this year after visiting Jane Austen’s birthplace and home for twenty-five years on our tour of Jane Austen’s England last fall. Our stop at the former site of Steventon Rectory, and St. Nicholas Church, were my favorite sites along the tour. The original rectory was demolished in 1823, however the site is still viewable as an empty field where cattle now graze. Just up the road is St. Nicholas’ Church where Austen’s father, Rev. George Austen, was rector for forty years (1761-1800). The church is a small, simple, Norman building which was originally constructed around 1200. It has had a series of revisions over the 800 of years that it has been in existence, including the addition of the prominent spire in the mid nineteenth century.

Laurel Ann at St. Nicholas Church, Steventon during Jane Austen Tour 2013

Of all the many Austen related sites that we visited on our 10-day tour, my visit to St. Nicholas Church was the most moving. The neighborhood is very isolated and rural with large oak trees lining the narrow roads and other mature trees, including the huge 900-year-old yew tree, spanning 50 feet, at the front the church property. When we departed the coach, I was immediately struck by the quiet, unassuming, and uncommercial atmosphere we were privileged to enter. The church is surrounded on three sides by a graveyard and many of the local family names Jane mentions in her letters appear on the stones, including the Digweeds and LeFroys. The graves of her elder brother James Austen, who followed her father as rector of the parish, and his two wives are situated there; and inside is a plaque in their memory.

It would not be Jane Austen’s birthday if I did not talk about my favorite Austen books in my personal library. Here is a list of my top-ten favorite biographies, historical bio-ficts and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed over the years. Just click on the links to read a review or to learn more about them.

Image of the book cover of The Real Jane Austen, by Paula Byrne © 2013 HarperCollins

Jane Austen Biographies:

(the life of Jane Austen)

Image of the cover of The Lost memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James

Jane Austen Bio-Fict:

(Jane Austen as a fictional character)

The entire Being a Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron

Jane Austen, Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels by Janet Todd (2013)

Jane Austen-inspired:

(non-fiction)

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen by Race Point Publishing 2013

A GRAND GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Lady Susan) in one volume with a slip case. Just leave a comment with your favorite Jane Austen quote by 11:59 pm, Wednesday, December 25. 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, December 26, 2013. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck to all!

Happy Birthday Jane!

Cover image of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen courtesy of Race Point Publishing © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Giveaway Winners Announced for Undressing Mr. Darcy

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos 2013It’s time to announce the 3 winners of print copies of Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos. The lucky winners drawn at random are:

  • June7 who left a message of December 04, 2013
  • Ellen Heckler who left a comment on December 03, 2013
  • Marsha Saenz-Jones who left a comment on December 03, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by December 18, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Karen Doornebos for her guest blog, and to her publisher Berkley (Penguin Group) for the giveaways.

Cover image courtesy of Berkley (Penguin Group) © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Giveaway Winners Announced for The Pursuit of Mary Bennet

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle 2013It’s time to announce the 3 winners of print copies of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, by Pamela Mingle. The winners drawn at random are:

  • schilds who left a message of November 26, 2013
  • Becky C. who left a comment on December 1, 2013
  • Ann W. who left a comment on November 26, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by December 13, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Pamela Mingle for her guest blog, and to her publisher William Morrow for the giveaways.

Cover image courtesy William Morrow © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com