Q&A with Patrice Kindl, Author of A School For Brides, & Giveaway

A School for Brides, by Patrice Kindl 2015It is a rare delight in reading to discover a new author that you feel could become one of your most cherished favorites. When “every feature works,” I am revved up and ready to share my excitement.

Such is the case with Patrice Kindl, who until a review copy of A School for Brides landed on my doorstep last month was entirely unknown to me. Further research revealed that this new release was a companion novel to her first in the Lesser Hoo series, Keeping the Castle. Set in the Regency period both novels share many of the same characters, paralleling the same time frame, but from a different perspective. Better and better.

Before diving into A School for Brides I decided to power through an audio recording of Keeping the Castle. It knocked my bonnet off. If I could describe Kindl’s writing in one sentence, I would say that it is a skillful blending of Jane Austen’s genius with social satire, Georgette Heyer’s exuberant humor and Dodie Smith’s poignant romance.

Here is a description of A School for Brides from the publisher:

The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, has one goal: to train its students in the feminine arts with an eye toward getting them married off. This year, there are five girls of marriageable age. There’s only one problem: the school is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no men. Set in the same English town as Keeping the Castle, and featuring a few of the same characters, here’s the kind of witty tribute to the classic Regency novel that could only come from the pen of Patrice Kindl!

Curious to learn more about Patrice Kindl and the inspiration for her Lesser Hoo novels I asked her if she would be game for a brief interview. Happily she agreed.

Welcome Patrice:

LAN: Do you consider Jane Austen to be an influence on your writing?

PK: Ah, the divine Miss Jane Austen!  Was she an influence?  Of course.  I had nearly memorized the six novels by the time I was twenty-one, and in the following years re-read them all, as well as collections of her letters, continuations of the two incomplete manuscripts, re-imaginings of her published works, biographies, books about her life and times … in short, I was and am a devoted admirer.  I doubt that many authors set novels in this brief historical era without being fans.

LAN: Which of Austen’s novels is your favorite?

PK: Asking a reader which of Austen’s novels is their favorite probably amounts to asking which has their favorite protagonist.  Poor Fanny Price, the main character of Mansfield Park!  She must be the least liked of Austen’s heroines today.  But she was possibly more acceptable to the readers of the early 19th century than much-beloved Elizabeth Bennet.  In those days meek and mild women were regarded far more approvingly than they are today.

Reading Mansfield Park myself, my sympathies mostly lay with Mary, the sister of Henry Crawford.  Her worldly nature and disrespect toward the church are often seen as negating her many generous feelings and attractive qualities; by the end of the novel she is considered not much better than her shallow and selfish brother. However, I rather saw her as the dark side of Elizabeth Bennett, a clever and adventurous young woman whose wit and independence of spirit led her to cross a line that made her unforgivable in the early 1800s.

However, my favorite novel, and heroine, is Emma.  Yes, of course, I love Elizabeth – who doesn’t? – but Emma is so self-satisfied to begin with and, in the end, so willing to take her humbling with humor and grace.  Emma is to some extent a sex reversal of Pride and Prejudice.  Emma takes the place of Darcy as the person who is too enamored of their own importance to be capable (at least to begin with) of loving another person with a whole heart.

LAN: What was your inspiration for Keeping the Castle and its companion, A School for Brides? 

Keeping the Castle, by Patrice Kindl 2012 PK: Keeping the Castle and A School for Brides were my response to modern historical novels set in the nineteenth century. Too many of them depict young women who are dismissive of marriage and anxious to pursue a career.  While I understand the urge to thus revise history – I am a feminist myself – it is inaccurate.  The number of women who were self-supporting in any field beyond education or domestic service was vanishingly small. Jane Austen herself could not have lived on her literary earnings.  Marriage was the best ‘career’ a lady could hope for, not only financially, but in social status, security in old age and, for most, personal happiness.  True, your husband could, with legal and moral impunity, beat you black and blue, carouse with other women and rob you blind, but … at least you weren’t an old maid.

Austen’s Emma insists that a “single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as any body else,” but she was in the very rare situation of being independently wealthy, with no interfering male relative to take control of the money. Her friend Harriet shows a proper horror at the idea of going to the grave unmarried.  And as for the scholastic profession, well … the dread that Jane Fairfax felt about taking a governess position should make it clear that being a teacher was only marginally better than starving in the gutter. 

So, with A School for Brides and Keeping the Castle, I wanted to show that yes, of course the young women of that era were interested in marriage.  Being aware of the economics of their age, they couldn’t afford not to be.  Pooh-poohing Regency novels as merely being about romance makes as much sense as looking down on a classic mystery novel for merely being about crime.  The decade of a woman’s life between fifteen and twenty-five was her one shot at happiness – there were almost no second chances – and the route to happiness usually led through matrimony. Romance novels set in the past are only trivial if you consider the lives of women to be unimportant.

Author Patrice Kindl 2015AUTHOR BIO: In addition to A School for Brides and Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl is the author of four other novels, the best known of which is the acclaimed Owl in Love. She lives with her husband and a variety of animals in upstate New York. Visit her online at www.patricekindl.com or connect with her on Twitter at @patricekindl.

Thank you for joining us here today at Austenprose, Patrice.

I hope that many of our readers will also discover what a treasure your writing is. We will be reviewing A School for Brides on August 14th, so please check back to discover our thoughts.

A GRAND GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win one of three hardcover copies available of A School for Brides, by Patrice Kindl. Just leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this new novel, or if you have read Keeping the Castle, who is your favorite character and why, by 11:59 pm PT on Wednesday, August 05, 2015. The three winners will be drawn at random from the comments and the winners announced on Thursday, August 06, 2015. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck to all!

A School for Brides: A Story of Maidens, Mystery, and Matrimony, by Patrice Kindl
Viking Books (2015)
Hardcover & eBook (272) pages
ISBN: 978-0670786084

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Cover image courtesy of Viking Books © 2915; text Patrice Kindl © 2015, Austenprose.com

Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley Blog Tour Launch with Author Shannon Winslow & Giveaway

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley - blog tour banner x 200 x 2Tuesdays are special days in the book world. They are the designated release days in publishing—and today is the debut of Austenesque author Shannon Winslow’s latest novel, Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley. 

I am very pleased to welcome Shannon to Austenprose today in celebration of the release and official opening of her blog tour sponsored by her publisher Heather Ridge Arts. Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley is a new Austenesque novel told from the point of view of its eponymous heroine. The story parallels Winslow’s best-selling The Darcys of Pemberley.   

Shannon has generously offered a guest blog sharing her inspiration to write her new novel—and to add to the festivities—we will be offering an amazing selection of giveaway prizes. Just leave a comment following this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all. 

Please join us in welcoming Shannon Winslow.

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for generously offering to host the launch of my new novel! I’m very excited to be here at Austenprose again and to share with your readers my inspiration for writing Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.

After spending a very satisfying year in the world of Persuasion, researching and writing The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, I felt a strong pull to return to my first love: Pride and Prejudice. But what could I write about it? I had two sequels already, and with all the lose ends tied neatly up in bows by the end of the second (Return to Longbourn), I didn’t immediately see any opening for a third. So I was considering a variation instead when the idea hit me; I could write a variation of my own popular novel – The Darcys of Pemberley – this time from Georgiana’s point of view! Continue reading

Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, Edited by Christina Boyd – A Review

Sun-Kissed, edited by Christina Boyd (2015)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

Today I have the distinct honor of reviewing Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, edited by none other than my fellow Austenprose contributor Christina Boyd. It comes along at the perfect time of year as many of us are packing our beach bags full of summer reads that provide companionship while lying on a beach towel or sitting in a chair with our toes in the sand. I’ve always been a big fan of short story anthologies because they offer fun and tantalizing stories that typically lead me to read more of the authors’ works, much like an appetizer before the entrée.  This particular collection of works has been chosen for its relevance to summer or other light and refreshing themes. Although I personally don’t have any plans for a trip to the beach soon, I sat down with this collection on my back porch and improvised, taking in the light and fun works that soon whisked me away.

Since there are several stories in the anthology, here are their plot summaries from Goodreads: 

“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in…” Thomas Hardy

If you desire a little heat, a summer flirtation, or an escape to bask in your own private sun…this whimsical collection of original short stories is inspired by all things summer. From some of Meryton Press’s most popular and award-winning authors, the anthology debuts other promising and emerging talent.

Continue reading

Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow — A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow (2015)It is pleasure to welcome author Shannon Winslow to Austenprose today. Writer of several popular Austenesque novels, Shannon will be releasing her next book, Miss Georgian Darcy of Pemberley on July 21, 2015. A companion novel to her best-selling The Darcys of Pemberley, the story is told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy’s little sister Georgiana and parallels the events we experienced in the first novel. Here for your enjoyment is a preview and exclusive excerpt.

DESCRIPTION (from the publisher)

What’s Georgiana Darcy’s story? Jane Austen tells us so little in Pride and Prejudice that we’re left to wonder. How did the early loss of her parents shape Miss Darcy’s character? And what about her near-disastrous affair with Mr. Wickham? Is that the true source of her shyness? She adores her brother and his new wife Elizabeth, but will their guiding influence be enough to steer Georgiana clear of new trouble as she comes of age and falls in love again?

This work is intended as a companion of sorts to The Darcys of Pemberley (sequel to Pride and Prejudice), with the timelines of the two running parallel. Both novels are unique and complete in themselves, but together they supply a richer reading experience than either one alone. The earlier book focused primarily on Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship during their early married life. There was a third Darcy represented in the title, however. Now she and her courtship story take center stage in Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.

EXCERPT (from chapter 12)

Setup: Following a devastating disappointment on the romantic front (concerning a gentleman who shall remain nameless in this excerpt to avoid spoilers), Georgiana hears some good news – her brother and his wife are expecting their first child.

Perhaps if I had not been so fully occupied with my own situation, I might have noticed the change in my sister’s state of health sooner. I might have marked the alteration in her appetite. I might have likewise detected her especial glow of spirits and the more tender care my brother suddenly took of her. But all these clues were lost on me. As I wrote to Andrea, the news took me completely by surprise. When Elizabeth told me, I reacted just as I reacted to nearly everything else at the time; I promptly burst into tears. Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for Sun-kissed and Mr. Darcy’s Rival

Sun kissed and Darcy Rival banner x 400

It’s time to announce the winners of Sun-kissed and Mr. Darcy’s Rival giveaways. The lucky winners drawn at random are:

Sun-kissed summer-themed gift package

  • Patty Edmisson, who left a comment on June 18, 2015

A print or digital copy of Mr. Darcy’s Rival

  • MargiesMustReads, who left a comment on June 19, 2015

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and addresse by July 03, 2015 or you will forfeit your prize! Mail shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and to authors Christina Boyd and Kara Louise for their guest blogs and great giveaways.

Cover images courtesy of  Meryton Press and Heartworks Pulication  © 2015; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2015, Austenprose.com

Mr. Darcy’s Rival: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Kara Louise – A Review

Mr Darcy's Rival by Kara Louise (2015)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Rider:

I’ve reviewed three of Kara Louise’s works now (Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, Darcy’s Voyage, and Pirates and Prejudice), and I can confidently say that she’s been gaining popularity as one of my favorite Jane Austen fan fiction authors. One of her strongest points is her imaginative ability to create such great variations on the traditional Pride and Prejudice storyline. It was with this in mind that I was eager to start a new installment in this great line of variations, Mr. Darcy’s Rival, which I knew was sure to intrigue me from the beginning.

Mr. Darcy, as always, is dreading his annual visit to his aunt Lady Catherine, as he knows that he will face the usual barrage of questions from the officious woman regarding his marrying her daughter. Accompanied as usual by his cousin, Col. Fitzwilliam, Darcy finds that there are two additional guests at Rosings Park this time: a Mr. Rickland and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Although Darcy knew Miss Bennet during his time in Meryton and left in order to mask his feelings for her, he cannot deny that his affections have grown even greater since their time apart. There are many obstacles to his ultimate goal of winning her hand, none more formidable than Mr. Rickland. Will he be able to secure Elizabeth’s love against all odds and be able to make his feelings known in the face of Lady Catherine’s alternate plans?

Initially the book was slightly slow for my taste, but about 60 pages in the story became vivid and lively, and really took off. I like how Louise was able to take pieces of the original work and reinvent them, such as the scenes with Darcy’s famous, “be not alarmed, Madame,” letter. In Pride and Prejudice this letter acts as the catalyst of Elizabeth’s epiphany, making her realize that first impressions aren’t always accurate (i.e. Wickham and falsehoods regarding Darcy.) In Mr. Darcy’s Rival, although the circumstances and text of the letter are different (she isn’t even meant to receive it,) it still performs the same action, making her reevaluate her behavior and thoughts towards Darcy. Therefore, although Louise is using the same plot device, she is changing it and making the story her own. Continue reading