Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer Blog Tour Launch Party — Featuring editor Christina Boyd

Sun-Kissed, edited by Christina Boyd (2015)It is a pleasure to welcome Austenprose reviewer Christina Boyd here today in celebration of the release of her first book, Sun-kissed, a summer-themed short story anthology. Christina has been a contributor here at Austenprose reviewing Jane Austen-inspired books for seven years. In fact, she was my first recruit to the staff in 2008. Christina has an eye for a great story and I always had a hunch that she would make a fabulous developmental editor.

In her first outing, she has whipped up an intriguing summer frappuccino for us. Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer is a new anthology of eight original romantic short stories inspired by the summer season and even Jane Austen. Four of the stories are by popular Meryton Press authors, and four are selections from the short story contest they held this past winter. They are the perfect beach read: light, fun and romantic, and I hope you will give them a try.

WELCOME CHRISTINA BOYD

“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, or at least some remote and distant hope…” —Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urberville Continue reading “Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer Blog Tour Launch Party — Featuring editor Christina Boyd”

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

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!  Continue reading “A Romantic Valentine’s Day Celebration with Author Syrie James: The Harrison Duet”

Hidden Paradise, by Janet Mullany – A Review

Hidden Paradise, by Janet Mullany (2012)From the desk of Christina Boyd.

Austenesque and romance writer Janet Mullany dives headfirst into erotica genre in her latest release, Hidden Paradise.

Warning:  Dear readers, please avert your eyes if your genteel sensibilities are offended by a romance novel that might be classified in the same arena as Fifty Shades of Gray.

Disturbingly, the book opens in the throes of a ribald sex scene – without even a “how do you do” – only to be awoken by a phone call from a friend in England! Thusly, we are finally introduced to the recently widowed Louisa Connelly, Jane Austen expert, who is to be the honored guest at Paradise Hall, an English resort and spa, catering to the Austen enthusiast.  Hmmmmmm? Sound vaguely reminiscent of Shannon Hale’s bestseller, Austenland?  However, dressing up in authentic Regency-style clothing and experiencing everything Austen in a real Georgian country manor – similarities end there.  For one, Paradise Hall is no secret, exclusive get-away as the proprietors are most assuredly determined in getting the word out to potential guests… Enter Mac Salazar, handsome, lusty journalist whose middle name just happens to be Darcy!

Although, it has only been a few months into her mourning, Lou escapes her Montana ranch, and accepts to give a trial run of the place and give her Jane Austen stamp of “authenticity” for her friends and proprietors, Peter and Chris. Moreover, she hopes to encounter her late husband’s shade in the very place they had once planned to visit together.  But almost within the first few hours of being on the property, she realizes that this experience might be a bit more eye opening than she first expected when she secrets upon a couple coitus a la vache.  And she stays to watch! Later when she is formally introduced, it doesn’t take Einstein to surmise Mac Darcy Salazar is the resident lothario, noting that his historically accurate britches betray his virile reflex constitutionally inclined to passion.  “‘It’s an interesting concept, time travel with no chance of getting stuck in the past, or treading on a bug and changing the course of history.’  ‘It’s a very sexy period.’  She was halfway down another glass now and the room was beginning to take on a subtle, mellow glow that was half sunset, half alcohol. ‘Mainly because in popular culture, of course.  People say there’s no sex in Austen.  They’re wrong.  Her books are full of sex, but it’s all subsex.  Subtext.’ ‘That’s the champagne talking.’” p. 40.   Lou, willing Paradise Hall as all fantasy and nothing more, is determined what better place to satiate her own pangs of lust. And loneliness. It just so happens that Mac happens to be charming.  Smart.  And unbeknownst to the world around him, in search of something more substantial than romp after romp. Continue reading “Hidden Paradise, by Janet Mullany – A Review”

Compulsively Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Nina Benneton, & Giveaway!

Compulsively Mr. Darcy, by Nina Benneton (2012)There are a lot of Mr. Darcy novels out there. Hundreds, in fact. Some are retellings of his side of Pride and Prejudice. Others continue his life at Pemberley after his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but, a new Mr. Darcy novel released today has an entirely new twist!

Please join us today in welcoming author Nina Benneton on the first stop in her blog tour in celebration of the release of her debut novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy published this month by Sourcebooks. Nina has generously shared with us some insights on creating the novel, and offered a giveaway to three lucky readers.

I wish to thank Laurel Ann and Austenprose for inviting me to guest blog today.  It’s an honor.

“There’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place.” – Rudyard Kipling, “The Janeites” 

Reading and rereading Jane Austen’s works have gotten me out of a few “tight places” in my life.

To quote Lee Siegel in his article, A Writer Who is Good for You, (Atlantic Monthly, January 1998) “…few authors are at the same time so quietly fearsome and so intensely consoling.”

So quietly fearsome and so intensely consoling. That’s exactly how I experience Jane Austen’s works.  As Siegel and the WWI soldiers in Kipling’s “The Janeites” did, I, too, have always found Austen’s writing soothing. Siegel’s words expressed better than I could my reason:  “Austen’s sentences operate inwardly at once—they go into a quiet corner of the mind and out into the busy world.”

I love Austen’s stories for her characters. In particular, her secondary characters. Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park, General Tilney in Northanger Abbey, Mr. Woodhouse in Emma, Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility, Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion, and of course, Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.  For years, the quirks of Austen’s secondary characters held me captive as a faithful reader. Their foibles and follies appealed to a particular defect in my own personality: my tendency toward irreverence. Austen’s heroes/heroines protagonists and antagonists and their so-called romance were simply plot devices to showcase how funny Sir Walter Elliot, Mr. Woodhouse and Mrs. Jennings were. Continue reading “Compulsively Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Nina Benneton, & Giveaway!”

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2) blog tour with author Juliet Archer

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2), by Juliet Archer (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Juliet Archer on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Persuade Me, the second book in her Darcy & Friends contemporary series published today in the UK by Choc Lit.

GUEST BLOG

I’m thrilled to be here at Austenprose – thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me and ‘hi’ to everyone out there!

By the time you read this, I’ll be at the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath. My burning question is – will it rain, so that Captain Frederick Wentworth can offer me his umbrella? Because, weather permitting, I’m doing two guided walking tours of central Bath, visiting the places that Austen made Continue reading “Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends 2) blog tour with author Juliet Archer”

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Blog Tour with Author Heather Lynn Rigaud

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, by Heather Lynn Rigaud (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Heather Lynn Rigaud on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, a new contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice published today by Sourcebooks.

It’s so nice to be here on Austenprose today. It’s the first stop on my very first every blog tour, so I’m very, very excited.

So many people have asked me “Why a modern Pride and Prejudice and WHY a Rock Band???” Well, as always, it’s Jane’s fault. I came to Jane Austen, as many people have, through the movies. It started with Bridget Jones’ Diary the movie, then the book, then the 1995 Pride and Prejudice movie, and then the book. And then Persuasion, and then Northanger Abbey, and then Emma, and then Sense and Sensibility and then… Well, your readers know how that goes.

Like many hungry JA fans, I found JAFF fan fiction on the web, and soon was writing and posting my own. That’s when I met Abigail Reynolds. I was writing a modern P&P adaptation called Longbourn & Pemberley Go to War and she was writing Impulse & Initiative when she asked if I’d be willing to look at her love scene. Of course it was fantastic, but it started us beta-reading for each other.

It was Abigail who got me thinking about how would Darcy live in this modern time. It’s given that he would be wealthy and successful, but he also needed a modicum of fame. I was puzzling on how to make him a celebrity, but still Darcy- proud and aloof. He would never be glad-handing fans on TV Guide, or pushing his next big thing on Letterman.

He would be Darcy, at heart always true to his integrity, and yes, his pride. It came to me that he could be some kind of artist. They could easily maintain a quiet and aloof persona. A musician maybe? At the same time I was thinking about this, I heard a new song from a new band called “Puddle of Mudd”. The song was ‘She Hates Me’ and it occurred to me that this was so much like Darcy right after Elizabeth rejects him at Hunsford (I freely admit to having Jane Austen on the brain, and I strongly believe I’m not the only one) The chorus of the song goes like this: Continue reading “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Blog Tour with Author Heather Lynn Rigaud”

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly – A Review

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2011)I am amazed at how many Austenesque novels continue to have “Mr. Darcy” worked into the title. Recently there has been: A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen, The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan, The Truth about Mr. Darcy, by Susan Adriani, Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, by Maria Hamilton, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise, What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, by Abigail Reynolds and ironically Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard, by Belinda Roberts – and that is only in the last four months!!! Gentle readers, have we indeed gone overboard over Mr. Darcy? *shudder* Can there ever be too much Mr. Darcy?

As I opened A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, yet another new novel featuring Jane Austen’s romantic icon of Nonpareil in its title, it was difficult not to feel a rush of astonishment. What could Victoria Connelly possibly offer that has not already been said several times in historical, contemporary or Continue reading “A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly – A Review”

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke – A Review

Cover of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2008) Was fictional hero Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice based on a real person who author Jane Austen met and fell in love with in 1810? In this reissue of her 2006 novel, author Sally Smith O’Rourke cleverly re-engages our fascination with Austen’s ultimate romantic hero Mr. Darcy and presents readers with a contemporary heroine pursuing the question if Darcy’s character was inspired by Austen’s personal experience?

New York City artist Eliza Knight is a 21st-century Austen fan who discovers two old letters tucked behind the mirror of her new antique vanity table addressed to “Dearest Jane” from F. Darcy, and the second unopened letter to Fitzwilliam Darcy, Chawton Great House. Puzzled, Eliza knows that Mr. Darcy is Jane Austen’s fictional creation and not a real person, or is he? Determined to find out if the letters are real or a crafty hoax, she presents them to an Austen scholar and Head of the Rare Document Department at the New York Public Library who skeptically examines them. When the scientific testing and hand writing analysis prove they are authentic, Eliza is shocked. In addition, she learns that another similar letter has recently surfaced leading her to its owner, a wealthy horse breeder in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Determined to meet him, she travels to his estate Pemberley Farms to learn about his interest in Jane Austen and why he shares Fitzwilliam Darcy’s name. When Eliza reveals to him that she has discovered additional letters similar to his, he is anxious to know at any price the content of the sealed letter and is very keen to purchase them. When she refuses to sell the two hundred year old letters, his intense reaction and admission that the message in the unopened letter was meant for him is unbelievable. Eliza knows that the notion is absurd, until he begins to tell her the entire amazing story.

This is not your typical Jane Austen sequel; in fact, it is not a sequel at all; falling into a uniquely new Austen book category – Austen paranormal mystery romance! To say more would spoil the multi-dimensional plot, but just imagine a blending of a Jane Austen biography, a contemporary romance novel and the movie Somewhere in Time and you might begin to understand my meaning. This is a ‘what if’ story that asks the reader to imagine another possibility of how Jane Austen was inspired to create her most alluring and romantic hero, Mr. Darcy. Austen purist will have to turn a blind eye to the historical and biographical flubs, (and there are more than a few), and disarm the ‘breach of etiquette’ alarm in their heads in order to just let go and enjoy the ride. Romance readers will take pleasure in Ms. O’Rourke’s breezy modern style which at times was dryly witty and at others hampered by contrite clichés. The possibility that Fitzwilliam Darcy was actually a real person is an intriguing notion that many Austen scholars have researched and enthusiasts have speculated upon for years. I commend her creativity in trying to fictionally answer the riddle but felt that the story could have been more convincing if she had taken her audience and herself more seriously. None-the-less, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen is a pure bit of escapist muslin that will in turns miff and amuse you.

3.5 out of 5 Regency Stars 

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke
Mass market paperback (303) pages
Kensington Publishing Corp, New York (2009)
ISBN: 978-0758210388

© 2009, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

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