A Preview of By Time Divided (Love Without Time Book 2), by Elaine Jeremiah

By Time Divided, by Elaine Jeremiah (2019)Hey-ho Janeites! May I introduce you to a newly released Regency romance fantasy novel today? By Time Divided, by Elaine Jeremiah is a time-travel story that takes us back into Jane Austen’s England.

Time-travel in fiction is a creative literary technique. It allows characters and readers to be transported to a different era. The Time Machine, a science fiction novella written by H. G. Wells in 1895 is generally credited as the first time-travel story. This concept must have seemed outrageous to the staid Victorian readers unfamiliar with the concept. Today it is a common trope used in contemporary, historical, and Austenesque fiction. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is hugely popular, and recently The Austen Project, by Kathleen A. Flynn, Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe, and The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler round out the field.

By Time Divided is the second book in the Love Without Time trilogy by Elaine Jeremiah. It is a frame story whereby the heroine Cassie Taylor and her friend Mia begin the narrative in contemporary times and travel back to Regency England. A story within a story. They are on a mission to find Cassie’s love interest that we were introduced to in book one, Love Without Time (2018). If you are wondering about the Jane Austen connection, as I was, the author describes it as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. Here are the book description and an exclusive excerpt for your enjoyment.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Having accidentally time travelled to Regency England; Jane Austen fan Cassie Taylor finds herself unexpectedly back in the twenty-first century. But everything has changed. She’s been missing for three weeks and her parents are upset and disbelieving when she tells them where she’s been. The police aren’t too pleased either.

Cassie’s best friend Mia doubts the story yet stands by her friend. And then the unthinkable happens when they both end up in Regency England. Now Cassie has an even bigger problem: Mia is mixed race and they’re stuck in an era where the slave trade has only just been abolished. Cassie must somehow explain herself to her Regency friends – why she vanished and who her friend is. She also needs to find Ted, the love of her life.

How will Cassie manage to protect Mia from the insults of Regency people who see her as worthless? And how will she ever find a way for her and Ted and Mia to finally return home?

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Continue reading “A Preview of By Time Divided (Love Without Time Book 2), by Elaine Jeremiah”

The Progressive Blog Tour of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia Begins April 14

Belgravia Julian Fellowes 2016 x 200Downton Abbey may have ended but its creator/writer Julian Fellowes has not missed a beat. The multiple award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and TV show creator has a new novel called Belgravia to fill that huge whole in our hearts when the sixth and final season of Downton concluded in the US last March. Breaking new ground in the digital age, the book will be released in 11 serialized installment beginning Thursday, April 14 by Grand Central Publishing followed by hardcover release on July 05, 2016.

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is people by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond’s new legendary ball, one family’s life will change forever.

Continue reading “The Progressive Blog Tour of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia Begins April 14”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig

The Lure of the Moonflower, by Lauren Willig (2015)It is release day for one of my favorite Regency-era series: The Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig. Her latest and last installment is The Lure of the Moonflower.

As you all gasp in shock over my last statement—yes—it is the last book in the series, now totaling 12 novels.

This week, we are honored to be among a group of select bloggers celebrating the release of The Lure of the Moonflower. Here is an excerpt and a chance at a giveaway of the novel. Details are listed at the bottom of the post. Just leave a comment to qualify.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.

Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.

All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.

It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

To set the scene….  It’s 1807 and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, is on the trail of the missing queen of Portugal, with orders to find her before Napoleon does.  But to do so, she needs the help of Jack Reid, the agent known as the Moonflower.  He speaks the language; he knows the terrain.  She doesn’t.  But Jane doesn’t like losing control, so she decides to even the odds by having them travel in a way which gives her the upper hand: disguised as French soldiers, she an officer, and Jack her servant.

She doesn’t count on her “servant” sharing her tent….

“Daydreaming, Lieutenant?” Jack Reid let the flap of the tent fall back down behind him as he walked in as though he owned it.

“What are you doing here?” Hastily, Jane yanked her jacket back around her shoulders. As befitted an officer, the shirt beneath was made of fine linen. Too fine.

Jack tossed his hat onto her cot, where it spattered rainwater on her blanket. “We made less than five miles today. At this rate we’ll make Porto by spring.”

“Don’t be absurd. I’m sure we’ll pick up speed tomorrow.” Jane snatched the hat off the bed and thrust it back at him. “Don’t you have somewhere else you need to be?”

“The mule is settled and Moreau’s servant is short a week’s pay. Dice,” Jack explained helpfully, as he plucked Jane’s cloak from its peg and began rolling it into a makeshift pallet.

“How nice for you,” said Jane, with heavy sarcasm. Heaven help her, she was beginning to sound like him. She set her hands on her hips. “What are you doing?”

“Insurance.” Jack removed a pair of pistols and placed them by the side of the pallet. “Not to mention that it’s drier inside than out.”

He plunked himself down on Jane’s cloak, smiling seraphically up at her.

Jane blinked down at him. She hadn’t thought about where he would sleep. She had assumed, if she had thought of it, that the officers’ servants would have their own accommodations.

The tent felt very small with Jack Reid in it.

Jane narrowed her eyes at him. “You can’t bunk with one of the other batmen?”

“And leave you unprotected?”

There, at least, she was on firm ground. Jane reached beneath her pillow. “I have my own pistols.”

“Try not to point them at me,” said Jack, and settled back, using his camp bag as a pillow. “Would you mind blowing out the lantern when you’re done prinking? I don’t like sleeping with a candle lit.”

Neither did Jane, but that was beside the point. “What about ‘go’ and ‘away’ don’t you understand . . . Rodrigo?”

Jack propped himself up on one elbow. The lamplight picked out the strands of copper in his dark hair, dancing along the lines of his muscles beneath the folds of his shirt.

“Are you going missish on me, princess?” There was a dangerous glitter in his amber eyes. “Because if you are, tell me now and we can abandon this whole bloody charade.”

The profanity, Jane had no doubt, was deliberate and designed to shock. “If this is an attempt to provoke me, I can assure you, it will be quite unavailing.”

“‘Quite unavailing’?” Jack collapsed back on his camp bag, rolling his eyes up at the roof of the tent. “Forget what I said about not pointing those things at me. Put me out of my misery and shoot me now.”

Jane resisted the urge to direct a short, sharp kick to the side of the Moonflower’s head. “No one asked you to join me.”

“Didn’t you?” retorted Jack mockingly. “I don’t remember being given much choice in the matter. Master.”

“In my tent,” Jane amended, glaring at him.

It was too cold to strip down entirely, but she’d intended at least to remove her boots before seeking her bed. Jane regarded the recumbent figure on the floor—on her cloak—with tight lips. Missish, he had called her.

If she could endure his presence in her tent, he could bear with her wet feet.

Jack rolled onto his side, looking up at her with an expression of feigned innocence. “Need help with that?”

“I can manage,” said Jane, with as much dignity as she could muster while hanging half upside down. These boots had been designed with a valet in mind. Either that or the leather had shrunk in the rain.

The first boot came off with a pop, nearly conking her erstwhile batman in the head.

Jack dodged out of the way. “Apparently not,” he said, and before Jane could stop him he had gripped the other boot by the heel. “Relax, princess. Consider this a basic instinct for self-preservation.”

“I thought you had rather a well-developed instinct for that,” said Jane tartly. Empires could rise and fall, but the Moonflower always seemed to land on his feet.

“If I did, would I be here with you?”

The boot came off easily in his hands, leaving Jane’s leg bare but for her silk stockings, rather the worse for wear. Jack Reid’s fingers ran along her calf, his thumb digging into the tight muscles, massaging them.

Jane froze.

So did Jack Reid. He snatched his hand away as though burned.

Jane drew her leg back, tucking it behind the other. She could feel the tingles all the way up her shin. “Thank you. For your help with the boot.”

Jack Reid rocked back on his heels. “This is only the beginning, you know.” He looked up at her, his eyes dark in the uncertain light. “I’m your manservant. I live in your tent. I see to your, ahem, needs. You’re going to be seeing a lot of me, princess.”

Jane pressed her eyes briefly shut. Of course. Another ploy, another stratagem. She ought to have known.

“We’re not going back to Lisbon,” said Jane flatly.

“Suit yourself.” Jack shrugged, burrowing down into Jane’s cloak and tipping his hat down over his nose. From beneath the brim, she heard him murmur, “It’s going to be a long march.”

AUTHOR BIO

Lauren Willig headshot 2015Lauren Willig is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Pink Carnation novels, set in the Napoleonic Era. Before becoming a full-time writer she received a JD from Harvard Law. She resides in New York City.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Lure of the Moonflower: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig
New American Library (2015)
Trade paperback, eBook & Audio (528) pages
ISBN: 978-0451473028

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

GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win one paperback copy of The Lure of the Moonflower, by Lauren Willig by leaving a comment about the Pink Carnation series or your interest in this last novel in the series by 11:59 pm PT, August 12, 2015. The winner will be announced on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all.

Our Reviews of The Pink Carnation Series

Cover image courtesy of NAL © 2015, excerpt Lauren Willig © 2015, Austenprose.com

Austenprose’s Best Austenesque/Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2014

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Another fabulous year of reading has passed with many memorable books for Janeites to devour. We reviewed 68 of them this past year and would like to share our list of what we feel were the Best Austenesque Books of 2014. 

Best Austenesque Historical Novels 2014 

  1. Consequences: A Cautionary Pride and Prejudice Variation, by C. P. Odom (5 stars)
  2. Jane Austen’s First Love, by Syrie James (5 stars)
  3. The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  4. The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice, by Jennifer Paynter (5 stars)
  5. The Secret Betrothal: A Pride and Prejudice Alternate Path, by Jan Hahn (5 stars)
  6. Pirates and Prejudice, by Kara Louise (5 stars)
  7. Emma and Elizabeth: A story based on The Watsons, by Jane Austen, by Ann Mychal (5 stars)
  8. Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner, by Jack Caldwell (5 stars)
  9. Follies Past, by Melanie Kerr (5 stars)
  10. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett (4.5 stars

Continue reading “Austenprose’s Best Austenesque/Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2014”

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig 2014 A new Pink Carnation novel is always the highlight of my reading season, though the anticipation for The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla was stifling. How could Lauren Willig’s eleventh addition equal or surpass her previous highly-successful novels seeped in Napoleonic spies, romance and burlesque comedy? Yes, comedy. They say “dying is easy; comedy is hard” and it is so true. There are few authors in the genre who will even attempt it. Willig excels.

One of the main reasons I enjoy the “Pink” series so much (besides the humor) is that they take me back to Regency England, and the characters are SO original. Willig started the series in 2004 with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Each successive novel features a new set of protagonists: a romantic couple thrown together by mystery, espionage, and love. After ten novels I have never been disappointed. Continue reading “The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, by Lauren Willig (2013) From the desk of Christina Boyd

Acclaimed author Lauren Willig’s latest offering, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, is the tenth novel in her New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series. This historical romance series of Napoleonic era English spies, that fight for Britain and for love, is constructed within a modern-day love story, told from the point of view of the American grad student Eloise Kelly who is writing her dissertation on the true identity of the Pink Carnation, the master British spy of the time.

In Purple Plumeria, (those of us who have been previously “Pinked,” often refer to the novels by the abbreviated Flower title…), the handsome Colonel William Reid, who we first encountered in Blood Lily (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily) has returned to his daughters in England from a lifelong military career in India only to discover his youngest has recently Continue reading “The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig – A Review”

Expectations of Happiness Blog Tour with author Rebecca Ann Collins, & Giveaway!

Expectations of Happiness, by Rebecca Ann Collins (2011)As 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility, it is a great pleasure to see a new sequel to it arrive from Pemberley Chronicles author Rebecca Ann Collins.

Please join us today in welcoming Rebecca Ann on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Expectations of Happiness published this month by Sourcebooks. Rebecca Ann has kindly shared with us some insights on creating the novel.

Thank you very much, Laurel Ann, for inviting me to contribute to your blog; it is a pleasure to be able to speak directly to you and your readers about my work and the new book – Expectations of Happiness.

You have asked why I chose to write a companion volume to Sense and Sensibility and how I managed to “get my head into the Regency period after writing The Pemberley Chronicles.

If I may answer your second question first – I had absolutely no difficulty with the Regency Period, which covers the latter part of Jane Austen’s life; I was familiar with the historical, social and cultural background of that era.

As a Jane Austen addict ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility when I was just twelve years old, and a student of both English Literature and History, I had read everything I could get my hands on about the author, her family, her life and times.   Her novels were published within the period of the Regency so it was inevitable that a passionate reader and student of Miss Austen’s work and the society in which she lived would absorb the events and ambiance of the era. Continue reading “Expectations of Happiness Blog Tour with author Rebecca Ann Collins, & Giveaway!”

Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway

Mr Darcy's Bite, by Mary Simonsen (2011)Halloween season is upon us, and that includes paranormal novels arriving to get us in the mood for the spooky holiday. Please join us today in welcoming author Mary Simonsen on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Mr. Darcy’s Bite a new paranormal Pride and Prejudice-inspired story published on October 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks. Mary has kindly shared her insights into her inspiration and research for our readers.

Hi Laurel Ann. It’s always good to be back on Austenprose, but today is especially significant. Not only do I have a new release, Mr. Darcy’s Bite, but today is my birthday. It’s one of those big ones that end in a zero. I won’t say how old I am, but I’m reading Social Security brochures.

I thought I might begin by sharing an excerpt from the prologue of Mr. Darcy’s Bite: The story opens with fourteen-year-old Darcy being bitten by a wolf in the Black Forest:

William retreated, but from a distance, the wolf followed him. With his heart pounding in his chest, he finally reached the road and could see the men working on the carriage. Before going in search of his father, he took one last look down the road and saw the wolf standing in plain view. Because of the full moon, the road was lit up as if it were daytime, leaving the female lupine completely exposed. Without thinking, William waved to her, and it was only then that she returned to the woods. The only conclusion he could draw was that she had wanted to make sure he was safe. But what kind of wolf did that?

You asked me to write about my inspiration for penning a werewolf novel. I had two motivations. The first was that I wanted to write a short story for Halloween for a fanfiction site where I posted most of my stories, and it was appropriately titled “Mr. Darcy on the Eve of All Saints Day.” But the response was so great that I just kept writing. Before I knew it, my short story had become a full-length novel. It shows what a little encouragement can do.

My second motivation was to respond to another Darcy werewolf story. Although I applauded the author for creating a dark atmosphere, her Darcy and Elizabeth were not mine. In the first place, Darcy did not tell Elizabeth he was a werewolf before marrying her, and because of the threat of exposure, he had separated his bride from her family by bringing Elizabeth to a castle far, far away from Longbourn. In my mind, Darcy would not have done either of those things. So with a sword (actually computer) in hand, I set about righting the wrong. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Today we are celebrating the release of a new Pride and Prejudice inspired novel, by bestselling author Abigail Reynolds. Mr. Darcy’s Undoing was published by Sourcebooks this week and is a variation on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The publisher has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt from the novel for our readers.

Enjoy!


BOOK DESCRIPTION

What could possibly make a proper gentleman come completely undone?

What if Elizabeth Bennet accepted the proposal of another before she met Mr. Darcy again?

In Abigail Reynolds’ bold and playful retelling of the Austen classic (originally self-published as Without Reserve), a devastated Mr. Darcy must decide how far he is willing to go to win the woman he loves. Consumed by jealousy, he knows that winning her will throw them both into scandal and disgrace, but losing her is unbearable. Mr. Darcy is going to have to fight for his love, and his life…


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Darcy was cautiously pleased with how the evening was progressing. Although the degree of shock with which Elizabeth had greeted him had not been promising, she had agreed to dance with him, spoken with him with an air of comfort, and even teased him a little, if he was not mistaken. He had ached for her from the moment he saw her, standing by her sister with her back to the door, and the exquisite plea­sure of touching her hand as they danced had only reinforced his desire to win her. He could not quite bring himself to dance with another woman so quickly, so instead determined to demonstrate his attention to her reproofs by conversing with her family. Unfortunately, the only member of her family then available was her mother. Taking a deep breath, he approached Mrs. Bennet, giving her his compliments and enquiring after her well-being.

His reception was initially cold and ceremonious, but he persisted in his civility, just keeping himself from rolling his eyes at some of Mrs. Bennet’s ridiculous manners. Soon, however, the compliment of having such a man’s attention outweighed her former anger towards him, and she began to take advantage of the opportunity to tell him all the news of the neighbourhood.

“My sister Phillips’ eldest son married last spring to Harriet Letsworth, and that was quite the occasion,” she said. With pride, she added her coup, “And you have no doubt heard, Mr. Darcy, of my daughter’s engagement.”

Darcy’s wandering attention snapped back to her at these words. Miss Bennet engaged? Bingley would be devastated, especially if the look on his face when he danced with her was anything to judge by. This was a disaster; it would certainly make matters more difficult for him with Elizabeth as well. He cleared his throat, trying to mask his reaction, and said, “Miss Bennet is engaged? No, I have not had the pleasure of hearing the news.”

“Oh, no, not Jane!” replied Mrs. Bennet distractedly, her eyes travelling with satisfaction toward the figure of Mr. Bingley. “No, it is Lizzy who is to marry Mr. Covington—ah, yes, he has just arrived. My daughter Lydia is unfortunately not with us tonight; she is visiting Colonel Forster’s wife in Devonshire.”

Darcy was struck by a sharp shock of pain and disbelief at her unexpected words. His Elizabeth, promised to another man? It could not be! The possibility had never so much as crossed his mind that she might look on some other man with favour—that she might refuse him again, yes, but marry another, and so quickly? How could this have happened? His eyes sought her out involuntarily where she stood conversing with several acquaintances, and the taste of bile rose in his throat. He forced himself to say, “I do not believe that I am acquainted with Mr. Covington.” But I know enough about him already to wish he had never taken the first breath of life! he thought darkly. “Not know him?” cried Mrs. Bennet disbelievingly. “Mr. Covington is master of Ashworth House, and a fine gentle­man. Surely you must have met him last autumn, Mr. Darcy? There he is now.” With an embarrassing want of propriety, she pointed across the room to a well-built gentleman perhaps a few years younger than Darcy, with a handsome enough countenance though no particular claim to style, but fitting well into the company at hand. As Darcy watched with bitter jealousy, he approached Elizabeth and greeted her warmly, raising her hand to his lips.

Darcy’s eyes were fixed on Elizabeth, who welcomed the interloper with a somewhat absent smile, continuing her conversation and apparently including him without particular effort. Elizabeth, he thought despairingly.

Mr. Covington’s late arrival had not come as a surprise to Elizabeth; she knew he was quite busy at this season, and she was just as happy he had been absent during her dance with Darcy. She could not help but wonder what Darcy was thinking, if he had noticed the two of them together, and whether he was thanking heaven for his narrow escape. As Mr. Covington took her hand for the next dance, she braved a glimpse in his direction.

One look at his face told her something was terribly wrong. She saw her mother chatting away to him while he appeared oblivious, looking directly at Elizabeth. The realization suddenly hit her that he had not known of her engagement, that this was news to him; and a sudden wave of nausea passed over her. How cruel he must think she had been with her arch looks and teasing during their dances! She might not care for him, but he had been making a pronounced effort to be civil, and he did not deserve to be treated so. And what would Mr. Covington think if he knew she had been dancing with a gentleman who had loved her ardently and wanted to marry her? She felt heartily ashamed of herself, without quite knowing why.

Mr. Covington noticed her hesitation. “Are you well, Miss Bennet?” he asked with concern, noting her pallor.

Elizabeth swallowed. “Yes, quite well, sir,” she said. “Please, let us continue.”

End of excerpt…

I hope you enjoyed this visit with Darcy and Elizabeth!  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about Mr. Darcy’s Undoing or my other books.


AUTHOR BIO

Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology at Bryn Mawr College before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing Pride and Prejudice variations in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters. Her most recent releases are What Would Mr. Darcy Do? and an anthology of Pride and Prejudice stories, A Pemberley Medley.  Abigail is a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of wild animals masquerading as pets.  Her hobbies include beading, reading, and finding time to sleep. 


BOOK INFORMATION

  • Mr. Darcy’s Undoing: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds
  • Sourcebooks (2011)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (352) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1402240942
  • Genre: Austenesque, Regency Romance

ADDITIONAL INFO | ADD TO GOODREADS

We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, excerpt, and author bio courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2011; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2011, austenprose.com.

The Darcys of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow – A Review

The Darcys of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow (2011)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

New kid on the Jane Austen Fan Fiction block, Shannon Winslow, is debuting in a big way with her first novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, a follow up to Pride and Prejudice.  Winslow is sure to be around for a while as she gives readers relationships, conflicts, and characters that we can all relate to.  No marriage is perfect 100% of the time, and that’s proven in this novel, as well as many other relationship-testing events that can either make or break a newly married couple (let’s hope Lizzy and Darcy make it!)

Winslow takes us on another exciting post-Pride and Prejudice trip as we follow Lizzy and Darcy after their marriage through trials and tribulations that ultimately bring them closer together.  The honeymoon phase shortly after their wedding is typical of any couple that has been recently married, full of happiness and lacking in arguments.  It can’t last forever, however, as Darcy soon begins making business deals on the side that he doesn’t inform Lizzy of, and she herself begins to hide things from him in reaction to his lack of trust.  Adding to this, the Darcys learn that Col. Fitzwilliam has fallen prey to Lady Catherine’s conquest to find a suitable match for her daughter, Anne.  Although amicable towards each other, their romantic inclinations lie elsewhere and there is little hope for the match to stick.  At the same time, we begin to follow in the footsteps of Georgiana as she comes of age.  Excited about her birthday ball, she is soon heartbroken to find that her secret love, none other than Col. Fitzwilliam, is engaged to his cousin Anne.  What a depressing love triangle!  Although she is in time excited by new prospects in the upcoming London season and the new male suitors it brings, she still harbors deep sadness over the loss of Fitzwilliam, her first love.  As we travel further through the lives of the Darcys and Bingleys, it is soon evident that Wickham and Lydia will unfortunately reappear and wreck havoc on their previously tranquil lives.  Will Darcy and Lizzy be able to restore order to this confusion?  Will they be able to trust again?  What will become of Georgiana?

I have to first congratulate Winslow on a job well done.  Austen purists will love this novel, as it sticks closely with the characters and language that Austen herself created.  I think writing a book in the style of Jane Austen is incredibly challenging.  That style of language isn’t really utilized anymore, so I think my biggest piece of praise to Winslow has to be that she succeeded in making me feel like I was reading a long-lost work of Austen’s.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, I love when authors enhance the roles of the supporting characters.  I was so pleased to see Georgiana and the Bingleys receive such attention.  Their storylines were wonderful and a joy to read.  Georgiana’s especially – I felt her despair and desperation when she found Fitzwilliam to be engaged to Anne.  I felt her sadness and feelings of rejection when Fitzwilliam treated her like his younger, little cousin.   Winslow definitely has a talent for connecting the reader with the characters through her descriptions of their inner emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

My one small piece of disappointment was in how fast the ending conflict was resolved.  I won’t tell you what the conflict is, just that it has to do with Wickham.  The whole novel leads up to this major conflict, and I felt that in just 20 pages the entire thing was over and done with.  I would have liked just a little bit more there.

You definitely need to add this to your TBR pile.  Not only is The Darcys of Pemberley a pleasure to read, but Winslow is a peach to talk to!  Make sure you follow her on Twitter and let her know your thoughts on the book.  I can almost guarantee you that she’ll respond back to you, happy that you’ve given her book a chance at making it to your shelves.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Darcys of Pemberley: The Continuing Story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Winslow
Heather Ridge Arts (2011)
Trade paperback (326) pages
ISBN: 978-0615517155

© 2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

Preview and Excerpt of Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile, by Lev Raphael

Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile, by Lev Raphael (2011)I am continually amazed by how writers are inspired by Jane Austen’s characters from Pride and Prejudice. There are so many retellings and “what if’s,” recounting and elaborating on the relationship of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, our favorite romantic couple, that it makes my head swim — but — this may be a first! Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile, by Lev Raphael has just been release in eBook. It is a literary mash-up of our favorite novel with an interesting twist! Here is the publisher’s description and an excerpt for your enjoyment.

Get ready for Pride and Prejudice with brisket! Lizzy Bennet’s an Anglo-Jew with a Jewish mother, some Jewish attitude, and lots to say about Mr. Darcy, who has some serious attitude problems of his own when it comes to “Hebrews.” When these two proud people meet, is it still love at first…slight? Will prejudice keep them from bridging the gap between Jew and Gentile? Austen’s beloved novel gains new layers of comedy and drama in this ingenious mash-up.

“Hilarious and charming, genuinely delightful. An audacious reinterpretation of the divine Miss A which has one laughing out loud from the first page.” —Lauren Henderson, author of Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

“Lev Raphael’s version of Pride and Prejudice develops a whole new dimension and Austen’s plot neatly accommodates the Jewish elements in this mash-up hand-made by a maven.” —Rachel Brownstein, author of Why Jane Austen?

“With a sly wit and deft hand, Raphael infiltrates the world of Austen’s most popular novel and plays a game of What If? that simultaneously creates something fresh and reveals anew the genius of the original prose. Never have the human foibles of pride and prejudice been exposed in such a delightful way.” —Michael Thomas Ford, author of Jane Bites Back

Excerpt

It is a truth universally acknowledged, not least by a Jewish mother, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not heard.

“But it is,” returned  she; “for Mrs. Long  has just been here, and she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer but a sigh.

“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently, for Mrs. Bennet (née Goldsmid) was a yenteh.

Mr. Bennet shrugged with all the energy his aged shoulders could muster.  “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is this Bingley married or single?”

“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year.  What a fine thing for our girls!”

“How so?  How can it affect them?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”

“Is that his design in settling here?”

“Design! Nonsense,  how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them.”

“Indeed?  Is he known to have a fondness for daughters of Israel?”

“Mr. Bennett!  How could you!  One should not ask such questions. We do not live in the Dark Ages.”

“But we live in Hertfordshire, and the differences are not altogether marked ones.”

“Never you mind, you must visit him as soon as he comes.”  Mrs. Bennet had long despaired of Jewish husbands for her girls,  given their rural situation, and seeing each girl settled with any man of means whatsoever was her deepest desire.

“I see no occasion for such a visit. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party.”  Mr. Bennet enjoyed kibbitzing, not least because his wife seemed ever oblivious to his meaning.

Mr. Bennet, whose grandfather was a Ben-David from Amsterdam, was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character.  He was oil to his wife’s water.

Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting, news, and kugel.

Author Bio:

Lev Raphael is a former academic, radio talk show host, and newspaper columnist who’s published twenty books in genres from memoir to mystery with publishers like Doubleday, St. Martin’s, Faber and Walker.  His fiction and creative nonfiction appears in dozens of anthologies In the US and in Great Britain, and he has taught in colleges and universities around the country.

A world traveler and lecturer, his next adventure will be his second German book tour for his memoir My Germany this fall, sponsored by the American Consulate in Frankfurt, and will also be reading from his novel Rosedale in Love at the Edith Wharton in Florence conference next June (Austen and Wharton were major influences in his career). Visit Lev at his website Lev Raphael, on Twitter as @LevRaphael, and on Facebook as Lev Raphael.

Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile, by Lev Raphael
eBook: Kindle & Nook

© 2007 – 2011 Lev Raphael, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, by Maria Hamilton – A Review

Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, by Maria Hamilton (2011)Guest review by Christina Boyd

You are mistaken Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way than it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter XXXIV

The tragedy of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s ill-stated proposal in the Hunsford parlor is one of the most notable exhibitions in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, allowing generations of readers to ponder how it all might have been different had his behavior and delivery more agreeable. As in Austen’s masterpiece, Darcy is angered and shocked when Elizabeth refuses his hand in marriage… but in debut author Maria Hamilton’s Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, Darcy quickly realizes how poorly he acted and decides how he must make amends. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, by Maria Hamilton – A Review”

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