Jane Austen Lives Again, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe 2015 x 200From the desk of Katie Patchell:

What would Jane Austen say and do if she lived in the 1920s instead of the late 1700s/early 1800s? Would she wear a drop-waist dress that showed her ankles and bob her auburn hair? Would she dance the Charleston or listen to Jazz music? How would she react to being called ‘baby doll’? And would being handed into the front seat of a car by a young, eligible man just as romantic as being handed into a Regency carriage? These fascinating questions and more are imaginatively answered in Jane Odiwe’s latest novel, Jane Austen Lives Again, where readers—and Jane Austen herself—are transported to the chaotic, electrifying Jazz Age.

1817: After days of sickness, Jane Austen closes her eyes on this world for the last time. Or so she thinks. When she opens them again—to her, only a few moments later—her doctor informs her that he found the secret to immortal life, and the year is… Continue reading

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar, by Jane Odiwe – Preview & Exclusive Excerpt

Mr Darcys Christmas Calendar by Jane Odiwe 2014 x 200I have often thought of Pride and Prejudice as the ultimate fairy tale. While it does not have the traditional folkloric fantasy figures such as dwarves, fairies or giants, Jane Austen did create iconic romantic characters that have become prototypes for modern writers and a plot that includes the perfect happily-ever-after ending. It is easy to see why we want to return to that fantasy and live in the era with her characters again and again through new stories.

Austenesque author Jane Odiwe has written two Austen-inspired novels with strong fantasy elements: Project Darcy and Searching for Captain Wentworth. She has a particular talent for time-slip novels where a modern heroine, like her fairy tale compatriots—Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella or Belle in Beauty and the Beast—are touched by a magic that changes their lives, setting them on a course of discovery and romance. Her latest is a novella, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar, is set during the holiday season in modern day and Regency England. Jane has generously supplied an exclusive excerpt of her new work. I hope you enjoy it.

PREVIEW (from the publisher’s description)

A novella for the Christmas holidays – Lizzy Benson visits Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, and buys a special advent calendar in the gift shop, but strange things start to happen when she opens up the first door and finds herself back in time with all the beloved characters from her favourite book, Pride and Prejudice. As she finds herself increasingly drawn into an alternate reality, Lizzy discovers not only is Mr Darcy missing from the plot, but Jane Austen has never heard of him. All Lizzy can hope is that she can help to get the story and her own complicated love life back on track before Christmas is over!

Continue reading

Mrs Darcy’s Diamonds: A Jane Austen Jewel Box Novella, by Jane Odiwe – A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt

Mrs Darcys Diamonds by Jane Odiwe x 200We are very happy to introduce you to Austenesque author Jane Odiwe’s new novella called Mrs. Darcy’s Diamonds, just published last month by White Soup Press. Jane tells me that she loves Georgian-era jewellery, and thought it might be fun to write a series of books with a jewellery theme, and have every piece different. She imagined there would be some family jewels at Pemberley, and that a ring given to Elizabeth by Mr. Darcy could help create much tension and drama for a wintry tale.

PREVIEW (from the publishers description)

Elizabeth is newly married to Fitzwilliam Darcy, the richest man in Derbyshire, owner of a vast estate, and master of Pemberley House. Her new role is daunting at first, and having to deal with Mr Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is a daily challenge. But, Elizabeth is deeply in love and determined to rise to every test and trial she is forced to endure. When her husband presents her with a diamond ring, part of the precious and irreplaceable Darcy suite of jewels, she feels not only honoured and secure in her husband’s love, but also ready to accept her new responsibilities and position.

Mrs Darcy knows she will face exacting scrutiny at the approaching Christmas Ball, but it will be her chance to prove that she is a worthy mistress, and she is excited to be playing hostess to the Bennets, the Bingleys, and the gentry families of Derbyshire, as well as Mr Darcy’s French cousins. Antoine de Valois and his sister Louise have arrived at the invitation of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth is delighted that this young and lively couple are helping to bring Miss Georgiana Darcy out of her shell. However, when her ring goes missing before the ball, Elizabeth is distraught, and her dilemma further increased by the threat of a scandal that appears to involve the French cousins.

Continue reading

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)From the desk of Lisa Galek:

There’s one thing that’s true about Janeites – we love a good romance. Whether it’s a couple exchanging glances nearly two hundred years ago or a modern guy and gal sharing their first kiss on the streets of London, there’s something so magical about experiencing the feeling of falling in love… even if we’re only reading about it. In her new novel, Project Darcy, Jane Odiwe combines love stories from the past and present to give us an interesting spin on the life of Jane Austen.

When Ellie Bentley agrees to volunteer for an archeological dig at the site of Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon Rectory, she’s looking forward to spending a nice summer with her four closest friends – Jess, Martha, Cara, and Liberty. But almost as soon as she arrives, Ellie starts to see strange things: a man who looks just like he could be the ghost of Mr. Darcy and visions of a romance that happened 200 years ago. As the days pass and Ellie learns more about the secrets of Steventon, she gets drawn deeper and deeper into the life and loves of Jane Austen. Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for Project Darcy

Project  Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)80 comments were left qualifying those who participated in the giveaway of the two gift packs from author Jane Odiwe in celebration of the release of Project Darcy. The winners drawn at random are:

Gift Pack 1 (one print copy of Project Darcy and one 16.5” x 11.7” signed, original art pint by Jane Odiwe of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy dancing at Ashe Rectory)

  • Tess Q. who left a message of November 5, 2013

Gift Pack 2 (one 16.5” x 11.7” signed, original art print by Jane Odiwe of Steventon Rectory and one pack of 6 holiday cards in two designs)

  • Joanna Y. who left a comment on November 12, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by November 20, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments, to Jane Odiwe for sharing an excerpt of her novel and for the gift packs for giveaway.

Cover image courtesy of Paintbox Publishing © 2013; text Jane Odiwe © 2013, Austenprose.com

Project Darcy Book Launch & Blog Tour with Author Jane Odiwe & Giveaways!

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)Fall is always a peak season for great novels in publishing so I am happy to host the virtual book launch party of Project Darcy, by popular Austenesque novelist Jane Odiwe. In celebration Jane has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt of her new novel with our readers.

Please enter a chance to win one of two gift packs available, including a copy of the book, prints of Jane’s wonderfully enchanting artwork and note cards, by leaving a comment below this post. Details for the giveaway are listed at the bottom. Good luck to all! 

Welcome Jane…

Laurel Ann, I am so excited to be here as a guest to launch my new book, Project Darcy – thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate today and share an exclusive excerpt!

The 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice has been a special year for Jane Austen’s wonderful book, and I couldn’t let it go by without celebrating it myself with a new novel!

Five friends who have recently finished university, volunteer for an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon, Hampshire. Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty, are all excited to go on the trip for very individual reasons – Ellie is an illustrator and loves painting landscapes, Jess is obsessed with Jane Austen’s books, Martha is keen to indulge her interest in archaeology, and Cara and Liberty can think of nothing but the guys they might meet and the possibility of starring in the documentary that’s going to be made. Continue reading

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe (2012)We can only imagine what life would have been like in the great Georgian resort town of Bath, England circa 1800. There are vintage illustrations of buildings, maps of the winding streets, and descriptions from travelers and writers of the time to help us visualize. And then there is the Bath that we know of from Jane Austen’s two novels: Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Her characters visit the famous pump-room, dance at the Lower Assembly Rooms, climb that noble hill Beechen Cliff, and propose on the gravel walk. We can visit this enchanting town today and still see much of what Austen experienced, but what if there was a way to be magically transported back in time to discover that Jane Austen is your next door neighbor and her dashing younger brother, Lieutenant Charles Austen, is home on leave from his duties with the Royal Naval? Would you take that journey through time no matter what the unknown risk?

Sophie Elliot, the heroine of Jane Odiwe’s new Austen-inspired novel Searching for Captain Wentworth, unknowingly faces this dilemma the first time she is transported two hundred years into the past through a magical glove once owned by Lt. Austen. Sound fantastical? Well, yes it would to any skeptic, including myself. Recent movies such as Lost in Austen and the Austen Addict book series: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict have softened my resolve. I enjoyed both the mini-series and the novels so much that “suspending my disbelief” and considering that anything is possible (in fiction and in life) opened up a whole new genre to me. Odiwe has created a clever combination of the past and present that took me on a journey through Jane Austen’s world, both familiar and fantastical. Continue reading

Searching For Captain Wentworth Blog Tour with Author Jane Odiwe

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe (2012)Huzzah! We have a treat for you today. Jane Odiwe, author of Willoughby’s Return and Mr. Darcy’s Secret has just released her new novel, Searching For Captain Wentworth and is sharing an audio extract and insights into its creation.

We have had the pleasure of reading this new Regency-era time-travel novel and are so pumped up to tell all, but shan’t, until we review it next week. Until then, enjoy Jane’s lovely guest blog and audio excerpt.

Please help me welcome Jane by asking her a question about her new characters or historic locations she used in the book.

I’m really thrilled to be a guest on Laurel Ann’s blog today and I thought it would be a little different to do a reading! I’m celebrating the release of my new book, Searching For Captain Wentworth this week.

I’ve absolutely loved writing this book – it’s been a total self-indulgence because I’ve been able to write about the things I love most in the world! Jane Austen, my favourite places, painting, portraits, gorgeous men and the novel Persuasion are just some of the inspirations behind my book. I’ve always loved time travel books and it’s been fun to write one of my own – especially when you can break any scientific rule. That’s what’s so fantastic about being a novelist – you can mix and match facts with fiction and make it all up!

The city of Bath is a favourite place of mine and some of the experiences Sophie has in the book are based on dreams I’ve had or on real (or what I thought were real) events. I’m not usually someone who believes in ghosts but I’m pretty sure I’ve a friendly, teasing one who visits me occasionally when I’m in Bath. It opens doors in the night that I know I have firmly shut and it will occasionally pull my hair – so slightly that I wonder if it’s just got caught in a clasp of a necklace – before I realise I’m not wearing one! But, you’ve only got to walk around Bath for an hour or so especially on a winter’s day, when it’s shrouded in mist and decorated with cobwebs sprinkled with sparkles of raindrops, to ‘feel’ and ‘see’ its Georgian inhabitants walking along the cobbled streets. There is such an atmosphere! Blink – and I think you could pass through a layer of time to the one of your choice.

Jane Austen's home at 4 Sydney Place, Bath, todayNo 4 Sydney Place, Bath

Everyone has their own ideas about what Jane Austen was like and I’ve loved having my own encounter with Jane in this book. My heroine, Sophie, gets to meet Jane and her family as she finds herself living next door to the Austens in Sydney Place. From my window in Bath I’m very lucky to be able to see Jane Austen’s house and her garden – every now and again I get a glimpse of a rosy-cheeked girl with chestnut curls looking out of a window – but perhaps it’s just my imagination! I’ve always felt that Bath must have been a special place for Jane despite the argument that because Anne Elliot disliked it, so must she. I want to know why she set two of her most romantic novels here if she didn’t like the town. We have so little information about that time in her life that I feel we may have dwelt on the negatives and not examined the positives enough. There isn’t a happier scene than the one where Anne and her Captain stroll along the Gravel Walk – and the youthful exuberance from Catherine Morland must surely be a young Jane talking of her own experiences.

Front entrance of Sydney Hotel & Gardens, Bath, England circa 1800Front entrance to the Sydney Hotel and Gardens in Bath circa 1800

I’ve walked with Charles Austen in Sydney Gardens – he is even more handsome in reality and exactly befitting an Austen hero in his naval uniform. He, of course, helped me with the research for my book and I’m very grateful to him and to Jane and Cassandra for taking me up to Beechen Cliff where I enjoyed the wonderful views and a picnic.

Holidays in Lyme are always an inspiration – I’m sure Jane walks along the Cobb wall every now and again – it’s such a lovely, unspoiled seaside town. The houses and streets I’ve described can still be seen and the countryside about is as beautiful as when Jane wrote about it!

Jane Austen Rice portrait

Lastly, I wanted to mention the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen that is pictured on the cover. Mrs Henry Rice very kindly granted me permission to use it in my design. It’s a wonderful painting! Having seen the portrait for myself was just fantastic and the many interesting discussions we had inspired my writing.

Searching For Captain Wentworth is an affectionate tribute to Jane Austen, Bath and Lyme – I hope you enjoy it!

Author Bio:

Jane Odiwe is the author of Effusions of Fancy, Lydia Bennet’s Story, Willoughby’s Return, Mr Darcy’s Secret and Searching For Captain Wentworth – all Austen-inspired books. She a member of the Jane Austen Society, the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelist’s Association. In addition to her many writing talents, Jane is an accomplished artist. She lives with her family in North London and Bath, England. You can visit Jane at her website Austen Effusions; her blog Jane Austen Sequels; on Facebook as Jane Odiwe and follow her on Twitter as @JaneOdiwe

Searching For Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe
Paintbox Publishing (2012)
Trade paperback (320) pages
ISBN: 978-0954572228

Further reading

© 2012, Jane Odiwe, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Willoughby’s Return

Willoughby's Return, by Jane Odiwe (2009)31 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe.

The winner drawn at random is TARA FLY who left a comment on December 28, 2011.

Congratulations TARA! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 19, 2012. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Many thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Reading Challenge 2011. I had a wonderful year reading books and viewing movies inspired by Jane Austen’s first published novel.

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Irresistable Temptation, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Willoughbys Return, by Jane Odiwe (2009)This is my final contribution to The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Reading Challenge 2011. Feeling nostalgic during the holidays, I resorted to an old chestnut in selection of my final read. I enjoyed Willoughby’s Return immeasurably when I first read it two years ago. After re-reading it again, I began to write my new review and quickly realized that I was just repeating what I had previously written – with the exception that my respect for Odiwe’s writing had increased in comparison to other Austenesque fiction that I had read since – so I increased my star rating from 4 to 5.

While the Jane Austen sequel industry abounds with numerous books inspired by Pride and Prejudice, regretfully there are very few sequels to Austen’s first published novel Sense and Sensibility. Why? Possibly because some readers have been disappointed with half of Austen’s unsatisfactory ending for her two heroines. While the two Dashwood sisters do marry: staid and stoic Elinor to Edward Ferrars and impulsive and free-spirited Marianne to Col. Brandon, the second pairings future happiness seemed doubtful. How could a young lady with Marianne’s intense passionate depth be happy with anyone other than her Byronic first love Mr. Willoughby – even after he threw her over for an heiress? Nagging questions arise. Did she settle when she married the Colonel? Would she be tempted into extramarital affairs and runaway with her lover? Possibly, leaving an intriguing premise for continuing the story.

All these concerns are addressed in Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation a new sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Jane Odiwe. How, or if they will be resolved to our satisfaction is now a possibility.

Three years after her marriage to Colonel Brandon, Marianne is the mistress of Delaford Park and the mother of a young son James. She has everything that a young married woman could desire: wealth, position, an heir and a loving husband, but her insecurities, jealousy and impetuous nature rob her of complete happiness. Resentful that her husband is frequently called away to attend his ward Eliza Williams and her infant daughter, Marianne “feels” that he cares for his other family more than his own. Their ties to the Brandon’s are strong and painful; Eliza being the daughter of Brandon’s first love who died tragically, and Eliza’s young child Lizzie the illegitimate daughter of John Willoughby the rogue who also threw over Marianne’s affections for an heiress five years prior. In addition, there is that imposing portrait of Eliza’s mother hanging in the Hall staring down at her. Every time Marianne passes it she sees the similarities of their appearances and doubts more and more if Brandon married her because he loved her, of if she is replacing the woman that he loved and lost years ago. When the charming rogue John Willoughby reappears in her life proclaiming he has never stopped loving her, the pain of their failed romance is renewed gradually replaced by conflicting emotions and the temptation to be with him again.

We are reintroduced to many of the characters from the original novel: Elinor Ferrars and her husband Edward, Mrs. Jennings, the Middleton’s, Lucy Ferrars and importantly Elinor and Marianne’s younger sister Margaret Dashwood who has her own romance in the course of the novel that may equal Marianne’s dilemma in emotion and drama. It could not be a Jane Austen sequel without talk of beaus, gowns and a glamorous Ball, so imagine everything most “profligate and shocking” in the way of young couples dancing and sitting down together! Margaret Dashwood supplies the shocking (to the horror of the neighborhood biddies) in her behavior by dancing more than three times in one night with one partner, Henry Lawrence, the charming and bold nephew of Col Brandon. Like Willoughby, Henry appears to be a good catch: attractive, well connected, an heir to a fortune and too irresistible. He wastes no time in pursuing Margaret’s affections. There is a surprise twist to their relationship that I will not reveal, but readers might recognize similarities to another Austen heroine.

Odiwe has captured Marianne’s spirit superbly. Romantic, impulsive and let’s face it, high maintenance! At times I really wanted to give her a firm dressing down and felt the same of Austen’s younger Marianne, so I knew that Odiwe had connected their characteristics seamlessly. Marianne may be five years older, but she’s still Marianne the drama queen and that makes for great entertainment! Interestingly, the two men in her life, Brandon and Willoughby, had fewer scenes than expected but caused many reactions to fuel the narrative serving their purpose. This was a nice mirror to women’s fate in Regency times. Men have all the power, women all the presence.

This is Odiwe’s second Austen sequel, and like Lydia Bennet’s Story she has chosen a character in Marianne Brandon that is ruled by impulse and emotion making for surprise and tension – all good elements to an engaging story that she delivers with confidence and aplomb. Developing younger sister Margaret Dashwood brought youth, vivacity and a bit of rebellion against social dictums to the story. Her romance with Henry Lawrence was an excellent choice as she shared the narrative equally with Marianne and balanced the story. Odiwe’s research and passion for the Regency era shine, especially in her descriptions of the country fair and fashions. It is rewarding to see her develop her own style evocative of Austen but totally modern in its sensibility. There were a few missteps with cadence and vernacular, but I am splitting hairs, and few will notice. Of course we are never in much doubt that it will all end happily, but unlike Jane Austen’s tale, the final transformation of the heroine’s troubling want of caution and choice of spouse will not prompt debate two hundred years later.

A light and enjoyable read, Willoughby’s Return is a charming tale that sweeps you back into Austen’s mannered world of a young girl searching for love and a married woman realizing it.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my twelfth selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can read the archive of all of my reviews and those of the other participants reviews posted in the challenge review pages here. It has been great fun to visit Jane Austen’s first published novel and many of the film adpatations and books that it has inspired this year. 

A Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of Willoughby’s Return, by Jane Odiwe by leaving a comment by midnight PT, Wednesday, January 4, 2012 stating if you are Team Willoughby or Team Brandon and why? Winner to be announced on Thursday, January 5, 2012. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

The deadline to enter the Grand Prize drawing of The Sense and Sensibility Reading Challenge 2011, which includes a copy of each of the twelve items that I reviewed for the challenge in a Jane Austen tote bag from The Republic of Pemberley Shoppe will be midnight PT, January 4, 2012. Winner announced on Thursday, January 5th, 2012. All of the participants in the challenge and the commenters in their review posts in the event are eligible.  Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!

Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation, by Jane Odiwe
Sourcebooks Landmark, Naperville, IL (2009)
Trade paperback (345) pages
ISBN: 978-1402222672

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Winners Announced in the Mr. Darcy’s Secret Giveaway!

Mr. Darcy's Secret, by Jane Odiwe (2011)29 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a paperback copy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe. The five winners drawn at random are:

• Katie who left a comment on 28 February

• Chelsea B. who left a comment on 28 February

• Jakki Leatherbury who left a comment on 1 March

• Rhonda who left a comment on 7 March

• Rebecca W. who left a comment on 7 March

Congratulations to all the winners! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by March 16, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks again to author Jane Odiwe for your great blog and excerpt from Mr. Darcy’s Secret. I hope you all have a chance to read it.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Secret Blog Tour with Author Jane Odiwe – and, a Glorious Giveaway

Mr. Darcy's Secret, by Jane Odiwe (2011)Please join us today in celebration of Mr. Darcy’s Secret, a new Pride and Prejudice continuation by author Jane Odiwe. Known for her historical accuracy and witty humor, Jane is the author of two previous Austen-inspired novels, Lydia Bennet’s Story and Willoughby’s Return. This is her first Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel.

Welcome Jane…

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me as a guest onto your blog today to talk about Mr. Darcy’s Secret. I am thrilled to be here!

When I started writing my novel, although I knew that I wanted to write about Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship, I also knew that I wanted very much to tell Georgiana’s story. If you remember from Pride and Prejudice, poor Georgiana almost suffered the same fate as Lydia did with Mr. Wickham. Georgiana fell for the latter’s charms, and even consented to an elopement. Fortunately for her, Mr. Darcy arrived on the scene to forestall Wickham’s plans to gain Georgiana’s money, as well as her heart. Georgiana is seen very much as the victim, especially when we learn that she is quiet, accomplished, and shy. In Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I wanted to see if Georgiana might be brought out of herself. I’d wondered if her shyness resulted from her experience with Wickham. After all, if she’d suffered a painful experience like that, learning that men outside her close circle were not to be trusted, perhaps that might account for some of her timidity.  Once bitten, twice shy, is the saying that comes to mind.

As with all my books, I like to take the heroines on a journey, so I’m afraid it’s not plain sailing for Georgiana all the way. However, I wanted to find happiness for this amiable heroine even if she is torn for a while between duty and desire. Here’s a little extract; I hope you enjoy it.

Mr. Thomas Butler, the son of Mrs. Gardiner’s friend is one of the new landscape gardeners. When he is invited to draw up some plans at Pemberley for a new feature in the grounds, Georgiana is keen to take a peep at him from a distance, but feels far too shy to be introduced again.

Georgiana knew that Tom Butler had arrived, for she had been watching for him after breakfast from the safety of her sitting room, which afforded a splendid view of the drive and the little bridge crossing the stream, over which all visitors must come. She was thinking about how she might start another drawing on a completely new subject and considering how unnecessary it was to go and introduce herself to Mr Butler again. After all, he was here to do some work for her brother and he would be completely taken up with that. Georgiana positioned two vases of varying heights with a Chinese bowl into a suitable arrangement and was just sharpening her pencil with the knife she used specially for the purpose when there came a rapid knock upon her door.

It was Lizzy looking most harried. “Oh, Georgiana, I am in a panic. Will you help me? I had completely forgotten that I promised Mrs Gardiner that I would take her to see the market and shops in Matlock whilst she is here. It is market day today and there will not be an opportunity to go again before the Christmas festivities begin. She was so looking forward to going with the idea of looking for small gifts for the children.”

“Oh, Lizzy, I know what you are about to say. Please do not ask me!”

“Please, Georgiana, you have only to take Mr Butler to the upper slopes where we walked and then you may leave him. I beg you; no one else will do. I feel it looks bad enough that I am not going to be here to do the honours, but at least with you, the other mistress of the house, I shall not feel quite as if I have neglected my duties so much. Please say you will help me.”

Mrs Darcy’s expression was such that it was quite beyond Georgiana’s power to refuse her; indeed, she felt she could never refuse anything Elizabeth asked of her. Lizzy was so kind, always behaving like the sister she had never had. How could she decline such an appeal to be of assistance?

“Very well, Lizzy, I do it because I love you, my dearest sister, but I have to tell you that every inclination in my body is against it.”

“Thank you, my dearest girl,” said Lizzy, not stopping to assuage Georgiana’s feelings further with any more platitudes. “Come, make haste, there is not a moment to lose. I’ve left the poor man in the library looking at a stack of your sketches. I told him I would be back in seconds.”

“Oh, Lizzy, how could you show him my poor sketches?” cried Georgiana.

“Listen, not only are they remarkable drawings, but also you will have something to talk about, so you need not feel so shy,” added Lizzy, taking her sister’s hand and almost pulling her out of the room.

Mrs Darcy left Georgiana at the library door, running away before the latter had a chance to change her mind. With her heart hammering, Georgiana observed Mr Butler through the open door. He was sitting at a table by the window and so engrossed with the drawings before him that he was unconscious of her presence. Dressed very smartly in a dark blue coat, and with his hair falling in fair tendrils against his collar, he made a pleasing picture. His long fingers seemed almost to caress the paper, so gently did he turn the pages. Georgiana watched his hands and noted not only his movements, but also his quiet strength. “He does have an expression of kindness,” she thought…

© Jane Odiwe, Mr. Darcy’s Secret, Sourcebooks, February 2011

Author Jane OdiweJane Odiwe is the author of Effusions of Fancy, Lydia Bennet’s Story, Willoughby’s Return and Mr Darcy’s Secret – all Austen-inspired books. She a member of the Jane Austen Society, the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelist’s Association. In addition to her many writing talents, Jane is an accomplished artist. She lives with her family in North London and Bath, England. You can visit her on her website Austen Effusions and her blog Jane Austen Sequels.

Grand Giveaway of Mr. Darcy’s Secret

Thanks Jane for sharing this excerpt from Mr. Darcy’s Secret. It is a glorious, romantic and humorous ride to the Lake District with the Darcys. Please check out my review and enter a chance to win one of five copies available by leaving a comment by midnight March 9, 2010 PT sharing what intrigues you about this new novel or what you enjoy most about Jane Odiwe’s writing. Winners to be announced on Thursday, March 10, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only.

Further reading

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Secret, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Mr. Darcy's Secret, by Jane Odiwe (2011)Everyone has a secret or two in their past that they would rather forget. In Regency times, where a breach in propriety could ruin a reputation with a withering look, people had many secrets to hide. Are we surprised to learn that the residents of Pemberley, the palatial estate of the Darcy family in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, have a few of their own tucked away in the library or residing at a local cottage? Author Jane Odiwe wants us to explore that possibility in her new novel Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Will the happily ever after really happen for the newly married Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, or will a family secret ruin the fairy tale?

At the conclusion of the original novel Austen left riffs running and a few positive connections for the couple. As Elizabeth arrives in Derbyshire and settles into to her new duties as mistress of the great estate of Pemberley, she attempts to reconcile her husband with his aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and build up fragile Georgiana Darcy after the emotional upheaval of the failed elopement with Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth resists the innuendo of local gossip Mrs. Eaton to a Darcy connection of a secret affair and illegitimate children until she discovers a cache of love letters hidden in the library. Her doubts about the man she married deepens further when Darcy insists that Georgiana marry quickly, and for title and fortune, and not for love.

Elizabeth stared at Mr. Darcy in disbelief. Not for the first time in the last few days did she stare at the man she had married to consider how little she really knew him. She had been so sure of his character in Hertfordshire and now, for the moment, she could not reconcile any of her former beliefs. Looking at him, his countenance flushed from his passionate speech, his face solemn and sober, she realized it was useless to debate the matter. Without further ado, she excused herself…page 114

No, life at Pemberley is not all sunshine and syllabub. Georgiana is torn between her family duty to marry the man of her brother’s choice or the man she truly loves, Thomas Butler, a young and aspiring landscape gardener designing a new garden on the estate. They have everything in common that true lovers should possess, which Elizabeth recognizes, and her husband does not. How could he be so calculating with his sisters happiness and not with his own? These inconsistencies in his character, the love letters and the familiar resemblance of a young boy in the village threaten Elizabeth’s trust in her new husband and Georgiana’s happiness.

With two plots churning, Jane Odiwe has crafted an intriguing and unique continuation of Austen’s classic that will charm and delight Janeites and historical romance readers. As we travel from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire to the Lake District of Cumberland, we enjoy the awe inspiring picturesque scenery and equally jaw dropping characterizations. Be prepared to see romantic icon Mr. Darcy knocked off his pedestal and conceitedly independent Elizabeth Bennet passively submit to her doubts. Is that a bad thing? Only, if you are determined that these characters should not change, grow and evolve beyond the last page of Pride and Prejudice.

I laughed at the creativity of giving Caroline Bingley a crush on a bohemian artist who she so wishes to impress that she embraces the peasant lifestyle and rents a rustic cottage near him while he is on holiday in the Lake District. He happens to be a wealthy and titled bohemian artist so we know she has not strayed too far from her aspirations of social grandeur. Georgiana plays out to be a bit of the rebel that we always knew she was by falling in love with one man while engaged to another, and thoughtless Lydia Wickham makes a cameo appearance to discover a secret that could ruin a Darcy’s happiness. Oh yes. Mr. Darcy is not the only one harboring secrets in this tale. Hiding or disclosing them is the mettle of true character. Who fesses up? Only those with the true Darcy spirit will tell.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

Mr. Darcy’s Secret, by Jane Odiwe
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402245275

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose