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: 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

Mr. Darcy’s Rival: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Kara Louise – Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway

Mr Darcy's Rival by Kara Louise (2015)We are very happy to welcome Austenesque author Kara Louise to Austenprose today to introduce you to her latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Rival. Kara has several Jane Austen-inspired novels in print including Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, Pirates & Prejudice, and Darcy’s Voyage. I hope you enjoy this exclusive excerpt and enter a chance to win a copy of the book. Details are listed at the bottom of this post.

WELCOME KARA

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for allowing me to come and share my new book, Mr. Darcy’s Rival, with your readers. To begin, I thought I would give you these two definitions.

Mr. Darcy: (from Wikipedia) Fitzwilliam Darcy, generally referred to as Mr. Darcy, is one of the two central characters in Jane Austen‘s novel Pride and Prejudice. He is an archetype of the aloof romantic hero, and a romantic interest of Elizabeth Bennet, the novel’s protagonist… well, I think we know the rest. Continue reading

Pirates and Prejudice: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Kara Louise – A Review

Pirates and Prejudice Kara Louise 2013 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

When I first heard about a novel that turned my beloved Fitzwilliam Darcy into a pirate, I was apprehensive. HOW could anyone believably transform that noble gentleman into scurrilous brigand? He was so proper, so refined, and orderly. Picturing him as a swashbuckler…well, I just couldn’t imagine it. Enter author Kara Louise and her novel Pirates and Prejudice. I shouldn’t be surprised that Louise was able to seriously sell me on the idea, considering I loved her earlier novel Darcy’s Voyage (another version of P&P at sea.) Her characterization and unique storyline had me hooked on this new and intriguing way of looking at one of the most iconic romantic heroes ever created.

Feeling deeply spurned after Elizabeth Bennet rejects his offer of marriage, lonely and forlorn, Fitzwilliam Darcy eschews his friends and family, preferring instead to hide away at the London docks where he drowns his disappointment in drink. There, he is mistaken for an escaped pirate Captain Lockerly and imprisoned. Even though he claims “disguise of every sort is my abhorrence,” he aids the local authorities and agrees to impersonate the notorious pirate to help capture him. What was once something he would have never imagined for himself, the pirate life now calls him into action. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle Gardiner cancel their vacation plans to tour The Lake District leaving Elizabeth open to sail to the Isle of Scilly with her father to see her ailing aunt. On their return voyage, however, they are set upon by pirates and rescued by Captain Smith. Imagine her surprise when she discovers that this is no ordinary Captain, but the ex-pirate impersonator Mr. Darcy himself! How will Darcy explain how he came to be a sea Captain? Will Elizabeth fall in love with this new and improved version of the Mr. Darcy she once so coldly rejected? Continue reading

Winners Announced in the Only Mr. Darcy Will Do Giveaway!

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise (2011)50 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three paperback copies and one signed paperback copy of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise. The winners drawn at random are:

• Bonnie Carlson who left a comment on 1 March (signed copy)

• Lynn M. who left a comment on 3 March

• Mybookthoughts who left a comment on 6 March

• Denise Bruce 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 Kara Louise for your great interview. I hope you all have a chance to read Only Mr. Darcy Will Do.

Review of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise – A Review

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise (2011)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

Many Pride and Prejudice fans often have “what if” moments.  What if Elizabeth accepted Darcy the first time?  What if they had met previously and were kind to each other?  What if Elizabeth was forced to accept Darcy, knowing he was still very proud?  Author Kara Louise has answered some of these questions and more in her six Pride and Prejudice variation novels.  Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, originally tiled Something Like Regret, is the second of author Kara Louise’s self-published novels to be re-issued by Sourcebooks.  Her first novel Darcy’s Voyage quickly gained her notoriety in the Austen fan fiction world as an incredibly creative variation author.

A year after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy is returning to Rosings Park for his annual sojourn to his aunt’s grand estate.  During his journey he reflects upon his last visit and wonders what Elizabeth Bennet is doing now.   He has no idea that she is now working as a governess in London for the Willstone Family.  Mrs. Bennet’s worst fears about the entail have come true. Mr. Bennet has died the previous spring and the Collins’ have taken possession of Longbourn, displacing the Bennet ladies and forcing Elizabeth to find work.  Her sister Jane now lives with their Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London, and Lydia, Mary, Kitty and Mrs. Bennet are residing on the good graces of the Phillips’ in Meryton.

In London Elizabeth often reflects on how different her life would have been had she accepted the proposals of Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy, acknowledging in her heart that she did the right thing in rejecting them.  She does recall the proposal from Mr. Darcy with sadness, recognizing he might not have been as horrible of a man as she thought.  Her feelings for him soften as she re-reads the “Be not alarmed, Madame,” letter he wrote to her following the proposal.  One evening the Willstones throw a dinner party at which Mr. Bingley and Georgiana Darcy are guests.  Mr. Bingley is shocked to see Elizabeth there as a governess and comes to learn the of Mr. Bennet’s death.  When the party is over Mrs. Willstone’s sister Rosalyn comes to Elizabeth’s room because she is surprised that Elizabeth is acquainted with the Darcy family.  Rosalyn opens up to Elizabeth, telling her that she has been in love with Mr. Darcy her entire life, that from their first meeting she knew he was the man she wanted to marry.  Elizabeth must curb her jealousy and hide her previous dealings with Darcy from Rosalyn for fear that she might lose her job.

Elizabeth soon finds herself thrown into Darcy’s social circle due to his acquaintance with the Willstone’s, which soon results in an invitation for all to Pemberley.  Elizabeth, thinking that Darcy is falling for Rosalyn, tries to tell the family that the invitation is not meant to include her.  They tell her that he specifically invited her as well, thus beginning their journey to Pemberley.  The more time that Elizabeth spends in Darcy’s acquaintance the harder she beings to fall for him.  Her behavior however is checked by Mrs. Willstone as she tells Elizabeth that she is not to join them after dinner, she is after all just a governess.   Will Darcy save her from her dreary life as a governess or is it too late for there to ever be a future between them?

I have to start out first by giving those of you who want to read this novel a quick warning.  You WILL read this book from start to finish in one sitting, so don’t be like me and start it as you’re going to bed.  I didn’t go to sleep until 3:15am, I was that hooked.

I was introduced to Kara Louise with her first novel Darcy’s Voyage and have been anxiously awaiting her next novel.  It couldn’t have come any sooner.  Her writing style is completely captivating.  You become so engrossed in the novel that it’s impossible to put down.  The storyline is so original and so creative.  It’s amazing how asking “what if” to one small section of the story changes the plot entirely.

Even though the plot line is changed, Kara stays true to the characterizations that Austen created. Elizabeth is still strong willed and quick witted while Darcy has checked his pride at the door and just wants to win Elizabeth’s heart.  Bingley and Jane are just as generous and kind as ever, while Lydia is still throwing her virtue all over the place.  Kara introduces many strong and multi-layered new characters that could have been straight from the pages of Austen’s original works, only enhancing the story further.

Creative, engaging and reverent to Austen’s characters, I cannot recommend Only Mr. Darcy Will Do enough.  If you’ve never read anything by this author, then I highly suggest you jump on the bandwagon and read everything she’s written.  There is a rumor going around that Sourcebooks might pick up another of her self-published books, and let me tell you, it would be an incredibly smart move on their part if they did.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 9781402241031

2007 – 2010 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

Chatting with Kara Louise, Author of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise (2011)Please welcome Austenesque author Kara Louise today on her first stop on her blog tour for her new book, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, a Pride and Prejudice variation due out today from Sourcebooks.

LAN: Hi Kara. Thanks for joining us today. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is a new title to many, but some may recognize the plot from the description as your previously self-published Something Like Regret. Can you share with us its publishing history and if it has gone through a rewrite or any changes for this new edition?

KL: Thanks for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

I had just finished writing Something Like Regret and had self-published it when Sourcebooks contacted me and said they were now interested in my books. (They had previously turned them down.) They wanted to publish Pemberley’s Promise (which became Darcy’s Voyage) and Assumed Engagement, both variations. When I told them about Something Like Regret, they agreed to publish that one instead, after Darcy’s Voyage.

There are no major changes in the book. There are, of course, grammatical corrections. (I have some very bad habits!) I was also asked to shorten the last part of the book slightly. There is really only one little scene I removed, but basically the book is the same as it was originally published, except for the title, of course.

LAN: Your previous novel Darcy’s Voyage was released last September to much acclaim. That must have been very gratifying for you. It was also inspired by Pride and Prejudice. I find these variations both fascinating and perplexing. Can you explain what a variation is opposed to a retelling of a classic story?

KL: A variation changes some of the events and alters different aspects of the story whereas a retelling would keep all the main elements the same, with possibly inserting some scenes that weren’t covered in the original story.

In Darcy’s Voyage I changed the way Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet, by having them meet on a ship. The story eventually ‘merges’ with the events of Pride and Prejudice, but because of what happened prior to those events, they are quite different.

In Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, I’ve taken the liberty to begin after the proposal [Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet] at Hunsford. Although I refer to the events that took place earlier, I chose to begin the story the following Easter with the news that Mr. Bennet died the year before, preventing Elizabeth from taking her tour [to the Lake District] with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. In reading Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, it would be much more beneficial to have read and know the story of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy’s Voyage, however, is a complete story in itself. But I always hope these variations will lead readers to Jane Austen herself, if they haven’t already read her.

LAN: So, Mrs. Bennet’s worst nightmare comes true. Mr. Bennet dies and the estate is inherited by Mr. Collins and his wife Charlotte. Does she fret about living in the hedgerows??? This is such a great set up Kara. There are so many directions to go from here. How do you as a writer make these choices? Do you have it all plotted out in advance or do you let the characters and scenes just take over?

KL: Yes, I believe Mrs. Bennet’s fear of being thrown out of Longbourn was a driving force in wanting the girls to marry well (as well as the source of her insufferable nerves!). When I began writing this variation (which was about 8 years ago!), I wondered if there were any others out there with this premise. I discovered that Abigail Reynolds was writing one with a similar plot, but hers takes a completely different turn, and the two of us even talked about the fact that the books were similar in that Mr. Bennet has died and Elizabeth has become a governess.

When I said I began it 8 years ago, I actually set it aside because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. I had an inspiration for another story, wrote it, and then finally went back to finish it. I knew I wanted the family Elizabeth worked for to know Mr. Darcy and for her to suddenly begin hearing about him. I wanted Elizabeth to struggle with the ill feelings and prejudices she had toward him and the way in which she was beginning to see him, all the while knowing her station in life would not allow for him to renew his address.

Once I went back to finally finish the story, I have to admit I wasn’t sure how everything was going to play out. There were a couple directions I initially thought I would take, but as I got into the novel and developed some of the other characters, I realized I needed to do something different. Sometimes I’ve scratched large sections because they just don’t work. (Or save them to use in another story.)

I do have an idea where I am going in the story, but I don’t plot it out completely or make an outline. Sometimes I’ll write a later scene if it comes to me and I don’t want to lose it. And yes, sometimes the characters just take over and refuse to go somewhere and insist on going somewhere else!

LAN: You have also introduced new characters in your story. Can you tell us a bit about them? Do you have a favorite that you really enjoyed creating? How did Austen influence your choices in developing them?

KL: I do have a handful of new characters in this book. There are Mr. and Mrs. Willstone and their daughter Emily. Elizabeth is Emily’s governess and is very happy in her position. The Willstones treat her well and little Emily is a joy to work with. Mrs. Willstone’s sister, Rosalyn, is about Elizabeth’s age and when she comes for a visit, she and Elizabeth enjoy spending time together. To Elizabeth’s dismay, she comes to discover that Rosalyn has admired Mr. Darcy for a long time, and when they find out that Elizabeth spent time with him in Hertfordshire, Rosalyn cannot stop pressing her with information about him. She will talk of nothing and no one else, and Elizabeth fears that somehow she and her family might discover that her made her and offer of marriage and she refused it.

When they are invited to Pemberley for a couple weeks, we meet a few other new characters. Mr. Darcy’s cousin on his father’s side, Peter Hamilton, adds a little mischief and levity to the party. You will also meet the Goldsmiths, their children, and their governess. Mr. Goldsmith was a friend of Mr. Darcy’s from Oxford.

I think my favorite new character was Peter Hamilton. Although he is a little rough around the edges, he is kind-hearted.

In developing these characters, I tried to create ones that would interact well with and possibly cause a little tension and fun for the characters Austen created that we have come to dearly love.

LAN: What’s up next for you Kara? Are you working on a new project?

KL: I had really hoped to have a good answer for this question by the time my blog tour began, but I have not yet heard if Sourcebooks is going to publish any of my other self-published books. They have the option to pick them up, and I heard from my editor today that they are now planning the Spring 2012 release of books. I hope they will decide to pick up Assumed Engagement.

As for other projects, I have written one full chapter of a book based on another Jane Austen novel, more of a back story, but haven’t really had that lightning bolt of inspiration that will propel me to get writing. I have a general plot idea, a twist at the end, but not sure where the middle is going. Hopefully that will come together soon.

LAN: Now for a bit of fun. If you could be introduced to any of Jane Austen’s colorful heroes or villains, who would it be, and what penetrating question would you ask them?

KL: Of course I would love to meet the ‘real’ Mr. Darcy. I would really like to see if he lives up to all our expectations of him! I might ask him what he thought of all the literature being written about him 200 years after he was ‘born’ in the mind of Jane Austen.

Thanks again so much for allowing me this visit. It’s been fun!

Kara Louise

Author Kara LouiseKara Louise is the author of several books based on Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. Darcy’s Voyage (2010) and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do (2011) were published by Sourcebooks and previously self-published as Pemberley’s Promise and Something Like Regret, respectively. Kara grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles, and moved to Kansas in 1991. She and her husband currently live in the country on 10 acres and are entertained by a dog, 6 cats, 3 horses, and 2 goats. Inspired by Jane Austen, in 2000 she began writing “what happened next” and “what if” stories based on her novel Pride and Prejudice. She has since written 6 novels inspired by the Austen classic, and may not be finished yet.

Giveaway of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

Enter a chance to win one of four copies (including one signed by the author) of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you about reading a Jane Austen sequel variation or which novel you would like to see Kara write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Winner announced on Thursday, March 10, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Blog Tour for Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

Read Christina’s review of Darcy’s Voyage

Visit Kara Louise’s website

Visit Kara Louise’s blog, Delightful Diversions from the Heart

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September 2010

Autumn is here — and September is my favorite month of the year in book publishing.  There is always so much to choose from and this year does not disappoint.  The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites of the many, many Austen inspired books heading our way this month, so keep your eyes open for these new titles.  Vampires seem to be dominating the field, with mysteries and Mr. Darcy stories not far behind.  Enjoy!

Fiction (prequels, sequels, retellings, variations, or Regency inspired)

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron

It’s been four long years since Jane and the Baroque of Frailty, the last Jane Austen mystery from Stephanie Barron first graced my bookshelf.  That is eternity for this Janeite who is as passionate (well almost) about mysteries as her Jane Austen.  The combination of these two mighty forces of fiction is about as good as it gets for me in pleasure reading.  This is the tenth book in Barron’s critically acclaimed series of Jane Austen as a genteel Regency-era sleuth, gumshoeing it with Lords, Ladies and murderers.  The story set in 1813 throws Jane into a murder investigation in Brighton (oh, won’t Kitty & Lydia Bennet be thrilled) involving that infamous mad, bad and dangerous to know poet of the Regency-era, Lord Byron. *swoon* (publisher’s description)  The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness.  But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron.  As a poet and a seducer of women, Byron has carved out a shocking reputation for himself—but no one would ever accuse him of being capable of murder.  Now it falls to Jane to pursue this puzzling investigation and discover just how “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron truly is.  And she must do so without falling victim to the charming versifier’s legendary charisma, lest she, too, become a cautionary example for the ages.  Bantam, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-0553386707

The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery, by Regina Jeffers

Another Austen inspired murder mystery to enchant us arrives from author Regina Jeffers.  She has previously written retellings and continuations of heroes: enigmatic Mr. Darcy and stalwart Captain Wentworth.  Now she takes an entirely new direction with a murder mystery and continues Pride and Prejudice with a twist. (publishers description) Happily married for over a year and more in love than ever, Darcy and Elizabeth can’t imagine anything interrupting their bliss-filled days.  Then an intense snowstorm strands a group of travelers at Pemberley, and terrifying accidents and mysterious deaths begin to plague the manor.  Everyone seems convinced that it is the work of a phan-tom–a Shadow Man who is haunting the Darcy family’s grand estate.  Darcy and Elizabeth believe the truth is much more menacing and that someone is trying to murder them.  But Pemberley is filled with family guests as well as the unexpected travelers — any one of whom could be the culprit — so unraveling the mystery of the murderer’s identity forces the newlyweds to trust each other’s strengths and work together.  Written in the style of the era and including Austen’s romantic playfulness and sardonic humor, this suspense-packed sequel to Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy and Elizabeth as a husband-and-wife detective team who must solve the mystery at Pemberley and catch the murderer–before it’s too late. Ulysses Press, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1569758458

Darcy’s Voyage: A tale of uncharted love on the open seas, by Kara Louise

This Pride and Prejudice variation places Mr. Darcy on board a ship (well, it did wonders for Captain Wentworth’s career) and traveling to America with socially inferior Elizabeth Bennet relegated to steerage.  The same misconceptions, misunderstandings and social machinations abound for the spirited Miss Bennet and the haughty Mr. Darcy, except they need to take their daily dose of Dramamine to get through it.  (publisher’s description)  In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley’s Promise.  She’s prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.  When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined.  But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society’s rules that threaten their chance at happiness.  When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?  Sourcebooks Landmark, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1402241024

Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, by C. Allyn Pierson

Originally self-published in 2008 as And This Our Life: Chronicles of the Darcy Family: Book 1, this Pride and Prejudice continuation is ‘coming out’ again after a make-over and a new frock graces the elegant lady on the cover.  One assumes the beautiful debutant is Georgiana Darcy since she is Mr. Darcy’s little sister and the books heroine.  I really enjoyed this novel in its first inception.  Pierson has an excellent grasp of literature, Regency history and social customs and a reverence for Austen’s characters that just needed a good editor and some gilding to make it shine. (publisher’s description) Georgiana Darcy grows up and goes in pursuit of happiness and true love, much to her big brother’s consternation.  A whole new side of Mr. Darcy…He’s the best big brother, generous to a fault.  Protective, never teases. But over his dead body is any rogue or fortune hunter going to get near his little sister! (Unfortunately, any gentleman who wants to court Georgiana is going to have the same problem…)  So how’s a girl ever going to meet the gentleman of her dreams?  Sourcebooks Landmark, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1402240386

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, by Cora Harrison

I am pleased to see another young adult novel inspired by Jane Austen’s life being released.  It is a great way to introduce a younger reader to Austen and her times with a historical bio-fic.  This is Irish author Cora Harrison’s first Austenesque novel, but she has written a plethora of children’s mysteries, which seems very apt for what we know of Jane Austen’s life.  (publisher’s description)  When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits.  At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship.  So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?  But is that even possible?  After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret.  Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family.  What’s a poor orphan girl to do?  In this delicious dance between truth and fiction, Cora Harrison has crafted Jenny’s secret diary by reading everything Jane Austen wrote as a child and an adult, and by researching biographies, critical studies, and family letters.  Jenny’s diary makes the past spring vividly to life and provides insight into the entire Austen family—especially the beloved Jane. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0385739405

Bespelling Jane Austen: Almost Persuaded\Northanger Castle\Blood and Prejudice\Little to Hex Her, by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard & Janet Mullany

More vampire infused Austen retellings from a quartet of popular romance writers who each take one of Austen’s classic novels and reimagine it from a paranormal perspective.  Too bad they didn’t make it six stories, to include all of Austen’s major novels.  We will just have to close our eyes and think of Willoughby and Crawford as vampires instead.  Actually, that is not too far of a stretch.  Next up we are likely to see a Jane Austen’s gentleman’s vampire club! ;-) (publisher’s description)

Almost Persuaded:  In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.

Northanger Castle:  Carloine’s obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason

Blood and Prejudice:  Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennet joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling suthor Susan Krinard’s version of the classic story.

Little To Hex Her:  Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in  Janet Mullany’s story, wherein Emma is a witch with with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run. HQN Books; Original edition, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-0373775019

Jane and the Damned, by Janet Mullany

Author Janet Mullany is really on an Austen paranormal role as two novels that she is involved with are released on the same day!  She is one of four author’s contributing a novella to Bespelling Jane Austen, and she wrote Jane and the Damned all on her lonesome.  Busy lady.  I always enjoy Janet’s wicked wit and bounding energy, so I am all anticipation of both of her paranormal offerings.  Just the tag line alone will confirm her sense of humor.  (publisher’s description)  Jane Austen – Novelist . . . gentlewoman . . . Damned, Fanged, and Dangerous to know.  Aspiring writer Jane Austen knows that respectable young ladies like herself are supposed to shun the Damned—the beautiful, fashionable, exquisitely seductive vampires who are all the rage in Georgian England in 1797.  So when an innocent (she believes) flirtation results in her being turned—by an absolute cad of a bloodsucker—she acquiesces to her family’s wishes and departs for Bath to take the waters, the only known cure.  But what she encounters there is completely unexpected: perilous jealousies and further betrayals, a new friendship and a possible love.  Yet all that must be put aside when the warring French invade unsuspecting Bath—and the streets run red with good English blood. Suddenly only the staunchly British Damned can defend the nation they love . . . with Jane Austen leading the charge at the battle’s forefront.  Avon, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-0061958304

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly

The first novel in Connelly’s trilogy of Austen inspired contempories releases in the UK on September 16th.  Us Yanks will have to wait until Spring 2011 before it storms our shores.  If you are tempted like me, and can’t wait, you can buy it on Amazon.uk!  (pleeeze don’t tell my employer B&N that I said that)  The stories look light, bright and sparkly.  (publisher’s description)  Katherine Roberts is fed up with men.  As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she knows that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice and that in real life there is no such thing.  Determined to go it alone, she finds all the comfort she needs reading her guilty pleasure – regency romances from the pen of Lorna Warwick – with whom she has now struck up an intimate correspondence.  Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, Jace, and a job she can do with her eyes shut – her life has hit a dead end. Robyn would love to escape from it all but wouldn’t know where to start.  They both decide to attend the annual Jane Austen Conference at sumptuous Purley Hall, overseen by the actress and national treasure, Dame Pamela Harcourt.  Robyn is hoping to escape from Jace for the weekend and indulge in her passion for all things Austen.  Katherine is hoping that Lorna Warwick will be in attendance and is desperate to meet her new best friend in the flesh.  But nothing goes according to plan and Robyn is aghast when Jace insists on accompanying her, whilst Katherine is disappointed to learn that Lorna won’t be coming.  However, an Austen weekend wouldn’t be the same without a little intrigue, and Robyn and Katherine are about to get much more than they bargained for.  Because where Jane Austen is concerned, romance is never very far away…  Avon, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1847562258

Austen’s Oeuvre

Pride and Prejudice (Oxford Children’s Classics), by Jane Austen

This is a complete and unabridged text of Austen’s classic beautifully bound with cover art to appeal to a young reader.  This lovely gift-quality edition comes with a book plate page where they can proudly display their name.  I envy them their first reading experience, though the average 9 year old will need some help with the language.  (publisher’s description)  When Elizabeth Bennet first meets Mr. Darcy she finds him to be most arrogant.  He, in turn, is determined not to be impressed by Elizabeth’s beauty and wit.  As events unfold their paths cross with more and more frequency, and their disdain for each other grows.  Can they ever overcome their prejudices and realize that first impressions are not always reliable?  If you love a good story, then look no further.  Oxford Children’s Classics bring together the most unforgettable stories ever told.  They’re books to treasure and return to again and again.  Oxford University Press, USA, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0192789860, reading level: Ages 9-12

Nonfiction

Jane Austen on Love and Romance, by Constance Moore

This charming quote book is packed full of Austen’s wittiest and most enlightening quotes from her novels and letters to advize the lovelorn, unrequited and amorously deprived.  The vintage illustrations and beautiful design of this little jewel will make it great for gift-giving. Read with a full bottle of wine and you’ll totally forget that rapacious roué what’s his name.  (publisher’s description)   “There are certainly not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them”. “How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue”.  Many of us have come across an aloof Mr. Darcy or have fallen under the spell of a rakish Mr. Wickham along the rocky path to true love, and it is these oh-so-true-to-life characters and her witty, gossipy, yet heartfelt observations that make Jane Austen’s novels as pertinent today as when they were first written over two hundred years ago.  This collection of quotations, including extracts from letters to family and friends, accompanied by the illustrations of High Thomson, C. E. Brock and H. M. Brock, will soothe those nerves and provide clarity and cultured explanations when it comes to matters of the heart.  If you want to make like Elizabeth Bennet and live happily ever after with a man who owns half of Derbyshire, then arm yourself with this Austentatious guide to flirting and courtship.  Summersdale Publishers, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1849531054

Jane Austen and Children, by David Selwyn

There has been a rumor circulated for years that Jane Austen did not like children because she did not show them in a positive light in most of her stories. Ha! She loved telling fairy tales to her nieces and nephews so I doubt very much that she disliked children personally.  This new nonfiction book by Jane Austen Society Chairman and Journal editor David Selwyn explores everything you could ever imagine about Jane Austen’s perspective on children and the cultural context of a Regency and Georgian child.  (publisher’s description)  This title explores the surprisingly important part that children play in the novels of Jane Austen and the contribution they make to understanding her adult characters.  Jane Austen is not usually associated with children – especially since she had none of her own.  But there are in fact more children in her novels than one might at first think.  She herself was from a sizeable family, with numerous nephews and nieces.  She was, by all accounts, good with children and popular with them.  It was therefore natural for her to include them in her novels, even if sometimes offstage.  This book, by one of the world’s leading authorities on Austen, looks at both the real and the literary children in her life – children seen and unseen (and dead); children as models of behaviour, good and bad; as objects of affection, amusement, usefulness, pity, regret, jealousy, resentment; children in the way; children as excuses; and, children as heirs.  In the process, it casts fascinating light on a hitherto largely ignored aspect of her work and the age in which she lived.  Continuum, hardcover, ISBN: 978-1847250414

Until next month, happy reading!

Laurel Ann