The Rose Girls, by Victoria Connelly – A Review

The Rose Girls, by Victoria Connelly (2015)From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

One crumbling manor house. Three estranged sisters. And a garden full of roses. All of these and more are ingredients in The Rose Girls, the latest novel by Victoria Connolly, author of the currently six-book Austen Addicts series. While not a book connected to Jane Austen’s novels or the Regency period, The Rose Girls is a story that shares timeless themes from Austen’s own masterpieces: the importance of family, forgiveness, healing, nature, and love.

After the news that her mother recently died of cancer, Celeste Hamilton is called back home to Little Eleigh Manor and Hamilton Roses, the family rose business, to support her two sisters. Still recovering from a divorce and memories of a painful childhood, Celeste plans only on spending a few weeks at her old home to Continue reading “The Rose Girls, by Victoria Connelly – A Review”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of At Home with Mr. Darcy: Austen Addicts (Book 6), by Victoria Connelly

At Home with Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts Book 6) by Victoria Connelly (2014)Austenesque author Victoria Connelly’s next installment in her contemporary Austen Addicts series has just been released by Notting Hill Press.

At Home with Mr. Darcy marks her sixth book following: A Weekend with Mr. Darcy (2011), Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (2011), Mr. Darcy Forever (2013), Christmas with Mr. Darcy (2013) and Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy (2013). Each of the novels and novellas continue the story of original characters that endearingly resemble Austen’s in some small way or another.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The Austen Addicts are back!

It’s summer and renowned actress, Dame Pamela Harcourt, has organised a treat: the first Purley Hall Jane Austen holiday – to the home of Mr Darcy no less.

With Katherine and Warwick, Robyn, Doris Norris and the rest of the gang, it’s going to be a trip to remember. But then a hardened journalist and non-Janeite, Melissa Berry, joins the party. Fearing a stitch-up, the friends rally together, hoping to convince Melissa that the only way is Austen… Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of At Home with Mr. Darcy: Austen Addicts (Book 6), by Victoria Connelly”

Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy: Austen Addicts Vol. 5, by Victoria Connelly – A Review

Happy Birthday Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly 2013 x 200From the desk of Christina Boyd:

The Austen Addicts series has evolved through the years into a guilty pleasure for me. Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy is Victoria Connelly’s fifth installment in this contemporary romance series loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The novella reunites us with her original characters from the first in the series, Weekend with Mr. Darcy, and opens a week prior to when Warwick Lawton (Austenesque author who writes under the female nom de plume, Lorna Warwick) is to pledge his troth to his Austen scholar/fiancé, Katherine Roberts.

Katherine is enchanted with the Regency themed wedding plans, her antique Russian engagement ring, and her empire-style gown. She had never seen anything so beautiful. Well, not since Matthew Macfadyen had strode across the dawn meadow in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. She really didn’t feel worthy of such a dress and it felt like a terrible extravagance to have something so lovely for just one day. Though passionately in-love with her fiancé, not unlike many brides, doubts about the marriage state and how her life is to change loom overhead right up until the wedding hour. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy: Austen Addicts Vol. 5, by Victoria Connelly – A Review”

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

Christmas with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)From the desk of Jeffrey Ward: 

I’m going to tell on myself.  I’m a sniveling, sentimental sucker for a good Christmas story.  It is only October and I’ve only devoured two of them so I’m way behind my normal seasonal curve.  Thank heavens for author Victoria Connelly, who sensing a good thing, has smartly thrown together ALL of the heroes and heroines from her Austen Addicts trilogy:  A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy Forever.

Thus, her follow-up novella, Christmas with Mr. Darcy, is like a recipe for a classic Christmas pudding:  combine growing romances, friends, family, a spectacularly decorated manor house, a sudden snowstorm, mysterious criminal activity, full-throttle Jane Austen trivia, and then sit back and savor a large helping.  Catch up with Katherine and Warwick, Kay and Adam, Dan and Robyn, Mia and Gabe, Sarah and Lloyd, et al, as they are invited to the hostess and distinguished actress Dame Pamela Harcourt’s inaugural Jane Austen Christmas conference. Continue reading “Christmas with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly – A Review”

Q & A with Victoria Connelly, Author of Christmas with Mr. Darcy

Christmas with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012) A new Austen-inspired novella is now available just in time for the holidays. Christmas with Mr. Darcy is a great present to Janeites, thanks to Austenesque author Victoria Connelly. Please help me welcome her today for her interview by either asking a question or by leaving a comment to qualify you for a chance of one of three copies available in a giveaway. The details of the contest are listed at the bottom of the post. Good luck to all.

Welcome Victoria…

LAN: I have greatly enjoyed your Austen Addicts series, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy Forever. You are definitely a fan of Jane Austen’s character Fitzwilliam Darcy. Your stories are contemporary. Was it a challenge to bring aspects of Austen’s nineteenth century hero to modern times?

VC: I think a hero is a hero now matter what century we’re in. We all admire the same characteristics in our Continue reading “Q & A with Victoria Connelly, Author of Christmas with Mr. Darcy”

Mr. Darcy Forever: Austen Addicts (Book 3), by Victoria Connelly – A Review

From the desk of Jeffrey Ward: 

Following A Weekend with Mr. Darcy and Dreaming of Mr. Darcy comes the caboose in Victoria Connelly’s “Austen Addicts” trilogy: Mr. Darcy Forever.  Every niche of this contemporary romance is lavishly replete with enough references from Jane Austen’s six novels to sate even the worst addict. This charmer, set in two of Jane’s best-loved locations: South Devon and Bath, is devoid of lurid sexuality or profanity, and sweetly laced with humor.

Sisters Sarah and Mia Castle have always been closer than twins although Mia is almost a decade Sarah’s junior.  Because of their shared love of Jane Austen, Sarah books the actual home used as Barton Cottage Continue reading “Mr. Darcy Forever: Austen Addicts (Book 3), by Victoria Connelly – A Review”

A Preview & Guest Blog with Author Victoria Connelly, Author of Mr. Darcy Forever

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Please help me welcome Victoria Connelly to the blog today. Mr. Darcy Forever, the third novel in the Austen Addicts series, is now available for purchase.

We really enjoyed the first two novels in the series: A Weekend with Mr. Darcy and Dreaming of Mr. Darcy and look forward to reading this one too. Each of the novels are contemporary tales inspired by Jane Austen’s novels and characters and have been widely praised.

Today is its publication date and we are celebrating its release with a guest blog with Victoria. Continue reading “A Preview & Guest Blog with Author Victoria Connelly, Author of Mr. Darcy Forever”

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly – A Review

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)Reviewed by Kimberly Denny-Ryder

There are many readers in the Jane Austen fan fiction world that appreciate a good, clean love story.  Author Victoria Connelly obviously appreciates them as well, as she publishes contemporary novels that fit those parameters.  Her popular Austen Addicts trilogy seems to have really struck a chord with Austen lovers the world over.  The second book in her trilogy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, has a plot influenced by Pride and Prejudice and Emma, with a location taken directly from the pages of Persuasion!

Kay Ashton has struck it rich.  After receiving an unexpected cash windfall, she decides to indulge a lifelong dream of hers to live in the Regency Era world that Jane Austen’s characters enjoyed so many years ago.  Ashton purchases a decrepit bed and breakfast in Lyme Regis, and begins the processes of restoring it to its former glory.  Halfway through the renovation, all of the available rooms are booked by producers of a movie adaptation of Persuasion.  In time, Kay begins to fall for Oli Wade Owen, the actor slated to play Captain Wentworth.  However, a writer by the name of Adam Craig has fallen for Kay despite her feelings for Mr. Owen.   Will Adam ever tell Kay about his true feelings?  When will Kay realize that Oli is hiding a big secret?

It took me a really long time to get into this story, but when I did I connected.  Connelly’s strongest suit as a writer is unquestionably her ability to create uniquely appealing and relatable characters.  Kay is a dreamer- one who creates really vivid imaginings.  Even though she spends a lot of time up in the clouds (much like Emma and maybe a bit like Catherine Morland too?), she still stays rooted to the ground with the rest of us, experiencing amazing new things with Adam.  Adam is that nice guy who girls become friends with, yet never date (he’s got a bit of Darcy, Bingley, and Knightley all thrown in).  He’s kind, considerate, and completely selfless.  The supporting cast of characters (most notable are Oli and Gemma) also have their own character quirks that have been influenced by other Austen characters.  All in all, these characters combine to form a wonderful mix of personalities and traits that Connelly draws from to form the plot.

With this great character description I became extremely invested in the lives of the characters, only to be disappointed in the end.  I felt like so much time had been spent getting to know these characters (300 pages) that I was faced with a very short conclusion.  It left me feeling bereft to be honest!  Gemma’s story was probably my favorite out of the whole novel, and unfortunately it is never really “officially” wrapped up.  This caused a gaping hole in my heart (yes, a gaping hole I have filled by creating my own happy ending for her!).

All in all this was a fun book.  Even with the shortened ending it was still a good, clean love story that any romance reader (Austen fan or not) can enjoy.  Even though the character buildup was met with a shortened ending, you may be able to imagine a more substantial ending if you give it a try.  So, I suggest you pick up a copy and get reading! The Third novel in the Austen Addicts trilogy, Mr. Darcy Forever, will be released April 1st, 2012.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Sourcebooks (2012)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251351

Kimberly Denny-Ryderis the owner/moderator of Reflections of a Book Addict, a book blog dedicated to following her journey of reading 100 books a year, while attempting to keep a life! When not reading, Kim can be found volunteering as the co-chair of a 24hr cancer awareness event, as well as an active member of Quinnipiac University’s alumni association.  When not reading or volunteering, Kim can be found at her full-time job working in vehicle funding. She lives with her husband Todd and two cats, Belle and Sebastian, in Connecticut.

© 2007 – 2012 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

A Preview of Dreaming of Mr. Darcy & Guest Blog with Author Victoria Connelly

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start the new year than with a new Austen-inspired novel by Victoria Connelly?

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, her second novel in her Austen Addicts series, launches today by Sourcebooks. We loved the first in the series, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, and are so pleased that Victoria has stopped by today to chat with us about her new contemporary novel set in serious Austen territory – Lyme Regis – where part of the plot of Persuasion is set.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Fledging illustrator and Darcy fanatic Kay Ashton settles in the seaside town of Lyme to finish her book, The Illustrated Darcy, when a film company arrives to make a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Kay is soon falling for the handsome bad boy actor playing Captain Wentworth, but it’s the quiet screenwriter Adam Craig who has more in common with her beloved Mr. Darcy. Though still healing from a broken heart, Adam finds himself unexpectedly in love with Kay. But it will take more than good intentions to convince her that her real happy ending is with him.

GUEST BLOG

When I first came up with the idea of a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts – with each book set in an Austen location – I was particularly excited about using the setting of Lyme Regis for the second book, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (titled The Perfect Hero in the UK).  I love Dorset and have visited Lyme Regis many times and, of course, you can’t set a book in Lyme without referencing Persuasion if you’re a Jane Austen fan so I thought it would be enormous fun to set the book around the shooting of a new film version of Jane Austen’s final book.

In Persuasion, Jane Austen talks about how beautiful the countryside around Lyme Regis is and I wanted to include this in my novel too. I was lucky enough to spend time in Lyme Regis whilst writing the book and this was invaluable to me as a way of getting the details right and I found a gorgeous old manor house in the Marshwood Vale which stood in for Sir Walter’s home in the film adaptation.

I love writing in situ if I can and I spent a very cold day on a windswept beach at Charmouth writing the scene where my heroine, Kay Ashton, goes fossil-hunting with shy screenwriter hero, Adam Craig.  I’ll never forget how numb my fingers were but I was determined to get my page filled!

I also walked along the famous Cobb and found the steps from which Louisa Musgrove would have leapt.

I really enjoyed writing Kay’s story.  She’s a little like Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse the heroine of Emma because she’s a terrible match-maker, and she’s a bit like Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey too because she’s a romantic and finds it easy to get carried away.  She’s an Austen addict extraordinaire and loves painting and is working on her first book – The Illustrated Darcy – when we first meet her.

There are two heroes in Dreaming of Mr. Darcy.  I knew the actor playing Captain Wentworth in the movie version being filmed – Oli Wade Owen – would be dashing and would sweep Kay off her feet but there is also the quietly-spoken Adam, whom Kay just doesn’t seem to notice at first because she’s busy match-making him to Gemma – the actress playing Anne Elliot.

One of my favourite characters in the book is Adam’s outspoken grandmother, Nana Craig.  She has a love of colour and a hatred of the acting profession since her husband ran off with an actress several decades ago.  Nana Craig was a lot of fun to write and I love the scene where Oli ends up half-naked in her front room (but I’m not going to give too much away here!)

I have had such fun writing my Austen addicts’ trilogy and I hope you all enjoy the second part, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy.

AUTHOR BIO

Author Victoria Connelly (2011)Victoria Connelly’s first novel was promoted in Germany to celebrate World Book Day and was adapted into a TV movie. Her second novel was published as a lead title in the UK and chosen as a “hot pick” in Closer magazine. Her new trilogy is her first foray into Jane Austen related fiction. Connelly lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, Springer spaniel and ex-battery chickens. Visit Victoria at her blog, on Facebook and as @VictoriaDarcy on Twitter.

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Sourcebooks (2012)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251351

Cover image, book description, guest blog, & author bio courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2012; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2012, Austenprose.com

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

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

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

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Victoria Connelly

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2011)Please join us today in welcoming Austenesque author Victoria Connelly for the official launch of her book blog tour of A Weekend with Mr. Darcy a new Pride and Prejudice-inspired contemporary novel that was released on July 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks.

Inspiration for my books can come from anywhere.  It always amazes me what can get the imagination going.  My first book published in the UK, Molly’s Millions, was inspired by junk mail – a very unlikely beginning for a romantic comedy!

But it was when I was visiting Chawton in Hampshire that I seriously began thinking about writing about Jane Austen fans.  I’d visited Lyme Regis – the gorgeous setting for Persuasion, and Bath which was also used in Persuasion as well as Northanger Abbey.  I kept thinking about these three very different and beautiful settings and soon came up with the idea for a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts – each book set in a different Austen location.

The first book, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, is set in Hampshire at a Jane Austen conference and I knew I wanted a grand Georgian manor house to have the starring role.  I’d pictured Newby Hall in North Yorkshire as my ideal house.  It had starred as Mansfield Park in the recent TV adaptation, but Yorkshire was a bit too far away for a research trip and so started an Internet search and discovered a gorgeous Georgian manor called Ardington House in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside.  It was the perfect Purley Hall for my book with is sweep of driveway, its great cedar tree, and its pretty gardens leading down to the river.

Visiting locations for a book is a pleasure and a privilege.  Not only is it nice to get away from the desk once in a while but it’s vital if you want to make a place come alive and help readers really visualize it.

So, I went back to Chawton because I knew I was going to have a couple of chapters set there.  I also visited the nearby hamlet of Steventon and sat in the little church where Jane Austen would once have sat and where my own heroine, Robyn, sits, contemplating heroes.

I also visited Winchester.  I wanted to end the book at Jane Austen’s resting place and managed to visit it on the very day when the scene is set – Jane Austen’s birthday on the 16th December.  The Christmas market was in full swing and there were ice-skaters in front of the cathedral and, inside, there was a giant Christmas tree covered in simple white lights.  I sat next to Jane Austen’s grave and quietly thought of the scene I wanted to set there.  It was a magical moment.

The second book in my Austen addicts trilogy is called Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (The Perfect Hero in the UK) and is set in Lyme Regis.  We were lucky enough to stay in Lyme for two separate weeks whilst I was writing the book – choosing an apartment in the heart of the town with the most incredible view of the Cobb.  I wanted to write as much of the book as possible in situ and spent a freezing afternoon on the beach at Charmouth where my heroine and hero, Kay and Adam, go fossil hunting.  My hands were so cold that I could barely hold my pen and yet I wrote a good amount for the scene I had in mind.  I also walked the length and breadth of Lyme Regis, really getting to know the place which is just as well because I’d written a scene in which my heroine looks out of her bed and breakfast on Marine Parade and the hero spots her from the Cobb and waves.  I quickly realized that he’d never ever see her from that distance and so revised my idea for the scene.

The third book in the series, Mr. Darcy Forever, is set during the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and I had the good fortune to spend a long weekend there – but more about that another time.

I feel very fortunate in my chosen profession.  Not only do I get to spend my days creating stories but I get to visit some truly inspiring and beautiful places.  Now, I really must think about setting a novel in the Seychelles one day …

Author Victoria Connelly (2011)About the author:

Victoria Connelly’s first novel was promoted in Germany to celebrate World Book Day and was adapted into a TV movie. Her second novel was published as a lead title in the UK and chosen as a “hot pick” in Closer magazine. Her new trilogy is her first foray into Jane Austen related fiction. Connelly lives in London with her artist husband, Springer spaniel and ex-battery chickens. Visit Victoria at her blog, on Facebook and as @VictoriaDarcy on Twitter.

Giveaway of  A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice-inspired contemporary novel or what characters you would like to see Victoria write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251320

2007 – 2011 Victoria Connelly, 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 Continue reading “Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September 2010”

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