Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blog Tour Book Review: Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James


Suddenly Mrs. Darcy
by Jenetta James

Genre: Romance / Austenesque / Pride & Prejudice Re-telling

Ages: 15 and up

I received an e-copy of this book as part of a blog tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. A big thanks to Jakki Leatherberry for putting this tour together! Stay tuned for a guest post from Ms. James next week and be sure to check out all of the other stops on the tour, the next one being tomorrow at My Jane Austen Book Club.

Description:


Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger. But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?
 
My Thoughts:

I loved the premise of this book. What if Darcy and Elizabeth were trapped into marriage the night of the Netherfield Ball? Neither knows the other very well; Elizabeth hasn't developed the worst of her prejudices yet and Darcy is...well, Darcy is very mysterious.

The story is told entirely from Elizabeth's point of view, so the reader must puzzle through Darcy's motives and actions along with the heroine, much in the same style as in P&P. It was an interesting and different route for the author to take, and one that she executed well. I enjoyed Elizabeth's gradual change in feelings as she goes from trying to make the best of a civil but passionless marriage to falling in love with a man she still doesn't quite know.

Ms. James' writing style is very sweet and straightforward. At first I thought it was a little overly simple, but it grew on me. She has a very subtle way of catching the reader's emotions that I truly appreciated once I noticed just how ensnared I was. It took me a while to notice because it was so sneaky. I like sneaky.

This was a lovely story with a unique, delicate style and just the right amount of angst to keep me happy. I'm looking forward to what Jenetta James does next.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

Profanity:
There is no profanity in this book.

Sexuality:
I rate it a 4.10 for multiple scenes of sexuality, none of them graphic or detailed.

Violence:
 I give it a 1.10 for a scene of peril, but no real violence.

About the Author:


Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs Darcy is her first novel.



Links:

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog Tour: A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn Excerpt + INT Giveaway!


Hello! Today I am delighted to share an excerpt from Jan Hahn's new Austenesque romance, A Peculiar Connection, that is both humorous and intriguing. Check it out, and enter to win a paperback copy so you can read the rest!

From Chapter Three:

One may well ask why I agreed at last to the Darcys’ invitation after I had insisted I would not go.  One might think it because of Mr. Darcy’s renunciation of any feeling for me, other than that of a brother.  Or one might consider the attraction of solving the mystery of my mother’s identity compelling enough to alter my decision.  

In truth, I grew bored and lonely at Longbourn without Jane.  She had asked that I accompany her and Charles on their wedding trip, but I declined.  I feared that being a daily witness to their devotion would simply reinforce my own loneliness.  Within days, I wished with all my heart that I had accepted.  Since the prize of Pemberley had been paraded before me, I could no longer find contentment in the existence I had always known.  It seemed I wished to experience what life with the Darcys might offer after all.

And if I were honest, I should admit I craved the excitement of Mr. Darcy’s company.  Even if he was but my brother, I felt more alive in his presence.  His intelligence and wit matched mine, and I knew I would not tire of sparring with him.  I also found Georgiana amiable, and I trusted that the time I spent with her would be agreeable.  Besides, I longed to see the great house again, and anticipation of the beauty of Derbyshire’s peaks and dales made my spirit soar.

Mr. Darcy shared the carriage seat with his young sister on the journey while Mrs. Annesley sat beside me.  She was an older woman, pleasant and quiet in the presence of her employer.  As the miles rolled by, Georgiana chattered about all that awaited us.  She made a verbal list of families in the area and urged her brother to plan a dinner or even a ball to welcome me.

“A ball?  Surely not,” I said. “For I know with what distaste your brother considers dancing.”

“Ah, Wills,” she said. “Could you not forego your displeasure for the sake of Miss Bennet?”

He raised one eyebrow but said nothing.

“We could ask the Whitbys and the Stones, and perchance Lord Darnley’s nephew has not yet left for the Season in Town.  Oh, Wills, could we not have a ball?”

“Let us give Miss Bennet time to settle in before we impose Derbyshire society upon her.”

“That suits me perfectly,” I replied. “Remember, I shall not stay long, Miss Darcy.”

“But you must!  It is such a distance from Longbourn.  We may not have opportunity to visit for some time.  Pray assure me you will stay for several months at least.”

“Georgie, do not inflict your wishes upon her.  We will not force Miss Bennet to remain at Pemberley unless she is content to do so.”

Georgiana frowned, and I noted how pretty her countenance, even when pouting.  “Oh, I am tired.  Shall we never reach Derbyshire?”

Mr. Darcy took her hand.  “Rest your head on my shoulder.”

She gladly took advantage of his proposal and, within a short span, fell asleep.  I was fascinated by their intimacy.  If I were his legitimate sister, would I ever feel that comfortable with him?  At ease enough to sleep on his shoulder?  I could not imagine it.

Within moments, Mrs. Annesley’s head began to fall forward as she, too, drifted into slumber.  Mr. Darcy and I rode in silence for some time before I spoke again.  I kept my voice low so that I might not disturb our companions. 

“So you are ‘Wills’ to your little sister?”

He nodded.  “And you are ‘Lizzy’ to yours, am I correct?  To my mind, the diminutive does not suit you.”

“Oh?  And what would you have me called?”

“I do not think I could ever think of you by any name other than ‘Elizabeth.’”

“And I cannot fathom calling you by any name other than ‘Mr. Darcy.’”

“Is that not formal?  Our close connection does not warrant addressing each other in that manner in private.”

“Pray, sir!  Mrs. Annesley might hear you.”

“She is a sound sleeper; do not worry.”

I leaned forward and peered closely at the woman.  Assured that she truly was insensible to her surroundings, I felt easier and took up the conversation again.  “What should I call you then?  ‘Wills’ belongs to Georgiana, and I fear my tongue would trip over ‘Fitzwilliam,’ so what else other than ‘Mr. Darcy’?”

“You are clever enough.  I believe you will select a name for me.”

“I suppose there is always ‘Fitz’ or ‘Fitzy.’”  I cut my eyes at him to see how he responded to my mockery.

“I call my cousin ‘Fitz,’ and no one shall ever call me ‘Fitzy.’  I forbid it.”

“Forbid?  Oh my.  Then that leaves but one option. I shall have to call you ‘Willie.’”

“Under no circumstances!”  He spoke with such force that Georgiana stirred in her sleep.

“Shush,” I whispered. “You will wake the child.”

“Then soften the provocation.”

I struggled to subdue my laughter.   Silence ensued, and I turned my attention to the passing landscape.  The farther north we traveled, the whiter the countryside appeared.  I had rarely seen so great an amount of snow, and I loved the artistic purity of it.  It was as though the woods and meadows had been washed clean, scrubbed with a generous helping of soapsuds.

“I have it!” I whispered at last.  “The perfect name for you, sir―ʻFitzwilly’!”

His left eyebrow shot up like a bullet.  “Then I shall call you ‘Bessie.’  Shall that please you?”

“My father’s cow is called ‘Bessie.’”

A satisfied smirk settled about his mouth.  “Then I suggest a compromise:  I shall be ‘William,’ and you shall be ‘Elizabeth.’  Agreed?”

“Oh, very well…although I do think ‘Fitzwilly’ possesses a certain distinction.”

“As does ‘Bessie.’”

 I could not help but laugh, and I was pleased to see the hint of a reluctant smile emerge upon his face at last.

About the Book:


Will a mysterious note from the past doom the love of Jane Austen’s most beloved couple?
A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!”  Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief.
Could a deserted mansion in Derbyshire or a small church hidden in the wood hold the key to solving the puzzle?  And why is Elizabeth inexplicably drawn to the portrait of three young boys in Pemberley’s gallery?  
Determined to confirm or refute Lady Catherine’s accusation, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to embark upon a twisted trail into bygone days and family secrets.  All the while, they must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them. 


 About the Author:

After leaving a long career in the world of business, Jan Hahn began writing stories based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 2002.  
 Her first novel, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011 by Meryton Press and won Best Indie Novel from Austen Prose that year.  Her second novel, The Journey, was selected by Austen Prose as one of the Top Five Austen Inspired Historical Novels of 2012, and it won the Favorite Pride and Prejudice Variation/Alternate Path award from Austenesque. In 2014, Austen Prose listed Ms. Hahn’s third novel, The Secret Betrothal, among the Best Austenesque Historical Novels. She is a member of JASNA and lives in Texas. 
Visit Jan on Facebook or at Meryton Press

Author Links:
Goodreads Page

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Darcy Brothers Tour: Character Interview with Theo & Fitzwilliam + Giveaway!


 
Hello! Today it is my pleasure to host Messrs. Fitzwilliam and Theophilus Darcy, stars of the exciting new literary collaboration The Darcy Brothers. Please feel free to grab a cup of your favorite tea and join the conversation!

LM: Good Morning, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy, welcome to Songs & Stories! Would you care for a cup of tea? 

Darcy: I would welcome some refreshments after our long journey here.

Theo: Nothing would give me greater pleasure then partaking of tea in such a pleasant setting, in such delightful company. 

LM: My, what a pleasure it is to have two such handsome gentlemen come to call!

Theo: The pleasure is all mine, Miss Lieder Madchen, I assure you. However, I hope you will allow me to satisfy my curiosity. It is the barrister in me – always seeking an answer. Your name suggests that you enjoy singing. Is that merely a name or is it something you are known for? I would love to hear you sing.
Monica Fairview

LM: *blushes* I would be delighted to sing for you, should the opportunity arise. I chose the name after joining a German choir. But we are not here to talk about me! Please, is your family in good health? 

Theo: Well, you will have to ask my brother about his health, but I believe my sister does well enough.

Darcy: Tolerably good health, thank you.

LM: I am glad to hear it. Mr. Theophilus, what made you choose to pursue the law?

Theo: Being the younger son has its pitfalls and one of them is that you cannot live an idle life as my older brother does. [Darcy looks outraged] I was not serious, Brother. [Shudders] I would not like to shoulder the responsibility of an estate like Pemberley for anything.

As to choosing the law, as you know, the choices of professions open to a gentleman are limited to soldiering, preaching or law-mongering. I have no particular interest in drawing blood unless forced to do so. Preaching would only send my whole congregation to sleep. Thus I was left with the only profession that suited my talents, being of an inquisitive and argumentative nature, as my brother would testify. Fortunately, those traits are of use in a court of law.  

Maria Grace
LM: Mr. Fitzwilliam, if you were by some twist of fate born the younger son, what profession would you choose?

Theo: [Snickering] Preaching, of course. 

Darcy: [Ignoring the interruption] It is rather difficult to imagine something one cannot do. I shouldered the responsibility of my siblings and an estate at a young age, and cannot imagine any other life. However, there are times when I envy my cousin Richard. I would have liked to be an officer fighting against Napoleon. These are such troubled times and I would have liked to do my duty to King and country. There is a certain ring to that ideal. [He gives a sudden grin that lightens up his face] I would have enjoyed the adventure as well.

Theo: [Gives him a quizzing glance] I would never have guessed you harbored such wayward thoughts, Darcy!

LM: Theophilus, what do you consider your brother’s best and worst qualities?

Theo: My brother is the truest of men. He is loyal and upright to a fault. His worst quality is that he expects perfection in others and is rather hard to pleases.

LM: Fitzwilliam, what do you think are Theo’s?

Theo: [scoffs] We will never have the opportunity to drink our tea now. The list of faults my brother finds in me is never-ending.

Cassandra Grafton
Fitzwilliam: You are witness to one of his worse faults – constant interruption. I shall say no more on that score. His best qualities are his horsemanship and his affectionate nature. 

Theo: [Snorts] Hardly stellar qualities.  

LM: Fitzwilliam, I hear that you were once known as ‘Prince William.’ Tell me, have you ever considered inventing an irritating nickname for Theo? It seems only fair.

Darcy: Yes, I do remember Theo’s fondness for that appalling appellation. I have often thought of nicknames for him though I have only applied them mentally. My favorite is Thwarting Theo, which can be conveniently shortened to Wart.

Theo: That is rather good. You are a constant source of surprises today, Darcy.

LM: Now that your elder brother is so happily wed, Theo, have you thought of taking a wife yourself?

Theo: I cannot imagine that I will ever meet a young lady that I would wish to be shackled to for a lifetime. I prefer to think of myself as free of confinement. I will leave marriage to those obliged to produce an heir. 

LM: What was it like growing up together at Pemberley, when the two of you and Georgiana and Sebastian were all together?

Susan Mason Milks
Theo: [Looking serious for the first time]: At the time Seb was alive my parents were alive, too. I was fortunate enough to have a happy childhood, and even more fortunate that I remember a great deal of it. Pemberley was a different place in those days. My father was rather strict, but my mother could be very charming and kind. She was such a contrast to her sister, Aunt Catherine. Georgiana was the youngest, so I did not appreciate her perhaps when she was younger and could not join in games, but now we are very close.

Darcy: I prefer to dwell on the present. The past has unpleasant memories of a rather private nature.

LM: Then we shall end there, as any further questions I can think of are likely to be even more personal. Thank you both very much for visiting! Please feel free to pop back in at any time.

Theo: A pleasure to meet such a charming young lady. Now it is time to listen to you sing.

LM: *bats eyelashes* You, Sir, are an incorrigible flirt. Fitzwilliam, you must keep a close eye on this brother of yours!

Darcy: [Bows] Delighted to be of assistance and we hope to be able to visit you again in the near future.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Theo Darcy is everything his disapproving elder brother, Fitzwilliam, is not – easy-going, charming, and full of fun. A tragic event as children severed their bond of friendship, but now they are together again. They are still at odds, though, this time over the love of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the truth about George Wickham. Will Wickham manage to divide the brothers again? And more importantly, which Mr. Darcy will Elizabeth choose? 


Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors.

Abigail Reynolds
AUTHOR BIOS:

In addition to their collaborative effort in The Darcy Brothers, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds between them have published over two dozen Austen-inspired books, including national bestsellers.


Monica Fairview (Mr. Darcy’s Pledge) holds down the fort for the team in London while Abigail Reynolds (Alone with Mr. Darcy) supplies cute cat pictures from Cape Cod, Susan Mason-Milks (Mr. Darcy’s Proposal) inspires with views of the Seattle skyline, Maria Grace (Remember the Past) frolics in the Texas bluebells, and British expat Cassandra Grafton (A Fair Prospect) has the critical responsibility of keeping the team supplied with much-needed chocolate from her home in Switzerland.


Look for them at the Jane Austen Variations group blog where they are all founding members

Buy Links:  
Amazon 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
We are all at:
Theo is at:

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Two eBook copies of The Darcy Brothers.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment or ask Theo or the authors a question.

Readers can increase their chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews with Theo Darcy and, if he can be persuaded, his brother, excerpts, and supplementary material such as letters from Theo to his friends and family.

Good luck and enjoy the tour!