Today, it's my pleasure to celebrate with Carol Cromlin! She has been named one of the
BEST BOOKS of 2013 by KIRKUS REVIEWS!
As part of the celebration, Carol Cromlin has provided us with an excerpt from Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was! She has also offered to giveaway two e-copies of her book. See details below!
The Yule Log
In Jane Austen's day, the celebration of Christmas was a season long event that began with the exchange of gifts on St. Nicholas' Day (December 6th) and continued right through till 12th night (January 6th). Family often travelled many miles to gather; homes were adorned with greenery of all sorts and foods particular to the season were served in great abundance.
One of the most cherished customs (one that remains today) was the burning of the Yule log. Tradition has it that the burning of the log was a harbinger of what was to be in the coming year. If it burned warm and bright, well past midnight and into Christmas day, it signaled good fortune for the coming year. For a continuous flow of good fortune, the brand, which was a piece of soundly charred wood from the current year's fire would be saved and placed with the kindling the following year.
In this excerpt from Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was, the Yule log is at the centre of the family gathering on Christmas Eve night. Five Christmases have passed since the loss of our hero's mother. During that time, the family has gathered for Christmas at the Fitzwilliam estate. Now it is time the festivities return to Pemberley and you are invited to attend the Darcy family Christmas Eve party. I hope you enjoy it!
People gathered in small groups about the room, talking and laughing and a number of guests obliged the company by singing and playing the piano. Spiced wine was plentiful and many a toast to health and prosperity was heard throughout the night. At one point a footman entered carrying a large silver punch bowl mounded high with brandied raisins. Rennie was first to espy the man’s entrance and announced, “Ah yes. Now we shall have Snap Dragons!”
A crowd gathered round the table where the bowl was placed and the ripple of excitement that began to move through the room on Rennie’s announcement grew as the raisins were set ablaze; their blue flames rising high above the bowl. Those who were faint of heart stood well back and watched as those made of more sturdy stock shot their fingers through the flames to retrieve the prized raisins. These were then quickly extinguished and consumed.
Georgiana stood fairly near the front of the crowd and Darcy asked her, “Shall I take some for you?”
She giggled and replied, “Yes please.”
Darcy, Rennie and George together presented Georgiana with so many raisins that Lady Margaret felt the need to step in and put a stop to it, lest Georgiana should become ill. Once, while Lady Catherine was deep in conversation with a dowager countess whom she had known since childhood, Rennie somehow managed to convince timid Lady Anne to try taking a raisin for herself. Her outstretched hand crept ever closer and just as she was about to strike out, a raisin popped, causing her to jump back with a shriek of surprise that evolved into giggles. Her cousins now gifted her with a number of raisins that they secured for her. Eventually she tried once again and this time, was quite pleased with her success.
The evening progressed with one entertainment after another; the guests even enjoyed a riotous game of Bullet Pudding from which many emerged fairly covered in flour. It was a rather exuberant young boy who finally came up with the bullet; he then proceeded to romp about the room waving it round and proclaiming loudly of his triumph. It was long into the night, by the time all the guests had finally gone. Darcy and Georgiana stood beside their father as the family drank one last glass of spiced wine and Mr. Darcy offered a toast. “Here is to good family, good health, wonderful memories and sound future generations. And…” said he, motioning toward the hearth where the Yule fire shewed no sign of dying down, “I believe we are all to be blessed with good fortune in the coming year.”
“Hurrah,” was the general response and with no one but family members remaining in the room there could be warm shews of affection all about.
Ooh, those Snap Dragons sound fun and dangerous! Don't you think? You can see my review for Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was here.
Buy a copy of Fitzwilliam Darcy: Amazon
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~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~
To celebrate being named one of the BESTS BOOKS of 2013 by Kurkus Reviews, Carol Cromlin is giving away two e-copies of Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was! To enter fill out the Rafflecopter below.
- Open Internationally
- Each winner will receive an e-copy (kindle or e-pub) of the book.
- Two winners will be chosen.
- Last day to enter: December 30, 2013.
Thank you, Carol!
Good luck, Everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To get a Fitzwilliam Darcy Calling Card and Cover Image Bookmark, head over to Carol Cromlin's website.