Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What Are You Reading? ~ November 30, 2016

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What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finish reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Here's my list: 

Well, I didn't get much reading done this week the past two weeks! But I did go on a road trip for Thanksgiving, and while I was driving, I started listening to an audiobook. 

So, at the moment I have three books going:



Northern Rain: A North & South Variation by Nicole Clarkston (Audiobook).  I'm enjoying it! I've never read North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Have you? 





I'm still reading For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. I've had a hard time getting into this, simply because I've been too tired to read. 



No progress on A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin.


I haven't finished anything recently.




What's next? I'm still planning on reading Alight by Scott Sigler. 





FTC Disclaimer: Book links to Amazon - I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!



I'm linking up with This Week In Books hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.


And with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words


I had a wonderful and busy holiday! Filled with family, friends, and lots of good food! If you were celebrating, I hope you had a fantastic time also! 

So, tell me, what are you reading? 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! It's my stop on the Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter Blog Tour! Joana Starnes has stopped by with a lovely excerpt from her newest book! 

Be sure to read to the bottom of the page for details of a giveaway! Enjoy!







“Obstinate, headstrong boy!”


     Thank you, Candy, for welcoming me here today on the blog tour for my latest Pride and Prejudice variation.

     
     Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is an early-marriage scenario where adverse circumstances compel Elizabeth to accept Mr Darcy’s hand earlier than in canon. She accepts the Hunsford proposal, which in itself is different from the original. Mr Darcy declares how ardently he admires and loves her, but instead of moving on to speak of their union as a degradation, he offers to protect the woman he loves should the suddenly precarious state of her father’s health finish by leaving her and her family at Mr Collins’s mercy (and there isn’t much of that, Mr Darcy discovers).

     So there is no clearing of the air. Elizabeth doesn’t mention Wickham, and she has no idea about Darcy’s role in separating Bingley from Jane – Colonel Fitzwilliam doesn’t get the chance to make his damaging disclosures. There are no reproaches about Darcy’s arrogance, his conceit and his selfish disdain for the feelings of others, so he doesn’t write the letter that was destined to change Elizabeth’s opinion of him.

     That change – and Darcy’s own reformation – happens gradually, once they are married, and the results are sometimes heart-warming and other times heartbreaking. Not a smooth process, far from it, and it’s made none the smoother by outside interference: an obnoxious cousin (hers), a loudmouthed and tactless mother (hers as well – poor Elizabeth!) and a most unwelcome visitor from Kent who comes to awaken Mr Darcy to his duties, only to give him the aura of a knight in shining armour. At least to start with. Please read on, and I hope you will enjoy the excerpt:


* * * *

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter


(Excerpt from Chapter 10)

"Oakham Mount" -- Photo J Starnes


     They might as well have lingered atop Oakham Mount upon reflection, given what awaited at Netherfield unbeknownst to them. Or rather who awaited. 

     They had barely made their way within when Mr Bingley’s footman appeared out of nowhere to inform them there was a visitor come to call on Mr Darcy. Elizabeth could see a passing grimace indicating he was not well-disposed towards visitors just then. Nevertheless, he said, “Oh. Did the person give a name?”

     “Aye, Sir. Lady Catherine de Bourgh.”

     At that, under her very eyes the signs of mild displeasure deepened into a forbidding sternness Elizabeth could not account for. She had seen that turn of countenance oftentimes before, and it was not a pleasant reminder of his natural response to everyone and everything he disapproved of. But she could not see how it pertained to the chatelaine of Rosings, with whom he had seemed to be on good if not cordial terms.

     Mr Darcy dismissed the footman with a few curt words. When his hand came up to clasp her elbow and the stern eyes settled on her, Elizabeth arched a brow. She remained thus as he addressed her, his voice low and hard:


    “Elizabeth, pray retire to change. I must see my aunt alone.”


     She had barely begun to wonder why the sternness was now directed at her, and also take offence at being ordered above-stairs like a child, when a well-known voice reached them from the drawing room.

     “Is that my nephew? Has he returned? Let him come in and explain himself.”

     When his hand came to rest in the small of her back, Elizabeth had the good sense to understand at last and chastise herself for her quick temper. No, she had not been ordered above-stairs, but sent away from impending confrontation. With someone who had a very different match in mind for Mr Darcy, and was not in the habit of brooking disappointment.

     “Do go up,” he urged, but this time she dismissed the harshness of the tone as wholly unconnected with her.

     Her spirits rising to playfulness at the ludicrous notion of Lady Catherine coming all the way from Kent to browbeat her fully-grown nephew as though he were a child in leading strings, she glanced up at him, laughter in her eyes.

     “Too late to run. Might as well stay and prime the muskets.”

     His mien softened instantly and his lips twitched.

     “I see you have taken instruction from Fitzwilliam.”

     “On muskets? Nonsense. He is cavalry.”

     “You are incorrigible.”

     “Hush!”

     The jocular manner, however cheering, could not last, and they both knew it. But neither of them were prepared for the sheer venom in Lady Catherine’s tone when she sallied out of the drawing room and saw Elizabeth.


Photo -- BBC

     “Shameless girl!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here unescorted at this hour? Seeking to trap him with your arts and allurements, are you? Let me be rightly understood, you have no business here and I am come to put an end to your vile scheming. Come now, be off with you. Go home!”

     Mr Darcy’s hand had moved from the small of her back to her shoulder, and the clasp had grown almost too tight for comfort.

     “Lady Catherine, pray desist,” he enunciated firmly. “My wife’s home is with me. And I would thank you for a prompt apology to her for your last remarks.”

     None was forthcoming. Instead, the lady gasped in horror.

     “Your wife? You mean to tell me you have married her?”

     “That is the meaning generally assigned to the word, Madam,” he replied crisply. “Had you remained at Rosings, by now you would have been informed of the particulars from the reply I sent to your letter yesterday.”

     So the letter he had burned yesterday morning was from Lady Catherine, Elizabeth concluded, with a belated understanding of just why he had not wished to discuss it with her. Across from them, her ladyship spluttered.

     “Nephew, this is not to be borne! There must be a way to undo this travesty of a union. An annulment – something.”

     “I have no wish to undo my marriage.”

     “Fitzwilliam, see sense, I beg you. Your mother’s fondest wish – mine – Anne’s – does all this count for nothing?”

     “My mother’s wish, if indeed it was hers, was subject to my concurrence and my cousin’s. Neither I nor Anne ever had any inclination to become united.”

     “How can you claim that? Anne treasured the prospect.”

     “Pray let me assure you she did not. I had it from her own lips. We spoke at length about it.”

     “Nevertheless, Anne will do as she is told.”

     “Aye. Sadly this holds true, all too often. However, I will not.”

Incensed and thwarted in her purpose, Lady Catherine rounded on Elizabeth.

     “Unfeeling, selfish girl! See what you have wrought? With your base arts you have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. This reprehensible connection will disgrace him in the eyes of everybody and make him the contempt of the world. His worst foe could not have ruined him more effectively. I trust you are pleased with your handiwork.”

     “That is quite enough, Madam,” Mr Darcy interjected, a steely edge to his voice. The hand still clasped on Elizabeth’s shoulder worked to turn her towards him by a fraction and his eyes warmed a very little when he spoke to her. “Muskets aside, I beg you would go up now. I would much rather not conclude this conversation in your presence.”

     “Let her stay,” Lady Catherine intervened, as always quick to go where she was not wanted. “She should hear of all the implications. Do you imagine what my brother will have to say of this? Or the rest of our relations and acquaintances?”

     “Go, Elizabeth,” Mr Darcy urged again, as though her ladyship had not spoken, and this time she saw fit to obey. She dropped a curtsy to Lady Catherine, which remained unacknowledged. All that the grand lady deigned to bestow was another scowl.

     “Ashamed of her already, are you?” she venomously sneered as Elizabeth began her unhurried ascent. “I tell you, Darcy, it is not too late. Repudiate this disgraceful union and return to your rightful place.”

     “I am in my rightful place and precisely where I wish to be,” Elizabeth heard him say, more forcefully than he had spoken while she was still below-stairs, and she continued on her way as Lady Catherine’s riposte reached her, dripping with profound contempt.

     “What – here? At the estate of an upstart tradesman’s son playing the gentleman? Rubbing shoulders with second-rate country-town attorneys and shopkeepers, and my own parson to boot? Aye, I have it all from Mr Collins, the full picture of your grand new relations. Is that truly what you wish for, Nephew? Such demeaning connections for yourself and your offspring? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?”

     By the time she had reached the upper floor, Mr Darcy’s voice was barely audible, but it still cut like steel.

     “You have said quite enough, Aunt. I perfectly comprehend your feelings. Now you must hear mine. But not here. I believe we have provided sufficient entertainment to the household for one evening. Pray join me in the drawing room.”

     Lady Catherine must have bowed to another’s will for once in her life, because nothing further reached Elizabeth’s ears as she took the last dozen steps towards her bedchamber.


* * * *

     Elizabeth remained in her apartments for what seemed like a very long time. Yet when she checked the clock, it was revealed to have been a mere half-hour, so she allowed a little longer before she sought to return below-stairs, although why she should feel compelled to do so she truly could not tell. Mr Darcy knew where to find her. As for Lady Catherine, the less she saw of her, the better.

     She was however treated to another sighting of her formidable new relation. While she was still at the top of the stairs, vaguely reassured by the continued silence, it was suddenly broken by a forceful, “I certainly shall not! Your concern is tardy. I would fain lodge at a miserable country inn along the way rather than break bread with her or spend another moment under the same roof.”

     “As you wish,” Mr Darcy’s reply came, calmly now, but very coldly. “Although you will have to reconsider if you are ever to return to Pemberley. If that day should ever dawn, I expect you to offer my wife a full apology.”

    “Never! I will not set foot at Pemberley, and neither will Anne, while she is still in residence. Nor will I welcome you to Rosings if you have the audacity to bring her.”

     “So be it. Then I have nothing more to say.”

     “I never thought it would come to this, Fitzwilliam.”

     “Nor I.”

     “She is not worthy of the strife she has caused, you know.”

     “That is a matter of opinion.”

     “You will see it one day, mark my words.”

     “I will see nothing of the sort.”

     “Obstinate, headstrong boy! This would have broken your poor mother’s heart, had she been here to witness it. But nay, she would not have permitted you to throw yourself away in this disgraceful manner.”

     “If there is nothing else, I bid you good day and safe travels.”

     There was no reply from Lady Catherine. All that could be heard was the sound of the closing door.


* * * *


So, what do you think? Is the unwelcome visit about to bring the newly married Darcys closer – or drive them further apart?

Photo -- BBC


     If you would like to find out a moment sooner, please leave a comment to enter the international giveaway of a Kindle copy. 

     Thank you for stopping by to read the excerpt and many thanks again, Candy, for the kind welcome!

It was my pleasure to have you here, Joana! Oh, and I truly enjoyed that excerpt! Thank you for stopping by!



Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes 

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.   

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?


Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Book link to Amazon - I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author:


Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Joana Starnes is the author of:

* 'From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley', a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel
* 'The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion'
* 'The Second Chance', a 'Pride & Prejudice' ~ 'Sense & Sensibility' variation
* 'The Falmouth Connection', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation where Jane Austen's beloved characters are compelled to leave their tame and reasonably peaceful lives in the south of England and travel to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few - if any! - are what they seem to be...
* 'The Unthinkable Triangle', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation that dwells on the most uncomfortable love-triangle of them all. What if Mr. Darcy's rival for Miss Bennet's hand and heart is none other than his dearest, closest friend? And how can they all find their 'happily-ever-after'?
*'Miss Darcy's Companion' - a variation that explores what might have happened if the warm-hearted Miss Elizabeth Bennet were employed instead of the scheming Mrs Younge.



Blog Tour Schedule


November 17/ 
My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway
November 21/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving
November 25/ So Little Time... So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway
November 26Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway
November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway
November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway 
December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

* * * GIVEAWAY * * * 

It's giveaway time! Joana is offering one eBook copy of Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter to one lucky reader! Open Internationally! To enter, please leave a comment below! 

  • One eBook copy to one person.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment and include your e-mail or twitter name. If you leave your e-mail, please put parentheses around (at) and (dot).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Winner will be picked randomly.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is December 2, 2016, 11:50 PM Pacific Time.
  • For extra entries, tweet (once daily) or share on Facebook or other social media sites, and please leave link in the comments.
Good luck!

Many thanks to Claudine Pepe of JustJane1813 for organizing this blog tour!

Again, I want to thank Joana Starnes for stopping by with this wonderful excerpt! To repeat Joana's question to you, what are your thoughts of the excerpt? Is the unwelcome visit about to bring the newly married Darcys closer – or drive them further apart?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Winner of 'The Courtship of Edward Gardiner' Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! It's my pleasure to announce the winner of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston! 

But first, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Nicole Clarkston for having me on her tour, writing such a fun guest post, and giving away a copy of her book here on So little time...



Without further ado, the randomly picked winner is:


Anji

Congratulations!


Many thanks to all who entered! 




The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston

Book Blurb: Every great love has a beginning. 

In Austen's Pride and Prejudice, we meet with perhaps the most sensible, caring relatives a lovelorn young woman could hope for: Mr and Mrs Gardiner. What is their story? 

Edward Gardiner has just been refused by the lovely young woman he had intended to make his wife. Heartbroken and eager for a diversion, he accepts an invitation from his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennet, to accompany him along with his two eldest daughters to the north on family business. Gardiner's pleasure tour is interrupted, however, when his eldest niece falls ill and is unable to travel farther. 

Stopping over in the scarcely remarkable village of Lambton, the men decide that Bennet must continue on, while Gardiner and the children remain. The only trouble is that Gardiner has not the least idea how he should care for one ailing niece and another who is ready to drive him to distraction... until he meets with Madeline Fairbanks.


Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Book link to Amazon - I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!


Blog Tour Schedule:


10/21: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
10/22: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
10/27: Review & Giveaway Savvy Verse & Wit
11/01: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
11/08: Guest Post & Giveaway So little time…
11/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
11/15: Review & Giveaway at My Vices and Weaknesses
11/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
11/26: Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
11/30: Review & Giveaway at  Diary of an Eccentric
12/01: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What Are You Reading? ~ November 16, 2016

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *


What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finish reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Here's my list: 



I'm just starting For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. I'm looking forward to this story because it combines genres that I love! An Austenesque/SciFi/Dystopian! I don't know why I've put off reading it for so long. 

I've made good progress into A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I'm more than halfway through! :)


I recently finished Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I loved it! It was wonderful to read all of Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley and to see how she was able to break through the walls she had put up during her childhood. I cried with Sam, and I rejoiced with her. I also enjoyed Sam's use of quotes throughout the story!



What's next? I think I'll read Alight by Scott Sigler. This is the second in the Generations Trilogy series. You can read my review for the first book, Alive, here








FTC Disclaimer: Book links to Amazon - I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!



I'm linking up with This Week In Books hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.


And with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words


So, tell me, what are you reading? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! Today, as part of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner Blog Tour, Nicole Clarkston has written something special for us! I peek into the journal of George Wickham written during his youth at Pemberley! I hope you enjoy! 

Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of this post! 





     The following journals were discovered among the disordered personal effects of one George Samuel Wickham, after his unceremonious final departure from his childhood home of Pemberley, in Derbyshire. Many of the later journals appeared to have been willfully destroyed by their author, perhaps to conceal from curious eyes information which might have proven embarrassing or compromising. Those earlier, surviving journal samples were frequently outright illegible, having been marred by various ink stains, char marks, and smeared by (it is suspected) numerous splashes of red liquid.

     Copied below are the first few entries ever made. It was noted by the current master of the aforementioned estate, a Mr Bennet Darcy (said to be the grandson of the Mr George Darcy described in the journals), that the commencement of the exercise by Mr Wickham coincided curiously with several noteworthy events in the annals of both his father’s and his mother’s family. The careful reader will take especial notice of the great Derbyshire hailstorm of 1800, which is mentioned in some of the entries. 

     The current Mr Darcy’s family has recently published a memoir, detailing their own perspectives on what was later discovered to be a fortuitous series of meetings for both families. Many of these events are confirmed in Mr Wickham’s journal entries. There remain, however, a number of curious discrepancies between the two narratives. I suggest the readers may discern the truth for themselves.


17 July, 1800
     A journal! That is what Mr Darcy demanded, and so I must begin. I expect it will come to little more than a random assortment of thoughts and anecdotes, but such is to be my occupation. Mr Darcy dictates that even my hours of liberty are not to be my own, but that I must spend some time each day in “reflection and the pursuit of wisdom.” What does he take me for, that stodgy Fitzwilliam? As if I had nothing better to do, like the Master’s son, who has all of the world brought to him on a silver platter!

     At least I may have the pleasure of writing whatever I wish. Mr Darcy assures me that “A gentleman’s private journals are his own affair, but the keeping of one is the mark of a man of insight.” Poppycock! He just walked by the room to observe that I am, in fact, writing. Fortunately, that is all the satisfaction he requires on that point.

In addition to this new task, Mr Darcy has given direction that I am to work four hours each day in the stables for a month under Mr Douglas. I am no stable hand! It is not as if my crime was so very dreadful. I was only having a bit of sport with the colt, mind you. How Fitz’s face turned purple when he saw it! It was jolly fun, and I confess I would do it twice over just to have the pleasure of his reactions. The sod is far too sullen and dour. He ought to thank me for livening him a bit!



18 July, 1800
     Today in the stables, I had the most ripping good time with Travers, the under groom. He had instructed me to clean out Fitz’s horse’s stall when “The Young Master” went riding. Well, rather than clean the entire thing, I raked all smooth and sprinkled some fresh bedding over the whole. It looked marvelous, and I was quite proud of how quickly I was done. 
     While he thought I was still working, I slipped to the tack storage room and found some shoes he had made up. At first I thought simply to enjoy a little game of horseshoes with myself, but when I found the nails, I thought of a better idea. What a good joke to see Travers when he came back to the barn aisle to find a perfect trail of horse shoes, just like footprints, hammered into the mortar and stretching the length of the barn! 
     Well, I tell you, he was quite put out with me, but I was rather lucky in my punishment. Naturally I had to clean the stall over, but although I am certain he meant for me to clean the rest of the aisle, he did not specifically say as much. What I was to do after I had done was to repaint a segment of fence, but I was let off when the storm came up. I said how Mr Darcy wished for me to complete my studies, and so Mr Douglas gave permission for me to come back to the house during the rain. Well, I have finished my journal for today. 
     I wonder if Cook has any fresh candied nuts?

     Fitz has it coming to him at last! Oh, I can scarcely write for laughing, but this merits an addition to the day’s journal entry! The fool got caught out in the hail storm with his sister! I had no idea he had taken the baby along on his ride, until I went to share some of my fresh treats with her and could not find her. Privately, I think she likes me better than Fitz, and it annoys him like you cannot imagine. Oh, but I digress!
     So there he was, stranded in the storm like an idiot, and he decided to run to Lambton rather than back to the mansion. I suppose he thought to avoid a good whipping, but he has only made matters worse for himself. Mr Darcy was furious! No one knew where to find the sod, but at last I suggested to my father that Fitzwilliam might have tried to hide in the village. He always was a coward. 
     Certainly enough, there he was, shivering pitifully in Lambton’s worst inn, with Georgiana to boot. The poor little darling! Naturally, I comforted her on the ride home, for it was clear that her brother could not be bothered to do so.
     I live in perpetual anticipation this evening, for I cannot abide not yet knowing what Fitzwilliam’s punishment is to be! If I suffer a month in the stables and a new mountain of studies for simply harassing a colt, what will happen to Fitz? He is sure to be miserable, waiting as I for Mr Darcy’s edict. At least I have that comfort, that the dread of his punishment will keep him from sleep tonight. He deserves to be set down at last, the stuffy prig! 
     Oh, how I wish I could have watched him enduring the attentions of the farmers in Lambton! He was there for nearly two hours, and his face was all splotchy red from the degradation. When we found him, he had been holed up in a corner, playing chess with himself. How typically Fitz! Poor Georgiana was left to sleep in the draughty window, while he spent his time ignoring everyone… well, trying to, at least. 
     There was one particularly bright little lass who would not leave him be. I think she was only passing through, for she was dressed far too well to be one of the local tradesmen’s daughters. Nevertheless, she seemed to have discomfited my companion most admirably! I should have liked to hear what she might say about my friend, for it seems that she took great delight in tormenting him during his stay in the inn. I wish I could learn her secrets!

19 July, 1800
     Nothing! That is what is to happen to Fitzwilliam Darcy! Nothing at all, after the fool took a three-year-old girl out in the most violent summer storm Derbyshire has seen in more than a decade, and then fairly ran away to hide his disgrace… Nothing! I could spit- I have done so- I am perfectly outraged! My hand is so clenched that it is a wonder I have not br~

     Mr Darcy keeps ever so many pens in his study! I wonder if he knows I have the key. I thought he had found me out this time, as he passed me just as I was coming away. I had to tuck the pen away in the back of my trousers- which, by the way, are nothing like as fine as Fit~

     He caught me this time. I made as though I only wished to borrow a book, and I am not certain he noted that the pen I held had been pilfered, but he caught me fairly in the study without permission. He is a noble man, though, and I believe he pretended not to notice. He asked me to sit with him again, that he had something serious he wished to discuss with me. Then, he told me what he had arranged in his revised will. 
     A clergyman! I cannot think of a more repugnant position for myself. To grovel my days at the churchyard, calling on the sick, making sermons, and forever answerable to Fitzwilliam Darcy! For I can see, if Fitz cannot, that Mr Darcy only wants a few years of death’s door. The man lost half his strength this year- he is a shadow of what he was. That will leave the Snob of Pemberley in charge here, and myself at his beck and call! 
     There is some hope, I suppose. I am to attend Eton next year with Fitzwilliam, then my enrollment at Cambridge is assured. After that, I shall have to shift for myself. Mr Darcy said I must prove myself “suitable” for the post he has designed for me, by which I suppose he means that I must study and “mend my character” so that I might make a “worthy” parson. Bah! I know my patron. Perhaps if I declare myself inclined to study the law, after my father once did, he would oblige himself to support me there. I do not like that idea any better than the other, but there might be more opportunities to improve my circumstances in the London circles. 
     This is quite a nice pen. I think I shall keep it.

20 July, 1800
     Today Georgiana’s nurse took her out for some air. Poor Miss Tuttle, she has absolutely no authority over the child! It is a mercy for her that her charge is typically docile, but I believe she found herself quite unable to object when Georgiana determined to visit the stables. I was cleaning that same stall again when she came looking for Fitzwilliam’s horse. Now, I have a horse as well… Fitzwilliam’s old horse Barnaby, a spavined old campaigner wi~

     Mr Darcy certainly has a deal of nice pens. As I was writing before, Barnaby was nothing to her- no, only Saul would do! Happily, she allowed me to lead the horse about for her to brush and pet. I really think she does prefer me to her brother, for at least I am happy to please her. 
     I think I shall encourage her affections for me- it can do no harm, at least! I can think of nothing I should like better than to find myself an heiress one day. If not she, then perhaps one of her friends would be happy to oblige. It would certainly be preferable to seeking a profession. 
     On another note, Fitzwilliam has made a new friend. A tradesman’s son! I saw them together on the lawn today. I had a good laugh watching him stumbling for something to talk about with the fellow. Oh, Fitz! Will you never learn to please in company?

     Lady Catherine is here! 

21 July, 1800
     The house is surprisingly quiet today, considering its present guest. I suspect that is because Mr Darcy has kept Lady Catherine in the drawing room, and Fitz has been making himself scarce. All of the staff are keeping well clear of that room when they can, which means hardly anyone is about to observe my own activities. 
     I had no idea that Mr Darcy had such a fine store of tobacco in his study.

     What a lark! Just when I think Fitz the dullest creature on earth, he does something monstrously amusing! I was on stable duty when he had to take his cousin driving, and had to bring the carriage round for him. How he annoyed his future bride when he dragged his feet long enough for Georgiana to come to the carriage! Purple is a becoming shade on a lady’s face. I think it must be a family trait.
     I believe Georgiana liked the sweeties I had for her. 
     I nearly forget the best part of all. When they returned from the drive, what a display Lady Catherine made! It was worth all the shame of acting as a groom just to watch Fitz looking so helpless as she fumed! She slammed the carriage door and was off, and the whole time Fitz just stood there with his mouth open! Even now, several hours later, I think I shall go distracted from laughing!

     There was the strangest circumstance this evening. I was in the study when my father and Mr Darcy and Fitzwilliam all entered, and I was forced to hide behind the sofa. Some shepherd from the hills arrived on other business, and I overheard him telling of a family which he had earlier found stranded along the road. It came out that they had been passed by and neglected by Lady Catherine.
     Mr Darcy was positively livid at her behaviour, but it was Fitz’s response which took my attention. He questioned the fellow again and again, asking the description of the family he found. At last I understood- he suspected the daughter to be that little girl from the inn!
     Whether it was or not, I doubt any shall ever know for certain, but it was a most curious thing. Fancy, Fitzwilliam Darcy forming an attachment to some waif he discovered in a little country village! Ha!
     Perhaps the old boy has a weakness for fine brown eyes. I shall have to remember that note, for it may prove useful one day. 

     Mr Darcy keeps a flask of scotch whiskey in his writing desk!







The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston 

Book Blurb: Every great love has a beginning. In Austen's Pride and Prejudice, we meet with perhaps the most sensible, caring relatives a lovelorn young woman could hope for: Mr and Mrs Gardiner. What is their story? 


Edward Gardiner has just been refused by the lovely young woman he had intended to make his wife. Heartbroken and eager for a diversion, he accepts an invitation from his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennet, to accompany him along with his two eldest daughters to the north on family business. Gardiner's pleasure tour is interrupted, however, when his eldest niece falls ill and is unable to travel farther. 

Stopping over in the scarcely remarkable village of Lambton, the men decide that Bennet must continue on, while Gardiner and the children remain. The only trouble is that Gardiner has not the least idea how he should care for one ailing niece and another who is ready to drive him to distraction... until he meets with Madeline Fairbanks.


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Author Bio:


Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don't ask).

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole's books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Connect with Nicole Clarkston


Blog Tour Schedule:

10/21: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
10/22: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
10/27: Review & Giveaway Savvy Verse & Wit
11/01: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
11/08: Guest Post & Giveaway So little time…
11/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
11/15: Review & Giveaway at My Vices and Weaknesses
11/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
11/26: Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
11/30: Review & Giveaway at  Diary of an Eccentric
12/01: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton



* * * GIVEAWAY * * * 



It's giveaway time! Nicole Clarkston is offering one copy (eBook or Paperback - winner's choice) of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner to one lucky winner! Open Internationally! To enter, please leave a comment below!



  • One copy (eBook or Paperback) to one person.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment and include your e-mail or twitter name. If you leave your email, please put parentheses around (at) and (dot).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Winner will be picked randomly. 
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is November 15th, 2016, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.
  • For extra entries, tweet (once daily) or share on Facebook and leave a link in comments.  

Good luck!


Many thanks to Rita Deodato of From Pemberley to Milton for organizing this blog tour! 

Also, a big thanks to Nicole Clarkston for her generous giveaway! And for writing this fun guest post! 

So, friends, what did you think of George's journal entries? 
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