Monday, November 27, 2023

A Pride & Prejudice Christmas Charms Book Series by MJ Stratton ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, friends! MJ Stratton has written a series of Christmas stories! She's here today to share a little about Christmas pudding and the charms that are added! Why you ask? Well, she includes this lovely tradition in her new series, Catherine Called Kitty, Mary, Marry? Quite Contrary!, and Charmed

Plus, there's a chance to win a eCopy of the series! Details at the bottom of the page!

Please, give a warm welcome to MJ Stratton!

What is Christmas pudding, and what are the charms that were added? The Simple Things Blog says the tradition of gathering together to all have a stir of the pudding is said to have been brought to Britain by Prince Albert. A coin was dropped in before everyone took a turn at mixing and the person who unearthed the coin on Christmas day would be blessed with good fortune in the year to come, apparently. 

And charms were agreed to be so charming they soon moved on from simple thrupenny bits and sixpences to include more items, each said to have a different meaning. 

For the sake of my stories, I imagined that this tradition began before the 1800s.

Here are a few charms and their meanings.

Coin: Coming into money

Thimble: If a single woman finds it they’ll remain single another year

Button: If found by a single man he’ll remain a bachelor

Horseshoe: Good luck

Ring/bell: A wedding is on the cards

Wishbone: A wish will be granted

Anchor: They will have a safe year, protected from danger

Catherine Called Kitty
by MJ Stratton

Publication Date: Nov. 3rd, 2023


Catherine Bennet does not believe in magic, per se, but she unequivocally stands by her mother’s assertion that the Christmas charms in their yearly pudding hold mystical properties. She was raised on Mrs. Bennet’s tales of the charms predicting her future, after all, and had not Lydia married the year following the Christmas she found the ring? 

When Kitty unearths the wishbone the winter after Lizzy and Jane wed, she is excited to use the charm’s magic to secure a happy future. Having been awakened to the possible consequences of Lydia’s choice of husband, she wishes for what Jane and Lizzy have secured in their respective husbands. 

This novella holds a touch of Christmas magic as Kitty Bennet finds her path to happily ever after.

Mary, Marry? Quite Contrary!
by MJ Stratton

Expected release date:  Dec. 1st, 2023


Mary Bennet despises the tradition of Christmas charms. Too many years she discovered the thimble, and too many times Lydia taunted her, declaring her a spinster in the making. When she finally discovers the ring in her Christmas pudding, Mary scoffs at the idea that a little silver charm could decide one’s fate for the coming year. 

When Mary is given several doses of humility, the very foundations of who she thought she was is called into question. Joining her sister on a journey of self-discovery, Mary seeks to amend the flaws in her character. If she finds love along the way, it is purely a matter of chance. Isn’t it? 

This novella holds a touch of Christmas magic as Mary Bennet comes into her own. Follow Mary to London and back as she travels the path to her happiness.

by MJ Stratton

Expected release date: Dec. 25th, 2023


What is a family to do when a certain Christmas tradition may or may not tell their future? A collection of short stories that accompany the first two books of the Christmas Charms series answers that question. Follow along with Fanny Gardiner as she meets and marries Thomas Bennet. Meet Mrs. Gardiner’s beloved brother and find out what happens to Mr. Bennet five years after the events of Mary, Marry? Quite Contrary! Are the Christmas charms magic? You decide.
Buy the Book 1 on Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

About the Author

MJ Stratton is a long-time lover of Jane Austen and her works, having been introduced to Pride and Prejudice by a much beloved aunt at the age of 16. The subsequent discovery of Austenesque fiction sealed her fate. After beta reading and editing for others for nearly a decade, MJ started publishing her own work in 2022. MJ balances being a wife and mother with writing, gardening, sewing, and many other favorite pastimes. She lives with her husband and four children in the small, rural town where she grew up.

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

MJ Stratton is giving away a set of A Pride & Prejudice Christmas Charms Books! Enter through the Rafflecopter below. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to MJ Stratton for stopping by here today! 

So friends, any thoughts? We'd love to hear from you. Please, leave a comment below!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

All The Wrong Notes by Riana Everly ~ Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

(Post contains affiliate links)

Hello, my friends! I’m so excited to have Riana Everly here today! She’s written a new series, and the first book, All the Wrong Notes: A Modern Pride and Prejudice Improvisation, is already out.

Please read an excerpt from All the Wrong Notes below! Plus, she’s giving away an eBook from the series to one of my lucky readers! Details are at the bottom of this page.

Origin of a Series

Thank you so much, Candy, for hosting me here today. I’m honoured and delighted to be able to spend a bit of time here on your blog.

As some of you might know, I’ve just released the first of three books in a new series of contemporary Austen-inspired novels. This series is called Austen Echoes, and I’ll explain the name.

First of all, it will be no surprise that the stories all echo the wonderful originals that Jane Austen left us. These are not scene-by-scene retellings, cast in modern clothing, but rather, they’re stories that are strongly influenced by Austen’s work. Anyone who knows Austen will have no problem recognising the story arcs or the characters, but I’ve let the narrative take me where I feel the story needs to go, even if that doesn’t line up 100% with the original.

When I sent the first draft to my editor, one of her first replies was, “I literally gasped out loud when I worked out who Wickham was!” That brought a huge grin to my face.

The second reason for the series name is a reference to a unifying aspect. The three books in Austen Echoes all revolve around members of the same choir, who know each other and who interact between stories, and this choir is called The Eglinton Echoes.

Since the stories echo Austen, and the characters are part of the Echoes, the series title just came to me. Welcome to Austen Echoes!

But where did the idea come from?

Last year, I published Preludes, a contemporary musical retelling of Persuasion, my favourite of Austen’s novels. I loved seeing how Austen’s characters translated into the modern world, and as a musician myself, I loved writing about music. Then I began to talk to Romance Café Publishing, who specialise in contemporary romance, and an idea quickly began to form. I wasn’t ready to leave my modern musical world, and a series of shorter novels would let me spend more time in the city I love, and in the musical world that I love, while getting to know modern versions of the characters we love so much. 

I presented them with a general idea, and they were as excited about it as I was. The three books that make up this series all but wrote themselves, and I just thrilled with the response from the editorial team. 

At the same time as I was writing about a choir, my son began to think about auditioning for the local concert choir. He sang in a couple of choirs while he was away at university, including in the Ottawa Choral Society. The musical director from that ensemble has since moved to Toronto to take up the baton at The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and since my son knows him and enjoyed working with him, he was encouraged to try out. Through his connections, I was even able to sit in on a rehearsal, just to make sure that I had the details right.

Everything just seemed to snap into place.

So, what about the books themselves? Well, you’ll have to read them to find out!

The first one, which was released just last week, is my reimagining of Pride and Prejudice. Elise (my Lizzy) and Will (my Darcy) have a terrible first meeting, and do not get off to a good start. You might say they hit all the wrong notes!

Here’s an excerpt from my new book, All the Wrong Notes: A Modern Pride and Prejudice Improvisation. Elise and Janet have just been at a speed-dating event. It went wonderfully for Janet. It was less wonderful for Elise. (By the way, you can read about Janet and Carlos in my free short story, The Perfect Love Song.)


“There wasn’t anyone you liked?” Janet tutted as the two women headed to the doors. “I thought some of them were very nice.”

“You seemed to like that Spanish fellow, Number Twelve. From what I saw, he could hardly bear to move from your station after the bell rang.”

Janet’s eyes went dreamy for a moment. “Carlos. His name is Carlos. I know we weren’t supposed to give our names, but… he’s lovely, isn’t he?”

Elise had enjoyed her eight minutes with him. “He was definitely charming.”

“And so handsome.” If Janet were a little bit dreamier about him, she would dissolve in a pastel-coloured mist of rose petals and singing birds.

“Handsome, indeed. As every man should be, if he can at all help it!”

Janet rolled her eyes. “You are impossible, Elise! I really liked him. He enjoys reading and cooking, and he’s a music lover, too. He sings, if you can believe that! We only had a few minutes, but I really liked him. I hope we match.” She let out a happy sigh, full of more rose petals and fairy dust. “Come home with me. We’ll order pizza, and I’ll go on and on about Carlos, and then I’ll drive you home.”

Elise stifled a snicker and glanced at her watch. It was 8:30, and she was hungry. They had taken a short break in the middle of all that speed-dating for a snack, but a handful of pretzels and a ginger ale didn’t fill the belly. It might help keep her mind off that miserable Number Seven who couldn’t even be bothered to try. 

“Thanks. Maybe we can order now, so it will be ready by the time we get to your place. The usual?”

“Absolutely,” Janet replied. She ran a hand through her hair and gasped. “Oh! I’ve lost an earring. These are a favourite pair, too.” She shook her head, and only one golden spiral danced from an earlobe. “Do you mind? I’ll run back into the room and see if I can find it.”

She dashed back into the meeting room without waiting for a reply. Elise moved to the wall by a large plant, to stay out of everyone’s way while she waited.

“You were awful in there.” 

A man’s voice sounded from a few feet away. The plant hid him from view, but by the slight accent, it was Carlos, the charming guy Janet had gushed over. He did not sound pleased. 

“Why did you bother coming at all, if you weren’t even going to be pleasant?”

A sharp exhalation of breath, almost a snort. Then another man spoke. “I said I would attend. I never promised to find pleasure in it.” 

That was Mr. Snootypants, Number Seven. A pause. 

“There was nobody attractive or interesting enough to waste my time on. What sort of desperate person comes to these things anyway?” 

“I came,” Carlos grunted. “And so did you. I thought some of the women were charming. Did you see the redhead? She’s stunning.”

Another snort. “That can’t be denied. But she was the only woman in the room worth looking at, and she seemed only to have eyes for you. Anyway, she smiled too much. She giggles.” 

“She is lovely, isn’t she? And sweet, and smart, and so funny! But what about some of the others? There was the brunette with the yellow shirt…”

Elise blinked. That was her! It was flattering to be considered almost in the same zone as Janet.

“I was there to keep my promise to you. I don’t need to waste my time on people who can’t even be bothered to dress for the occasion. Here’s the car. Let’s go.”

Not so flattering. Jerk.

Warm air rushed in as the two men opened the door and left the lobby, leaving Elise with the sight of their departing backs and a rather bad taste in her mouth.

Janet might fancy Carlos, she huffed to herself, but hopefully she would never have to set eyes on Number Seven Snootypants again in her life.

All The Wrong Notes
A Modern Pride and Prejudice Improvisation
By Riana Everly


Elise Benzion has everything she wants. The arts centre that she’s built from the ground up is thriving. She has a circle of great friends. Her concert choir, the Eglinton Echoes, is in top form and gives her an artistic outlet to satisfy her musical side. What she does not want is an annoying, rude, and far too handsome man hovering around. But Will is her best friend’s new beau’s good friend, and she’ll play nice, for Janet’s sake. 

Eventually she begins to discover the man beneath the unpleasant veneer, and tolerance warms into a tentative friendship, and possibly something more. 

Then disaster strikes, and everything she loves, everything she’s worked so hard for, crumbles in an instant. With all her dreams dashed and her beloved arts centre destroyed, her biggest regret might just be losing Will. 

Is there any hope? Or will a demon from his own past keep them apart forever? 

This musical reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice will have you cheering the characters on, pulling you into their world and into their hearts.
Buy: Amazon (paid Link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

About the Author

Born in South Africa, award-winning author Riana Everly has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She proudly boasts one husband, two grown(ish) children, three degrees, four recordings, five instruments (of varying proficiencies), six languages (also of varying proficiencies), and ten novels (and growing). She also can’t count very well.

When not indulging her passion for Jane Austen, Riana loves cooking, travel, and photography. She’s a historian and trained classical musician, specialising in viola, and is delighted to be able to combine her love of writing and music in her novels. 

She now lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, a secret stash of chocolate, and far too many books.

Connect with Riana Everly

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Riana is giving away an eBook! Here is her message:

I’m delighted to be able to offer a giveaway of an eBook at each stop on this blog tour. I will randomly select one person who comments on the post here through Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win! I will take comments until midnight, North American Eastern time, five days after the blog post goes live. Good luck everyone!

Many thanks to Riana Everly for being my guest today! Thank you for offering one of my readers a chance to win an eCopy of your new book, and congratulations on this new series!!

Ok, friends, please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Elaine Jeremiah ~ Why I read Jane Austen ~ Guest Post

 Hello, my friends! It's my pleasure to have Elaine Jeremiah here today! Her topic is one I think we can all agree upon. Please give her a warm welcome! 

Why I Read Jane Austen

Why do we read Jane Austen’s novels? Why does anyone read Jane Austen’s novels? You might think these are daft questions to ask, but I think it bears thinking about if only because her novels are still immensely popular 200 years after her death.

I’ll tell you why I read her novels. I read them because they never get old – there’s always something new to discover in them, as I found when rereading Mansfield Park very recently. You can always find a new aspect to your favourite characters – and your least – even if you’ve read the novels many times before.

I think that one reason why we still read Jane Austen’s novels is because they all work on many levels. What do I mean? Well, take Northanger Abbey for example. I know it’s not most people’s favourite of her novels, but on one level it’s obviously a romance about a girl obsessed with Gothic fiction, who must learn to live in the real world and not fantasise about people and places being things that they are not.

But on another, cleverer level, Austen is using her story to playfully critique the Gothic romance novels that were popular at the time – like The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (which I’ve read and actually really enjoyed!). Northanger Abbey is a pastiche of novels like that, with its heroine going to a castle-like house, whose mistress is long dead and whose master is aggressive and potentially a villain!

Of course, this relates to the first level as the heroine, Catherine Morland, is obsessed with reading Gothic fiction and fantasises that the people and places around her are just like the novels she’s reading.

On yet another level, Austen also takes the opportunity in Northanger Abbey to defend the medium of the novel against its detractors, saying that she will not join in with other novel writers in denouncing the novel, who do so even as they are adding their own to its numbers. ‘I cannot approve of it’ she says. Don’t you just love her?!

Northanger Abbey is just one example of Austen’s superlative talent in telling a story with many different facets to it. All of her novels demonstrate this ability she has to engage us and make us think more deeply in an entertaining way, as with her discussion of the worth of the novel as mentioned above.

So why do you read Jane Austen’s novels? What is it about them that makes you keep returning to them?

About Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire. 

She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel Love Without Time, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction! 

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again is the first Pride and Prejudice variation she’s written. 

Connect with Elaine


Books by Elaine Jeremiah

Paid links below

Elizabeth & Darcy Beginning Again: A Pride and Prejudice Variation 

By Time Divided

Love without Time

Reunion of the Heart

Teaching Mr Leavis

The Inheritance

FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

Many thanks to Elaine for stopping to visit with us today! I must say Northanger Abbey is in my top three of Austen's books!

I'm going to end with the questions Elaine posed. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts! 

So why do you read Jane Austen’s novels? What is it about them that makes you keep returning to them?

Friday, November 3, 2023

Worthy by Julia Winter ~ Blog Tour, Deleted Scene, & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my pleasure to have Julia Winter here today with her new book, Worthy - A Pride and Prejudice variation! I hope you enjoy the deleted scene Julia is sharing with us, and please remember to enter the giveaway! Details for that are at the bottom of this page. 

Let's check out the book first.

A Pride & Prejudice Variation
by Julia Winter

eBook Publication Date: Oct. 31, 2013
Publisher: Glass Hat Press (copyright 2023)
Wordcount: c125,000
Editor: Megn Reddaway
Cover: Detail from a portrait by Eugen von Blaas. Provenance and whereabouts unknown. Inge in the public domain, obtained via ArtVee, and available for unrestricted use.

Book Description 

     In the course of 1811, the Bennets of Longbourn meet two sets of estranged relatives: Mr Bennet’s unprepossessing heir, and his mother’s family. Elizabeth Bennet journeys into Kent to stay with the Palmers at Wingham Hall: her grand-aunt Iphigenia, her cousin Sir James Palmer, who had loved her grandmother ardently in his youth, and his son Galahad. Pleased with her new relations, Elizabeth is less content with the taciturn friend Galahad has invited to join him at Wingham. Fitzwilliam Darcy—rich and proud, disdainful of those beneath him—has escorted his sister Georgiana to Ramsgate, to recuperate from a dangerous illness in the care of her companion, Mrs Younge. 

     Complications arise with the arrival of Elizabeth’s sister Jane and, separately, Charles and Caroline Bingley, the authors of Jane’s unhappiness. Tensions and quarrels result in the Bingleys’ abrupt departure, swiftly followed by Darcy after a maladroit proposal that Elizabeth spurns with a pride that matches his own. 

     Unfortunately, Darcy leaves Kent just as his enemy, George Wickham appears, intent on securing Georgiana and her fortune. Who will stand between Georgiana and ruin? Who will win Jane Bennet’s hand? And can Darcy and Elizabeth ever be reconciled?” 

     (NB British spelling, punctuation and grammar throughout).

A Note From the Author

     I always write masses more than actually makes it into the final version of a book, so it’s inevitable that sections get edited out. Sometimes that’s because they slow down the pacing of a story, or are too detailed, or just don’t tell us anything new about the characters. No matter how much I love them, some scenes have to go for the sake of a tighter, better story – that’s what editing is all about!

     Here is one such outtake from “Worthy”. I was sad to see it go, but other scenes already showed the loving relationship between Elizabeth and Jane, so this one wasn’t strictly necessary. It’s set in a Canterbury coaching inn. Jane, escaping Town and her unhappiness over the thwarted romance with Charles Bingley, has just arrived to spend time with Elizabeth and their Palmer relations, in an effort to soothe her heartache.


Deleted Scene

Jane arrives in Canterbury

     Elizabeth flew down to the inn’s courtyard when Cousin Galahad, who had been hanging out of the window for the previous half-hour keeping watch, announced the arrival of the coach. The footman had just handed Jane down, and Elizabeth enveloped her in a hearty embrace almost as soon as her sister’s feet reached the cobbles.

     “Oh Jane! Jane! Here you are at last! How delightful it is to see you!”

     Jane returned the embrace with fervour. “Thank you, Lizzy,” was all she said, but her eyes spoke of her gratitude for more than the greeting.

     “Let me look at you!” Elizabeth stood back a step, holding Jane at arms’ length, examining her as if she had not seen her for a year. “Beautiful as ever, I see! Not even a day’s journey can discompose you. How lowering for the rest of us. I was a perfect fright when I arrived in Canterbury after so long in the coach.”

     Jane laughed softly. “Nonsense, Lizzy. You are always lovely.”

     “I am glad to be reassured. Now then, Aunt Iphy and our cousin are awaiting you in a private sitting room upstairs, along with Mr Darcy. You will love Aunt Iphy.”

     “I do look forward to meeting her at last.” Jane lowered her voice. “The necessary? It was a long coach ride, Lizzy. You may be quite sure I feel my discomposure in that regard!”

     Elizabeth laughed and led the way under an arch leading to a small, but well-kept garden. The necessary house abutted the garden wall at the far end. Jane entered it with uncharacteristic haste, but was her usual serene self when she emerged a few moments later.

     Elizabeth linked arms with her. “Are you well, dearest? We cannot speak long of private matters here since we are expected upstairs, but give me that assurance at least.”

     Jane’s smile was tinged with disappointment. “I… I had hopes, Lizzy. It is not to be, it seems, and I believe the Bingleys have now left Town and are journeying to Bath. I must accept it was entirely my own fancy that Mr Bingley’s admiration meant more than he obviously intended. Well, I am not ashamed of being mistaken, but I cannot dwell on it and retain my peace of mind. So he will be forgot, and all will be well. Perhaps we may talk of it later?”

     “As soon as we can contrive it. I am sorry, though, that you are so bruised by this. You are the last person to deserve such treatment.”

     Jane pressed Elizabeth’s hand, and shook her head, saying, “Tell me of our aunt and cousins instead, Lizzy.”

     There truly was no time to discuss the Bingley problem then and Elizabeth made do with giving Jane another hug to show her sympathy, and made a silent resolution that as soon as she could get Jane alone, she would allow her sister to unburden herself. Jane’s own nature and good sense would not allow her to indulge in those fruitless regrets which would destroy her peace, and she had no doubt her sister would be tranquil again in time. All the same, even the most temperate of souls should be comforted when they deserved it.

     She gave Jane the balm of a different subject to occupy her thoughts. “Aunt Iphy is the dearest creature, with such a gentle nature I am quite astonished that her sister Cassandra had the heart to keep her so firmly suppressed. She has shown me too many kindnesses to describe each one. I think you will love her, Jane. Indeed, you and she are rather alike, and I fancy you could not take a dislike to her if you tried. It would be as if you disliked yourself. Cousin James, now, is the very essence of a county squire, but he has the kindest heart. He treats me in a very grandfatherly fashion, though it must pain him to see his lost love’s face every time he looks at me.”

     “You are very like our Grandmamma in looks.”

     “Too much so for Sir James’s peace of mind, I fear, but as I say, he is kind and indulgent. You will deal with him very well, I think. Cousin Galahad is a few years our senior, and was, like Shakespeare’s Beatrice, born in a merry hour. I find him excellent, vivacious company and I like him a great deal.”

     Jane linked her arm into Elizabeth’s. “And does he like you?”

     “I believe so.” And Elizabeth primmed up her mouth and allowed Jane to see her amusement. “I also suspect Sir James and Aunt Iphy hope he does.”

     “Oh,” said Jane, and quirked up an eyebrow that was oddly reminiscent of Papa, despite her having little resemblance to him otherwise.

     “Well.” Elizabeth sighed, and wished it were not unladylike to shrug. “I do not believe it is my duty to right a star-cross’d romance from half a century ago. I am no Juliet. If we find we like each other that way, then we shall see; but if I would not marry Mr Collins to please Mamma, I certainly will not marry Galahad merely to please his father.”

     “No, indeed! I know you will follow your heart and your good principles. What of Mr Darcy?”

     “Oh, he is the top of the trees, of course, and very aware of his position in life! He is a rather perplexing man, and I am not entirely sure what I think of him. Although,” Elizabeth added, as they reached the inn door, “he is easier with practice. He improves upon acquaintance.”

     “I look forward to meeting them all.”

     “Come then. They are waiting.”

     They hurried up the stairs to the private room Cousin Galahad had hired for their comfort. Elizabeth flung the door wide.

     “Dearest Aunt Iphy, Mr Darcy, Cousin Galahad… here at last is my beloved sister Jane, who is quite the best Bennet of all!”

About the Author

Once Julia was a communications specialist working with several UK government departments. These days she's thankfully free of all that, and writing full time. She lives in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside with her husband and Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several times bigger than she is.

Connect with Julia

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Purchase Links

Amazon US *(paid link) • Amazon UKB&NKoboSmashwords
Add to Goodreads

*FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Julia Winter is generously giving away a $20 (or equivalent) Amazon voucher! Enter the Rafflecopter below for the chance to win. The raffle begins October 31, 2023, and ends November 10.

Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to Julia for stopping by here today and for her lovely giveaway! Also, congratulations on the release of Worthy!

So, friends, what do you think of these new relatives of the Bennet sisters? And what about Cousin Galahad? Hmm, Darcy, look out! LOL - actually, just the thought makes me anxious!

Please leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

"Mr. Knightley His Own Words" by Shannon Winslow ~ Blog Tour

 Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to have Shannon Winslow visiting here today! Her new book, Mr. Knightly His Own Words, was released this month. I believe this is the 3rd book in her In His Own Words series. 

Without further ado, here's Shannon! Please give her a warm welcome.

I’m in love with Mr. Knightley, and here’s why.

First, there’s Jeremy Northam. I mean, what’s not to like? I know the Knightleys from the other film adaptations are pretty hunky too, but JN was my first, and so he will always be special to me.

Secondly, Mr. Knightley is a really good guy. He’s sensible, good natured, and straightforwardly honest. Everybody likes and respects him. But he doesn’t show off his importance. Instead, he uses what he has to help others – sending gifts of food or the use of his carriage – all very quietly, not wanting or expecting his generosity to be noticed. And don’t you think it’s pretty heroic how kind to and tolerant of the neurotic Mr. Woodhouse he is?

But mostly it’s because I’ve been spending so much time with him over the last year. It’s true; I always fall a little in love with the hero of the book I’ve been writing, which in this case is Mr. Knightley (Mr. Knightley in His Own Words). He hasn’t had it easy, I can tell you. I’ve taken him through some rough times, but he’s bravely overcome, his kindness and sense of humor intact. The way I see it, he deserves his happy ending, and I’m going to make sure he gets it!

Finally, of course, there’s the name. When spelled correctly, it conjures up images of a knight in shining armor, right? But if you were married to the guy and thought “Nightly” instead. Hmm. Well, I’ll leave that to your own imaginations…


Mr. Knightley ... in His Own Words
by Shannon Winslow

Publication Date: Oct. 5th, 2023
Pages: 331 pages, Kindle Edition

Book Blurb

Mr. George Knightley. According to Emma Woodhouse, you won’t see one in a hundred who is so clearly the gentleman. Respected by all, he’s kind, unpretentious, and scrupulously honest, with an air so remarkably good that it’s unfair to compare other men to him. We also know he’s been his “own master” from a young age. But Jane Austen tells us little more. 

What were his early years like, and how did he lose his parents? A man in his mid-thirties, he must have had at least one romance along the way. Did it end badly? Is that why he’s never married? When and how did his relationship with Emma shift from friendship to love? And what can explain his incredible forbearance towards the eccentric Mr. Woodhouse? Now, Mr. Knightley reveals these answers and more in His Own Words

This is not a variation from but a supplement to the original story of Emma, chronicled in the hero’s point of view. Two-thirds completely new material, it features key events in Mr. Knightley’s past – events that still haunt him and yet have shaped who he’s become, the superior man Emma can’t help falling in love with.
Buy: Amazon *(paid link)
Add to Goodreads

*FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

Meet the Author

Shannon Winslow approaches writing JAFF a little differently, adding onto rather than varying from canon, giving us prequel, sequel, and supplemental views of favorite characters. Shannon, who has authored eleven Austenesque novels so far, lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mr. Rainier. Visit her at her website/blog and follow her on Facebook.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Shannon! Congratulations on the release of your new book. I happen to favor Jeremy Northam as Knightley also. He's so good! 

What about you, readers? Do you have a favorite Knightley? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, September 18, 2023

"Every Time We Say Goodbye" by Natalie Jenner ~ Cover Reveal!

Hello, my friends! I'm back with another cover reveal! It's my pleasure to bring you Natalie Jenner's newest book, Every Time We Say Goodbye

I'm very excited about this book as I have read both The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls (I'll link my reviews for these books at the bottom of this page). Having met Vivien in Bloomsbury Girls, I look forward to getting to know her better!

A Message From Author Natalie Jenner

Hello Dear Readers,

Every Time We Say Goodbye was the hardest book I will ever write, and the most rewarding.

It all started when I learned about the world-famous Cinecittà movie studio in Rome being used as a war refugee camp in the 1940s. People who had been stripped of everything—homes, possessions, even their most basic humanity—suddenly found themselves confined to life inside a “dream factory.” I decided to set my third novel during a very specific, very cool time in history—la dolce vita of mid 1950s Rome—while exploring the incredibly complex and haunting legacy of that city under German occupation during the Second World War.

I also wanted to know why Vivien Lowry, a character from my book Bloomsbury Girls, had been so angry all the time! I wondered if a woman could make the biggest mistake of her life and move past the regret in a way that benefitted her and the world around her. I never intended to write a dual timeline. I had been working on Every Time We Say Goodbye for nearly a year when the voice of a young female Italian resistance fighter codenamed la scolaretta—the schoolgirl assassin—suddenly showed up on the page one day. Having witnessed the bravery and sacrifice of so many to keep us safe during our world’s most recent challenge, I wanted to pay tribute to them. How fortunate am I, through the intimate and emotional power of historical fiction, to have the opportunity to do so.

I packed everything I could into this book: love and conflict, faith and religion, censorship and resistance, art and moviemaking, fashion and food, and cameos by favorite actresses such as Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner and characters from both The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls (I, myself am terrible at goodbyes!). 

I hope, more than anything, that Every Time We Say Goodbye gives readers the entertainment, inspiration and food for thought that nourished me throughout its writing.

Best wishes, Natalie

And now for the moment you've been waiting for! 🥁🥁🥁

Book Description

The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls returns with a brilliant novel of love and art, of grief and memory, of confronting the past and facing the future.

In 1955, Vivien Lowry is at a crossroads in life. Her latest play, the only female-authored play on the London stage that season, has opened in the West End to rapturous applause from the audience. The reviewers, however, are not as impressed as the playgoers and their savage notices not only shut down the play but ruin Vivien's last chance for theatrical success. With her future in London not looking bright, at the suggestion of her friend, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivien takes a job as a script doctor on a major film shooting in Rome’s Cinecittà Studios. There she finds a vibrant moviemaking scene filled with rising stars, acclaimed directors, and famous actors in a country that is torn between its past and its potentially bright future, between the liberation of the post-war cinema and the restrictions of the Catholic Church that permeate the very soul of Italy.

As Vivien tries to forge a new future for herself, she also searches for the long-buried truth of the recent World War and the fate of her deceased fiancé lost in battle. Every Time We Say Goodbye is a bold and moving exploration of trauma and tragedy, hope and renewal, filled with dazzling characters both real and imaginary, from the incomparable author who charmed the world with her novels The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls.

(Every Time We Say Goodbye is linked to The Jane Austen Society, & Bloomsbury Girls by characters, but is a stand-alone novel.) 

Advance Praise

  • “I’m in awe of Natalie Jenner’s new novel, which surprised me at every turn. At times it reads like the juiciest historical tell all, boasting cameos by enduring household names like Sophia Loren and Gina Lollabrigida, and featuring a party where Ava Gardner dances on the table. But most importantly, this is a story about damaged people who are still blinking into the light after the nightmare of the Second World War. This beautiful book balances and explores the most heroic aspects of humanity, and by extension the most evil. Every Time We Say Good Bye is a heartbreaking, engrossing, and thoroughly dazzling work of art that would make the filmmakers at the center of its story proud.” —Nina de Gramont, New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of The Christie Affair
  • Every Time We Say Goodbye welcomes back beloved characters from Jenner’s previous novels along with a new fascinating cast in Italy for the production of post-war films. Well-researched and written in a perfect blend of harrowing and heartwarming, this is another fabulous Natalie Jenner novel that historical fiction fans will adore!” —Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London and The Librarian Spy
  • “In her latest novel, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Natalie Jenner deftly weaves in elegant prose, the lives of the incredibly unique characters working to create a controversial war film at the Cinecitta in Italy, and the effects they have on each other and society. An emotionally poignant tale, that explores the human condition before, during and after war, and how those experiences change some while others remain unapologetically stuck. Ultimately, readers will find themselves swept along on a vivid journey through 1950s Italy, wading through the pains of the characters’ pasts and the sacrifices they made, in order to find a way to their hopeful future. Every once in a while, a story comes along that really grips you and inspires you to contemplate the choices we’re all given, and Jenner has done that here. An absolute page-turner, I couldn’t put this captivating book down.” —Eliza Knight, USA Today bestselling author of The Mayfair Bookshop and Starring Adele Astaire 

About the Author

Natalie Jenner is the internationally bestselling author of The
Jane Austen Society
and Bloomsbury Girls, which have been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer and career coach and once owned an independent bookstore in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

Connect with Natalie Jenner

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 336
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Purchase Links

Add to Goodreads

*FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

Links to my Reviews

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress @ Austenprose PR for including me on this blog cover reveal tour! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear if you're also looking forward to this book!

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