Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Very Austen Christmas ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm very excited to have Robin Helm, one of the authors of A Very Austen Christmas, here today with an excerpt from her short story in the book! I hope you enjoy! 

     After breakfast, the ladies, with the exception of Elizabeth, took turns sitting with Lady Catherine. Even Charlotte spent a half hour with the lady, after sensibly pointing out that she could call for help if she need it. As the patient slept much of the time, there was no need to read aloud to her. The ladies did needlework or read a favourite book instead.

     Elizabeth occupied her time in practicing the piano and perusing the library. She found several books which caught her interest and took them to the parlour to occupy her time until the doctor arrived.

     Maria brought her sewing and settled on the settee beside her.

     “How was Lady Catherine when you left her?” asked Elizabeth.

     “I cannot say. She slept all the time I was with her. Does that mean she is better?”

     Elizabeth shrugged. “I have no way of knowing. We can only hope that her sleep is healing, I suppose.”

     Silence reigned until Charlotte joined them, coming directly from the sickroom.

     “Come sit by the window with me, Lizzy. The snow is so beautiful.”

     Elizabeth moved to be by her friend, watching the steady accumulation of the snow. Is Thomas caught in this storm somewhere between London and Rosings Park? Is he well? Has he been in a carriage accident? We parted on less than friendly terms. What if I never have another chance to speak with him? 

     She shuddered.

     Time crawled by, and her apprehension grew.

     Surely he should be here by now.

     Just before noon, they heard a commotion at the front entrance.

     Charlotte and Maria stood to smooth their skirts, but Elizabeth could not wait. 

     She hurried into the hall to see if it was indeed Thomas, but he was not the first gentleman she saw.

     Elizabeth came to a full stop. “Mr. Darcy!”

     His surprise matched her own. “Miss Bennet!”

     Thomas Jones stepped forward and grasped both of her hands. “Elizabeth! What an unexpected pleasure! ’Tis so good to see you again. I have missed you most dreadfully.”

     She blushed crimson. “Thomas! You are Lady Catherine’s physician?” 

     How shall I extract my hands from his without being rude?

     “I am Mr. Darcy’s physician and a partner to Lady Catherine’s. Mr. Hough was unable to come, for he is ill, so Mr. Darcy brought me in his place,” he replied, dropping her hands and stepping back to look at her. 

     He smiled. “You are even lovelier than when I saw you last May. I have been meaning to return to Longbourn to speak with you again. Had I known you were here, I would have insisted the coachman drive faster.”

     Speak with me again? So, he is no longer angry with me. She blanched. Does he mean to renew his addresses? 

     Darcy, meanwhile, had divested himself of his coat and hat. He turned to face her.

     “Miss Bennet, please forgive me for not greeting you properly just now.” 

     He extended his hand, and she took it. Without smiling, Darcy bowed his head in acknowledgement, then released her.

     Elizabeth’s heart sank. ’Tis as if he hardly knows me.

     Thomas watched them speculatively. “You are acquainted?”

     She nodded. “We met several times in Meryton, at Netherfield, and again this past summer when my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and I visited Pemberley. A few days ago, Jane married Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy’s friend, who let Netherfield. He stood up for his friend, and I for my sister.” 

     I am babbling. It seems I have been overtaken by Lydia’s predilection. Silent. I will be silent. He that refraineth his lips is wise.

     Darcy’s expression was solemn. “I had no idea you were so well known to my physician, Miss Bennet.”

     She swallowed, choosing her words before she spoke. 
     “Thomas’s father is the Meryton apothecary. He and I are of an age, Mr. Darcy. We played together as children.”

     Thomas smiled, his eyes never leaving her face. “We were always very close, even though she is four years younger than I. Elizabeth taught me to dance. In fact, I was privileged to be the first man with whom she ever danced at an Assembly. That was six years ago when she was but fifteen, and I fear her toes have likely not yet recovered from the experience.”

Anne de Bourgh spoke from behind Elizabeth. “How very interesting. And detailed. Since my mother is resting comfortably, shall we all go into the small dining room to continue the conversation where it is warm? You gentlemen must be cold and hungry, so I directed Mrs. Robinson to have a hot meal served before you go to your chambers and then to my mother’s rooms. I ordered your favourite soup, Fitzwilliam, and a roaring fire awaits us. Mrs. Collins, Miss Lucas, and Mrs. Jenkinson are already there.”

     She turned immediately and led the party from the hall.
Elizabeth followed her without hesitation, pleased that Miss de Bourgh put the comfort of her guests above the established protocol. 

     To her surprise, she found a gentleman on either side of her. 

     Each man offered her the crook of his arm, and Elizabeth did the only thing she could think of at the moment which would offend neither gentleman. She gave one her right hand and the other her left.

     Mama would be quite pleased.

     It was not altogether unpleasant.

A Very Austen Christmas 

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen's Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you're looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm 

Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance. 

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile 

It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way? 

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis 

On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger? 

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite 

When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth ...

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: 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 Authors

    Robin Helm's time revolves around music as she dances (as badly as Mr. Collins), sings (a little better than Mary Bennet), plays (better than Marianne Dashwood – almost as well as Caroline Bingley), and teaches (channeling her inner Elinor). Her books reflect that love, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.

      Her latest publication is Understanding Elizabeth, in which Darcy must decide how much he’s willing to pay to have what he wants. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy (Darcy is Elizabeth’s guardian angel), and the Yours by Design series (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy).

     She lives in South Carolina and adores her one husband (Mr. Knightley), two married daughters (Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II), and three grandchildren.    

    Readers are loving Laura Hile's joyous Regency novels. Her signature style – intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor – keep them coming back for more. 
    The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There's never a dull moment with teen students!

    She recently released Darcy By Any Other Name, a comic 'body swap' romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

    Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and sons. Her fiction is for everyone, even teens. 
    Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping; The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned
     Some of her works-in-progress have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (The Pact, due to be released in 2018) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (Implicated, working on a series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Lizzy together again and again in an unusual manner.
     Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before "retiring" to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). 

   She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather. 

   Barbara is the author of the George Knightley, Esquire series, and A Fine Young Lady.

You can find them all on their website, Jane Started It!

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! The lovely authors of A Very Austen Christmas would love to offer one of my readers an e-copy of the book! To enter, please leave a comment below! 

  • One person will win one e-copy (Kindle) of A Very Austen Christmas.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and include your e-mail address (with parentheses around (at) & (dot)).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is December 2oth, 11:59 PM, Pacific Time.
Good luck! 

Congratulations on the release of A Very Austen Christmas, ladies! And many thanks to Robin Helm for sharing an excerpt with us! 

I'm looking forward to the upcoming holiday, and A Very Austen Christmas sounds like a delightful way to get a quick read in here and there during this busy time of the year! 

Any thoughts? Me, I'm wondering who this Thomas is that has his eye on Elizabeth! Lol! 


  1. I had a good time with this anthology. Loved Robin's version of Anne de Bourgh. :)

    1. Hi, Sophia Rose! My sister Gayle loved my Anne as well. She was laughing every time Anne spoke up. Thank you!

    2. Hi, Sophia. Yes, Robin outdid herself with Anne, one of many surprises in her story. Stay in for the giveaway, okay? If you win, we will gladly send the prize to a friend of your choice.

    3. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Sophia Rose! Ooh, good! I enjoy a good Anne! I can't wait to meet her! :)

  2. Thanks for featuring this book here. I love the descriptions and the authors are all wonderful! I haven't had a chance yet, but I'm really looking forward to reading this book.

    1. Hello, Jen Red! Great to see you. I hope you enjoy a Very Austen Christmas and have a very happy Christmas! Thanks for commenting. :)

    2. Jen! Good for you for entering the giveaway! If you win, it will be like an early Christmas present for yourself.

    3. Hey, Jen! I hope you get to read it soon! Best of luck in the giveaway!

  3. Two of my favorite things - Christmas and Jane Austen :) I would love to read these stories. Congratulations! stluc3(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

    1. Those are two of my favorite things, too, Pig Pen. Good luck in the giveaway!

      Thank you for commenting.

    2. Right, Pig Pin? Who knew Jane Austen and Romance and Christmas festivities would combine so well? We're loving the cover too. I'd stand in the falling snow with Mr. Darcy, even wearing short sleeves!

      Thanks for entering the giveaway.

    3. Oh, yes! I love this cover, too! Very, nice!
      I hope you get a chance to read it soon, Pig Pin! Best of luck in the giveaway!

  4. Well isn't this excerpt a delightful teaser! Very much looking forward to enjoying the rest of this story -- and the rest of the stories. Wishing a very Happy Christmas to y'all! TeaGuide (dot) net (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Merry Christmas to you, teaguide. Thank you for your kind words.

      It was such a treat to contribute to A Very Austen Christmas. I am able to be both an author and also a fan!

      Good luck in the giveaway!

    2. Merry Christmas, Teaguide! I agree! Delightful teaser! :) Best of luck in the giveaway!

    3. So glad you liked the excerpt, teaguide! A very Merry Christmas to you, too!

      Good luck in the giveaway!

  5. Thomas is a doctor? From previous blog posts, I have the impression that he is a gentleman in the same social class as Darcy. If this is the case then, call me a snob but I do not wish for Elizabeth to marry Thomas.


    1. Hi, Luthien! Thomas is the Meryton apothecary's son who grew up with the Bennets. His father got him an apprenticeship, and he became a doctor in London. He is Darcy's doctor, but not in Darcy's social class. He will be a landowner, as he is named in his father's will. Technically, he is a gentleman, but I see him as in between gentleman and tradesman.

      Good luck in the giveaway! Thank you for commenting.

  6. That Thomas, he is a piece of work! But it isn't apparent at first. Robin based this character on a guy who wanted her as his girlfriend.

    Thanks for entering the giveaway, Luthien. Good luck!

  7. Very interesting excerpt! Does Darcy have some competition for Elizabeth’s affections? Or is Thomas just being a nuisance? I’d love to find out! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    Pamh5230 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Hi, Pamela. Darcy does have genuine competition for Elizabeth's affections. She has known Thomas all of her life, and she loves him, though not in the same way he loves her. Thomas is Mrs. Bennet's choice for Elizabeth.

      Like Laura said, Thomas is based on a young man I loved when I was 18. If you think Thomas can't be as bad as I portrayed him, you'd be wrong. He was worse.

      Good luck! Thank you for commenting!

    2. Pamela, thanks for entering our giveaway.
      We loves seeing Darcy in the toils of romantic jealousy, don't we?

  8. Can't wait to read this one! It's my TBR list!

  9. Hi, Dung Vu! Thanks fo much for entering the giveaway. Good luck!


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