Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ June 19, 2019

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

Happy Wednesday! June's been a busy month for me! I'm loving the beginning of the summer, but I'm afraid it's going to go by way too fast! LOL! 



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:


Currently Reading:


I'm presently reading That Night by Cecily Wolfe. The first chapter grabbed me. Then it leveled off and has been kind of slow. I'm hoping it gets better! I do like that the story is talking about how you can overdose on heroin the first time you do it. 







Recently Finished: 


I recently finished The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I loved it! I would highly recommend this one for your summer reading! ~ 5 stars!






I also finished listening/reading to The Child by Jan Hahn. It was terrific! I love Pride and Prejudice variations, and Jan Hahn never disappoints! ~ 4.5 stars

I love that you can switch back and forth from listening to a book on Audibles and reading it on Kindle. 




What's Next?

I want to read a couple more chapters of A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin before I pick-up something new. 








Disclaimer: 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! 




Have a great week, friends! Be sure to share what you've been reading! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Death Takes A Holiday at Pemberley Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello there, my friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley Blog Tour! I have a lovely excerpt for you, and there's a chance to win an e-copy of the book! Details are at the bottom of the page.




Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley Excerpt

     When Darcy arrived home, he instructed a servant to have water sent up for a bath. In the main hall, he spun on his heel to face Mrs. Reynolds, who approached at a brisk pace.

     The housekeeper’s forehead was replete with lines, and her words were rushed. “Sir, I am glad you are back. An incident occurred with Mrs. Darcy while you were out. She has recovered now, but she fainted while outside in the rose garden.”

     His breath hitched. Elizabeth had never fainted before! His words rushed out in a booming voice. “Where is she now?”

     Informed of his wife’s location, Darcy darted down the corridor towards the library. He halted at the entrance, transfixed at the sight before him. Elizabeth sat in a large chair with Bennet in her lap, reading one of his son’s favourite books. His breathing slowed. It was apparent that she was fine—not just fine but lovely and serene. He took another moment to savour the picture of his two most precious people on earth.

     She raised her eyes to him and grinned as he entered.

     He strode across the room to her side. “I was told you had fainted. Pray, tell me: How are you feeling?”

     She reached her hand towards him. He took it, held it between his two hands, and then rubbed it as he searched her countenance.

     “I am well, I assure you.” Elizabeth gave him an abashed smile. “I believe I did not drink enough water today. I feel rather foolish now.”

     With a taut attitude, Darcy swallowed the words of admonition he might have uttered. He would have been more at ease had he insisted that, at least for the next few days, she keep a servant with her at all times, but his wife was certain to disagree.

     Bennet grabbed the pages of his book, and Elizabeth gently worked his tiny hand loose lest he tear them. “How was your ride?”

     He twisted his lips into a half-smile. “I found it more stimulating than I might have preferred.”

     She raised her eyebrows at him.

     As if tired of being ignored, the toddler said in a demanding, yet endearing tone, “Papa!”

     Darcy leaned down to kiss Bennet’s forehead and then Elizabeth’s as well. “How is my boy today?”

     He curled his mouth into a pout. “Want biscuit!”

     Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “He has been saying that for the past ten minutes.” She leaned next to Bennet’s ear. “You need to eat your dinner first, my love.”

     “No! Biscuit!” Bennet’s forehead took on a crinkled appearance.

     She pointed to the set of blocks set out for his use. “Bennet, there are your blocks. Would you not like to play with them?”

     He climbed down from his mother’s lap and busied himself with his blocks. It seemed the biscuit had been forgotten.

     Elizabeth’s fond smile was directed towards their son as he played. Turning, she raised an eyebrow at him. “Considering his parents, it is no surprise the boy has a sweet tooth.”

     She was correct. Until he met Elizabeth, Darcy was of the mistaken belief that his own exorbitant fondness for desserts was unsurpassed.

     Bennet put together a structure that could best be described as a trapezoid. When it was clear that his attention was engaged in this project, Elizabeth rose and pulled Darcy to a nearby sofa so they could sit together. “Please tell me of your ride today.”

     With his gaze focused upon his son, Darcy endeavoured to keep his tone calm and unfettered though his breathing became shallow at the memory. “I had a close call on one of the steep trails along the northern hills. Regal was startled by a snake. I lost my balance and almost went off the side of the path into the ravine. I thought I was done for, but I managed to stop myself in time.”

     Elizabeth lifted his hand to her mouth and kissed it. Her eyes perused him with a flickering lustre. “Thank God you did not fall. You do not appear hurt.”

     “No, I am unharmed. It was providential. I have asked for bath water to be sent up. I hoped you would join me.” His shoulders were taut, and his breath halted as he awaited her answer. He needed her in a way that defied explanation.

     Biting her lip, she smiled back at him. “That is the best offer I have had all day.”




Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley
by Kelly Miller

Blurb: 

What will the master of Pemberley do when confronted with the mercurial whims of an all-powerful angel? 

Fitzwilliam Darcy's well-ordered life is about to become a chaotic nightmare. A man of fortune, property, and social prominence, he has everything he could desire. Blissfully married to his wife, Elizabeth, they have a two-year-old son. With so much to live for, Darcy is shaken by a near-fatal riding accident. After a miraculous escape, he is visited by an otherworldly being: an angel of death named Graham. Threatening dire consequences, Graham compels Darcy to guide him on a sojourn in the world of mortals.  

Darcy immediately questions the angel’s motives when he demands to be a guest at Pemberley. Can he trust Graham's assurance that no harm will come to his wife and child? And why does Graham insist on spending time with Elizabeth? How can Darcy possibly protect his family from an angel with power over life and death? 

In this romantic fantasy, the beloved couple from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice must contend with both human and unearthly challenges. Are the fates against them? Or will their extraordinary love conquer all?
 Buy: Amazon US • Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads

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



About the Author


Kelly Miller discovered her appreciation for Jane Austen late in life, and her love of writing even later.  It was the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice that made her take notice and want to read the actual book.  It was many years later that she discovered the world of JAFF.  After reading a slew of wildly inventive stories featuring the beloved characters created by Jane Austen, she was inspired to write one of her own.  Now, writing is one of her favorite pastimes.  When not writing, she spends her free time singing, playing the piano, and working out.  (Yes, like Elizabeth Bennet, she is an excellent walker.)  Kelly Miller lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter and their many pets.


Connect with Kelly Miller



Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley Blog Schedule

June 14 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt and GA 
June 15 More Agreeably Engaged; Character Interview and GA 
June 17 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post and GA 
June 18 So Little Time…;  Excerpt and GA 
June 19 Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post, Excerpt, and GA 
June 20 Savvy Verse & Wit;  Excerpt and GA 
June 21 Babblings of a Bookworm; Excerpt and GA 
June22 My Love for Jane Austen; Author Interview and GA 
June 24 My Vices and Weaknesses; Review, Excerpt, and GA

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.



Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations to Kelly Miller on her debut novel, Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley!

Many thanks to Janet Taylor @ More Agreeably Engaged for organizing and having me on this blog tour! 

So, friends, what do you think? An angel of death at Pemberley?? Wow! I'm all curious as to why this angel wants to spend time with Elizabeth. Hmmm...

Please, leave a comment or question for Kelly! We would love to hear from you! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Nefarious Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, friends! I'm so excited to be part of the Nefarious Blog Tour! I have an excellent post for you today! Nicole Clarkston is here with the backstory of how Nefarious came to be.  The first part is from Nicole, and the second part is from J. W. [Jeanne] Garrett, who brought the idea of the story to Nicole's attention. I hope you enjoy it!





A Different Darcy

Nefarious was born (for me) on May 4 of 2018. I had been corresponding with one of the JAFF community’s most enthusiastic members, J.W. (Jeanne) Garrett, and she sent me what she felt was a Prologue for a story. “A Different Darcy” was the concept—someone so battle-scarred and resentful that he was barely recognizable. 

What she sent me was a monologue opener of 2125 words: Darcy standing at the crypt of his former wife Elizabeth and blasting her and her wretched schemes against him for all the destroyed hopes of his life. What fascinated me was that this was not the man we knew, but at the same time, he was. His unreformed pride was still fresh at the surface, but his almost manic insistence on honesty had been so thoroughly disappointed and abused that it was almost as if the core of his being was raw. The man was bleeding.

Quoted below is some of the original text. Other parts made it into the opening pages of the book. These paragraphs did not, as we chose to show these sentiments through Darcy’s actions and words to others as the story developed. However, the bones of the concept are here. 


“I eagerly anticipate the freedom of being away from here for several months. While I am at Netherfield… I have instructed Mrs. Reynolds to scour your chambers in order to remove your stench. I have never considered you the mistress of Pemberley, and I want any evidence of your presence removed. I have also instructed her to fill the room with lavender. I’ve always loved lavender and I well remember that you hated it.”

Darcy couldn’t help but chuckle. “For the first time in my life, I fully intend to enjoy myself. I may even allow myself to laugh and… heaven forbid… to dance. I intend to open myself to new experiences. I want to find love, and this time, I will be careful. I will no longer be tempted or drawn to the first circles. I have discovered it is a house of cards with no substance to support it. You were of my station… of the first circles, rumored to have a glorious dowry, a beauty among beauties, full of wit and imbued with all the accomplishments ladies of the ton needed to grace any parlor or sitting room… lies… one and all. Deceit is my abhorrence. I intend to step down and look at the daughters of the landed gentry. I feel they are closer to the things I love… the land, country living and fresh air.  –J.W.Garrett

The kicker of this whole scheme? The wicked wife who made his life hell was named Elizabeth. As you know, I loved the idea. I told Jeanne that she should write it herself, but she declined, saying, “I was just supposed to write the prologue.”

Sadly, the story had to go on the shelf for several months, not seeing full publication until just over a year later. We dusted the concept off again in January, revisiting all those first brainstorming emails, and the subject line of one of them caught my attention. We had been building Darcy’s back story, piecing out exactly why he was so bitter towards his late wife and her family. We were also talking about another story idea I was developing (more on that to come this winter). Jeanne threw out a single word to sum it all up. Nefarious.

We wrought all kinds of delicious mayhem developing the early layout of the story. Darcy was still his prideful, conceited self when he met this woman who wrecked all his happiness. This woman was unrepentant and despicable. Poor Darcy… we had an obscene amount of fun coming up with new ways to torture him! Much wicked giggling was heard over the email wires, and pretty quickly, Darcy began to leap off the screen for me. 

I started off in the usual way—third person, deep perspective. However, by the time I was halfway through Chapter Two, I knew that was not right for this book. Though it scared me to death, I emailed Jeanne and told her that I thought this book should be written in first person. Darcy’s POV, Darcy’s brain, start to finish. It makes him, and who he has become, a more sympathetic figure, and that was so important. She giggled and agreed. 

Darcy has always reminded me a little of my husband in his immutable demand for honesty and respect. In a balanced individual, these traits are given as freely as they are received, but in a man whose most basic needs have been so utterly and irreversibly destroyed, I believe things would unravel at an alarming rate. His character is still there—the core decency, the repugnance of all things wicked or dishonest—but he is less controlled, less tempered than before. He might even do something he would forever regret.

All I can say is “Thank goodness for Charles Bingley,” because he does exert something of a calming influence over his frazzled buddy. However, Darcy is suffered to go on unchecked in some of his more high-handed behaviours, ultimately driving even the unflappable Charles Bingley to the brink of madness. And the cause of such a fracture? Why, a woman, of course.

One of the shockers in the opening chapters of Nefarious is that Darcy is not reluctantly drawn to Elizabeth Bennet at the Assembly. Instead, he is instantly caught and enraptured by her sister, her complete opposite. Poor, sweet-tempered Jane Bennet is vanilla instead of Rocky Road, and Darcy is in such a state that he thinks Jane’s simple purity might be just what he is looking for. Unfortunately, Charles Bingley is thinking the same thing.

The fun of the first third of the book is watching Darcy’s bumbling efforts to pursue Jane, all while trying to convince himself of how dangerous Elizabeth is for him. However, the more he watches the younger sister in an effort to thwart her, the more he cannot look away. Soon, and without his full understanding or awareness, Elizabeth Bennet has consumed his thoughts.

Well, as any good P&P story should, this one involves a set-down… or three. Actually, I lost count of how many times Darcy’s nearest and dearest have to correct him, but eventually, the old Darcy emerges from his shell, sans pride and humbly aching for forgiveness. And who should be there to do the forgiving but Elizabeth Bennet?

Tackling Elizabeth’s character in this book followed a different strategy from my usual. We never get to see her perspective at all. What we learn of her is all through the eyes of our very unreliable narrator, a man who truly does not understand her at first. Because the focus of this book is on Darcy and his struggles, we see less of Elizabeth Bennet’s “Prejudice,” although it is still there and actively at work. 

In order for her to see Darcy for who he truly is, we needed to highlight Elizabeth’s intelligence and the restraint that a gentlewoman of the day was expected to have. She gives him regular tongue lashings, but all with a smile. Though she might have gone to her bedroom and screamed into her pillow later, she kept her dignity intact in public. 

From the beginning, we wanted hints that she finds Darcy fascinating, even if she is unwilling to confess it (and he is undeserving). She enjoys matching wits with him, she watches and pays attention to him, and even touches her hair or changes colors at certain moments. The girl is wise enough to keep her distance when Darcy is such a hateful bully, but she is still intrigued by him. 

I was afraid that she might come off looking like too much of a goody-two-shoes, but she is far from perfect. What she does do perfectly is learn to forgive, and our Darcy is a better man for it. He is drowning, and she casts him a rope. 

I do hope you enjoy our little story. I know that Jeanne and I had fun with it, and it has been tremendously enjoyable to chat on the blog with all the readers who would like to give Darcy what-for. Thank you for stopping by, and a huge thank you to Candy for hosting today!

-NC



Jeanne's Thoughts

I’ve been friends with Nicole since October 7, 2016, when we friended each other in a GoodReads Austenesque discussion group. In cyberspace that is a long time for a friendship. Over the years, I have enjoyed all her Austen variation books. Darcy and Elizabeth are my all-time favorite romance couple. I noticed that Nicole had another writing passion that I wanted to experience; however, it required that I first read Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South.’ I was then able to read Nicole’s other books that focused on the romance between John Thornton and Margaret Hale. Heavy sigh… I am learning to love them too. 

Plot bunnies are strange creatures. They invade your thoughts when you should be doing or thinking about something else. I don’t even remember what I was originally doing or thinking when it hit me like a flash. I immediately saw Darcy standing before a crypt broken, bitter, angry, and spewing forth a vitriolic diatribe at the cold, stone slab. I also knew there was a manipulation/redirection of the reader with the name on the crypt… Elizabeth. That was mean of me, I know, but it was all there, a story that needed to be told. I also felt that I did not have it in me to create it. Never attempt what you know in your heart you cannot complete. 

Over the years, Nicole and I had worked together on other projects. I beta read, did ARC [advance-reader-copy] and regular reviews for her and even helped with a bit of research. I felt I could trust her with this story and asked if she would look at it. The rest they say… yeah, that one. Nicole has been very generous to show the better parts of that prologue. I had several ridiculous ideas that just would not have worked in this story and I am so glad she didn’t choose them. I actually think I was a bit more vicious than the direction she took. Her instincts and decisions have been spot-on. I have been blown away with her wisdom, creativity, word choice, listening to her characters [their wants and desires], that list of names they called each other [hilarious], her love of the genre and simply creating magic. 

Did we have fun? Of course! Was it possible to laugh across cyberspace? Are you kidding? I think I cracked a rib at one point. In spite of there being half a dozen states between us and a two-hour time difference, we managed to brainstorm and debate strategies. We actually threw out more than we kept. Thank goodness for computers and file storage. You would need a ream of paper if you printed all the emails we generated over this story. I have loved every minute of this experience. Nicole is a genius and I wish all the accolades possible for her. She has earned it. 

Blessings to you Nicole and thank you for taking a simple thought and creating this marvelous work. I’ll never forget the day you sent me the mock-up for the cover. When I opened that email and saw that face, I had cold-chills and knew that this was going to be something great. It will always be special to me.

J. W. [Jeanne] Garrett


Wow! I had so many emotions just reading both Nicole's and Jeanne's thoughts! I can't wait to read the whole story! 






Nefarious 
by Nicole Clarkston

Book blurb:

He hates everything about her. 
She despises him even more. 
So why is his heart so determined to belong to her? 

Once trapped by marriage to a woman he loathed, Fitzwilliam Darcy is finally free again. Resentful, bewildered, and angry, he is eager to begin his life over—preferably with a woman who is the exact opposite of his wife. 

He never imagined a short stay in Hertfordshire would bring him face to face with his worst nightmare; a woman similar in face, form, and name. He certainly never expected her to be so impossible to ignore. 

Torn between what he believes he wants and what his heart cannot live without, his dignity begins to unravel. Will his desperation to escape his past drive a wedge into his closest friendship and destroy any hope of a future? 

Will Miss Elizabeth Bennet prove to be as nefarious as his wife? Or, will the last woman in the world be his only chance at happiness?

Buy: Amazon US • Amazon UKAmazon CA
Add to Goodreads

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


About the Author

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any bookworm 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, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write four other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole contributes to Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.



Connect with Nicole Clarkson






Nefarious Blog Stops

June 3rd - More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway
June 4th – From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway
June 7th - Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
June 8th – Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway
June 11th – So Little Time…; Guest Post, Giveaway
June 13th - Savvy Verse & Wit; Guest Post, Giveaway
June 15th – Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway 




* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Nicole is having a giveaway at each blog tour stop! Woot! Which means one of my lucky readers will win one of two options. To enter, please leave a comment below! 

Option 1: $10 Amazon Gift Card plus eBook or Audiobook of winner’s choice; International


Option 2: Signed Paperback of winner’s choice; US only


  • One person will win either option 1 (International) or Option 2 (US Only)
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below.
  • The last day to enter the giveaway is June 18, 2019, 11: 59 PM, Pacific Time.

Good luck!



Many thanks go to both Nicole and Jeanne for the peek into the beginnings of Nefarious

So, friends, what did you think of Nicole and Jeanne's thoughts? When I first read them I was like, "No! No! No! Not Elizabeth!" ...  "Oh, ok" (Phew!) ... "Oh, no! Not with Jane!" Haha! So many emotions! 

Please remember to leave a comment, question, or show some love for Nicole or Jeanne! And for more chances to win check out the other blogs on the tour! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ May 29, 2019

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

Happy Wednesday, my friends! I took last Wednesday off, so below is what I've been reading the previous two weeks. 


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

Here's my list: 

Current Read:


I started reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. Now that the HBO show is over, I thought I'd pick up where I left off in the book series. As with the first three books, I will probably go slow through this one, and read other books at the same time. 






Finished Reading: 


I recently finished reading Turbulent: A Post Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller (Bk 1) by T L Payne. I really enjoyed this one and can't wait for the next in the series that's due out in June! 


I also finished reading The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs. This was a great middle school book. I really enjoyed it, and I think it will appeal to both boys and girls. 4 stars




The week before I finished reading Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I loved this story! I'm hoping to write a review for it very soon. 5 stars!








What's next?

I'm not sure what to read next. I've picked up a couple of books, but haven't decided on one. I think I'm trying to make myself read something for a reading challenge that I'm not quite in the mood for right now - just to check that off on a list. That's probably not a good idea. Have you ever done that? Did it turn out well, or did you wish you had waited?

FTC Disclaimer: 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! 

Have a great week, friends! Be sure to share what you've been reading! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ May 15, 2019

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

Hey there, friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope you've had a great week! Mine hasn't been bad. :)


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


Here's my list: 

Currently Reading:


I just started reading Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I'm literally only a few pages in, so nothing to report yet except that I'm excited to read this! And that it's a Jane Eyre retelling set in space!





I'm almost finished with the first half of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. We are discussing the first half at Saturday's book club. Looking forward to it!








Recently Finished:


I finished reading Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni. Sometimes I want to read a book without reading the book blurb. Of course, I know the genre and a few things about it, but I like to go in somewhat blind. That's what I did with this book. 

The first half was a little slow, and I wasn't quite sure where it was going. It did pick up, and I liked that Ivy wanted to encourage her fellow artists, but I cringed at some of Ivy's big plans. She had a lot to learn. I did like the overall thought about not being afraid to be yourself. 3.5 stars. 

Side note: Sarah Enni has a fantastic podcast called First Draft. You should check it out! 


I finished reading The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry. I really enjoyed it! It's a quick YA murder mystery thriller. 4 stars.








What's next?


I have my eye on The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs. It looks like it might be a middle school story. I've heard it has a Stranger Things/Goonies vibe, and I loved both of those!







FTC Disclaimer: 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!



Have a great week, friends! And, tell me, what are you reading?  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dear Jane Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Dear Jane Blog Tour! Allie Cresswell has stopped by with a guest post and a giveaway! I hope you enjoy! 




Why I chose to write about Jane Fairfax

‘Emma’ has always been my favourite Jane Austen novel. I studied it in detail at school and then again at University. Imagine if ‘Persuasion’ has been on the syllabus? My Highbury Trilogy would never have been written! In it I have explored the more minor characters who have always intrigued me; Mrs Bates, her two daughters and the enigmatic Miss Fairfax. 

Jane Austen predicted that nobody but herself would much like Emma Woodhouse and in my case she predicted quite accurately. I don’t like her and even given her mortification at the end of the book, I can’t quite forgive her. I find Jane Fairfax to be a more attractive and interesting character, perhaps because Miss Austen necessarily veils her in a shroud of reserve and mystery.  Jane, truly accomplished, well-travelled and sophisticated, glitters far more brightly for me than Emma, who is the brightest star in a very small firmament; to my mind she is gauche, narcissistic and small-minded. 

Given Jane’s superior qualities, though, I struggled to understand her attraction, let alone her secret engagement to Frank Churchill. Not only could I not understand it, I couldn’t square it with the sensible girl Jane seems to be. What might have driven her to embark on such a dangerous course? What alternatives did she have? How might her upbringing with the Campbells have contributed to her reckless decision? These questions plagued me. I couldn’t believe her capable of the kind of silly, infatuated and materialistic manoeuvrings of Lucy Steele in Sense and Sensibility but what was her motivation? I had to know. I didn’t understand her but I did admire her. At least she knows her own mind, her own heart. For some reason I had to discover, she chooses Frank from, presumably, a wide selection of eligible young men to whom she has been exposed in London and Weymouth. That in itself is so much more interesting that the young lady of Hartfield who selects her husband from a catalogue of one.

Emma makes mistakes but they are errors of judgement, social gaffes, rather than moral failings. Jane’s sin - if we can call it that - is far more serious and so much more interesting. Her secret engagement contravenes every rule in the book of social behaviour; even a covert correspondence, if discovered, could have tainted her reputation for life. To be secretly meeting a man - as Jane must have met Frank on many occasions - endangered not only herself but her guardians and her friend Miss Campbell. Why would she take such a risk?

Emma suffers, but not much. She only has to endure the sweaty pawings of Mr Elton, the embarrassment of telling Harriet that she has got things wrong and the shame of realising that she has been far too indiscreet in her dealings with Frank Churchill. These things have passing - and deserved - discomfort but they are not devastating. Jane, on the other hand, suffers terribly. We know from her conversation with Mrs Weston that she has known no tranquil hour from the moment she agreed to the secret engagement. She is wretchedly unhappy, morally compromised, helplessly mired in deceit. The profound seriousness of Jane’s situation is far more moving and raised far more questions than the little ripples of Emma’s faux pas.


The Jane Fairfax we meet in Highbury is reserved - and no wonder! She has much she must conceal. But there is nothing like an enigma to get a writer’s creative juices flowing. I was desperate to see the madly flailing, emotionally broken, morally torn girl beneath that aloof exterior. I wanted to understand it, to identify the causes of it, and I suppose, in that regard, I am no better than Miss Woodhouse.







Dear Jane
by Allie Cresswell


Book Synopsis: 

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma. 

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day. 

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it. 

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

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 Author


Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a
pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College,
London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique
holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to
lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by
Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and
lives in Cumbria, NW England.


You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook.



Blog Tour Schedule:

May 1: Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 6: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)
May 7: My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 9: So Little Time (Guest Post)
May 14: More Agreeably Engaged (Excerpt)
May 15: Austenesque Reviews (Review)
May 20: Babblings of a Bookworm (Interview)
May 28: A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 30: A Convent Garden: Gilflurt’s Guide to Life (Guest Post)
May 31: True Book Addict (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #DearJane #AllieCresswell



* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! To celebrate her blog tour, Allie Cresswell is giving away one e-copy of her new book, Dear Jane! To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter below. This is a group giveaway. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks to Allie for visiting us here today! I really enjoyed her thoughts about Jane Fairfax. Now I am questioning Jane's reasons for entering into a secret engagement! It looks like I'm going to have to read Dear Jane to find out! 

Also, thank you to Serena M. Agusto-Cox @ Poetic Book Tours for inviting me on this tour! 

So, friends, what are your thought on Jane Fairfax? Have you read any of the books from the Highbury trilogy? 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...