Thursday, December 19, 2019

Strong Objections to the Lady Blog Tour! ~ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm excited to have the lovely Jayne Bamber on today! I think her new book Strong Objections to the Lady sounds fantastic! A healthier, more lively Anne is very intriguing! Don't you think? Below, Jayme tells us a little more about her Anne and there's an exciting excerpt for you to read!  I hope you enjoy it! Plus, there is a link to a giveaway - be sure to check that out!

An Accidental Anne-tagonist

It’s great to be back at So Little Time…! I am delighted to reveal a little more about my upcoming release, Strong Objections to the Lady.

The story begins in Kent, the day after Mr. Darcy’s failed proposal at the Hunsford proposal, and from there things take a pretty drastic turn from canon, beginning with the sudden death of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. This makes Anne de Bourgh the new mistress of Rosings Park, a prospect which delights her. I knew going into the story that I wanted Anne to be livelier than Elizabeth ever suspected, but within just a few chapters of showing what Anne begins to do in the aftermath of her mother’s death, it became clear than Anne was more than even I bargained for. 

That Anne is perfectly healthy, and even capable of being hell-on-wheels when she wants to be, is only the first of many revelations about her. She imbues all the same confidence of a rich girl in want of society as Emma Woodhouse, mingled with the indecorous and impulsive energy of Lydia Bennet, and I came to enjoy writing her character so much that she became one of the prime drivers of the entire tale, at every twist and turn. From Anne setting a piano on fire, to spiking an entire meal, to pushing poor Mr. Darcy into hurting his own feelings, she has some wonderfully vivid moments in this novel, on the path to her own happy ending.

I have an excerpt to share with you all today, from early on in the book, when Elizabeth first learns the shocking history that begins to justify some of Anne’s erratic and eccentric behavior….

     Anne laughed gently, though Elizabeth still felt all the awkwardness of not inviting her inside, particularly when it was so evident that Anne was distraught. “Perhaps you had better come inside and have some tea – or, if you like, I find that fresh air and a long walk can do wonders for one’s spirits.”

     “A long walk with a friend might suit. I would not trespass on Charlotte’s tranquility, but if she can spare you....”

     “She has Maria, and would not wish you left alone, and neither would I. Let me fetch my bonnet and tell Lucy I mean to step out.” 

     This was accomplished quickly enough, but Elizabeth returned to find her friend dabbing at tears with the corner of her shawl. “I am sorry,” she said in a shaky voice. “I hardly know what came over me.”

     Elizabeth waited for Anne to dry her eyes, and then offered her an arm as they ambled out of the garden together, toward the path that led through the meadow. “You needn’t apologize for your feelings, which are perfectly natural at such a time. You have lost your mother.”

     “You know it is not so simple. As I said before, there is no reason to pretend when the truth will suffice. After living a lie for so long, I am glad that I can behave with honesty now.” 

     Elizabeth peered curiously at Anne. She had suspected there was more to Miss de Bourgh than met the eye, and her reaction to Lady Catherine’s demise had instantly raised questions, but since then Anne had seemed more intent on prying information out of Elizabeth, rather than divulging any secrets of her own. “When you say living a lie, am I to understand that you are not ill?”

     “I am not anything my mother has presented me as.” 

     “But why would she – that is, you are obviously a perfectly normal girl. Why pretend otherwise?” 

     Anne knit her brows as she considered. “I wish I could answer such a question. I may never fully understand, though I have long supposed that it was easier than the truth, for her.” 

     “And what is the truth?” 

     “I was a perfectly normal girl, five years ago. At seventeen, I was just what a rich, accomplished girl ought to be. A little over-eager, a little boisterous, perhaps, but that is natural, in my estimation, for a girl counting the days until her debut in society, when she might step out of the shadow of her beautiful elder sister.” 

     “Sister?” Elizabeth could not suppress a little gasp, and her reaction seemed to please her companion. 

     “She was my best friend, but she was ever so much better than me. My mother knew it –  the whole world knew, I think. Certainly Darcy agreed; they were betrothed, once.”

     This time Elizabeth willed herself not to react; she froze, and gave a faint nod for Anne to continue. 

     “She died five years ago. Darcy had just lost his father, and their wedding was postponed. My mother was very angry about it. She feared he would give the engagement up all together. She decided to give Isabel another season, and postponed mine, thinking to devote all her energy to finding Isabel someone better than Darcy – someone so grand he would seethe with envy and regret. She devoted six weeks to her pettiness before Isabel fell ill. It all might have been avoided, my dearest friend alive and well today, had not my mother been so bent on childish revenge against a young man in mourning.”

     “Good God, that is shocking,” Elizabeth breathed, fairly bowled over by Anne’s revelation. “What happened to your sister?”

     Anne’s voice trembled. “She caught pneumonia and died.”

     “How awful!”

     Anne pursed her lips, fighting back tears. “My mother was never the same after Isabel died. She never treated me the same, either.” 

     “What do you mean? Is this why she had such a care for your health?”

     “She never really believed me ill. It was merely an excuse to hide from it all. She knows she was to blame for trusting quack doctors, for putting Isabel in that situation in the first place –  I merely made the mistake of pointing it out to her. You must understand, I was seventeen, bereaved, and very angry. My mother never forgave me. She even told me once that she wished it had been me that she had taken to London that year.”

     “Surely that does not mean that she wished it was you....”

     “Yes, it does. I know, Elizabeth. She threatened to have me declared mad, simply for speaking my mind, and locked us both away from the world, claiming I have poor health, when really she wanted to hold me prisoner, to keep me silent. To punish me. I wonder, at times, if Bedlam would have been the happier alternative, after all.”

     “Surely not! Perhaps she was only afraid of losing you.”

     “She lost me the day my sister died, and she knew it. From then on I had to wear a mask, it was the only way to avoid her constant, grating displeasure. Truly, Elizabeth. My life came to a halt five years ago, and I cannot lament having the liberty now to resume it.”

     Elizabeth fell silent at what felt like the end of Anne’s sad history; she had much to consider already. Everything she thought she had known about Anne de Bourgh had been called into question more than once the previous day – now her perception was utterly shattered. She considered every visit to Rosings since she had arrived. All the while, Anne had remained silent in a corner, looking sickly, but it had merely been an act, a ruse to keep the worst of her mother’s disapproval at bay. The real Anne was the woman she had seen yesterday, who had sat in Charlotte’s parlor, drinking brandy in her tea and laughing at the world. It was miraculous, she thought, that the girl was capable of any good cheer at all, after everything she had suffered. 

     “I hope you do not think ill of me, Elizabeth,” Anne finally said, breaking the contemplative silence. 

     “Not at all, though I will own to being astonished.”

     “You must understand, that eager seventeen-year-old is within me still. It was such a turbulent time – even before I lost Isabel, I was far from content. I wished to be out in society, to experience more of the world, like her. I was very cross not to have a season, and when I lost my sister I felt as though my life had ended.” 

     “It is a trying age,” Elizabeth agreed. “Even without the grief.”

     “Exactly so. It all became too much, and my mother chose to shut me up, to shut me away from the world, because I was not as calm and perfect as Isabel. It has been so long since I have spoken my mind, since I have truly enjoyed anything. Well, I mean to make up for it now.”

     Elizabeth still felt some doubt. Certainly somewhere, beneath all the repressed resentment, there must be some grief in Anne’s heart for the loss of her mother. For now, at least, Anne had dried her tears, and looked much recovered from her previous distress. “I wish to go to London,” she said. 

     “To finally have a proper season?”

     “I would stay there forever, if I could.” Her expression clouded over. “I shall have to fight the rest of my family, but I am determined to have my own way – it is long overdue.”

Strong Objections to the Lady
by Jayne Bamber

A tale of… 

Intrigue & Inheritance… 

Meddling & Manipulation… 

Sisterhood & Self-Improvement... 

 When Lady Catherine de Bourgh learns of Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, her wrath sets in motion a series of events at Hunsford Parsonage which embroil Darcy and Elizabeth in a family fracas that grows more complicated daily. 

The shades of Rosings Park are soon polluted by the shocking transformation of its new mistress and her guests, as well as secrets of the past and schemes for the future. 

Appearances and alliances shift amidst the chaos wrought by a well-intentioned house party, and Darcy and Elizabeth must finally face their feelings for one another despite mounting obstacles and misunderstandings of every kind.
Buy: Amazon US (paid link) • Amazon UK Amazon CA
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. 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

12-9-19 Babblings of a Bookworm
12-12-19 Obsessed with Mr. Darcy
12-13-19 My Jane Austen Book Club
12-19-19 So Little Time...
12-21-19 My Love For Jane Austen
12-23-19 Diary of an Eccentric
12-27-19 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
1-2-20 All That They Desire
1-3-20 Austenprose
1-7-20 More Agreeably Engaged
1-10-20 Austenesque Reviews
1-16-20 From Pemberley To Milton

Strong Objections to the Lady will be available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited on December 21st, with a paperback soon to follow. I will be sharing more excerpts throughout my blog tour, and there is an e-book giveaway you and enter by clicking here. You can also follow me on Facebook for more updates! ~ Jayne Bamber

Thank you so much for visiting us here, Jayne! I'm really looking forward to reading your newest story! 

Friends, be sure to enter the giveaway at this Rafflecopter link!  Also, let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ Dec. 18th, 2019

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

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

Happy Wednesday, friends! Next week is Christmas! Wow! That happened fast! I have all my gifts purchased and almost all wrapped. How about you? 

Current Read

I just started reading The Reluctant Midwife* by Patricia Harman. I love watching the series Call the Midwife, so I thought I might enjoy this. I'm looking forward to getting into it. So far, I think I'm going to like it!

Recently Finished

I recently finished A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella* by Liz Curtis Higgs. It was a lovely Christmas story of forgiveness. I enjoyed it. 4 stars.

I also finished reading Girl in the Blue Coat* by Monica Hesse. It's 1943 and the Germans, who now occupy Amsterdam, are tightening down on rations. Hanneke finds items for people on the black market. It's illegal, but not too dangerous. Then one of her customers asks for help finding a girl that she was hiding from the Nazi's. She doesn't want to take on the job but also finds she can't say no either. Soon Hanneke finds herself pulled into the resistance and into more than she bargained for. I really enjoy this story. 4 stars. 

 And I finished reading North by Northanger* by Rebecca H. Jamison. It was a cute mash-up or nods to North by Northwest and Northanger Abbey. Set in present-day, the main character, Eva Morland, loves vintage clothing and old movies. Eva is mistaken for someone else and gets kidnapped by some criminals. After she escapes no one believes her. Now not only are the criminals after her but the police too!  The only person who believes her is Grant Tilney, a man she has just met! It's a fun story that did remind me of an old movie. 3.5 stars. 

What's next? 

I'm not sure what's next! I'm going to be with family for Christmas, so I may not read much. But I will let you know!

*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!  

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays! I'll most likely take a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks. I do have a post up for tomorrow, so look out for that! 

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Clergyman's Wife Blog Tour! ~ Guest Post and Excerpt

Hello, my friends! Molly Greeley is visiting today with some of her insights about Charlotte Lucas and an excerpt from her new book, The Clergyman's Wife! I hope you enjoy reading Molly's post and the prologue as much as I did! 

     It took about a year of once-weekly writing sprints to finish my first novel, The Clergyman’s Wife, but the idea had been slowly germinating for a long time. I have, in fact, been thinking about Charlotte Lucas and her choice for more than twenty years, ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice. Back then I was ten years-old, and with a child’s understanding of what I read, my first and strongest reaction when Charlotte chose to marry Mr. Collins was complete revulsion. Mr. Collins was gross, and worse, he was a little bit stupid. Someone like Charlotte, who was friends with Elizabeth Bennet and therefore must be intelligent, would be miserable married to him. I agreed completely with Elizabeth’s first reaction to the news of her friend’s engagement: Charlotte had made a terrible mistake. But time, and many subsequent readings, softened my take on Charlotte’s decision, and as I grew up, she became the character in Pride and Prejudice who fascinated me most, her choice to marry Mr. Collins less horrifying than the circumstances that led to it. Charlotte had neither money nor the means to earn any, and she had no beauty, which was, of course, its own form of currency.

     Even when she was young, the likelihood of attracting a husband equal to or above her in station was fairly slim, but as the years passed I imagined the constraints of her situation tightening around her like a net. The truly sad thing about Charlotte’s circumstances, I realized, was not so much that she married Mr. Collins but that she lived in a time when an intelligent, capable woman had only two choices: remain unmarried, and risk becoming a burden to her family, or accept the proposal of a man who could offer her security, even if he also happened to be a fool. Her story was all-too-common in Jane Austen's time: the woman who married the most practical choice available, because a woman's security, unless she was exceptionally fortunate, was always linked to the prosperity and generosity of the men in her life. 

The remarkable thing about Charlotte is that she set out to seduce Mr. Collins—not with her body, but with her attention and sympathy. Rather than wait passively for a man to notice her, she saw an opportunity and took it, and in doing so, she took charge of her own life in the only way available to her. I felt punched by the courage and, yes, selflessness of her decision, for in marrying the heir to Longbourn, she ensured that neither her parents nor her younger brothers had to worry about her future. We get so little of Charlotte’s inner world in Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted more.

     Austen tells Charlotte’s story mostly from Elizabeth’s perspective, with a few interjections from the novel’s nameless narrator, and Charlotte seems, above all else, calm, practical, and more than a bit calculating. But Elizabeth, as it turns out, is not actually the most astute judge of other people’s feelings and motivations. So I started thinking: what if Charlotte was just good at making the best of things, even if she didn't feel as cheerful about them as she appeared? What if she was grateful enough for the security Mr. Collins offered her to be genuinely pleased with her new life when Elizabeth visited in Pride and Prejudice—but what if security was not enough to make her truly happy in the long run? What if she finally fell in love? Some of my favorite books take well-known stories and delve into the minds and hearts of characters who were peripheral to the original. Charlotte has never felt peripheral to me; even as a child, I couldn’t read Pride and Prejudice without having a visceral reaction to her story. It’s a story about a woman’s worth, a woman’s place in society. It’s about mothers and daughters, because it’s impossible to imagine Charlotte’s own worry about her prospects as the years pass without also imagining the strangling fear her mother must have felt, too. And it’s about love, or lack thereof, and what place it would have had in the lives of women who did not have a man with ten thousand a year waiting to rescue them from the terrifying uncertainty of the future. Such women, like Charlotte, had to rescue themselves.  ~Molly Greeley

The Clergyman's Wife
by Molly Greeley

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world. 

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine.. 

In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife



Mr. Collins walks like a man who has never become comfortable with his height: his shoulders hunched, his neck thrust forward. His legs cross great stretches of ground with a single stride. I see him as I pass the bedroom window, and for a moment I am arrested, my lungs squeezing painfully under my ribs, the pads of my fingers pressed against the cool glass. The next moment, I am moving down the stairs, holding my hem above my ankles. When I push open the front door and step out into the lane, I raise my eyes and find Mr. Collins only a few feet distant. 

Mr. Collins sees me and lifts his hat. His brow is damp with the exertion of walking and his expression is one of mingled anticipation and wariness. Seeing it, the tightness in my chest dissipates. Later, when I have time to reflect, I will perhaps wonder how it is possible to simultaneously want something so much and so little, but in the moment before Mr. Collins speaks, as I step toward him through the fallen leaves, I am awash in calm. 

On the morning of my wedding, my mother dismisses the maid and helps me to dress herself. Lady Lucas is not a woman prone to excessive displays of emotion, but this morning her eyes are damp and her fingers tremble as she smooths the sleeves of my gown. It is only my best muslin, though newly trimmed at the bodice with lace from one of my mother’s old evening dresses. My father went to town the other day, returning with a few cupped hothouse roses, only just bloomed, to tuck into my hair this morning. He offered them to me, his face pink and pleased, and they were so lovely, so evocative of life and warmth even as winter grayed and chilled the landscape outside, that even my mother did not complain about the expense. 

“Very pretty,” my mother says now, and I feel my breath catch and hold behind my breastbone. I cannot recall having heard those particular words from her since I was a small child. I look at my reflection in the glass and there see the same faults—nose too large, chin too sharp, eyes too close together—that I have heard my mother bemoan since it became apparent, when I was about fourteen, that my looks were not going to improve as I grew older. But the flowers in my hair make me appear younger, I think, than my twenty-seven years; I look like a bride. And when I look into my mother’s face now, I find nothing but sincerity. 

My mother blinks too quickly and turns away from me. “We should go down,” she says. She makes for the door, then pauses, turning slowly to face me again. “I wish you every happiness,” she says, sounding as though she is speaking around something lodged in her throat. “You have made a very eligible match.” I nod, feeling my own throat close off in response, a sensation of helpless choking. 

I am largely silent during the long, rocking ride into Kent. My new husband speaks enough for both of us; he has an astonishing memory for minutiae and discusses the wedding ceremony in such great detail that I find myself wondering whether he remembers that I was also in attendance. We left for my new home directly from the church; my family and a few friends all crowded, shivering in their cloaks and muffs, outside the entrance, waving as we were driven away. Maria, my sister, cried as I left; my brothers looked solemn, my father beamed, my mother smiled a tremulous smile. My friend Elizabeth’s smile looked as if it had been tacked in place, like a bit of ribbon pinned to a gown but not yet properly sewn on. 

Mr. Collins’s awkward height is emphasized by the cramped conditions of the coach. His long legs stretch out before him as far as they can go, but he still appears to be uncomfortable. The hair at his temples is moist, despite the cold, and I have to glance hastily away, feeling a lurch in my stomach that has nothing to do with the jolting ride. 

He is very warm beside me in bed. I watch him sleep for a time, tracing the relaxed lines of his face with my eyes and thinking how different he seems without the rather frantic energy he exudes in his waking hours. There is a tension about him, much of the time, that I did not recognize until this moment, until sleep removed it. 

He introduced me when we arrived to the housekeeper, Mrs. Baxter, who is broad and pleasant, and to the gruff, graying manservant, John, whose powerful shoulders are built from years of labor. The parsonage itself is exactly as Mr. Collins described it: small, but neat and comfortable, with surrounding gardens that he assured me would be beautiful come spring. His eagerness to please me was matched by his inability to believe anyone might find fault with his home, and I found his manner at once endeared him to me and irritated me thoroughly. 

Throughout the tour, he pointed out improvements here and there that had been the suggestion of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There were rather a lot of them. 

At our bedchamber he paused with his palm against the door. “I hope . . . it suits,” he said, then opened the door and bowed me in. 

The room was much like the rest of the house: comfortably furnished, if a trifle small. “Charming,” I said, and pretended not to notice the flush on his cheeks. 

We ate dinner together. I had little appetite, despite the novelty of eating a meal in my own home that I had had no hand in preparing. Afterward, I considered suggesting we adjourn to the parlor but found I could not face the intervening hours between then and bed. Tomorrow I would unpack my books and my embroidery. I would write letters. I would meet Lady Catherine, for Mr. Collins assured me that lady had vowed to have us to tea when we returned to Kent; and I would begin to learn the duties of a clergyman’s wife. But tonight—I wanted only for tonight to be over. 

“I am tired,” I said. “I think I will retire early.” Mr. Collins rose from his chair with alacrity. “A fine idea,” he said. “It has been a long day.” And to my consternation, he followed me up the stairs, his footsteps behind me a reminder that it will forever be his right to do with me as he pleases. 

It is not so terrible, I think after, lying in the quiet dark watching my husband sleep. At my insistence, he allowed me time to change into my nightdress in private. And the rest was vaguely shocking, dreadfully uncomfortable, and far more mess than I had anticipated, but bearable. Mr. Collins, at least, seemed vastly pleased at the end, murmuring affectionate nonsense against my neck until he drifted off to sleep. 

I wake before dawn, and for a moment I imagine I am still at home. There is a presence beside me in the bed, warm and heavy against my back, and I think it is my sister, Maria, until it lets out a gusty snore against the nape of my neck. My eyes open and I find myself staring at an unfamiliar wall covered in delicate floral paper. For a moment, I am held immobile by the weight of all the ways in which my life has changed. And then Mr. Collins— William—shifts in his sleep, one heavy arm reaching over my hip, his long fingers brushing my stomach, and I go rigid for the barest of instants. A moment later I force the stiffness from my body, allowing my spine to relax back against my husband’s chest. Exhaling the breath I had been holding, I wait for him to wake. 

I will, no doubt, grow accustomed to mornings begun beside William. This is, after all, the life I chose.

About the Author

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents' floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. A graduate of Michigan State University, she began as an Education major, but switched to English and Creative Writing after deciding that gainful employment was not as important to her as being able to spend several years reading books and writing stories and calling it work. 

She lives in Traverse City, Michigan with her husband and three children, and can often be found with her laptop at local coffee shops. 

The Clergyman's Wife is her first novel.

Connect with Molly

The Clergyman's Wife Buy Links

Amazon (paid link) • Indie Bound • B&NBook a Million • Hudson Booksellers

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! 

Blog Tour Schedule

Dec. 2 - From Pemberley to Milton - Guest Post
Dec. 3 - Vesper's Place - Review
Dec. 3 - vvb32reads - Spotlight & Excerpt
Dec. 4 - My Jane Austen Book Club - Guest Post
Dec. 4 - Confessions of a Book Addict - Excerpt & Guest Post
Dec. 5 - More Agreeably Engaged - Excerpt & Guest Post
Dec. 5 - Babblings of a Bookworm - Excerpt & Giveaway
Dec. 6 - Laura's Reviews - Review
Dec. 7 - Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books - Review & Excerpt
Dec. 8 - My Vices and Weaknesses - Excerpt & Guest Post
Dec. 9 - Living Read Girl - Review
Dec. 10 - The Calico Critic - Excerpt & Giveaway
Dec. 11 - Austenesque Reviews - Review & Giveaway
Dec. 12 - So Little Time... - Excerpt & Guest Post
Dec. 13 - cozynookbks - Review
Dec. 14 - My Love for Jane Austen - Guest Post
Dec. 14 - vvb32reads - Review

Many thanks to the good people at Harper Collins Publishers for having me on this blog tour!

So, friends, what do you think? Do you think Charlotte can truly be content with her life choice?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Speechless Blog Tour! ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm very excited to have Jessie Lewis on the blog today! I have read and LOVED her new book, Speechless. From the first page, I was hooked! It's one of my favorite scenarios in a P&P variation! 5 stars!

I hope you enjoy the excerpt below and be sure to enter to win an e-copy of Speechless! Details for the giveaway are at the bottom of the page. 

Hello, Candy, and thank you for inviting me to stop here at So Little Time... on my blog tour for Speechless. It’s a story that I hope will please fans of Darcy and Elizabeth because it’s almost exclusively them throughout. That fact is precisely what horrifies them the most at first, which makes for some interesting exchanges! In this excerpt, Darcy is only just coming around after having sustained an injury and is trying in vain to make sense of what’s happened to him.


     “Come, Darcy. I must have you breathe. I hate to see you thrashing about in this stupid manner.”

     Darcy opened his eyes. “Bingley?” The man standing over him in full evening dress did not look like his friend, but he sounded like him, and his cocked hat was placed the wrong way on his head, which seemed apropos. “What has happened to me?” 

     “Strangled, old fruit.”

     “Strangled? By whom?”

     “A bear.”


     Bingley was gone, however, and all was dark again. 
Darcy sipped, for there was water upon his lips. “Who did this?” he begged, though this time, he had no voice, and the question hurt to ask. He found he no longer cared. The means mattered little; that he was injured remained true whatever the cause. He sipped more water and prayed for everything to cease hurting. Never had he known pain that permeated even the deepest sleep. It did not relent even for a moment.

     “Physician?” he begged—or attempted to. His numb lips misshaped the word, and the obstruction in his throat stole what was left of the plea. “Poppy?” he mouthed. “Milk of the pop—” He gave up, exhausted.

     “I am sorry,” a voice too feminine to be Bingley’s said, “I have nothing to give you for the pain. Though—” A loud scrape muffled whatever words were spoken next, and the voice faded away. Time pulsed in Darcy’s ears awhile. Pain throbbed in his neck, and he drifted helplessly in obscurity. 

     An icy touch at his throat awoke him. He flinched away from it, and then grimaced at the agony of so sudden a movement. He lifted a hand to identify the coldness that stung his skin but was pushed gently away.

     “Pray, leave it a moment, Mr Darcy. ’Tis only snow.”

     He frowned, baffled, yet snow was a less threatening delusion than a murderous bear, and he had not the wits about him to query it. In any case, its icy burn had begun to affect a small but sublime reprieve from his torturous breathing—and he felt certain he knew that voice intimately enough to trust it.

     “What has happened to me?”

      He received no response. Somebody dabbed at the rivulets of melted snow that ran behind his ears and into his hair, but whomever did so gave him no answer. Perhaps it was another hallucination. He asked again. The fussing ceased.

     “Forgive me, I cannot understand you. Could you move your lips more slowly?”

     He thought he had spoken aloud. Though, he also imagined he had been talking to his sister and, it would now seem, this was not she. Was he losing his mind?

     “What happened?” he mouthed slowly and pointed at his throat. 

     “You were kicked by a horse.”

     It was more probable that he had been strangled by a bear. A man kicked in the neck by a horse would like as not be too dead to enquire about it, mutely or otherwise. Perhaps he was dead. He asked if it were so.

     “I am sorry,” came the answer after a pause. “I simply cannot understand what you are trying to say. Pray, rest for now. I can answer your questions when you are better recovered.”

     Dead people did not recover. With the snow at his neck now merely warm dampness and the constant scraping sound of his breathing showing no sign of abating, that seemed as much comfort as he was likely to find at the present moment. He released the last of the air in his chest and surrendered once again to darkness.

by Jessie Lewis

Could anything be worse than to be trapped in a confined space with the woman you love?

Fitzwilliam Darcy knows his duty, and it does not involve succumbing to his fascination for a dark-eyed beauty from an unheard of family in Hertfordshire. He has run away from her once already. Yet fate has a wicked sense of humour and deals him a blow that not only throws him back into her path but quite literally puts him at Elizabeth Bennet’s mercy. Stranded with her at a remote inn and seriously hampered by injury, Darcy very quickly loses the battle to conquer his feelings, but can he win the war to make himself better understood without the ability to speak? 

Thus begins an intense journey to love and understanding that is at times harrowing, sometimes hilarious and at all times heartwarming.

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About the Author

Jessie Lewis, author of Mistaken and The Edification of Lady Susan, enjoys words far too much for her own good and was forced to take up writing them down in order to save her family and friends from having to listen to her saying so many of them. She dabbled in poetry during her teenage years, though it was her studies in Literature and Philosophy at university that firmly established her admiration for the potency of the English language. She has always been particularly in awe of Jane Austen’s literary cunning and has delighted in exploring Austen’s regency world in her own historical fiction writing. It is of no relevance whatsoever to her ability to string words together coherently that she lives in Hertfordshire with two tame cats, two feral children and a pet husband. She is also quite tall, in case you were wondering.

You can check out her musings on the absurdities of language and life on her blog,, or see what she’s reading over at Goodreads. Or you can drop her a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on her Facebook page, JessieLewisAuthor.

Blog Tour Schedule

Dec 2 - Austenesque Reviews
Dec 3 - Savvy Verse & Wit
Dec 4 - Diary of an Eccentric
Dec 5 - So Little Time...
Dec 9 - From Pemberley to Milton
Dec 10 - My Jane Austen Book Club
Dec 11 - Babblings of a Bookworm
Dec 12 - Facebook Live Quills & Quartos: A Reading with Jessie Lewis

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Quills & Quartos Publishing is giving away one ebook of Speechless per blog tour stop. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is, comment on this blog post, and Quills & Quartos will randomly choose winners for the entire blog tour on December 19. So, make sure you join in the conversation!

So, friends, what do you think? Did that excerpt grab you? Poor Mr. Darcy! Don't you just love it when Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to be together in some way?
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