Thursday, May 13, 2021

Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

 Happy Thursday, my friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Isabelle and Alexander Blog Tour! This book sounds amazing and from the book description, maybe be an emotional roll-a-coaster. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!  

An Excerpt from Chapter 6

     “Post’s come, and here’s a letter for you, ma’am.” Mrs. Burns handed Isabelle an envelope.

     When she saw Edwin’s handwriting, she clasped it between her palms and allowed herself a smile of relief.

     “Thank you,” Isabelle said, feeling like she’d been saved from drowning. She took the first full breath in what felt like weeks. Her thanks hadn’t felt like enough. “Thank you,” she said again.

     Although Isabelle well recognized the look of compassion on Mrs. Burns’s face, the housekeeper continued to behave with propriety.

     If, in the course of her duties of the next hour, Mrs. Burns passed the sitting room and saw her mistress alternating between laughter and tears, she made no mention of it to Isabelle.

     Reading her cousin’s letters once was never enough. Isabelle knew that Edwin’s style—galloping over news and gossip—would both make her lonesome and somehow connected to all that was happening at the Lakes. What she did not expect was this line, placed in the midst of a report about the weather and their favorite horse’s colt: “Dearest, you remember I told you about Charlotte Owen, don’t you?”

     Isabelle remembered no such name, but she knew this was another part of Ed’s style. He was preparing her for something. The next line clarified.

     “I’ve decided I simply can’t live without the both of you, and since I can no longer have you here with me, now that you’ve been carried off to the steel jungles of Manchester, I’ve asked her to marry me.”

     Isabelle gasped aloud. Past the pounding of her heart in her ears, she heard Mrs. Burns enter the room.

     “I am fine,” she tried to say, but a sob broke through the words. She stood from the chair, clutched the letter in her fingers, paced to the window, looked out at the damp, chilly city, and reread the words. I’ve asked her to marry me.


     Isabelle did not know how long she stood at the window, clutching the letter in her hands while Mrs. Burns stood at a polite and proper distance, but when she could stand there no longer, she wiped her eyes and moved back toward the couch.

     “I hope all is well,” the housekeeper said.

     “Very well, thank you.” She knew her voice sounded anything but well. Oh, what Isabelle would give to have a friend who understood this cruel mix of betrayal and devastation she was experiencing! Come to think of it, Isabelle would be very happy to know exactly why she felt so heartbroken.

     Perhaps because Edwin was still quite young, only having come into his majority last year. This news was a bit of a shock.

     Perhaps because she never imagined he would survive without her. Of course, whatever he felt for Miss Charlotte Owen was vastly different from the familial relationship he and Isabelle had fostered. But would Charlotte replace Isabelle in Edwin’s heart? If Isabelle was no longer to be Edwin’s dearest, who then would she be? 

     Where could she turn to sort through her feelings?

     There was only one place she’d felt sure clarity since coming to Manchester.

     “Mrs. Burns, I am going to visit Mrs. Kenworthy for a short time. I shall be home before anyone misses me.” For who, indeed, would miss her? She felt the truth of those words as surely as she knew an hour in the Kenworthy parlor would shake loose the pieces of her heart that were stabbing at her.

     “Shall I call the carriage?” Mrs. Burns’s voice held the sympathy she could not, within the bounds of propriety, give words to.

     Isabelle wiped her eyes again, grateful for the lace handkerchief tucked into her sleeve. “Thank you, no. I should enjoy the walk.”

     The walk to the Kenworthy home, though wet and dirty, went by in a blink. Her feet seemed to lead her there with no need for her mind to plan the next steps.

     When the Kenworthys’ housekeeper opened the door, she startled Isabelle by saying, “Law, Mrs. Osgood. You’re wet through.”

     “Oh, I beg your pardon. Mrs. Kenworthy is not expecting me.”

     “I daresay not on foot in weather such as this,” she responded. Her smile removed all possible judgment from her words. “Please, come into the parlor, and I’ll let her know you’re here.”

     When Isabelle realized how damp she’d gotten, she refused to sit on any of the furniture, standing at the window and watching the rain. Feeling her skin chill, she began to question the advisability of her choice to walk when Glory came into the room at a bound.

     “Mrs. Osgood, how nice of you to come for a visit,” she said, the proper words accompanied by flapping hands and a loud laugh.

     Isabelle felt herself begin to warm immediately. She reached for Glory’s hands and pressed her fingers. “Thank you, Miss Glory. I was so eager to see you that I couldn’t wait for our usual Tuesday.”

     Glory nodded. “Instead of Tuesday, you’re here on a painting day. Would you like to watch me make a painting?” “If you wouldn’t mind,” Isabelle said, surprised to find she meant it. Her heart lightened at the thought of taking her mind away from Edwin’s upcoming marriage by watching Glory work. “What will you paint today?”

Isabelle and Alexander
by Rebecca Anderson


Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father's coal mines with Alexander Osgood's prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander's wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn't bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle's opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.
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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!

Advance Praise

"Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them."— Library Journal

"Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England."— Foreword Reviews


"Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson's debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart."— Booklist

About the Author

Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary
romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel.
High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.

Connect with Rebecca Anderson

Join the virtual blog tour of ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER (Proper Romance Victorian), Rebecca Anderson’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel, May 3–16, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and Victorian romance will join in the celebration of its release with spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in Manchester, England. 


May 03 Lu Reviews Books (Review)
May 03 Timeless Novels (Review)
May 03 Our Book Confessions (Review)
May 04 Literary Time Out (Review)
May 04 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
May 04 The Book Diva's Reads (Excerpt)
May 05 Heidi Reads (Review) 
May 05 Laura's Reviews (Review)
May 05 Wishful Endings (Review)
May 05 Gwendalyn's Reviews (Review)
May 06 Margie's Must Reads (Review)
May 06 Relz Reviewz (Review)
May 07 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)
May 07 The Reading Frenzy (Review)
May 07 Nurse Bookie (Review)
May 08 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
May 09 Reading with Emily (Review)
May 09 Fire and Ice (Spotlight)
May 10 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
May 10 Booked Solid (Review) 
May 10 From Pemberley to Milton (Spotlight)
May 11 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)
May 11 Captivated Reading (Review)
May 11 The Green Mockingbird (Review)
May 12 For Where Your Treasure Is (Excerpt)
May 12 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
May 13 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)
May 13 Library of Clean Reads (Review)
May 13 Robin Loves Reading (Review)
May 13 So Little Time (Excerpt)
May 14 Eli's Novel Reviews (Review)
May 14 The Lit Bitch (Review)
May 14 The Bluestocking (Review)
May 15 Reading Is My Superpower (Review)
May 15 A Darn Good Read (Review)
May 16 The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)
May 16 CozyNookBooks (Review)

Congratulations to Rebecca Anderson on the release of Isabelle and Alexander

Many thanks to Laurel Ann @ Austenprose for organizing this blog tour and inviting me on the tour! 

Isabelle and Alexander is published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

So friends, what are your thoughts? Has this excerpt and book description piqued your interest?! It has mine! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

"Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words" by Shannon Winslow ~ Blog Tour ~ Guest Post

Hello, my friends! Shannon Winslow joins us today! She has a new book out, Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words. Very exciting! 

Shannon shares with us how she, in her new book, fills in the blanks with "missing scenes" - I hope you enjoy it! 

Filling in the Blanks

I’ve always enjoyed writing “missing scenes.” Perhaps Jane Austen has given us a clue to something but not described it in any detail. Perhaps she’s told us that something has occurred but hasn’t shown us, or she’s left a period of time altogether blank. These gaps are “missing scene” opportunities just begging to be written!

There’s a lot of that in this new book, Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words – lots of blanks in Austen’s most beloved story that I was more than happy to fill in – some before the timeline of the original novel and others during it. Since Pride and Prejudice primarily follows Elizabeth’s activities, Darcy’s words and actions (except when he’s with her) are not shown. And as I started investigating, I discovered that a lot of his time is unaccounted for. 

All those blanks gave generous scope for my imagination with this new book – even room for new characters and a brand new supplemental storyline, all without changing what Jane Austen wrote in her masterpiece.

The biggest single addition I made to the story is something Jane Austen never alluded to; it is a previously unknown character by the name of Amelia Lambright. But it seems perfectly reasonable to me that she (or someone very like her) existed. After all, Darcy would have known plenty of women before he met Elizabeth. And he was at the point in his life when he would likely have begun contemplating marriage. So according to my theory, his mind very naturally turned to Amelia: the daughter of an old family friend, and an entirely suitable choice. All his interactions with her fit neatly into the blanks in the P&P record.

As for a more classic example of a “missing scene,” how about the business at Ramsgate, which was a very big deal in Darcy’s life. Austen gives us (through Darcy’s letter) the bare bones, but she doesn’t show us the whole picture. For example, how did Georgiana get permission from her over-protective brother to travel there with Mrs. Younge in the first place? Then what prompted Darcy to follow, just in time to break up Wickham’s dastardly plan? And what about the emotional fallout afterward? How badly did Georgiana suffer, and how did Darcy deal with it?

Now, Darcy gets the chance to tell us …In His Own Words. There’s also Bingley deciding to take Netherfield, Darcy’s efforts to separate him from Jane, and later his discovering of Lydia and Wickham’s London hideaway, and his showdown with Lady Catherine de Bourgh – “it taught me to hope.” These are all “missing” from the original novel, along with several critical letters.

Even a small omission – like a bit of missing dialogue – makes me itch to fill in what belongs there, as with the two proposal scenes. In the first one, Darcy famously declares to Elizabeth, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Great beginning! But the rest of what he says in his proposal – the part where it all goes so horribly wrong – is only described, not written out. In the second proposal, it’s Elizabeth’s words that are missing. JA only tells us she immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand, that her sentiments had undergone so material a change… as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure, his present assurances. I enjoyed adding those missing words of dialogue too!

Perhaps the thing P&P fans miss most, though, is more of what happens after the wedding. For Jane Austen to have written a wedding-night scene would have been unthinkable, of course. But now I’m able to fill in at least a portion of that blank as well, in a very PG fashion. (Then for much more of their married life, read my sequel The Darcys of Pemberley).

I said before that Amelia was the biggest thing I added to the P&P story with this book. But when I reconsider, that’s not really true. The biggest previously missing element I added has to be Darcy’s thoughts. In this novel, he tells his own story. And so we see everything through his eyes – through his perspective and particular frame of reference, which as you know, is vastly different from Elizabeth’s, especially in the beginning. To understand a complex love story, both parties need to be heard from! Don’t you agree?

I hope you will enjoy reading Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words as it expands the Pride and Prejudice saga, adding textured layers while preserving the original story we all love so much!


Fitzwilliam Darcy His Own Words
by Shannon Winslow

What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia? 

With Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words, the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between. 

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Darcy’s point of view – a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us. As it happens, Darcy’s journey was more tortuous than she let on, his happy ending with Elizabeth in jeopardy at every turn in his struggle between duty and his heart’s desire, between the suitable lady he has promised to marry and the woman he can’t stop thinking about.
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!

Connect with Shannon Winslow

Congratulations, Shannon, on the release of your new book, Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words! And thank you so much for visiting us here at So Little Time...!

So, friends, let us know what you think! Have you ever wondered what Darcy was doing or thinking while not on the pages of Pride and Prejudice
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