Thursday, January 13, 2022

Much Ado in Meryton by Riana Everly ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Today I have the lovely Riana Everly visiting with an interview with Elizabeth Bennet and a delightful excerpt from her new book, Much Ado in Meryton

Be sure to read to the bottom of the page for giveaway details!

Happy New Year to everyone! I wish you all the very best for 2022. And thank you for hosting me here today and letting me talk a bit about my new book, Much Ado in Meryton.

As you might guess from the title, this is a mash-up of sort of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare’s blistering play, Much Ado About Nothing. There are two main storylines in the play, and one of those involves the “merry war” between main characters Beatrice and Benedick. They have a past and cannot stop trading barbs and insults, until their friends step in to settle matters.

So what does this have to do with Elizabeth and Darcy? I’ll let Elizabeth Bennet herself tell you all about it.

~ * ~

Riana Everly: Thank you, Miss Bennet, for joining us today. I
always enjoy our conversations.

Elizabeth Bennet: Please, call me Lizzy. We are old friends, after all. 

Riana: I hear your first encounter with Mr. Darcy was not entirely amiable.

Lizzy: (lets out a huff) No, it was not at all amiable. The man is quite dreadful. Why, at a ball full of ladies with not enough gentlemen to dance with us all, he quite refused to even look at me. I should not have minded, but then he had the nerve to offer a most cruel insult, calling me tolerable, at best. Can you imagine it?

Riana: That is quite upsetting. And how did you respond?

Lizzy: I remarked, as I walked past him, that I did not mind at all for I only dance with gentleman. And he was no gentleman!

Riana: Oh. I see. He must not have been too pleased. Did he improve upon subsequent meetings?

Lizzy: No, indeed! He grew worse and worse. He was rude and insufferable, and I dare say he had fewer wits about him than a fish has hair. Why, he could not find a single sensible thought were it on a map presented right to him, and with an arrow pointing directly to it. You cannot imagine the things he called me: Harpy, termagant, virago! Can you imagine? These words directed at me? The horror of it!

Riana: Say it is not so! And he offered these insults without provocation?

Lizzy: Well… perhaps I was not always as temperate in my own comments as I might have been. But others have always enjoyed my particular wit. Why should he not? The only possible is that he has more earwax than brain in his head. Oh, that it were not so handsome.

Riana: He is quite pleasant to look at.

Lizzy: (sighs) Alas, I must agree with you. If only the person inside matched the outside. Then he would be the perfect man.

~ * ~

Here is an excerpt from Much Ado in Meryton. I hope you enjoy it.

* * * 

Elizabeth and Charlotte were sitting on the settee with Miss Margaret Robinson, talking about some diverting, if quite inconsequential matter, when Mr. Bingley and his party arrived. All rose and a series of bows and curtseys ensued, with one remarkable exception. Mr. Darcy most definitely did not offer any manner of salutation to Elizabeth. He bowed to Charlotte and muttered appropriate words to Miss Margaret, and quite ignored her very existence. It was the Cut Direct if ever she had seen one. She gaped after him as he walked on.

“I was correct, it seems,” she observed for any ears that happened to be near, “when I presumed Mr. Darcy to be no gentleman.” 

To which, Mr. Darcy surprised her by turning to speak directly to her for the first time since the night of the assembly. “How fortunate then, Miss Bennet, that you are no lady to care.” He turned his back and began to move into the room.

What? The nerve of that man! How dare he insult her in such a way? She had, a small voice in her head insisted, started this particular skirmish, and ought to ignore his taunts and show herself to be the superior creature. But her pride would not listen to this quiet voice of reason and her mouth began moving almost before her brain agreed with it.

“How happy that his purse is full then, for the man himself is an empty pocket.” There. That should put him in his place. She ignored Charlotte’s gasp of horror at her side, as well as the tinge of guilt that nagged at her conscience.

He turned once more and glared at her, eyes narrow and jaw tight. “How happy that we are so distant from Egypt, lady, for your tongue is more venomous than all the asps in the Nile.”

“Darcy!” Mr. Bingley was at his side in a trice. “What are you doing? This is most unlike you. I know you have a hot temper at times, but I have never heard you speak to a lady like this. You were the one who told me always to take the higher path. What is this? Come away at once.”

Darcy sniffed and stuck his nose up into the air and walked away without another word, Bingley hissing into his ear. That man’s back was his best side, to be sure! If only his face weren’t so handsome.

Much Ado in Meryton
Pride and Prejudice meets Shakespeare
by Riana Everly

A tale of friends, enemies, and the power of love. 

“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” – Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing, 5.2 

Mr. Darcy’s arrival in Meryton raises many people’s disdain, and Elizabeth Bennet’s ire. An insult at a dance is returned in full measure, and soon the two find themselves in a merry war of words, trading barbs at every encounter. Matters go from bad to worse when Elizabeth and Darcy find themselves living under the same roof for a time, and their constant bickering frays everybody’s nerves. 

Will a clever scheme by their family and friends bring some peace to Netherfield’s halls? And what of Mr. Wickham, whose charming presence is not quite so welcome by some members of the party? When the games get out of hand and nastier elements come into play, will everybody’s chances for happiness be ruined forever? 

This clever mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing casts our beloved characters in fresh light, uniting Jane Austen’s keen insight into love and character, and Shakespeare’s biting wit.
Buy: Amazon (paid link) • books2read
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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!

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back. 

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

Connect with Riana

She loves meeting readers!

Blog Tour Schedule 

January 11 ~ A Novel Sentiment
January 13 ~ So Little Time… ~ you are here!
January 14 ~ Austen Authors
January 27 ~ Austenesque Reviews

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Riana Everly is giving away five eBooks of Much Ado in Meryton for this blog tour! You can enter through the Rafflecopter below. If you have trouble entering with the Rafflecopter, you can email her directly with you name and preferred email address and she will add you manually to the list for the draw. Her email address is 

 Open internationally!

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Riana, thank you so much for stopping by! I enjoyed this interview and excerpt! Sounds like a fun read!

Dear readers, what do you think? Does Much Ado in Meryton sound like something you’d like to read?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Kidnapped and Compromised by Demi Monde ~ Guest Post

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! I took a break from blogging and had a wonderful time with my family. It was a joy to be with all my kids and my grandson!

Demi Monde is visiting the blog today with an excerpt from her new book, Kidnapped and Compromised!  I hope you enjoy it! 

Hello Dear Readers, it is a pleasure to be here to share more details about my new release, Kidnapped and Compromised. This is a steamy novella and a work of Austenesque fiction.


Kidnapped and Compromised
Steamy Pride and Prejudice Variation
by Demi Monde

Abducted and facing ruin, can Elizabeth's wits save her from a dastardly plot? And will Mr. Darcy find her in time? 

When a false friend tricks Elizabeth, she is abducted by carriage from Meryton and carried hours away to a bawdy house. If Mr. Darcy does not rescue and pay her ransom, she will be sold to the highest bidder. 

Elizabeth must depend on her wits to survive. But the clock is ticking. Will Mr. Darcy choose to risk his life for the woman he secretly loves but who despises him? And if so, can he rescue her before it's too late? 

This 40,000 word steamy Pride and Prejudice variation features kidnapping, compromise, forced marriage, rescue by Mr. Darcy, double wedding, Christmas holiday ball and a happily ever after.
This book opens near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, with the militia present in Meryton and Elizabeth Bennet’s opinion of Mr. Darcy set, no matter his opinion of her fine eyes.


Chapter 1

     Mr. Darcy pulled the reins, bringing his horse to a standstill from cantering, and looked around the Hertfordshire countryside. He thought he had heard yelling. But all he saw was an open field, crops in rows, with no one in sight. Fox pranced forward skittishly, no doubt unnerved by his rider’s stillness. 
     “Miss Elizabeth?”
     “Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”
     He had definitely heard it this time, over the sound of the horse’s hooves churning the damp earth underfoot. He had not imagined the voices calling for the desirable yet impertinent Elizabeth Bennet. Though she had believed Wickham’s stories about him, and questioned him at the Netherfield ball, he still admired her intelligence and beauty. But he could not have what he wanted. Her social connections and her family’s impropriety would never allow him to be with her in society or even to call on her in Hertfordshire. 
     He fingered the smooth leather reins as he decided whether to give in to his desire to find the cause of the servants yelling for the Bennet girl or to avoid temptation. The more he was close to her, the harder it was to not speak to her, to make her notice him, to have her admire him.
     “Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”
     Mr. Darcy nudged his chestnut stallion Fox with his heels and headed towards the figures near the forest. Any gentleman would offer assistance in this situation. And Miss Bingley was not here to tease him for paying too much attention to Elizabeth’s fine eyes.
     “You there!” He spied a servant walking at the edge of the woodland. “What is the matter?”
     The man pulled at his forelock. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet has not returned from her walk.”
     Mr. Darcy had heard of her odd habit of lengthy, daily walks and had seen it for himself when she had hiked three miles to Netherfield to care for her sister. “Surely she cannot be lost? Has she not walked all over this countryside?”
     The older man nodded. “Yes sir, but she—”  
“How long has she been missing? What is being done to find her?” Mr. Darcy’s horse shook his head and pawed at the ground, eager to return to cantering.
     “Miss Elizabeth has been gone since right after the noon meal, sir. Mr. Bennet has all the servants out looking for her.”
     Mr. Darcy frowned. That was nearly five hours ago. Even a country girl with a fondness for countryside rambles would have returned by now. His chest clenched at the thought of her injured on the ground, somewhere at the mercy of the local wildlife. “How many are searching for Miss Bennet? Is anyone on horseback? What is her usual walking path?”
     The servant looked back towards Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family. “I do not know, sir. Mr. Bennet is at Longbourn and would answer your questions.”
     Mr. Darcy spun his horse and kicked him into a canter. He searched the ground for a beautiful young woman lying injured as he rode. She must have twisted her ankle and was too far away to be heard yelling for help.
     It was unconscionable that the Bennet girl was allowed to walk without a maid. Never would he have permitted his sister Georgiana to do the same. Perhaps Mr. Bennet would be more circumspect after this. However, Mr. Darcy doubted it. Control over his family was not one of Mr. Bennet’s strong suits, not with the way his younger daughters behaved at the assemblies or in town, flirting with the officers.
     Mr. Darcy guided his horse down the short driveway of Longbourn.
     Mr. Bennet looked up at the sound of Fox’s hooves clattering on the gravel path. The family’s patriarch stood in front of the house, directing searchers in his greatcoat and hat. Mr. Bennet turned in Mr. Darcy’s direction.
     “Mr. Bennet, I came across one of your servants looking for Miss Elizabeth. May I offer my assistance?”
     Mr. Bennet grimaced. “It would be much appreciated Mr. Darcy. However, I am sure my dear Lizzy has just lost track of the time. I have tried to curtail her long walks, but she will not listen to me.” 
     He chuckled, most likely expecting Mr. Darcy to join in. But Mr. Darcy’s thoughts were far from amused as his opinion of the Bennet patriarch dropped lower. “Men on horseback could cover a greater distance. I am certain Mr. Bingley would provide his servants to help with the search.”
     Mr. Bennet widened his stance as he looked up at the younger man who outranked him in every manner. “I thank you for your offer; nonetheless I am sure we will find her quite soon. There is no need to cause alarm among our friends and neighbors.”
     Mr. Darcy gathered the reins, biting back the desire to tell Mr. Bennet that a proper search had not been done. He turned, giving his horse the signal to move away from the man and his doddering ways. The eldest two Bennet girls deserved all the credit for their characters. It was a shame they came from such a family.
     A young maid darted out from behind the hedgerows lining the lane. Fox reared back in surprise, but Mr. Darcy quickly brought him under control. He turned to the girl, ready to lecture her on not startling horses.
“Oh, Mr. Darcy! I have a note for you. I was going to give it to Mr. Bennet, but since you are here…” She held the stationary up to him.
     He plucked it out of her hand with a scowl. It could not be a message from Netherfield. Mr. Bingley would not have sent a young maid alone to find him. “Who is this from?”
     “A man in Meryton asked me to give this to you.” The girl gripped her waist, breathing heavily. 
     He unfolded and read the note, his heart stopping. Mr. Darcy pinned the servant girl with his stare. “How long ago did you receive this? Did you recognize the man that gave it to you?” 
     “No, sir, but he had a red coat on. He must be one of the militia.” 
     Mr. Darcy turned his head away to think. The maid curtsied and started towards the house.
     She stopped and looked back, clutching her apron. 
     “Do not tell anyone. Miss Elizabeth’s reputation is at stake.”
     The servant assured him of her silence and continued down the driveway to Longbourn. Mr. Darcy lifted the reins, intending to race to Netherfield and round up his friend Mr. Bingley and servants, but stopped. It was his fault entirely that the honor of Elizabeth Bennet was at risk. The fewer people that knew of this situation, the better.
     He needed to move quickly. Mr. Wickham had abducted Elizabeth Bennet.

I hope I have piqued your interest! - Demi

* * * 

Thank you for visiting the blog and for the exciting excerpt, Demi! You definitely piqued my interest! 

Buy at Amazon (paid link)
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!

So, what did you think of the excerpt? Let us know in the comments! 
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