Wednesday, 20 July 2016

'Jane Austen Speaks' by Maria Emilia De Medeiros ~Excerpt & Givewaway!

Hello Fellow Readers,

Today I have the pleasure, of welcoming Maria Emilia De Medeiros. 
Author of  'Jane Austen Speaks', 'About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits'.

As always, I enjoy the opportunity to showcase new JAFF authors and I hope you will all make Maria Emilia feel welcome. After reading the excerpt “My Dinner Parties in Heaven” I had some fun imagining who I would invite, I conclude, I would need to host several, including literary greats and music legends.

Many thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Tamara!  I am most humbled and honored to share about my recently released book, Jane Austen Speaks About her Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits, with your readers today. 

This book is my own lighthearted attempt to allow Miss Austen to voice what might have been her “own” opinions on modern day matters, based on a knowledge of her life, work, society, and the prevailing social morĂ©s inherent in Western culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with which she was raised.
In addition to Miss Austen’s wide-ranging reflections upon her life, novels, and the modern world, a section of the book is devoted to food and social visits, featuring a number of heavenly “guests” as well as recipes for your use and enjoyment.  You can plan your very own Jane Austen dinner party, too!
I have often tried to imagine what a real dinner party would have been like in a lovely English home during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in which Jane Austen lived.  I know that there are historical reenactors who attempt to bring these to life again in our modern era.  Having researched food history and social customs of the time period myself, I know that it is possible to recreate such an event in a most charming manner.  However, we will never really know what such an event was like for those in attendance, because we are not able to travel back in time. 

Having read Jane Austen’s letters as well as her novels, I know that the great lady novelist from Hampshire attended her share of fancy dinner parties as an invited guest of wealthy friends.  Due to her own family’s limited circumstances, it is doubtful that Miss Austen’s parents would have been able to host such a grand event. 

These thoughts led me to wonder, “If Jane Austen could throw the grandest dinner party she could wish for, what would it be like?  And most importantly, who would be privileged enough to be on her guest list?”  It was tremendously diverting, Dear Readers, to imagine Jane’s heavenly dinner party.  Knowing her intelligent, open-minded spirit, I believe many noteworthy figures from all walks of life, who lived before, during, and after her own life on earth, would have been in attendance for some good food and excellent conversation!  In my book Jane Austen Speaks, I have included what I have imagined one of her guest lists would have been like.  Perhaps you would like to try your own hand at imagining who would receive one of Miss Austen’s invitations, written in the finest paper in her best hand, of course!
Here is an excerpt from “My Dinner Parties in Heaven” from Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits.  I do hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Excerpt

I must confess that my dinner parties in Heaven are much more casual affairs than the proper ones I attended many times during my lifetime on Earth.  On the Other Side, there are no more concerns whether or not the correct number of gentlemen will be in attendance in proportion to the number of ladies, no such thing as proper procession of rank when dinner is announced, and no more worries about who will or will not be impressed by the grandness of the occasion.  In truth, Society and its many dictates no longer exist as they do on Earth, Dear Readers.  Generally, I like to invite a great many interesting souls who lived at many different time periods on Earth, and who will quite simply enjoy one another’s company in addition to stimulating conversation.  Good wine, good food, and some pleasant music always help to improve the ambiance most agreeably, to be sure.
Besides family and friends who were dear to me during my Earthly life, I am wont to invite souls who took many divergent paths during their lives on Earth.  I am certain to enjoy a large group of literati, scientists, inventors, artists, musicians, political statesmen, and activists to ensure lively and diverting conversation.  It is a delight to be entertained by Herr Mozart or Beethoven on the pianoforte and perhaps hear an aria or two sung by Miss Jenny Lind.

However, it is generally true that at some point, my brothers Henry and James as well as my father—all Anglican clergymen, to be sure—will end up in a heated debate with Mr. Darwin regarding his theories of natural selection, race, and evolution.  (They simply cannot seem to get these topics sorted for themselves!) Furthermore, my brothers Frank and Charles Austen, together with Mr. Churchill, will invariably end up in a corner trading war stories and extolling the glories of the British fleet.  When the writers and poets begin to quote from their literary works, and dear Mr. Robbie Burns begins to sing “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose,” I know that the evening’s festivities have come to a most proper end.  
Please enter your comments below to be entered in the giveaway for an eBook copy!  I look forward to hearing from you. Once again, I would like to thank the lovely Tamara for so graciously inviting me today so that I might talk about Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits.  It has been so delightful to be your guest today!

Thank you for sharing with us today and for the generous blog tour giveaway! 
Readers please comment below and the winner will be announced on 29th August 2016! Giveaway open Internationally.


Blog Tour Schedule ~ 6th -28th July


Each stop on the Blog Tour, generously features a giveaway, of an e-book copy of the book!

Book Blurb:

In JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS, author Maria Emilia de Medeiros “channels” the great Jane Austen from her heavenly home and allows her the opportunity to speak her mind about the modern world nearly two centuries after her passing. Readers will gain a healthy dose of wise counsel and witty advice for leading a sensible, well-mannered twenty-first century life. Jane Austen’s heavenly exploits (not to mention her recipes) will both entertain and delight you. At times serious, drily humorous, or even a bit naughty, JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS is a necessary addition to every Janeite’s library. Dear Readers, if you have ever asked yourself, “What would Jane Austen think?” you have indeed come to the right place.

Buy Links:
Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Austen-Speaks-Heavenly-Pursuits/dp/0692639950/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466366157&sr=1-1&keywords=jane+austen+speaks
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Austen-Speaks-Heavenly-Pursuits/dp/0692639950/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466366192&sr=1-1&keywords=jane+austen+speaks

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston ~ Excerpt!


Hello Fellow Readers,
As promised, I have an excerpt of Northern Rain, kindly shared by author, Nicole Clarkston.
Enjoy reading, Nicole's playful Mr Thornton!

~Northern Rain Excerpt~

“Well, Miss Hale,” Donaldson tugged the spectacles from his face and began to
put them away. “It is a good thing you sent for me.”
Margaret’s eyes darted to Thornton, just behind the doctor, hoping his more familiar face might yield some clues about the doctor’s findings. “My father will recover, will he not?” 
“In a manner of speaking, Miss Hale. He has been growing steadily more frail of late, has he not? Short of breath and confused, I shouldn’t wonder.” 
“Yes, that is true,” she admitted. 
“I thought as much. I believe his heart is weak. The blood is not traveling well to his head or his lungs, Miss Hale. I suspect that, combined with his recent emotional distress, could account for the delusions you say he experiences from time to time. I do not have a cure, I am sorry to say, but I have left a compound which should help. I have seen it prolong lives some years. Without it,” he admonished, “he would not be with us by the summer, so take care that he receives the correct dosage every day.” 
She nodded vigourously. “I will see to it myself, Doctor!” 
“There’s a good lass, I knew you would.” The doctor smiled kindly. 
“Is there anything else I can do for him?” she asked anxiously.
 “Oh, yes, keep him well rested. Light walks once or twice a week should not trouble him, but no more, Miss Hale. He should wait a couple of weeks, at least, before resuming his public lectures. Also, some of that excellent bone broth your woman Dixon makes might do wonders for his blood.” Margaret smiled. “Dixon will be pleased to hear it. Thank you, Doctor.” She bent her head to peer into a purse she had already collected. “How much….” 
“Oh, no, please! It is nothing, Miss Hale,” Donaldson waved his hands as he slid into his coat. Margaret shot a suspicious gaze to Thornton, but he shook his head innocently. 
“Think of it,” Donaldson insisted, “as my way of honouring your late mother. I could do so little for her, and it pleases me that I can do something for your father. Take care of him, Miss Hale. I will return next week to check in on him.” Donaldson collected his hat and saw himself out. 
“Well!” she huffed in surprise at his departure. 
Thornton grinned. “That was always the way with Donaldson. Don’t worry, Miss Hale, we will see to it that he is adequately recompensed for his trouble.” 
She shook her head in wonder. “I do not like being indebted to anyone.” She then turned her eyes up to him. “I find myself once again in your debt as well.” 
“Not at all, Miss Hale. My motives were purely selfish. Your father is very dear to me.” 
“Of course.” A sceptical smile played at her mouth. “Thank you, Mr Thornton, I could not have persuaded him to- what are you doing?”
 “Taking off my coat,” he answered reasonably, draping that article over a chair back. He began to unbutton the cuffs of his shirt sleeves to roll them up. 
She narrowed her eyes, mystified. “I can see that, but for what purpose?” “Well, you do not expect me to wash up dressed like that, do you? Come, I see that you have already cleaned up the mess that I was responsible for, so it is only right that I should return the favour.” 
“Wash up? What are you- you cannot go into the kitchen!” she cried in dismay, following his determined strides. “You think I do not know my way around a kitchen?” he teased over his shoulder. “I am a very good cook, Miss Hale, as long as you only care for porridge.”
 “Yes, but this is not your-” 
Thornton pushed the swinging door aside, cutting off her objection. “Now, let me see- ah, yes, the kettle, I remember,” he muttered to himself, rather ignoring Margaret’s affronted pleas. He lifted the heavy kettle and poured the hot water into a basin. “You must dry, Miss Hale, for I do not know where everything goes once it is clean.” 
“Mr Thornton, this is quite out of line!” Margaret cried. 
He made a face into his basin as he reached for the cake of soap. “‘Mr Thornton’ sounds so formal for a kitchen. I have taken off my coat! You must call me John.” 
“Mr Thornton,” she repeated in baffled annoyance, “let us be done with this foolishness! I cannot allow you to work in my house like-” 
“Like you do?” he shot over his shoulder with a probing gaze. 
The words died in her throat. Her face went ashen. “How did you know?” she whispered in abject mortification. 
He turned and crossed the room in one long stride. He took her hand in both of his own and spread her palm before her face. “Here,” he murmured gently, touching his fingers over the hardened ridges of her hand. “And here,” he turned her hand over, brushing across the firm muscle above her thumb. Margaret snatched her hand back and stared at the offending appendage in betrayal and angst. She swallowed her hurt and snapped, “I might say it is most ungentlemanly of you to mention it!” 
He sighed, smiling, and took her hand back. “I do not think the less of you, you must understand. On the contrary, it shows your true character. It proves you are not afraid to do what must be done. This,” he squeezed her hand gently, testing her strength, “is a badge of honour. It is evidence of your courage and your fortitude. You have learned resourcefulness and your own ability, and the value of honest labour. Not one in a hundred ladies will ever discover what you already know, Miss Hale.” 
“I…” the word came out garbled. His fingers, tracing so intimately over the lines of her palm, wrought havoc with her ability to speak. Gamely she tried again. “I only help. It is nothing so very remarkable,” she mumbled. For a second she thought of reclaiming her hand, but his touch was… distractingly pleasant. 
“That is your natural modesty speaking. I think I know exactly how much you do. You are the glue which holds this household together.” He gazed long into her eyes, searching to discover if she believed his words. 
Margaret gazed back in stunned silence. She tugged softly and he allowed her hand to slip from his grasp. She brushed it self-consciously over her skirts, recollecting that she had earlier donned one of her nicer dresses. She ought not to ruin this one. Her brow furrowed in thought, she turned from him to pluck an apron down from its hook. 
Looping it over her head, she reached behind herself to tie it, but her nervous fingers fumbled. Without a word, Thornton stepped behind her and, taking the ties from her hands, knotted them himself. Her breath came quick and ragged as a pit of awareness tingled through her core. She turned again to look curiously up at him for a moment. 
“The china is not going to wash itself,” he winked with a sly smile. 
She let out a small laugh, relenting. “Very well, Mr Thornton. I would welcome your help.” 
“John, or I will not help you,” he grinned recklessly. 
Margaret blushed deeply, fighting a smile. “John, then.” - Nicole Clarkston



Northern Rain Blog Tour Schedule 


7/8-9: Launch Vignette, Excerpt & Giveaway at Fly High
7/ 10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/11: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton
7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie
7/18: Author/Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…
7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/24: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

I hope you enjoy the rest of the blog tour!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Northern Rain Blog Tour ~ Vignette & Giveaway!


Hello Fellow Readers! 
Today I have a delightful vignette, written by Nicole Clarkson author of 'Rumours & Recklessness', a P&P variation.

'Northern Rain' is a North & South Variation and the authors third book. 
Today, as part of the blog tour, Nicole gives us a wonderful glimpse, into what happens, when Mrs Darcy meets John Thornton! 
(Pop by on the 15th July for an excerpt from 'Northern Rain'.)

I offer no justification for the following frivolity, other than I wrote it purely for my own amusement. - Nicole Clarkson
Timely Advice
~~~~~
“John, I received a note yesterday that some very old acquaintances wish to call this morning.” Mrs Thornton’s distress shone plainly in the lines about her mouth and the deepening furrow between her eyes.
“Why should that seem to trouble you, Mother? I am glad that you have yet the comfort of callers, even with things standing as they are for us.”
“It is precisely that which worries me, John. I have not seen these ladies in many years, and just now, as you have determined to give up the mill, seems hardly the time to renew the acquaintance. I should rather have told them I was indisposed, but the notice was too short. I am surprised that they should call so abruptly!”
“They cannot be disagreeable, can they?”

Mrs Thornton’s teeth set. “They are gentry,” she almost spat. “I only ever had a passing familiarity with them as it is, but their husbands found some business in Milton, and these ladies seem of a peculiar enough sort to travel with them. I think perhaps they cannot know of our affairs, or they should not have sent by their note. I never knew any such ladies to trouble themselves….” She left hanging the unspoken phrase “with a failed manufacturing family.” She did not need to utter what was so plainly written across her face.
Her son set aside the pen with which he had been madly scribbling in his ledger. “Mother, if they unsettle you, you need not feel obliged to receive them. What care have we for some bare acquaintance that you shall probably never have cause to see again?”
Mrs Thornton blew out a frustrated huff. “I should do precisely that, but Mrs Bingley was ever kind to me. I cannot send her away.”

John’s ears pricked up. “Bingley? Would that be the wife of a Mr Charles Bingley, of Northrup Woolen Mills?”
“The very one. You might remember her, John. Your father used to do a deal of business with them, and they had us to picnic days once or twice when you were a boy.”
“I remember. Father owed him over two hundred pounds. I settled the debt with Mr Bingley’s agent, however, as the Bingleys were on the Continent for several years. I wonder, Mother, why you refer to them as gentry? They are nothing of the kind, as I recall.”
“Mrs Bingley was a gentleman farmer’s daughter, but her sister- the other lady- married a very well-to-do land owner indeed. They are quite of the proudest class of people.” She scowled, pouting a little at such an admission of the other woman’s superior status.
John’s brow furrowed. “Oh, yes, I remember. Darcy, wasn’t it? I was very young… Mother, what on earth are such elderly ladies doing traveling about on business tours? Why, they must be well into their sixties or better! They cannot find such travels to be very agreeable.”

Mrs Thornton snorted. “If it were only Mrs Bingley, I might be inclined to agree with you. I have no doubt, however, that it is truly Mrs Darcy who insisted upon them both traveling. She has not been known to remain quietly at home under any circumstances.”
John chuckled lightly. “Perhaps their visit is well-timed, Mother. I think you could do with a pleasant morning, and it sounds as though these little old ladies might be quite entertaining for you. Perhaps I might make an excuse to pay my respects.”
Mrs Thornton shot him a warning glare. “Do not repeat that phrase in their hearing! Mrs Darcy would have you for breakfast.”
The august visitors came duly at their requested time. Mrs Bingley was everything that Hannah remembered her to be from all of those years ago. Polite nearly to a fault, with silver hair, guileless blue eyes, and apple cheeks, even one as reserved as Hannah Thornton could not help but warm to her. 

Mrs Darcy, too, had changed but little. Hannah observed the younger of the two sisters with an arched brow. She was crowned with bold salt-and-pepper locks, and her dark eyes still flashed with merriment at every turn. How such a candid, frolicsome woman had survived with her respectability intact in London society, Hannah could not fathom. She could only surmise that Mrs Darcy had been abetted by her husband’s rather substantial consequence and her own capricious wit. Hannah eyed her dubiously. One never knew what the spritely old bird might say next!
Mrs Thornton kept politely to the weather, assisted by Mrs Bingley, but Mrs Darcy at last looked her directly in the eye. “Mrs Thornton, we hear much of Milton’s recent hardships. I believe my husband is even now speaking to one of your local bankers, regarding some investments he had here which have turned out poorly. How do you and Mr Thornton stand?”
Mrs Thornton gasped in utter shock. Apparently, Mrs Darcy’s advancing age and naturally outspoken personality had manifested themselves in quite improper freedoms. She fumbled, completely at a loss for a demure response.

“Lizzy!” whispered Mrs Bingley in sympathetic horror. Mrs Darcy only flicked a cool glance at her sister.
No further comment was made, because it was then that John knocked respectfully at the door of the room. “I hope I am not interrupting?”
Spry little Mrs Darcy was the first to her feet. “John Thornton, how you have grown! I declare, you must have been still in short pants when I saw you last!”
John coloured and reached uncomfortably to straighten his cravat. “It has been a long time, Mrs Darcy,” he agreed. “Mrs Bingley, I hope you and your husband are well.” Mrs Bingley answered in the affirmative. John’s eyes shifted between the two ladies in unspoken curiosity for a long, awkward moment.
“May I ask what troubles you, young man?” queried Mrs Darcy.
John started and cleared his throat. “It is nothing… only… you both remind me of someone, that is all. It is your manner of speaking, I think. Forgive my rudeness. I only wished to welcome you both to Milton.” He darted an uncomfortable look to his mother. “Please excuse me, Mrs Darcy, Mrs Bingley.” Straightening his jacket as though he were beginning to sweat, John made a hasty retreat from the domain of femininity.

Mrs Darcy turned a penetrating gaze on Hannah. “Rather singular, I declare. Mrs Thornton, your son has grown to a fine man. I am sorry to see that things are not well with your mill.”
Hannah Thornton’s eyes blazed. She retorted as indignantly as she dared, “By what means do you reach such a conclusion, Mrs Darcy?”
The elderly mischief-maker twinkled a knowing look back to her. “I have gazed into eyes very like your son’s these forty-two years, Mrs Thornton- whenever Mr Darcy is troubled, or he believes me to be vexed with him. Tell me, who is the young lady who broke your son’s heart?”
Lizzy!” hissed her scandalized sister.

Hannah nearly gagged on the tea which she had forgotten to swallow. She coughed, requiring a napkin. Mrs Bingley was quite literally hanging her head in shame, her little gloved hand shielding her face. One would expect, Hannah thought testily, that Mrs Bingley would be used to her sister’s tart comments by now! She sputtered unhappily and tried to contrive a way to avoid the woman’s blunt line of questioning, but it seemed that she had more than met her match. Elizabeth Darcy was not to be gainsaid.
“She was from Hertfordshire, I take it?” prodded the little busybody.
Stunned, Hannah only shook her head numbly. “Hampshire.”
“Ah. And a gentlewoman, of course. Your son has quite a discerning eye, Mrs Thornton, and I should not wonder that she felt her family circumstance to be above his own?”
The blood drained from the loyal mother’s face. “Mrs Darcy,” she whispered in ghastly awe, “how did you hear of my son’s affairs?”

Mrs Darcy laughed, the bubbling, joyful laugh of a girl. “You might be surprised to discover what I know of matters such as your son faces! I have been in a similar position, Mrs Thornton, and it shows plainly that he is in great need of encouragement. Now, please do not fear- I know I am a frank old woman and I have no business to pry, but I think I like your son. How might I be of help?”
Hannah was shaking her head. “I would implore you- do not try to encourage him, Mrs Darcy. It is the last thing he wants! What he must do tomorrow….” Instantly, she regretted that last plea.
Mrs Darcy’s eyes brightened. “Ah, does he have an excuse to see her again?”
Hannah clenched her teeth. “He intends to give up the lease on Marlborough Mills, and the property has recently passed into her name. She is quite an heiress now… please, Mrs Darcy, I must implore you to say nothing to make this more difficult for my son!”
The woman’s face softened in understanding. “Of course not, Mrs Thornton. I bore six children of my own, and I know a mother’s cares. Dear me, my oldest granddaughter is to wed next month!”
Hannah was still pale and trembling. “Mrs Darcy, I must insist that my son be left alone so that he may at last put it all behind him.”
A crafty twinkle appeared in that pert old face. “Lizzy,” warned Mrs Bingley under her breath. The stern utterance went entirely unheeded.

“Mrs Thornton,” Mrs Darcy smiled sweetly. “I fancy that I may be able to offer some assistance with Marlborough Mills. My husband has provided me with so much pin money over the years that I have never touched, and I have been thinking recently of investing it, do you see. I know it is most irregular, but would you mind terribly if I inquired of Mr Thornton what possibilities there might be?”
Hannah narrowed her eyes. Mrs Darcy gazed back at her with perfect innocence. “Sarah,” she summoned reluctantly. The maid promptly appeared. “Please show Mrs Darcy to my son’s study,” she instructed. The pair departed, and Hannah nearly gasped aloud in consternation and dread until she remembered that silent Mrs Bingley still remained, sedately stirring her tea.
“She has no intentions of speaking about business matters, Mrs Thornton,” whispered the wise eldest sister.
Hannah tried not to bite her own lip in two. “I know, Mrs Bingley.”


John looked up swiftly from the business letter he had been writing when the door to his study opened without ceremony. “They have gone alrea- Oh! Mrs Darcy!” he shot to his feet. “Do forgive me, I expected my mother.” He surveyed her in some confusion as she strode boldly into his study, her eyes briefly grazing the bookshelves.
“What is her name, young man?” The fine lady’s eyebrows quirked playfully as she approached, a roguish smile playing at her mouth.
He gaped. “Mrs Darcy? I do not understand.”
She came near and brazenly tapped a knowing finger on his chest. “The young lady I put you in mind of. She is quite lovely, I expect?” she batted her lashes.
“What… Mrs Darcy!”
“Did her father desire for her to marry better? What was the objection?”
John blanched, his mouth opening and closing helplessly. Mrs Darcy tilted him a patient smile, waiting expectantly. “Her… her father was my friend,” he managed at last.

Her brows arched. “Was? Oh, dear. Has she other family?”
He sighed. “That is something of a quandary, Mrs Darcy.”
“Oh!” she clapped her hands together. “You are in her confidence in some matter! Better and better, young man. I expect you were able to offer some assistance?”
John narrowed his eyes. “Mrs Darcy, may I ask the nature of your interest in my affairs?”
A sage grin lit her merry, lined face. “Mr Thornton, do you think Mr Darcy suffered no difficulties in proposing to me?”
He gulped, sensing himself on dangerous ground. “I cannot imagine any gentleman not surmounting whatever obstacles he was required to face,” he mumbled gallantly.
She laughed heartily. “Clever boy! It is a pity that William was not so chivalrous to begin with. If you only heard how pompous he was! Oh, how I despised him after that!”
His face fell in shock. “You… you refused Mr Darcy, Madam?”

“With a vengeance, young man. The caprices of fortune, and a hearty measure of humility on both of our parts wrought a most agreeable change in the end. I would counsel you, Mr Thornton, if you love this woman, do not give up hope so easily.”
“Mrs Darcy,” his voice cracked, “with all due respect, matters between us are quite irreparable. After tomorrow, I shall never see her again, and I think she would be glad of it.”
“Tell me, Mr Thornton, what was the last word you had of her?” she tilted her head, those dark eyes sparkling as irrepressibly as they had when she had been a girl.
He swallowed, his hands trembling. “She left Milton when her father died. She sent me one of his books by her maid- that was the last direct contact I had with her.”
Those brows lifted again. “And did she include a note? May I see it?”
Like a dutiful schoolboy, and still suffering in some dismay at the lady’s casual intrusion into his affairs, he retrieved the note- which somehow she knew that he would have preserved all of these months. Mrs Darcy scanned it quickly, and a cunning smile grew on her face. She held the note aloft as a victory flag. “The woman loves you, young man!”
His chest seized. “Mrs Darcy, you cannot-”

“Hush!” she held up a commanding finger. Once she had his full astonished attention, she read the note again, as if to confirm it for herself. Satisfied, she looked up with a firm nod. “If she had hated you, Mr Thornton, she would not have applied so much effort at indifference. Why, one can practically read a novel between those lines! A woman who dislikes a gentleman does not include a note at all, even if the gift is one of duty. Was Plato a particular favourite of her father’s?”
He nodded, breathless. “Yes,” he wheezed.
“Ah. There you have it. You must try again, Mr Thornton, and this time, try to keep your pride out of the room when you propose.”
Stars were dancing before his dazed eyes. “Mrs Darcy!” he objected, “My business will primarily be with her attorney. I shall scarcely even have an opportunity to see her!”
She peered at him with her sharp gaze. “Then you must make one, Mr Thornton, and if she asks you to wait an hour, stay for two. It might seem presumptuous to take a ring with you, but you must offer a flower or something- it sounds as though an apology might also go a long way to smooth matters.”

“I doubt,” he murmured softly, “that she will be willing to hear me, Mrs Darcy.”
Mrs Darcy canted her head to the side, and for a moment, he could picture the impish southern country girl who had long ago captured the imposing and prestigious northern gentleman. She studied him gravely, then pursed her lips in decision. “Yes, she will. A man such as yourself does not give his heart away lightly, nor in vain. I have some experience in these matters. Do not lose sight of the treasure you seek, nor let yourself be drawn off on futile disagreements. Discover the meaning of grace, for it covers a multitude of wrongs, young man.”
“I am not practiced in expressing words of love,” he sighed. “My one attempt met with such scorn, that I dare not try again.”

“Dear me, you are a good deal too much like my husband! Forget the poetry, for I have always found it to kill young love stone dead. Speak simple truth in humility, young man, and that will be sufficient.”
He began to blink rapidly, imagining perhaps a dozen different possible outcomes to such a vulnerable display from him. “What am I to do if words fail me?” he rasped.
That sparkling face grinned mischievously up to him. “I am an impatient old woman, Mr Thornton, and therefore perhaps my advice is not as proper as it once was.”
He lifted a brow, curious. “What do you recommend?”
“Just kiss the girl, young man. And do send me a wedding invitation, for I should dearly love to meet her.”

Thank you Nicole, for delighting us with your frivolities, they are most welcome!
 I would also like to thank Janet at More Agreeably Engaged for helping to bring this this blog tour to fruition.

Giveaway Time! 

Nicole will give away 4 eBooks and 4 Paperbacks of Northern Rain. 
She is also giving away 2 audiobooks of Rumours and Recklessness, a P&P variation, and 2 audiobooks of No Such Thing as Luck, her first N&S variation.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blurb:

There is nothing like a long walk in the rain to guarantee a little privacy… unless the last person you wish to encounter happens also to be in search of solitude.
John Thornton is a man of heavy responsibilities who has many things on his mind, but the most troublesome of them all is Margaret Hale. She wants nothing to do with him, and he wishes he could feel the same. When a moment of vulnerability allows her a glimpse into his heart, she begins to see him very differently.
Is something so simple as friendship even possible after all that has passed between them? Thornton has every good reason to move on, not the least of which is the lovely Genevieve Hamilton and her wealthy father. Will Thornton act according to duty and accept an opportunity to save his mill, or will he take a chance on love, hoping to change Margaret’s mind?

Stop By on the 15th July for an excerpt of 'Northern Rain'!

Northern Rain Blog Tour Schedule 

7/8-9: Launch Vignette, Excerpt & Giveaway at Fly High
7/ 10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/11: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton
7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie
7/18: Author/Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…
7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/24: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

Good Luck in the Giveaway! 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

'The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet' By Caitlin Williams Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!


Hello Fellow Readers!

Today I have an excerpt of ‘The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet' By Caitlin Williams. 
I would like to thank Claudine at Just Jane 1813, for her instrumental part in bringing this blog tour to fruition and to Caitlin for providing an excerpt that had me buying the book straight after!

The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet Blog Tour 
A coming-of-age story told in four volumes between Austen’s infamous couple; savor the story of the prideful man and the girl prejudiced against him, as they meet much earlier in this rethinking of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice. Could this ‘disobedient little hellion’ one day become mistress of Pemberley and the keeper of his heart?

Caitlin Williams, author of the highly-praised book, Ardently, tours the blogosphere from        June 13- June 26, 2016 to share her newest release, The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet. Fourteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an exclusive interview with the author and book reviews from this highly awaited Austen-inspired novel. Eight ebooks are also being included in our giveaways and entry is available to anyone who participates in this blog tour.

Excerpt
Elizabeth had felt almost normal, as if she had slept her cold off when she had woken that morning, but by the time they reached their destination, she began to shake and shiver again and had never been so glad to quit her mount. She only wanted to sit and recover, but supposed she would not get any peace until she appeased Mr Darcy by standing in awe of the view they had come so far to see, if only for a few moments. So she climbed the tor, looked out and although now felt very bad indeed, was able to admire it. The rough, rugged landscape of Derbyshire was laid out before her for miles ahead and it was a beautiful spot. She was the first to turn away though and her heavy legs stumbled down towards the picnic spot where she almost fell upon the rug.
The refreshments did something to revive her, though she was quieter than usual, and let the conversation flow over her head, but her attention was required when Georgiana began to speak directly to her. “We are right in the middle of the country now, Elizabeth. You could not be further from either coast. You must take Elizabeth to the coast one day, Brother, when you return, for she has still never seen the sea.”
Mr Darcy got to his feet without a reply and wandered away and Elizabeth wrinkled her nose in disgust at his rudeness. She had no illusions or hopes as to his ever taking her anywhere, let alone on a trip that would give her so much pleasure, but he might have at least given Georgiana a polite reply.
The Colonel smiled too brightly, “and Darcy will soon see far more of the sea than he could ever have hoped for. I confess after my last voyage home, I have no longing to go aboard a ship, or near any vast expanse of water, for a good long time.”
“I am guessing you were always bound for the Army, Colonel?” asked Miss Temple. “The Navy would not have suited you then?”
You assume correctly. All that salty air and strong wind, it cuts a man’s youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old sooner than any other man,” the Colonel said jovially and patted his cheeks. “I am plain enough looking as it is - a sea-faring life would have been the death of all my romantic hopes. Imagine me all knocked about and exposed to every climate. I would not be fit to be seen. Dreadful profession, I can’t think why any man would choose it, lest he was a complete fool.”
Silence reigned and the smile fell from the Colonel’s face as he looked about in confusion at the pained faces of the three ladies.
Elizabeth spoke, hardly knowing what she said, something about both the Navy and Army having everything in its favour. “Heroism, travel, bustle, fashion, soldiers and sailors would always be acceptable to me; nobody can wonder that men chose to be soldiers and sailors.”
Miss Temple rushed away as Elizabeth was still speaking, but in a different direction to the one Mr Darcy had taken.
“Miss Temple was once betrothed to a young man of the Navy who died at sea,” Elizabeth explained to the Colonel.
His face crumpled and saw he might have cursed himself had she and Georgiana not been present. “Shall I go after her, do you think? Is it my business to? Should I apologise?”
“She is the sweetest soul in the world, Colonel, and will not be cross with you,” Elizabeth told him, “but I do always think there is everything to be gained, and never anything to be lost by the issuing of a genuine apology.”
He got very slowly to his feet and limped away.
Nor he or Miss Temple came back for quite a while. For so long in fact that Elizabeth began to wonder whether all was well and was concerned something had happened to them. Mr Darcy returned in the meantime and kicked at the dirt for a while and then began to speak of returning home. Elizabeth observed that he was a man who lacked the ability to be idle. He could not sit in the same position for long; his mind was constantly active, always wondering what to do next. She felt weary just watching him.
The servants packed up and made them ready for the off. When Miss Temple and the Colonel did appear, the Colonel gallantly handed the governess into the carriage and then looked around at Elizabeth. “Why do you not ride back in the carriage too? You look dreadfully pale, you are sickening for something I am sure of it.”
“Stop fussing, Richard. She’s a country girl, very hardy. You’ll come and ride alongside me, Elizabeth, there are some views I would point out to you,” Mr Darcy said.
The Colonel looked at her as if he were waiting for her to protest. Why she didn’t, she could not actually say, but she supposed she just wanted to get back to Pemberley as quickly as possible, where she might ring for a mug of chocolate, find a shawl and doze in the library. Robert helped her into the saddle and they set off. It was just the three of them and two grooms trailing behind. Georgiana, having been allowed the luxury of choice, had opted for the carriage for the journey back.
She and Mr Darcy rode mostly in silence, side-by-side, for long stretches at a time, the Colonel going on ahead. Mr Darcy would point something out occasionally and she would take notice of it and nod her head, but she had not the energy to answer him. He looked crosser with each passing minute and with each mile she grew more fatigued and light headed.
The Colonel came back to them after a while and she heard him speak to Mr Darcy, saying something about stopping, letting the carriage catch them up. Her name was mentioned and then there was the sound of Mr Darcy’s baritone, shouting to her. “Have control over the reins, Elizabeth, that horse may take you anywhere it pleases,” and then there was nothing, it was all darkness.

Thank you for sharing the excerpt, it ended with me shouting 'no, no, no! I must know what happens' and purchasing the book post-haste!

Book Description

The very worst has happened. Mr Bennet has died, leaving his wife and five young daughters bereft. The family estate, Longbourn, is now lost, entailed away and fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet is to go two hundred miles away to live with strangers. George Darcy, repaying a debt of gratitude, has offered to take her to Pemberley, to live under the mantle of his care and be raised alongside his own daughter, Georgiana.

But on the day she is to leave Longbourn forever, young Elizabeth, grieving and confused, runs off into the Hertfordshire countryside. Fitzwilliam Darcy gives chase, telling his father he will have her back in an hour or two. Luck and fate, however, are not on his side and capturing Elizabeth Bennet turns out not only to be more difficult than he could ever have imagined, but events conspire to turn her little adventure into his worst nightmare.


The prideful man and the girl prejudiced against him, meet much earlier in this rethinking of Jane Austen’s masterpiece. Elizabeth grows up under the ever-watchful eye of Mr Darcy, from fifteen to twenty-one.  She errs and falters, there are stumbles and trips, but could this ‘disobedient little hellion’ one day become mistress of Pemberley and the keeper of his heart?

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Blog Tour Schedule
June 13/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post/“Happy Birthday Fanny Burney & The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet” & Giveaway
June 14/ So Little Time... / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 15/ Just Jane 1813/An Exclusive Interview with Caitlin Williams
June 16/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
June 17/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 18/ The Calico Critic/Book Review & Giveaway
June 19/ Babblings of a Bookworm/“The Education of a Young Lady” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 20/ Half Agony, Half Hope/Book Review
June 21/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Book Review & Giveaway
June 22/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice /Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 23/ Liz's Reading Life / “A Nod and A Wink to Austen” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 24/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review
June 25/ Laughing With Lizzie/ “The Young Master” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 26/ A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/ “A Most Scandalous” Guest Post

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