Wednesday, 29 April 2015

"Suddenly Mrs Darcy" By Jenetta James Blog Tour!

Hello today I have the pleasure of reviewing Jenetta James's first novel 'Suddenly Mrs Darcy" on the 11th day of the blog Tour!  Which has been kindly brought to you by Leatherbound reviews in conjunction with  Meryton Press.

I must confess this book is based on one of my favourite JAFF scenario’s! Elizabeth Bennet being compromised or forced into a marriage with MR DARCY!! This may sound shocking but to a Janeite I suspect it would hardly incite a raised brow.

The title ‘Suddenly Mrs Darcy’ said it all, forego the blurb, time to commence reading. Following their dance
at the Netherfield ball, Mr Darcy feels he must speak with Elizabeth about Wickham, therefore rather than the usual escort from the floor with a curt bow to one’s partner, Darcy continues straight pass the punch bowl to seek a modicum of privacy in which to converse. Mrs Bennet walks in on the scene and believes she has witnessed Mr Darcy kissing Elizabeth and before the ball is at an end, Mr Darcy has agreed to marry Elizabeth. Elizabeth denies her mother’s charges, but her father will have none of it and there you have it, Suddenly Mrs Darcy!

 I found it very amusing that Darcy was inwardly giddy at his own good fortune. At the Netherfield ball we know he must possess the same objections he so ill expressed at Hunsford. Therefore the slight change to Darcy being delighted was hilarious because being wrongly accused of compromising a lady and having to marry her, I believe would be no laughing matter to a man of consequence. Although the author does not write the scene, I was laughing imagining the possibilities “ Mr Darcy may I speak with you?” “Certainly” “You have compromised my daughter” “ Yes” “you understand the expectation?” “Yes, I will procure a special licence, announce the betrothal and we will be married and gone within a se’nnight.” I can picture his stoic face, all the while feeling elated inside, trying desperately not to laugh in a situation in which it would be inappropriate to do so. The in-congruence of it all makes for delightful reading in contemplating how scenes might have transpired. To my surprise Jenetta had a Q&A at the end of the book in which she speaks of what may have passed between Mr Darcy & Mr Bennet.

"In this moment, he feels lucky. The dice have fallen exactly right, and he is too arrogant to lose time worrying about how Elizabeth sees things". - Excerpt from Q&A - Jenetta James.  

I really enjoyed Jenetta's succinct style of writing, she has a way of telling the pertinent facts without the lengthy detail. Elizabeth would walk into a room and within two to three sentences you knew all you needed to know, what Miss Bingley was thinking, what Lousia was doing, what Mr Hurst was drinking, what Mr Darcy’s countenance was portraying and what Elizabeth was feeling. This kept the story moving at a nice pace, which I really appreciated because a page long description of the gardens at Rosings when there is urgent Darcy & Elizabeth business to attend to, is best left in the capable hands of Mr Collins.

"Fans fluttered, skirts swished, jewelled heads bobbed, and the energy of being there swept through me. My husband seemed concerned, firstly, that others should not brush against me in their eagerness to reach the ballroom, and secondly, that we should locate Lord and Lady Matlock without delay." - Jenetta James

As this was written from Elizabeth’s perspective I often wasn't privy to what Mr Darcy was thinking and feeling and although the author made it explicit at times, I often wanted to know what his look or the meaning behind his words meant. However we are largely denied of hearing Mr Darcy’s thoughts throughout canon so I cannot complain overmuch. Elizabeth’s reasoning was good and I always appreciate an author that tackles the sensitive issue surrounding Lydia foolishness and although fleeting I did have some sympathy.

“No indeed, she was most melancholy. When she is alone in the dark, I believe she sees things more clearly. Or more likely, when she is in the light, she feels compelled to pretend to an analysis of her circumstances that even she does not really believe.” -  Jenetta James

I felt Elizabeth was very reasonable, considering she had been compromised, however she was aware it was neither Darcy’s fault. Therefore Elizabeth's lack of resistance towards Darcy was of no surprise and  I do believe Elizabeth is a sensible woman and Jenetta captures it simply. "It became an article of faith for me to make the situation between us work as well as possible" - Jenetta James 

Overall an enjoyable read, with Darcy's confession of love melt worthy, I look forward to future works from this author, thank you Jenetta, for another great compromise scenario I always like to see how Elizabeth will find her way in such a situation. And of course I never tire of a no-nonsense Mr Darcy, although a man of little words, I believe when vexed a little will suffice.

"Would you care to take a turn with me in the garden?” He opened the door himself and tilted his head in a manner that suggested he would brook no opposition. None came, and Lady Catherine stood and made to follow her nephew." - Jenetta James  

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley!

Blog Tour Schedule:

4/20:Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic 
4/21: Review at Songs and Stories 
4/22:  Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club 
4/23: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time… 
4/24: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
4/25: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen 
4/26: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/27: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews 
4/28: Guest Post at Songs and Stories 
4/29: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars 
5/1: Review at Margie's Must Reads
5/2: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged 
5/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie 
As Always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

( I was given an ARC of  'A Peculiar Connection' in return for my honest review)

Monday, 6 April 2015

A Peculiar Connection - Review & Blog tour!

I am delighted to be part of the  'A Peculiar Connection' blog Tour!  Kindly brought to you by Leatherbound reviews in conjunction with  Meryton Press.
I am near giddy to be reviewing Jan Han's  latest Book! It definitely comes with a "No Sleep!" warning.

My Review

"The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy they have been intended for each other" - JA

But what if Lady Catherine had instead announced that "the connection between Darcy and Elizabeth was of a Peculiar kind and from their infancy they were destined never to be together!" Can it be so? Pray tell me it is not? Yet Mr Bennet confirms it to be true, so it must!!

The prologue mesmerised me and Jan's trademark style of getting "straight to the heart of the matter" had me compelled to read on. By the end of chapter one I was heartbreakingly aware tragedy was afoot and by no means were a couple of chapters going to suffice in bringing about a satisfactory resolution. Perchance this book left my sight over the next twenty four hours, it was most unwillingly done!

My Impertinent remark failed to provoke any rejoinder from him as it would have in the past. A chill raised gooseflesh on my arms when I examined his face. Expressionless, the light had vanished from his eyes as surely as if one had doused a candle." - Jan Han

Darcy and Elizabeth make a discovery which will keep them apart forever and it begins with lady Catherine's visit to Longbourn in canon, at this point you know Elizabeth's feelings have changed towards Mr Darcy, so the news that they will never be together is secretly devastating to her, not to mention what it will do to dear Mr Darcy. He once said his feelings would not be repressed, but now they must, we know his affections and wishes are unchanged but now he must silence himself on this subject forever! When a book has this amount of angst how does the author keep you from reaching for your smelling salts? By making sure your beloved characters never leave the page, thank you Jan, this peculiar connection may have separated Darcy and Elizabeth from being together as husband and wife but their peculiar connection throws them together in other ways. Together Darcy and Elizabeth embark on a journey that will have you on the edge of your seat, in anticipation of the small piece of the puzzle that will bring your beloved couple together!

"I wrestled with the dilemma for some time. At last, I closed my eyes and vowed to banish all thoughts from my mind. Immediately, I felt his arms around me as we rode his great horse. Back and forth, our bodies swayed in unison to the natural rhythm of the stallion's gait. I grew warm at the memory and threw off the blanket from my shoulder." - Jan Han

 Writing in a style that is reminiscent of Jane Austen in that the characters are kept as similar to canon as possible, Darcy's true feelings are very rarely portrayed through dialogue, therefore the reader must deduce what he is thinking and feeling through the expression of his countenance, the raising of a brow or simply whether or not he has imbibed excessively! Elizabeth was just how a lady should comport herself in a situation of this magnitude, however I will agree with Lady Catherine that she was a little obstinate at times. In direct reference to my point on canon Colonel Fitzwilliam was a great example, I have come to love the Colonel through reading JAFF as he has been made into a jovial, likeable character, who is a great confidant to Darcy and guardian to Georgiana. Jan however reminded me of the Colonel's need to marry for money and I could not believe that I was inwardly groaning along with Elizabeth at his continued presence! I was laughing when I was shouting like Mr Collins  "Oh no Elizabeth! its the Colonel, make haste my dear, make haste!!!"

"At last, my turn at the counter arrived, and I quickly paid for my purchase. Just as I reached the door, who should open it for me but Colonel Fitzwilliam!
Oh no, I thought, not him again!" - Jan Han

The beloved Gardiners play a big part in this story and I appreciated that their presence enabled Darcy and Elizabeth to be together even if the Gardiners adhered to propriety a little too much for my liking!! The story has a Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail that gives the reader clues to decipher and much needed hope, as they follow Darcy and Elizabeth on a path of discovery that will ultimately bring them closer together.  

I am afraid I could not spoil this book by revealing too many details, however when you read it you will thank me. I have given this book a five heart rating because it is a master class in creating a perfect 'what if' and I guarantee that by the end of the book you will be sighing in contented JAFF bliss!

This book is worthy of 5 hearts - Mr Darcy!

Please join the other wonderful blogs taking part in this tour!

3/30: Review at Savvy Verse and Wit
3/31: Excerpt at Songs and Stories 
4/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club 
4:2: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/3: Author Interview at  The Little Munchkin Reader 
4/4: Review at Margie's Must Reads
4/5: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen 
4/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged 
4/8: Excerpt at Laughing with Lizzie 
4/9: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4/10: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
4/12: Review at The Delighted Reader 
4/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews 
4/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/15: Review at Warmisunqu's Austen

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

( I was given an ARC of  'A Peculiar Connection' in return for my honest review)