Showing posts with label Austen-Inspired. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austen-Inspired. Show all posts

Monday, 29 March 2021

Five Daughers Out at Once by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m really pleased to welcome Jayne Bamber back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her new Pride & Prejudice variation, Five Daughters Out at Once. I love that Jayne comes up with ideas that I haven’t seen anywhere else before and this book is no exception. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Jayne for a guest post.

Book Cover: Five Daughters Out at Once by Jayne Bamber
Book Description

After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance.

Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society – and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands?

Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart – Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document – and change – the lives of her new friends.

Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans – for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound and plans go awry as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives.

Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?

Monday, 21 September 2020

Sanctuary Volume 3 by Cat Andrews - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Recently Cat Andrews joined us with Sanctuary Volume 1 and I shared my review of the story with you. Sanctuary Volume 2 is already available and Volume 3 is due out this week. Cat has joined us with an excerpt from Sanctuary Volume 3. She’s also offering an ebook giveaway for those of you who buy your ebooks from The winner can choose which of the 3 volumes they would like, so if you’re just waiting for volume 3 you could have that one, or you could start the story at volume 1.

Don’t worry that this post will contain spoilers for volume 1, the spoilers are very slight, only that Will and Lizzy got together and I am pretty sure you had suspected that!

Also, join me here later this week, where I’ll be sharing my reviews of volume 2 and 3. You can comment on the review post for a bonus entry. Let’s look at the blurb for Sanctuary Volume 3 and then I will hand over to Cat for an excerpt.

Book Description: Sanctuary Volume 3

She studied him in the gray, dreary light of the morning, and her heart ached as she wondered how she was going to tell him that once again, the past was forcing its way into the present.

Will Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are deeply in love, and together with Will’s young son Jack, they are looking forward to their happily ever after on the shores of Great Diamond Island.

For Will, the future has never looked brighter: he’s wild about Elizabeth, has found a best friend in Charles Bingley, and his new consulting business is slowly gaining momentum—as is his fledgling relationship with his father.

Elizabeth, too, is deliriously happy: she’s crazy about Will and is embracing her role as Jack’s “new” mom, she loves her job at the Portland Children’s Library, and is looking forward to having her younger sister Lydia settled close by.

It seems they’ve left their troubled histories behind and are heading into the future as a blissful family of three. But can anyone truly forget—or escape—a past that is determined to reassert itself? Can a new love withstand the forces that seek to destroy it?

Monday, 31 August 2020

Sanctuary Volume 1 by Cat Andrews - Guest Post, Excerpt and Review

Book cover: Sanctuary Volume 1 by Cat Andrews

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Cat Andrews here with her debut novel, Sanctuary, which is a story split into 3 volumes. Online readers might have heard of this story before; I first read it posted on A Happy Assembly, but I’m not sure if it was posted on other boards too. It’s a modern, Pride & Prejudice influenced story. I’ll share the blurb with you, and then hand over to Cat for a guest post and excerpt and we will round off with my review of Sanctuary, Volume 1.

Sanctuary Volume 1 Book Description

“Do you ever wish you had a second chance to meet someone again for the first time?”

When Elizabeth Bennet left her Massachusetts hometown two years ago and settled on Great Diamond Island, off the rocky coast of Maine, all she wanted was a fresh start, somewhere to forget a past full of heartbreak and trauma—a place that would allow her to rediscover herself and what it felt like to be happy. 

Will Darcy is ready to leave the family drama and noise of New York City behind. He moves to Great Diamond Island in an effort to build a better life for himself and his young son Jack, hoping it will provide a quiet place for them to heal from their grief after a tremendous loss.

Elizabeth meets Will within moments of his setting foot on the island, but the handsome newcomer’s offhanded dismissal of her is anything but a “meet cute.” But as the days pass, Will’s chance encounters with the bright-eyed, pretty young woman—and Jack’s insistence on befriending her—cause Will to see Elizabeth, and himself, in a different light.

But as they draw closer and take tentative steps toward something more than friendship, will they be able to step outside the shadows of their pasts?

Monday, 20 July 2020

Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber
I am happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her new book, Madness in Meryton. This book has a Groundhog Day theme, with one day repeating. I love this idea, as an author can have such fun with it and go to lengths that wouldn’t be allowable due to the lack of consequences! Jayne’s also offering an ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Jayne for an excerpt.

Book Description

Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, and two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their quarrelsome younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and their tedious cousin, Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.

That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for the officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham reveals to Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.

The next day, the same thing happens again.

And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.

As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….

Elizabeth Bennet must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Rebellion at Longbourn by Victoria Kincaid - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I’m very happy to be welcoming Victoria Kincaid back to the blog with her latest book, Rebellion at Longbourn. Isn’t that an exciting title?! Victoria joins us with an excerpt and ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb, to get an idea of why there would be rebellion at Longbourn, and then I’ll hand over to Victoria for the excerpt.

Book cover: Rebellion at Longbourn by Victoria Kincaid
Book Description

Elizabeth Bennet’s father died two years ago, and her odious cousin Mr. Collins has taken possession of the Longbourn estate. Although Collins and his wife Charlotte have allowed the Bennet sisters and their mother to continue living at Longbourn, the situation is difficult. Viewing Elizabeth and her sisters as little more than unpaid servants, Collins also mistreats the tenants, spends the estate’s money with abandon, and rejects any suggestions about improving or modernizing Longbourn. After one particularly egregious incident, Elizabeth decides she must organize a covert resistance among her sisters and the tenants, secretly using more modern agricultural methods to help the estate thrive. Her scheme is just getting underway when Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton.

Upon returning from a long international voyage, Darcy is forced to admit he cannot forget his love for Elizabeth. When he learns of the Bennet family’s plight, he hurries to Hertfordshire, hoping he can provide assistance. Sinking into poverty, Elizabeth is further out of Darcy’s reach than ever; still, he cannot help falling even more deeply in love. But what will he do when he discovers her covert rebellion against Longbourn’s rightful owner?   

Falling in love with Mr. Darcy was not part of Elizabeth’s plan, but it cannot be denied.  Darcy struggles to separate his love for her from his abhorrence for deception.  Will their feelings for each other help or hinder the Rebellion at Longbourn?

Monday, 30 September 2019

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion by Don Jacobson - Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson - Blog Tour
Don Jacobson visits us today with the latest in the Bennet Wardrobe series.

If you're new to this series, let me explain a little about it:

What is the ‘Bennet Wardrobe’? Well it’s literally a wardrobe, but it’s no ordinary piece of furniture. It can transport people of the Bennet bloodline forward in time for a period, and then transport them back to their original time. The time traveller doesn’t get to choose when they travel to; it’ll take them to a period that will teach them something they need to know.

This story is Lydia's.

* * *

Book cover: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson
Book Description

“My life has been very much like an unfinished painting. The artist comes to the portrait day-after-day to splash daubs of color onto bare canvas, filling in the blanks of my story. Thus grows the likeness, imperfect as it may be, which you see today.”
Lydia Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock, letter to her sister
Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, March 14, 1831.

Does it matter how a man fills out his regimentals? Miss Austen never considered that query. Yet, this question marks the beginning of an education…and the longest life…in the Bennet Wardrobe saga.
Lydia Bennet, Longbourn’s most wayward daughter, embarks on her quest in The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. This biography reveals how the Wardrobe helps young Mrs. Wickham learn that honor and bravery grow not from the color of the uniform—or the gender of its wearer—but rather from the contents of the heart.

In the process, she realizes that she must be broken and repaired, as if by a kintsugi master potter, to become the most useful player in the Bennet Wardrobe’s great drama.

 “Multifaceted and nuanced, The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion, speaks to the verities of life. Once again, Don Jacobson has combined the essence of Pride and Prejudice with an esoteric story line and the universal themes of redemption and forgiveness in this well-crafted narrative.”
Mirta Ines Trupp, author of The Meyersons of Meryton

Guest Post from Don Jacobson - Roses in the Bennet Wardrobe’s World

It all started with Sir William Lucas.


For some reason I latched onto the old shopkeeper’s introduction of the Bennet sisters at the Meryton Assembly as alluding to their beauty. In the Bennet Wardrobe’s universe, those words were “the Five Roses of Hertfordshire.” My mind has its own way of processing information.

In my house, carnations are considered the more beautiful bloom. Yet, the scent of roses are incomparable. And, I have a veritable forest (Vita Sackville-West would have words with me about pruning if the good lady were still in this world) of rosebushes lining my front walk. But the rose imagery came to the forefront early in 2016 when I was working on the first novel in the Bennet Wardrobe Series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey.

Yellow rose
I began considering the rose hagiography early on. For me, it was ascribing a flower to be an emblematic ideal. For instance, many authors have idealized Pemberley’s gardens as being the enduring legacy of Lady Anne Darcy. I imagined that the family memorialized her by naming the delightful sunshine-colored cultivar, the yellow, as the Lady Anne.

I am impressed with the beauty of a pure yellow rose…and so are we all by Jane Bennet’s classic looks. Thus, the Lady Anne became her flower.

red rose
As for Elizabeth…we become aware of Darcy ordering a vase of deep red roses…Lizzy’s Own Red Bourbons…placed daily on a table outside of her chambers, unused after those awful days in 1836. Of course, these had been her favorites—and, thus, his—throughout her life. The crimson petals complemented her chocolate, near black eyes and rich brunette locks. Thus, the classic Red Bourbon variation created by Lydia Fitzwilliam was inscribed on Elizabeth’s escutcheon, matching her impertinent statement for impertinent statement.
Of course, flowers also have their own symbolic meanings.

Once I became enamored of using the roses to represent the Bennet women (ah-hah! Not Daughters, but Women), I had to consider the others.

My cover designer and artistic muse, Janet B. Taylor suggested using white to represent Mary’s purity of spirit. You have no idea how that changed my perspective. I had been considering Mary as the bush in winter from which summer’s beauty would spring. Brown canes are not very appealing and tended to confirm the hidebound point-of-view that most in the #Austenesque world had been taking of the middle daughter.

White rose
Giving Mary her own flower allowed me to visualize the beauty that was resting inside of her. No longer the root plant (although as The Great Keeper, Mary Bennet Benton ensured the Wardrobe’s integrity and the health of the Bennet Family Trust.), Mary now could be transformed into the woman she was truly meant to be.

Inside of the character study of the man who would become Kitty’s love interest after she translates to the future, Henry Fitzwilliam’s War, we encounter the young Viscount recalling his time as a little boy walking with his Great-Grandmother, the Dowager Countess. He asked her about the roses. Lydia recounts the roses for each of her sisters as I have above. Then the child asks about Aunt Kitty. Lydia replies:

“All of them. Every plant and bloom here in Selkirk, over at Thornhill and Pemberley, down at Longbourn, and most especially on the fieldstone wall in front of the House at Deauville reminds me of my most beloved sister.”

The cult of the rose, I discovered as I worked with the Wardrobe, did not originate with the Bennets but rather with the Gardiners. As we discovered in The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament, Mrs. Bennet brought roses to Longbourn shortly after her marriage to Thomas. She was replicating her mother’s plantings behind the Gardiner home on Meryton’s High Street.

rosa chinensis
The bushes Fanny brought to Longbourn included cuttings from the original plants (rosa chinensis) brought from China by her three-times great Grandfather. That Mr. Gardiner was a trader’s clerk and settled in Meryton following his master, Christopher Bennet, in abandoning the Honorable East India Company for the gentle climes of Hertfordshire. The tangerine hued r. chinensis flowered (sorry for the greensman’s pun) in the person of Frances Lorinda Bennet.

blush rose
Given her sensual nature, Lydia’s rose required a bit of thinking. The “usual” colors were already serving her elder sisters. I was at a quandary. Except that each morning I strolled past my rosebushes. The blossoms were entrancing, particularly the blush-colored ones. Those, I imagined, were redolent of Lydia’s cheeks when well-loved by Wickham, Richter, or Fitzwilliam. Its fragrance was delightfully potent, filling my kitchen after I clipped a few and reminding me of the powerful woman the Wardrobe’s Lydia was destined to become.

Blush it was for her.

There is one bit of floral arrangement I would wish to address…the garlands that stretch across the bottom of the front cover (print and e-book) and the wreath surrounding the volume number on the print book spine.

I will admit that there are breadcrumbs scattered all over the covers for the Bennet Wardrobe stories. Sometimes they can be found in the covers themselves—for instance, the garland on Henry Fitzwilliam’s War is made of red poppies, the everlasting symbol of the sacrifice made by the soldiers of WWI.

The wreaths surrounding the volume numbers (there is none on Henry Fitzwilliam’s War as it exists only as an e-book) are either incomplete or complete. In some cases—where the life of the character is barely started—as in Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess—the garland has but two or three roses. Otherwise the garlands are broken (as on The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque) or complete (as on The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn) depending on how far the reader is able to follow the title character’s life.

Blog Tour: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don JacobsonThe cover garland for The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion offers other variations. Three roses in the garland are larger, representing the men in her life. Several of them have tear droplets showing the veils through which the youngest daughter had to pass.

The rose iconography in the Bennet Wardrobe stories offers, I hope, a subtext which enhances the overall experience readers have with the arc.

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion, the seventh book in the arc of the Wardrobe stories.

Full Book Cover: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson
Excerpt from The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion

Hauptmann Hans Richter, having lived at the Beach House for over one year, has begun to explore rising feelings for the widowed Mrs. Wickham. His affection for her son, Georges Henri, has helped smooth his path. Having been given Lady Kate’s blessing to court, the couple has left the Beach House for an outing in the ancient fortress city of Caen.

The road from Deauville to Caen trended south and west through farmland separated by great hedgerows thickened over the centuries. A sunny day, the great orb warmed their backs as the KW roared down the track, sparsely populated with lorries, other military vehicles, and the odd civilian auto. The whine of the engine and the rush of the wind around the open cab precluded conversation.
That did not mean that Lydia could not look at and appreciate the man next to her. Unlike his companion, her head wrapped in one of Kitty’s brilliant Hermes scarves and her body protected by a scarlet car coat, Hans Richter had pulled on a leather jacket which remained unzipped as they bounced along. His unstarched shirt collar points snapped up and down in the slipstream, offering a creamy counterpoint to cheeks ruddied above his preternatural tan.
His long fingers wrapped the Bakelite steering wheel, securely guiding the bucking four-seater over the bleached tarmac. Lydia watched, one eyebrow rising when his lanky frame, jack-knifed into the bucket seat, flexed and shifted as the vehicle responded to the bumps inherent in Normandy’s indifferently-maintained roads. From time-to-time, his left leg stabbed into the well as he worked the clutch to down-shift as they were forced to slow for traffic or move the transmission into top gear to launch the KW when the road cleared.
She resisted the urge to stroke his right thigh as the muscles tensed and relaxed, bulging his powerful, paratrooper quadriceps.
Lydia’s eyes, often focused upon the scenery as it flew past, would, however, drift back to caress him with their velvet fingers. For his part, Richter would turn her way and, from time-to-time, throw a brilliant grin, his even teeth blinding in the midday sun.
Oh, to be young and without care, if only for a moment.
Mrs. Wickham had taken both Kitty’s lessons as well as her own ruminations to heart. She would be that calm center—no, not like Jane as seen by Darcy, but rather the soaring mistress of the drawing-room, Miss Bennet of the calm and still waters running deeply as she quelled a fractious crowd—that would draw Richter into deeper communion. She would neither entice him nor use her arts and allurements to bend him to her will.
He would move from storge to agape without the need for either the Fifth or Sixth Loves…or he would not. Eros would come eventually.i
Or it would not.
Too much time devoted to wondering what could be would ultimately detract from the immediacy of what was.

* * *

Caen was impossibly ancient. The Dukes of Normandy long called the city home, consolidating their power around the old port built where the Orne had poured into the Channel. Now, however, with a thousand years of sediment filling in the estuary, Caen like its old trading partner, Bruges, further north was land-locked, ceding its pre-eminence to the aptly-named metropolis of Le Havre.
Much as Vienna was an imperial city without an empire, Caen was a warlord’s domain without his august self, lands, knights, or peasants. Yet, the Château de Caen attracted crowds of German tourists—mostly day-tripping Wehrmacht non-coms—who were stunned by the inherent power of Duke William’s massive castle. If they were not able to travel to Berlin or Nuremberg to delve into Albert Speer’s architectural musings, German soldiers could, none-the-less, marvel at a structure that had already endured 900 years, a scant century shorter than the Führer’s promise for the Reich.
Lydia and Hans parked the KW near the Caen Kommandantura before crossing into the center of town to climb up to the fortifications built on a rise, once remote and now overlooking encroaching houses and shops. They passed through the great gatehouse—the Porte des champs—that had overlooked the sprawling grain fields that fed William’s cavalry.
Massive blocks of granite and limestone could only hold so much appeal to a pair of young people using sightseeing as the medium to learn more about one another. Lydia eventually expressed weariness and begged a demitasse et petits fours before they searched out a suitable spot to dine al fresco. They retraced their steps back into town.
Blog Tour: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson
As they entered the place de la ville, two sides of which were occupied by a great church and the hôtel de ville, they spied several cafés huddled beneath the eaves of old, but well-maintained, buildings. As t’was just past the noon-hour, most tables were taken by businessmen, merchants, and others who navigated around the edges of Occupation France’s officialdom.
Lydia cast a worried look at the busy restaurants and said to Richter, “Hans, this seems to be an idea doomed to fail. I cannot see any open seats. Perhaps we should just get the car and head down the river road.
I did so wish to rest my feet, though.”
Her weary appeal set Richter’s head to swiveling as he scanned the terrace. His eye caught a small two-seater in the far corner, directly against the building. Tactically, this would have been the table he would have chosen if the entire café had been empty. While not the most obvious, this little table had a commanding view of the entire place.
Better to see than be seen.
Firmly gripping Lydia’s hand, Richter made his way to the tiny two-top, weaving around protruding elbows and bowed chairbacks. He did not bull his way across as would many of his kind living and breathing the assumption that they had greater rights than others thanks to their successful conquests. He was polite: numerous utterances of pardonnez-moi, m’sieur or ‘schuldigung mein Herr floated behind the couple as they did their best to avoid unduly disturbing others.
Once settled at their table, Lydia and Hans placed their order, the same as they would have at Villet’s…café et deux macarons et deux eclairs…ample food to keep Richter’s Fallschirmjäger and Lydia’s farmgirl appetites at bay.
The conversation, after all, was what was important. Much of what passed between them would have been accounted as bordering on meaningless little nothings. T’was true that, if exchanged between two persons who only had met this day, such bon mots would have been accounted as idle chit-chat. However, this courting couple would—and did—discover even idle words would illuminate their understanding of the object of their affection. Mrs. Wickham and Hauptmann Richter were oblivious to all persons surrounding them in the café or passing by in pursuit of their business in the old town. Their heads were bent together as they chatted and nibbled and sipped.
In their newfound bliss, Lydia and Hans ignored that which would have been obvious to any observer. The streets of Caen were not those of Deauville. What was accepted as perfectly normal in the pâtisserie Villet rankled, disgusted, and left the bitter taste of incipient collaboration within the breasts of those who only saw a filthy bosche and his consort whiling away an afternoon.
Two pairs of eyes grimly watched the man and the woman. When the couple rose to leave, the men, near-identically dressed in shapeless umber pants and jackets, their caps pulled low to hide their observational focus, tailed them, walking beside bicycles ever-present in a petrol-starved world. Their hearts were hardened by the exigencies of war. Keen deep-set eyes were narrowed in hate. The watchers carefully noted which Kübelwagen ferried the blonde woman and the equally tow-headed German away from Caen and down the Orne River Road.
They did not follow: neither had ridden the Tour de France. Besides, they did not know if the bosche in mufti was a big fish or small fry. The woman was unimportant, likely a whore who would be purged once the nation’s soul was cleansed of the stain of June 1940. They had questions which needed answers as these were new and unfamiliar players on the invisible board where black and white pieces only left the field through death and destruction. Surprise and indiscriminate terror were their tools.
One of the men approached a motor pool Unteroffizier and exchanged a few friendly words, a bottle of something labeled Monnet cognac but almost certainly not the bonafide nectar, and two packages of American cigarettes, the leavings from a late-night gift launched from a low-flying Stirling. Stranded in the Autolaager for long hours with nothing to see but greasy crankcases and leaking gaskets, the corporal became gossipy, especially with those who fed his smoky alcoholism.
The two maquisards walked away knowing that the suspect KW belonged to the Deauville Kommandantura. Its most frequent passenger, a blue-chip target, was a full-blown German Oberst, a Graf of the old blood.

i After January 1815, with Mr. Bennet’s death, Lydia had become her mother’s companion and had listened to the lady expound on all Six Loves.

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Author Don Jacobson
Author Bio

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series—

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)
The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)
The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South due out in the Fall of 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman.” (2016) Lessers and Betters offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).

He lives in the Las Vegas, Nevada area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.

His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

Connect with Don


Buy Links

The Pilgrim is available to buy now in paperback, kindle and kindle unlimited:

Giveaway Time!

Book cover: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson
Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. To enter, please use the rafflecopter below.

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Blog Tour Schedule: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson

Blog Tour: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion by Don Jacobson
Blog Tour Schedule:
3 Oct My Vices and Weaknesses

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Monday, 20 May 2019

Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell - Author Interview and US Giveaway

Book cover: Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell I'm welcoming author Allie Cresswell to the blog for the first time. Allie has written 3 books based in the world of Jane Austen's Emma. These books focus on the ladies from the Bates family. The first, Mrs Bates of Highbury is about Mrs Bates when she was younger, The Other Miss Bates is about Jane Fairfax's mother, and Dear Jane is about Jane Fairfax herself.

Book Description

The final installment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day.

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

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Allie has kindly joined us for an author interview, which is fantastic as I get to ask her lots of nosey questions. She's also brought a US giveaway for a copy of Dear Jane. Read on for details!

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber - Blog Tour - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Unexpected Friends & Relations by Jayne Bamber
A few months ago I took part in Jayne Bamber's blog tour for Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, which featured characters from more of Austen's books than just Pride & Prejudice. When that book was released Jayne made it clear that there would be a sequel and I'm happy to tell you that this has now been released - Unexpected Friends & Relations. Jayne has popped in to visit us today with a guest post and giveaway, which is below.

I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Jayne. Just to warn you, though, that this book is a sequel; therefore the blurb and the excerpt could contain spoilers for book one and the guest post certainly does, so if you haven't read book one yet but would still like to enter the giveaway, scroll down quickly!

Book Description

Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.

Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.

Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.

Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in in area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.

Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.

Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as wells as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.

After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations purse destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Perilous Siege by CP Odom - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Perilous Siege by C P Odom - Blog Tour
Today I'm welcoming author C P Odom back to the blog with his latest Pride & Prejudice-inspired book Perilous Siege. C P Odom's previous books have been set in Jane Austen's time, and so is this one, though it has a modern element too - let's have a look at the blurb and then I'll hand over to the author for him to introduce a lovely, long excerpt.  There's also a chance to win a copy of the book! Read on for more details.

Book Cover: Perilous Siege by C P Odom
Perilous Siege Book Description

What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?

When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world.

Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I'm pleased to be welcoming a new author to the blog. Although Be More Jane is Sophie Andrews' first book, many of you will be aware of her, as a blogger over at Laughing With Lizzie, and the creator of the Laughing with Lizzie Facebook page. Sophie is a very keen Janeite and she has created a gorgeous book, with illustrations from the very talented Jane Odiwe, who is a wonderful artist in addition to being a talented author. Let's have a look at the blurb to get a flavour of what Sophie's book is about, and then I will hand over to her for a guest post, excerpt, and a chance for you to win a copy of the book!

Book Description

Book cover: Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews
Are you more Marianne than Elinor, Lydia rather than Lizzy? Be More Jane will teach you to address life with more sense and less prejudice, taking useful lessons from the novels and letters of Jane Austen, one of the world’s best-loved writers. Times may change, but many of our problems remain the same. Sophie Andrews, a young Janeite, knows from personal experience that in times of trouble, or just on matters of friendship, family, and love, answers are to be found in the pages of Miss Austen’s novels.

Guest Post from Sophie Andrews and Excerpt from Be More Jane

Thank you so much, Ceri, for welcoming me to your blog. I am excited to be sharing an extract from my new book with your readers today. The extract I have chosen is from the chapter entitled 'Be More Lizzy'. Elizabeth Bennet has always been a huge inspiration for me, not to mention my blog persona as well. I find her such an admirable character.

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Be More Lizzy

“I dearly love a laugh.”
(Pride and Prejudice)

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet is one of the most well known, admired, and popular of Jane Austen’s heroines. Witty, independent, intelligent, loyal, and a loving daughter and sister, she is perhaps the character most closely linked in the reader’s mind to Jane Austen herself. Since my first introduction to Lizzy, when I was just 16, she has been my inspiration. She has been my blog persona for a number of years and, from her, I have picked up invaluable tips on how to be more of a “Lizzy” in my own life.

Life can be tough, so try to make it fun and enjoyable more of the time. Lizzy herself declares, “follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can” and we should do the same. Lizzy always searches for the funny side to any situation, which is a sensible approach to life, for laughing is proven to be good for us. In today’s challenging world, where we are faced with negativity on a daily basis, it is essential to find joy in as much as we can, to keep us smiling.

Lady Catherine confronts Lizzy
“You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these.”

These are Lizzy’s defiant words during her clash with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, after rumors reach her ladyship of an engagement between Lizzy and her nephew, Mr Darcy. Elizabeth is a wonderful example of someone who knows her own mind and will not be persuaded to do anything she does not believe in. She is even strong enough to stand up to Lady Catherine, a formidable character, of far superior rank in society—no mean feat! Lizzy is someone who will always fight her own corner but is not afraid to support others when needed. She shows real courage and commendable strength of character, particularly for a woman in the Regency era. We can follow in her footsteps, be true to what we know is right, and stand up for our beliefs.

These are the two principal lessons to be learned from our inspirational heroine, and they are two that have particularly helped me.

Lizzy walking to Netherfield
"six inches deep in mud"!
But it also seems to me that occasionally walking through a muddy field, as Lizzy famously does, might not be such a bad idea when seeking to impress! And perhaps she knows a trick or two when, out of curiosity, she unexpectedly goes visiting a rich man’s house and estate and successfully wins his love (and his fortune!).

Seek out the fun in life.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Don’t worry about getting a bit of mud on your shoes!

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This is just one of many topics I touch on in the book, and I have  also had a little extra fun along the way, by writing 'vignettes' as some of Austen's most beloved, often comic, characters - who mistakenly believe they have their own sensible advice to share!  I do hope you all enjoy my new book, 'Be More Jane'.  And thank you again for letting me stop by.

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About the Author

Sophie Andrews
(photo by Brian Hubbard)
Sophie Andrews is a founder member of the Jane Austen Pineapple Appreciation Society, and organises events such as picnics, balls and house parties for her fellow Austenites. Sophie started her blog, Laughing with Lizzie, in 2012, aged 16, after studying Pride and Prejudice at school. She has been attending Austen-themed events since then, and was featured in the BBC documentary “My Friend Jane” which focused on the fun and friendship she has found with her fellow Janeites. She lives in Berkshire and has over 100 different editions of Pride and Prejudice on her bookshelves.

Contact Links:

Book cover: Be More Jane by Sophie AndrewsBuy Links:

Be More Jane is available to buy now!

Giveaway Time!

CICO books are very kindly giving away a copy of the book at each of the blog stops (there's a list below). The giveaway is open to readers in the US, Canada and Europe. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Friday 19 April. You can leave contact details here, such as a twitter name or email address to be notified if you are the winner, but if you'd rather not publish this info, then follow comments on the post, and I will pop in a comment once the winner's name is selected.

Thank you so much to CICO books and to Sophie Andrews for visiting Babblings of a Bookworm with this beautiful book!

Be More Jane Blog Tour Schedule

Be More Jane Tour Schedule

April 8          Regency History / Q&A & Giveaway
April 9          Diary of an Eccentric / Book review & Giveaway
April 10        More Agreeably Engaged / Book review & Giveaway
April 11        Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt & Giveaway
April 12        My Love for Jane Austen /Guest Post & Giveaway
April 14        My Jane Austen Book Club /Book review & Giveaway
April 15        So Little Time / Guest Post & Giveaway
April 16        Austenesque Reviews / Book review & Giveaway

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Friday, 13 July 2018

Proof of Love by Brenda Webb - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Proof of Love by Brenda Webb
I'm happy to be welcoming Brenda Webb back to Babblings of a Bookworm with an excerpt of her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Proof of Love. Brenda has brought a generous giveaway with her too! I'll now hand over to Brenda.

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Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Darcy Legacy by Joana Starnes - Blog Tour & Giveaway - Review

Blog Tour: The Darcy Legacy by Joana Starnes
Today I'm happy to be welcoming one of my favorite JAFF authors, Joana Starnes for the blog tour stop of her newest book The Darcy Legacy. There's also a fantastic giveaway! Let me share the blurb with you first.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Cover: Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox
Today I'm happy to be welcoming Karen M Cox to the blog. Long time visitors to my blog might remember that I've read quite a few of Karen's works. I love how she moves the characters and themes from Austen's books to different places and times. Her books are usually not set in the modern day, but in the 20th Century. I've read and enjoyed depression-era 1932, and the follow up novella, The Journey Home, plus 1980s spy novel Undeceived, Find Wonder in All Things, which takes Persuasion to the 1990s, and visited Emma Woodhouse back to the 1970s in I Could Write a Book. Karen has even taken on Northanger Abbey, in a short story in the Sunkissed: Effusions of Summer anthology, which is responsible for one of the longest quotes I have ever put on my blog!

I'll now hand over to Karen for her to tell us a little more about her latest story, Son of a Preacher Man, which I hope to read later this month.