Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts

Monday, 15 February 2021

Death in Highbury by Riana Everly - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Death in Highbury by Riana Everly
I’m happy to be welcoming Riana Everly back to the blog with her latest Miss Mary Investigates book, Death in Highbury. As the name suggests, Mary Bennet goes to pay Emma Woodhouse a visit. We have a guest post from Riana, and an excerpt of Death in Highbury. There’s a giveaway too! Read on for details.

Book Description

When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets.

Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another!

Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?

Monday, 12 October 2020

Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Riana Everly back to the blog with her latest book, Death of a Clergyman. Name a clergyman we could do without – why yes, Mr Collins does spring to mind! But how did he die? In this case, not naturally. So we have a mystery on our hands. And who is a serious minded person who would be drawn to looking into this mystery? Why, Miss Mary Bennet! I know that this book will already be drawing some of you in with it being a mystery and having a focus on Mary.

Riana has come here today with my favourite type of guest post, where authors are so kind as to share with us some history that they have gleaned from their research, to save us having to research for ourselves. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Riana, for her guest post, an excerpt from Death of a Clergyman and a giveaway for you.

Book Description

Mary Bennet has always been the quiet sister, the studious and contemplative middle child in a busy family of five. She is not interested in balls and parties, and is only slightly bothered by the arrival of the distant cousin who will one day inherit her father’s estate. But then Mr. Collins is found dead, and Mary’s beloved sister Elizabeth is accused of his murder. Mary knows she must learn whatever she can to prove Elizabeth innocent of this most horrible crime, or her sister might be hanged as a murderess!

Alexander Lyons has made a pleasant life for himself in London, far from his home village in Scotland. He investigates missing documents and unfaithful wives, and earns an honest living. Then one day Mr. Darcy walks into his office, begging him to investigate the murder of Mr. Collins and to prove Elizabeth innocent of the crime. It seems like a straightforward enough case, but Alexander did not count on meeting a rather annoying young woman who seems to be in his way at every turn: Mary Bennet. 

As the case grows more and more complicated, Mary and Alexander cannot stop arguing, and discover that each brings new insight into the case. But as they get close to some answers, will they survive the plans of an evildoer in the midst of quiet Meryton?

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour - Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Kelly Miller back to Babblings of a Bookworm with the blog tour for her her latest book, Accusing Mr Darcy. Isn't that an exciting title?! Who is accusing Mr Darcy and why? Let’s look at the blurb, and then I will hand over to Kelly for an excerpt from the book. There's also an ebook giveaway accompanying the blog tour, details below!

Book Cover - Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller
Book Description

Could Fitzwilliam Darcy harbour a shocking, sinister secret?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet count themselves among the many guests of the Kendall family, whose estate lies amidst the picturesque hills, gorges, and rocky slopes of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Elizabeth’s cousin Rose Kendall believes her dashing brother-in-law, Captain James Kendall, is Elizabeth’s ideal match. Rose’s husband, Nicholas, hopes his good friend Darcy—a rich, proud, and taciturn gentleman with a spotless reputation—will fancy one of the other eligible lady guests. 

News of a brutal killing at a neighbouring estate sends a wave of shock through the genial group of friends and family. When one of the Kendalls’ guests is attacked, all of the gentlemen become suspects, but the former Bow Street runner tasked with investigating the crime finds the evidence against Mr. Darcy particularly compelling.

In this romantic mystery, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice cross paths with a ruthless killer. When faced with dire warnings against Mr. Darcy, will Elizabeth heed them or follow the dictates of her heart?

Monday, 13 July 2020

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow - Guest Post

Blog Tour: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Today I’m welcoming a first time visitor to the blog, Shannon Winslow. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of hosting Shannon previously, I’ve featured a Persuasion anthology that she contributed towards. Funnily enough, although most Austenesque books are based on Pride and Prejudice, Shannon’s latest book isn’t a P&P work either. Murder at Northanger Abbey is an NA sequel, which picks up after Austen’s books closes. As it says in Northanger Abbey, “There must be murder” and although Catherine only now expects to encounter murder in novels, it appears that just has she has learned to be sensible, she will be encountering it in real life too.

Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Shannon Winslow for a guest post.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Book Description

Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel

Newly married to her beloved Henry, Catherine’s eyes are now open to the grownup pleasures of wedded life. Yet she still hasn’t quite given up her girlhood fascination with all things Gothic. When she first visited Northanger Abbey, she only imagined dreadful events had occurred there. This time the horror is all too real. There’s been a murder, and Henry has fallen under suspicion. Catherine is determined to clear her husband’s name, but at the same time, she’s afraid for her own safety, since there’s a very good chance the real murderer is still in the house.

This delightful sequel reprises the mischievous spirit of Austen’s original spoof on the Gothic novel, while giving Catherine a genuine murder mystery to unravel.

Guest Post from Shannon Winslow 

As Jane Austen’s earliest novel (first written, although last published), Northanger Abbey occupies a unique place in her canon. And it boasts a few unique features as well. For one thing, in it, Austen occasionally comes out from behind the narrator’s mask to address her readers directly, even sometimes using the words, “Dear reader…”

For the most overt example of what I’m talking about, I would direct you to chapter five, where Austen (referring to herself as “I”) launches into a protracted statement in defense of the novel as a literary form:

Catherine and Isabella… shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; – for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding – joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it…

 As with much else in Northanger Abbey, Austen’s diatribe (of which this is only a fraction), was no doubt written more in tongue-in-cheek humor than as a serious complaint. In the final line of the book, Austen again shows herself, as she tells us directly that we readers must decide for ourselves the lesson to be learned from the tendency of this work.

 This technique – the author speaking directly to readers – was not uncommon at the time, but it’s long out of fashion now. In fact, were you as a writer to attempt such a thing today, or otherwise draw attention to your presence, your editor would probably shake her head, mark the offending phrase in red, and accuse you of “author intrusion.”

However, since my goal was to carry on in my Northanger Abbey sequel with the same playful tone and quirky style as the original, I thought I might just get away with it!

And so, dear reader, as you peruse Murder at Northanger Abbey, keep your eyes open for places, here and there, where your authoress breaks into the story – sometimes very obviously and sometimes less so. Here’s an example taken from the final chapter:

 …However, as this tale comes rapidly to a close, you will be wondering about Henry and Catherine. You will wish to be assured that they are also safe and well, to witness for yourself their early perfect happiness at Woodston restored, and to catch at least a glimpse of the years ahead.

Far be it from me to deprive the reader this satisfaction, although we must agree to be discreet. We must grant them a degree of privacy. After all, they are still essentially newlyweds. And yet I owe you this much…

 I trust you won’t consider this a spoiler, since I ALWAYS write a happy ending to my novels!

I’ve read that in certain circumstances – especially in works of satire or where the narrative voice is firmly tongue-in-cheek – author intrusions can contribute to the humor. I hope you agree because, believe me, I wrote Murder at Northanger Abbey with my tongue firmly in my cheek the whole time!

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Author Bio

Author Shannon Winslow
Shannon Winslow says she was minding her own business - raising two sons and pursuing a very sensible career - when she was seduced by the writing bug a dozen years ago. Stirred by the novels of Jane Austen, she set out to produce more stories in the same vein, beginning with a sequel to her favorite, "Pride and Prejudice." "The Darcys of Pemberley" (published in August 2011) quickly became a best-seller, praised for being true to the original's characters and style. Several more Austen-inspired novels have followed. "Winslow is one of the few authors who can channel Austen's style of prose so well that I could not tell the two apart if I tried," reports one reviewer. A life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Winslow resides with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.

You can connect with Shannon via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Book cover: Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
Buy Links

Murder at Northanger Abbey is available to buy now in Paperback and Kindle.

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Lover’s Knot: A Mysterious Pride & Prejudice Variation by Jenetta James - Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

Blog Tour: Lover's Knot by Jenetta JamesToday the blog tour for Jenetta James' new book, Lover’s Knot: A Mysterious Pride & Prejudice Variation stops by for my review. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read this book, having previously enjoyed reading Suddenly Mrs Darcy, The Elizabeth Papers and The Darcy Monologues. The other reason I wanted to read this is that it's a mystery. I love reading mysteries, and prefer historical ones such as those by Agatha Christie with sleuthing and legwork. The blog tour also has a giveaway attached! We'll start off with the blurb:

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Blog Tour - The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James - Review

Blog Tour: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James Today the blog tour for 'The Elizabeth Papers' drops by for my review. Read on to see what I thought of the book and to find out more about the stops on the blog tour.

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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Jane and the Waterloo Map - Blog Tour and US Giveaway

Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron - Blog Tour
Today the blog tour for Stephanie Barron’s ‘Jane and the Waterloo Map’ stops off here for my review. If you are unfamiliar with her work, Ms Barron has written a whole series of books with Jane Austen as the investigator of murders and foul play. Read on for my review, and for the chance to enter a US giveaway of some wonderful prizes.

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Amateur sleuth Jane Austen returns in Jane and the Waterloo Map, the thirteenth novel in Stephanie Barron’s delightful Regency-era mystery series.

Award winning author Stephanie Barron tours the blogosphere February 2 through to February 22, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map (Being a Jane Austen Mystery). Twenty popular book bloggers specializing in Austenesque fiction, mystery and Regency history will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts and book reviews from this highly anticipated novel in the acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of Ms. Barron’s book and other Jane Austen-themed items, will be open to those who join the festivities.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen - Blog Tour

You may have seen that there is a blog tour of 'The Secret of Pembrooke Park' currently underway. Today the blog tour stops here with my review. Read on to see my thoughts on this book, and please note that there are some great prizes up for grabs with the blog tour (more details below my review).

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park - Blog Tour

Award winning historical romance author Julie Klassen tours the blogosphere February 16 through March 2 to share her latest release, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Twenty five popular book bloggers specializing in historical and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, book reviews and excerpts of this acclaimed gothic Regency romance novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of all of Ms. Klassen’s eight books and other Jane Austen-themed items, is open to those who join the festivities.

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Book cover: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
This is a story set in 1818. The Foster family have suffered a reverse in fortune, having invested in a bank run by a relative that has gone bust. The heroine of our story, 24 year old Miss Abigail Foster, feels extremely guilty about this. It was on her advice that her father invested in her uncle’s business. Now it seems possible that her beautiful younger sister’s London season may not be the triumph that she’s always been expecting. However, the Fosters get given a mysterious offer, via a solicitor – an unknown relative of theirs has offered them a country house to rent at a nominal rate. The house, Pembrooke Park, has been uninhabited for 18 years, so it will need some work to bring it up to a decent standard. Although the offer is quite mysterious, especially as the solicitor is not at liberty to divulge the name of their client, or even who the owner of the property is, it seems too good an opportunity not to investigate further, particularly coming at a time when the Fosters really need to retrench and sell their London home.

Mrs Foster and her younger daughter remain in town with a relative while Mr Foster and Abigail travel to Pembrooke Park to see the house, with a view to moving in and starting work straight away, if it’s habitable. When they arrive at the house they are met with a less than warm welcome, instead a man brandishes a gun at them! Once inside the house, things are even more intriguing. Rather than look like a house that’s been closed up, with furniture covered and so on, instead things look like the inhabitants simply vanished. Many personal effects are there, including something that even I as a reader coveted, a dolls house which is an exact replica of the house. The house seems to have been left so suddenly that there is even a tea set still out on the table, with tea residue in the cups.
‘It appeared as though the occupants had just been called away. A tea set sat on the round table, cups encrusted with dry tea. A book lay open over the arm of the sofa. A needlework project, nearly finished, lay trapped under an overturned chair. 
What had happened here? Why had the family left so abruptly, and why had the rooms been entombed for almost two decades?’
As Abigail works to bring the house back into order she begins to know people in the local community. The man who brandished the gun at her, Mac Chapman, is the former steward of the estate and very loyal to his former employer. He won’t tell Abigail anything about the Pembrooke family. Others in the area are similarly oddly reticent about the Pembrookes. Abigail befriends Mac’s family, particularly his grown up children, William, the curate of the area, and beautiful, shy Leah. Abigail goes on to meet other people in the area, from landed gentry, through villagers and down to servants. It seems though, that nearly everybody she meets is keeping a secret of one sort or another. There is rumoured to be treasure hidden at Pembrooke Park. If it’s real, possibly Abigail could find it. Can Abigail find out the secrets of Pembrooke Park, or are some secrets better off being forgotten?

This story is inspired by the gothic romances of the time, with a nod to Jane Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ which I read last month in preparation for reading this. It’s quite a contrast to Northanger Abbey though. Catherine sees things which aren’t there and Abigail keeps telling herself that there is nothing there even though she is afraid there might be. This quote in particular reminded me of the Northanger connection and how an older and more sensible heroine than Catherine Morland might deal with a potential Gothic mystery.
‘Heart pounding, she gingerly leaned forward and peered over the stair rail, her candle’s light barely penetrating the darkness below. A hooded figure floated down the last few stairs. Stunned, she blinked. But when she looked again, the stairs were empty. She had probably only imagined the dark apparition.  
With a shiver, she decided that was the last time she would read gothic fiction.’
Since this has the word ‘secret’ in the title I was expecting a level of mystery and I wasn’t disappointed; quite a few of the characters have secrets or at least know some of what happened to the previous tenants of Pembrooke Park and Abigail is just trying to piece it together. I will tell you now that I managed to work out the secrets before they were revealed, so it’s not too difficult, but things are revealed gradually so it’s also not too easy. I don’t think you’d be able to put all the pieces together very early on, as there is so little to go on.  Along with mystery we also have some peril, which made for an exciting read at points.

Even with all this mystery going on I still want some romance and I felt that ‘The Secret of Pembrooke Park’ delivered on this score. Abigail has had her time amongst London society and has had no offers, but then, she didn’t want any – for many years she has held a special place in her heart and her dreams for family friend Gilbert. However, he has gone to Italy to pursue his dreams of a career in architecture and before he left Abigail got the impression that he showed signs of admiring her beautiful younger sister. Unsure how Gilbert will feel when he returns, Abigail moves to the countryside free of ties. She meets with a fair amount of admiration in the new neighbourhood, which is especially gratifying as she is somebody who views herself as plain. I knew this would be a romance with no sex scenes, as this author writes for a Christian publisher, but this doesn’t mean that there is no passion, there is certainly that, and a fair bit of romance too.

As I said, this book is from Bethany House Publishing so I was expecting a Christian message. However the message doesn’t feel forced. One of the characters is a curate who delivers sermons so the Christianity is present in that, as you’d expect and there were also some biblical references but they seemed quite natural in historical books as religion was a part of life that was more apparent in everyday society in the past. One theme that I enjoyed contemplating in the book was whether the sins of the father should be borne by the children. To an extent, our parents’ decisions shape us, no matter we choose to do our position in life up to a certain age is affected by our parents’ decisions, so that was an interesting theme, and not overdone.

I sometimes find historical stories frustrating because of the behaviour and language used, as all too often they are too modern. I wasn’t sure about how proper Abigail’s behaviour was (I don’t mean the bits that were clearly improper!), such as going to events alone with a young man. She is also left alone at Pembrooke Park by her father for quite a few days, when I would have expected that she would have needed a companion or a family member. I don’t know how proper this was but it certainly left me feeling quite angry with her father for taking advantage of her! There were some instances of words that jumped out at me as being too modern or American and there were some small things like food being eaten out of season but I am more picky than most people in this respect and a lot of readers might not notice these things as much. One thing that surprised me, when I looked back at things I’d highlighted in the book, was just how long the book is because it didn’t feel long to me at all, it doesn’t drag or feel stretched out.

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed pondering the mystery, I enjoyed the friendships, the romance, the danger and the action. I liked how Abigail grew to value herself as a woman, rather than just as a housekeeper for her family. I’d certainly recommend this book to fellow historical romance lovers and I’d rate it at 4½ stars.

4.5 star read


In the spring of 1818, twenty-four-year-old Abigail Foster fears she is destined to become a spinster. Her family’s finances are in ruins and the one young man she truly esteems has fallen for another woman — her younger, prettier sister Louisa.

Forced to retrench after the bank failure of Austen, Gray & Vincent, the Foster family optimistically pool their resources for another London Season for her sister in hopes of an advantageous alliance. While searching for more affordable lodgings, a surprising offer is presented: the use of a country manor house in Berkshire abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to the imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left, the tight-lipped locals offering only rumors of a secret room, hidden treasure and a murder in its mysterious past. 

Eager to restore her family fortune, Abigail, with the help of the handsome local curate William Chapman and his sister Leah, begins her search into the heavily veiled past aided by unsigned journal pages from a previous resident and her own spirited determination. As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

BUY LINKS:  « Amazon « Barnes & Noble « « Book Depository « Indie Bound « Goodreads « Publishers Page «

Author Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about Julie and her books at her website, follower her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Blog Tour: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen - Giveaway
Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Four Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, four chances to win copies of Julie’s books and other Jane Austen-inspired items are being offered. 

Three lucky winners will receive one trade paperback or eBook copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and one grand prize winner will receive one copy of all eight of Julie’s novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor’s Daughter, The Dancing Master, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park, one DVD of Northanger Abbey (2007) and a Jane Austen Action Figure.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour starting February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Julie Klassen’s website on March 16, 2015. Winners have until March 22, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada. Digital books will be sent through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good luck to all!


February 16               My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
February 16               vvb32 Reads (Excerpt)                             
February 17               Psychotic State Book Reviews (Review)
February 17               My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice (Spotlight)    
February 18               Addicted to Jane Austen (Review)                               
February 18               Peeking Between the Pages (Review)                                     
February 19               Jane Austen in Vermont (Interview)                                          
February 19               Living Read Girl (Review)                                                
February 20               My Love for Jane Austen (Excerpt)                                           
February 20               Truth, Beauty, Freedom & Books (Review)                            
February 20               Laura's Reviews (Guest Blog)                                         
February 21               A Bookish Way of Life (Review)                                    
February 21               Romantic Historical Reviews (Excerpt)                        
February 22               Reflections of a Book Addict (Review)                                    
February 23               Austenesque Reviews (Guest Blog)                                         
February 23               Peace, Love, Books (Review)                                        
February 24               vvb32 Reads (Review)                                         
February 24               Poof Books (Excerpt)
February 25               Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)                                         
February 25               Austenesque Reviews (Review)                                    
February 25               Luxury Reading (Review)
February 26               So Little Time…So Much to Read (Review)
February 26               More Agreeably Engaged (Excerpt)
February 27               Psychotic State Book Reviews (Interview)                              
February 27               Booktalk & More (Review)
February 28               Laughing with Lizzie (Spotlight)
February 28               The Calico Critic (Review)
March 01                    Leatherbound Reviews (Excerpt)                                              
March 01                    Delighted Reader (Review)
March 02                    CozyNookBks (Review)                                       
March 02                    Laura's Reviews (Review)