Thursday, 31 July 2014

Falling for Chloe By Diane Farr

A Goodreads friend of mine by the name of Anne, recommended a book called Lord Rival, a notorious rake who first appears in Falling for Chloe and I am ashamed to admit this was my sole reason for reading this book! I wanted to know what part Lord Rival played and although he does not feature a great deal, we get a small insight into his possible back story.
However, besides my original reason for reading this book, I was in for a treat.

"He glared at her, exasperated. "Nothing sudden about it. We ain’t children any longer." "Ain’t?" she repeated, distracted by this linguistic lapse. "It’s the fashion," he explained. "But don’t you follow it! Bad grammar is thieves’ cant—all the crack in London, but not for females. Where was I?" - Diane Farr

Chloe is a sweet young girl, scarred by her parents marriage and despised by her father, after the estate was left to her following her mother's death. Chloe has no interest in getting married and is adamant on that point. Queue her best friend Sylvester Gilliland, also known as Gil. Handsome, charming and a loyal best friend. Chloe is a spirited young lady and within the first two chapters she has Gil roped into a fine mess indeed!! One that under normal circumstances would have them betrothed by sundown.

"Mr. Gilliland sat gracefully astride his mount, a beautifully-groomed gray that, in other circumstances, would have made Chloe green with envy. Gil was nearly as gorgeous as the prime bit of blood he was riding. His London tailoring looked out of place in the middle of Dobson’s Thicket, but it certainly was impressive. He looked every inch the gentleman, and, as he was a tall young man, there were a good many inches to look it." - Diane Farr

Gil's mother likes Chloe and would love to have her as a daughter in law, not to mention getting Chloe out from under her father's mean eye. Offering Chloe's father a handsome amount of money to quit the estate, a plan is set in motion. Meanwhile Gil's worried about his sister, who is married and now residing in London. Convincing Chloe to come to London to spend time with his sister, it is not long before they receive some shocking news. Their betrothal has been announced in the London Papers!!!

Chloe turned anxiously to Gil. "That had not occurred to me. Must I jilt you? Why?" He glanced uneasily into Chloe’s troubled eyes. "I cannot jilt you, that’s certain." Tish nodded vehemently. "It isn’t done. Now, don’t argue, Chloe! A gentleman cannot cry off." "But this is intolerable! Cannot you and I make some mutual announcement?" - Diane Farr

This book is a delightful read, although Chloe's naivety is almost painful to witness. Trying to get to the bottom of Gil's sister's problems and desperately trying to think of ways to get out of the betrothal they did not announce, Chloe has plenty to occupy her time. After Gil comes up with a solution of his own we do not see much of him, which was a bit of a disappointment, but watching the sweet little country girl that Chloe is, navigate the ton was amusement enough. A clever girl with a keen eye for judging people's characters, Chloe became frustratingly obtuse in her one sighted determination to solve everyone's problems including her own. The ton (Lord Rival) certainly has a way of corrupting the innocent!

"It seemed to Chloe that his lordship turned his attention to Tish very reluctantly. His eyes lingered on her own a bit longer than they should have. But then she recognized the thrill that secret knowledge gave her, and her native shrewdness reasserted itself like a dash of cold water. Why, he probably gave that impression to every female! It was an easy enough trick to do. The realization was strangely depressing" - Diane Farr

What I really liked about this book was the dialogue. I seriously would not have a clue how to write such dialogue or have any idea if it was spot on, but I loved it! The banter between Gil and his friends included key phrases which brought me back to my childhood growing up in the East End and I found it delightful and captivating!  It is the kind of book that is easy to read, warms the heart, set in the Regency era and has the all important HEA!!! Need I say more.
Well done Diane, no surprises I had this read in a day and had read Lord Rival by the following, loved them both. (Lord Rival review to follow soon!)

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley!

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

In the Arms of Mr Darcy by Sharon Lathan

Book four and the Darcy's tale continues and the development of key characters is just to my liking!
We begin with Elizabeth and Georgiana being presented at court and the author does a fine job of setting the scene. I actually felt I was in the carriage with the Darcy's, pulling up in front of the court of St James. The fear and trepidation of such an event feeling almost real, to meet the prince in person without tripping and falling in the ridiculously massive courtesan style dress is no mean feat. Made privy for a moment to what the Prince Regent himself might be thinking was an added bonus. I think I would be bored and restless partaking in a time honoured old tradition, that would have me prisoner while I watch the rich and famous bow before me, I certainly spared him a thought.

"The corridor was short, covered with a rich red carpet runner that stifled any footfalls, reaching Lord Chamberlain just in time to witness Georgiana completing her perfect backward retreat with a final curtsy before turning gracefully and exiting the room. She looked at Lizzy and actually winked! Lizzy nearly burst into laughter but managed to restrain herself at the last moment"- Sharon Lathan

We follow Georgiana into the beginnings of womanhood, navigating the balls at Almacks and spending the summer with friends, with Kitty in tow. Unfortunately Kitty falls victim to the common tale of falling in love only to discover your not worthy. The reality of the importance of connections and social standing rearing its ugly head, it would seem only her sister Elizabeth will be the exception to the rule. Oh poor poor Kitty! Yet at the end of the book Kitty may not be unlucky in love after all, but I guess I will have to read the next instalment of the Darcy saga before that can be confirmed.

My beloved Colonel is finally going to find happiness and with someone he has liked for a very long time, it is sweet, is it not? Although you know this will not be a simple tale and there is much heartbreak before we see any happy faces. I loved Georgiana's role in helping the Colonel through his heartache and was just as proud of her as if she were my own child.

 I really enjoyed seeing more of the lovely and playful Mr Darcy rather than the stoic, aloof persona that is put on for public display. As Darcy bantered with his cousin, I could envision Mcfadyen's smile as he twirled Georgiana around in the 2005 P&P.
I particularly liked the insight given into the thoughts of the housekeeper at Darcy house, Mrs Smyth. Mrs Smyth does not like Elizabeth and it was funny to see how the class system is tiered within the servants and working classes, effecting how they view themselves in regards to their importance. As much as I did not like her, I felt a smidgen of compassion considering I never thought what it would be like to serve under such a handsome man as Darcy, I do not think I could do it, I always picture myself as Elizabeth lol.

"Upon her first meeting of Miss Bennet, when Mr. Darcy brought his fiancĂ©e and her dowdy father to Darcy House during their engagement, Mrs. Smyth’s worst fears were realized. Miss Bennet was plain and drab, dressed in ugly gowns of no style and poor workmanship, with hair and body unadorned in any way. She smiled constantly, vulgarly showing all her teeth, was animated and noisy, and laughed incessantly. Grudgingly, Mrs. Smyth admitted that Miss Bennet carried herself with grace and that her manners were adequate, but those positives were overruled by her improper boldness and teasing informality with Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy was clearly besotted and subtly altered. He smiled too much and laughed aloud. His eyes followed her every move. And worst of all, he welcomed her impertinence and returned her banter! It was frightening to observe and Mrs. Smyth prayed daily that something or someone would intercede and break the spell." - Sharon Lathan

Another delightful chapter in the Darcy saga, however I must mention I was disappointed to find that Chapters 1-10 were duplicate chapters from the previous book, My Dearest Mr Darcy! Oh well, I happily look forward to the fifth!

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley!

As always I love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mr Darcy's Forbidden Love by Brenda J.Webb

Oh my word! Mr Darcy is married and it is not to Lizzy!!! Fetch my smelling salts! How can this be?
This is not to be born! How dare he? “Well apparently, he has married someone against his will and even against his better judgement and all for the honour of keeping the Darcy name intact”, Oh, if that is the case, all is forgiven then!!

Darcy first meets Elizabeth in the local book store in Meryton and it would seem it is love at first sight. Yet at the Netherfield ball it would seem Mr Bennet has also noticed Darcy’s interest. After a storm finds Elizabeth and Darcy forced to share a cottage for the night, Mr Bennet wants answers and a marriage proposal!!!! After Darcy’s confession that he is married and Bingley’s insistance that the truth surrounding the strange circumstances of Darcy’s marriage be told; Mr Bennet is finally appeased and as Elizabeth’s reputation has been left unscathed, Darcy leaves Meryton before any more damage can be done.

“Suddenly, the ladies made a loop around the line, and she came into view! She looked even lovelier than he remembered in a gown of pale blue, with an empire waist that was circled by a dark-blue ribbon embroidered with various colours. The low neckline displayed her womanly curves to great advantage, making jewellery unnecessary, though she wore small pearl earrings. Her ebony hair was pulled into curls atop her head that were interspersed with more of the same ribbons before they cascaded down her back in long tendrils that bounced with every step. For a second, he was awestruck. Then, remembering that she was Darcy’s love, Richard chanced to glance at him, eager to see if he had discovered her yet.” – Brenda Webb

So how will the most perfect couple in the world, get their happily ever? Well you will have to read this book to find out! At 500 pages, this is an epic tale of jaw dropping, action packed drama, complete with what I call the famous 5am Colonel Fitzwilliam chuckles (when you are still reading at 5am because you cannot put the book down and the colonel says something that makes you laugh out loud, causing you to wake the whole household).

"However, if you continue to push Charles, I fear that he shall rid himself of you at some point—perhaps making good on his threat to send you to live with Aunt Harrison in Scarborough. And I shall not plead your case if he does. When I have in the past, it only served to make him angry at me. So be forewarned!” Caroline cocked her head as if studying her sister. “When I am Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley, I shall remember your disloyalty.” Louisa stifled a laugh. “If you are ever Mrs. Darcy, I shall just have to rely on my connection to Charles to recommend me to Mr. Darcy.” – Brenda Webb

Gisela Darcy was a widow before she married Darcy, older than him and an embarrassment to the Darcy name! Ever since Darcy deposited her, on the doorsteps of her own residence on their wedding day (oh the shame of it), she has been most eager to get Darcy’s attention, although no man in the ton would ever refuse her, I am sure you will believe me when I say that Darcy would be the first!! HA Ha Ha, to champion Elizabeth’s cause I spent most of the book thinking of all the different ways Darcy could get rid of Gisela!!

“I am Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, and for the first time in my life, every woman with breath in her body envies me! I have seen their eyes follow him across a ballroom, devouring him, ready to simper if he deigns to look in their direction. Young or old, married or not, they all desire him! My mother saddled me with that old fool, Grantham, when I was young and beautiful—I should have had Darcy then! I could have made him love me if I were still young!” – Brenda Webb

This book is long enough to cover most of our beloved characters in detail, including some new ones. Lady Ashford is Darcy’s aunt and Lord Landingham is Georgiana’s godfather and I loved them most dearly. Lady Ashford replaced Mrs Gardiner for me in this book, as Mrs Gardiner was not the usual favourite aunt of Elizabeth and Jane. I couldn’t stand Mrs Gardiner in this or Mrs Bennet for that matter! Although in fairness to them, they are only going along with the expected societal proprieties of the time.

Aunt Catherine is at her most devious and not short of having a man killed and Wickham is more than happy to do her dirty work. The Colonel, the Matlocks, Jane and Bingley are great as per usual. I enjoyed this story because it changes from different people’s points of view throughout, including the servant’s opinion on the subject at hand.

This story line is not slow paced so you better kept abreast of what is happening otherwise you might just get left behind. Brenda Webb certainly knows how to spin a tale, along with a roller coaster of events, which I for one was happy to go along with!! Will Elizabeth forgive Darcy for not making it known to her that he was married? Will Darcy be able to come up with a solution before Elizabeth is married off to an earl? What will an unstable and jealous Gisela Darcy do if she catches wind that Darcy likes Elizabeth? Well that would be telling now, would it not?

This book is a great read but not for the faint hearted, Elizabeth and Darcy do not ring entirely true, especially Elizabeth as she does not behave as I would expect based on Austen’s character and Lady Catherine is outrageous! However this is JAFF, not a reproduction of Pride and Prejudice and if these misgivings can be overlooked and the believability of it all can be stretched, then I do not see why one would not be able to enjoy it. It is most worthy of a Hollywood style big screen offer, it would certainly be a blockbuster! I look forward Brenda’s other title Fitzwilliam Darcy An Honourable Man J

This book is worthy of 4 & a half hearts- Mr Bingley & Mr Darcy!!!!

Monday, 21 July 2014

My Austenesque Birthday Gifts & Giveaway!!!

Hello everyone!
I just wanted to share with you my Austenesque birthday gifts, I also got some doubles so thought it would be fun to do a giveaway with them. I went to Jane Austen's house on my birthday and while I was there I also picked up a little something extra to add to the giveaway!!! But first let me share with you my gifts :)

Mr Darcy's proposal purse!
This purse is one of my favourite gifts yet, I am too scared to use it as I do not want to damage it!

Jane 'a' Day
My Jane a day 5 year journal has gold edged pages and has a Austen quote on every page, I used to have journal when I was younger and it is an old fashioned sentiment which seems to be dying out. I look forward to using it.

Oooh some more Dvd's, my collection is almost complete!!!

A much wanted Dvd from a dear friend of mine, I had this recorded on my SKY planner and had yet to watch it! My friend did not know I was after it, so the gift was a pleasant surprise.

I love to dance!!! I did ballroom dancing for two years in my teens after I finished Ballet & Tap, my Mr Darcy certainly chose another great gift! To the left is a notebook which I will enjoy jotting down my notes in.

My new phone case, however I am not sure if I want to give up my 'Keep Calm and Find Mr Darcy' case just yet! My own Mr Darcy continued to spoil me and bought me 'Begone Dull Care' when we visited the Jane Austen House.

Deirdre Le Faye was at the Jane Austen house on my Birthday and Mr Darcy also treated me to a signed copy of her book 'Jane Austen's Country Life'. As well as buying me The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret J Sullivan.

Just some of my Gift voucher buys!!
I was given a very generous Amazon gift voucher which I spent in one hit :) (Thanks Dad & M)

Some more gifts picked up at the JA House, love my keyring!

I believe I was most definitely spoilt, especially as I was given more gifts & these are just my Austensque ones :)  For anyone who loves their paperback books. the delightful book plates on the right read " I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library!"

International Giveaway time!!!!

My Dvd Doubles!

Bookmark, Fridge Magnet & Book Plates

I received two DVD's I already own and thought it would be nice to put them in a giveaway. They are region 2, but I would like to give more people an opportunity so I will also include a region 1 copy of The Jane Austen book club. Unfortunately you cannot get region 1 for Miss Austen Regrets (obviously if you have an all regions dvd player then it will not be a problem).
I will do four draws, to enter, please leave a comment about my Austenesque birthday gifts and state which draws you would like to enter into, If you do not specify I will enter you into all four draws :)

1. The Jane Austen Book Club (region 1)
2. The Jane Austen Book Club (region 2)
3. Miss Austen Regrets (region 2)
3. Austenesque gifts (Bookmark, Magnet & Book plates)

Good luck everyone! I will announce the winners on the 3rd August 2014. Winners will have 48hours to contact me via the 'contact me' form at the top of my blog.

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

My Physical TBR List!!!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I thought my recent amount of book purchases were impressive, until my mother burst my bubble and made me realise I was out of my league compared to a true bookaholic!!! I acquired the books below faster than I could read them and now have a physical TBR list, not just a fantasy one on goodreads!!! Some fellow Janietes said they would like to know what they were, so as per requested, here they are Ladies, 97 books acquired over the last couple of months that I have yet to devour :) 

Have you read any of these? Are some on your TBR pile? It is always lovely to hear your thoughts :)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Happy July reading everyone!!! I am enjoying July and hope you are too!!! At the moment I am in Cyprus for my Brother in law's wedding and am sitting by the pool as I write this.

My Brother in law's Villa

It was my birthday in June and I visited Jane Austen's house in Chawton, look out for a post with some pictures.  On the 21st July I am doing a post on my Austenesque birthday gifts, which will include a giveaway!!! As you can imagine when people buy a Janeite gifts, eventually you get doubles, so I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway, plus I picked up some extra gifts at Jane Austen's house:)

In June I signed up to an eight week course run by the University of Sheffield, called Literature of the English Country House, which I have been struggling to fit it into my busy lifestyle!!!

A brief description of the course....

"A journey through the literature of English country houses from the time of Thomas More to OscarWilde"

So far I have only completed the Jane Austen week ha ha.

I have two reviews left to post from June which I have been unable to post due to them being on my PC in England!!! (I admit I could have done a scheduled post, but ran out of time, seriously who knew blogging was so time consuming? I hear you shout "probably every decent blogger out there!")

This month I will be reviewing Mr Darcy's Forbidden Love by Brenda Webb, Whoa!! A novel of epic proportions & A Matter of Chance by L.L.Diamond which is my first modern JAFF.

My Invite to the ball this month is non-Austenesque book Falling for Chloe by Diane Farr. A recommendation from my Goodreads friends.

I have been a busy bee, recently buying lots of books, but to a die hard bookaholic my purchases are apparently minimal, as I was soon to find out! "Mother guess how many books I have purchased this month?" " fifty?" Wow, talk about anti climax "No forty" obviously I am out of my league!!!

I hope you have some great reads lined up too!! Happy reading everyone:)