Sunday, 21 September 2014

Pride & Persistence By Jeanna Ellsworth

Pride and Persistence had me laughing from Hunsford to Meryton! I have been struggling to find time to read as of late and commitments to review other books that were not Austenesque have taken me away from JAFF and although a refreshing change, it was not until I read Pride and Persistence that I realised I have been a fool for thinking I could read anything else. It may be an ignorant statement but I have dearly missed anything Austenesque, I know it has only been four weeks, but is that not long enough? This book was what the Janeite in me needed, it was the perfect reminder of why I LOVE JAFF!

Okay shall I tell you about the book? J Charming, delightfully funny and a pleasant surprise! After reading the blurb I was confident I knew what this was about, obviously if I had, there would be no need to read the book, however that is the sign of a good blurb, thanks for the twist Jeanna, I did not see it coming!

After the terrible proposal at Hunsford, Darcy does not meet Elizabeth in the grove and has to visit the parsonage in order to give her his letter. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case) it is raining and Mr Darcy falls off his thunder spooked horse, hitting his head and breaking a leg. The result, a few weeks stay on Mr Collins’s chaise and short term memory loss! (I am still not sure which is worse) After the doctor assigns Mr Darcy a nurse, it soon becomes evident that his confusion and agitation each morning upon awaking, can only be calmed by the one and only, Elizabeth Bennet, no surprises there! Elizabeth’s reward for her helping Mr Darcy is having to endure him propose to her every day, as he seems not to remember his first disastrous proposal, oh how very convenient!   
I loved each subsequent proposal he gave, his proud and haughty demeanour vanishing with each. He was a perfect gentleman for ninety nine percent of the book and a man most worthy of Elizabeth's hand indeed. I found it hard to understand why she had refused the first proposal! I may be a tad biased of course!

The question is, with Darcy mastering the art of proposing, would Elizabeth eventually accept him on the bases of a near perfect proposal? Probably not, she has other provocations you know, which Darcy is unaware of as a result of his short term memory loss!  "Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me" (J.Austen) I am sure the Darcy from canon would have appreciated such memory loss, he would have saved himself such torture :)

 I  adored watching Darcy’s transformation, his slow realisation and understanding of where he had gone wrong was painful yet delightful all at once. Elizabeth’s acknowledgement of the man Darcy really is and her self reflection on all of her previous dealings with Darcy were great. These reflections were like an autopsy on canon and I enjoy seeing P&P from the author's point of view. The Colonel's words of wisdom were an added extra and I am always happy to see Darcy's cousin. An amiable, sensible and dependable Colonel is just what the doctor ordered.

"She tried to be honest with herself. Was her pride so hurt that she wanted to show him just exactly what he was missing when he refused to dance with her? Did she intend to show him just how tempting she really was? Did she behave differently with him than any other man? Was she different with Bingley? With Wickham? She groaned with the realization that she did indeed behave differently with Mr. Darcy. She was so prideful that she had crossed society’s carefully created rules and treated him differently than any other man she knew. To Bingley, she was cordial, happy, and polite. To Wickham, she accepted his kind compliments graciously and humbly. But with Mr. Darcy, she had argued and quarreled. She debated every issue she could with him. She had not behaved as a proper lady should." - Jeanna Ellsworth

Jeanna has created a most appalling Mr Collins, to which I give Charlotte my deepest sympathies. Of course I have no objections, as we can never be too short on valid reasons or justifications for Elizabeth’s refusal of his hand at Longbourn.  I laughed wholeheartedly at everyone dodging Mr Collins's spit as he spoke and the humour of Mr Collins’s cook always brought a smile to my face. A sly and conniving Lady Catherine adds to the drama and I do delight in loathing Darcy’s aunt. The wonderful nurse sent to take care of Darcy can only be another reflection on Jeanna herself.

Elizabeth and Darcy's personalities are slightly different to how I imagine them in canon, but they are great none the less. Elizabeth is funny, witty, kind and I loved her. Darcy is sweet, adorable, venerable and persistent!!

While reading this book I had a most persistent cough, the type that has people wondering if you are snickering at them, the kind that is set off at the slightest provocation. I took my Kindle with me to A&E because my daughter had an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite on her leg, I know not nearly as serious as Darcy's broken one. I was at a part in the story where Elizabeth and Darcy are writing letters to one another. Every time I chuckled it started my coughing off and at one point the nurse looked over as if to say “are you sure it is not you who needs to be seen?” Suffice to say I was chuckling for the best part of an hour and considering most people were ill or in pain, I thought it was bad taste on my part to be laughing so unabashedly, therefore my kindle was reluctantly put away. Although they do say laughter is the best medicine, I unfortunately did not have forty copies of Pride and Persistence to hand. I know I have digressed but this book has humour and wit in abundance and if  a story about frequent coughing bouts best convey that message, then so be it!
"After twenty minutes of sipping tea, Elizabeth couldn’t stand it any longer; she made her excuses and escaped to her father’s study. She found her father there, staring out the window, laughing at the team of people helping Mr. Darcy out of the carriage. “Ah, Lizzy! I do not think I have ever seen a gentleman scoot on his bottom before. You just missed it. I am not sure how many more people can fit into that carriage or huddle around the door, but apparently Mr. Darcy has made it safely to the ground.” - Jeanna Ellsworth

I would like to take the time to say thank you to the kind nurse, who I am sure every Austen fan is now indebted to, for nursing Mr Darcy back to health!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially Darcy's vulnerable side. It is a light hearted, funny, clean read that cheered me every time I picked it up!

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

As always I delight in  hearing your thoughts!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan

Thought I would share an old post of one of my favourite trilogies, before I officially started blogging.
This book is the first in a trilogy by Pamela Aidan, all three books  follow Mr Darcy through Pride and Prejudice from his pov.

An Assembly Such as This is an exceptional read, finally we get to see why Jane cannot believe that Mr. Darcy could be so unworthy of Mr. Bingley’s regard. He is a great friend to Bingley and we get to see Mr Darcy's amiable side. The side to Darcy we do not get to see in Austen's P&P is difficult to judge, but as much as I think he is witty, he was a little too humourous in this (not that I am complaining), which did  not mesh with Austen's character. As attested by the Colonel himself that Darcy behaves differently in his own company I do not imagine the change is too different, maybe just a little less haughty perhaps! Anyway lets move on, seeing how Darcy may have interpreted his encounters with Elizabeth was executed wonderfully. This book incorporates conversations and scenes that are not in Austen's original book, such as when they would have met at other engagements which I loved. Elizabeth's witty personality was captured convincingly, hats off to you Pamela! Without giving anything away the brightly coloured threads that Darcy finds in the library are an added bonus and play a significant role throughout the trilogy. As always I have included some of my favourite lines in the book, unfortunately I have too many, which is a sure sign of a good read.

'Watching her intently, he hoped to discern a trace of that ironic expression which, even now, he was beginning to discount as his own imagination.' - The first time he sees Elizabeth after the Meryton ball ( not in Austen's original).

'Unusual in her manners, to be sure, he pronounced to his waiting sensibilities, but lacking the physical and social graces that bespeak a truly genteel upbringing. It is well for her the officers are enchanted, for that is all the further she may look. Darcy waited in vain for his emotions to second his verdict, but they were frustratingly unwilling to accede to his judgment'  - I thought this was a lovely way to show that regardless of what propriety demands his heart begs to differ.

There are some very funny scenes throughout and the language flowed as it should. So many of Darcy's thoughts are expressed and his observations of Elizabeth give a wonderful insight into just how he came to admire her. His correspondence with Georgiana was an added bonus and he even mentions meeting Elizabeth, this is interesting because it shows she is a singular woman indeed! Darcy's haughty and proud personality is expressed in his thoughts, including what he thinks of Miss Bingley's annoying attention which was most funny.

The Netherfield ball is my favourite chapter, what Darcy is thinking during the infamous dance is really well done. We also get the first glimpse of Darcy's relationship with his valet Fletcher which is used to great effect throughout all three books. When he retires that evening Darcy says “The man who knows his duty and, against all natural inclination, performs it. That man, Fletcher, will in the end know no regret.” - P.Aiden This definitely sums up Darcy's fight with propriety he is almost convincing himself he will be alright, It really pulled at my heartstrings.

'Was it nearer to the truth that separating Charles from Miss Jane Bennett was his surest defense against the confliction raised by his own heedless attraction to her sister?P.Aiden - I too thought this to be partly the reason when I read the original P&P

'There were often times in the night that he wished for the comforts of marriage..... the folly of trading his happiness for his comfort. He knew that both were possible; he had seen it in the lives of his parents before his mother’s death and in the faraway smile that would sometimes steal across his father’s face after 'P.Aiden - I often did wonder why he was not already married, surely if duty was what mattered he could have been married already to someone with desirable connections. I like to think that as Pamela puts it, he didn't need fortune and he wanted to hold out for a marriage of happiness.

An in depth look from the beginning of P&P up until he goes back to London with Bingley. We meet one of Darcy's friend from Cambridge, his horse Nelson and his dog Trafalgar. Each are used wonderfully, so that we can understand Mr Darcy's personality more fully. The chapter titles are funny capturing Mr Darcy's comparisons to fencing in regards to his encounters with Elizabeth. "The Roquet" (hilarious!) showed the depth of Pamela's research . The Shakespearean references used between Darcy and his valet are very clever, as his valet cannot directly say what he thinks in regards to Mr Darcy's personal life. A great read that I would recommend to any JAFF devotee.

This book is worthy of 5 hearts - Mr Darcy

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Winners of the Longbourn to London Blog Tour!

Hello everyone!

Today I announce the lucky winners of the Longbourn to London blog tour giveaway! 

I would like to say thank you to Linda Beutler for her wonderful guest post. Thank you to Jakki for allowing me to participate and for hosting this wonderful blog tour. I have really enjoyed the interviews, reviews and excerpts which have left me eager to read this book! 

Lastly I would like to thank everyone who stopped by and everyone who left a comment to enter the giveaway! So without further ado!

Congratulations ladies!!!
Luthien84 you have won a e-book copy of longbourn to london and Joana you have won a paperback copy! 
Please contact me with your details, (see my 'contact me' page at the top of my blog)

Thank you again to all that participated.

(Winners picked using

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

My August Purchases 

Hello everyone and Happy September reading! August was a slow month for me in regards to reading and I hope to rectify this travesty in September.

I have been buying books as per usual (so no change there), however with my ever growing 'kindle to read list', I now find myself in a position of not being able to decide what to read next :)

I also bought The Trouble with Mr Darcy by Sharon Lathan. I had the series, all apart from this one but could not continue until I had it. Finally I have the whole trilogy of Darcy's tale by Stanley Hurd and can now safely dive into the series knowing I will not be left bereft when the first and second books end :)

Thanks to Ceri over at Babblings of a Bookworm my attention was drawn to a special offer on some of Georgette Heyer's books which of course I could not resist.

I went to my father's home in Eastbourne for a week and we took a trip to Brighton and to Hastings. I did not see Wickham or Lydia but did enjoy the many vintage clothes shops.

I then went onto London but unfortunately did not get to go to Kenwood house as planned due to the rain! But I did go to the Natural History Museum and learnt a bit about the history surrounding where I grew up.
Thomas Sutton founded the famous Charterhouse school and hospital in Clarkenwell in 1611 and was said to be the richest commoner in the land. The house he lived in was demolished in 1809 to make way for 16 Georgian terrace houses. With five floors they are big houses and inside they have lots of character.

When I finally arrived home I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise indeed! Signed copies of both of Brenda J.Webb's books! Thank you so much Brenda I love them and cannot wait to read Fitzwilliam Darcy An Honourable Man!

What is my reading schedule you ask, well for a start I am participating in a group read of Mansfield Park on Goodreads and as this is my second favourite of Austen's books I am very excited! :)

After much deliberation I have decided to also read Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth as I was due to read this on holiday in Cyprus but with all the excitement of the wedding my dream of reading by the pool was a fantasy that never came to true.
Recently I really enjoyed my first modern JAFF A Matter of Chance by L.L.Diamond, I think I will read another and have decided on The Trials of the Honourable F. Darcy by Sara Angelini.  I have also agreed to read and review some books for Goodreads so my reading time will be stretched. Yet if I can manage it, I would love to read Stronger than even Pride by Gail McEwen because after recently reading Hope & sensibility by P.O.Dixon I would like to read another angsty book and I am hoping this will provide just that!

My invite to the ball this month is Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole, it is not an Austenesque read but it is written by another lover of Jane Austen's work.

I nearly forgot to mention the most important news of all, I bought my third KINDLE!!! As some of you may know my second kindle took a bath a couple of months ago and although I managed Kindle CPR, a few weeks ago it started to randomly flick to the adverts while I was reading! I decided to go for the Paperwhite as unlike the Fire you can create categories for your books and you do not get the glare when reading outdoors. I can now report I am a very happy kindle bunny!

I hope you also have some great reads lined up, as always I love to hear what you are reading or if you have read any of my planned reads. Happy September reading :)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Hope & Sensibility By P.O.Dixon

Finally the third instalment of the 'Darcy and the young Knights quest' series!! A story that can be read as a stand alone, however I would highly recommend the first two books He Taught me to Hope & The Mission - He Taught Me To Hope Christmas Vignette. I actually wished I had read them again to recap.

I will readily admit that I was looking forward to this for one reason and one reason only, BEN!!! I first fell in love with Ben the adorable son of Elizabeth Carlton (formally known as Bennet) from her first marriage and if you haven't had children yet I suggest you have them before reading this series otherwise you will be seriously disappointed! Ha Ha Ha I am sorry but I cannot help but chuckle at that statement because although I have my own sweet little darlings Ben must be the epitome of the perfect child.

This book continues on from the Christmas vignette, The Mission where Ben successfully achieves bringing the family back on relative speaking terms and Anne is now residing at Pemberley. We see Darcy struggling with the idea of Ben and Mrs Reynold's Grandson becoming close, as he fears for a repeat of the situation between himself and Wickham. For the first time we hear Ben call Darcy father and if you are acquainted with the previous books Ben only calls Darcy Da and has reserved father for when he is displeased, Ben displeased with Darcy, Never!

Good day, Father. How those three innocent words struck Darcy hard as he recalled an agreement he and Ben made, prior to Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s nuptials, as to how Ben would address him. Ben’s words that he would only address him as ‘Father’ when he was exceedingly vexed echoed - P.O.Dixon

Tragedy strikes and Mr Bennet's suspected stroke brings the Darcy's to Hertfordshire, where the drama begins.  Hertfordshire sees the return of  favourites such as Mr Bingley from London, who is all to glad to open up Netherfield for their stay, as well as the opportunity to see Jane again. The Militia are quartered at Meryton and that means one thing, you guessed it, Lieutenant Wickham and he's more depraved and despicable than ever.

Darcy looked around the tiny quarters. His man stood silently by the door. “If I did not know better, I would say that Collins had a hand in the selection of this room.” In a tone meant only for himself, he said, “That pompous bore seems to have wasted no time at all designating himself head of the family in Mr. Bennet’s stead.”- P.O.Dixon

As events unfold I was left feeling a myriad of emotions, I felt the most acutest pain for Mr Bingley as this is the second story I have read that sees Bingley's departure after the Netherfield ball, a grave mistake that sees him forever parted from dear Jane. As much as Darcy often gets the blame I have always been of a mind that Bingley should have shown more conviction. Although he had partly himself to blame for losing Jane I could not help but feel sorry for him and hearing Jane admit he would always be her first love was just as heartbreaking.
Elizabeth is almost a secondary character in this but I enjoyed the focus on Darcy and Ben's relationship. Darcy surely holds the title of best step father in all the land! I really enjoyed the part Ben played in showing a naive Georgiana just what that miscreant Wickham was all about.
I WAS ACTUALLY IN AGREEMENT WITH CAROLINE!!!  I know shocking right? I also warmed slightly to Geoffrey Collins, yes, the operative word being slightly, even if it was partly for Jane's sake.

George Wickham took a seat on a bench and crossed his long legs. “You are a most fortunate young man to live there. Did you know that I once lived there as well? My memories of living at Pemberley are some of the happiest of my life. I yearn to see it again.” “I do not suppose that will be happening,” said Ben. “So, you do talk.”- P.O.Dixon

The story started off slow and it took me a while to get into it, but by the half way mark it was all go and then the abrupt ending took me by surprise. Surprise, as in hint hint, I want more please Dixon, a happily ever after for Bingley, Richard and Anne. An heir for Darcy, as I would love to see Ben in the big brother role and finally a separate story of Ben all grown up, along with his subsequent love story and management of the Carlton family estate replete with plenty of fatherly advice from Darcy.

I will end my review with a well done Dixon for another delightful tale of King Arthur's adventures and a pretty pretty please in regards to what I would most like to read next :)

This book is worthy of 4 Hearts - Mr Bingley

As always I love to hear your thoughts :)