Monday, 31 March 2014

Happy April Reading Everyone!!!!

I have resisted for so long as whether to do a monthly post in regards to my reading intentions, because when you get stuck into a page turner all else goes by the wayside!

So this is a trial run so to speak plus an incentive for me to get writing!
Following on from my recent post 'Just How Obsessed With Austen and JAFF Are You?' I thought I would share that I had to take a test at university, called "How tight (or loose) are your professional boundaries?"

Question three I am convinced was for me.
Q3. One of your clients notices you are reading a book by their favourite author. You have just finished the book and can tell they would love to read it.
Do You
A. Give them the book?
B. Hurriedly put the book away?
C. Discuss the ideas and themes of the book with them?
D. Suggest they join the local library?
E. Offer to lend them the book?

Wow where do I start! lets just say I decided to take a hit on that question, hopefully it will not affect my overall grade!!

Without further ado this is my plan "Disclaimer, I have just purchased several books with my Mothers' day Gift voucher, if they are page turners, what I have planned becomes null and void!"

I will be reviewing the following books in April

Haunting Mr Darcy - A Spirited Courtship - KaraLynne Mackrory

The Secret Betrothal - Jan Hahn

Pemberley Medley - Abigail Reynolds

A lasting love Affair - P.O. Dixon

A Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy - Mary Lydon Simonsen

My Dearest Mr Darcy - Sharon Lathan

I hope you have some great books lined up too!!!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Consequences Giveaway Winner!

                     Happy Mothers Day!

Today I announce the lucky winners of the Consequences blog tour giveaway! "I have not forgot you see."
I would like to say thank you to Colin for allowing me to put him in the hot seat and thank you to Jakki for allowing me to participate, it has been fun.
Lastly thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who read Colin's wonderful interview.  


Monday, 24 March 2014

Just How Obsessed With Austen and JAFF Are You?

While doing research on a recent assignment, I realised my obsession with Austen and JAFF was natural and just! My desire at times (okay lets be honest, all the time) to ignore all else and get lost in a world that mainly consists (for me) of Darcy and Elizabeth is apparently, according to Freud, my id mounting an all out war on my ego, while my super ego looks on with a jaw dropping expression. So, you ask, what has the id, ego and super ego got to do with my obsession? Well I will explain (as you may need it in court when people get fed up of your obsession!!).

The id is the impulsive part of our psyche, it demands immediate satisfaction in gaining pleasure (I need to read this book now!!). Anything less will only result in pain and the id does not want to experience pain. The id is unaffected by logic or the reality of the world! It is only focused on its goal for pleasure (Me while I am reading).

The ego mediates between the unrealistic id and the external world. The ego would also like pleasure but seeks to achieve it in a realistic, rational manner. (Well I can tell you now, my ego is having little success in any anything remotely rational when it pertains to Austen!).

The super ego is our conscience, it tries to reign in the id's urges by manipulating the ego into adhering to societies morals and values, it does this by engendering feelings, such as guilt. (I do feel guilty! I do! I do! But the pleasure that is derived from reading anything Austen or Austen related far outweighs any guilt!  Yet ignoring feelings of guilt can only lead to tragedy right?! or then again, another book!!)

" The innocence of such fancy comes to an end, when in pursuit of our daydreams we calmly ignore or blithely manipulate, accidentally damage, or consider as non-existent, some of the people dearest to us " - E.Erikson

In other words while daydreaming constantly about the book your reading or the one you've just read, your super ego (your conscience) is reminding you to get back to reality. While you indulge in yet another 'what if' your super ego is screaming "you should be starting dinner". When you just want to be left in peace to read your book, feelings of guilt start to surface, annoyingly reminding you that you have responsibilities!

Yet all the while your id is urging you to be selfish, "do what you want, go ahead, read another 'what if.' Yes if it's a good one you'll be up till the early hours, most certainly rendering you unfit for the day ahead, but who cares". The super ego screams "are you out of your mind!" While the id shouts back "have you read the blurb! surely my friend, it is you who is out of your mind!!!."

So do I dare ask, how far is your id driving your obsession?

Did you just miss out on an ebay item, because you  decided to have a quick read on one of the many Austeneque blogs, while waiting for the clock to tick down?

Is your road rage a result of having to rewind your Pride & Prejudice Naxo audio cd? Because the idiot in front does not know how to drive and as a result you've just lost concentration. (Not that you mind rewinding and having to listen again but with only 10 miles of good road to go and to your dismay, no sign of traffic, you were hoping to get to the part where Elizabeth meets Darcy at Pemberley.)

Does your cooking apron read "I'd rather be reading Pride and Prejudice"? All jokes aside your deadly serious!

Do you find your often not in the moment?  Is your attention distracted not because your texting but because your reading JAFF on a forum or reading on your kindle phone app?

Do you have Darcy's proposal framed on your windowsill?

Proposal is typed on a page from P&P, available from thebookishlife on Etsy (my own frame)

When your reading preference is made known and people roll their eyes, are you embarrassed? Or have you started to look down on them, pitting those that are ignorant of Austen or JAFF; proud and conceited in being part of the privileged few that are in this exclusive club? (I know, it is no way to act, but any slight to dear Jane must surely warrant such behaviour)

Is your wardrobe slowly changing, are you buying more period inspired clothing? Heck lets get real, are you walking around in riding boots and a tweed jacket? Yet you do not ride! (Does a donkey ride age 10, on the beach in Morecombe count?)

Are you losing sleep hooked on JAFF books that you cannot, for the life of you put down. Forgetting yourself, as you laugh out loud at 5am at some silly remark the Colonels just made, hoping you haven't awoken the whole household or the street for that matter?

Do you deliberately hold off reading some JAFF because you know that once you start there will be no stopping you?  Okay I grant you there was no point in asking that question, Mr Darcy's "in vain I have struggled" certainly comes to mind.

Do you have Keep Calm and Find Mr Darcy on your phone case?

Are you and your Kindle inseparable? Are you wondering why Amazon hasn't offered you shares?

Do you sneak your kindle/Nook or book under your dressing gown or in a towel when you go into the bathroom?

Are you annoyed that considering how far the scientific community has come, no one has created time travel yet! (Damn it! You can get a man to the moon but you can't get me back to the Regency era!!!)

Do you scout the newspapers hoping to find a job advertisement that says "read Austen and JAFF and get paid"?

Do you buy hard copies of your favourite Austen & JAFF? Not only for the pleasure of seeing it on your book case, but in truth as back up should your kindles stop working (you have two), the internet goes down or your phone crashes?

Are everyday pleasures starting to pale in comparison?

If you have
answered yes
to all or any of the above fear not, Sigmund Freud
says it is only "NATURAL and JUST" 
oh sorry that was DARCY was it not!!!!!

I would love to hear your thoughts or any other signs you care to impart,  that confirm just how obsessed you are!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Consequences Blog Tour - Author Interview + Giveaway !!

I am honoured and humbled to be doing an interview with C.P.Odom about his new book Consequences; plus hosting a giveaway for one paperback copy!!! C.P.Odom has become one of my favourite Jane Austen Fan Fiction Authors (JAFF) and he has only published two books, I think that says it all! Before I start I would like to say a big thank you to Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews for allowing me to participate in this book tour, I've had such fun and I hope Colin has too!!

Book Blurb
Consequences is a cautionary tale about the evils of hasty judgment, revisiting Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and one of those pivotal moments when Elizabeth Bennet throws away Mr. Darcy’s offer of marriage so decisively. What transpires from that point is well known to Austen’s extensive readership, but what if even one element in the chain of events in her novel turns out differently? Does Austen’s happy ending eventually come to pass, or is the outcome more bleak?

And if, in order to secure financial security for her loved ones, Elizabeth does not reject Darcy, is she married to a proud, arrogant, disdainful man who, as she feared, forces her to deny her own relatives and thus condemns her to a lifetime of misery? Or does she find herself married to a man who cares

enough for her to reject the opposition of his family and chance his very standing in society in order to marry a woman he loves beyond measure?

Consequences, written by the author of A Most Civil Proposal, explores two alternate realities—both tragedy and triumph.


Welcome Colin and thank you for giving up your time to do this interview!

Both of the alternate realities in this book created a myriad of emotions within me. When writing the book were the emotions incited, a consequence of the storyline or was the storyline led by a desire to create such emotions?

Certainly, I knew that some unpleasant realities would be occasioned in Book 1, titled “The Road Not Taken.”  But, as usual, I was writing action and dialogue as much as I was writing down plotlines, so the storyline really led to the emotions.  I didn’t set out, when I first came up with the plot outlines, to take it as far as it wound up going.  Certainly, I knew there was going to be angst, but then there’s plenty of angst in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”  Including some that the reader doesn’t see, such as suffered by Darcy and, to a lesser extent, Bingley.  On the other hand, when I decided to add the separate plotline for Book 2, titled “The Sleeper Wakes,” I already knew it was going to be low in angst.  And, after writing Book 1, that didn’t make me unhappy at all.

'Alternative realities both tragedy and triumph'. Do you think an author could get away with publishing the tragedy of book 1 (“The road Not Taken”) without the reprieve that book 2 (“The Sleeper Wakes”) offers? Is the absence of a happily ever after a sacrilege in the world of JAFF?

The plot bunnies that culminated in the shorter fan-fiction version of Consequences were originally two separate plotlines.  For what became the darker reality 1, I wanted to examine how dramatically events could be altered by a simple mischance such as Darcy’s horse going lame so that the two lovers didn’t meet to renew their “romance” (if one could characterize what went before as a romance!).  That meant that Darcy wouldn’t find and rescue Lydia and resurrect the Bennet family’s good name.  For reality 2, I wanted to examine Elizabeth’s firm idea that, had she accepted Darcy at Hunsford, she would have sentenced herself to a life of misery.  I anticipated having some good fun in following the plot bunnies wherever they led, since I had some different ideas about those topics than a lot of the JAFF readership.  However, as I was writing reality 1, I realized that both plot bunnies were actually connected to a single critical decision, which was Elizabeth’s fiery rejection of Darcy, so I decided to combine the two into a single story rather than two shorter pieces.  That said, however, I have to admit that, because reality 1 led me to darker places than I had originally envisioned, I was somewhat relieved when I decided to graft a plotline with a happier ending to reality 1.  My fears were realized when I posted the story as fan-fiction, since the readership was pondering a cyber-lynching until I mollified them somewhat with reality 2.  Now, even though a lot of this kind of fell into place rather than being planned from the very beginning, I have to say that the complete absence of a happy ending would be a very difficult sell in the world of JAFF.  In any event, I am no more disposed to melancholy than Austen’s character of E.B., so this will probably be as close as I come to trying to write a true tragedy.  No “Romeo & Juliet”s for me!

Ha ha, you were relieved! I was relieved! I agree an absence of a happily ever after would be a hard sell indeed! 
Societal norms and values would have us believe that Pride and Prejudice is unlikely to appeal to men, please share with us why that is not true, why do you love P&P?

I will cheerfully admit to a streak of romanticism in my makeup which far pre-dates my reading of my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen’s books.  I’ve even enjoyed the occasional “chick-flick” (my favorites include “You’ve Got Mail,” “Princess Bride,” and “27 Dresses”  -- even one of my favorite melodramas, “Casablanca,” makes a number of “Best Chick Flick” lists), and I own four versions of P&P videos, including the truly ghastly 1939 version with Sir Laurence Olivier, as well as multiple versions of “Emma,” “Sense & Sensibility,” “Persuasion,” etc.  At the same time, I’m a retired engineer, a former football player, unilaterally hetero, a former U.S. Marine during the Vietnam festivities, and a woodworker busy making shelves to relieve the stress of my book addiction.  I mention these conflicting facets of my persona because I’m not sure I can point to any of them as the reason I’ve read P&P at least a dozen times in the last decade and a half.  I like others of Austen’s books, but it’s P&P which keeps calling to me.

However, there is a possibility that there might just be a few more potential P&P admirers than popularly thought, and I offer the following to buttress my claim.  Back in October of 2013, after the publication of my first novel, “A Most Civil Proposal,” I was having lunch with some friends of mine from work, both employed and retired.  One of the late arrivals came over and sat directly across from me.  This guy is definitely toward the “macho” side of the male species – he’s a veteran, his main hobby is working on cars and motorcycles, and he still races motorbikes competitively at 60.  I’ve known him for more than twenty years, and he’s absolutely frank-spoken to the point of brusqueness.  Anyway, he leans forward, fixes me in his eye, and growls, “Odom, we need to talk about your book!”
Oh, great, I think, he’s going to make a scene and call me out for writing chick-lit at what was supposed to be a good times lunch!  Anyway, he leans closer and says, “Because of the years we worked together, I felt compelled to buy a copy of your book—and I read it!”  Naturally, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when he leans forward and says, “It’s not the kind of book I would ever have read if it weren’t yours . . . but I couldn’t put it down!  When’s your next one?”
I was completely stunned, but this was not altogether an isolated occurrence.  I was almost as surprised when my brother, who’s a CPA and made a small fortune in the travel agency business, sent me an email saying the same thing.  As did a friend in my neighborhood, whose kids went to school with my kids and who is also a former Marine.  So there are a few males out there who, while not P&P fans, could nevertheless enjoy the kind of literature we like.

Thanks for sharing, the story of the veteran brings a smile to my face. I whole heartily agree as I am sure will many, that it is P&P that keeps calling. Following in the same vein I must ask, as a woman I love Darcy, which is in part due to his constancy in regards to Elizabeth and his act of kindness towards Lydia. As a man & considering Elizabeth does nothing half as heroic as Darcy (although I grant you her walk to Netherfield to care for Jane was of no little matter) did you fall in love with Elizabeth? If so why?

I think I understand Darcy in a different way than most female readers, but, yes, I admit to a definite fascination with Elizabeth.  For example, most JAFF aficionados of my acquaintance consider the 1995 BBC P&P miniseries to be the best of all time, to a considerable degree because of Colin Firth’s portrayal of Darcy.  For myself, while I grant the many fine points of that version, I’m not as happy with it because Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth just didn’t sit well with me.  I much prefer Elizabeth Garvie’s E.B., though she is definitely not as beautiful nor as well known, nor did that miniseries have the production values as the 1995 version.  The actress who I think could have been the best E.B., though the director wouldn’t let her, was Kiera Knightly in the 2005 P&P.  I do not like that version because the director wandered away from the classic storylines and made E.B. fiesty without making her courageous or witty.
Among the reasons for my affection for E.B. are her undaunted optimism in the light of her family’s misfortunes, her wit and courage when confronted with obstacles such as the social snobbery of Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine, her willingness to admit her errors (remember, she was guilty of “prejudice,” not “pride”), her loyalty to family and friends (even if misplaced, but none of us are perfect), and the fact that, notwithstanding all the previous, which seem relatively modern in outlook, she remained a person of her time and her society.  I truly value civility and politeness, and I think that the diminution of these qualities in my American culture is truly saddening.

Wow great answer and thank for your views on the screen productions of P&P. You mentioned that you think you understand Darcy in a different way to female readers I would love for you expand on that, would you care to enlighten us?

I’ll give it a try.  The first thing that comes to mind is that I’ve experienced the delights and the dejection that are part of the interaction between guys and gals in the courtship rituals, and I’m convinced guys and gals react differently, especially to rejection – or perhaps it’s that each sex perceives how the other sex is reacting to rejection differently.  I remember having a discussion with my mom during my teenage years when I was suffering through being “dumped” by my steady girlfriend.  It caught me completely by surprise, since I thought things were going along great, and, as is the case with teenage romances, life looked very bleak at that moment.  But my mom shared with me that she didn’t think men and women reacted the same way to rejection – she said, as best I remember, that she could easily see why a woman would kill herself over the end of a romance, but she didn’t think any man would react nearly that strongly.  Even then, I had enough common sense that I didn’t dispute what she said, but it convinced me that the sexes didn’t really perceive what the other was truly experiencing.  I was feeling absolutely crushed at that moment, while I thought my ex-girlfriend was sailing off blithely on a new romance with no thought for what I was going through, and my mom was telling me that females felt such things deeply while men had only superficial dejection at best!  Which was correct?  Even after the years I’ve lived, I don’t know the definitive answer, but I think I could perceive how a man like Darcy could react to being rejected in the manner he was rejected.  His bleakness, I think, could be immense and pervasive, and I’m not sure that most women would see it that way.
Having said the above, I do want to say that my reactions are based on my own experiences and values, and I’m not sure that what I just said would apply to males of today.  I have a distinctly low opinion of most of today’s males, believing they are lacking in the kind of values my father (and the fathers of my friends) exhibited when I was young.  Lack of commitment and avoidance of responsibility being just two qualities that I see lacking in many modern young men.  But, if I am out of step with today’s young men, I think I can understand a very traditional Darcy more easily.

I totally agree, in regards to the morals and values of today, it is one of the things that most appeals to me about Austen's books, I am quite old fashioned.

Although the angst I experienced in this book was unparalleled in comparison to any JAFF I have read before I wondered if I had to choose which was my favourite of the two realities which would it be. Although my first thoughts were “it has to be book 2”, it was book 1 that stirred the most emotions, the one I could remember the most details and the one that left me feeling I had just read the most thought provoking book this year. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite?

I’m probably prouder of Book 1 of “Consequences” (your reality 1 above) because I had the intestinal fortitude to address the dire situation of the Bennet girls.  After writing “Consequences,” I have much more understanding of Mrs. Bennet’s unceasing efforts to find husbands for her girls, though I’m sure her complaints would be unbelievably wearing if I actually found myself living in that fantasy universe.  But I also enjoyed portraying Darcy as far short of an abusive or arrogant or insensitive husband.  After all, despite the miserable way in which he expressed himself when he proposed, he was completely willing to undergo any adverse reactions in order to win E.B.’s hand.  To think that he would treat her badly after accepting the downsides simply, as we engineers (and Star Trek fans) used to say, “Does not compute.  Does not compute.”  So I have to say that Book 2 edges out Book 1 by a nose.

Which is your favourite of your two published books?

I would probably choose A Most Civil Proposal as it is more optimistic and enjoyable, while “Consequences” caused me to stretch more.  AMCP would certainly be easier to re-read a number of times – I’ve re-read it dozens of times while editing and re-editing and re-re-editing it for publication!  I’m reminded of how I have reacted to a number of well-done movies over the years, and I have a personal category called “Excellently done movie that I won’t watch again.”  In that category fall movies like the “Godfather” movies and a Stanley Kubric movie called “Paths of Glory,” among others.  Superbly done movies that simply don’t lend themselves to watching numerous times.  I could easily see how “Consequences” might fall into a similar category.

What was it that made you decide to pursue writing JAFF? Did any JAFF authors inspire you to write?

During my reading over the years, I’ve often finished a book by a favorite author and thought, “I wish I could write something close to that good.”  But no ideas came to mind and inspiration didn’t strike, and there were always so many other demands on my time that nothing ever came of it.  After I read my wife’s Austen books and watched the 1980 and 1995 P&P miniseries, I remembered my present wife telling me of fan-fiction sites for her favorite TV show, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” (and yes, I’ve heard all the jokes about what a strange combination we make, but I love her dearly).  Anyway, I discovered several, including my favorite, the old Hyacinth Garden site.  I sampled a number of stories there and was more than pleasantly surprised by how good a number of authors were.  My favorites included Abigail Reynolds, Jan Hahn, mariafaith (her pen name; I’m not sure of her real name), and Pamela Aidan, as well as others.  Anyway, as I read, the idea for my first story, “A Most Civil Proposal,” kind of crept up on me.  I was in a period where there was nothing at work to obsess my mind, I had a number of nights where there was little else to do (my new wife, a nurse, worked the night shift), and I was (and am!) very much in love with her.  So I started (amateurishly, I freely admit) trying to put together a plotline.  I probably made all the newby mistakes plus invented some of my own, but I’m kind of a methodical writer and I slowly started getting words down on paper (actually, on my hard drive!  How did people ever write books in longhand?).  Then, finally, the evening came when I could delay no longer – I had to either try posting a few sample chapters or give up and fold my tent.  So I tried it, and the response was quite heartwarming.  The ladies (it’s no secret that most JAFF readers are ladies) were quite welcoming to this rather skittish male, and I was encouraged enough to keep on posting.  Though it was a while before I told my wife what I was doing!  Sadly, she remains more attracted to Buffy than to Elizabeth, but maybe someday I’ll write “Elizabeth Bennet, Vampire Slayer” and dedicate it to her.

Well, I for one am glad you decided to put pen to hard drive. Do you have any plans to write another Pride and Prejudice inspired book? Because another cannot come soon enough!!

I have four other fan-fiction stories that I have completed, so perhaps my publisher would be interested in one of those.  In both my published novels, the published version was developed considerably beyond that of my fan fiction stories, and I’m sure that would be true of those four.  Plus, I’m working on a couple of other plotlines, including one that takes on P&P from the view of Colonel Fitzwilliam.  I think that one has fewer constraints than most of my other ideas, since Fitzwilliam is onstage only at Rosings.  Everything else is pretty wide open!

Oh sounds interesting I do love the Colonel!

Thank you so much for your insightful answers Colin, it has been a pleasure. Consequences is indeed a book most worthy to be read!! If you would like to keep abreast with what Colin is up to, his links, a short bio and the Consequences blog tour schedule are below, followed by the GIVEAWAY!!!! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!!!

Contact Colin
Colin Odom Facebook page:
C. P. Odom page at Meryton Press site:

Books by C.P.Odom!
To read my review click this link 
  To read my review click this link



Buy Links:

C. P. (Colin) Odom Short Bio:
By training, I’m an engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.  The next thirty-five years was spent working on military electronics in Arizona with my first wife, Margaret, where we raised two sons before her untimely death from cancer.  I have always been a voracious reader and, as so often happens in such cases, this has resulted in a serious book addiction problem.  Luckily, I developed an interest (and a few skills) in woodworking, which allowed me to build the bookcases needed to house my "addiction."  My favorite genres were (and are) science fiction, historical fiction, and histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife's beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have two novels published: A Most Civil Proposal (2013) and Consequences (2014).

Recently retired from engineering, I currently live in Chandler, Arizona with my second wife, Jeanine, our two adopted daughters, two stubbornly untrainable dogs, and a quartet of very strange cats.  I still labor under my book addiction problem, which takes up a fair bit of my time, and raising daughters is no simple matter either.  I’m also a dedicated college football fan (no NFL gladiatorial arenas for this citizen!) and I also follow Formula One racing (needless to say, our home is a “No NASCAR Zone” – at least they turn both ways in F1).

Consequences Blog Tour!!

3/10 Guest Post at My Jane Austen Book Club 
3/11 Review at Addicted to Jane Austen 
3/13 Excerpt and Giveaway at So Little Time... 
3/14 Guest Post and Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen 
3/18 Review at More Agreeably Engaged 
3/19 Review at Diary of an Eccentric 
3/20 Review at Warmisunqu's Austen 
3/21 Guest Post and Giveaway at Joana Starnes


To be in with a chance to win a paper back copy of Consequences, simply leave a comment below. The lucky winner will be announced on the 30th March 2014 !! The winner will have 72 hours to contact me. If the winner does not contact me within that time, then I will choose a new winner. Good Luck!!!

Monday, 10 March 2014

A Wife for Mr Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

This is the second book I have read by this author, the first being 'When they fall in Love' and what a delightful read it was. This book is a Pride and Prejudice 'what if'. What if Mr Darcy came to Longborn a few days after the Meryton assembly and apologised to Elizabeth for his comment, that she was not handsome enough to tempt him. What if for the rest of his stay he made more effort with the society in Hertfordshire to repair the damage done.

As a result of Mr Darcy's apology Elizabeth and he get on quite well, so you can imagine how her conversation with Wickham goes, it is so funny. What a difference it makes when someone speaks ill of someone you like.

But alas although Elizabeth and Darcy get along there is a complication, before venturing into Hertfordshire Mr Darcy had already started to show attention to a young lady by the name of Miss Montford, deciding it was high time he took steps in the direction of marriage. While not yet courting her, there where expectations and of course Mr Darcy being the honourable man he is (even if he is in love with Elizabeth) must do what is expected. The author did her research and it was interesting to learn more about the rules that surround courtship and what the established mode of conduct was. There really was a fine line between showing someone even the smallest amount of attention and making a proposal, If I was a man in the Regency era I would be walking around with my head down less anybody think I was interested! Once you made a beginning there was no going back without causing a scandal, even before you started a courtship!

It is sad to think that with all of his money, his name, and his elevated position in society that happiness might elude him because he may have to marry a woman he does not love. On the other hand, it would be difficult to truly be miserable when you take into consideration the enormity of his wealth, his large estate in Derbyshire, and a house in town.” “Elegant carriages and paintings by the Masters,” Jane said, adding to Lizzy’s list. “An invitation to Almack’s.” “Tickets to the opera.” “A stable full of horses…”  -M.Lydon Simonsen

I love Charles Bingley in this story, even before the Netherfield ball he is intent on having Miss Bennet, he will not give way even when his two sisters give their opinion on the matter. Charles is actually happy to see the back of them as they have nothing constructive to say about Jane Bennet. When his sisters leave Netherfield his older sister comes to stay with her children. It was an interesting concept for Charles to have more brothers and sisters as it gave the opportunity for more characters and the opportunity to expand on Jane's lovely qualities. All I will say is Charles's niece Athena, the billiards room and Darcy shoving Elizabeth through a secret door in the wood panelling, Hilarious!!!!

I really liked Georgiana in this book, a confident, lively, sweet young Lady; I liked her very much, very much indeed. The difference in Georgiana in comparison with Austen's portrayal did not stretch the imagination. The author was very clever in that by making subtle changes, she had the licence to bend the characters to her liking. Georgiana was 18 and had already come out thus helping her in some way towards conquering some of her shyness. As a result her relationship with Darcy was wonderful and their playfulness with one another showed them both in the best light. There was nothing not to like about the pair of siblings and Georgiana's determination to see her brother happy could only help in getting him and Elizabeth together.

“Do not worry about your appearance, Lizzy. The men do not look any better,” Georgiana said while glancing at her ugly brown riding coat. When the two gentlemen came out of the stables carrying their farmer’s hats, Georgiana started laughing. “Well, we may now proceed, as Farmer Will and Farmer Dick have arrived,” which made Darcy laugh. He found his sister to be delightful, and his most unguarded moments were when he was with her. - M.Lydon Simonsen

Another delightful character was Lord Fitzwilliam (Anthony) Colonel Fitzwilliam's brother. Anthony is hilarious and I could not help laughing out loud every time he spoke. The best way I can describe him is an eccentric  rake. I truly liked him and even sympathised with his behaviour. He had a mistress and although I would not condone such behaviour, I could understand. I could not imagine not being able to marry for love and the obligation to marry for connections in that era was the established mode among the elite. He could not stand the woman he was married to and as a result was destined for a life of misery, so  I could sympathise with his actions in taking a mistress. His brother Colonel Fitzwilliam was quite over shadowed, however the Colonel did play a vital role in being the voice of reason when Darcy needed a confidant. The Colonel and Georgiana become co-conspirators along with Anthony and Anne, in an attempt to bring Elizabeth and Darcy together, how delightful, will they succeed?

I love books that are situated in the Regency era and I know it must be difficult for modern day authors to write in Regency prose. In this respect the author's writing seemed effortless and the dialogue, plot and characters were congruent which made it an easy read. As I said previously with subtle changes the author was able to have free reign with her characters. I feel she tried to stay close to Austen's original characters and although they may have been slightly different they were there in the essentials. When Darcy tries to write Elizabeth a love letter he struggles because it is not the type of thing he would do and when you think of Austen's taciturn Darcy you can well believe it! This Darcy reminded me of the Colin Firth we see after Pemberley. Elizabeth was lovely and witty and it was enjoyable to have her like Darcy throughout the story.

You do not want to frighten her. It is a bad start to a marriage when you have to pry your spouse’s fingers, one at a time, from the bedpost on your wedding night. Ask Eleanor. Although I very nearly succeeded in holding her off.” “I still intend to go to London,” Darcy said, shaking his head in amusement at Antony’s comment. - M.Lydon Simonsen

I really enjoyed  the scenes when Darcy was in Miss Montford's company because it allowed you to see the difference between his interactions with a lady of the ton and the unique country lass that was Elizabeth, no wonder he was still single at eight and twenty. Lastly Darcy's love for Elizabeth was lovely to see and his struggle with wanting to be more affectionate with her was funny. As a man of the world and a man of honour trying to adapt to Elizabeth's world as a maiden must have been difficult! Elizabeth did allow for a few kisses but she certainly adhered to the dictates of propriety, well done Elizabeth I would expect nothing less and Darcy being the man that he is respected that.
I really enjoyed this book and have the next Mary Lydon Simonsen instalment on my kindle!

Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

What would Mr Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds

This variation is just delightful, deciding that I needed a book that would restore my equanimity after reading Consequences by C.P.Odom!(make sure you read Consequences great book) I knew that I could do no wrong with Abigail Reynolds! 

When Darcy happens upon Elizabeth in the inn at Lambton whilst reading her sister Jane's letter, instead of leaving he stays. Abigail's Darcys are usually very passionate and I am not keen when authors portray him that way but Reynolds gets away with it. I absolutely love her Darcy and I know that any time I pick up one of her books I will be smiling, okay with the exception of one of my favourites 'Fitzwilliam Darcy The Last Man in The World' when my smile changed to despair! Anyway I digress, with this change in the story Elizabeth falls for Darcy without knowing what he has done for Lydia. I think what I liked most about this Darcy was his insecurities, sorry I do not mean to say I took pleasure in them but when Darcy said in the original "it taught me to hope, as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before" we get to see what he means by that. It made me realised just how apprehensive of Elizabeth's regard he was, it really put emphasis on the damage she had done as a result of her Hunsford speech and her anxiety about having said it in the first place.

"His gaze turned serious. “I have missed you, Elizabeth,” he said softly, speaking her name as if it were the most intimate of endearments."  - Abigail Reynolds

Georgiana and Elizabeth get to know each other quite well while Georgiana visits at Longborn. With the influence of kitty and Mary Georgiana starts to come out of her shell. At first I felt the change was too much, but I could understand Elizabeth when she said she felt Georgiana had spent too much time around adults, forced to grow up before her time, much like her brother Fitzwilliam.

"Dear Miss Darcy, I am impressed at the progress you are making in your ability to tease if you can already even consider teasing your brother! But I will be happy to give you further instruction in how to proceed, since Mr. Darcy is certainly in need of a great deal of teasing. If your brother is again watching you as you read this, be sure to give an occasional gasp, and to say “Oh, no” from time to time, or perhaps “she couldn’t possibly!” Then, when he asks you what is the matter, explain that you could not possibly tell him, since the letter is full of secrets that I have begged you to hold in confidence. Then, if he keeps asking, you may tell him that he may perhaps read the last few sentences, but only if he promises not to look at the rest of it." - Abigail Reynolds

As per usual when I read Reynolds, laugh out loud moments are frequent, delightful and embarrassing as I am sometimes in a public place with my kindle. While reading this I was actually in the car waiting while my son was at football practice. With the windows up I am sure my laughter was heard and seen! Hey who cares right, its not my fault if people are jealous I am having a wail of a time and their not. So much so that the lady in the car next to me, after one such outburst threw me a glance of what I can only describe as a look of disdain, oh Caroline Bingley would have been most proud of her indeed! She then put on her in-car entertainment system and started to watch the news as if to say 'I am not bored either', ooh nice the news! But not as fun as reading Abigail Reynolds!! Sorry, I apologise back to the book!

“Mrs. Bennet,” he began in a severe manner, every inch the Master of Pemberley. “I fear you may be subject to some misunderstanding on this matter. The decision on the date was mine. I am not a patient man, and your daughter has kept me waiting a very long time, and I have no intention of waiting any longer. The frank truth is that it is tomorrow or Gretna Green. Do I make myself quite clear?” - Abigail Reynolds

There is no Mr Wickham in this story, he is mentioned but he is not physically present which was was nice. Mr Bennett had me laughing as did Darcy, a very funny Darcy actually, although not necessarily Austen's but as the Colonel would attest, he behaves very differently among his own circles. This book also analysed Darcy's reticence whilst offering up explanations. It will come as no surprise I had this read in day! A delightful read that is easy on the mind and heart warming in every way.

I am always happy to hear your thoughts!