Monday, 31 August 2015

Jane By the Sea by Carolyn Murray - Excerpt & Giveaway!

With so many JAFF books based on Jane Austen's novels, I love it when Jane herself takes centre
When author Carolyn V. Murray contacted me about her debut novel 'Jane By the Sea' 
Jane Austen's Love Story,  I was immediately captivated by the beautiful book cover and intrigued to know more. After reading several excerpts I was laughing at the wit and borderline sarcasm Jane displayed. Whether or not Jane Austen's character was quite as feisty as this, on reading this portrayal, I could not help but think of Elizabeth Bennet with her quick wit and Emma Woodhouse, who although naive, could not help but express her opinion. Since writing this post, Voltage Pictures has announced that 'Jane By the Sea' will be brought to the big screen, so watch this space!


Very little is known about the young man that Jane Austen met during a seaside holiday in 1800. Her sister was later to say that she believed this young man was falling in love with Jane and was someone she felt was truly worthy of her sister. What transpired that summer? Perhaps it happened this way …

Jane begins her search for love with giddy optimism, but her first encounter proves devastating. The young Irishman who captured her heart is convinced by his family that marrying a penniless clergyman’s daughter would be a terrible mistake. Though she knows herself to be cherished by her family, she is mortified to learn that she has no value in the eyes of the society she lives in, certainly not in the marriage economy.
She can wallow in despair (indeed, she must, as a first measure.) But then she is obliged to accept the unforgiving rules of society that have established her low ranking, embrace the advantages of spinsterhood, and resolve never again to succumb to false hope, romantic delusions, and pathetic heartbreak.

Lieutenant Frederick Barnes is on medical leave from the Royal Navy. By the time he crosses paths with Jane, she has lost her faith in love and is determined to protect her heart at all costs.But the Lieutenant is captivated and equally determined. How is he to break through her defenses and persuade her to believe in happy endings?

Miss Stent’s cottage was filled with considerable clutter; although I was sure she regarded most of these items as treasured keepsakes. And a certain odour in the air that always seemed to signify old age. Poor Martha. She was four and thirty and did not need such a bleak reminder of the solitude and poverty that lay ahead.

Miss Stent herself was the absolute picture of spinsterhood perfected. And I feared that she regarded the three of us as her protégé whom she could happily lend a guiding hand. She shared some specifics of bread and stew recipes that would generate quantity appropriate for a single individual. And she had much to say on the subject of mending clothes, for ladies in “our” circumstance should almost never waste money on new fabric, there no longer being need to impress. My vanity bristled. I should hope I was a good many years from no longer caring about what I look like. Cassie, of course, was attentive and gracious. She shouldered the burden of the evening until Miss Stent was at last ready to retire. Our hostess assured us there were more lessons of economy to come, as well as instruction on a few new embroidery stitches. With those alarming threats, she finally made her exit.

“I insist you be flattered, Martha,” I declared emphatically. “For look at what we endure for the pleasure of your company.”
“Shhhh…” Cassie cautioned.
“It is bad enough to be a spinster, but must they also be pathetic and dull? Can they not exert themselves?” I continued.
“Where is your charity?” Cassie chided. “She does harm to no one.”
“But she is an ugly foreshadowing that turns my heart cold. We may all come to be Miss Stents ourselves … unequal to anything and unwelcome to everybody,” I declared.
Martha reminded me that I had always said it was better to wind up alone than to be in a loveless marriage. I could not deny it. I had always clung to those lofty ideals. What I did not always take into account is that single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor.
Martha confessed, “I fear destitution as well. More than I have ever discussed. But it need not be your fate, Jane. If you truly desire security, I hear there is a candidate who would be happy to oblige … and no, do not blame Cassandra, for it was Mrs. Lefroy who has kept me informed.”
“Martha, you dispose of me without hesitation. When you know that a stupid man would be the end of me.”
“Jane, I am coming to think that love is a luxury, and one that is outside our budget. In order to avoid a future of poverty, perhaps you should be willing to endure something less than ideal,” Martha suggested.
“Do not make light of what must be endured. Reverend Blackall … in his nightrobe … ready to exercise his conjugal privileges!”
Cassie tried to silence me, but, in all truth, if I could not broach the subject in this company, how was I ever to work it out? For if marriage consisted only of a series of platonic meetings over teas and suppers, I supposed I could reconcile myself to just about any partner. But the physical intimacies … did they not demand that a husband be handsome and worthy of respect, as a bare minimum requirement for marital happiness? If a woman settled for less, would she not approach every nightly encounter with dread?
“If the time comes, we shall find ourselves capable of enduring what millions of our sex have suffered, and with little complaint,” Martha advised.
I objected. “Suffer? Why should we suffer? The ladies who became acquainted with Tom Jones did not seem to be suffering…Yes, yes, I know it is a fiction, but torn from real life, surely. If it were not … enjoyable … why so much adultery?”

Neither Cassie nor Martha could formulate an answer. Our discussion certainly would have benefitted from the inclusion of a lady with more expertise than ourselves. But I was able to turn their ignorance and squeamishness to my advantage. There was no more talk of Reverend Blackall that night.

Thank you Carolyn, for kindly sharing an excerpt with us today and for your generous giveaway!!
There are so little films that are Austen related that I look forward to adding a new addition to my collection. Good luck with your début Jane By the Sea!

Giveaway Time!!!!

Let me know what you thought of the excerpt or just say hi to the author.

The Giveaway is open internationally!! 
1 x e-book & 1 x paperback  
The Winners will be announced on 7th September 2015.
(Winners have 48hours to claim their prize before new winners are picked)

Good luck Everyone!!!!

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Winner of 'Promises Kept' By Zoe Burton

Hello Readers!
Today I announce the lucky winner of  'Promises Kept' by Zoe Burton.

I would like to say thank you to Zoe for kindly sharing an excerpt with us from her new book.  I hope you all enjoyed reading it, I certainly did! Lastly, thank you to everyone who participated. 

So without further ado!

Tgruy you have won an E-book copy of 'Promises Kept' by Zoe Burton.
Please contact me with your details, (see 'contact me' page at the top of the blog)

Thank you again Zoe it is always a pleasure to have authors I have not met on My Kids led me Back to Pride & Prejudice. I wish you success with your new book!

(Winner picked using

Thursday, 13 August 2015

'Promises Kept' by Zoe Burton Excerpt & Giveaway!

I am a big fan of JAFF as many of you know. I also love supporting authors because they make sure
we readers have plenty of JAFF to choose from.
There is now a Tag on Amazon called 'A Lady' which is dedicated to listing JAFF and that is where you can also find today's author Zoe Burton.
When Zoe contacted me about her new book 'Promises Kept' I was delighted as I love to to hear about new JAFF authors and what tales they have spun, to keep Jane Austen's characters alive.
I love excerpts, as they are a great way to become acquainted with an author you may not be familiar with. As Zoe was unsure in regards to what to send, I foolishly replied "send a couple and I'll choose". I obviously was not thinking or I would have foreseen that I was setting myself up for an impossible task.

Both excerpts were great! And I was deliberating on whether to e-mail her back and say lets post both! However on further consideration both were entirely different. Scenario 1, Mr Darcy giving a female acquaintance a set down, after his wife is slighted upon! Now, I know we all love to see Mr Darcy in all of his commanding glory, yet scenario 2 had me intrigued as to where the story possibly deviated and I think many of you would appreciate that.

Further still I discovered that Zoe's first book ' I Promise Too' is the story of this deviation to Canon and this book is the continuation once they are married. As this story had me intrigued, I thought it might be nice if one lucky reader was put out of their suspense. so I am offering a lucky reader an e-book copy of 'Promises Kept' By Zoe Burton. 

Excerpt By Zoe Burton

The Darcys made good time on this first leg of their trip, arriving in Meryton in time to have afternoon tea with the Bennets. When the carriages pulled up, Mr Bennet and the girls flocked outside to greet them. Fitzwilliam exited first, handing Elizabeth out. His father followed and helped Georgiana and her nanny disembark. Elizabeth was greeted with hugs and exclamations by her sisters. Mr Darcy and Fitzwilliam hung back, waiting for the hullabaloo to die down so she could make introductions. Soon, she turned to them, tucking her hand in the crook of Fitzwilliam’s elbow. She greeted her eldest sister first.

Jane, who had returned just three days ago, hugged Elizabeth tightly, whispering, “I have so much to tell you!”

Elizabeth smiled, then turned to the rest of her family. “Papa, Mary, Kitty, Lydia, this is my husband, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy.”

As her sisters curtseyed and her father bowed, she continued the introductions.

“Papa George, Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, Mrs Northrop, this is my father, Mr Thomas Bennet, and my sisters, Miss Jane Bennet, Miss Mary Bennet, Miss Catherine Bennet, and Miss Lydia Bennet.” It was the Darcy party’s turn to bow and curtsey.

“It is good of you to come, Mr Darcy. I have missed my Lizzy, as have her sisters. I am eager to hear everything that has happened since I sent her to London. Please, come inside.”

Mr Darcy and his son looked at each other. Both had noticed that Mrs Bennet had not come outside with the rest of the family to greet her daughter. Both were offended, but soundlessly communicated that silence was perhaps best at present. They followed as the group entered the home, Elizabeth having taken Georgiana by the hand. Her sisters, when taken as a group, could be a raucous bunch, and she designed to be close by at all times to remove the young girl, should the need arise.

Too, Elizabeth felt a need for the support of her new family. It had not escaped her that her mother did not greet her as the rest did. She had dreaded this day for months, and everything was going the way she had thought it might. The confidence she had begun to regain in the last few weeks was faltering. She could feel Fitzwilliam’s eyes boring into her back, and was comforted by the support she knew she had from him and from his father.

Far too soon, the group reached Mrs Bennet, who was sitting in Longbourn’s drawing room. She rose from her seat as they entered, curtseyed when introduced, then sat back down, calling her dear Lydia to sit beside her.

The rest of the Bennet family, from patriarch to youngest child, were shocked and embarrassed that she could be so rude to anyone, much less the family that would likely be called upon to save her from the dreaded hedgerows.

Jane, red-faced and with her head hung low, gestured to their guests, “Please, everyone, be seated. Mama,” she said, turning to her parent, “shall I call for tea?”

“If you must,” Mrs Bennet sniffed. “Though, why Lizzy should be treated as a guest, I have no idea. Ungrateful child.”

Fitzwilliam, who had seated himself next to Elizabeth on a sofa, tensed. Only his wife’s hand on his arm prevented him from speaking his displeasure.

On her other side sat his father, who was equally angered. He sat stiff as a poker, a look of disapproval on his face. Out of the corner of his eye, he had seen Elizabeth stop his son, and recognized that, despite his desire to protect, he must let his daughter handle her mother as she saw fit…for now.

What followed was a stilted conversation of about a half hour. Finally, to everyone’s relief, Longbourn’s housekeeper, Mrs Hill, entered to announce that the visitor’s rooms were ready, and the Darcys retired upstairs to refresh themselves. Mr Bennet took advantage of this time to have a word with his wife.

“Mrs Bennet, I would speak to you in my bookroom. Now, if you please.”

With a huff, Mrs Bennet followed him to his room, closing the door behind her when he bid her to.

“What could you possibly need now, Mr Bennet?”

Angry at her words and seeing clearly for the first time the lack of respect she held for him and his position as her husband, he took a moment to gather his thoughts. Finally, he sat in his chair on the other side of the desk, leaned forward, clasped his hands on the desktop, and began.

“What are you about, madam? Do you think I am in ignorance of your slight to your own daughter, your flesh and blood? Not to mention that her husband and his father are of the first circles. The first circles, Mrs Bennet. They could buy and sell Longbourn several times over, I am sure.” He paused, waiting for a response. When he did not get one, he let out an exasperated cry, “Mrs Bennet!”

Startled, his wife jumped a bit, but she knew better than to keep him waiting for a response.

“What do you mean, what am I about? I am ‘about’ nothing. I see no reason to fawn over that girl. What did she do but marry against her family’s wishes? She deserves no recognition at all, if you ask me.”

“I have not the pleasure of understanding you. What do you mean she married against her family’s wishes? I have not a problem with her marriage to Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy. What member of her family does?”

“Mr Bennet, you know she was supposed to marry Lord Regis. We agreed…”

“No, we did not agree to anything.” He leaned over his desk, jamming his pointer finger into the top to make his point. “You agreed to it with that abusive rake. You did! Not I; and I am the one with the power to make marriages for my children, not you. Your position is to run the household, to arrange meals and supervise the staff. That is all you are to be doing. Do you understand me?”

Thank you for sharing with us today Zoe, it is always a pleasure to meet a new JAFF Author. I am very intrigued after that excerpt and plan to purchase your first two books before I read this!  Thank you again, it was a pleasure having you.

Giveaway Time!!!!
Let me know what you thought of the excerpt or just say hi to Zoe for a chance to win!

The Giveaway is open internationally!! 
1 x e-book. 
The Winner will be announced on 20th August 2015.

Good luck Everyone!!!!

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!