Monday, 26 October 2015

The Unthinkable Triangle - Review & Giveaway Winner announced!

The Unthinkable triangle indeed!!!
Somehow I was foolish enough to think someone, okay let me not prevaricate, the Colonel would emerged from this unscathed, who was I kidding!

From almost the very beginning the author had me drawn in, thankfully cutting straight to the heart of the matter by the end of the first chapter. Grateful because I needed to know what I would be facing in the forth coming chapters, however what I did not foresee, was that it would equal more chapters dedicated to angst.

After taking a deep breath I bravely commenced chapter two, coming upon Mr Darcy's valet unsuccessfully trying to sneak bottles of contraband from the study and I could not have agreed more, "Darcy you need to be thinking straight, how are you going to get Elizabeth back?" I admonished.
I had fanciful notions that the Colonel didn't really love Elizabeth. That his heart would be caught by another, but lets be honest we're talking about Elizabeth Bennet! Darcy's valet once again came to the rescue by going against strict orders and admitting the Colonel and as the tension grew I held onto the hope of gleaning any information that would indicate this travesty was a farce, but alas and much to my horror, the Colonel was in love and by the time he had departed I was vehemently calling Darcy's valet to bring another bottle from the cellar.

"His servants’ attempts to fall into established patterns were brusquely rebuffed. Unasked-for trays of food were sent away and Weston, his valet, was told in no uncertain terms to come when he was summoned, and not a moment sooner. After a few unprecedented outbursts of uncommon ire, they learned to keep out of his way as he roamed from his chambers to his study in a futile struggle to grasp the enormity of what had come to pass. It was impossible to do so, and no amount of effort was making any difference. Lost to him forever. Not merely lost, but married to his cousin – firmly in his life, but never his! How in God’s name was he to bear it and not become unhinged? How was he to have her at his table as Richard’s wife, and not betray himself? How was he to see her, time and again, as his goddamned cousin, and give no sign that he wanted her more than he had ever wanted any woman? How was he to keep up the pretence, day after excruciating day?" -  Joana Starnes. 

Seeing no clear way to resolve this unthinkable triangle I resigned Darcy's fate to the capable pen of the author.

The answer in the end was quite simple, however the author had me guessing for a while and the journey to get there was wrought with angst. However it was kept in check with just enough hope to keep the reader mollified. I found myself constantly trying to figure out ways Darcy & Elizabeth could be in each others company ha! Like I had any say! But Joana seemed to be on the same wave length, Bingley would invite Darcy to Netherfield and I would readily accept on Darcy's behalf, Elizabeth's pleas in regards to travelling to Jane & Bingley's, fell on deaf ears in Mr Bennet's study just like they did with Lydia and Brighton, however this time I could not have been in more agreement, of course Elizabeth must go, Mr Darcy was to be there also!

The author had me captivated as I walked the halls of Mr Darcy's residence, every scene, every conversation, every glance, however so minimal was relevant, there are no trivial sentences every line was contrived to tell a story and the play on words from canon were creative and always brought a smile to my lips.
The thoughts, feelings and justifications behind every action had you unable to deny the truth of the matter, that however much I did not want the Colonel to get hurt, Darcy loved Elizabeth with an honour and respect that had me worshipping his feet. Even when he landed a few well placed fisty cuffs to the face of a future Earl, I was all smiles, how very unladylike of me!

A sixth sense, or whatever else it might have been, prompted Mr. Darcy to glance up so suddenly that he caught her staring. Someone who had nothing to hide might have met his eyes squarely. Those who still had their wits about them would have looked away casually and slowly, as if their mind was elsewhere and they were simply staring blankly into space. Sadly, the sensible alternatives occurred to her when it was all too late. When her cheeks were already flaming as though set on fire, and her eyes had darted in panic from his face. - Joana Starnes 

The first half of the story was told from Darcy's perspective which always gives a sense of mystery, with the second half told from Elizabeth's, however I would have loved to have seen more of Darcy's thoughts in the second half of the book especially in regards to the Colonel. Yet it did not stop me from crying when the inevitable moment arrived. If I could have seen him as the Colonel in Canon, I may not have been thus affected, however JAFF has endeared the Colonel to me greatly and I could do naught else, but shed a tear for his wretched pain.
Thankfully the humour throughout eased my pain for the doomed triangle and even when I was shouting at Darcy for inviting himself to Rosings at Christmas and taking poor innocent Goergiana along with him, I was smiling in the safe knowledge that the author would do the right thing, but it didn't stop me from doubting throughout!

I really enjoyed this book despite the angst, with one of my favourite scenes being when the realisation hits Elizabeth that Darcy is in loved with her!!! If you're a big fan of the Colonel then have your handkerchief at the ready, because you're going to need it!

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

Thank you again to Joana Starnes for her guest post and for kindly offering an e-book copy of her new book The Unthinkable Triangle for a giveaway! Thank you to everyone who stopped by or left a comment on The Unthinkable Triangle - Guest post, excerpt & giveaway!

Congratulations!!! Maureen Chritzman you have won an e-book copy of The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes. Please contact me using the 'contact me' link at the top of the page. Congratulations again!!

(Winners picked using

I was given an an ARC copy for my honest review.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Unthinkable Triangle By Joana Starnes - Guest post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

 Next Generation
Guest Post

Thanks, Tamara, for welcoming me here today, it’s always such a pleasure to be your guest!
My visit is part of the blog tour for the launch of my latest novel, The Unthinkable Triangle, a story centred on the love triangle involving Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. One of my lovely beta-readers had a great deal to say about that particular scenario, not least because she could not possibly imagine Elizabeth in any arms other than Darcy’s. Do rest assured, gentle readers, Elizabeth does get there in the end, because of course it is in Darcy’s arms that she belongs, and my dear beta-reader eventually forgave me for the detour that Elizabeth had taken.

Her other objection, a very slight and passing one this time, was the introduction of a new generation of Pride and Prejudice characters – their sons and daughters. She said that she would much rather not imagine them as parents, but as young couples. Very young couples, and very much in love. Of course, the concepts are not mutually exclusive. But I agree, I would much rather write about the Darcys and the Bingleys in the bloom of their youth. Having said that, I do like to imagine them in the early stages of parenthood, and I would certainly enjoy exploring that avenue sometime.

When our first child was born, my husband said that there is never any point in comparing life before children with life as a young family. ‘It’s something completely different. Like emigrating to another country,’ which I thought was a lovely way to put it. Of course, the change would not be quite so drastic for Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, who would have it in their power to employ a small army of nurses and nursery maids.

I think both gentlemen would become excellent fathers, in their very different ways. For now though, in The Unthinkable Triangle, this endearing journey had only just begun. The younger generation are but babes, and I would like to share with you an excerpt from the time when the first of them was born. Not to the Darcys, not for some time yet – but our favourite hero is scarcely less affected.


Maids trooped up and down the backstairs fetching hot water and fresh linen. The accoucheur arrived and was brought up. Soon after him, the midwife. Then footmen came laden with armloads sent from Gracechurch Street to set them in Jane’s sitting room, for Mrs. Gardiner to determine what was of instant use and what could be left and examined later.

The only one untouched by the commotion was Georgiana, who was still asleep in her bedchamber overlooking the gardens, at a comfortable distance from the guest rooms. As for Darcy, all that was left for him to do was to play the part reserved for gentlemen on such occasions: waiting in the downstairs parlour, although without the port or brandy commonly prescribed to the expectant father. That is, until some hours later, when a new role was assigned to him.

He had walked up, hoping to encounter one of the maids, who might have had some knowledge of Mrs. Bingley’s progress. Instead, he came across Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner. They had both come out of the birthing chamber and at first Darcy thought that something was amiss, until Mrs. Gardiner’s words removed every fear of that nature. It seemed that the difficulty the lady faced was not with Mrs. Bingley but her younger sister.

“No, Lizzy, I will not relent. You have done enough, and now you cannot help her. There is a limit to what an unmarried lady ought to see, and for your sake and Jane’s, ‘tis time for you to keep away. Oh. Mr. Darcy. How fortunate that you came up. Would you be so kind to escort my niece to the downstairs parlour? Or anywhere. Just away from here.”

Narrowed eyes and a very stubborn lip told them both that she would not go willingly. With a light frown, Mrs. Gardiner pressed her point.

“Do be sensible, dear girl. Pray do as I ask and let me go back in. I cannot stand here debating this with you. I should be with Jane.”

“And so should I!”

“No. She frets about you seeing her in pain – seeing everything. Just go downstairs with Mr. Darcy. I promise to send word,” she added swiftly, clasped her niece’s arm in tender reassurance, then hurried away and vanished behind the heavy door.

Even in the poor light of the flickering candles Darcy could see the look of pained confusion overspreading the most beloved countenance. In a few steps, he was beside her and scrupled not to take her hand.

“Come,” he urged softly.

“Can I not wait in the sitting room instead?” she pleaded.

“I think your aunt would rather you did not,” Darcy ventured an opinion and, with a deep sigh, it seemed she was about to listen.

But just then a long muffled cry was heard from behind the door, and Elizabeth tugged fiercely at the hand that was restraining hers.

“Let me go!” she hissed in anger.

He did not. None of them could tell how it came about, but a moment later she was in his arms, mindlessly struggling for release, despite his every effort to soothe her with disjointed words of comfort. At last she stilled and he most reluctantly withdrew, but took her hands in his.

“Come away. Come away with me,” he urged again. “Let us go to the parlour, as your aunt suggested, and play at chess or something…”

Chess? ” she exclaimed in disbelief, and stared at him as though he had utterly lost his senses.

Ruefully, Darcy chuckled.

“A poor suggestion, I agree. But you must see my difficulty. If you were Bingley, I would ply you with a vast quantity of brandy, but Mrs. Gardiner might have a thing or two to say if I were to give you the same treatment.”

Almost despite herself, Elizabeth chuckled too and half-heartedly allowed herself to be led towards the staircase. They descended, her hand still clasped in his, and slowly made their way into the parlour. Darcy settled her on the small sofa by the fireplace, only to see her shiver and huddle forward, arms tightly wrapped around herself. It might have been due to anxiety or fatigue and not for cold, but he took no chances. He went to stir the fire in the grate, added more coal and poked and prodded it until new flames leapt up, casting an orange glow over their faces. He stood and turned to offer:

“Let me send up for your shawl.”

“No, leave them be. They must have enough to do already.”

“Then pray excuse me for a moment,” he mentioned in passing and, without waiting for her reply, he went to fetch a cloak from the small room they were kept in, just off the entrance hall.

He brought it to the parlour and quietly approached to drape it round her shoulders. She looked up in surprise, which melted into gratitude.

“I thank you. I was cold.”

“I thought you might be. ‘Tis chilly in here. But it will warm up soon enough.”

He walked to the marble-topped table where a few decanters glittered in the firelight and cast a smile over his shoulder.

“I will not offer brandy, but can I get you something else?” he asked. “Sherry perhaps?”

“No, I think not. I thank you.”

Darcy wandered slowly back, having selected nothing either. Instead, he sat beside her and reached to cover the hands clasped together on her knee.

“Talk to me,” he entreated softly.


“Anything. Jane. Or your other sisters. Your father’s favourite books. Or better still, Mr. Collins’s poultry,” he added with a muted chuckle and she glanced up at that with a faint smile of her own.

“Or perhaps his bees,” she offered in her turn. “He keeps bees too, you know, but they do not much like him. Charlotte says they sting him now and then, but he is very sanguine about it. He has it on very good authority that a bee-sting once in a while is good for one’s health.”

“My aunt’s authority perchance?”

She gave another quiet laugh.

“I would not know. But I think it very likely.”

She dropped her eyes to stare for a long moment at their fingers, tightly interlaced, and nothing was heard but the crackling of the fire, until at last she looked up again.

“I thank you,” she said softly.

“Whatever for?”

“For being here when I need a helping hand. You always are.”

A long breath left Darcy’s chest, or it might have been a sigh. Fitzwilliam would not like this in the slightest, but it was a truth that would never alter. Without a second thought, he put it into words.

“I will always be. Whenever you need me.”

“You are very kind.”

‘Aye. Aren’t you just!’ the devil on his left shoulder grinned and, with a sudden huff, Darcy stood to poke again at the blameless fire and take some time to steel himself before returning to her side to diligently play the part of the detached kindly relation and coax her into talking of everything and nothing, to take her mind off her sister’s plight.

       Giveaway Time!

If you would like to find out how Jane’s baby came to be born in Mr. Darcy’s house and indeed where
on earth was Mr. Bingley,  please leave a comment to enter the giveaway of a Kindle copy, available internationally.

The giveaway ends on 24th Oct 15. Thanks for stopping by, best of luck in the giveaway and many thanks again, Tamara, for having me as your guest.

Thank you Joana! It was a pleasure to have you as always, The winner will be announced on the 26th Oct 15 along with a review of The Unthinkable Triangle.

You can connect with Joana Starnes on ; ;
or visit ‘The Unthinkable Triangle Facebook page’ for details of giveaways and lots of images that have inspired this story.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Winner of 'A Jane Austen Christmas' By Carlo Devito

Hello Readers!
Today I announce the lucky winner of   ' A Jane Austen Christmas'  by Carlo Devito

I would like to say thank you to Cider Mills Press for kindly sharing an excerpt with us from the book.  I hope you all enjoyed reading it, including the Prince of Wales Punch recipe!  Lastly, thank you to everyone who participated. 

So without further ado!


Sophia Rose you have won a paperback copy of  'A Jane Austen Christmas' by Carlo Devito
Please contact me with your details, (see 'contact me' page at the top of the blog)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas however they choose to celebrate it! 

(Winner picked using

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Jane Austen Christmas By Carlo Devito Paperback Giveaway!!

With just 80 Days until Christmas, what a lovely way to get into the mood with a new book entitled  'A Jane Austen Christmas.' by Carlo Devito

If like me, you love the Christmas season and would like to know what a Christmas in the late Georgian era entailed  or how Jane may have spent her Christmases then this book may be just what you're looking for.
Unfortunately I will be unable to get a real fire place installed in time for the Yule Log tradition, however I will endeavour in my own way to bring the spirit of an Austen Christmas to my home this year, maybe starting with the 'Prince of Wales Punch'!


Filled with the remarkable wit and insight of one of the world's most cherished authors, A Jane Austen Christmas gives readers insight into Austen's life through little-known stories about how she and her family celebrated the treasured holiday season,


Being a family contented to stay within their own unit, one can only imagine the Austens honoring the traditions of the season. Jane and Cassandra had by now brought in the usual greenery. A seemingly conservative family, the Austens might have followed the tradition of the Yule log, which was still very much in the fashion those days.
“A great blazing fire was the centerpiece of a family Christmas. The Yule log was chosen on Christmas Eve. It was wrapped in hazel twigs and dragged home, to burn in the fireplace as long as possible through the Christmas season. The tradition was to keep back a piece of the Yule log to light the following year’s Yule log,” wrote historian Ben Johnson. - Carlo Devito

Prince of Wales Punch 

Three bottles of Champagne, two of Madeira, one of Hock, 
one of Curacao, one quart of Brandy, one pint of Rum, 
and two bottles of seltzer water, flavored with four pounds 
of bloom raisins, Seville oranges, lemons, white sugar candy 
and diluted with iced green tea instead of water.

Giveaway Time!!!!

What's your favourite Christmas festivity?
Leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway!

The Giveaway is open internationally!! 
1 x paperback  
Courtesy of Cider Mills Press! The Winner will be announced on 12th October 2015.
(The Winner has 48hours to claim their prize before a new winner is selected)

Good luck Everyone!!!!