Thursday, 28 April 2016

'Sufficient Encouragement' Blog tour ~ Guest post by Rose Fairbanks

Hello fellow readers, 
Today I am delighted to welcome 'Sufficient Encouragement' author, Rose Fairbanks to my blog. If, like me, you delight in talking about Pride & Prejudice and JAFF, then you'll enjoy reading Rose's guest post, I know I certainly did!

Hello Rose and welcome!

Thanks for having me!

Guys vs. Girls by Rose Fairbanks

In another guest post on this blog tour, I discussed my recent trip to Washington DC to meet fellow JAFF authors Zoe Burton, Cat Gardiner, Pamela Lynne and Victoria Kincaid. While there we were invited to a JASNA panel to discuss JAFF. One of the readers there asked me privately, do I write more out of love for the guys or the girls? As a reader, she confessed to reading for the men. We all love to drool over Darcy! As a writer, however, I admit that what I love about Pride and Prejudice is the women.

Before reading Pride and Prejudice, my literary love was Little WomenSo, I was familiar with nineteenth century prose about a house full of women. I continued to reread Little Women and its sequels even in high school. The librarian recommended Pride and Prejudice to me as a story about five sisters. I never tried it out. I had four sisters. Why did I need five?

My final year in high school, Pride and Prejduice was required reading, and I instantly found myself in love with Austen’s humor and wit that Alcott did not have. I also liked that P&P was about adults and was not child/young adult oriented. However, I did think there were many similarities between the books and viewed P&P as more of a “coming of age” story. So, I was blind sided when Darcy actually proposed.

P&P became my favorite book, and I reread it several times a year. I didn’t find JAFF until 2013, and I have to say, I’ve been a bit amazed at how much it’s entered the common psyche as not just a love story, but the most romantic love story. That being said, I absolutely love what JAFF has done in that department.

Another thing JAFF has done for the story of P&P is to write from Darcy’s point of view. We often get to see him interact with other men, follow him to various clubs and manly activities of the era. All of it is wonderful as we want to read about a man that is young, vital and well to do. He’s a bit of Prince Charming to us while we read next to laundry that needs folding, dishes that need washing or are pinned down by a sleeping toddler.

But, is it really about the man, then? Aren’t we actually writing for women then? Even the male authors in the genre seem to meet this expectation. Not that a man can’t enjoy P&P or JAFF, but we do know the majority of the market is women.

I would say Austen wrote for the female audience as well. It’s just our needs in a book have shifted. Elizabeth Bennet desired a man that valued her independence and personality, not just her beauty or what she could financially do for him. Our modern day Elizabeths want a man that can let us have our independence but also take over some of our needs. And if we’re talking about the ultimate fantasy, he should look hot in a cravat doing it.

But, there’s still that non-male component to Pride and Prejudice that needs to be filled. Women of the 21st century still spend a lot of time with other women. So, I think my valuing the female characters and their relationships over the male characters remains valid. Twist P&P up however you want, but even moderns and futuristic tellings give Elizabeth a female best friend or two.

And more than all this, what I love the most about P&P is Elizabeth’s evolution. I was right at 17 to think of it as a coming of age story. It is. Elizabeth learns the world is not what she thought it was. And that part remains true in every P&P retelling as well.

So, while I agree that I love the romance we’ve added to Austen in JAFF, I also love that we’ve kept the female interests alive.

I tried to hit all the bases in Sufficient Encouragement. It’s got lovely romantic moments, Darcy-centric scenes and Elizabeth getting support from female friends.

Now, I’m asking the readers. Do you read Austenesque stories for the guys or the girls?

Thank you Rose, your question gave me much to deliberate on. If I may be so bold, as to answer your question first, I would say, I read for both Darcy and Elizabeth, although I feel I read more for Darcy, so I think my answer would be a guy.  However, I would only read, if Elizabeth was in it. It is also important, for me to know what Elizabeth is thinking and feeling. I can live without knowing what Darcy is thinking, but not, without knowing Elizabeth's thoughts on the matter, therefore my answer would be girls.

Thank you Rose, it was a pleasure to have you here again, good luck with the Love Blooms Series.

You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and her blog:

 Sufficient Encouragement Blog Tour Schedule

4/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
4/17: Excerpt at My Jane Austen Book Club
4/18: Excerpt & Review at The Ardent Reader
4/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
4/20: Interview & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
4/21: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
4/22: Guest Post at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/25: Review at Just Jane 1813
4/26: Guest Post at More Agreeably Engaged
4/28: Guest Post & Review at From Pemberley to Milton
Book Synopsis
We are all fools in love…
Some say a lady’s imagination is very rapid. Such is the case when Elizabeth Bennet overhears that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy admires her eyes. She thinks nothing for herself, but immediately considers her dearest sister’s growing attachment to Mr. Darcy’s friend. If Elizabeth spurns such a wealthy—and proud—gentleman, he might do everything in his power to separate his friend from her sister.
Raised in a world of expectations and pedigree, Darcy knows Elizabeth Bennet can offer him nothing of material value. As his attraction for her grows, he becomes increasingly convinced his feelings are nonsensical. Still, he might forsake it all if only he had true encouragement.
Misunderstandings lead to betrayals, and the couple soon learns falling in love takes courage but staying in love requires forgiveness. Traversing from the groves of Hertfordshire to the drawing rooms of London to the complexity and danger of Luddite revolts in Yorkshire, Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey of love and forgiveness.
*This story contains a scene of nonexplicit sexual violence.

About the When Love Blooms Series

“Love is like a flower, for it is well worth the toil to cultivate it.” She shrugged her shoulders, “Love is beautiful.”
Take a stroll in the garden of love and enjoy the unique blooms of the intersecting lives of the Bennet, Darcy, Fitzwilliam, de Bourgh and Bingley families. Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth as they fight to save their love from an unexpected frost while Jane and Bingley’s love grows strong roots. The companion story, Renewed Hope, adds depth to the bouquet with the love stories of Darcy’s cousins and Miss Bingley. The third book in the series, Extraordinary Devotion, follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage while their younger sisters experience a London Season.

As always readers, please feel free to share your thoughts on Rose's guest post, Guys vs Girls. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

How to Mend a Broken Heart Blog Tour By L.S. Parsons - Book Review

Hello fellow readers! Today I have the pleasure of reviewing 'How to Mend a Broken Heart' by L.S. Parsons as part of the blog Tour! I am always delighted to get a chance to read a new author's work and would like to thank L.S. Parsons, Leatherbound reviews  and  Meryton Press for the opportunity to review 'How to Mend a Broken Heart'

Book Blurb:

Three years after Mr. Darcy’s disastrous marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, they meet again. Due to an unexpected twist of fate, Elizabeth finds herself a guest in the home of the Mr. Darcy’s aunt, the Dowager Lady Matlock. Long believing Elizabeth lost to him, Darcy has recently proposed marriage to an old flame, the widow of his friend. Now newly engaged Darcy encounters Elizabeth again and realizes she still owns his heart.

Although bound by honour to another, Darcy sets out to improve Elizabeth’s opinion of him. Tension mounts between Darcy and Elizabeth in that pursuit, and Darcy’s betrothed begins to see Elizabeth as a threat to her upcoming marriage. How will Darcy and Elizabeth ever reach their happily ever after? 

Book Review

I have not read a JAFF like this in a while, you know, the roller coaster of a story, that has you simultaneously laughing, vexed, opinionated and sighing, throughout.

After her father dies, Elizabeth becomes like a companion, to her cousin, Lady Webberley. Upon her death, Elizabeth is bequeathed with a generous sum of money, however with a small stipulation, Elizabeth must spend a season in town. Elizabeth’s charm and wit, will no doubt stand her in good stead for the task ahead. However, residing at Crandall House, with the Dowager Lady Matlock, the cousin of Lady Webberley, may prove a little difficult.

“Well, at least with the general, she would not feel the apprehension that accompanied the thought of seeing Mr. Darcy again. She could only hope Mr. Darcy had moved on with his life and had little enthusiasm to rekindle their acquaintance.” - L.S. Parsons

After reading that passage from Elizabeth, I was crying with tears, oh dear, I was going to enjoy seeing how this panned out, furthermore, Darcy, had just recently become engaged, to a Lady Wagstaff.
As a result of loneliness, Darcy makes a hasty decision, as he soon, comes to see for himself, Lady Wagstaff is not all that she appears to be. Although even if she was Mary Poppins, I believe, it still would not change, Darcy’s feeling for Elizabeth and of course, I know that I am right in that estimation. 

“Elizabeth was even more tempting than she had been three years ago. Her beauty grew daily. Her mind constantly searched for improvement. Her wit was razor sharp, but her teasing was in a kind and caring way. Her compassion knew no limits. And her body…her body. Darcy sighed deeply. It could raise a dead man. Of that, he had daily proof.” - L.S. Parsons

With many twists and turns, I believe this story will certainly keep you on, the edge of your chaise, each character is told from their point of view, which is something I do like, although sometimes throughout the story, I was thinking “I really, do not to wish, to hear what you have to say, because right now, I am only interested, in hearing two people’s thoughts on the matter and that would be, D&E! J

Lady Matlock was a force to be reckoned with and I did enjoy getting to know her, Bingley’s good nature, always brings a smile to my face and Georgina is a dear sweet, little thing. Her feelings for a certain gentleman and her journey to womanhood were described well. I could see how she could fall for someone, when the customs of courting and the short duration in which it can take, could leave a woman, not really knowing a gentleman or what her true feelings were, before they were wed.  As for the Colonel, or General in this case, well what can I say, he brings a smile to my face. Dependable, loyal, trustworthy and always, has me laughing, in a most unladylike manner!

“Your services as a chaperone are not very dependable, General,” Elizabeth jested. “It is the reason they are in such demand,” the general replied with a wink before turning and leaving the study.” - L.S. Parsons

Although the story is a non-canon variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and is intended for mature readers. I personally struggled with what I felt, were modern day proprieties, intermingled with Regency ones. I am quite happy to see a different take on P&P characters, but they must keep their integrity to a certain extent. It also did not fully mitigate for some of their actions, which made it hard for me to fully engage. I was also a little disappointed with the Epilogue, especially, in regards to the General, but I do acknowledge, that we all have different perceptions, of happily ever after.

“By tomorrow morning, the drawing rooms of London will be buzzing. Everyone thinks women are the biggest gossips. They are not; they are just the purveyors. We men have clubs for it. Enjoy yourselves!”

However, with Wickham getting his just desserts and me wanting to jump in the book to physically remove Mr Collin’s person, from St James’s Court, I believe this book has the right ingredients to keep you entertained, with page turning action, the order of the day.

This book is worthy of 4 hearts ~ Mr Bingley!

How to Mend a Broken Heart Blog Tour Schedule

3/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
3/22: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
3/23: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
3/24: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
3/25: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
3/26: Review at From Milton to Pemberley
3/26: Excerpt & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
3/27: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of A Bookworm
3/28: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
3/29: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
3/30: Review at Just Jane 1813
3/31: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
4/1: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
4/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Jennifer Vido
4/4: Review at Diary of an Eccentric

I was given an ARC copy of this book for my honest review.