Hello fellow readers!
Another self published author, another collection of short stories and another edition to the ever growing list, of Jane Austen Fan Fiction literature! Therefore I am delighted to welcome Renée Beyea, author of 'A Fine Stout Love and other stories'.
I would also like to thank Jakki at Leatherbound reviews for her participation in organising another great Blog Tour, for us all to enjoy!
Thank you, Tamara, for hosting me at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice and participating in the blog tour for A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories. Each excerpt stop on the tour features an excerpt from a different story. Today’s comes from “Eden Unashamed,” the fifth and final story in the collection. Blending both comedy and substance, this tale recounts the misadventures and impact of Darcy’s love poem for his betrothed as it passes through the hands of every Bennet prior to reaching Elizabeth. Although the overall story is narrated by Darcy, this particular scene is told from Kitty’s point of view. Enjoy!
Mrs. Bennet wrapped the satin ribbon over the crown of the bonnet. Holding it with one hand on each side of the brim, she straightened her arms and twisted the bonnet first one way and then the other, examining it from each angle. “Yes, I think that will do very nicely.” Her eyes roved the table for a moment. “Kitty, my sewing basket, please. We will just tack this down.”
Kitty sighed and retrieved the basket from its usual post next to her mother’s armchair. With Mary at her books, Kitty was left to occupy their mother. The presence of her eldest sisters to interrupt the incessant soliloquies would have made it more bearable, but the gentlemen had arrived before Mamma came down. Both seemed excessively desirous of a private audience with their intended and swept Jane and Elizabeth from the room to gad about the shrubbery.
Kitty longed for some excitement and was sure to find it, if only her parents would allow her to accept her newlywed sister’s invitation. But her father became positively churlish if she dared to mention visiting Mrs. Lydia Wickham in Newcastle. Taking her place as the youngest in the household was not fulfilling Kitty’s expectations.
She cleared a space on the table, lifted the basket lid, and began rummaging through the disarray.
But what was this? Kitty withdrew and opened what appeared to be a folded blank paper. The half-sheet was extravagant when a quarter would have done for so few words. She started reading and gasped. A hand flew to her mouth, but her eyes flew even faster across the lines.
“Oh my,” she tittered, “oh my!”
“What?” asked her mother, snatching the paper from her hands.
“I cannot imagine that it was for you to read,” Kitty said.
“What can you mean? It was in my sewing basket. Of course it is for me.” Mrs. Bennet extended the paper in the same manner as she had the bonnet and squinted. “My, but the hand is rather small. Fetch my spectacles, dear.”
Kitty did so with reluctance and then attempted to read over her mother’s shoulder while Mrs. Bennet adjusted the glasses on her nose.
“Oh, goodness,” Mrs. Bennet said. “Oh, that sly man! Why…” She waved the paper to cool her cheeks, which were ruddy with a deepening flush. “Why, I cannot think when your father last left me a love note.”
“Surely you do not think it is from father?” Kitty could not imagine her father having ever written love letters to her mother.
“Well, of course I do. Who else would it be from? Shame on you, to think some other man would be leaving me love notes in my basket.” She waggled a finger.
“But the writing is not Papa’s.”
“That does not signify. He is so fond of a joke, I daresay he had someone copy it out for him. Lizzy might have done it. She is that clever with a pen, although I cannot quite approve, considering.”
“Really, Mamma, do you not think it might be from either Mr. Bingley or Mr. Darcy?” Kitty would have read it again, if her mother were not brandishing it like an errant lace tucker.
“And why would either of them be leaving me verses in my basket? Sometimes I think your father is right. How can you be so silly?” She reread the poem, shifting about to keep it from Kitty’s eyes, and pressed it to her bosom with one hand while fanning her face with the other. “Oh, oh, but my heart is all atremble. I am feeling quite dizzy. My salts, my salts, Kitty, in my reticule.”
Kitty departed on the errand in resignation, rolling her eyes as she left the room. If her mother would wear a pocket or an apron as did Mary that she might have her books about her, then her mother might have her salts at hand whenever she wished, instead of inconveniencing daughters and servants.
Although, in this instance Kitty could hardly blame her mother for a nervous attack. The verses were rather… she searched for an accurate word and dissolved in giggles. Well, excessively romantic to be sure. The idea that her father, who preferred to tease and trifle with his wife, would have made the effort to compose them, let alone had the inclination, was not only incredible but vaguely repellent. This required another reading.
Oh, yes please Kitty, another reading! I need to know what was written and by who, the pros and cons of an excerpt!
Thank you Renée, I always enjoy reading excerpts & getting a small glimpse into a book I have not read.
Good Luck in the Giveaway everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
- What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
- What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
- What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
- What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
- What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?
With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
5/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley
5/3: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
5/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
5/5: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
5/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
5/8: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
5/9: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/10: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit
5/11: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
5/12: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
5/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
5/13: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
5/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
5/16: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!