Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mrs. Collins' Lover...Bronwen Chisholm

Dear Readers, we are being treated to another first on More Agreeably Engaged. Bronwen Chisholm is my guest and this is her first time here. Bronwen is the author of Mrs. Collins' Lover and she is going to talk to us just a little about her book; then she interviews Mary Bennet. You will enjoy hearing what Mary has to say with her insightful answers, although you may have a few questions you wish you could ask her yourself. I do. :) I guess we will just have to read the book to find our answers. 

Thank you for stopping by, Bronwen. I turn the floor over to you.

*****

Hello! I am so pleased to be here with you today at More Agreeably Engaged. You may or may not know that I have recently released a new novel, Mrs. Collins’ Lover, and one of my characters was able to join us to share her insights into the story. Before we begin, I would like to share a bit about the book.


Elizabeth Bennet was raised with a strong belief and faith in God's plan for her life. She knew He had a plan, even if the details were hidden from her. But, when placed in an untenable situation, she turned instead to the arms of a man to find brief moments of joy. Finally, when able to realize the happiness which was always intended for her, the weight of her guilt over her past sins convinces her of her unworthiness. Only through reconciliation with the Lover of her soul can she truly fulfill the life He planned for her. But first, she must forgive herself in order to find redemption.

Remember: In order to be redeemed, there must be sin. This story is intended for mature audiences.

Trigger Warning: There are incidents of abuse in this story.

B: Elizabeth and Darcy were unable to join us (other than their children, no one has seen much of them since their wedding), but their sister, Mary Bennet, was more than happy to fill in for them. Thank you, Mary, for taking the time to speak with us today.

M: Yes, well, your request was quite unique, and I thought it might be interesting to participate.

B: You might be aware that many readers have a, shall we say, rigid view of you and your sister Jane. In this story, the two of you have stepped out of those normal roles. What do you think caused this?

M: Life, of course. Even in Miss Austen’s original work, I believe the reader can see how Jane learned not to be quite so trusting. Life and Miss Bingley taught her that lesson. In this story, your readers do not have the opportunity to see what was happening in Jane’s life. Would you want my mother visiting nearly daily asking if you were with child yet? It would drive anyone mad, even sweet Jane.

B: I can see your point. But what of you, Mary? Jane Austen painted you as having strong religious views and quoting Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women. You seem to have stepped away from that now.

M: I would have to answer in the same manner: life. When Lizzy returned to Longbourn for Jane’s wedding, there was such a change about her. I hardly recognized my impertinent older sister, but she seemed to be doing everything Mr. Fordyce would have expected of a wife. I missed her, though she was before me. I could not accept this was what God intended.

B: That must have been difficult for you.

M: For a time. My first instinct was to protect Lizzy. I did speak to my father, but he appeared as defeated as I felt. Instead of being dependent upon a man’s interpretation of the Bible, I returned to the source. In discussing it with Papa and our rector, I became hopeful that I could help Lizzy once she was ready. In the meanwhile, I prayed for her nightly.

B: You are a good sister, to all your sisters.

M: Some are easier than others.

B: Well, I thank you for taking time to speak to us. Please pass along our love to your family.

M: Thank you for having me. Oh, I nearly forgot. Lizzy asked me to say hello from her and Darcy. They hope everyone enjoys their story.

And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Janet will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Mrs. Collins’ Lover. Good luck! And I hope you enjoyed our visit as much as I did. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

7/31 Austen Authors
8/9   Babblings of a Bookworm
8/10 Diary of an Eccentric
8/12 From Pemberley to Milton
8/14 More Agreeably Engaged
8/17 My Love for Jane Austen


Thank you for visiting my blog, Bronwen. I enjoyed your interview with Mary, and I thank you both for sharing it with us. I am intrigued.  I hope you will come back again soon. You are welcome anytime. I wish you the best with your new release.

Dear Readers, don't forget to leave a comment. The giveaway will end on August 19th at midnight. Good luck to all.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Abigail Reynolds...Cover Reveal A Matter of Honor

Those of you who know me, even if you just visit my blog, know I love covers. I find them fascinating. They wrap a story with pictures and colors, giving clues to what is inside. I enjoy studying the cover and looking for hidden gems that hint at some scene or significant part of the story. As I read and savor a book, I look back at the cover and see how it is fitting with what I am reading. That is one of the reasons I still prefer paperbacks. It's much easier to glance at the cover as I read. What do you like about covers? Do you pay them much attention? Do you ever judge a book by its cover? I have to admit to being guilty of doing that very thing sometimes. I want the cover to grab my attention, make me take a second look, pick it up, and read the blurb. The whole package is important. 

I've told you some of my thoughts on covers, and I hope you will share some of yours with me in the comments. 

Now there is a purpose for all this cover talk. We are having a cover reveal today. In November, 2018, the cover for Mr. Darcy's Enchantment was revealed on my blog. I am again privileged to be hosting the cover reveal for the next release by Abigail Reynolds, A Matter of Honor. You will be delighted by this cover, but before we see it, let's take a look at the blurb. 

A Matter of Honor blurb:


Pride & Prejudice goes to Scotland!

When Fitzwilliam Darcy, still smarting from Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection, discovers she was forced to flee her home in disgrace owing to his actions, his course is clear. He must marry her. It is a matter of honor. All he has to do is find her and propose. Surely that will be simple enough.

But Elizabeth does not want to be found, especially not by Darcy. From the moment he entered her life, he has caused disaster after disaster. Now he has followed her all the way to Scotland, foolishly certain it’s within his power to fix all her problems. But far more is at stake than Darcy knows.

Darcy’s quest takes him from backstage at Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, where mysterious Highlanders prove both friend and enemy. And now his search risks exposing long-hidden secrets that threaten his happiness and her future.


On the run and in danger, Elizabeth is forced to make impossible choices to protect those whom she loves – including Darcy. Her growing attraction to him is at war with her need for caution, and the stakes are impossibly high. Can she trust him to continue to fight for her protection when he knows the whole truth? And if he does, will it be for love… or will it be merely a matter of honor?

Author Bio:

Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can't follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a way to retain her sanity during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen's novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, Conceit & ConcealmentMr. Darcy’s Journey, and Alone with Mr. Darcy. Her books have been translated into six languages. A lifetime member of JASNA, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.

Contact Info:


*****

Are you ready to know more about the cover? Abigail Reynolds will share some insight into her cover for A Matter of Honor.

*****

I love this cover for several reasons, most especially because the young lady on it happens to be my daughter, Rebecca. So I’m not exactly unbiased! She’s wearing a dress she dug out of my regency costume closet, and it looks far better on her than it ever did on me. The laird’s castle in A Matter of Honor is located on an island in a loch, as is Eilean Donan Castle, shown in the cover background. This isn’t as much of a coincidence as it might sound. When I was trying to choose a specific location in Scotland for my castle, I discovered island castles are the rule rather than the exception, and it would have been harder to find a loch without an island castle than with one. Loch Lomond alone has three islands with ruined castles!

*****

Here it is! What do you think? Isn't it lovely! It's awesome that Abigail's daughter is on the front cover. That makes it even more special, don't you think? The picture of the castle is gorgeous too. What do you see and think of when you look at this cover? What ideas does it conjure in your mind for what is inside? What could be the significance of the castle?


After reading the blurb and now, seeing the cover, are you even more anxious to get your hands on this book and read it? I certainly am. Just wait until you read Chapter 1! A Matter of Honor will be available for pre-order around August 15th with release day on September 5th.

*****

Some of you may have read Chapter 1 of A Matter of Honor on the website, Pemberley Variations, but for those of you who have not, or those who want to read it again, Abigail Reynolds is allowing me to share it with you today on my blog. Thank you, Abigail. 

Chapter 1

The tree-lined lane leading to Longbourn looked just as it had last year when Darcy and Bingley had first ridden down it, the leaves turning russet and autumn gold. It had been a year since Darcy had first met the bewitching Elizabeth Bennet. Six months since the last time he had seen her. Six months of aching for her, six months of breathing air that had lost its savor, six months of gnawing doubt about whether she had believed the letter he had written her or whether she still despised him as the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry.

The two gentlemen had tried to call on the Bennets when they first returned to Netherfield a week ago, only to be told the family was away. The days had crawled by for Darcy, haunted by thoughts of Elizabeth. Now he would finally see her again. Would her smile still make the room sparkle with life? Would there be forgiveness in her fine eyes, or would she look at him with hatred? His palms grew damp at the memory of that terrible evening last spring when she had bitterly rejected his proposal of marriage.

So much depended on this new beginning. In his dreams he imagined starting a new courtship, free of the misunderstandings that had doomed his miserable excuse of a proposal, but he had steeled himself to settle for much less. Even if she could never love him, he might be able to be in the same room with her. That might be enough to give him a reprieve from the gnawing emptiness he had felt ever since that night in Hunsford. Returning to London had not given him any relief, nor had going to Pemberley with Georgiana and the Bingleys. This return to Netherfield was his last hope.

Bingley knocked at the door and offered his card to the portly butler, saying something Darcy could not hear over the sudden pounding of his heart. Elizabeth was somewhere behind that door.

The butler shook his head. “I regret to say the family is away.”

Bingley’s bright smile faded. “Again? Mrs. Goulding said they were back.”

The butler’s cheeks darkened. “The family is not at home,” he repeated hollowly.

Disappointment pressed on Darcy’s chest. “Come, Bingley. We will try another time.”

He remounted and grasped his reins before pausing to glance back at the house as if he could somehow conjure up Elizabeth’s presence. Instead, he caught a glimpse of her mother’s face glaring at them through the drawing room window.

He stiffened. The butler must have had standing orders to tell them no one was at home.

But why? Mrs. Bennet had always been embarrassingly pleased to receive Bingley last year, practically groveling over him and pushing her eldest daughter at him. But then Bingley had returned to London, leaving a lovelorn Jane Bennet behind, and apparently he had not been forgiven for that. Elizabeth’s pained expression at Hunsford as she told him how her sister had suffered when Bingley left her was still seared in Darcy’s brain.

“Come, Bingley,” Darcy said sharply. “Let us go.”

“It is odd that no one is at home,” Bingley remarked as they started down the narrow lane. “Mrs. Goulding said she had seen Miss Mary and Miss Kitty Bennet at the circulating library yesterday.”

Darcy sighed. He had to find a way to speak to Elizabeth. “They are at home, but refusing to see us. I saw Mrs. Bennet at the window as we left.”

Bingley reined in his horse, his face stormy. “It is true, then. It was not coincidence that so many people here were not at home when we called on them. Nor that our only invitation was to dine at the Gouldings, and that was because they could not avoid asking us after we met in town. Nor that no one has called on me except Sir William Lucas, and even he was not as affable as usual. But why? Why has everyone in Meryton suddenly taken such a dislike to me? They were happy enough to attend my ball last year.”

Darcy chose his words carefully. “Do you suppose they might believe you toyed with Miss Bennet’s affections?”

“I never made her any promises! Besides, even if they think I abandoned her, why would anyone but the Bennets shun me?”

“People in these country neighborhoods can be very loyal to one of their own.” Still, it was surprising, especially given how popular Bingley had been before. Jane Bennet must have suffered badly. Perhaps she had even tried to harm herself. If she had, the locals might blame Bingley for that, although not as much as Darcy would blame himself. And Elizabeth would never, ever forgive him if she had almost lost her sister because of him. Bile rose in his throat.

“I cannot believe it. They were always so welcoming to me!” Poor Bingley. He was so accustomed to being well-liked by everyone.

Bingley seemed disinclined to believe Darcy, but he might listen to someone else. “Perhaps you should try calling on Sir William. I imagine he will receive you, and you could ask him about it.”

“Will you come with me?”

Darcy shook his head. “Your chances will be better if you go on your own. They never liked me here, although they were always polite about it.” And if he had to hear much more of Bingley’s chattering, he might go mad.

Bingley tugged at his cuffs. “I suppose it is worth a try.”

Still, thoughts of Elizabeth would not leave Darcy even after Bingley turned off onto the lane to Lucas Lodge. How could he arrange to speak to her if he had no invitations to social events and her family would not receive him? He needed a way to find her alone, without either Bingley or her family, but he could not simply haunt the lane to Longbourn in the hope of spotting her. She loved long walks, and there were only a limited number of footpaths near her home. That was it; he could ride every pathway until he came across her. If that failed, he would have to demean himself by bribing a Longbourn servant to tell him her whereabouts. His new valet had not yet proved trustworthy enough for delicate tasks of that nature.

He had to know. Even if her answer was that she still despised him, it would be better than not knowing.

~~~

Two hours later, Bingley strode into the billiard room at Netherfield and slammed the door behind him, his eyes flashing with anger. “How could you?” he demanded.

Darcy stared at him. This was unlike the friend he had known for years. “How could I do what?” he asked cautiously.

“You know perfectly well! Sir William would tell me nothing, but then I spotted Jane Bennet walking to town and stopped to talk to her. She tried to avoid me, even begged me to leave her for her reputation’s sake, but I insisted she tell me what was the matter. Now do you know what I am talking about?”

“I have not the least idea.” His breath caught in his throat. Jane Bennet always thought the best of everyone. What could she hold against him?

Bingley clenched his fists. “Do you deny that you saw Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Kent, or that you met with her alone on several occasions?”

Darcy stiffened. Why would that be a problem? “I told you I had seen her. We met several times while walking in the park, but otherwise we were always in company.”

“What about the night when Mr. and Mrs. Collins were dining with Lady Catherine and you knew Miss Elizabeth was home alone? Do you deny leaving the dinner and going to see her?”

Darcy’s chest tightened. If Elizabeth had told her family about that, then they must also know what had passed between them, and he could not imagine why they would hold that against him. “I admit it freely.”

“And that no one saw you leave, and the next morning, before the household was awake, you were seen with her and you gave her a letter?”

Oh, no. Someone had been making mischief. “I gave her a letter, but I was only at the parsonage for a brief time, whether or not anyone saw me leave.”

“Unfortunately, Miss Elizabeth can offer no proof of that, as she went to bed before Mr. and Mrs. Collins returned, and gave strict orders not to be disturbed. But that does not matter. You went late at night for an assignation with a young lady whom we all know you admired. Surely you do not expect me to believe your purpose was innocent!” Perspiration beaded Bingley’s brow.

“I went there to talk to her, nothing more,” said Darcy grimly. “And that is all I did.”

“Why would you leave your aunt’s dinner party solely to talk to her? Was there a reason you could not wait to speak to her the next day?”

“I wanted to speak to her privately,” Darcy said through gritted teeth.

“So you did deliberately call on her when you knew she was alone! How can you justify that?” Bingley demanded.

He had to say it. “I asked her to marry me.” It was the last thing he wanted to admit, but how else could he explain his behavior? It looked so damning the way Bingley described it. “She refused me, and I left. She accused me of something that was not true, and I wanted her to know the truth. I wrote a letter of explanation, and the next morning I gave it to her. It contained nothing beyond a defense of my character.”

With a harsh bark of laughter, Bingley said, “You wanted to marry her? Why should I believe that after all the effort you went to in order to keep me from proposing to Jane Bennet? All the arguments about how far beneath me she was? Miss Elizabeth was even farther beneath you. You would never have considered marrying her.”

This was a disaster. “Everything you say is true, and I should not have proposed to her, but I did.”

“How do you account, then, for the fact that Miss Elizabeth accepted ruination without any mention of your proposal or asking you to redeem her reputation? How do you explain that?” Bingley’s nostrils flared.

Because Elizabeth despised him and would rather be ruined than to marry him. “I cannot explain her actions beyond that she did not wish to marry me.”

“I do not believe you. And you used me, convinced me to return here in the hope of resuming your liaison with her, and, fool that I am, I agreed! If anyone had needed more proof something was going on, your presence here provides it.”

His chest ached. “I suggested you come here because Miss Elizabeth had told me I was wrong about her sister not caring for you. I wanted you to have another chance. And yes, I hoped to see if my letter had improved Miss Elizabeth’s opinion of me, but that was all.”

Bingley slapped his palm against the top rail of the billiard table. “You admit, then, that you hid your motives for coming here, and still you claim that you did nothing improper?”

“Bingley, on my honor as a gentleman, I have told you the truth.” But he could not deny he had hidden his motivation.

Bingley stared at him with angry, bewildered eyes. “You ruined her, and with her, you ruined the woman I love. Because of you, Miss Elizabeth has had to leave Longbourn forever. The Bennets are in deep disgrace. No one here will receive them. No one will speak to them on the street. None of the daughters will be able to find decent husbands because of you.”

Elizabeth had left her family because of his attentions? “I had no intention of harming anyone, least of all Miss Elizabeth. I never touched her.” The words sounded hollow. Even if he had done nothing improper, Elizabeth and her family were suffering because of him.

Bingley’s mouth twisted. “How can I believe nothing happened when Miss Elizabeth quietly accepted her fate, knowing it would disgrace her sisters as well? I have seen the results here with my own eyes. Now get out of my house. I never wish to lay eyes on you again.”

“Bingley…” But there was no point. “I will leave, but this is not over.”

~~~

“A room at the inn?” his valet repeated.

Darcy was too shaken by Bingley’s news to feel annoyed at this further evidence of Smithers’ lack of respect. “Yes, I want a room at the inn in Ware for tonight. Bring only what I will need for two days. Pack everything else and send it to Darcy House.”

“In London?”

“Of course in London. That is where Darcy House is. I will meet you later at the inn.” Devil take it, this was a terrible time to have a half-trained valet. If his old valet had still been with him, Darcy could have had him ask about Elizabeth among the Netherfield servants. He would have to do without that knowledge now.

He strode out of the room and down the stairs, averting his eyes as he passed the ballroom where he had danced with Elizabeth. It must be a painful memory for her now. His interest in her had ruined her reputation and her life.

At the front door he took his hat and gloves from the butler. “Kindly inform Mr. Bingley I have left. My valet is packing my trunks and will send them later.” He pulled his gloves on so forcefully that a seam gave way.

“Very good, sir.” The butler held the door open with an air of utter indifference.

Bingley stood in the doorway to the dining room watching him with no sign of softening on his face.

Darcy did not acknowledge him. Instead he strode towards the stable without looking back. Never before had a friend challenged his word of honor. That Bingley, perhaps the closest of his friends, should do so left him with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he could deal with Bingley after the matter of Elizabeth was settled.

He mounted and rode towards Longbourn, this time noticing as he passed through Meryton how many acquaintances averted their eyes from him. It had no doubt been happening since his arrival, but he had not paid attention since he had no desire to speak to them. Now it was clear he was being cut. How dare they sit in judgment over him when he was blameless, or close enough to make no difference?

Elizabeth had done this. By remaining silent and choosing to leave rather than to contest the gossip, she destroyed his good name. Not that the local gentry had ever liked him, but this was worse. Would word of his alleged crimes eventually reach the ton in London? It probably did not matter. Trying to seduce young ladies was expected behavior for gentlemen of the ton, but the people of Meryton were loyal to Elizabeth.

A doddering servant answered the door at Longbourn. Darcy thrust his card into the man’s hand. “I wish to see Mr. Bennet.”

The manservant held the card by his fingertips as if it were covered with some distasteful substance. “I will see if he is at home.” Instead of inviting Darcy to sit in the hall, he closed the door in Darcy’s face, leaving him to cool his heels on the doorstep. More proof that he was not welcome at Longbourn.

The old servant opened the door again. “Mr. Bennet is not at home.”

Darcy placed his booted foot in the door before the servant could close it. “Be so kind as to inquire when Mr. Bennet will be at home,” he said evenly.

The servant came back more quickly this time. “I have been told to inform you that no one in this house will ever be at home for you.” His voice quavered as he spoke through the opening above Darcy’s foot.

Enough was enough. He was trying to help them, dammit. “Stand out of my way, old man. I have no desire to hurt you.” To hurt Elizabeth’s father, yes, but not an innocent servant who was only following orders.

Fortunately, the man obeyed, scurrying backwards until Darcy could push past him. He paused in the entrance hall, trying to remember the arrangement of the house. The drawing room was to the right. He remembered that much. Mr. Bennet’s library had been straight ahead, had it not? He would find it somehow. His feet must have remembered the way, since the first door he chose was the correct one.

Mr. Bennet looked up at him, his face twisted with distaste. “Get out of my house,” he spat.

Darcy reminded himself to be patient. The man had reason to distrust him, after all. “I apologize for forcing my way in, but we cannot find a resolution to this matter if I am unable to speak to you.”

“There is no possible resolution,” Mr. Bennet said coldly. “Good day, Mr. Darcy.”

Patience. “I will leave after we have discussed the matter. I assume you would prefer to do so privately rather than having me shout my business so the entire house can hear. I have only just learned about what happened to Miss Elizabeth, and I am here to make matters right by offering to marry her.”

His eyes narrowed. “No.”

No? “What do you mean by that?” Darcy demanded.

“The answer is no. You have offered, and I have declined. Good day.”

What was wrong with the man? “This is ridiculous. As I imagine your daughter has told you, I never touched her, nor did I do anything improper beyond giving her a letter, and even that can be explained. The rest is nothing but conjecture and gossip. Miss Elizabeth has had to leave her family and friends, and your other daughters are in disgrace and will be unlikely to find husbands, but all of this can be repaired by Miss Elizabeth marrying me.”

The cords stood out in Mr. Bennet’s neck. “Lizzy does not wish to marry you, and she will do so only over my dead body, and I mean that literally. Is that clear enough for you?”

“I do not believe you. I will grant you that she dislikes me, but she is neither cruel nor unreasonable, and I refuse to believe she would choose for her sisters to suffer rather than even attempt to resolve the issue.”

Mr. Bennet curled his upper lip. “Lizzy has made her sentiments on this matter clear to me. She does not wish to marry you under any circumstances.”

Darcy’s temper was slipping. “Since you will not see reason, I will address myself directly to Miss Elizabeth. Where is she?”

Mr. Bennet smiled in cold triumph. “She is out of your reach. I am the only person who knows where she is, and I will not tell you. Not today, not ever.”

“Then I will make it my business to find her myself,” Darcy snapped.

“You will fail. She does not want you to find her, and I have made certain you cannot hurt her again.”

The man was irrational. There was no other way to explain it. “You are the one who is hurting Miss Elizabeth and your entire family with that attitude,” Darcy said icily. “I can only hope you will come to your senses. Pray send me word when you do.” Darcy stalked out of the library before he said anything worse. Half blind with rage, he nearly ran into Jane Bennet, who must have been drawn there by the raised voices. Mrs. Bennet stood a few feet behind her, fanning herself frantically.

He bowed. This could be an opportunity. “Miss Bennet, I have just been speaking to your father. He has categorically refused my offer to marry Miss Elizabeth and will not even permit me to speak to her. Perhaps you might have better fortune at making him see reason.”

Mrs. Bennet wailed, “Oh, Mr. Bennet! How could you?”

At least she seemed to understand the obvious, that Darcy marrying Elizabeth would solve all their problems. Darcy hoped she would make her husband’s life a misery. Heaven help him, if he had to rely on Mrs. Bennet’s assistance! He added more gently, “Miss Bennet, should he change his mind, I hope I may rely on you to send word to me. I can be reached at Darcy House on Brook Street in London.”

Jane Bennet nodded dumbly, her mouth hanging open with shock.

“I thank you.” As the old servant was still cowering by the door, Darcy let himself out.

Seething, he rode to the end of the lane where it met the main road. The last thing he wanted was to go to an uncomfortable inn for the night. When he had made the plan, he had assumed Mr. Bennet would accept his proposal and they would need to meet further to discuss the settlement. Now there was no reason to stay. He would go back to London tonight, where he could nurse his wounds in privacy and decide what to do next.



*****

Readers, what do you think of this chapter??? Oh my! I am in shock at Mr. Bennet's behavior and refusal. Who do you think could have seen just enough to spread these ugly rumors? One person comes to my mind, but could it be another, closer to Darcy? What about Bingley's treatment of Darcy? That was a surprise! Questions, and more questions. I will be reading this as soon as possible! 

Thank you for sharing Chapter 1 of A Matter of Honor with my readers and me, Abigail. My nerves, my nerves! That was quite a chapter! 

It was an honor showing your cover today. Thank you for asking me to host your reveal. It is a lovely cover, and I know the book will be awesome too. I'm always excited when I hear you have a new one in the works. Best wishes with A Matter of Honor.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

His Choice of a Wife...Heather Moll

It is such a pleasure to have Meryton Press debut author, Heather Moll, visit my blog for the first stop of her blog tour for His Choice of a Wife. Some of you are probably familiar with Heather from her posts at A Happy Assembly. If you have not read any of her work there, then this is your chance to get to know her a bit. Her first book, His Choice of a Wife, was released on July 16th and is already getting positive reviews. Heather is sharing a character interview with us, and I think you will enjoy reading it! It is delightful! First, let's take a look at the blurb and also learn more about Heather. 

Welcome, Heather!

Front cover photograph of Heather Moll’s book courtesy and copyright RegencyCouture, Regency fashion for today's Jane Austenista!

*****

Blurb:

When a man’s honor is at stake, what is he willing to risk for the woman he loves?

After a disastrous marriage proposal and the delivery of an illuminating letter, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet hope never to lay eyes on one another again. When a chance meeting in Hunsford immediately throws them in each other’s way, Darcy realizes his behavior needs correcting, and Elizabeth starts to appreciate his redeeming qualities. But is it enough to forgive the past and overcome their prejudices?

Jane and Bingley’s possible reconciliation and Lydia’s ill-conceived trip to Brighton pose their own challenges for two people struggling to find their way to love. When scandalous news threatens their chance at happiness, will Darcy and Elizabeth’s new bond be shattered, or will their growing affection hold steadfast?

Author Bio:
Heather Moll is an avid reader with a B.A. in European history and a M.A. in library science, so it is astonishing that she did not discover Jane Austen until her late-twenties. Making up for lost time, she devoured all of Austen’s novels, her letters, and unpublished works, joined JASNA, and spent far too much time researching the Regency era. She is thrilled to have found fellow Janeites and the JAFF community, if only to prove that her interests aren’t so strange after all. Heather is a former librarian turned stay-at-home mother who struggles to find time for all of the important things, like reading and writing.

*****


Hello Janet and thank you so much for kickstarting my blog tour for His Choice of a Wife. First, I think your readers need to know that this book’s lovely cover design is your doing, as is organizing this blog tour— they should join me in giving you a round of applause.

I’m sharing an interview with Colonel Fitzwilliam. He’s a lively character and more than just a plot device in His Choice of a Wife. He’s loyal, he draws Darcy out, and, unlike his reserved cousin, the colonel had no problem sitting down with a gossip columnist three quarters of the way through the story.


An Interview with Mr. Darcy of Pemberley Colonel Fitzwilliam of the Household Cavalry

This morning I had an appointment in Berkeley Square at the home of Mr. Darcy. I intended to speak with him about Miss Elizabeth Bennet on behalf of the loyal readers of the “Mirror of Fashion” society column of the Morning Post. I was shown in to the drawing room and, to my great surprise, was greeted not by that gentleman, but by his cousin. When I asked that man where was Mr. Darcy, he said:

CF: Darcy left London on Monday for Bath. He asked me to meet with you and answer any questions you have.

That was kind of him, but I hoped—

CF: Truth be told, Darcy told me to cancel this appointment, take the knocker off the door, and refuse to engage in what he called “a frivolous waste of the valuable time of any man with good sense”. Fortunately for your readers, I had nothing else to do this morning.

I assure you that knowing about Miss Bennet is not frivolous! Mr. Darcy is rumored to be engaged to a Hertfordshire woman of no fortune and no consequence. Our readers wish to know the circumstances of how such a wealthy, well-connected young man—

CF: Why does no one ever want to read about me? Darcy is not so impressive a bachelor. He cannot flirt worth a damn, and I suspect he would spend more on his library than gifts for a woman. I have more charm in my thumb than Darcy has in all of his acres in Derbyshire. Did you know that I am the younger son of an earl? A colonel in the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards. I am posted at Windsor! Write it down.

That is impressive, Colonel, but our readers prefer to know about Mr. Darcy.

CF: * he heaved a weary sigh* They always do. Very well, let us get on with it.

By most accounts, save for Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s, Mr. Darcy is happily engaged, but to a poor and unconnected woman. Do you approve of his choice?

CF: Certainly. It was not clear to me that he admired her—he was often silent in her presence—but his sister mentioned that Darcy had written to her about Elizabeth Bennet many times since last autumn. Then it all made sense: putting off our departure from Rosings, the walks in the park, calling on her in London, following her into Hertfordshire. I told him to make a choice that would make him happy rather than please his family. Did you write down that were I to be engaged, I would lavish my betrothed with gifts? It is F-I-T-Z—

Yes, sir. If most of his friends and relations support him, and he is happy in his choice of a wife, why has Mr Darcy suddenly gone to Bath?

CF: *he paled and inspected his own watch chain*

Colonel Fitzwilliam? Why did Mr. Darcy come to London, and then hurry away to Bath when he ought to be in Hertfordshire awaiting his wedding day?

CF: Your damn papers rely on scandal and gossip to sell copies! This is why Darcy said tolerating this interview would be an insult to his self-respect. There was a, there was an incident with his betrothed’s family, one that cannot be hushed up…

Then you might as well tell our readers so we can be assured of the truth.

CF: Oh no! It is a terrible scandal, but you shall not hear about it from me.

Is Mr Darcy fleeing in the hopes that he can lessen his betrothed’s attachment by distance and convince Miss Bennet to give him up?

CF: *he rose* Does that sound like Fitzwilliam Darcy? A gentleman with his integrity and sense of honor?

He is a man known to take great pride in his reputation. His attachment might not be strong enough to survive whatever this scandal is. Would you tell our readers what happened with Miss Bennet’s family? A fortune lost in speculation? A sister eloped?

CF: If only that were all! If that was the matter, Darcy’s money and his influence might remedy the evil. No, this is worse and nothing can be done.

Then, sir, what does Mr Darcy hope to accomplish in Bath?

CF: *he paced with hands clasped behind his back* I know not why he insisted on going. Duty, honor, perhaps a misplaced sense of guilt? It was so important to him that he do all that he could for her sake. He was determined to try…

Try what, Colonel Fitzwilliam?

CF: *he turned suddenly* I must draw this interview to a close! I promised to join Darcy in Bath eventually, but if I leave now I might perhaps arrive on Thursday evening.

You would go to Bath? But, but why? You implied that Mr Darcy was wasting his time on whatever this endeavor is.

CF: I said I would join him—when I could—to share the burden of an unpleasant task. Although I doubt anything can be done to remedy this, it matters deeply to Darcy that he try. He is a loyal man, a determined man. This is important to him, and he is important to me. There is nothing I would not do for him. Do not print that! I must leave at once.

But I have learnt nothing about Mr Darcy!

CF: *he turned back at the door* What is there to know? He is wealthy, intelligent, proud with a reason to be, in love with a witty and pretty woman, and now he is alone on a fool’s errand in Bath, a place he hates more than any public assembly room. Oh, and his favorite color is green. Good day!


 *****

Thank you, Heather, for the shout-out and the round of applause! It is much appreciated. I enjoyed working with you on the cover. 


Awww, that was a great interview, even if it wasn't Darcy! I love Colonel Fitzwilliam, and he is always entertaining. His last sentence about the color green, made me laugh out loud! Thank you for talking with him and sharing with me and my readers. It was delightful! For a minute or two, I thought he was about to give away what Darcy was doing in Bath! lol 

Readers, what did you think of Colonel Fitzwillam and his interview? Did you feel a bit sorry for him that he never gets quite the attention that Darcy does? I did just a bit! Share your thoughts in the comments.

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. 

Heather has lots of good posts and excerpts for the tour so we hope all of you will visit each blog. Thanks for stopping by today.

*****
Contact Info:

Buy:

Blog Tour Schedule

Aug. 4 open





Giveaway
Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Heather Moll’s His Choice of a Wife.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Best wishes with your new release, Heather. We hope to see much more from you in the future.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

And the winners are...

I have quite a few winners to announce, the latest and some past. I'll start with the most recent and work back.


Darcy in Hollywood by Victoria Kincaid


eBook:


Suzan Lauder


Taking Another Chance by Brenda J. Webb

eBook:


Kelly M
Pam Hunter
Betty Campbell Madden
Mazee1


Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston

eBook:


Mary Doyle


The Meyersons of Meryton by Mirta Ines Trupp

eBook:


Vesper


Gloved Heart by Charlotte Brentwood

eBook:


Michelle F.


Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews

Hardback:


Elaine Jeremiah


Elizabeth in the New World by Maggie Mooha

eBooks:

Carole in Canada
tgruy

I thought I had posted some of these winners, but I couldn't find the posts. If any are repeats, I apologize, but would rather post them twice than not at all. 

Congratulations to all and thanks so much for visiting my blog, commenting, and supporting the authors. A special "thank you" to all the authors for sharing your books with us and for your generosity.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Karen M. Cox...Undeceived

Karen Cox is my guest, and I'm happy to have her stop by and share a little about her book, Undeceived. To learn more about the book, the description is below; then we will be treated to Karen's interview of one of her characters! I know all of you will enjoy reading it. Thanks, Karen, for sharing it with me and my readers. Welcome to More Agreeably Engaged.

*****


Undeceived
Pride & Prejudice in the Spy Game
By
Karen M Cox

Second Edition available now for preorder,
releases on 7/23/2019 
Available at Kindle, Kobo, B&N, Apple and other ebook platforms

Description: 

...if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?  
-Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 40

Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment—investigating the CIA's legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent.

Darcy’s charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.

Elizabeth’s confidence dissolves as nothing is like she planned—and the more she discovers about Darcy, the more she finds herself in an ever-tightening web of danger. 

Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War era romance inspired by Jane Austen’s classic tale.

*****

Are you ready for the interview? I am! Take it away Karen and William Darcy! 


Undeceived: Darcy Interview

The Darcy Dozen: Twelve Questions with William Darcy, CIA officer and hero of Undeceived: Pride & Prejudice in the Spy Game:

Karen: “Thank you for joining me today, Officer Darcy. I’m sure readers will enjoy getting to know a little about you.”
Darcy nods
Karen: “Okay, then. First things first—tell us a little about yourself.”
Darcy: “There isn’t that much to tell. Spy Rule Number 22: Good agents don’t talk about their personal lives.”
Karen: “There must be something you can tell us about yourself.”
Darcy shrugs
Karen: “For example, I know you were born November 15, 1951 in Baltimore, MD. You’re 6’2” and have 20/20 vision and a photographic memory. You did a tour of duty as a pilot in Vietnam before joining the CIA in 1974. You rose quickly through the ranks and have been rumored to be in position for…”
Darcy: “Where did you get that information?” reaches for my folder and we tug it back and forth a couple of times before the contents spill on the floor
Karen picking up the papers and glaring: “It’s right there in your FBI file.”
Darcy: scowls and crosses arms “And why do I have an FBI file?”
Karen: “Oh, um, well…doesn’t everybody in your line of work have an FBI file?”
Darcy: “Next question.”
Karen: “You mentioned your Spy Rules. How many Spy Rules do you have?”
Darcy: “At last count, there were…114.”
Karen: “Wow, that’s a lot to remember.”
Darcy: points to temple “Photographic memory.”
Karen: “Right. Is there any Spy Rule you absolutely know you would never break?
Darcy: “Spy Rule 18: Let the cutouts do their work and you do yours. That means you don’t let personal feelings get in the way of your job. For example, you can’t endanger the other officers and assets in your circle by putting one person’s safety above the others.”
Karen: “Well, that makes sense I guess.”
Darcy: “Next question.”
Karen: “What three items would you want to have with you on a deserted island?”
Darcy: “Mosquito net, a good knife, and one of those new-fangled communication devices.”
Karen: “You mean a smart phone.”
Darcy: “What’s a smart phone?”
Karen: “Never mind. Have you ever been in love?”
Darcy: “Given my current position, female entanglements are not advisable. Don’t get me wrong. I like women—very much so. And unlike some of my male colleagues, I don’t mind working with them. I guess I should say, I enjoy working with accomplished women.”
Karen: “You didn’t answer the question.”
Darcy: “Next question.”
Karen: “So what’s your idea of an accomplished woman?”
Darcy: “She should be intelligent, brave, and capable. Personally, I appreciate when she is pleasing to look at. She should develop her intellect through lifelong education and dedication to learning. And finally, she should have a strong character. In other words, she should have guts.”
Karen: “That’s a tall order. Sounds like your ideal woman is an unrealistic fantasy.”
Darcy: smirks “So I’ve been told.”
Karen: “Any regrets, Darcy?”
Darcy: “If I have them, they’re my burdens to carry.”
Karen: “Okay, okay, no more personal questions, I get it. Let’s see…Commodore 64 or Apple II computer?”
Darcy: “Apple II – it’s the way of the future.”
Karen: “Ludlum or LeCarre?”
Darcy: “I’ve used…um, read them both.”
Karen: “Beer or wine?”
Darcy: grins “Depends on who I’m with.”
Karen: “Sports car or muscle car?”
Darcy: “Anything that isn’t a Trabant.”
Karen: “Favorite author?”
Darcy: “You’re kidding me, right?”
Karen: “And a bonus question: How would you like to have five daughters?”
Darcy: “Sounds like hell on earth.”

Karen: “Well, I guess that about wraps up our interview today. Hopefully, you’ll let our readers get to know you a little better as they spend some time with you in Undeceived: Pride & Prejudice in the Spy Game.”
Darcy: “I would by no means suspend any pleasure of theirs.”


*****

First Edition Reviews: 

“Just when you think you figured it out, you’re wrong!!” – Amazon Review

“One of the slickest Pride & Prejudice variations I have ever had the pleasure of reading.” – Just Jane 1813

“…a who-done-it page turner…” – Amazon Review

“It’s dexterous writing, with a smart premise. Undeceived is unique…” – Amazon Review

“…an incredibly unique and riveting tale.” – Austenesque Reviews

Author Bio: 

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, Undeceived, I Could Write a Book, and Son of a Preacher Man, and a novella, The Journey Home, a companion piece to 1932.  She also loves writing short stories and has contributed to four Austen-inspired anthologies: “Northanger Revisited 2015” appears in Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, “I, Darcy” in The Darcy Monologues, “An Honest Man” in Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentleman Rogues, and “A Nominal Mistress” in Rational Creatures.

Karen was born in Everett WA, which was the result of coming into the world as the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State before settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at the age of eleven. She lives in a quiet little Central Kentucky town with her husband, where she works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter.
Channeling Jane Austen’s Emma, Karen has let a plethora of interests lead her to begin many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker—like Elizabeth Bennet.

Connect with Karen:

Website: www.karenmcox.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/karenmcox

If you would like bits of authorly goodness in your inbox each month (updates, sales, book recommendations, etc.) sign up for Karen's News & Muse Letter. She loves to hear from readers, so don’t be shy. Contact her through social media, her website, or on-line stores.


Social Media and Publicity Links:







*****

Readers, what did you think of the interview? It made me laugh, especially the bonus question! Aww, Darcy, Darcy! You do not like those personal questions! I wish he would have told us if he had ever been in love. Karen, did you get any sense of that one when talking with him? Thank you so much for bringing your interview to us. It was quite enjoyable and he certainly was nice to look a...uh, see! :)

Thank you again, for dropping by. It was a pleasure having you. We wish you the best with Undeceived