Monday, April 16, 2018

And the winners are...

The winner for Shannon Winslow's latest novel, The Ladies of Rosings Park, has been randomly selected and emailed. Thanks to all of you for participating during my stop of the blog tour.

Vesper Meikle: eBook

I am also including on this post, the winners of the blog tour for Riana Everly's book, The Assistant.

Carol Roberts
Susanne Barrett
Lori Dykes
Luca Casale

Riana also had two blog posts that came out after the draw ended. One commenter was randomly selected from each.

Joan Rye

Congratulations to all the winners.
You all have some good reading ahead. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Secrets of Pemberley...Rose Fairbanks

It's so good to have Rose Fairbanks visit my blog again. It has been some time since she was last here. Today she stops by during her blog tour for The Secrets of Pemberley and shares another video entry of Elizbeth's diary. I think this is such a neat idea. I hope you all enjoy this vignette. Be sure to check out the giveaway too.


Vignette: Outtake, Elizabeth Bennet’s Diary #4 Shopping with the Darcys

Thanks so much for hosting me, Janet! The Secrets of Pemberley is told entirely from Mr. Darcy’s perspective. In the book, Elizabeth’s diary becomes important, and as a long-time fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I decided to do video entries for each diary entry I’ll be sharing on the blog tour. I hope you enjoy as we get a bit of insight on what Elizabeth Bennet felt when she gets a few moments of privacy with Mr. Darcy after his ill-fated proposal and letter.

Links to previous diary entries:

#1—After the proposal:

#2—After the Letter:

#3—Meeting Darcy in London:

Book Blurb

To the world, Fitzwilliam Darcy has it all. He’s the young master to one of the kingdom’s oldest and wealthiest Norman families. Through his mother, he is related to a powerful line of earls. Beneath the perfect façade lies the truth: he’s the product of his mother’s affair and the heir George Darcy never wanted.

At twenty-eight, Darcy has fought hard to put to rest the pains of the past and earn his place in Society. But can he resist the allure of ending his loneliness with the unsuitable woman who has tugged at his heartstrings? Will he tell her his secret and if he does, will she keep it? Or will someone else from the past destroy everything Darcy has worked for?

Prepare for another page-gripping read from Rose Fairbanks as she unfolds a Darcy and Elizabeth story unlike you have ever read before. For the first time ever, Ms. Fairbanks is offering a new novel release in Kindle Unlimited. Pre-order today!

Author bio

Born in the wrong era, Rose Fairbanks has read nineteenth-century novels since childhood. Although she studied history, her transcript also contains every course in which she could discuss Jane Austen. Never having given up all-nighters for reading, Rose discovered her love for Historical Romance after reading Christi Caldwell’s Heart of a Duke Series.

After a financial downturn and her husband’s unemployment had threatened her ability to stay at home with their special needs child, Rose began writing the kinds of stories she had loved to read for so many years. Now, a best-selling author of Jane Austen-inspired stories, she also writes Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to finish her master’s studies someday. When not reading or writing, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and Romance Writers of America.

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

To join her email list for information about new releases and any other news, you can sign up here:

Giveaway: One ebook copy of The Secrets of Pemberley. Entries close April 23, 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you, Rose, for letting me be a part of your blog tour. I wish you much success with your new release. If it is like your other books, it will be a good one. Readers, tell us what you think of the diary entries? Do you just love these videos? I think they are a great and fun idea.

Rose, I hope to see you back for another visit soon. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

My share in the conversation...Lover's Knot

Available on Amazon
Today is my stop for the blog tour featuring the new release, Lover's Knot, by Jenetta James. I am having my share in the conversation with a review of this book. I appreciate you reading my thoughts and invite you to share yours. First up is the blurb; then my review. Don't forget the giveaway! :)


A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets. 
Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?
Lover’s Knot is a romantic Pride & Prejudice variation, with a bit of mystery thrown in.

A Book Review: Lover’s Knot by Jenetta James

Jenetta James does it again. I had read and loved her two previous novels and was eagerly anticipating this one. I was not disappointed. Her writing style is excellent and the story flows. This novel is written from Darcy’s point of view and in first person, present tense. I found this fascinating. It reminded me of a television detective show and a newspaper comic strip, Dragnet and Dick Tracy, respectively, both of years past. (Yes, I’m telling my age!) I would think it difficult writing a novel in this fashion, but Ms. James did it smoothly and effectively. I was quite impressed.

The story begins at Netherfield when Jane is ill. As in canon Lizzy has come to take care of her. When going up to her room, Elizabeth discovers a dead footman and screams! Immediately, Darcy and Bingley rush to the rescue. Mr. Allwood, the magistrate, is summoned. The occupants of the house must remain for questioning. Thus, the murder mystery begins and the unraveling of it makes for enticing reading.

When Mr. Allwood seeks the opinions of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, he readily complies. I liked Darcy turned detective. He was charming, and he did an impressive job, too! His loyalty to and protection of those he considers under his care, is without question.

There are some interesting and mysterious new characters, as well as many who are familiar. The premise was different from other Pride & Prejudice murder mysteries I’ve read, and the writing of it was well done. I didn’t want to put the book down. The author did a superb job of keeping the identity of the murderer hidden from this reader. She had me guessing until the very end. I had a suspicion of who I thought it might be, but was I ever wrong! I was shocked when the culprit’s identity was revealed.

The narrative has romance and good romance, at that, yet I would consider it more a murder mystery with Darcy as the major sleuth. I truly enjoyed reading this novel and I was delighted being in Darcy's "head", knowing his thoughts and experiencing his emotions. I highly recommend Lover's Knot to all who love Austenesque books and mysteries­­. Thank you, Jenetta James, for giving us yet another book showcasing your many talents as a writer.

Author Bio:

Jenetta James is a mother, writer, lawyer and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego. She has written, Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers as well as contributed short stories to both The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues.

Buy Link:
Amazon / This book is free through KindleUnlimited

Contact Info:

Blog Tour Schedule:

March 29 My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 30 Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 31 Liz's Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway
April 1 My Vices and Weaknesses/  Excerpt Post & Giveaway
April 2 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
April 3 So Little Time /  Guest Post & Giveaway
April 4  Austenesque Reviews / Author Interview & Giveaway
April 5 From Pemberley to Milton /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway
April 6 Babblings of a Bookworm /  Book Review & Giveaway
April 7 More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway
April 8 My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway
April 9 Diary of an Eccentric /  Guest Post & Giveaway
April 10 Laughing with Lizzie /  Excerpt Post & Giveaway
April 11 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway
April 12 Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway


Jenetta has selected a lovely giveaway package where one lucky winner will receive a Pride & Prejudice scarf, a Kindle cover and paperback copies of all five of her JAFF books.

Terms and conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Claudine Pepe, for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Lover's Knot. I looked forward to being a part of it and loved reading the book. Best wishes to you, Jenetta James, on this release. I hope you soon have another book for us to devour. Fantastic Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Ladies of Rosings Park...Shannon Winslow

Available on Amazon
Welcome back to More Agreeably Engaged, Shannon Winslow! I'm so happy to have you visit again. Your new book, The Ladies of Rosings Park sounds fascinating. It will be great to see Anne de Bourgh have her day! I like that idea. I also love your cover. Your paintings are gorgeous and this one is too.

Ms. Winslow, take it away.

The Honorable Mr. Darcy?

How well did Darcy treat his cousin Anne? Part of our enchantment with the man (and the reason Elizabeth changed her views about him from negative to positive) comes from discovering that he was truly honorable after all. He did not disrespect his father’s wishes. He did not cheat Wickham out of the living intended for him. In fact, he earned the respect (even affection) of his tenants and servants and was affable to the poor. In short, Darcy was a man who held high principles and lived up to them.

But did he treat his cousin Anne accordingly? I had wondered about this before, but it became a real issue when I started writing The Ladies of Rosings Park. Even though Darcy obviously didn’t feel bound by his mother’s and aunt’s desire that he should marry his cousin, I wanted to know that he treated Anne kindly and considerately. After all, she had heard all her life that he was supposed to marry her, and it was just possible that she believed it and had her heart set on it!

Have you ever worried about that, or am I the only one? Anyway, that’s what was on my mind when I wrote the prologue for the book (greatly condensed here):

Two things Anne de Bourgh understood from a very early age: first, that she was loved by her father, and second, that she would one day marry Fitzwilliam Darcy. These unalterable facts served as the sure foundation of her young life… But nothing lasts forever, it seems, not even sure foundations. One pillar of support crumbled when Anne’s father suddenly died a month shy of her fourteenth birthday. A few years later, the other – her betrothal to Fitzwilliam Darcy – was cast into serious jeopardy upon the arrival at Rosings of a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Bennet.

For better or for worse, Jane Austen gives us very little clue to the relationship between Anne and Mr. Darcy. There are no interactions between them recorded in Pride and Prejudice. In fact, Anne doesn’t have a single word of dialogue! All we’re told on the subject is Elizabeth’s impression at the end of chapter 31:

Elizabeth looked at Darcy to see how cordially he assented to his cousin’s praise; but neither at that moment nor at any other could she discern any symptom of love; and from the whole of his behaviour to Miss de Bourgh she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, that he might have been just as likely to marry her, had she been his relation.

That’s not much to go on, but the good news is it meant I could fill in that giant blank any way I wanted!

Obviously, Darcy belongs with Elizabeth, not with Anne or Miss Bingley. That is a truth universally acknowledged! But it would tarnish even their incandescent union if too much carnage and destruction had been left in their wake in order to achieve it. Because of the kind of person she is, none of us mind that Miss Bingley’s ambitions are frustrated. But Anne was an innocent bystander. I would hate to see her heart trampled.

So I set about developing her relationship with Darcy as I saw fit – some insights into past events, Anne’s current feelings, and some meaningful interaction between the two as the story goes along. I also wanted to show some signs of a burgeoning friendship between Anne and Elizabeth. All this with an eye to the three of them coming through with mutual understanding and respect. Above all, I wanted to be sure that Anne (as well as the reader) had no reason to feel that Darcy had dealt with her dishonorably.

Phew! That was a tall order, but you’ll be glad to know Darcy’s good character comes through undamaged. Yay! What might surprise you more, though, is how Anne was at work behind the scenes. She not only didn’t stand in the way of Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness; at some personal sacrifice, she actively promoted it. Sounds to me like she deserves a HEA of her own. Don’t you agree?


At first glance, Anne de Bourgh doesn’t seem a promising heroine. But beneath that quiet exterior, there’s a lively mind at work, imagining how one day she will escape her poor health and her mother’s domination to find love and a life worth living.

Now Anne finally gets the chance to speak her mind. But Lady Catherine demands equal time. Even Charlotte Collins and Mrs. Jenkinson get into the act. Chapter by chapter, these ladies of Rosings Park take turns telling the tale from the moment Elizabeth Bennet sets foot in Hunsford, changing everything. Is Anne heartbroken or relieved to discover Mr. Darcy will never marry her? As an heiress, even a sickly one, she must have other suitors. Does Lady Catherine gracefully accept the defeat of her original plan or keep conniving? Will Anne’s health ever improve? And what really happened to her father?

Complete in itself, this work expands The Darcys of Pemberley series laterally, beginning during the timeline of Pride and Prejudice and carrying beyond to reveal the rest of Anne’s story. When a young lady is to be a heroine… something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way. (Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)


Shannon Winslow is giving away one eBook of The Ladies of Rosings Park and this giveaway is international. Please leave a comment to enter. What do you think of Darcy's treatment of Anne? Do you think him honourable? Do you think Anne deserves a HEA of her own? I certainly do and I've a feeling that Shannon Winslow is going to give her one! Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on the 8th of April. Good luck to all.


Thank you for visiting my blog again, Shannon. It is always such a pleasure having you stop by and talk about your books. I agree with your sentiments that Darcy belongs with none other than Elizabeth. That definitely is a truth universally acknowledged! :) I look forward to learning more about your book, and I wish you the best with The Ladies of Rosings Park. Please come back for a visit anytime. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

A More Engaging Guest Review...Modern Persuasion

Sophia Rose is back with a review of Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks. Sophia writes such great reviews without giving any spoilers. I always enjoy reading them and hope you enjoy this one about an intriguing modern day Persuasion.

Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks
#1 21st Century Austen
Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  Illuminated Myth Publishing
Published:  5.29.17
Pages:  220
Format: eARC
Source:  Lola’s Blog Tours

GoodReads Blurb:

Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams?
What would you do if given a second chance at that decision?
Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of. Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick’s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour.
Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other. Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?


Austen's Persuasion translated into the 21st century quite easily with a good old-fashioned second chance romance full of the usual miscues, sizzling glances across the room, and lots of regret and bittersweet memories of the past all set against the world of book publishing. 

Each time I get my hands on a modern retelling, I think what hooks me in initially is my overwhelming curiosity of how the author will describe the characters and what will be the setting.  The book publishing industry was an interesting choice here and one not entirely unfamiliar especially when they were out on the book tour.  Emma (aka Anne) is an accomplished editor and has all the makings of a brilliant publisher if her boss would only loosen up on the reins and let her follow her head.  She has the gift of picking bestsellers and making an author golden.  Her parents were industry legends though her dad is not doing well since his wife's death.  And... neither is Emma, really, as she is content to tread water indefinitely.

On the flip side, there is Fredrick, the guy Emma walked away from when he wanted her to follow him to LA and live a life together.  He went on to screenwrite a popular movie and now is a bestselling author on a book tour through Emma's publishing house.  Oh my, that reunion meet cute was as cringe-worthy as you imagine and the awkward tour was a test in fortitude for both Freddy and Emma.

Overall, I thought this was a great tribute to the original story while also proving it was a solid original piece of its own.  It has Persuasion nuances, but it didn't take long for me to realize that Emma is no self-effacing Anne who is loaded down with regret all around.  Emma has one regret, but also has lots of non-regrets, too.  She followed her dreams and is good at what she does with quite a bit of respect and admiration in the world she inhabits.  Fredrick might be the Hollywood writer, but really, it is Emma who is the success story here that everyone in the book industry is buzzing about.  I say that because this is the dynamic that is the domino effect changing things all the way through.

This is a romance, but it is also very much a women's fiction.  This is Emma's story of what she does when she gets the chance at a reset.  She is confronted with her past in a visceral way and spends a great deal of time pondering if she made the right decision back when she was twenty-two and fresh out of college, if the past should be left in the past, or, as many are hinting, is this a new opportunity eight years later because she is in a different place in her life as is Fredrick and what does it matter if he still hates her.

I think this more put together Anne figure will appeal to more people.  Those who adore Persuasion and don't mind it set in modern day will read it and have a good time, but I think this is also for those who might not have liked the meeker Anne of Austen's novel, but would enjoy her 2.0 version in Emma.  And drunk Emma is really quite the woman to be reckoned with, let me tell you.

So, yes, I was well pleased with Modern Persuasion and feel it has strong appeal for contemporary romance and women's fiction fans alike whether or not the reader has read or watched a tv adaption of Austen's Persuasion or not.

About the Author:

By day Sara Marks is a librarian in Massachusetts, but by night she’s an author, knitter, and Wikipedian.  She has been writing as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) since 2004.  Her first novel, Modern Persuasion, was published in May 2017 with Illuminated Myth Publishing.  Her second novel, Phi Alpha Pi, is set for release in May 2018.

Born in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara attended Florida State University for 3 years.  She eventually graduated with an A.A from Miami-Dade College and a  B.A. from Florida International University before moving back to Boston for graduate school.  There she got her M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a M.S. in Communications from Fitchburg State University.  Now Sara lives in Lowell, MA where she works with local writing group Mill Pages, which creates an annual anthology of short stories, poems, and art work.  She is a member of the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA), a group supporting writers in the Merrimack Valley.

You can find and contact Sara Marks here:
- Mailing List:

Thank you, Sophia Rose, for letting More Agreeably Engaged post your review of Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks. Your thoughts were awesome and your review well written. Thank you. It is always a pleasure to read what someone else thinks of a book. I like Persuasion and feel sure I would like this modern version too. Readers, what do you think? Have any of you read it yet? If so, tell me your thoughts.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

And the winners are...

I have some winners to announce.
One is for Mark Brownlow's post, Cake & Courtship.
There are two eBooks being given away for Jan Hahn's new book, The Child; one is for the cover reveal
and one is for Christina Boyd's review.
The last winner is for Sophia Rose's review of 
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque by Don Jacobson.

Congratulations to all the winners.
Thank you for stopping by the blog
and taking the time to comment.

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
by Don Jacobson

Dung Vu

The Child by Jan Hahn

Cover Reveal

Carole in Canada

Christina Boyd Review
Patty Edmisson

Cake & Courtship by Mark Brownlow

eBook or Chocolates? The winner chose...


Thank you, Mark, for being my guest and hosting such a tempting and fun giveaway.

Again, congratulations to all the winners. Thanks so much for supporting my blog and the writers. You are appreciated.
A special thanks to everyone having the giveaways.
My readers love winning books. Who doesn't, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Riana Everly...The Assistant

Riana Everly is back at More Agreeably Engaged for my stop on her blog tour for her latest release, The Assistant. I hope you will all give her a warm welcome. Riana is talking to us today about images and how important they are. An image can most definitely be worth a thousand words. It can say much with no words being spoken. I like this idea for your post and loved looking at all the pictures as you told us about them. Oooh, I do love a costume ball, too! How fun that you write to us about a Twelfth Night Ball! Take it away, Riana Everly!


Thank you, Janet, for hosting me on this stop on my blog tour for The Assistant. I’m thrilled to be here today to talk a bit about my new release. Since I know Janet is an artist, I thought I would delve into images as much as text, because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And what is more colourful – in every sense of the word – than a costume ball? I hope you enjoy the sights.

Masked ball costumes

During the Regency period in England, and indeed for years before and after, costume balls were very popular, and especially so for Twelfth Night festivities. In fact, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night is really just about dressing up gone wrong! Some fancy dress balls were unmasked, but others were designed to have the guests in disguise, to make a game of trying to discern who, exactly, was who!

Since my hero, Edward Gardiner, meets an enchanting lady at such a Twelfth Night ball, I thought I would take a quick look at what sorts of costumes might have been worn at such an event.

In this image (image: Costume Ball), you can see a nun, a knight in partial armour with a plume in his helmet, a chap in Elizabethan garb, a shepherdess, a fellow in a Persian costume with a turban and a grand feather, and a Puritan, among other costumes.

Here (image: Beauty Unmasked) is a drawing from the 1770s, showing a young woman with a turban and mask ready to meet the evening incognito!

Historical costumes were popular, from Ancient Greece to pre-Revolutionary France. Edward’s friend Frederick is disguised as Louis XIV at his mother’s ball.  Characters from mythology were also popular costumes, and Frederick’s eye is on a young woman dressed as a Greek goddess. This image (image: Ancient Greece) is from the Victorian era, but Miss Lancaster’s costume would have been similar, with the addition of a disguising helmet and mask!

Also popular were characters from the Commedia dell’arte and other Venetian-inspired costumes. Edward attended in the guise of the Duke Orsino from Twelfth Night, but with an elaborate Italianate mask (image: Carnival half-mask).

Here is a woman’s masquerade costume from the late 1760s, showing such a costume. (image: Masquerade 1765-1770)

Ethnic costumes (or rather, those loosely inspired by exotic lands) were also very popular. In the July, 1807 edition of Le Beau Monde, there is a drawing of an Egyptian costume with the following description: (image: Beau Monde 1807 Egyptian)

“The head-dress is composed of a rich handkerchief of white lace, which crosses the back part of the head; each corner of the handkerchief, a small distance from the shoulder, falls on the front of the neck; the handkerchief is trimmed round with a magnificent border of peals, and each corner is finished with a bunch of the same; the hair is curled on the top of the forehead with small thick curls, separated with a band of diamonds, which crosses the forehead, and continues round the head; two small curls down the side of the face. A rich white figured sarsnet dress made with a short train, and scollope back; sleeves very short and covered with a broad flap of white lace; the undersleeve is trimmed round with small French pearls; also the lace, which is fastened to the back part of the sarsnet sleeve with a star of pearls; the front is made full each way, and covered with rich lace fastened in the centre with a star to correspond with the sleeves. An Egyptian train of lilac spider net, showered with pearls, and worked in the centre with a large star of the same, cut in the form of a half handkerchief, wider a one end than at the other; one end is cut square, and gathered up full on the left shoulder with a pearl star; a piece of sarsnet, from under the left arm, richly ornamented, crosses the front, and is fastened with the middle corner of the train to the right knee with a bunch of pearls; the other corner, which reaches to the bottom of the dress, is finished with a large pearl tassel; the dress and train are trimmed round with pearls to correspond. White kid gloves and shoes.”

Likewise, Chinese, Persian and Indian-inspired costumes were the rage. This 1809 drawing (image: Beau Monde 1809 Hindoostan) shows “A Lady of Hindoostan” wearing a pair of loose trousers as part of her costume. In The Assistant, Edward meets a young woman attired as an Indian Princess, complete with feathered turban and face mask. Fortunately for her disguise, turbans were generally in fashion at the turn of the century, and she needn’t have looked very far for hers! (March 1796 Detail)

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing just a few of the sights at the ball. Here is an excerpt from the story.

From The Assistant

The ballroom was becoming rather full by the time the two friends braved its crowds. Frederick pushed through the gathering masses of costumed guests, past princesses and Oriental magistrates and bejewelled doges and glittering fairies, eventually leading Edward to the far corner of the vast space. There, near an ornate marble pillar, stood two masked women. One, dressed in the guise of a Roman goddess, looked up expectantly as Frederick approached. The helmet on her head and her glittering shield proclaimed her to be Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, but the attitude of expectation in which she held herself bespoke more of Venus, goddess of love. If her expression was a guide to her inclinations, she was not averse to Frederick’s attentions.

“Mr. Dyson,” she proclaimed, her pink lips forming into a sweet smile at his appearance. “I am truly happy to see you this evening. It was so very generous of your mother to invite us at such a late date.” Her smile widened and Edward saw that she was genuinely delighted to encounter his friend.

Frederick’s smile was no less telling. “Athena, the Conqueror, who has captured my heart,” he purred as he flirted shamelessly with the young woman. “Might I be so bold as to introduce to you my very good, but far less handsome, friend? Miss Lancaster, Mr. Gardiner. Edward, Miss Lancaster.”

Curtseys and bows were exchanged, along with the appropriate ‘how do you do’s.’ Miss Lancaster was indeed very elegant in her flowing white robes. She was of above average height and lithe, with long limbs and a pleasing figure. Her hair, or that of it which could be seen from beneath her helmet, shone a rich ebony, and her skin was fair and clear. The colour of her eyes was difficult to discern beneath the mask which all but covered them, but Edward fancied them light blue or grey. Although he had not yet seen all of Miss Lancaster’s visage, he found he approved of his friend’s choice, for Miss Lancaster seemed to be quite handsome indeed, with a pleasing manner.

The initial introduction having been made, Edward’s attention now turned to Miss Lancaster’s companion. She had been standing demurely behind her friend, almost as if reluctant to be seen, despite the flamboyance of her costume. The lady appeared to be young, perhaps twenty years of age, and was shorter than Miss Lancaster, perhaps a hair below the average height for a woman. She wore the stunning and elaborate garb of India, with bright yellow and orange silks and richly embroidered scarves in a swirl around her body. She was somewhat slight in stature, but round where a woman ought to be round and pleasing in appearance, and Edward found the need to prevent his eye from roving too freely over her costumed form.

Over her face she wore a three-quarter mask of unremarkable origin, though decorated in ribbons to match her clothing. Her head was covered with a fanciful turban, graced with jewels and beads and feathers. A few threads of flaxen hair showed from beneath the ornate head dress, curling prettily, and her features were obscured behind the decorated mask. Only her mouth and chin were visible, betraying her complexion to be fair and her lips light pink. Edward realized that those lips were very, very pretty when she smiled. There was something distracting and familiar about her, he mused. Perhaps he had met her before, at one of his mother’s parties, or perhaps seeking fabric in his shops. Or, perhaps, the very nature of her costume, with its swirls and wrappings of lush silks, brought to mind his own love of fine textiles and the pleasures of being surrounded by fine and beautiful bolts of fabric. He smiled.


A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!


Store-specific links for Amazon, are as follows:

Amazon US link 

Amazon Canada link

Amazon UK link

Social Media Links

Rafflecopter Give-away

Riana Everly is giving away five copies of the Ebook to blog readers through a random drawing on Rafflecopter. She will contact winners through the email address they provide to ascertain the appropriate format for the file. She will email the file directly to the winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Riana, for visiting More Agreeably Engaged as part of your blog tour for The Assistant. Your post is such a neat post and I found it informative as well as entertaining. Your short excerpt has the desired effect of making the reader want more! I wish you the best with this latest release. Please come back anytime!