Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...Holidays at Pemberley

Following is my last review for Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these books by Alexa Adams, plus the provoking excerpts from her WIP,
The Madness of Mr. Darcy. Thanks to each of you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Remember to leave a comment at each review to triple your chances of winning.

Holidays at Pemberley by Alexa Adams

Holidays at Pemberley is the third book and conclusion of the Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice Series. Alexa Adams has stayed consistent throughout these books with her clever wit and lovely Regency language. As I mentioned in my reviews of the first two books, her style and tone of writing is so near Jane Austen that it is a pleasure to read the stories.

This novel opens with a brief account of an incident that took place when Charlotte Lucas was a small child. Charlotte was able to help a young boy that had just experienced a traumatic incident. This was a touching and significant scene. It was nice to learn something about the early Lucas family and their goodness.

Fast forward to Christmas right before Darcy and Lizzy marry. Netherfield Hall is the scene for a ball to honor Charles Bingley’s future wife, Jane. The newly married Wickham’s are making their intrusion as if the ball was for them. Typical behavior for them now and later, but I did so enjoy when Caroline paled at the discovery that her husband had misrepresented some very significant facts. That was a priceless moment.

Charlotte Lucas has the main storyline and it is nice to see her find happiness and yes, even love. During her visits to Pemberley, she has the opportunity to witness true love between her dear friend and Mr. Darcy. Charlotte's path to love is not easy and her feelings are exposed. Her discovery that she too, can marry for love, is very nicely done.  Her gradual change and her eventual courtship are gratifying to read. I like this Charlotte and enjoyed her story very much.  

There were many amusing scenes between Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine, who is still quite likable. Each lady claims success for the Collins’s birth of a male child. Next is their constant bickering over his proper rearing. This squabbling was quite comical.

I was displeased with Mr. Bennet when he invited the Wickham’s to Pemberley for Twelfth Night without informing Elizabeth and Darcy. That did not set well and seemed unlike him. I guess the saying, ‘All’s well that ends well,’ fits here. The outcome proved beneficial to Lady Catherine and I did enjoy how she handled the situation. Happily, Caroline and George will never be the same!

Even though the main plot is about Charlotte Lucas, the book covers several holidays and balls at the beginning of the Darcy’s marriage, allowing the reader to spend time with them. The narrative also gives some additional details from plots in the first two books, details that give more meat to those stories. With all the same characters from the first two books, Holidays at Pemberley could stand alone but would possibly raise a few questions. I recommend reading First Impressions and Second Glances beforehand. They are excellent books that are not to be missed! Thank you Alexa Adams.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Following is a short comment from the author and then an excerpt from her upcoming book:

I’m very pleased to share a few excerpts from my next novel, The Madness of Mr. Darcy. This is still a work in progress and subject to change. I hope to have it published by early 2015.

Here is a conversation between the housekeeper at Ramsey House, the private mental asylum in which Mr. Darcy is confined, and her son, one of the orderlies.

Samuel Johnson shut the door, through which no sound penetrated, behind him. Following the corridor that lead under the grand staircase, he opened a hidden door that led below stairs. Quickly arriving at his mother’s office, he rapped three times on the door and was admitted.

Mrs. Johnson shut the door behind her son. “Well?” she asked.

“If they require anything, they can fetch it themselves,” he replied, taking the seat before her desk.

“Humph!” She moved stiffly across the room to her own chair. “I never knew the respectable woman who sat up all hours of the night, alone with a man behind closed doors!”

Her son paid this little head, as it was an oft-repeated complaint. There was more to say this evening. “They were sitting might cozy on the sofa when I came in.” He stoked the fire.

“Were they indeed?” she asked excitedly. “She is a bold one!”

He leaned forward placing his elbows on the desk. His mother mimicked the gesture. “Twas nothing compared with the look she gave the new man this morning.”

“Mr. Darcy?”

“Do they, now?” Her face was all astonishment, and he grinned at his mother. “Do you think he has her story?”

“Wouldn’t surprise me. No one casts a glance like Mrs. Bennet did today on a person not in their confidence. And Mr. Darcy was struck dumb at the sight of her, too: every bit the lost lover finding his way home.”

Mrs. Johnson sat back, digesting this information. Her son watched her with amusement, awaiting her next words. “Sammy,” she began after several moments, “you don’t suppose Mr. Darcy might have been involved in her downfall?” She did not wait for a reply, but stood up and began pacing the small room. “We know she was gently born. No doubt about that. And we know her family suffered a reversal in fortune. But all those other sisters – not one of them holds a post such as she does!”

“One is a governess,” he pointed out.

“Yes, but there’s a vast difference between working in a proper house and here, let alone where she was before.”

“At least at Summers Wood the ladies and gents kept to themselves,” he supplied. “And they took paupers!”

Mrs. Johnson stopped pacing and stared at her son. “If something improper were to happen between Mrs. Bennet and a guest, she’d be packed off as soon as the master could contrive it.”

“I don’t think Dr. Wilson would toss her off, though she would definitely lose her post. He might marry her!”

Mrs. Johnson had resumed her pacing and only heard part of this. “Mr. Darcy is a lunatic. He admits almost proudly how he near tortured to death some poor soul! No woman would ever accept his proposal, if he is so far gone as to make on to the Matron!” she chortled.

“I didn’t mean Mr. Darcy,” her son retorted. “What if Dr. Wilson asked Mrs. Bennet to marry him?”

Her knees locked, and she was lucky to be in reach of her chair, or she might have crashed to the floor. Steadying herself by clutching the desk, she said in a cracking voice, “Master Frederick would never be so foolish.” Nevertheless, it took her nearly two glasses of sherry to recover from the shock of her son’s suggestion, and she only ever took a nip on festive occasions.

Thank you again, Alexa Adams for sharing these excerpts from your latest work. It has been a pleasure to read them. Please keep us updated on this exciting story. As you can see, you have generated much interest.

Alexa Adams is generously giving away one of the three books being reviewed, to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share in the conversation'!  As a reminder, if you leave a comment at each review, you triple your chances of winning! Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with (at) instead of @. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 2, 2014.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...Second Glances

My reviews of the trilogy continue with Second Glances.

Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Continues by Alexa Adams

Alexa Adams does it again with Second Glances. Her writing is still much like Jane Austen’s with wit and humor plus a great command of Regency language. The words flow onto the page.

Second Glances begins a year after First Impressions ends. The Darcy’s, the Bingley’s and the Collins’s are happily married, Kitty and Lydia are in Bath attending school and the Wickham’s haven’t changed. Mr. Bennet is still a bit of a matchmaker but he is much more subtle about it than Mrs. Bennet, who continues to try to refrain from gushing.

Kitty and Georgiana have remained close friends, a friendship that was begun in First Impressions. They are so close that Kitty has been invited to London to join Georgiana for her first season. This is a big step for Kitty but one that causes much jealousy with Lydia. Kitty has become a young woman of finer tastes and behavior and is no longer the shadow of the thoughtless Lydia. When Kitty is nearly run down by a curricle in Bath, she shows some of the same impertinence and spunk of her older sister, Elizabeth. The scene was quite diverting!

Two new characters, who play very significant roles, are introduced. Simon Brooks and Sir James Stratton, as neighbors, grew up together. They are likable fellows, add much to the story and have a big part in the plot. Sir James, who is spontaneous and a little reckless at times, is a longtime friend of the Darcy’s. He has become one of my favorite created characters.

There is still good Darcy and Lizzy time in this tale although the book centers more on Kitty and Georgiana. Their characters are matured and Kitty is delightful. I love the relationship that has developed between Darcy and Kitty.  He has literally become the big brother, caring for her and protecting her as he does Georgiana. Charming!

Although the first book, First Impressions, is complete by its own right, the second book fills in some blanks and adds much to the story. It is another quick read but is gratifying. The title is perfect! I love your writing style, Alexa Adams! You weave a good yarn with satire and energy that is a pleasure to read. Well done.

5 out of 5 stars

Following is a short comment from the author and then an excerpt from her upcoming book:

I’m very pleased to share a few excerpts from my next novel, The Madness of Mr. Darcy. This is still a work in progress and subject to change. I hope to have it published by early 2015.

The following scene takes place shortly before Mr. Darcy leaves Pemberley for Ramsey House, a private mental asylum.

Darcy walked up the ramp to the freshly painted door. He made certain conditions at the cottage were maintained perfectly. Though other areas of the estate might suffer neglect, this place saw none of it. The gardens were tended and walking paths maintained with the same attention devoted to the big house. The inside had been refurbished with the most modern conveniences and contrivances, all installed with the occupant’s condition in mind. No detail was left unattended.

“Good morning, Mr. Darcy,” the plump woman he hired as both housekeeper and nurse to George greeted him.

“Good morning, Mrs. Able. How are you?”

“Tell Darcy he needn’t mind the pleasantries, Hatty,” the familiar voice called from inside. “If he did, he wouldn’t be here at all, for nothing about his visits are ever pleasant.”

“Hello, George,” Mr. Darcy replied, entering the cheerful front room. Wickham sat by a large window that framed the pleasing landscape bounding the cottage’s south side, examining the scene with a determination born out of a refusal to face his guest.

“What do you want, Darcy?”

“I have something I need to tell you.” He remained standing, staring at the back of his former friend and longtime enemy’s head, which suddenly twitched to the side, revealing the briefest glimpse of profile.

“Oh, do sit down man! Still stubbornly formal, I see. It’s a trait I’ve always detested in you.” Darcy perched himself upon the nearest seat, but he could not abandon his rigid posture, quite necessary for his endurance of this ordeal. “What have you to say?” demanded Wickham, with renewed focus on the scene outside.

“I’m leaving Pemberley for a while, and I am not sure when I will return.”

“What! Will you deprive me of your precious company?” he huffed. “I didn’t think you had much occasion for mixing with the world anymore.”

“I don’t.”

The wheeled chair in which Mr. Wickham sat suddenly lurched forward and around to confront Mr. Darcy directly. Unwillingly, Mr. Darcy flinched at the sight of George’s scarred face. “Then where do you go?” he demanded.

Mr. Darcy looked him directly in the eye, trying not to stare at the disfigured flesh. “To a mad house, if you must know.”

“A mad house?” the harsh visage softened with incredulity. “You mean you go willingly?”

“The man who runs it offers hope, and I have none other before me.”

“You must be mad, Darcy, to consent to such a thing! And if you aren’t, you surely will be before long. Do you not know what happens in such places?”

“I have spoken to the doctor myself, and he has described his methods. I know what to expect.”

“Like hell you do! Good riddance to you, then. We shall not meet again.” He turned back to the window.

“I am not leaving for some weeks.”

“I see no reason to beleaguer our goodbyes.”

“Nevertheless, I will come see you before my departure, and I’m sure I will see you again before the year is out,” Darcy told the balding head before him, rising to leave as he did so. Upon receiving no response, he continued, “I will leave instructions regarding your needs.”

A bitter laugh escaped Wickham. “I did not think you would leave me unguarded.”

“Take care of yourself, George.”

“Just go, Fitz.” He moved towards the door, but hesitating he turned back and stood for several moments, staring at the rigid head. “Oh for God’s sake, Darcy! What is it?”

“The man who runs Ramsey House is an old friend of Lord Matlock,” he said softly.

“And why should that matter so to me that you must stand there in silence like an imbecile?”

Darcy forced the words out. “The matron who works beside him is called Mrs. Bennet.”

The head twitched. “I see,” Wickham said.

“So you do recall the name?”

The crippled man spun his chair around with surprising force. “Of course I remember the name, Darcy! What do you take me for?” he spat angrily.

Numbly, Darcy replied, “The kind of man who would destroy an innocent, wreaking havoc upon an entire family in the process.”

“Oh, yes!” Wickham smirked. “I had forgotten about that.”

Darcy felt his hatred for the man swell up for the first time since the fire. “I do not see how you could,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Yet you just expressed surprise that I recall the name Bennet! Do make up your mind, Fitz: am I a complete heartless cad, or will you grant me the humanity of having a conscience?”

“Do you?” Darcy asked wearily.

Wickham held his eye. “It does not matter how I reply. You made up your mind as to my character many, many years ago.” He turned back round to the window. “So you think Mrs. Bennet is a relation to those of Longbourn?”

“It seems possible,” Darcy admitted reluctantly.

“Be sure to send her my regards, should she prove an acquaintance.”

“You make me sick, George.”

“I have no desire for your presence, either, Darcy. Do take yourself off already.”

Darcy left without another word. Once he heard the door shut, Wickham rolled himself over to the front window, where he watched Darcy mount Jason and ride hastily away. Had the master of Pemberley bothered to turn round, he might have perceived the vigil, one silent tear making its bumpy way down a distorted cheek.

Another heart-rending excerpt to tease us and make us want more, Alexa. Thanks for sharing!.

Alexa Adams is generously giving away one of the three books being reviewed, to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share in the conversation'!  As a reminder, if you leave a comment at each review, you triple your chances of winning! Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with (at) instead of @. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 2, 2014.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...First Impressions

Today I will start my series of reviews for three books by Alexa Adams. These books are her Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice. This is a little different from my normal review format but I hope, dear readers, that you will find it to your liking.
  • Monday: First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice 
  • Tuesday; Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Continues
  • Wednesday; Holidays at Pemberley or Third Encounters,:  A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Concludes
Alexa Adams is working on a new novel and she is sharing three excerpts with us, one following each review. It doesn't get much better than that...oh wait, yes it does. She is also allowing me to offer a giveaway and IF you comment on each review, your chances to win TRIPLE! You will find more info about it at the end of the post. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the reviews and the excerpts. 

First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice by Alexa Adams

This Pride & Prejudice variation holds true to the second part of the title with much less prejudice and a lot less pride. It has all the same characters as the original with some of them having a slight alteration of personality. These changes make for a very interesting tale that is sweet and endearing with little angst. Following are a few of those changes.

Darcy does not insult Elizabeth at the Meryton Assembly but he does ask her to dance. She accepts and that is the beginning of the changes. I really liked this Darcy!

Bingley is a stronger character and not as easily influenced. He stands up to Caroline. Jane is still dear sweet Jane.

Mr. Bennet is a better parent and is willing to receive some needed advice. He is even a bit of a matchmaker and his skills are quite entertaining.

Mrs. Bennet is willing to reign in her effusions, at least in part, and does listen to her husband. 

Lady Catherine is a gentler soul and even a little likable.

Wickham and Caroline are still hateful, deceitful and despicable, but they do get their just reward. It was one I found quite satisfying!

Mary Bennet receives some story time and some happiness for a change. She is allowed to grow as a person and I was impressed with this Mary. She has more depth of character although she does occasionally slip back into her former self.

There are some interesting changes for Kitty, Lydia and Charlotte. I found them all delightful! 

Alexa Adams writes in a style and manner that is reminiscent of Jane Austen. Her writing is beautiful and her wit and satire add sparkle to this fun tale. It is a fast read, is charming and engaging. The story flows smoothly and I enjoyed being immersed in the lovely language with which this author writes with apparent ease.Although there are two more books that continue this story of less pride and prejudice, this one stands alone. I think anyone who enjoys JAFF will want to read First Impressions as Ms. Adams is extremely talented. 

5 out of 5 stars

Following is a short comment from the author and then an excerpt from her upcoming book:

I’m very pleased to share a few excerpts from my next novel, The Madness of Mr. Darcy. This is still a work in progress and subject to change. I hope to have it published by early 2015.

This first excerpt currently acts as preface to the novel, which takes place twenty years after the events here described. 

Elizabeth could not sleep. She sat on the window ledge of her bedroom at Longbourn staring out across the lawn towards the long, irregular drive. It had been eight months since her sister, Lydia, had run away from Brighton, and they had no word of her since. Elizabeth was getting accustomed to lack of sleep, and the long nights passed between painful contemplation and futile attempts to avoid such thought all together – thoughts of what had happened to her sister.

It was nearly a full moon, and by its determined light, she suddenly perceived movement by the drive’s end, where the palings marked the entrance to the small estate. Staring determinedly in their directions, she was shocked to perceive a scantily clad figure running towards the house. She stared and quickly confirming the truth of what her senses perceived, she secured her shawl about her shoulders and raced out her bedroom, down the stairs, through the all, and unlocked the front door.

“Lydia!” she cried at the familiar face before all similarity to her youngest sibling disappeared beneath the spectacle of a dishevelled creature, thrusting itself into her arms and sobbing violently.

The house began to rouse at the noise as Elizabeth half carried, half dragged the woman she was certain must be Lydia (though she still wished to look at her face again for confirmation of that distressing notion) into the nearest parlor, where she plopped down on the sofa, nowa spectacle for the first servants to arrive on scene, and the creature wrapped herself more tightly into her arms, weeping even harder.

It was impossible to get her to raise her head, but Elizabeth knew it was she. She wrapped an arm around the mound of tattered fabric in her lap and began to make a shushing noise, like a baby.

“Lizzy! What is this?” Her mother in shocked tones demanded.

“Shhh!” she said louder, and then in quiet but shocked tones, “Tis Lydia, I think!”

“Lydia!” her mother repeated, blinking absently while her husband at her side clutched the door for support and grew remarkably pale.

“Dear god!” he said, his wife still agape and unmoving.

“What is it, Mama?” Elizabeth heard Kitty say, though she could no longer watch the tableau her family presented, all her attention demanded by the person in her arms. “Why is Lizzy cradling a beggar?”

“Quiet, child!” her mother replied, suddenly stirred into action and walking towards her youngest, dearest child. She knelt beside the sofa and reached for the crying creature’s face and with both hands, holding it up for her to inspect. The incessant weeping stopped, and Mrs. Bennet stared into her favorite’s face, dirty and tear streaked. Tears welled in her own eyes as she said, “Oh my darling!” and she wrapped her arms around her, taking Elizabeth’s burden beside her on the couch, and the two women wept together in each other’s arms for several moments before Lydia suddenly, and with great violence, pushed her mother away and dove back at Lizzy, holding her far too tightly. The weeping was replaced by a strange whimpering noise, rather squeaky and frantic.

Mr. Bennet helped his wife to rise from the floor, where she had very unceremoniously landed. The lady rose while holding a hand to her cheek, which revealed a smear of blood when she examined it. “She scratched me!” Mrs. Bennet said in astonishment. “What does this mean, Mr. Bennet!”

The gentleman walked cautiously towards his daughter, whose face was now easier to see where it perched over Elizabeth’s shoulder. “My god!” he said again. “She’s mad!”

“It is as Mr. Collins said,” Mary interjected, thinking of everything she had ever read of womanly virtue. “It would have been better if she were dead.”

No one made any reply.

Oh my and to think we must wait until 2015! I know I am all anticipation! What about the rest of you? Thank you, Alexa Adams, for sharing this with us. I look forward to the book's release.

Alexa Adams is generously giving away one of the three books being reviewed, to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share in the conversation'!  As a reminder, if you leave a comment at each review, you triple your chances of winning! Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with (at) instead of @. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 2, 2014.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

And the winner is...


anonymous (catcommons) who left a comment on March 17

You are the winner of Project Darcy
by Jane Odiwe

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

A special thanks to Jane Odiwe for the giveaway!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...Consequences

by C.P. Odom

Consequences is two novellas in one book. Both explore some of the possible changes that could have occurred in Pride & Prejudice depending on choices made or events altered. The book was very well-written and insightful! I will review it in two parts, the way it was written.

Book I: The Road Not Taken

Oh. My. Goodness! The depth and despair of Book I evoked immense feelings. I had a difficult time putting the book down! I can truthfully say I have never read a Pride & Prejudice variation like this one. It begins with Darcy walking to Hunsford immediately prior to his botched proposal and Elizabeth’s strong refusal of it. We are privy to Darcy’s thoughts and inner reactions, before, during and after that proposal. I particularly enjoyed reading these since they were from a man’s point of view. The author did a fantastic job of allowing this reader to feel with Darcy as Elizabeth brings home her anger and prejudices at what she believed to be his arrogance and pride.

The consequences of Lizzy’s decision could, most assuredly, have ended in disaster, instead of happily ever after. Book I: The Road Not Taken answers the following questions and more. What if Darcy’s horse was injured on that fateful day when Elizabeth was at Pemberley with the Gardiners and he didn’t see her? What if Darcy didn’t know about Lydia’s elopement and, therefore, was not able to force Wickham’s hand? What if something happened to Mr. Bennet? What if? The consequences of choices made and one incident changed transform this narrative from the original to what could have been. All characters are affected. Every action has such a domino effect that no one is left untouched. The saying, “No man is an island” has never been more clearly depicted.

When I finished Book I, I cried. I cried even before I finished it and I thought about it for some time. I continue to think on it, even now. My one consolation to those feelings of utter loss was knowing that Book II was the alternate possibility/reality/dream. Even though the first novella had much angst and sorrow, I would not have missed it for the world. It was riveting and emotionally charged.

Book II: The Sleeper Wakes

While visiting Hunsford, Elizabeth awakens from a horrible nightmare and is left with feelings of ‘loneliness, despair, hopelessness and fear’. Although the details of this dream are vague, the emotions aroused are not. A long talk with Charlotte elicits a promise from Lizzy which keeps her from spewing those angry words of refusal when Fitzwilliam Darcy surprises her with a proposal the following night. What if Lizzy decides to marry Darcy even though she does not love him? What if there is never an accidental meeting at Pemberley or the letter exposing Wickham? What if dear sweet Jane is allowed to show a bit of justifiable temper? What if? The consequences of choices made change this narrative from the original too, but not in a devastating manner. This happily ever after affects the characters in a positive light.

Both books have some life lessons that can be gleaned from the pages. Also, there were several thoughts introduced that I must confess I had never before considered. Bearing in mind the number of these novels which I have read, that fact was an eye-opener. I have purposely given few specific details as my intention was to entice not spoil!

There are some great quotes at the beginning of each chapter and an informative Q & A at the end of the book. Loved these extra bonuses!

Author C.P. Odom has outdone himself with this book. He has a good command of Regency language and tells a brilliant story. It is an exceptional read and one that I would encourage all Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice fans to peruse.

5 out of 5 stars

And the winner is...

It was so great having Jack Caldwell visit and talk to us about his writing and his latest book, 
The Companion of His Future Life!

Since Jack so generously offered one paperback for the giveaway, 
it is my pleasure to announce the randomly selected winner!

Anonmymous (Joy King) who left a comment on March 13
You are the winner! YAY!


Please email me your shipping address as soon as possible
so that your book can be shipped. 
My email address is:  jbtaylor12 at gmail dot com

Thank you for stopping by and supporting my blog.

Thank you, Jack Caldwell, for being my guest!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...Project Darcy

Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe

Project Darcy is a charming story about five modern day friends taking part in an archaeological dig at Steventon, the home of Jane Austen. Ellie Bentley is a talented artist and watercolorist. She also has another gift, the unique ability of seeing people and places of another time. This special gift allows Ellie to experience a time slip to two hundred years in the past and actually become Jane Austen. What a treat this is for the reader as Jane Odiwe so expertly weaves in the story of Jane Austen and her real-life romance with Tom Lefroy. It is a treasure by itself.

The book seamlessly moves between present and past. The modern day story about Ellie and her friends has close parallels to the original plot and cast of Pride and Prejudice. I had much fun picking out which present day character represented which original! The occasional quotes were sometimes given to someone other than the original counterpart but in such a way that it felt natural.

Each time Ellie slips to the past, the reader learns more about the life of Jane Austen and her growing feelings for Tom Lefroy. It all felt incredibly believable and was extremely gratifying. Even though I knew the fate of the two lovers, Jane Odiwe told their story in such a touching and poignant manner that I did not feel the sadness that I expected. It was beautifully done. I also loved the connection of the past meeting the present with Jane Austen’s reticule, the discovery of its contents and its significance to Ellie. Very neat!

The modern day ending came as a complete surprise. It was a twist that I did not see coming plus it was rather sudden. I wasn’t ready for it to end and wanted to know more. In spite of that wanting, I must add that the last few lines of the book were delightful!

I love the time travel aspect of this narrative and especially when Ellie goes back in time as Jane Austen. Both parts of the story are entertaining and enjoyable. The author’s knowledge of the area shines through in her lovely descriptions of the landscapes. I could see the pictures she was painting and felt like I was there.  Project Darcy is a very good book and for anyone who loves Jane Austen, it is a book not to be missed! 

4.5 out of 5 stars

As a special treat, Jane Odiwe is giving away one paperback of Project Darcy to one lucky person. This giveaway is worldwide. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share in the conversation'Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, March 22, 2014. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Interview With Jack Caldwell

I'm so pleased to welcome Jack Caldwell to my blog this week. He kindly agreed to visit and allow me to ask a few questions. I hope you will find his answers just as fascinating as I did. There is also a giveaway so be sure to check out the info at the bottom. Now join me in welcoming Jack Caldwell.

How and when did your interest in Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice take root?
I saw the 1980 Pride & Prejudice mini-series on PBS and was impressed. I went out and bought The Collected Works of Jane Austen and have been a fan of hers ever since.

What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing P&P variations?
In 1996, I wrote a play, but I did not start writing novels until 2005. I had discovered JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) by then, and while some was very good, much of it was not. After complaining about it to my lovely wife, Barbara, she challenged me to do better. The result was THE THREE COLONELS (published 2012). Since then, I have written ten novels, four of which are published.

Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?
I cannot write without an outline. My stories are journeys, and I have to know where they are going. My muse, however, will often add something to the mix, or make a supporting character more central to the overall plot.
I write every day, and if I can put down 2,000 words, I call that successful.

Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you when writing?
I write at my desk in my home office.

What about the Regency era is appealing to you?
As a writer of historical fiction, I pick time periods that are interesting. The Regency Period (1811-1820) occurs during a pivotal point in world history. The Napoleonic Wars come to a climax in 1815 at Waterloo. The War of 1812 is really the final battles of the American Revolution. And, most importantly, the Industrial Revolution had begun the destruction of the English agricultural society that Austen knew so well with the application of the steam engine, although no one realized this until many decades later. Really, the end of eras and beginnings of new ones, like the Regency, is fascinating.
The same thing happens in my first published book, PEMBERLEY RANCH (published 2010). It takes place in 1870, during Reconstruction in Texas, after the Civil War. This is not the heyday of the American West—it is rather the beginning of the end of it. The new railroads, and the civilization it brought with it, turned the frontier into the America we know today.

Tell us something about The Companion of His Future Life, your newest book, that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)
Jane Austen was a genius for turning a phrase. She is also very funny. What I enjoyed about THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE was taking some of Austen’s immortal dialogue and giving it to other characters. It doesn’t change the overall story, but it puts a delightful spin on her words.

Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?
I have the ability to control my dreams. Therefore, I run my writing through my head at night, like a movie, to see if it works. If it doesn’t, I can “back it up” and start again. Once I’m happy, I commit it to paper. Cool, huh?

Do you have a modern day author that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about their writing that was an inspiration?
I read a lot of historical fiction writers, like Patrick O’Brian, James Clavell, Herman Wouk, James Michener, and Alison Weir. It’s important to learn from the best. I also read works from my fellow Austen Variations authors.

Now for a very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy—what are your reasons?
Frankly, I think Fitzwilliam Darcy is misunderstood. Yes, he’s stiff and uncomfortable in social settings. But really, at the end of Pride and Prejudice, does he really change?  I say no. In essentials, he’s the same as he ever was. The guy is a prince among men. It’s Elizabeth who changes, and changes a lot. She grows up, learns to be less judgmental, and falls out of love with her own opinions. Only then can she see Darcy for who he really is—a quiet, reserved, decent, generous, passionate, loyal, and loving man. He’ll always be stiff as a fireplace poker in London Society and among strangers, but Elizabeth knows his secret and loves him. Not in spite of his limitations, but because of them.
If you want a true flawed Austen hero in need of reforming, your man is Captain Frederick Wentworth of Persuasion. He deserves the merry hell Anne Eliot unwittingly puts him through in Bath!

About the Author:
Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. Born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, Jack and his wife, Barbara, are Hurricane Katrina victims who now make the Suncoast area of Florida their home.
His nickname—The Cajun Cheesehead—came from his devotion to his two favorite NFL teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. (Every now and then, Jack has to play the DVD again to make sure the Saints really won in 2010.)
Jack’s novels include PEMBERLEY RANCH, THE THREE COLONELS, MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER, and THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE. In 2015, he will release the first four books in his epic CRESCENT CITY series.
When not writing or traveling with Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons.
Jack's blog postings—The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles—now appear regularly at Austen Variations.
Web site – Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile –
Blog – Austen Variations –
Thank you so much for being my guest and answering my questions, Jack. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have you visit. I wish much continued success with your novels as they bring much enjoyment to all of us.

Jack Caldwell is giving away one print copy of The Companion of His Future Life to a lucky winner and the giveaway is domestic, US only. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share in the conversation'Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, March 17, 2014. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

And the winner is...


Warmisunqu Austen who left a comment on February 23
is the winner of the eBook 
A Fitzwilliam Legacy: New Year Resolutions
by Tess Quinn

Thank you for your continued support, Natali, and a special thanks
to Tess Quinn for the giveaway!

And the winner is...

Ceri Tanti who left a comment on February 11


Ceri is the next randomly selected winner of The Secret Betrothal
by Jan Hahn.

As I never heard from the first eBook winner, I had another random drawing.
Thanks to all who stopped by and left comments. If you did not win, 
Leatherbound Reviews is hosting 
The Secret Betrothal Blog Tour
April 7-18. 

There should also be other Blog visits and giveaways in the upcoming weeks.