Friday, June 26, 2015

Bow Street Runners...Regina Jeffers

The latest release by author Regina Jeffers, is murder mystery, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin. It involves our favorite Pride and Prejudice characters plus a few new ones! Yay, for all us readers! 

Regina Jeffers first visited More Agreeably Engaged on 26 March, 2013. She was my third guest author and I was so excited to have her visit. She had just released her book, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy and she had us all in an uproar over what might have happened to him. We knew he certainly could not have died, not our Mr. Darcy! The book was excellent and kept me turning the pages. It had many twists and turns and if you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it. Regina Jeffers can write a mystery!

Regina Jeffers is back today and I am thrilled as it has been way too long since that first visit. Regina is here to talk about the Bow Street Runners and to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin. After reading the blurb and excerpt, I believe you will agree it is a book not to be missed! Please join me in welcoming back Regina Jeffers.


In my newest cozy mystery, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin, the character of Thomas Cowan makes a repeat performance. Readers met Cowan as a friend of and former sergeant serving under Colonel Fitzwilliam during the Spanish campaign of the Napoleonic Wars in The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy. 
Cowan, a former Bow Street Runner and a man of great intelligence, is essential to solving the mystery plaguing the Darcy family. But what exactly was a "Runner"?
The Bow Street Runners are often referred to as London's first professional police force. Originally numbering just eight, Henry Fielding founded the group in 1749. Unlike the "thief takers" of earlier days, the Runners followed strict guidelines and regulations. They were attached to the Bow Street magistrate's office, hence their name. ("Bow Street Runners and theMaritime Police"  
From Old Bailey Online, we learn that the Runners were part of Fielding's innovations in crime fighting. In the 1730s, magistrates in London and Middlesex set up "rotation offices" where the citizens could find a magistrate available at certain hours each day. One such office was Bow Street, near Covent Gardens. Sir Thomas De Veil set up the magistrate's office in 1739, but the Fielding brothers (Henry and John) took it over after De Veil's death in 1749. The original men involved with the office were thief takers sent out on retainers. "Runners" was not a name readily accepted by the men. They preferred "Principal Officer" of Bow Street. The most famous of the time were John Sayer and John Townsend, who amassed a small fortune in their service.
The Runners were certainly the first group to  follow a method of investigation. First, the Fieldings considered the thief takers as essential in fighting the crime found in London's streets. They investigated crimes for the government, protected the royal family, and traveled about the country to examine crimes. A series of mounted and foot patrols covered the London streets on a regular basis, as well as organizing part-time constables to patrol the major roads leading in and out of London to deter robberies, etc. The Fieldings kept meticulous records of criminals and disseminated the information to decrease the chance of repeated crimes.
The Middlesex Justices Act of 1792 founded seven policing offices in the borough, each with stipendiary magistrates and six constables to investigate crimes in the area. The Thames River Police Office at Wapping (the setting for much of the action of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin) opened in 1800. One hundred officers patrolled the docks and ship yards from this office. 
Unfortunately, by the 1820s their reputation stood in disarray. Many individuals within the organization associated with common thief takers and were known to look the other way when a crime was not of notice. The government disbanded them in 1839. [J.M. Beattie, TheFirst English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London,1750-1840 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012
By the beginning of the 1800s, many defendants who appeared at Old Bailey were appended by salaried officers, who testified at the trials. 
Another book I particularly like on the subject is this one: David J. Cox, A Certain Share of Low Cunning: A History of the Bow Street Runners, 1792-1839 (Portland: Willan Publishing, 2010).


The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery 
Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until aggravation rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgianas joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arms length, dooming Darcys sister to a life of unhappiness.
Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgianas side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edwards return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of Londons underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.
Even so, the Darcys troubles are far from over. During the major generals absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliams presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy's Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery 
Yes, Sir.
A young clerk rushed forward to greet Darcy, whose arrival set his London household on its ear. After his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy sold the smaller bachelor Town house he purchased after reaching his majority and acquired the larger one to accommodate what he hoped would be extended family. Yet, until Elizabeth turned his world on its head, Darcy did not realize how much he would enjoy having a loud, noisy family under his roof.
How may I serve you, Sir?
Darcy ran his gloved fingers over his lapel.
Mr. Darcy to speak to Mr. Cowan.
The clerk presented a proper obeisance. The man glanced at an appointment log lying open upon the desk.
Was Mr. Cowan expecting you, Sir? the clerk asked as he ran his finger down the page, searching for Darcys name.
Any other time, Darcy would consider the young mans loyalty admirable, but this matter with Edward wore Darcys patience thin.
Simply inform Mr. Cowan of my desire to speak to him, he said with practiced authority.
The clerk glanced over his shoulder as if considering a denial.
Certainly, Mr. Darcy... if you would care to wait.
The man motioned to a cluster of straight-backed chairs lining a far wall.
Darcy offered a crisp nod of his head. He did not observe the clerks retreat; yet, he knew the clever fellow would inform Cowan of Darcys presence.
Instead, Darcy assumed a position by the window to look out upon the busy London street. Cowan chose well for his offices, near enough to Mayfair to be accessible to the haut ton, but equally accessible to Londons swelling middle class.
Quick footsteps upon the polished wood floor announced Cowans approach.
Darcy, the man called with a ready smile, extending his hand in welcome. What brings you to London? And how is Mrs. Darcy? I pray your lady is well.
Darcy accepted Cowans hand.
Mrs. Darcy remains her spectacular self. She is in Oxfordshire with my sister. Elizabeth sends her regards.
Darcy eyed the lingering clerk.
If you have a few minutes to spare, I have a need of your services."
Cowan frowned his curiosity. 
For you I will make time.
He turned toward his clerk.
When Mr. Leighton arrives, apologize for the delay, and ask the gentleman to wait. Be certain to provide him a cup of tea.
The clerk blushed.
Yes, Sir. Would Mr. Darcy also care for tea?
Darcy shook off the offer.
I will be quick, Cowan. I realize you are engaged.
Never too occupied for you, Darcy.
His friend directed Darcys steps to a small, but comfortable, office at the rear of the building. The room reflected the former Bow Street Runners simple, classic tastes. After they settled, Cowan leaned forward.
What is so pressing, Darcy?
Darcy removed his gloves and placed them, along with his hat, on the desks corner.
I have a matter of a personal nature.
After the Runners assistance with his familys debacle in Dorset, Darcy knew he could trust Thomas Cowan.
Without warning, the major general abandoned his wife and daughter in Oxfordshire. My sister received but one brief note declaring her husbands desire to return to his military service and instructing Georgiana to seek a homecoming with me.
Cowans scowl deepened.
I feared for some time that Edward Fitzwilliam would not willingly encounter his ghosts before they came to claim him.
Cowan retrieved a small journal from his desk. Opening it, he prepared to write.
I require all the details you possess. After I determine Mr. Leightons issues, I will set my resources into action to learn more of the major generals trail.
Despite Darcys initial anger with the major general for running off to what was a probable drunken pity-laced birl, Darcy experienced a shiver of dread run down his spine. Perhaps something more sinister occurred: Cowans remark emphasized Darcy and Elizabeths private concerns.
With anxiety lacing his explanation, Darcy summarized what he knew of Edwards recent activities, belatedly realizing he lacked the details of what occurred between his sister and his cousin.
Perhaps I should send to Witney for Elizabeth and Georgiana to join us, he suggested. My sister could better address your questions.
In silence, Cowan studied his notes.
I think it best we leave the ladies in the country for now. I suspect the major general sought solace in Londons pitch, for it reflects his opinion of his worth.
Although he would not own it, the investigators words reinforced Darcys notion of the sword of Damocles above their heads.
Purchase Links:
Kindle, AmazonBarnesand Noble and Nook               
Poor Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana, too. The Colonel cannot be involved in the murders...please say it is not so! I am glad that Thomas Cowan is around to help solve this murder mystery. Thank you, Ms. Jeffers for providing us with such a thrilling blurb and enticing excerpt. I also found the post on the Bow Street Runners to be very informative and helpful. Ooooh, I do look forward to reading the 'rest of the story'!
Regina Jeffers is giving away two, yes, that's correct, two eBook copies of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcys Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery. To be entered into the international giveaway, please have your share in the conversation by leaving a comment below along with your contact information. Thank you, Ms. Jeffers for this awesome giveaway. The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM, 2 July, 2015. Good luck to all.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

And the winners are...

It has been some time since I have announced winners of several giveaways. I believe now would be a good time to remedy that situation. All the winners have been contacted and most have received their paperbacks and eBooks. The latest winners should be receiving theirs soon. 

Now for the winners:

Young Jane Austen by Lisa Pliscou

signed paperback:
Deborah Ann

An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond


Darcy's Ultimatum by Jennifer Joy

Anonymous (maumar)

Joana Starnes

No Cause to Repine by Rose Fairbanks


One Love - Two Hearts - Three Stories 
by J Dawn King

Arjanne Boneschanscher

Jen Red

Mr. Darcy's Rival by Kara Louise

Pamela Hunter

Michelle F

Congratulations to all the winners and a BIG thanks to all the authors for these fabulous giveaways. I know my readers love them and the chance to win one of your books. I appreciate you all for supporting my blog. Have a great weekend and stay tuned for more great posts and giveaways.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Was Jane Austen a Feminist? (Victoria Kincaid)

Victoria Kincaid's latest novel, Pride and Proposal, has been released and is getting some excellent reviews. Victoria visits today with an excerpt, a blurb and her views of Jane Austen and feminism. She has some valid points that I think you will find enlightening. I know you will enjoy the excerpt!

Victoria first visited my blog on June 25, 2014, almost a year ago to the date. She had just released her first book, The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth. It is an excellent book with an original and believable plot. I enjoyed it immensely and yes, I do still need to write a review! :) I feel confident that this newest book will be just as riveting. Please join me in welcoming Victoria Kincaid.


There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether romance novels can be feminist.  I believe they can, and one reason is because of Jane Austen.  Now, someone would say that Austen didn’t write romances, and I agree that her novels contain a great deal of social satire and different layers of meaning not found in your conventional romance novel.  However, the plot of each of her stories revolves around people falling in love and getting married. So, yes, I would consider them romance novels in the broadest sense.

But was she feminist?  Obviously Austen’s life pre-dates women’s suffrage and other women’s rights movements so I wouldn’t say she set out with a conscious intent to make political points about women’s role in society.  However, I would argue that she is feminist in the broadest sense of the word for many reasons, not the least of which is because she would never have published a book if she hadn’t been a forward thinker about women’s rights.  Yes, she published anonymously and she might not have done so if she hadn’t needed money.  However, the fact remains that the prevailing notion at the time was that women should remain within their “sphere” (i.e. the home), and should not venture out into the public realm of say…publishing. 

But that is not the only way I would say Austen is radical.  On the surface her books sometimes appear to be rather conventional novels about women falling in love and getting married.  However, in the process of telling these love stories, Austen also subverts a lot of the expectations of gendered behavior for women.  While Elizabeth Bennet gives lip service to many of the expectations for a “proper” lady, Austen makes it clear she does not conform to many of the unwritten rules.  She wanders the countryside by herself, allows her gown to get muddy, speaks her mind freely, and—most shockingly—turns down the proposals of two eligible men.  She may not agitate for the right to vote, but Elizabeth’s life embodies a refusal to be constrained by the more nonsensical rules of society.  In fact, her biggest nonconformity is that she isn’t overly concerned with other people’s opinions of her—an issue which hampers many of the other female characters in the novel.    

However, she does balance her unconventionality with common sense.  On the other hand, her sister Lydia ignores social dictates about women’s chastity and creates a crisis for the entire family.  She resembles Charlotte Lucas (yes, really!) in that she values marriage above all other goals.  For both women, their husband’s character is far less important than attaining the marital state.  While Elizabeth’s insistence on marrying for love may seem like nothing more than Austen’s advocacy of romanticism, it actually serves as the character’s assertion of her own individuality.  She cannot remain true to herself if she places economic considerations ahead of her own feelings and happiness.   
Thus Austen uses romance for a feminist purpose—and starts a new tradition. 



Darcy was writing last-minute letters in his study, while Tucker packed away estate records into a trunk on the far side of the room.  Without any warning, Richard burst through the door. 

Darcy did not glance up.  “You must have received my note.”

Richard brandished the paper at him. “Is this a joke?”

Darcy stood, folded his letter, and handed it to Tucker for posting.  He waited until Tucker had departed to take the trunk up to the attic.  “No,” he responded shortly. 

“It must be,” Richard insisted.

“Look around you.” Darcy’s voice was calm. 

His cousin glanced around.  Covers had already been draped over most of the furniture.  With one night remaining at Darcy House, only the bedrooms, dining room, and drawing room were still fully available for the family’s use. 

“I do not understand!” Richard sputtered.  Under other circumstances, Darcy might have found it amusing. 

“I am closing up Darcy House,” Darcy patiently repeated what he had written in the note.  “It will run on a skeleton staff.  The remaining staff will travel to Pemberley.  After staying at Pemberley for a week, we shall close it up as well.  Then Georgiana and I will take a ship for America.”

Richard shoved his fingers through his already unruly brown hair.  “Just like that?”

“But why?”  Richard was watching Darcy’s face a little too intently for his comfort.

“My father’s brother, my Uncle Clive, has invited us to visit him in Philadelphia.”

“Yes, yes, so you said in your note.  But why now?”

If he only knew the true reason, he would happily purchase my passage himself. 

Darcy shrugged.  “I have always desired to see it, and Georgiana never had many opportunities to travel, since she was so young when our parents died.”  Fitzwilliam was still frowning at Darcy, and he found himself staring down at his desk, rearranging the ink bottle and papers.  His cousin’s gaze weighed upon him.

He struggled to keep his face blank.  “It is also a good excuse for delaying Georgiana’s coming out.  The idea of a debut frightens her.  Time away from the concerns of the ton and the marriage market will be beneficial to her.”  Richard’s shoulders relaxed fractionally, and some of his frown lines smoothed out.  Darcy had hoped Georgiana’s debut was a reason his cousin would understand.

“But America is so far away!” Richard exclaimed.

And that is why it appeals.  “Indeed.  It was inconsiderate of them to put the country on another continent.  But we shall not be gone long.”

Richard regarded him suspiciously.  “How long is ‘not long?’”

-“We have no fixed departure date.  A couple months, maybe.  We will see how we like it and whether they have anything that resembles decent tea.”

“Months!” Richard cried. “You will miss the wedding.”

“I am afraid so,” Darcy murmured.

“Elizabeth will be disappointed.” 

Darcy noticed his cousin carefully scrutinizing him.  Had he flinched at the mention of her name?  “You did change the wedding date,” Darcy observed.

Although Lydia and Wickham’s marriage had served to quell the worst of the scandal, rumors still circulated, and Richard’s parents had insisted that he and Elizabeth delay their wedding a few more months until the scandal abated.  Darcy thought his cousin a fool for acquiescing.  If Elizabeth agreed to marry him, Darcy would not rest until he had dragged her before an altar.  

“You will Miss Bingley’s wedding as well!” 

Darcy experienced a twinge of guilt.  “I penned a letter of apology to Bingley.” 

Richard sank into a dustcloth-covered chair.  “This is ridiculous!  When did you become so impulsive?  It must be Bingley’s influence.”

Darcy laughed, although it sounded hollow to his ears.  “I have wished to visit America for some time.  My business affairs are stable.  The opportunity presented itself.” 

“I have never heard you express a desire to visit America,” Richard observed.  Darcy merely shrugged.  “What about Georgiana?  Will she be safe in such a savage country?”

“It is not darkest Africa.”  Darcy grinned.  “I am fairly certain they have cooked food and draperies and banks – among other trappings of civilization.”  Richard merely folded his arms over his chest.  “I will write to you.  Mail is regular—every two weeks or so depending on the winds.  If any tricky estate issues arise, I am happy to advise you by letter.”

Richard snorted.  “Hang the estate!”  He stood and looked Darcy directly in the eye.  Did he suspect Darcy was hiding something?  God willing, he would never guess what.

Richard finally shook his head and walked restlessly to the window.  “I-I will miss you, William.”  Darcy was touched.  He knew that removing himself from England—and temptation—was the best course, but he would miss his cousin’s company.

“I will miss you as well.”  Darcy crossed the room to rest his hand on his cousin’s shoulder.  “But we will return before you have had a chance to notice we are gone.”


Purchase on Amazon

What if Mr. Darcy’s proposal was too late?

Darcy has been bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet since he met her in Hertfordshire.  He can no longer fight this overwhelming attraction and must admit he is hopelessly in love.

During Elizabeth’s visit to Kent she has been forced to endure the company of the difficult and disapproving Mr. Darcy, but she has enjoyed making the acquaintance of his affable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. 

Finally resolved, Darcy arrives at Hunsford Parsonage prepared to propose—only to discover that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from the Colonel, Darcy’s dearest friend in the world. 

As he watches the couple prepare for a lifetime together, Darcy vows never to speak of what is in his heart.  Elizabeth has reason to dislike Darcy, but finds that he haunts her thoughts and stirs her emotions in strange ways.  

Can Darcy and Elizabeth find their happily ever after?

By the author of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, an Amazon Regency Romance Bestseller.


Oh my, can my heart take this? You definitely have put a lump in my throat and a gasp in my breathing! I can tell this one will be a book that cannot be put down! 

Thank you, Victoria Kincaid for visiting, for sharing your views of Jane Austen being a feminist and also for including such a heart-wrenching excerpt! I can hardly wait for more time to read! For all of you readers of my blog, Victoria is giving away one copy of her new release, Pride & Proposals. The giveaway is international AND the lucky winner gets to choose either an eBook or a Paperback! Isn't that fantastic! Again, I thank you, Ms. Kincaid for such a grand giveaway! In your comments, give us your opinion of Jane Austen and feminism. We would love to hear your share in the conversation. You may also comment on the prospect of Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam as a betrothed couple! The giveaway will end 29 June, 2015 at 11:59 PM. Please leave an email or other contact information should you be the randomly selected winner of Pride and Proposals! Good luck to all!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mistaking Her Character...Maria Grace

As part of her Virtual Blog Tour for Mistaking Her Character, author Maria Grace stops by
here today with a book excerpt and a giveaway. It is good to have you back for a visit, Maria, and especially since you have a new release. I enjoyed your excerpt and the book was excellent. Thank you for taking time to share this enticing tidbit with me and my readers. 

Book Excerpt:

They paused at the base of the narrow, roughhewn servants’ stairs. Slender rays of sun trickled from a distant window above, painting the confined space in wisps of light and shadow.
“Are you well?” Fitzwilliam asked sotto voce.
Darcy worked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Well enough. You have seen far worse.”
“Indeed.” Fitzwilliam’s lips molded into a tense, thin line. “At least, there was neither blood nor gunpowder.”
Darcy suppressed a shudder. “Do you think he will live?”
“I have never seen anyone ingest that much laudanum and survive, but he just might.”
“If Bennet can affect this cure, then—”
“There is hope for my brother. Still, one must wonder how much is Bennet’s expertise and how much is his daughter’s dogged stubbornness. She has the will of a general I once served under. One did not breathe—or die—without a direct order from him. She would make a formidable commander.”
Darcy sniggered. How did Fitzwilliam joke of death so easily?
“Should we leave her alone with him? The maid is there …”
“I do not like it.” Darcy flexed his fingers and released them several times. “She is a gentlewoman.”
“Indeed she is, acting more like the mistress of Rosings than its mistress. Are you in danger of her?”
Darcy grunted and shuffled his feet.
Fitzwilliam eyes narrowed, and he tilted his head. “You are considering more than merely a carnal attachment with her.”
“Excuse me?”
“Our aunt may not see through your bluster, but I am not so easily beguiled.”
Darcy turned aside and stared at the wall. A small spider scuttled up from the floorboards and into a small crack. “She owns no fortune.”
“You do not need one.”
“She is without connections.”
“You do not care for the ones you have. Fewer for you to dislike?”
“Her mother is frightful.”
“And our aunt is not?” Fitzwilliam nudged Darcy’s foot with his own. “I ask you again, are you in peril of falling under her arts and allurements?”
“What arts and allurements? She has no artifice, makes no efforts to put herself forward, nor call attention to herself.”
“So you are in no danger—”
“Because you have already fallen.”
Darcy scrubbed his face with his hands. “I take offense at the way she is treated by our aunt—do you know Anne considers her—”
“To be Mrs. Jenkinson’s replacement? Yes, Anne spoke of it yesterday. She expects to bring Miss Elizabeth to Pemberley.”
Darcy’s eyes bulged. “How did you respond?”
“That Miss Elizabeth was not currently seeking a position and might be offended at such an offer. I suggested that Anne might rather stay at Rosings with me.”
“You cannot image it could be so easy? She has little intention of staying at Rosings when Pemberley is much pleasanter—and free of her mother. Still, she did not reject my offer outright. Though without a suitable home to offer her, I am not an appealing suitor. You are still her first choice.”
“I suppose I should be flattered.”
“Do not be. Her preference is less about your person and more about what you can provide. As it has ever been, Anne considers little beyond her own wants.”
“Not a desirable trait in a wife, is it?”
Fitzwilliam braced his shoulder against the wall. “No, but a fortune and an estate are. So I shall continue to press my suit.”
“I can help you lease a house in town, or elsewhere.”
“I would rather usher Lady Catherine to the dower house.”
Darcy choked back laughter. “I do not foresee—”
“Nor I. I shall keep your offer in mind.”
Moans and coughs floated in the stale air. They turned toward the butler’s rooms.
“You know, Darce, if Bennet gets word that Anne wants Miss Elizabeth for a companion, he will probably force her to accept.”
Darcy bounced the back of his head against the cold stone wall.
“If that happens, you cannot pursue your interests in her. No, no, hold your ire for a moment, and hear me out. Even were you to marry her, Miss Elizabeth would forever be stained by suspicion over how she got your proposal. Not to mention the taint of having been in service! Her reputation would be tattered, and the ton would treat her like rubbish. That would not be fair to you, your children, or her. Better to set her up under your protection—”
“I will do no such thing!”
“I will never understand your rarified notion of marriage. But if you insist upon it, you best act to secure your happiness quickly, or it may be forever lost to you.” Fitzwilliam brushed past him and climbed the narrow stairs.
Darcy sank down on the bottom step and drove his elbows into his knees. Bloody hell and damnation! Fitzwilliam was right.
Retching and liquid noises raced through the narrow corridor. He might join the chorus himself very soon.
No woman had ever been so well suited for him or Pemberley. But she was so unsuitable, with nothing but herself to recommend her. Would it even be fair to her to expect her to manage a place like Pemberley? She knew nothing about estates or—no, that was not true—she cared for Rosings, above and below stairs, as much as any proper mistress. With her quick mind and active nature, she would certainly rise to any occasion.
If only he had kissed her. Then he might—gah! He sounded like Fitzwilliam now. She had bewitched him utterly, mind and soul.

Book blurb:
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is prepared to be very generous when it comes to medical care for her sickly daughter, Anne – generous enough to lure noted physician Dr. Thomas Bennet to give up his London practice and move his family to Rosings Park. But his good income comes with a price: complete dependence on his demanding patroness’s every whim.

Now the Bennet family is trapped, reliant on Lady Catherine for their survival. Their patroness controls every aspect of the Bennet household, from the shelves in the closet to the selection of suitors for the five Bennet daughters. Now she has chosen a husband for headstrong Elizabeth Bennet– Mr. George Wickham.

But Lady Catherine’s nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is not so sure about his aunt’s choice. He is fascinated by the compassionate Elizabeth who seems to effortlessly understand everyone around her, including him. Lady Catherine has other plans for Darcy, though, and she forbids Elizabeth to even speak to him.

As Anne’s health takes a turn for the worse, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as Dr. Bennet struggles to save Anne’s life. Darcy can no longer deny the truth – he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But Lady Catherine will do anything to stop Darcy from marrying her – even if it means Elizabeth will lose everything she loves.

Book buy links;
Amazon UK
Amazon paper
Author bio:

Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six more novels in draft form, waiting for editing, seven published novels, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and tries to run at least ten miles a week.

Maria Grace Contact Info:
Random Bits of Fascination
Austen Variations
English Historical Fiction Authors

Thanks again for popping in, Maria Grace. I am sure my readers will be curious about the questions raised in your excerpt. Who is sick from laudanum? Why would Anne want Elizabeth for a companion? Who is this Anne anyway? Where is Mrs. Jenkinson going? What? Mr. Bennet a doctor? There are many questions that need to be answered. This dialog between the cousins is telling and offered some insight but still, the book must be read! Well done, Maria Grace.

Maria Grace is offering an eBook of Mistaking Her Character to one lucky winner. The giveaway is international and you must 'have your share in the conversation' to be entered. Please leave your contact information in your comment so you may be informed if you are the randomly selected winner. Good luck in the giveaway. It will end at 11:59 PM on Thursday, 25 June, 2015.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kara Louise Interviews Miss Anne de Bourgh

Welcome, Kara Louise, to More Agreeably Engaged this fine Tuesday morning. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Rival. I, for one, am thrilled to have you stop by my blog during your busy tour. It is an honor and especially so since you brought Miss Anne de Bourgh with you. It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss de Bourgh. Thank you for the privilege of having you here today and thank you Kara Louise for interviewing her. I will now turn it over to you ladies. 

I want to thank Janet for allowing me to join her readers today as part of my blog tour for the launch of Mr. Darcy’s Rival. The book begins when Elizabeth goes to visit her friend, Charlotte, wife of Mr. Collins, the clergyman in the village of Hunsford in Kent. They live just across the lane from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who happens to be Mr. Darcy’s aunt.

Lady Catherine’s daughter, Miss Anne de Bourgh, is one we do not know too much about from Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. In it, she is described as pale, sickly, and cross. We also know she is promised in marriage to her cousin, none other than Mr. Darcy. I would like to interview Miss de Bourgh today. She has a little more substantial part in my novel and we discover a little more about her – including a secret! Join me in my interview with her.

Kara Louise – Miss de Bourgh, thank you for joining me today.

Miss de Bourgh – I am most honoured to be here.

KL – I think a lot of readers wonder who you truly are. Jane Austen gave us only a few descriptions of you, and several of those were merely people’s opinions. Several modern authors have attempted to ‘sketch your character,’ as Elizabeth Bennet would say. What do you think of those sketches?

Miss dB – I am most disheartened by the portrayals I have received in many novels – and in the film adaptations, as well. I am convinced that most people truly do not know who I am and probably have no wish to make my acquaintance. To own the truth, even my family does not know me well.

KL – I am sorry to hear that. Let us begin by telling the readers what you enjoy doing. One of the activities Miss Austen said you enjoy is going out in your pony cart.

Miss dB – (nodding) Yes. I do enjoy that as there is very little exertion in it. You see, while I am described as pale and sickly in Pride and Prejudice, that is due to the breathing difficulties I experience. It is more severe at certain times of the year, and when I exert myself too much. Riding in the pony cart allows me to enjoy the grounds about Rosings without having to walk. My father used to take me out with him. I really loved him, and I was deeply grieved when he died. Since his death, my mother has become more and more severe in restricting my activities so I would not labour in breathing, particularly when a certain gentleman visited.

KL – She did not want your cousin, Mr. Darcy, to know about it?

Miss dB – Oh, she greatly feared he would not wish to marry me if he knew, but I think he has known for quite some time that something was wrong. We did what we could, however. I would drink elderberry juice when I was younger and then elderberry wine. It seemed to help a little. If I felt my breathing was becoming greatly laboured when guests were visiting, I would excuse myself and go to my room.

KL –Miss Austen also commented on how you often spoke quietly with Miss Jenkinson.

Miss dB -Yes, my companion has been a wonderful support to me.

KL – In what way?

Miss dB – Well, if you and the readers promise not to tell anyone, I will tell you a secret.

KL – Our lips are sealed!

Miss dB – I am a writer. And when Mrs. Jenkinson and I are whispering quietly, or as Miss Austen says, I “speak very little, except in a low voice to Mrs. Jenkinson,” we are talking about either my writing or my novel.

KL – I think most people would be surprised by that. What do you enjoy about writing?

Miss dB – It allows me to – well, I must be discreet here – it allows me to live in a world where I am not sheltered or restricted, but I can be anyone, anywhere.

KL – What was the first book you wrote?

Miss dB – (laughing) It was a book called, “Girl in a Turret,”

KL – Why are you laughing?

Miss dB – Because Rosings has a turret, and I had a vivid imagination. I began the story when I was only about twelve or thirteen, but as I grew older, I continued to work on it and improved it.

KL – And do you have others?

Miss dB – I have one other that has been published. It is titled, “A Peculiar Engagement.”

KL – Can you tell us about that book?

Miss dB – Well, I do not want to give too much away, although some of your readers may already know that it is the story of what it was like growing up being promised in marriage to my cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

KL – I think most of us would have no idea what it would be like to know from the youngest age that you were to marry your cousin.

Miss dB – It was not something we fully understood until we were a little older. As children we were good friends and enjoyed each other’s company. But as we grew older and matured, things changed. I think having that expectation caused a little discomfiture at times. But it was something we never spoke about to each other.

KL – I can imagine. Tell me, Miss de Bourgh, what you would want others to know about you that they might not know.

Miss dB – Well, I am quite a studier of characters, and if you would oblige me, I would like to read something to you that I wrote a year before Miss Elizabeth Bennet came to Kent to visit her friend, Mrs. Collins.

KL – Certainly. We would love to hear it.

Miss dB – This came to me after Fitzwilliam departed that year. I believed he did not love me, and I began to imagine the type of woman with whom he would likely fall in love. This is what I wrote down in my journal: She is intelligent, loves to read, enjoys going for walks, is generous, is compassionate, and is accomplished in playing and singing. She is witty and makes him laugh, stimulates him in conversation, does not always agree with him, does not concern herself with the trappings of society, is pretty, but not exceptionally beautiful. She will be a woman quite different from the type of women others would expect him to marry, and surprisingly, she may not even have the fortune and connections equal to his!

KL – That certainly sounds like someone we know.

Miss dB – I thought it would. Well, I am getting quite fatigued now, and there is much more I could say, but I will just encourage the readers to read Mr. Darcy’s Rival as well as the first nine chapters of my novel, “A Peculiar Engagement” over at Austen Variations to discover more about me.

Blurb for Mr. Darcy’s Rival:

Mr.Darcy has learned he must prepare himself when he and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, make their yearly visit to his aunt, particularly when it comes to Lady Catherine’s expectation that he marry her daughter, Anne.

This year, however, will throw in a few additional obstacles to Darcy’s peace of mind with the presence of a nephew on the de Bourgh side of the family, and quite unexpectedly, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

An interrupted proposal, a letter written and unknowingly lost, a harsh accusation, and a rival all conspire to thwart Mr. Darcy in securing Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections when he visits his aunt at Rosings.

Will Elizabeth find the handsome and engaging Mr. Rickland more suited to her than Mr. Darcy? And will a novel she reads that was written secretly by Miss Anne de Bourgh help smooth the path to the couple finding true love?

You can find “Mr. Darcy’s Rival” online at the following: 

And in the iBookstore!

You can begin reading those nine chapters of “A Peculiar Engagement” at Austen Variations.

Visit Kara Louise at her Website.

Author Bio:

Kara Louise began writing Austen inspired stories in 2001 and has currently written 9 novels, including "Darcy's Voyage," which was released in Sept. 2010, and "Only Mr. Darcy Will Do" which was released in March, 2011, both published by Sourcebooks. Her other 7 novels are self-published, including the most recent release, "Mr. Darcy's Rival."

Kara grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles. She and her family moved to Kansas from Los Angeles in 1991, and in September, 2013, she and her husband moved to 5 wooded acres in the St. Louis area to be near their son and his wife. In May, 2014, they were blessed with their first granddaughter, whom they love and spoil endlessly. They also love animals, and have 5 cats, 1 dog, and a Shetland Pony.

Thank you for allowing Miss de Bourgh and me visit with you today!

It was my pleasure to have you both visit and the interview was interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed reading Miss de Bourgh's first nine chapters of "A Peculiar Engagement" over at Austen Variations. I felt it was quite enlightening and gave me a much better understanding of Miss Anne de Burgh and her childhood. I look forward to reading Mr. Darcy's Rival to get the rest of the story. Thank you both so much for visiting. Maybe we could have some tea and a little refreshment before Miss de Bourgh retires. 

Kara Louise is offering a paperback (US) and an ebook (international) to anyone who comments. What is something you would like to know about Miss de Bourgh? Perhaps she will answer. (Of course, she will not be allowed to give away any spoilers from “Mr. Darcy’s Rival!”) 

Please leave your contact information within your comment. We want you to have your share in the conversation and be able to be reached should you be the randomly selected winner. Thank you Kara Louise for the wonderful giveaway. Good luck to all of you. The giveaway will at 11:59 PM on June 22, 2015.