|Available soon on Amazon|
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review Stanley Michael Hurd's latest book,
Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours. It is available for preorder now and will be released on Amazon, November 6, 2015. Included at the bottom of my review is an excerpt from the book and there is also a giveaway of two eBooks, open internationally.
As with most of my reviews, I have purposely not written much about the specifics of the plot. It is not my intention to write spoilers but just give enough hints to entice readers to want to pick up the book and read it for themselves. I do hope you will give this book a try.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my all-time favorite minor characters in Pride and Prejudice and I was ecstatic when I heard about the newest book by Stanley Michael Hurd. As the title suggests, the story is mainly about Colonel Fitzwilliam…his thoughts, his life, his loves…the very essence of the man. I must say, this novel did not disappoint my expectations! If I started naming things that I loved about this book, I would have to say, EVERYTHING!!!
As the story begins, Colonel Edmund Fitzwilliam is leaving the Horse Guards building to attend dinner and a small private ball at the home of his cousins, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. Little does he know that his head will soon be turned by a lovely lady at the dinner and things will never be the same again. Did I mention that he can write a swoon-worthy love letter? He can!
I really enjoyed getting to know Colonel Edmund Fitzwilliam. I liked seeing inside his head and his heart . He is quite a romantic (did I mention love letters?) but also a very intelligent and shrewd officer. He is loyal to a fault and always thinks of others before himself. He is brave, strong and loves his family. I fell in love with this Colonel and wanted him to have his happily ever after.
All of the characters were very well developed and soon several became favorites. I adored Lord Estéban de Esparza! (his name too) He was dashing, daring and handsome! What’s not to love? He plays a key role in the book and is the perfect partner for Colonel Fitzwilliam in their perilous escapades in Spain and France.
The Countess of Sainte Toulours, Lord Whittington and Miss Emily Chelwood are significant to the storyline and have facets to their character that are gradually revealed as the story unfolds. Of course, no good adventure can be without a villain and l’Etailler certainly is a vicious and sly one. Darcy and Elizabeth are not central to this book but they do make appearances continually throughout. Although infrequent, Elizabeth has an important part to play and does it well, as one would expect from her.
The historical aspect of the book is enthralling. There are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming but that is a good thing! The book left me feeling thoroughly entertained and satisfied. There is adventure, romance, intrigue, longing, sadness, heartache, espionage, joy…a battle of wits (and one battle of not so much wit)…all wrapped up neatly in a novel that keeps you reading from the first page to the last.
Stanley Michael Hurd has an exceptional command of Regency language and a writing style that sets the flavor of his book perfectly for the time period. The flow of the plot is continuous and never skips a beat. This is a book not to be missed and I highly recommend it to any and all lovers of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Pride and Prejudice, as well as any history buff of the Napoleonic wars.
The author states in the preface of his book, “This work can be taken as either a love story, periodically interrupted by the Napoleonic wars, or an adventure story with romantic interludes.” I say that the two, adventure and romance, are seamlessly woven together and inseparable, to create a word tapestry of excellence by Stanley Michael Hurd.
On entering the drawing-room Miss Chelwood saw that Elizabeth had another letter for her, and lostno time in reading it. As she read, her soft exclamations of tenderness, seemingly almost designed to elicit enquiry, soon produced their effect. “Emily, for Heaven’s sake! Whatever are you mooning over?”
“Oh!” she lamented, “my poor boy! He sounds so lorn and alone!”
“‘Lorn and alone’!” Elizabeth demanded in surprise. “Gracious! Is that Shakespeare?”
“I … I think not,” Emily replied, colouring. “Donne, perhaps—or neither; I can no longer be sure. I have been reading both, I confess, but it may in fact have come from my own disordered imagination.”
“Perhaps you had better limit your reading to prose, dear,” Elizabeth said practically, “as being less likely to discompose the emotions; at this rate we shall soon have to dress you in one of those high, peaked head-dresses, with a scarf flying from its top, and a pendant belt, that you might suffer and swoon the better for your roving knight.”
Emily blushed again, saying, “I only meant he did not sound as if he were in spirits.”
“Yes, in his letter to us Darcy thought he detected that he was not quite himself. Is aught amiss, or does he merely pine?” This last she said with mischievous relish.
“Elizabeth! How can you be so heartless?”
“As he is one of my favourite connexions, and as we have always enjoyed a bit of raillery, if I do enjoy it rather more than I ought, I am sure he will understand and forgive me. But in all honesty I am only too delighted to see him succumb at last to his heart; and I would have you know how truly delightful it is to me that the two of you are together. I am sure I know no other couple so well-suited to one another.”
“There is you, and Mr. Darcy,” Emily said.
Elizabeth did not speak immediately, lost in a reflexion on her own early days as a lover and wife. “Perhaps so,” she mused. “And I dare say we were just as bad, at first. But then, maybe that is it: misery loves company.”
“No, no, my dear; it is only just an expression. I mean, having been so one’s self, it is reassuring to see another, for whom one holds a strong regard, act the same. One does not feel quite such a mooncalf, then.”
“Am I a mooncalf?” asked Emily in a small voice.
“Completely,” Elizabeth told her affectionately. “Palpably, undeniably, indescribably so; it is terribly sweet, you know. And he is every bit as bad as you. Is not that delicious?”
Emily looked a little alarmed and ashamed, but then she brightened, saying with conspiratorial delight, “Yes—it is.” The two young women laughed, and Elizabeth proceeded to question her minutely on the Colonel’s letter, to Emily’s complete satisfaction.
Thank you, Stanley Michael Hurd, for giving us such a fantastic story about the good Colonel, Edmund Fitzwilliam. I was honored to be asked to read and review his adventure and it was fulfilling to see him get his due, a book of his own! Thank you also for having a give away for my readers. They will be excited for the chance to win. I hope you will come for a visit any time!
Dear Readers, this giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 9th of November. There are two eBooks up for grabs, and both are international! Please leave a comment with your contact information below to be entered in the giveaway. If you feel so inclined tell us something you like about Colonel Fitzwilliam. Thanks so much for stopping by to read my review and the excerpt for Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours by Stanley Michael Hurd. Good luck to all in the giveaway.