Thursday, May 26, 2016

And the winners are...

Hello to everyone and I hope you are having a good week. It has been a good week here in the Hill Country of Texas. We have actually had spring this year instead of going straight from winter to summer. We are still having some rain and with the cooler weather, everything is green and lush.
I wish it would stay that way! :)

It is time now for me to announce some winners! That is always fun. I have two winners from the guest post by Trudy Brasure. This great giveaway was winner's choice of either of Ms. Brasure's books plus winner's choice of paperback or eBook. The giveaway was for two winners. 

Those two winners are:

Paperback - A Heart for Milton:  Vesper Meikle

Paperback - In Consequence:  Anji

Congratulations, ladies! I know you will enjoy your books. Let us know your thoughts if you get a chance.

As always, thank you for supporting
More Agreeably Engaged.
I appreciate you very much.

Trudy Brasure, thank you for being my guest and having such a generous giveaway. I hope you will visit again soon. Keep us posted on your next release! Please come back for another visit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Loving Mr. Thornton (and Gaskell) with Trudy Brasure

You, my friends, are in for a treat today! My guest is Trudy Brasure and she has two books, A Heart for Milton and In Consequence, that are retellings of North and South. I have read both and enjoyed them a lot. If you love North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, you need to read both of these books! You will fall in love with Ms. Brasure's John Thornton all over again!

Trudy Brasure has spent the past six years studying and discussing North and South and Victorian literature. She is also known worldwide to the avid North and South fans for her knowledge of and insights of Gaskell's story and characters. In her post today, she shares with us why she loves John Thornton and Elizabeth Gaskell. I think you will love her reasons. I did!

Please join me as I welcome Trudy Brasure to More Agreeably Engaged. She has a great giveaway too! 

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon


Loving Mr. Thornton (and Gaskell) with Trudy Brasure

Thanks to Janet for this wonderful privilege and opportunity to share my enthusiasm for another favorite literary hero: John Thornton. The great challenge for me is to condense into a short blog piece why I’m head over heels for Mr. Thornton and Elizabeth Gaskell’s story!

I fell in love with John Thornton as most of us do, through Richard Armitage’s breathtaking portrayal of Gaskell’s romantic hero in the BBC’s 2004 adaptation of North and South. It was Thornton that started it all for me – writing, reading classic literature, and joining discussion sites – and I’ve only grown to love him more as I’ve studied the character from Gaskell’s book these past six years.

Why I love Mr. Thornton:

He’s as solid as they come. His integrity, honesty, and humility are unquestionable. He is responsible to the core. His self-discipline and self-sacrifice are exceptional and ongoing. He pursues doing what is right, evolving his concept of what is right as Margaret comes along.

He is an independent thinker and doer. He doesn’t have a title or family name to rely on; his character alone thrusts him into greatness. He thrives on the activity of accomplishing and striving. He’s not after wealth or status as others are. He embraces change, and is proud and eager to usher in the future.

He is vulnerable. Despite his status as Milton magistrate and successful and stern mill owner, he has a tender heart which he keeps well hidden. We see the master come undone – years of practiced self-mastery rendered useless – whenever and wherever Margaret is concerned. He has never loved before, and is stricken quite forcefully. Who can resist a man who falls so utterly and is so completely unprepared? His passion, devotion, and constancy are the stuff of legends.

Why I love Gaskell:

One overriding element that distinguishes Mr. Thornton from other classical romantic heroes I’ve read is that Gaskell actually allows us inside Thornton’s head. And what a gloriously romantic place to be! The reader is given an intimate view of the desperate anguish that Thornton goes through in wanting Margaret to love him. It’s exquisite. I can’t thank Gaskell enough for this profound perspective.

Passion. I love the passion involved in Victorian literature, where emotions are vividly described and the sentences are jam-packed and convoluted – much like the layers of real-life emotions!

Touch. Gaskell is not afraid to use physical touch to create tremendous emotional impact in the middle of all the Victorian posturing and propriety. Thornton notices the first time their hands touch, Margaret throws her arms around his neck at the riot, and he “clasp[s] her close” at the very end. And then there is that “delicious silence.”

Beyond the powerful elements that make up the romantic side of her novel, I absolutely adore Gaskell for her humanitarian views and progressive themes of equality and individual freedom of thought. She constantly challenges her readers to look beyond the surface of our outward differences to see our common humanity. Her emphatic vision of social equity can be found in all her novels. (I never pass up an opportunity to recommend Wives and Daughters!) Unity, compassion, and equality are her constant themes. She also champions the freedom of the individual, promoting thinkers instead of those who blithely follow society.

What I hoped to accomplish with my own writing:

I enjoy touching on the social themes Gaskell brings out in her story, but it’s the personal romance that takes center stage in my variations. North and South is full of trials and hardships; the happy ending is finally found on the last two pages! I wanted to share my vision of the joy and deep contentment that John and Margaret would experience in sharing their lives together after all they had suffered.

I especially wished to show how finding love would affect John Thornton. I count no less than four times where Gaskell describes Thornton’s aching longing to feel Margaret’s arms around his neck once more. Clearly, this is a man who wants to love and be loved! I wanted to describe his bliss in receiving the affections he had thought would never be his.

My writing endeavors to recreate the atmosphere and emotional intensity of Gaskell’s story. Both my stories are unabashedly romantic! And I delight in writing a tortured Thornton as well as a happy and passionately tender husband.

I hope you will read A Heart for Milton and In Consequence if you haven’t already done so!


Author Bio:

Trudy Brasure is a hopeless romantic with a longtime penchant for the Victorian Era. She lived a relatively normal life as a stay at home mother before she stumbled across the BBC’s North and South in 2009 and discovered her talent for writing. She is now an avid Gaskell fan and proponent of all things Thornton. She lives in a sunny section of the San Francisco bay area, where she continues to write fiction and essays pertaining to cotton mill masters who fall violently in love.

If you love North and South, I invite you to come talk with me about the themes and characters at my North and South blog:     (Be sure and check out Ms. Brasure's blog. It is great!)


Thank you, Trudy, for sharing your thoughts with me and my readers. After reading both of your novels, I believe you have fulfilled your endeavors. You did recreate the emotional intensity and atmosphere of Gaskell's story and yours are very romantic! I hope many Austen fans will read both your books if they have not already done so. Can we be looking for another novel from you soon???

Now it is giveaway time! Ms. Brasure is giving away two books, winner's choice of either of her books, A Heart for Milton or In Consequence, and winner's choice of eBook or paperback. Isn't that great!? Even better, the giveaway is international...Western Hemisphere/Europe! Please be sure to leave contact info! I want everyone that leaves a comment to have the chance of winning but I must be able to reach you. If I do not already have your contact info, you need to leave it for me in the comment. Thank you in advance! This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 23rd of May. Good luck to all!

Monday, May 16, 2016

And the winners are...

Hello to all and I hope you are having a great start to your week. Hopefully, this post will make it even better for two of you because I have
some winners to announce! 


The winner of the eBook, Darcy vs. Bennet,
by Victoria Kincaid,

Debra E. Marvin


The winner of the eBook, Unwilling,
by Elizabeth Adams,



Thank you all for visiting my blog and for your support. I do appreciate each and everyone of you very much. 

A Big 'Thank You' to both Victoria Kincaid and Elizabeth Adams for having these lovely giveaways.
I know my readers love them and thank you for having them! I hope you will visit again soon.
Keep those books coming!:)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Side by Side with Emma...Ana Galvia

Available on Amazon
Hello, to everyone this morning. I hope you are having a great start to your week and that all your mothers, had a wonderful Mother's Day.

I'm sure you have been following the blog tour for Side by Side, Apart, the novel by new author, Ann Galvia. Don't you just love the cover of her debut book?! I think it is so beautiful and sounds like it is perfect for her story. I have not had the opportunity to read it yet but do look forward to it with much anticipation. From what I have read, it sounds like an awesome read. If any of you have read it, let me know what you think.

In this stop of the tour, Ann continues to talk to us about the influence of other Jane Austen novels in her story. I will let her take over from her. Please welcome Ann Galvia. 


Side by Side with Emma

Hi, everyone! The Side by Side, Apart blog tour, and my series about the influence of other Jane Austen novels on this very, very Pride and Prejudice story, continues as Janet allows me to post here at More Agreeably Engaged! In the first installment, I talked about the passage of time, world building and naming love interests after characters from Sense and Sensibility. In the second installment, I talked about how the character of parents is reflected in what they teach their children, how Darcy’s character is illustrated by his treatment of Julia Wickham and naming children after characters from Mansfield Park. By now, you might be looking at the title of this post and thinking--”Okay. What did she use names from Emma for?”

Fair question. And the answer is, the servants.

Now, you might be saying, excuse you we already have wonderful Pemberley servants or did you forget Mrs. Reynolds? Or you might be saying, servants were largely invisible to the upper classes. And both of those are totally fair things to say!

There are many schools of thought on when Elizabeth fell in love with Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. One school is that Elizabeth was attracted to Darcy at the Meryton Assembly and her dislike of him was an act of self-preservation after hearing him insult her. Another is that she fell in love after reading his letter. And the third is that she fell in love as a result of going to Pemberley. Personally, I think the first point of view is pretty valid, the second is pretty unsupported by the text and the third is the most supported. Darcy’s taste, his appreciation for nature and the respect of intelligent servants showed Elizabeth that Darcy was the kind of man she could love. When she thought she lost him, the little lightbulb in her heart clicked on.

So. You know. Mrs. Reynolds had to go. She’s too useful. She’d have Elizabeth’s head on straight in five minutes!

Oh, and this house is filled with children. They need a governess.

Oh, and Elizabeth spends nearly the entire novel with a head injury and needs to be nursed. My research on the subject tells me when the mistress of the house was sick, the person who took care of her was her lady’s maid. So, in a move that surprised me even as I was writing it, Elizabeth’s lady’s maid became a frequently appearing character.

Emma’s governess, Miss Taylor, got married and became Mrs. Weston. So I flip-flopped that and the governess is named Miss Weston and the new housekeeper is called Mrs. Taylor. Emma’s father is very dependent on the local apothecary, Mr. Perry, so the nursing lady’s maid Elizabeth depends on was named Perry. Darcy’s infrequently mentioned and never appearing valet was named Wigfield, after another infrequently mentioned and never appearing working character in Emma.

I think Perry and Wigfield probably have a fun dynamic below stairs. There are definitely hints that all of these people get together to chat about the Darcys where no one can hear them. But since the story reminds firmly where Elizabeth can see it, you’ll have to imagine Wigfield for yourself. Personally, I imagine a cantankerous old man that complains about everything and Darcy tolerates it because Wigfield has been with the family for as long as he can remember, but since it’s not in the book, you have free reign. Go nuts. Maybe he’s a cantankerous young man that is smart enough to only complain where the master cannot hear him! The only thing we really know about him is if Wigfield does not complain about, it probably didn’t happen.

I hope you’ll find that Perry’s personality shines through. Miss Weston generally keeps to the background, but it was important to me that the parts of her personality that make her a good teacher were demonstrated.

That’s all for today! The blog tour continues until May 16th! There will be loads of fun things, such as giveaways, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, giveaways, excerpts and eight chances to win a copy of Side by Side, Apart! Hope to see you there!


Book Blurb:

“You see what a strange circumstance it is,” she said, feeling some fleeting relief. “You know our acquaintance has not been easy.”
Elizabeth Bennet—stubborn, quick to judge but slow to revise her opinions, and entirely prejudiced against the man who had just proposed marriage at Hunsford—awakens to learn she has been in an accident. Bedridden in an unfamiliar house, she learns eleven years have passed since the last moment she can remember.
She finds herself a married woman, the mother of four, and pregnant yet again. Her children are strangers, and most mystifying of all, Fitzwilliam Darcy is her husband! How could she have married a man she loathes?
Confined to the house by her injury, Mr. Darcy’s company is inescapable. But is just being side by side enough to overcome their differences? What happens when Darcy, improved in manners and happily married to Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy, is faced with an obstinate, bewildered Miss Elizabeth Bennet?




Author Bio:

Ann started writing sometime before she knew how letters functioned. Her first books were drawings of circus poodles heavily annotated with scribbles meant to tell a story. Upon learning how letters were combined to represent words, she started doing that instead. This has proven to be much more successful.  

Sometime after that, she decided she wanted to study Anthropology and sometime after that, she decided she liked cats more than dogs. And sometime after that, she decided to become an educator and teach a new generation of kids how to combine letters to represent words, and use those words to express ideas.

And sometime after that, she realized all she really wanted to do was write, which probably should have been evident from the beginning. 


Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia
Blog Tour Schedule

5/2: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
5/3: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
5/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
5/5: Author Interview & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
5/6: Review at Just Jane 1813
5/8: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/9: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
5/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
5/11: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
5/12: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
5/13: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
5/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
5/15: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
5/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am so happy to have you stop by More Agreeably Engaged during your busy time of touring the blog world. It has been a pleasure and I enjoyed reading our entertaining post about the servants and names. Thank you for visiting today and have fun on the rest of your tour. I wish you much success with your debut novel, Side by Side, Apart.

As a reminder to each of you, there are more blog stops and many giveaways. Be sure to take a bit of time to visit them all. Thanks and have a great week!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unwilling...Elizabeth Adams

Available on Amazon
The lovely Elizabeth Adams is back for a visit and she kindly consented to answering some questions. Ms. Adams even tells us a couple of things that she loves most about her newest novel, Unwilling. I find that I also agree with her 'loves' as I found them delightful. (as well as the rest of the book)  Learning more about Elizabeth Adams was much fun and I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did. 

(If you would like to read Elizabeth Adams's guest post for her first book, The Houseguest, click the title. The book may be purchased at Amazon and I highly recommend it.)


Thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. It is such a pleasure to have you hear. Now let's get started. How and when did your interest in Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice take root?

My interest in Austen started when I was 12 and my grandfather gave me a collector’s edition of Emma. A lot of it was over my head in terms of satire, but I liked the story and I could appreciate Emma’s silliness as a busybody and poor Harriet’s lack of agency.

Pride and Prejudice I don’t know about. I was in the middle before I knew I had begun! I read the book as a teenager, but I suspect I saw the movie first. I borrowed the Laurence Olivier version from the library and didn’t like it. I think I read the book after that. I also borrowed the 1995 version and got a much better feel for the story. Once I had started reading Austen, I got all the books and powered through them, as well as some of the early spin-offs and variations like Later Days at Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh, though I never really thought of that as fanfiction.

What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

I have always written; short stories, essays, and some very emo poetry that is better left forgotten. I started my first book, The Houseguest, because I couldn’t find the story I wanted to read. Of course, I then learned that even when you set out to write a specific story, the characters don’t always cooperate.

Ah, that 'leads' to my next question. 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?

Wow. I usually start with a muse, which leads to a loose, broad outline. I follow nothing religiously! Sometimes it feels like a story is just sort of downloaded to me and I write from there, and often just parts of it feel that way. The Houseguest was like that at first, and especially the character of Georgiana. One day (after several days of trying) I just got her. I instantly understood her thoughts, feelings, motivations.

I had courted the muse for a while and it finally granted me its favor.

With Unwilling, I had an idea, that originally turned into something completely different, and then I had more of an outline. I spent several weeks completely stuck and wondering if it was going to work after all and nearly abandoning. Then one Friday afternoon, BAM! I sat down at the computer and my husband took the kids and I got through almost every scene at Rosings and mapped out D&E’s relationship. It was a more thoughtful approach than I’d done before. Overall I would say that Unwilling was written and The Houseguest was born.

Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you when writing?

Yes! I love a beautiful garden and would write everything there if I could. I visit the Biltmore a few times a year and usually get several chapters knocked out on each trip. Beauty inspires me.

The idea of a beautiful garden sounds very inspiring. As we know, the estates in the Regency era often had magnificent gardens and would have inspired much. What else about the Regency era is appealing to you?

Hmm. The clothes. The carriages and horses. The romanticism of a time gone by. I’m sure it was hot and smelly and uncomfortable, but in my imagination, it’s lovely.

I like to think of the romanticism of the Regency era too. Now, if you will, tell us something about your newest book that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)

I love the banter between Darcy and Elizabeth. Especially after they’re engaged and he feels freer to flirt. It was fun to write and is still fun to read. And the letters! I LOVE the letters between them. Crazy fun.

I also really like how Darcy is real in this story. He isn’t a paragon of manhood that never makes mistakes and is always thoughtful and kind. He screws up. He can be resentful. He can be petty and then feel stupid about it an hour later. He’s very human and I like that about it.

As I mentioned earlier, these are some of my favorite parts too. I also liked reading about Mr. Bennet's unusual actions. Moving on, what have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

When procrastinating, do something useful. Like cleaning or errands or putting dinner in a crock pot. That way, when the muse is finally with you at 6 o’clock that evening, you don’t have anything else on your plate and can sit down and write.

That's something I need to employ. Thank you for imparting this info. Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

Oh, such a loaded question! Um, I don’t know. I think my writing is real, and that, in particular, is relatable for people. That’s what I have in mind while I’m writing it and often the feedback I get from readers. I don’t know how special that is.

Personally, I’ve lead a rather different life from most and I feel that has given me a unique perspective. But I’m sure a lot of people feel that way. I don’t know that’s it’s particularly special.

Your writing is real and that is special. Now I'm curious about this different live you've led. You may have to give us some hints in another post. What about modern day authors? Do you have one that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about his/her writing that was an inspiration?

I love Kate Atkinson. She’s just so good it’s scary. I also love Sophie Kinsella. She makes me laugh like nobody’s business. When writing comedy, you’ve got to get the timing right, and she is a master at that.

I am not familiar with either of these but willhave to check into them. Now, for a very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?

I think what I like most about him is that he’s mysterious. He has layers, like an onion. As soon as you pull one back – and you’re proud of yourself for that accomplishment – there’s more underneath. I like that he is honorable, and though he calls himself resentful, I think he is actually quite hopeful, in a quiet, private sort of way, and I love that.

He reminds me a bit of my husband: reserved, intelligent, handsome, no patience for idiocy. And I am rather like Elizabeth in that I’m bubbly and witty and have curly brown hair. Ha! So I’ve always found the story relatable. I also hated my husband when we first met and didn’t say yes the first time he asked me out or proposed, so there’s that. 

I do like your reasons. I find it quite interesting that you are somewhat like Elizabeth and that your husband is a bit like Darcy. Might there be a story there? Hmmm...

Book Blurb:

Mr. Bennet discovers his days are numbered, so he immediately begins to set his affairs — and his five unmarried daughters — in order. Knowing they will fare best should at least one of them find a suitable husband, he cannot refuse any respectable suitors. 

The high-spirited Elizabeth suspects something isn’t right in the halls of Longbourn, but nothing prepares her for a certain haughty gentleman from Derbyshire. While Mr. Darcy is exceedingly wealthy and handsome, in Elizabeth’s eyes, he is also proud, high-handed, and insulting. And unfortunately, desperately in love with her. 

Suddenly, Elizabeth is forced to rethink her previous opinions. And accept a choice she never had the chance to make. 


Thank you, Elizabeth Adams, for visiting More Agreeably Engaged again. It has been a long time since your last visit and I am thrilled to have you back. (Link to first visit above at opening comments.) I enjoyed reading your answers to my questions and feel like I know you a bit better. It is always neat to learn what inspires a writer, if their muse leads them and where. That fascinates me much. Unwilling is a very good book and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope you have much success with it. Congratulations.

Now it is giveaway time! YAY! Elizabeth Adams is offering one electronic copy, internationally, to one lucky person. Be sure you leave some way for me to reach you should you be the winner! Please leave a comment to be entered. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 9th of May. Good luck to all!