Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Miss Darcy's Companion...Joana Starnes

Available on Amazon
I am always excited when I know Joana Starnes is coming for a visit. She has become one of my favorite writers and I know her posts will live up to her reputation as a fabulous writer. Well, she did not disappoint this time! This excerpt is one that will bring a smile and a chuckle. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It is from Ms. Starnes latest release, Miss Darcy's Companion. The book is getting fabulous reviews. Congratulations, Joana Starnes. I can hardly wait to read it myself. 


Many thanks, Janet, for welcoming me here today on the blog tour for ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’. Everyone who has kindly followed the blog tour so far knows – and those who haven’t surely imagine – that Miss Darcy’s companion is none other than Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who comes to Pemberley after her father’s passing to bring Georgiana out of her shell and also bring cheerfulness and laughter into Mr Darcy’s life, before she goes ahead and turns it upside down. And why is that? Because he is drawn like a moth to a flame. Of course he is, even though he barely knows it. And the family is no help at all, quite the opposite. Especially a very vexing cousin.

This is hardly the time to talk of Christmas boughs, when it’s hot and humid and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for sunny days at the beach and barbecue weather. But I’m hoping that for the sake of a rather flustered Mr Darcy you might be willing to forget it’s summer for a few minutes, as the excerpt takes you to Pemberley to see the household getting ready for Christmas, from the youngest maid to their master, with plenty of good cheer to go round.

* * * *

Nothing like their usual quiet and unobtrusive selves, and uncensored for it at this time of year, the maids were now scurrying hither and thither with basketfuls of greenery to decorate the mantelpieces and the picture frames, while in the parlour Georgiana and Miss Bennet were putting the finishing touches to the Christmas Bough. In time-honoured fashion, ivy and holly were entwined around its hoops and, as a result of the young ladies’ efforts, it now stood resplendent, ornamented with red ribbons, gilded nuts, fire-red apples and the customary sprig of mistletoe.

When Peter was summoned to take it to the entrance hall and suspend it in the designated spot from a hook never used for another purpose, Hetty and Margaret skipped after him, clapping and chanting “The Kissing Bough! The Kissing Bough!”, while the other three followed at a more leisurely pace, exchanging warm glances at their childish glee.

Once they gained the hall the girls stood aside to let Peter go about his task, but as soon as it was done and the ladder removed, they rushed to be the first to embrace under the bough and follow a custom they both loved, little as they understood it. They were too young to know that for hundreds of years the bough had reigned supreme over Christmas celebrations as a sign of goodwill and new beginnings. With an embrace beneath it, all the ills and wrongs of the previous year were set aside and instantly forgotten, as relations, neighbours, friends or mere acquaintances silently undertook to go forth with gratitude, benevolence and a light heart.

Margaret and Hetty might have lacked this insight, but did not lack lightness of heart as they resumed their chanting and linked arms to dance under the bough. They only stopped when a voice called from the foot of the stairs:

“I have never heard such a racket on this side of the Channel. What strange and fearsome tribe has come to invade?”

Supremely undaunted, the girls ran to their uncle.

“The Kissing Bough is up, Uncle Richard,” Hetty piped up and both girls reached to clasp his hands and tug him forward, until he was standing underneath it.

He willingly obliged, the corner of his mouth curled into a mock grimace:

“Oh, is it now? Well, if needs must,” he said, and bent down to kiss Margaret’s upturned cheek, then Hetty’s.

He scooped the youngest up, while she squirmed and declared that his whiskers were awfully ticklish and, with his giggling niece in his arms, he turned to drop a kiss on Georgiana’s cheek – and likewise Miss Bennet’s. The latter blushed becomingly, yet took it in good cheer. It was Darcy who frowned and, as soon as Fitzwilliam had straightened from setting down his wriggling burden, he stepped closer and lowered his voice to sternly deliver:

“Was that really necessary, Cousin?”

But the other grinned in the most provoking manner.

“Oh, quite. ‘Tis a time-honoured tradition. In fact, seeing as you are so mindful of old customs, I wonder at your scorning this one,” he added, to Darcy’s growing irritation.

Miss Bennet’s heightened colour showed she overheard the flippant comment, and Darcy silently cursed his cousin for it – only to curse himself a fraction of a second later, when he discovered to his acute mortification that, of their own volition, his eyes were fixed on her full, perfect lips. His neckcloth suddenly too tight, he swiftly glanced away, while she turned to the girls to ask if they wished to help decorate the music room. They eagerly agreed and the trio hastened on their way, followed by Georgiana, thus leaving Darcy with his cousin – and his roiling vexation. He could not stop from scathingly observing:

“Since you are such an authority on ancient customs, are you not forgetting something?”

“What is that?”

“Such licence is permitted only if you can pluck a berry from the mistletoe.”

Fitzwilliam glanced up with a grin.

“Either by accident or by design, you had it hung up too high. Besides, you know as well as I do that pecks on the cheek were not what they had in mind with that proviso. But fear not, when the time comes I will find a way to reach those berries,” he laughed, the aggravating show of confidence making Darcy wish he had instructed Peter to hang the troublesome thing a great deal higher. There was still time to do so. And he would, by Jove, if Fitzwilliam persisted in this infuriating manner!

“You will excuse me,” he abruptly took his leave.

* * * *

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you’ll like the full story. Please leave a comment for the chance to win a Kindle copy of ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’, available internationally. Thanks for stopping by and many thanks again, Janet, for the wonderful welcome, you’re always so very kind and it’s such a delight to be your guest!

Available on Amazon, UK

About the author:

Joana Starnes lives in the South of England with her family. She has published six Austen-related novels:

v  From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley ~ A Pride & Prejudice sequel
v  The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion
v  The Second Chance ~ A Pride & Prejudice – Sense & Sensibility Variation
v  The Falmouth Connection ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation set in Poldark territory
v  The Unthinkable Triangle ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation, where loyalty comes at loggerheads with love
v  Miss Darcy’s Companion ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation

They are available on all Amazon sites.

You can connect with Joana Starnes on:

Or visit ‘All Roads Lead to Pemberley’ on Facebook, for places, events and titbits that have inspired her novels.

Thank you, Joana Starnes, for sharing such a 'delicious' excerpt from Miss Darcy's Companion with me and my readers. It was delightful and especially nice to read about Christmas during the hot summer weather. It made me forget the heat for a few minutes! Besides, who wouldn't love thinking about Mr. Darcy under a kissing bough at Christmas? ~sigh~  (and that vexing cousin, the Colonel too!)  I'm so glad you visited at More Agreeably Engaged and I hope you know you are welcome anytime.

Dear Readers, leave a comment telling us what you think and you will be entered in the giveaway for one eBook of Miss Darcy's Companion. This giveaway is international. Also be sure to leave me your contact info. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 4th of July, 2016. Good luck to all! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My share in the conversation...The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet

Available on Amzaon
The Blog Tour for Caitlin Williams's The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, makes a stop here today. I am reviewing the book and must say, I enjoyed the read very much! Thank you, Caitlin Williams, for sharing your talent with us.


Book Review: The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet by Caitlin Williams

This is the first book that I have read by Caitlin Williams. I have Ardently, and hope to read it soon, especially now that I have read this release. The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet begins after the death of Mr. Bennet. It is much earlier in time than canon as Elizabeth is only fifteen years of age. Her father has arranged for her to go live with his long-time friend, Mr. George Darcy of Pemberley and be raised with Georgiana. When Mr. Darcy, his son, Fitzwilliam Darcy and the governess, Miss Temple, arrive to meet Elizabeth and take her home, Lizzy is nowhere to be found. Confused and angry, not understanding why her father would want her to live so far away from Jane and her sisters, she has donned a disguise and run away from Longbourn. When it is time for all to leave, Fitzwilliam Darcy stays behind to find the young Miss Bennet and deliver her to Pemberley. This begins a journey, part good, part misunderstanding, that will forever change the lives of Darcy and Elizabeth.

The twenty-three-year-old Fitzwilliam has been disappointed in a relationship and is a touch bitter. That bad boy, George Wickham, is at it again! The woman of interest, Lady Emma Balcombe, could rival Caroline Bingley in manner and behavior. She will continue to make problems for the young Mr. Darcy and his charge. Miss Williams wrote Lady Emma well. She created in me a strong dislike for this ‘lady’ but also a soft spot for her sister, Lady Constance, who was a gentle and kind soul. Their portrayal and the incidents involving them, add greatly to the plot.

Among the many things that I liked about this book were members of the Darcy family. Mr. Darcy, the father, was a nice man and his relationship with Elizabeth became one much like a father and daughter would have. It was a touching bond that I enjoyed seeing grow. I loved Colonel Fitzwilliam. He played a very significant role as did Georgiana. The governess, Miss Temple, had a subtler guidance but one that was just as important. These were people in Elizabeth’s life that helped her become the Elizabeth Bennet of canon and it was neat to see their influence and shaping of her.

One of the things that I was not as fond of was the length of time that Fitzwilliam Darcy stayed away from home. I felt he was a little out of character with some of his behavior. I do not believe he would have left Georgiana and Elizabeth for such long periods. I think I understand the purpose of these absences to the storyline but I could not feel quite comfortable with them.

Overall, I very much enjoyed The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet. It was a book that I had trouble putting down! I found the tone of Ms. Williams’s writing to be excellent and her story-telling delightful. Her plot was different and her Regency language good. This is a book I highly recommend to anyone who loves Jane Austen Fan-fiction!

Well done, Caitlin Williams. I look forward to more from you.


Book Description

The very worst has happened. Mr Bennet has died, leaving his wife and five young daughters bereft. The family estate, Longbourn, is now lost, entailed away and fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet is to go two hundred miles away to live with strangers. George Darcy, repaying a debt of gratitude, has offered to take her to Pemberley, to live under the mantle of his care and be raised alongside his own daughter, Georgiana.

But on the day she is to leave Longbourn forever, young Elizabeth, grieving and confused, runs off into the Hertfordshire countryside. Fitzwilliam Darcy gives chase, telling his father he will have her back in an hour or two. Luck and fate, however, are not on his side and capturing Elizabeth Bennet turns out not only to be more difficult than he could ever have imagined, but events conspire to turn her little adventure into his worst nightmare.

The prideful man and the girl prejudiced against him, meet much earlier in this rethinking of Jane Austen’s masterpiece. Elizabeth grows up under the ever-watchful eye of Mr Darcy, from fifteen to twenty-one.  She errs and falters, there are stumbles and trips, but could this ‘disobedient little hellion’ one day become mistress of Pemberley and the keeper of his heart?

Author Links:

Author Biography

Caitlin Williams lives in Kent, England, with her family. She fell in love with all things Regency as a teenager, but particularly admires the work of Jane Austen and the way she masterfully combines humour and romance, while weaving them through such wonderful stories and characters.

Pride and Prejudice is Caitlin’s favourite novel and she finds Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet so deliciously entertaining that she likes to borrow them from Ms Austen and enjoys the challenge of putting them in different places and situations.

Her debut novel, Ardently, was written as a hobby, usually with her laptop balanced on the kitchen worktop, typing with one hand, a glass of wine in the other, while she also attempted to cook dinner and keep her children from killing each other. The success of Ardently was as much a surprise to her, as it was to anyone else, and she has been thrilled and genuinely thankful for the positive responses and reviews it generated.

Her second novel, The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, is a portrait of a much younger Elizabeth, who is thrown into an extraordinary set of circumstances due to the premature death of Mr Bennet, and she hopes you all enjoy it very much.

The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet Blog Tour Description

A coming-of-age story told in four volumes between Austen’s infamous couple; savor the story of the prideful man and the girl prejudiced against him, as they meet much earlier in this rethinking of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice. Could this ‘disobedient little hellion’ one day become mistress of Pemberley and the keeper of his heart?

Caitlin Williams, author of the highly-praised book, Ardently, tours the blogosphere from June 13- June 26, 2016 to share her newest release, The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet. Fourteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an exclusive interview with the author and book reviews from this highly awaited Austen-inspired novel. Eight ebooks are also being included in our giveaways and entry is available to anyone who participates in this blog tour. 


Blog Tour Schedule

June 13/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post/“Happy Birthday Fanny Burney & The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet” & Giveaway
June 14/ So Little Time... / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 15/ Just Jane 1813/An Exclusive Interview with Caitlin Williams
June 16/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
June 17/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 18/ The Calico Critic/Book Review & Giveaway
June 19/ Babblings of a Bookworm/“The Education of a Young Lady” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 20/ Half Agony, Half Hope/Book Review
June 21/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Book Review & Giveaway
June 22/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice /Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 23/ Liz's Reading Life / “A Nod and A Wink to Austen” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 24/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review
June 25/ Laughing With Lizzie/ “The Young Master” Guest Post & Giveaway
June 26/ A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life/ "A Most Scandalous" Guest Post

Thank you for stopping by and please be sure to visit the other blogs for a chance to win one of the eight eBooks that are up for grabs. I would love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment if you feel inclined.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Northern Rain...Nicole Clarkston

Available on Amazon 
Since this is Father's Day and a time for celebrating fathers, it is the perfect time to read 'the lost scene' from Nicole Clarkston's latest book, Northern Rain, due to release tomorrow, June 20th. When you read it, you will see why. It's delightful!

When Nicole Clarkston visited More Agreeably Engaged on February 2, 2016, she gave us a sneak peek of the beginning of Northern Rain. Now this wonderful book is finished and the eBook will be released tomorrow. (It is available for pre-order now.) For you, my dear readers, she is offering the book at a special introductory price of $1.99. That price is good until Wednesday when it goes to $3.99. I have read this book and I can tell you, it is awesome! You will not be disappointed. I'm ready to read it again! I didn't want to put it down. Guess I better save some of these comments for my review later! :) There is also a giveaway so two of you will have the chance to win it! 

Ms. Clarkston shares a little about her thoughts of Gaskell, relationships in Victorian times and her new book. Then we get the wonderful 'lost scene'. Thank you, Nicole Clarkson, and welcome back to More Agreeably Engaged.

The reason we enjoy variations is because we have come to love the characters deeply, and in our hearts we begin to wonder how their story might have turned out if but one or two circumstances had played out differently. In Northern Rain, I wanted to experiment with the characters trying to strike up some sort of amicable relationship after John’s disastrous proposal and Margaret’s humiliating falsehood about Frederick. Thornton thinks highly of Mr Hale, and Margaret wishes for her father not to lose his friend after he has already lost his wife and son. There seems to be good enough incentive for both to learn to be in the same room together. Might matters settle better for Mr Hale? What might happen afterward…?

I think the relationships in Victorian times were fascinating. In some respects, events moved at a plodding pace compared to today’s society. In others, they could move with breathtaking dispatch. One of the things I truly respect is the expectation that if a man paid enough attention to a woman to cultivate any sort of interest, it was understood that he was serious. Courtship may have been a choreographed process- not at all like the relaxed dating style of our world- but once the nature of the relationship was declared, the couple moved quickly to marriage. It seems difficult in this society to cultivate a more platonic friendship, particularly when the parties in question do not harbor such comfortable feelings for one another. It was an enjoyable prospect to explore.

There are so many rich personalities in Gaskell’s work who are worth examining. Besides the relationship between John and Margaret, the family ties are absolutely remarkable. The most “functional” looking family at first appears to be the Hales, until one delves beneath the layers. Upon reflection, I think that the most profound respect is displayed between a Mrs Thornton and her son. The following is a scene which has long fascinated me- a depiction of life at Marlborough Mills in the months immediately following John and Margaret’s marriage. I am of the school which sees a softer side to Hannah Thornton. In Gaskell’s original work, Hannah speaks grudgingly of Margaret’s admirable traits. One gets the sense that she might have heartily approved of the penniless southern girl, had Margaret not broken her son’s heart. I tend to believe that once assured that her son was happy in his marriage to a woman who returned his affections equally, Hannah might come to truly appreciate her daughter-in-law.

Margaret is not of the same mold as many other women of Hannah’s acquaintance, and is not easily swayed by public opinion. Surely she would often find herself the subject of idle talk, and I like to fancy Hannah as someone who would have no patience for such vanity. It is amusing to think of Hannah acting as guardian over Margaret when she finds herself in a delicate condition. This scene does not appear in Northern Rain, but is intended to flow with that story. I hope you enjoy it ~ NC

The Lost Scene

“Mrs Hamper, Mrs Slickson, how do you do today?” Hannah Thornton received her guests with no small degree of surprise. It was not typical for either of them to call on her, and even more unusual that they should do so in tandem.
“Good morning, Mrs Thornton,” replied Dolores Hamper, primping a drooping frill from her hat as she took a seat.
Catherine Slickson smiled and nodded primly as she also seated herself. “We are quite well, thank you Mrs Thornton. We thought to ask after you and…” her face clouded slightly as she realized the awkwardness of what she was about to say, “Mrs Thornton.”
Hannah’s cheek twitched in mild, but almost invisible amusement. “We are well. I am afraid my daughter-in-law is unable to join us at present, but I shall convey your regards.”
Jane arrived presently with tea, and Hannah watched them with growing entertainment. Mrs Hamper’s eyes widened and she cast a knowing smirk to her companion as they took in the delicate rose-spray pattern from Margaret’s favourite set. It was all very surreptitious, but she could fairly imagine what would be said between them after they took their leave.
“How does Mrs Watson?” asked Mrs Slickson with all innocence.
“She is as well as she was yesterday, I expect,” Hannah commented impassively. “I believe you were also at her dinner party last evening?”
Mrs Hamper cleared her throat. “I believe you meant to ask after the new hospital, was that not right, Catherine?”
“Of course! Oh, do forgive me, Mrs Thornton, I quite forgot! I had heard,” she glanced nervously at her friend, “that your daughter-in-law has become quite invested in the project.”
“Indeed she has.”
The pair exchanged sly looks once more. “It seems a rather unladylike pursuit, do you not agree?”
“I do not. What can be more worthy of a woman’s efforts than caring for the sick?”
The pair blinked in shock, their tea cups clattering on their saucers. “I… suppose nothing at all,” replied Mrs Slickson.
“We only worried,” Mrs Hamper covered for her smoothly, “that the young Mrs Thornton might exhaust herself, that is all. She looked rather pale last evening, and we noticed that she left quite early. I do hope, Mrs Thornton, that she will not become one of the hospital’s first patients!”
Hannah’s mouth twitched. At last they had confessed their true curiosity! “My daughter-in-law’s health is quite sound, I assure you.”
“Oh, that is well, Mrs Tho-” Mrs Slickson’s uncomfortable enthusiasm was cut short by the slamming of a door from the outer hall. Hurried footsteps followed, and a moment later, John Thornton burst into his mother’s sitting room.
He took little notice of the two visitors beyond a curt nod of his head. Instead, his anxious gaze sought his mother, who was rolling her eyes and trying to refrain from snapping at him for his untimely interruption. “Margaret?” he gasped breathlessly.
Hannah set her jaw grimly and motioned toward the outer hall with her eyes. She rose and graciously excused herself. “Will you ladies pardon me for just a moment, please?”
John met his mother in the hall and scarcely waited for the sitting room door to thump to a close before he made his demand. “Where is Margaret?” he hissed under his breath.
“She is in her room, John, but you must not go to her now.”
“I saw Donaldson walking to the house! He never comes at this hour for hospital business. Is she ill?”
Hannah hesitated. “Not precisely, John.”
His towering figure froze in place. His face aglow, he shuddered in a choking laugh, a nearly silent cry of joy. “Can she be…? Is it possible, Mother?”
“You should be talking to Margaret about that, John!” she scoffed uneasily. It was not her place, after all, to be the one to convey such news to him. “Stay, John, I did not mean just now!” she called in alarm as he hurriedly started for the stairs. “You must leave her be for a little while longer. Go back to the mill!”
“The mill!” he objected. “While Margaret is… no, it is unthinkable! I must see her! She should not be alone-”
Gritting her teeth in a dogged scowl, she clutched his arm- just painfully enough to draw his full attention. “Dixon is with her, and I have guests!” she reminded him pointedly. “At least go back to your study, John!”
His expression vacant, his thoughts all focused on whatever was taking place upstairs without him, he nodded at last in compliance. At least from his own study, he would be able to hear the doctor’s departure and could go to his wife the sooner.
Hannah sighed in exasperation. There would be no possible way now to downplay Margaret’s indisposition to her guests. She returned to the sitting room, apparently interrupting a whispered conversation between the pair. She resumed her seat with as much poise as she could summon. “I apologize, ladies. My son had… something rather important to discuss with his wife.”
Mrs Slickson nodded sweetly. “Quite all right, Mrs Thornton. I do think young couples are so enchanting! They have been married only a month, is that not correct?”
“Three,” Hannah corrected her drily, her brow arched.
“Oh, yes, do forgive me.” Mrs Slickson sighed, almost in disappointment that today’s morsel of gossip would not be as juicy as she had momentarily hoped.
Mrs Hamper was trying to smother a meaningful smile, but failing utterly. “Well, Mrs Thornton, I am afraid we must be going. You said you might give your daughter-in-law our respects?”
“Naturally,” Hannah assured her. “It was good of you both to call.” They took their time about their departure, fumbling with shawls and teacups for an inordinately long while. It seemed likely that they hoped to cross paths with the doctor on their way out, but Donaldson had slipped away only moments earlier.
What they did see, and what properly shocked them both, was John Thornton rushing up the stairs and encountering his wife half-way. Mrs Thornton tried to usher her guests to the front door as though nothing at all were amiss, but she met with little success. The couple were blissfully unaware of the visitors’ presence, but Mrs Hamper and Mrs Slickson went away with sufficient intelligence to keep themselves and their friends amused for weeks.


Dear Readers, didn't you just love this 'lost scene'? I know I did plus it was so perfect for this post to be today. We had actually planned it for Saturday but my internet was down. (Internet for our entire countryside was down. I didn't know how to behave!!!) Thankfully, it is back up and the post is even better for today. I'm glad things worked out as they did. :) 

Thank you for visiting my blog again, Ms. Clarkston. I have been anxiously awaiting this post and your visit. You know how much I have anticipated the release of Northern Rain! The first North & South Variation by Nicole Clarkston is No Such Thing as Luck. You can find my review of that book here. Some of you may recall it won an MAE award for favorite books of 2015

Be watching for the Northern Rain Blog Tour coming soon to a blog near you!

Available on Amazon

Now for the giveaway. Ms. Clarkston is giving away two eBooks of Northern Rain. She is also giving away one audio book or her Pride and Prejudice variation, Rumours and Recklessness. The giveaways are international so that is excellent news for all. Please leave a comment and don't forget to include your contact info. This will enter you in the giveaway which will end Saturday at 11:59 PM, the 25th of June, 2016. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Elizabeth Papers...Jenetta James

Available on Amazon
Oh happy day, dear readers....you are in for a fun and special post today! The lovely Jenetta James stops by on her busy virtual blog tour for The Elizabeth Papers. From what I have been reading, there has been a fabulous reception for these 'papers' and the new book is getting rave reviews. I haven't read it yet but it is at the top of my TBR list! If any of you have read it, let us know some of your thoughts, if you will, without giving anything away!!! No spoilers here, please! :)

And now, folks, for your Wednesday morning treat, Jenetta James interviews Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy...sigh!


Firstly, thank you to Janet for graciously welcoming me back to her fine blog as part of The Elizabeth Papers blog tour. As some of you will know, The Elizabeth Papers is a novel in two eras - so there is a bit of time hopping that goes on between our own time and the nineteenth century. A few people have asked me - is it time travel? The answer is, no, it isn’t time travel. Rather, it is about two people in the present sleuthing away at the past until they find out a long hidden truth about Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, a truth that our dear couple have worked hard to conceal.  (Oh, dear, Jenetta James, you do have me feeling much angst after reading this sentence...now I must read your book, sooner rather than later!)

However, for the purposes of this blog post, I am thrilled to announce that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has agreed, possible against his better judgement, to travel into the future, or as far as I am concerned, the present, and submit to a number of questions. I am greatly indebted to both Mr. Darcy and Janet for agreeing to take part in this experiment.

Jenetta: Welcome Mr. Darcy.

Darcy nods and looks around, searchingly.

Mr. Darcy: Erm, thank you, Mrs. James.

Jenetta: You can call me Jenetta if you like.

Darcy raises eyebrows, appearing doubtful

Jenetta: Mr. Darcy, you have joined me today from 1822, is that correct?

Mr. Darcy: I have.

Jenetta: And you have travelled in time and space haven’t you? Because you live in Derbyshire and have come to London to meet with me today. Do you find the city to be much changed from your own time?

Mr. Darcy: I find it to be barely recognisable Madam. I have always considered Town to be overcrowded and hectic by nature. I must say that having now seen it two centuries in the future, I shall cease complaining. Darcy’s expression, softening. Mrs. Darcy would be amazed.

Jenetta: Do you intend to tell her about this interview?

Mr. Darcy: I have a strong inclination towards honesty with my wife Mrs. James, so I suppose I ought to. On the other hand, I worry that she shall think me out of my wits if I relate the totality of this experience.

Jenetta: That sounds rather damning. Would she not simply credit you with an excellent imagination?

Mr. Darcy: That is how she would put it. Eliz—I’m sorry, Mrs. Darcy has a talent for sophistry when she so chooses. It does not necessarily reflect what is in her mind.

Jenetta: Do you mean that sometimes, she is a fibber?

Mr. Darcy: No. I do not. I merely meant that if she were doubting my sanity, on account of my reporting this incident of time travel, she may not say so outright. I would not impugn her honesty for a moment. You may relent with this line of questioning. You will not persuade me to present as a lunatic to my wife. Next question.

Jenetta: If you could be an animal, what would you be?

Darcy, looking disbelieving.

Mr. Darcy: A horse. My horse Herodotus is a fine animal and I would hope to live up to his example.

Jenetta: If you were a country dance, what would you be?

Mr.Darcy: Mrs. James, may I ask to what these questions tend? I was invited to attend a serious interview.

Jenetta: I’m sorry Mr. Darcy. I’m trying to bring out your character. People want to feel as though they know you. I’m trying to fill in the blanks.

Mr. Darcy: fill in the blanks?

Jenetta: Yes, you know, get to know you. Discover the private man behind the public mask.

Darcy, appearing completely shocked, remains silent.

Jenetta: You are father to no fewer than five daughters, is that right?

Mr. Darcy: It is.

Jenetta: Is that rather overwhelming?

Mr. Darcy: Certainly not.

Jenetta: But a man can have too many daughters, can he not?

Mr. Darcy: Not this man, Mrs. James. Mrs. Darcy and I have five daughters and our family is expected to increase in the spring. I do not find their number to be in any way excessive.

Darcy takes a sip of his coffee, before replacing the cup, looking somewhat uncertain.

Jenetta: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your family life?

Mr. Darcy: No.

Darcy smiles, somewhat uncompromisingly.

Jenetta: Does that mean “interview over”?

Mr. Darcy: I believe it does.


The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James
Book Blurb:

“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.” —Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an emerging and independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy.

How could Evie know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

The Elizabeth Papers is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.

Author Bio:
Jenetta James is the nom de plume of a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is her first novel which was published by Meryton Press in April 2015. The Elizabeth Papers is her second novel.  (If any of you have not read, 'Suddenly Mrs. Darcy', I highly recommend it!)




The Elizabeth Papers Blog Tour Schedule:

5/30: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
5/31: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
6/1: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
6/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
6/2: Review at From Pemberley to Milton
6/3: Guest Post at Moonlight Reader
6/4: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
6/5: Review at Just Jane 1813
6/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
6/7: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
6/8: Character Interview at More Agreeably Engaged
6/9: Author Interview at Savvy Verse & Wit
6/10: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
6/10: Excerpt & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
6/12: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
6/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars


Now it is giveaway time! Hooray! Please use the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway for the intriguing book, The Elizabeth Papers, by Jenetta James!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well, Ms. James, I must tell you that I did enjoy your interview with Mr. Darcy. He was a bit 'close-mouthed', was he not? But then, what else should we expect, it 'was' Mr. Darcy, afterall, and he is a very private man! I did find it interesting about his choice of animal to be and his reasons given. In talking about his lovely wife, he just cannot help himself, can he? He softens, period! (swooning here) 

It was so good to have you back at More Agreeably Engaged. You are always a welcome visitor and I hope to have you back many more times in the future. As I mentioned already, it seems this newest release, The Elizabeth Papers, is making quite a splash in the Jane Austen literary community! (I promise I will let not let the angst I feel prevent me reading it!) Congratulations on such success! Oh, I understand that today is your birthday?! Here's to wishing you a very happy one! I'm glad to have you visit on your special day! :)

I think the cover of this book is stunning! I truly love covers that relate to the actual story and give hints or are pertinent to what is inside. This one certainly does.

Now back to you, dear Readers, I hope you will visit all the blogs that are taking part in Jenetta James's blog tour. There are eight books in the giveaway for eight lucky winners. If you will be so kind, take a few minutes to leave us a comment on the book and/or Mr. Darcy's interview! Thanks as always for popping in.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shadows Over Longbourn with Jann Rowland

Available on Amazon
Happy 1st Day of June to all you lovely readers! I hope you are having a good day. I have a special guest today and he is having a giveaway too. That will double your pleasure and make the day even better! Jann Rowland is the guest and this is his first visit to my blog. I am so happy to have him stop by as part of his blog tour for Shadows Over Longbourn. I have been reading good things about this book and I am excited he is offering an eBook as part of the post today. Thank you, Mr. Rowland, and welcome to More Agreeably Engaged. 


Bringing Thaddeus Collins to Life

Building a villain in the Pride and Prejudice universe can be a tricky business. Often it is tempting to use the characters created by Jane Austen as the antagonists, and though this is familiar to the readers, it can become stale. That is not to say that Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Caroline Bingley, and even Mr. Collins are not fun to play with, to mold according to the needs of the story, and I also will not promise not to use them again in the future, though I hope I can always come up with interesting twists! But to fall on such a crutch exclusively is to ignore the potential inherent in the universe, in my opinion.

When I was planning my latest novel, Shadows Over Longbourn, all of the above characters would indeed make their appearance to bedevil and complicate the lives of our favorite characters. But it seemed to me that there was a unique opportunity to create a new villain, one who was mentioned by Jane Austen, but we only the see the effects of his life in the person of his son, William Collins.

At first it seemed to me that William Collins’s character could be altered somewhat and he could become my villain. What kind of havoc could a crafty and intelligent Mr. Collins wreak on our unsuspecting characters? But then, when I was researching some of the pertinent passages again, I came across a description for the elder Mr. Collins and my imagination took flight. Thus, Thaddeus Collins was born. (However, I retain the idea of doing a book featuring a very different William Collins sometime down the road!)

We are not told much of Mr. Collins senior. In describing Mr. William Collins, Jane Austen only says, “Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society; the greatest part of his life having been spent under the guidance of an illiterate and miserly father . . . The subjection in which his father had brought him up had given him originally great humility of manner . . .” Other than that one brief description, we are not even given a name! It was as close to a blank canvas on which to work as I had ever hoped to find in a character mentioned in a novel.

It was the terms “miserly” and “illiterate” that I latched onto when planning out the character. It was obvious that Mr. Collins the elder had not been kind to his son in Pride and Prejudice, if the comment about him gaining a great humility of manner was any indication. The first parts of Thaddeus Collins’s character were thus formed in my mind.

Mr. Collins and his cousin, Mr. Bennet, were engulfed in a disagreement for many years before the events of Pride and Prejudice. I took this one step further; I created a background which would explain why the surnames were different, then built the circumstances which led to the Collins family’s downfall from society. Mr. Bennet had only met Mr. Collins once in his life, and it was enough to inform him that his cousin would never be an adequate master of the estate should he ever inherit. The disagreement subsisting between the two men was centered around the fact that Mr. Bennet considered his cousin to be an uncouth, ill-mannered lout, while Mr. Collins blamed his Bennet ancestors for his family’s woes.

The question then became what form this enmity for his cousin—and consequently his cousin’s children—would take. For Thaddeus Collins, though a rough and illiterate man, was not stupid, and he surely realized that while his own progeny was not gifted with intellect, he could see that his cousin’s children were, in fact, beautiful young girls who would provide a much needed positive influence on his son, and provide him with children who would be an improvement. Mr. Collins considered his son to be a failure. This fixation with the Bennet girls would become an obsession which, though it ultimately failed with one sister, could easily be transferred to another. Add to these motivations a surly disposition, a cunning sort of crude intelligence, and a violent streak, and you have Mr. Thaddeus Collins.

Mr. Collins, though possessing a certain intelligence, has never been in a position to see to the livelihood of an estate, and as such, you can expect Longbourn to suffer under his stewardship. Mr. Bennet, though an indifferent manager and master, was at least familiar with what needed to be done, and educated after the manner of a gentleman of his time. Mr. Collins was not, and though he had a son who was educated to a certain extent, he was not inclined to listen to him, for Mr. Collins the elder actively disdained education, in spite of the assistance it provided him when his son was required to read letters to him or help him with his sums.

In thinking of my past works and the characters I have used as villains, I can honestly say that Mr. Thaddeus Collins is the worst. There is something particularly revolting about a man who would abuse his son, become enraged at the mere mention of his cousin, and make suggestive statements to Elizabeth. I will not spoil it, but it was almost nauseating to even write it. I hope you enjoyed hating Mr. Collins as much as I did!


Book Excerpt

The approaching death of Mr. Bennet threatens to leave his five young daughters at the mercy of the vengeful Mr. Thaddeus Collins. But Mr. Bennet plays one final desperate card before he passes, calling on his distant relatives—the Darcys—to provide his children with a home.

Removing themselves to Pemberley after their father’s death, the girls are protected by the estate’s current master, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, who looks after them as conscientiously as he does his own sister.

When chance takes the Bennets and their Darcy relations to the estate leased by Mr. Bingley, little do they know that their father’s thwarting of Mr. Collins has only fanned the flames of his envy and hatred. He is determined to secure a Bennet daughter as a wife for his son, and he will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.

Elizabeth has become consumed by love for Mr. Darcy, but since he remains oblivious to her feelings, Elizabeth’s desperation forces her to consider going into service as a governess, if only to obtain some distance from the object of her affection. But Mr. Collins has no intention of letting Elizabeth escape his grasp so easily, and everything finally comes to a head when he meets with her in an explosive showdown.


Author Biography

Jann Rowland is a Canadian writer. He enjoys reading and sports, and he also dabbles a little in music, taking pleasure in singing and playing the piano.

Though Jann did not start writing until his mid-twenties, writing has grown from a hobby to an all-consuming passion. His interest in Jane Austen stems from his university days when he took a class in which Pride and Prejudice was required reading. However, his first love is fantasy fiction, which he hopes to pursue writing in the future.

He now lives in Alberta with his wife of more than twenty years and his three children.
To connect with Jann, check out the following links

Mailing List
Amazon Author Page


Book Links

Amazon  This story is also available through KindleUnlimited


Blog Tour Schedule

April 27/ Interview Post & Ebook Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

May 1/Journey to Longbourn Estate & Ebook Giveaway at Just Jane 1813

May 5/ Book Review & Ebook Giveaway at Half Hope, Half Agony

May 26/Book Review & Ebook Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

May 30/ Book Review & Ebook Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric

June 2/Bringing Thaddeus Collins to Life & Ebook Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged


Jann Rowland, thank you for sharing how you built your character, Thaddeus Collins. I found your thought process and development intriguing and informative. Now, I am even more eager to read this book. I am wanting to know about the different last names! I feel quite confident that I will truly enjoy hating him much indeed! :)

I am thrilled that you allowed my blog to be a part of your blog tour. I have been all anticipation for your visit and I hope you will come back again someday in the future. By the way, your cover is very appealing. 

Thank you also to Claudine Pepe of Just Jane 1813, for setting up the tour and making it so easy. I appreciate all your efforts and especially, for including me.

Now for the giveaway. There is one eBook of Shadows Over Longbourn up for grabs and this giveaway is international! Please be sure to leave me your contact info in the comment if I do not already have it. I want everyone that takes the time to tell us their thoughts, to have a chance at winning. I would like to hear what you think about this horrible sounding cousin, Thaddeus Collins. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, the 7th of June. Good luck to all.