Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Miss Darcy's Beaux...Eliza Shearer

It is with pleasure that I welcome to More Agreeable Engaged, Eliza Shearer. This is her first visit to my blog and I'm thrilled to have her stop by. She shares an excerpt with us today and I'm sure you will enjoy reading it. She also brings some interesting info about Servants in Regency England. There are two links below that give more information should you want to read more.

Please join me in welcoming Eliza Shearer.


Below are the two links mentioned above.

7 Things that Jane Austen Novels Teach Us About Servants and their Masters in Regency England

Jane Austen lived at a time where servants were numerous and pervasive. Most of her characters employ people to run their homes and tend to their needs, and footmen, housekeepers, maids, and manservants are a constant background presence in Austen’s novels.

In some cases, Jane Austen mentions servants in passing, to add depth to her descriptions. However, in many instances, she uses servants to deliver information, advance or alter the course of the story or to highlight the positive or negative traits of other characters.

At all events, Jane Austen also had very definite ideas as to the role of servants, how they should behave and the kind of relationship that one ought to have with them. Here are some of the common themes we find in her novels:

1) Having servants is a mark of gentility

Austen’s novels cover a broad spectrum of financial circumstances, but even the most impoverished families in them can just about manage to have servants. In Emma, the Bates ladies have a single servant, Patty. In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price’s parents employ two girls: Rebecca, “the upper servant,” and Sally, “an attendant girl” of “inferior appearance.”

Not having at least a maid to help around the house is a shameful evidence of near-destitution. Only Mrs Smith of Persuasion, as a “poor, infirm, helpless widow” with no friends and very little money, is “unable to afford herself the comfort of a servant,” although it is understood that she used to have several before her husband died.

2) The number of servants is a reflection of personal wealth

No surprises here: the richer the masters, the higher the number of staff working in a home. Stately homes such as Pemberley or Mansfield Park would have commanded a small army of servants to keep them ticking like clockwork. Contrast that to Longbourn, where there is a housekeeper, butler, cook, maid, and scullery maid to serve a household of seven. 

Austen often uses the reduction in the number of servants to indicate a change for the worse in the circumstances of her heroines. In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood sisters and their mother have to make do with “two maids and a man” when they move to Devonshire. In Persuasion, a strong argument in favour of the Elliots’ move to Bath is that they will require fewer servants. And we have already seen what happens to Mrs Smith, who has lost her fortune to the extent that she can't even have a maid. 

3) Servants are expected to be invisible

In the Regency, servants were expected not to be seen, nor heard. It sounds strange to our XXI century sensitivities, but even the kindest and most observant Austen characters fail to notice them. In Persuasion, this is Anne Elliot’s reaction when Mrs Smith talks to her about Nurse Rooke:

“Did you observe the woman who opened the door to you, when you called yesterday?”
“No.  Was it not Mrs. Speed, as usual, or the maid?  I observed no-one in particular.”
“It was my friend, Mrs. Rooke – Nurse Rooke, who, by the by, had a great curiosity to see you, and was delighted to be in the way to let you in.”

Persuasion, Chapter 21

Anne is not nasty or self-absorbed, quite the opposite, but she is just a woman of her time. A servant is “no-one in particular,” someone who is expected to open doors and deliver letters without further thought given to them. 

4) Servants expose their masters to gossip

Servants were a notorious source of information on their masters. Anything the family did or discussed was at risk of being talked about. In the case of Pride and Prejudice, Mrs Reynolds, the housekeeper, “had evidently great pleasure in talking of her master and his sister.” She only has praise to give on Mr Darcy, but it’s likely that, had her opinions been negative, she would have shared them as well.

The only way for masters and mistresses to avoid the scrutiny of their servants was to be particularly careful about their communications. However, such things were difficult at times of high drama. In Pride and Prejudice, upon returning to Longbourn from Hunsford, Elizabeth despairs when she hears that the news of Lydia’s escape with Wickham has not been handled with discretion:

“Oh! Jane,” cried Elizabeth, “was there a servant belonging to it (the house) who did not know the whole story before the end of the day?”

Pride and Prejudice, chapter 47

Elizabeth’s concern is justified, because she knows that, once the servants have the details of the story, the town gossips won’t be long to follow suit. 

5) Servants’ chat is not to be trusted

Because of their tendency to gossip, servants’ chat isn’t always reliable and can lead to serious misunderstandings. Austen uses this device very effectively in Sense and Sensibility, when a servant unwittingly causes a fair deal of despair to the Dashwood ladies with an apparently harmless piece of news:

Their (the Dashwoods) man-servant had been sent one morning to Exeter on business; and when, as he waited at table, he had satisfied the inquiries of his mistress as to the event of his errand, this was his voluntary communication--

‘I suppose, you know, ma’am, that Mr. Ferrars is married.’

Sense and Sensibility, chapter 47

The shock of the family is groundless, but Austen uses the servant’s words to add suspense, move the story forward and show Lucy Steele’s maliciousness.

6) One should not be too friendly towards the servants

Members of the gentry were expected to know their place. Only a handful of characters in Austen’s novels are friendly towards servants or those tending to their needs, and in all cases, their behaviour is carefully weaved into the story to show character traits, such as their self-interest or their loneliness.

For example, in Mansfield Park, when the family visits Sotherton, Mrs Norris is immediately drawn to the servants. She chats with them, asks them questions and shows interest in their work, and in return she receives cream cheese and pheasants' eggs for her home.  Her selfish behaviour results in  Julia Bertram having to stay with Mrs Rushworth and ultimately in Henry Crawford and Maria Bertram being unchaperoned for quite some time.

Mrs Smith of Persuasion is also very friendly with the woman who nurses her. In her case, however, loneliness rather than self-interest is her sole motivation. Of course, Mrs Smith also finds out about Mr Elliot’s supposed engagement with Anne thanks to her friend, another instance of servant interactions acting as plot devices.

7) Masters have a responsibility towards their servants

Former servants unable to work due to their advanced age or poor health were wholly dependant on the willingness of their families to support them. But being in service did not always sit well with marrying or having children, which meant that old servants were at risk of ending up living in squalor. A way to make up for a life of dedication was to leave faithful servants with a small annuity that would help them enjoy their old age in dignity.

But not everyone liked annuities. In Sense and Sensibility, Fanny Dashwood explains why she rather despises the notion:

“An annuity is a very serious business; it comes over and over every year, and there is no getting rid of it. (...) my mother was clogged with the payment of three to old superannuated servants by my father's will, and it is amazing how disagreeable she found it. Twice every year these annuities were to be paid; and then there was the trouble of getting it to them; and then one of them was said to have died, and afterwards it turned out to be no such thing. My mother was quite sick of it.”

Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 2

Compare Mrs Dashwood’s attitude with that of kind Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. His sense of responsibility towards an old servant who has “fallen into misfortune” leads him to “visit him in a spunging-house, where he was confined for debt.” There, he finds Eliza, his disgraced sister-in-law and former love, who is dying of consumption, and whose little girl he takes into his care. 

Some masters chose to keep elderly servants on, with much lighter or less taxing duties. In my novel Miss Darcy’s Beaux, Mr Darcy Senior engages Nanny Fraser, the old nursery maid that once looked after Lady Anne to supervise Georgiana’s playtime, which is often shared with young Wickham. Below is an extract of chapter 2, where Georgiana reminiscences the long summer afternoons spent playing with Wickham. We also get a glimpse of infamous Mrs Youngue. Enjoy!

Miss Darcy’s Beaux

Chapter 2

The following morning I breakfasted alone. I was informed that my brother had had to leave early after receiving an urgent notice from Mr Harvey, the estate keeper, and that Elizabeth was convalescing in her room. I was eager to see her, but it was still early. Looking out of the window I saw that the sun was out and the ground was dry, so I fetched my warmest shawl and stepped outside.
It was a bright, mild day in late February. The grounds at Pemberley had not looked as inviting in months. The winter frost was giving way to patches of green, and tiny buds were visible everywhere. I first thought of heading west towards the formal garden, but the pull of the morning sun was strong, and I headed eastwards, towards the majestic willows that grew by the stream, imposing in the barren landscape. Here and there, I could see timid dashes of colour. Where there had been snowdrops, there were primroses, their beautiful blooms opening as if they were as starved of sunlight as I was after a long winter confined in the house. The nests that had shown such industriousness in the summer and spring had been empty for months, but would soon have new occupiers.
The sun was getting stronger by the minute, and I realised I didn't have a parasol with me. I hadn't thought I would need one this early in the day. Mrs Younge's words resonated unwelcome in my thoughts. ‘Your porcelain skin is your best asset, Miss Darcy, and you should make sure it remains so,’ she used to say. She was extremely vigilant when it came to my complexion; unfortunately, she was much less concerned about my virtue. I blushed in spite of myself. The disgraceful event was safely in my past, at least.
My walk led me to the pond where, as a little girl, Wickham had taken me on tadpole hunts. I remembered the long summers together, his playfulness, his attentiveness, the way he had of combing his hair back with his fingers. Wickham was fond of telling me stories. According to him, the tadpoles were an army of disguised soldiers, ready to defend Pemberley from a terrible dragon that hid behind the hills.  He used to say that the minute the beast attacked us, Mr Tiddles the cat would become a white horse, and his trusty pocket knife would turn into a majestic sword, ready for action. As he said this, his arm would be up in the air, waving an invisible weapon, and his eyes would sparkle, eager for the fight.
I sighed. The stories came when my brother was in the study, learning the ropes of estate management.  From an early age, my father had been eager to educate his son and heir in the affairs that in due course would become his responsibility, and my brother had applied himself to the task, his conscientiousness and sense of duty as much a part of him as his dark hair. But away from the house, things were different for Wickham and me. In those long afternoons, if the weather was good, we were allowed to play outside under the supervision of Nanny Fraser, the Pemberley nursemaid. Wickham would walk by her side, his charm oozing from his every pore. We'd reach the pond, the poor woman quite out of breath as she was getting into old age; after all, Nanny Fraser had cared for Mama and her brother and sister when they were little. Wickham, ever the gentleman, would then guide her towards a lonely bench in the perfect shady spot, overlooking the house, and say ‘Nanny Fraser, won't you sit down?  We've had a fair bit of exercise. I'll play with Georgiana right there. I'll look after her, don't you worry.’  The old nursemaid would grumble a bit, saying that she just needed to get her breath back, and take a seat, insisting that she would be with us in a few minutes, but invariably she would be snoring after a short while.
As soon as Nanny Fraser was asleep, Wickham would take my hand and drag me to the pond. He taught me to put my hands in the water slowly, fingers gently touching, so as not to scare the tadpoles, then bring the edges of the palms swiftly together around an unsuspecting victim. Then came the hard bit, lifting the cage with the tadpole inside and enough water to keep it from wriggling out. Wickham often had to help me, and he would do so by covering my pudgy child hands with his.
As a young girl, I was in awe of Wickham, just as I was in awe of my brother for entirely different reasons. Where Wickham was stories and laughs, Fitzwilliam was concern and sternness. I loved my brother dearly, he was my picture of a perfect gentleman, but I was in love with Wickham even before I even knew what romance was. What followed, the folly of a fifteen-year-old girl eager to escape the sheltered world she had always lived in with the man she had always adored, came close to disgracing me forever. Thankfully, our idiotic plans had not come to fruition. Only just.
I felt the familiar jolt deep inside of me. It was weaker every time, but it was still there. I sighed again. The future that we might have shared, I could imagine, but I would never experience. And now Wickham was married to Lydia, Elizabeth’s sister.

About Miss Darcy’s Beaux

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s beloved sister Georgiana is now a woman of twenty. After living in the enclosed safety of Pemberley for years, she is sent to London for the season with Lady Catherine de Bourgh as her chaperone. Lady Catherine is determined that her niece shall make a splendid match. But will Georgiana allow her domineering aunt to decide for her? Or will she do as her brother did, and marry for love? 

Miss Darcy’s Beaux is available on Amazon | Kobo | Nook | CreateSpace | GoodReads.

About Eliza Shearer

Eliza Shearer is a long-time an admirer of Jane Austen's work and the author of Miss Darcy’s Beaux, the first volume in her Austeniana series. She can often be found enjoying long walks and muddying her petticoats, or re-reading Jane Austen's novels by the fireside. She is very partial to bread and butter pudding, satin slippers and bonnets and ribbons, but has never cared much for cards. You can find her on Twitter @Eliza_Shearer_ or at  


What a lovely excerpt that you shared with us, Ms. Shearer. It was sweet and telling. Thank you. I'm eager to read more of your story. I am hearing good things about your book and I wish you the best. It was an honor to have you visit today and I hope you will come back in the future.

I also enjoyed your text on servants and masters. That has always been a topic of fascination to me. It seems that some have the best of relationships and others the worst. I'm sure sometimes it has more to do with the master but can also have much to do with a whether a servant is trustworthy or not.  Thank you for giving us some things to ponder and for also including the links to more information on the subject. 

Now, happy Readers, there is a giveaway Eliza Shearer is giving away one eBook of Miss Darcy's Beaux, and the giveaway is international. Have your share in the conversation to be entered. Have you ever wondered about this interesting relationship between above stairs and below stairs? If so, what are your thoughts? When you comment, make sure I have your contact info should you be the winner. Giveaway will end at 11:59 P. M. on the 2nd of October. Good luck to all.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Earl Claims His Comfort...Regina Jeffers

Available on Amazon
Hello, happy readers! We are in for a treat today. Regina Jeffers is back and she has another new release, The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 in the Twins’ Trilogy. Isn't that exciting news! I always love knowing this author has a new book. Today, Regina talks to us about inheriting a Peerage during Regency times. I love her research and found this post fascinating and informative. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Speaking of enjoyment...wait until you read the excerpt she brought with her! I for one, am ready for more of this book! Thank you, Regina Jeffers, for giving us a teaser! Now, I'll turn the post over to you,

Inheriting a Peerage During the Regency
The manner in which a peerage is passed from one generation to the next depends upon how it was created. A peerage/title can be created by a writ of summons, which means the individual is summoned to Parliament to present himself before the House of Lords to prove he is the proper heir, or by letters patent, which actually creates a new peerage and names the dignity in question. Peerages originally created by writ are generally baronies. A feudal barony was the highest degree of feudal land tenure. William the Conqueror established his favored followers as barons by enfeoffing them as tenants-in-chief with great fiefdoms. There were none of the other titles invented when baronies (except earls, which then were exclusively sons or cousins of the sovereign) were first established. The ones which survive are naturally the most ancient titles. A writ entitled the peerage to pass to the "heirs general," not the "heirs male" as specified in almost all Letters Patent peerages.
Although some peerages are created for life and cannot be inherited, most peerages are created to be hereditary, to be passed from father to son or to another appropriate heir. The person holding the title cannot will it to another, even if, for example, he despised his eldest son, the son would still receive the title/peerage after his father’s death. [Remember this has nothing to do with wealth or unentailed property. The father could leave his despised son a debt-ridden estate and title, while leaving his wealth to whomever he pleased.] The terms of the original creation determines how the peerage passes from one individual to another. Generally, it passes from father to son.
Yet, what happens if there is no son available to succeed the man? Let us look at the perfect scenario to explain this situation. William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (May 1790 - January 1858) was known as the “Bachelor Duke.” He intended to marry Lady Caroline Ponsonby, but she chose William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, over him; therefore, he never married. Without a legitimate son to succeed the 6th Duke, upon his passing, those in charge had to go back one generation, to the 6th Duke’s father, William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748 -1811) and trace the next eldest direct lineal descendant.
Oops! Guess what? Although he was married twice (first to Lady Georgiana Spencer and then to Lady Elizabeth Foster - you remember that whole mess from the movie “The Duchess”) the 5th Duke of Devonshire had only the one legitimate son, William Cavendish, who was the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
Therefore, those seeking the 6th Duke’s successor had to go back one more generation to the 4th Duke of Devonshire, another William Cavendish (1720 - 1764). Now, the 4th Duke had two sons: William, who was the 5th Duke, and Lord George Cavendish. Lord George died while his nephew William served as the 6th Duke; otherwise upon William’s death, Lord George would have become the 7th Duke. However, Lord George produced a son, Mr. William Cavendish (1783-1812), who also died during the 6th Duke’s lifetime, but that particular Mr. William Cavendish produced a son, another Mr. William Cavendish (1808 - 1891), who was 50 years of age when the 6th Duke of Devonshire passed. That William Cavendish became the 7th Duke of Devonshire. [Note: If Lord George had no son or grandson, those in power would have continued to search through the descendants of the 3rd Duke, 2nd Duke, and 1st Duke of Devonshire to find an heir. The line passes from through the eldest of the title holders sons and then through his other sons and surviving legitimate male issue.] If there are no legitimate surviving male descendants, then the title becomes “extinct.”
“However, if there was a legitimate surviving male descendant of his father, the 3rd Earl of Devonshire, then that person would inherit the earldom. In this way distant cousins can sometimes inherit lesser titles while the highest peerage dies out. What's most important to remember is that if a man inherits a peerage, it is because he is the eldest surviving legitimate male who can trace a direct (father to son) lineage back to an earlier holder of the peerage. In other words, he doesn't inherit because he was the brother or the cousin or the uncle of his predecessor, but because his own father, or grandfather, or great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather, etc., was an earlier holder of the peerage. ["Eldest" in this context doesn't mean that he happens to be the oldest of several different living men who can trace a direct line back to an earlier holder of the peerage, but rather that his line is the eldest, i.e., eldest son of eldest son; all other lines senior to his have died out.]” (“Hereditary Peerages”
Letters patent customarily state the order of descent, usually through the male line. Only legitimate children (meaning the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth—not necessarily the time of his conception) are permitted to succeed to a peerage.
Edward IV introduced a procedure in which the eldest son of a peer with multiple titles can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of one of his father’s titles. This is called a writ of acceleration.
“In remainder” means the person is a possible heir to a peerage. A title becomes extinct (the opposite to extant, alive) when all possible heirs (as outlined by the original letters patent) have died out. In other words, there is nobody in remainder at the death of the holder. A title becomes dormant if nobody has claimed the title, or if no claim has been satisfactorily proven to the Committee on Privileges of the House of Lords. A title goes into abeyance if there is more than one person equally entitled to be the holder.
A peerage can become “extinct.” It can become extinct “by attainder,” which means the king/queen revokes the peerage. This forfeiture of the peerage comes under Acts of Parliament and are the result of treason on the part of the title holder. The descendants of the person committing treason are considered “tainted by blood,” and, therefore, they cannot inherit the title. However, if all the descendants of the attainted peer die out, then an heir from a different branch of the family tree—one not affected by the accusations of treason—could inherit the title/peerage. An extinct peerage reverts to the Crown. The king/queen can choose to present the title to a member of a different family—either another branch of the the original title holder’s family or to a completely unconnected family. This new creation would require new letters patent and a new line of descent.
Introducing The EarlClaims His Comfort: Book 2 in the Twins’ Trilogy, releasing September 16, 2017, from Black Opal Books
- a 2016 Hot Prospects finalist in Romantic Suspense

Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot and left to die upon the road leading to his manor house. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how a stranger’s life parallels his, while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.

Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon a road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.



“Cannot recall the last time I slept in my own bed,” he murmured to no one in particular as he stood to gain his bearings. The room swirled before his eyes, but Rem shook off the feeling. Of late, it was common for him to know a dull vibrating sound marring his thinking.
Levison Davids, the 17th Earl of Remmington, set the glass down harder than he intended. He had consumed more alcohol than he should on this evening, but as his home shire often brought on a case of maudlin, he had drowned his memories. He turned toward the door, attempting to walk with the confidence his late father always demanded of his sons. Lev was not trained to be the earl. His father had groomed Rem’s older brother Robinson for the role, but Fate had a way of spitting in a man’s eye when he least expected it.
Outside, the chilly air removed the edge from the numbness the heavy drink provided him, and for a brief moment Rem thought to return to the common room to reinforce the black mood the drink had induced. A special form of “regret” plagued his days and nights since receiving word of his ascension to the earldom some four years prior, and he did not think he would ever to be comfortable again.
“Storm comin’,” the groom warned when he brought Rem’s horse around.
“We’re in Yorkshire,” Remmington replied. “We are known for the unpredictable.”
Customarily, he would not permit the groom to offer him a leg up, but Rem’s resolve to reach his country estate had waned. He had received a note via Sir Alexander Chandler that Rem’s presence was required at the Remmington home seat, and so he had set out from France, where he had spent the last year, to answer a different call of duty.
Sir Alexander offered little information on why someone summoned Rem home, only that the message had come from the estate’s housekeeper. Not that it mattered who had sent for him. Tegen Castle was his responsibility. The journey from France had required that Rem leave an ongoing investigation behind, a fact that did not please him, even though he knew the others in service to Sir Alexander were excellent at their occupations. Moreover, the baronet had assured Rem that several missions on English shores required Remmington’s “special” skills, and he could return to service as quickly as his business knew an end.
He caught the reins to turn the stallion in a tight circle. Tossing the groom a coin, Rem kicked Draco’s sides to set the horse into a gallop.
As the dark swallowed them up, Rem enjoyed the feel of power the rhythm of the horse’s gait provided. He raced across the valley before emerging onto the craggy moors. At length, he skirted the rocky headland.
He slowed Draco as the cliff tops came into view. When he reached Davids’ Point, he urged the stallion into a trot. Rem could no longer see the trail, but his body knew it as well as it knew the sun would rise on the morrow. After some time, he jerked Draco’s reins hard to the left, and, as a pair, they plunged onto the long-forgotten trail. He leaned low over the stallion’s neck to avoid the tree limbs before he directed Draco to an adjacent path that led upward toward the family estate, which sat high upon a hill overlooking the breakwaters.
When he reached the main road again, he pulled up on the reins to bring the animal to a halt. Rem patted Draco’s neck and stared through the night at his childhood home, which was framed against the rising moonlight. It often made him sad to realize how much he once loved the estate as a child and how much he now despised it.
“No love left in the bricks,” he said through a thick throat. “Even the dowager countess no longer wishes to reside here. How can I?”
It was not always so. Although he was a minor son, Rem always thought to share Tegen Castle with his wife and children—to live nearby and to relate tales of happier days.
“But after Miss Phillips’s betrayal and then, likewise, that of Miss Lovelace, I possess no heart to begin again.”
In truth, of the two ladies, Rem had only loved Miss Delia Phillips.
“Fell in love with the girl when I was but fourteen and she, ten.”
He crossed his arms over the rise of the saddle to study the distant manor house.
“Perhaps Delia could find no solace here,” he murmured aloud.
Even today, it bothered him that Delia had not cared enough for him to send him a letter denying their understanding. He had learned of Delia’s marrying Baron Kavanagh from Sir Alexander, with whom Rem had served upon the Spanish front. Sir Alexander’s younger brother delivered the news in a cheeky letter.
“I suppose Delia thought being a baroness was superior to being Mrs. Davids. Little did she know I would claim the earldom. More is the pity for her.” A large raindrop plopped upon the back of his hand. “If we do not speed our return to the castle, my friend, we will arrive with a wet seat.”
He caught up the loose reins, but before he could set his heels into Draco’s sides, a shot rang out. By instinct, Rem thought to dive for the nearby ditch. Yet, the heavy drink slowed his response, and before he could act, Remmington knew the sharp sting of the bullet in his thigh.
Draco bolted forward before Rem had control of the stallion’s reins. He felt himself slipping from the saddle, but there was little he could do to prevent the impact. He slammed hard into the packed earth just as the heavens opened with a drenching rain. The back of his head bounced against a paving stone, and a shooting pain claimed his forehead. Even so Rem thought to sit up so he might take cover, but the effort was short coming. The piercing pain in his leg and the sharp sting claiming his vision fought for control. The blow to his head won, and Rem screwed his eyes closed to
welcome the darkness.

Available on Amazon
- a 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense finalist
-a SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Award finalist for Historical Romance

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal "angel," who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt's difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother's annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart--and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?
Meet Regina Jeffers
With 30+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense. A teacher for 40 years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and a Smithsonian presenter.

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Now for the GIVEAWAY. I have two eBook copies of The Earl Claims His Comfortavailable to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Monday, September 25.
My dear, Regina Jeffers, how could you do that to us? How could you leave us with such a cliff hanger? UGH! As I was reading, I said, "No, no, no! You cannot leave us there!" But you did! Shame on you. LOL It was good even if it did leave us hanging! 
Thanks so much for stopping by and for having a giveaway. Two eBooks! Isn't that fantastic, Readers! Whoever wins, you may have to drop in after reading and tell us about this book! Not spoilers, just some good enticing tidbits! :) 
Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about the Peerage or the excerpt or both. Your share in the conversation is always welcome. As a reminder, the giveaway ends at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Monday, September 25th. Good luck to all!

Monday, September 18, 2017

And the winners are...

Happy, happy day! I have some winners to announce! :)

Below are winners for Sharon Lathan, P.O. Dixon and Maria Grace! 

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future by Sharon Lathan

Dung Vu

By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything by P.O. Dixon

Sophia Rose

A Less Agreeably Man by Maria Grace


Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you for stopping by and supporting the authors and my blog. We all appreciate you! Thank you, especially to the authors for giving us such good books to read and for your generosity in having the giveaways. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pride and Prejudice Restored to 1813...Sophie Turner

Available on Amazon
We are honored to have Sophie Turner visit today with some explanations about her project, Pride and Prejudice Restored to 1813. I believe you will enjoy reading what she is sharing with us. I certainly did! :) Thank you, Sophie, welcome back to More Agreeably Engaged.


Thank you so much for having me back here at More Agreeably Engaged to share this special project of mine! I’m so glad readers have been enthusiastic about this project, in returning the novel to Jane Austen’s voice. I thought I would share some more before-and-after excerpts, showing the adjustments I had to make as I went through the novel:

This first example shows how language has evolved, and spelling was not standardized in Austen’s time. Anybody and everybody were usually separated out as two words in her work. You can also see the difference between taking the time to do the punctuation, such as the mdashes, correctly, versus using the old two hyphen (--) cheat.


"You are a very strange creature by way of a friend! -- always wanting me to play and sing before anybody and everybody! If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable; but as it is, I would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers."

“You are a very strange creature by way of a friend!—always wanting me to play and sing before any body and every body!—If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable, but as it is, I would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers.”

Even some of the most famous lines of the novel were not immune to this lack of standardization. Gentlemanlike/gentleman-like was treated inconsistently within the original novel, but it was more often spelled with the hyphen. And I think it really does affect the way that you read the line, to have it in vs. out:

"You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner."

“You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.”

Sometimes, I found entire words had been lost in the online versions, such as this line of dialogue:

"You used us abominably ill," answered Mrs. Hurst, "running away without telling us that you were coming out."
“You used us abominably ill,” answered Mrs. Hurst, “in running away without telling us that you were coming out.”

The words were adjusted in the below excerpt, as well—”away” has been substituted in for the less-modern “such a way,” as well as differences in comma placement, and in the formatting of ———shire (this, alas, was also inconsistent in the 1813 edition, I believe due for typesetting reasons, and I did make it consistent throughout the ebook):

"It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married," continued her mother; "but, at the same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken away from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay I do not know how long. His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the -- -- shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. Thank Heaven! he has some friends, though, perhaps, not so many as he deserves."
“It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married,” continued her mother; “but at the same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken such a way from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay, I do not know how long. His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the ———shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. Thank Heaven! he has some friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves.”

Sometimes mixups in punctuation seemed innocent, but they still impact the feel of a line. When Elizabeth cries the below dialogue, it has a different emphasis and meaning when she does so with an exclamation point versus a question mark:

"Are they indeed!" cried Elizabeth, with the greatest satisfaction.

“Are they indeed?” cried Elizabeth, with the greatest satisfaction.

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation can even impact characterisation. Mrs. Bennet, I found, had garnered additional exclamation points over the years in the online versions, and the woman already uses enough as it is! You can also see more examples of differences in comma placement, in this excerpt.

"What an excellent father you have, girls!" said she, when the door was shut. "I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me either, for that matter. At our time of life it is not so pleasant, I can tell you, to be making new acquaintance every day; but for your sakes, we would do any thing. Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball."

“What an excellent father you have, girls,“ said she, when the door was shut. “I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me either, for that matter. At our time of life, it is not so pleasant I can tell you, to be making new acquaintance every day; but for your sakes, we would do any thing. Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball.”

You can really see what a difference these subtle things can make for a character in Lady Catherine’s (in)famous house-crashing scene. There’s a precision to the characterisation in what Austen intended which has become more of a caricature in online versions, simply with some adjustments in punctuation.  In the original, Lady Catherine doesn’t ask if Mrs. Bennet is Elizabeth’s mother—she states it.

Mrs. Bennet, all amazement, though flattered by having a guest of such high importance, received her with the utmost politeness. After sitting for a moment in silence, she said, very stiffly, to Elizabeth -- "I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. That lady, I suppose, is your mother?" Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was. "And that, I suppose, is one of your sisters?" "Yes, madam," said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak to a Lady Catherine. "She is my youngest girl but one, my youngest of all is lately married; and my eldest is somewhere about the grounds, walking with a young man, who, I believe, will soon become a part of the family."

Mrs. Bennet all amazement, though flattered by having a guest of such high importance, received her with the utmost politeness. After sitting for a moment in silence, she said very stiffly to Elizabeth,

“I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. That lady I suppose is your mother.”

Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was.

“And that I suppose is one of your sisters.”

“Yes, madam,” said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak to a lady Catherine. “She is my youngest girl but one. My youngest of all, is lately married, and my eldest is some-where about the grounds, walking with a young man, who I believe will soon become a part of the family.”

It’s certainly possible to look at all of these and way, well, none of them are particularly drastic. Which is true. The story is so good that it can stand and still be a highly enjoyable read even with all of these little errors. But it’s not quite Austen’s voice. And I, for one, believe it’s even better when it is in her voice, restored to 1813. That was the purpose of doing this project, and I again want to thank readers for their interest in it!


Book Title: Mistress: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen; Annotated by Sophie Turner
Tour Dates: July 27 – September 15
Genre: Classics, Historical Romance, Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Feedbooks to come

Book Description

The novel needs no introduction. But readers may not have realised that we have been losing “Pride and Prejudice” over the years, particularly digitally. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have eroded significantly from the 1813 Egerton first edition, and many digital copies suffer from poor formatting.

In 2017, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, her “darling Child” has been painstakingly restored to the three-volume 1813 first edition. Adjustments have only been made where there were errors in the 1813 text, and are noted in detailed annotations at the end of the novel.

Please enjoy this beloved story, restored to Jane Austen’s original 
Contact Sophie Turner

Author Biography

Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.

She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.

Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.

She blogs about her writing endeavours at, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.

Blog Tour Schedule

July 27 / My Vices and Weaknesses/ Guest Post & Giveaway
July 28 / Austenesque Reviews/Book Excerpt & Giveaway
July 29 / My Love for Jane Austen/ Guest Post & Giveaway
August 3 /Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway
August 4 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway
September 4 / Diary of an Eccentric/ Guest Post & Giveaway
September 5 / Laughing with Lizzie / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
September 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Book Review & Giveaway
September 12 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
September 14 / More Agreeably Engaged /Guest Post & Giveaway
September 15 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Excerpt & Giveaway


Sophie Turner is giving away one eBook of Pride and Prejudice Restored to 1813 and the giveaway is international. To be entered please leave us a comment and tell us what you think of these word changes, punctuation differences, etc. I am excited to see the differences and can't wait to read the novel again , in Jane Austen's true voice. Thank you, Sophie, for such an enlightening and interesting post. I'm thrilled to have you stop by on your tour. Best wishes with this project! I cannot imagine the time and research that went into it.

For a chance to win this lovely book, have your share in the conversation. The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 18th of September. Good luck to all.