Thursday, March 29, 2018

And the winners are...

I have some winners to announce.
One is for Mark Brownlow's post, Cake & Courtship.
There are two eBooks being given away for Jan Hahn's new book, The Child; one is for the cover reveal
and one is for Christina Boyd's review.
The last winner is for Sophia Rose's review of 
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque by Don Jacobson.

Congratulations to all the winners.
Thank you for stopping by the blog
and taking the time to comment.

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
by Don Jacobson

Dung Vu

The Child by Jan Hahn

Cover Reveal

Carole in Canada

Christina Boyd Review
Patty Edmisson

Cake & Courtship by Mark Brownlow

eBook or Chocolates? The winner chose...


Thank you, Mark, for being my guest and hosting such a tempting and fun giveaway.

Again, congratulations to all the winners. Thanks so much for supporting my blog and the writers. You are appreciated.
A special thanks to everyone having the giveaways.
My readers love winning books. Who doesn't, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Riana Everly...The Assistant

Riana Everly is back at More Agreeably Engaged for my stop on her blog tour for her latest release, The Assistant. I hope you will all give her a warm welcome. Riana is talking to us today about images and how important they are. An image can most definitely be worth a thousand words. It can say much with no words being spoken. I like this idea for your post and loved looking at all the pictures as you told us about them. Oooh, I do love a costume ball, too! How fun that you write to us about a Twelfth Night Ball! Take it away, Riana Everly!


Thank you, Janet, for hosting me on this stop on my blog tour for The Assistant. I’m thrilled to be here today to talk a bit about my new release. Since I know Janet is an artist, I thought I would delve into images as much as text, because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And what is more colourful – in every sense of the word – than a costume ball? I hope you enjoy the sights.

Masked ball costumes

During the Regency period in England, and indeed for years before and after, costume balls were very popular, and especially so for Twelfth Night festivities. In fact, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night is really just about dressing up gone wrong! Some fancy dress balls were unmasked, but others were designed to have the guests in disguise, to make a game of trying to discern who, exactly, was who!

Since my hero, Edward Gardiner, meets an enchanting lady at such a Twelfth Night ball, I thought I would take a quick look at what sorts of costumes might have been worn at such an event.

In this image (image: Costume Ball), you can see a nun, a knight in partial armour with a plume in his helmet, a chap in Elizabethan garb, a shepherdess, a fellow in a Persian costume with a turban and a grand feather, and a Puritan, among other costumes.

Here (image: Beauty Unmasked) is a drawing from the 1770s, showing a young woman with a turban and mask ready to meet the evening incognito!

Historical costumes were popular, from Ancient Greece to pre-Revolutionary France. Edward’s friend Frederick is disguised as Louis XIV at his mother’s ball.  Characters from mythology were also popular costumes, and Frederick’s eye is on a young woman dressed as a Greek goddess. This image (image: Ancient Greece) is from the Victorian era, but Miss Lancaster’s costume would have been similar, with the addition of a disguising helmet and mask!

Also popular were characters from the Commedia dell’arte and other Venetian-inspired costumes. Edward attended in the guise of the Duke Orsino from Twelfth Night, but with an elaborate Italianate mask (image: Carnival half-mask).

Here is a woman’s masquerade costume from the late 1760s, showing such a costume. (image: Masquerade 1765-1770)

Ethnic costumes (or rather, those loosely inspired by exotic lands) were also very popular. In the July, 1807 edition of Le Beau Monde, there is a drawing of an Egyptian costume with the following description: (image: Beau Monde 1807 Egyptian)

“The head-dress is composed of a rich handkerchief of white lace, which crosses the back part of the head; each corner of the handkerchief, a small distance from the shoulder, falls on the front of the neck; the handkerchief is trimmed round with a magnificent border of peals, and each corner is finished with a bunch of the same; the hair is curled on the top of the forehead with small thick curls, separated with a band of diamonds, which crosses the forehead, and continues round the head; two small curls down the side of the face. A rich white figured sarsnet dress made with a short train, and scollope back; sleeves very short and covered with a broad flap of white lace; the undersleeve is trimmed round with small French pearls; also the lace, which is fastened to the back part of the sarsnet sleeve with a star of pearls; the front is made full each way, and covered with rich lace fastened in the centre with a star to correspond with the sleeves. An Egyptian train of lilac spider net, showered with pearls, and worked in the centre with a large star of the same, cut in the form of a half handkerchief, wider a one end than at the other; one end is cut square, and gathered up full on the left shoulder with a pearl star; a piece of sarsnet, from under the left arm, richly ornamented, crosses the front, and is fastened with the middle corner of the train to the right knee with a bunch of pearls; the other corner, which reaches to the bottom of the dress, is finished with a large pearl tassel; the dress and train are trimmed round with pearls to correspond. White kid gloves and shoes.”

Likewise, Chinese, Persian and Indian-inspired costumes were the rage. This 1809 drawing (image: Beau Monde 1809 Hindoostan) shows “A Lady of Hindoostan” wearing a pair of loose trousers as part of her costume. In The Assistant, Edward meets a young woman attired as an Indian Princess, complete with feathered turban and face mask. Fortunately for her disguise, turbans were generally in fashion at the turn of the century, and she needn’t have looked very far for hers! (March 1796 Detail)

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing just a few of the sights at the ball. Here is an excerpt from the story.

From The Assistant

The ballroom was becoming rather full by the time the two friends braved its crowds. Frederick pushed through the gathering masses of costumed guests, past princesses and Oriental magistrates and bejewelled doges and glittering fairies, eventually leading Edward to the far corner of the vast space. There, near an ornate marble pillar, stood two masked women. One, dressed in the guise of a Roman goddess, looked up expectantly as Frederick approached. The helmet on her head and her glittering shield proclaimed her to be Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, but the attitude of expectation in which she held herself bespoke more of Venus, goddess of love. If her expression was a guide to her inclinations, she was not averse to Frederick’s attentions.

“Mr. Dyson,” she proclaimed, her pink lips forming into a sweet smile at his appearance. “I am truly happy to see you this evening. It was so very generous of your mother to invite us at such a late date.” Her smile widened and Edward saw that she was genuinely delighted to encounter his friend.

Frederick’s smile was no less telling. “Athena, the Conqueror, who has captured my heart,” he purred as he flirted shamelessly with the young woman. “Might I be so bold as to introduce to you my very good, but far less handsome, friend? Miss Lancaster, Mr. Gardiner. Edward, Miss Lancaster.”

Curtseys and bows were exchanged, along with the appropriate ‘how do you do’s.’ Miss Lancaster was indeed very elegant in her flowing white robes. She was of above average height and lithe, with long limbs and a pleasing figure. Her hair, or that of it which could be seen from beneath her helmet, shone a rich ebony, and her skin was fair and clear. The colour of her eyes was difficult to discern beneath the mask which all but covered them, but Edward fancied them light blue or grey. Although he had not yet seen all of Miss Lancaster’s visage, he found he approved of his friend’s choice, for Miss Lancaster seemed to be quite handsome indeed, with a pleasing manner.

The initial introduction having been made, Edward’s attention now turned to Miss Lancaster’s companion. She had been standing demurely behind her friend, almost as if reluctant to be seen, despite the flamboyance of her costume. The lady appeared to be young, perhaps twenty years of age, and was shorter than Miss Lancaster, perhaps a hair below the average height for a woman. She wore the stunning and elaborate garb of India, with bright yellow and orange silks and richly embroidered scarves in a swirl around her body. She was somewhat slight in stature, but round where a woman ought to be round and pleasing in appearance, and Edward found the need to prevent his eye from roving too freely over her costumed form.

Over her face she wore a three-quarter mask of unremarkable origin, though decorated in ribbons to match her clothing. Her head was covered with a fanciful turban, graced with jewels and beads and feathers. A few threads of flaxen hair showed from beneath the ornate head dress, curling prettily, and her features were obscured behind the decorated mask. Only her mouth and chin were visible, betraying her complexion to be fair and her lips light pink. Edward realized that those lips were very, very pretty when she smiled. There was something distracting and familiar about her, he mused. Perhaps he had met her before, at one of his mother’s parties, or perhaps seeking fabric in his shops. Or, perhaps, the very nature of her costume, with its swirls and wrappings of lush silks, brought to mind his own love of fine textiles and the pleasures of being surrounded by fine and beautiful bolts of fabric. He smiled.


A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!


Store-specific links for Amazon, are as follows:

Amazon US link 

Amazon Canada link

Amazon UK link

Social Media Links

Rafflecopter Give-away

Riana Everly is giving away five copies of the Ebook to blog readers through a random drawing on Rafflecopter. She will contact winners through the email address they provide to ascertain the appropriate format for the file. She will email the file directly to the winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Riana, for visiting More Agreeably Engaged as part of your blog tour for The Assistant. Your post is such a neat post and I found it informative as well as entertaining. Your short excerpt has the desired effect of making the reader want more! I wish you the best with this latest release. Please come back anytime!

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Child...Jan Hahn

Available on Amazon
Today is my stop for the Blog Tour of The Child by Jan Hahn. I'm thrilled to be a part of this tour and have Jan visit. Have you been following the tour so far? I have and it has been delightful! What did you think of Rita's review yesterday? If you haven't read it, I urge you to do so. 

Jan shares an excerpt with us that I feel sure you will enjoy. I remember this scene in the book and loved Darcy's thoughts as he sees Elizabeth enter the room. The rest you will have to read for yourself, but oh my, do take note of the last sentence! :) I bet Darcy beamed!

Please welcome Jan Hahn.


I’m delighted to visit your lovely blog again, Janet, with an excerpt from my latest book, The Child. Thank you so much for participating in the blog tour.

In this scene, a second Netherfield ball is in progress, but it takes place three years after the first. Bingley has not married Jane, Darcy has not married Elizabeth, the Bennet family is in disgrace, and when Bingley invites them to his ball, the community is shocked. Darcy is the narrator.

The Child Excerpt

 On my right, I heard a bustle of activity and familiar shrieks of delight. Sure enough, Mrs. Bennet had arrived. I watched her flatter Bingley and his sisters while her patient husband suffered behind her. Jane and Kitty Bennet curtsied―but where was Elizabeth? 

I moved closer, straining to see over the crowd when, at last, I caught a glimpse of her dark hair. She wore a gown of white, simple but elegant when compared to Caroline’s feathers and Mrs. Hurst’s velvet. She was so lovely that I felt my senses heighten. I watched the false welcomes of Bingley’s sisters, and as soon as she had passed, how they rolled their eyes at each other. Why did Caroline dislike Elizabeth as she did? Was it because she was prettier, more intelligent, and wittier than either of Bingley’s sisters, or did it have to do with me? I recalled I had not failed to remark upon Elizabeth’s fine eyes and lovely face, but I had never revealed the depth of my feelings for her within the Bingleys’ company. At least, I hoped I had not. 

The music began, and I dismissed such questions. Bingley asked Miss Bennet to dance. Someone might as well have fired off a shot in the crowd! Throughout the room, audible gasps and murmurs could be heard above the sounds of the musicians. The dowagers around me drew their heads together behind their fans to discuss the dancers, their feathers bobbing ahead of the rhythm while they waved their fans furiously. I dreaded the impression my friend created. With Mrs. Bennet’s imagination and the barest hint of gossip, all of Hertfordshire would believe Bingley would ask for Jane Bennet’s hand, just as it had years earlier. And now, it would cause even more rumours because of the family’s disgrace.

“Look there,” a lady whom I did not know said within range of hearing. “Since Mr. Bingley deigns to dance with Jane Bennet, Mr. Perkins has asked Elizabeth to dance. And what is this? Is that young Jenkinson leading Kitty Bennet to the floor?”

I craned my neck to see the man who dared to dance with my Elizabeth. He appeared presentable, and my neck cloth grew tight when she favoured him with one of her sparkling smiles. It was all I could do to refrain from marching across the room and snatching her away from him in front of everyone! Of course, that was a scene to be enacted only in my dreams. Still, the fact that she obviously enjoyed his company provoked me. What would I not give to take his place! Instead, I returned to my new occupation of listening in on conversations not meant for my ears.

“It appears Mr. Bingley has overlooked their misfortune, for he did invite the Bennets to the ball,” said the woman sitting next to the former speaker.

“And if a man of Mr. Bingley’s wealth can deem the girls worthy of attention, then every man in attendance will want to dance with them, for they are still some of the loveliest in the county.”

“Hmmph! Men may dance with the Bennet girls, but mark my words. No man of worth will ever marry them.”

“You forget Mary Bennet did secure a husband, and she the plainest of them all.”

“He is but a poor curate. I hear they hardly have enough to get by. And he would not have married her if he had remained in Hertfordshire, you know. It took an offer of a position in Shropshire where the Bennets’ story is most likely unknown before he proposed. I know that for a fact, for I have it from Mrs. Marigold, and she heard it from her cousin, Sally James, who heard it from her cook’s daughter who works for our vicar.”

…(Darcy dances with Jane and then retreats to the balcony)…

 Inhaling deeply, I recognized the season would soon change, for the temperature had dropped considerably since the evening had begun. I leaned against the balustrade and stared up into the night sky. Only a star or two blinked in the dark expanse for a full moon hung high above my head. 

Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned just in time to see Elizabeth suddenly halt when she saw that I stood before her. Lowering her head, she turned back to the ballroom. Not wanting her to leave, I called her name, forcing her to stop and acknowledge my greeting. Slowly, she turned towards me, her face half in shadow. How beautiful she was! That familiar tightness in my chest returned like a well-known friend. Why did I find it hard to breathe when she was near?

“Mr. Darcy,” she murmured, “Jane told me you had returned from Town. I am surprised, for I did not expect to see you again. Please do not let me disturb your reverie.”

“My reverie is not disturbed.” If I had spoken honestly, I should have declared that she disturbed my thoughts, my dreams, my entire life, but I restrained myself. “Do not leave on my account. You will find the coolness of the night air refreshing after the heat of the ballroom.”
Seemingly with reluctance, she joined me beneath the moon-lit sky. My heart hammered in my chest, and I turned my face away, seeking some topic with which to engage Elizabeth in conversation. “I must admit I did not expect to see you out here.”

“Why is that?” she asked quickly. “If I intrude—”

“No, no, that is not what I meant. I wondered how you managed to elude the crowd.  Your popularity has certainly reigned tonight. Is this not the first dance you have forfeited?”

She smiled slightly. “I did not know you kept account of my partners, sir.”

I shrugged. “I am pleased to see you participate.”

“And somewhat surprised?”

“In what way?”

“Are you not astonished that my sisters and I do not lack for partners, given the unfortunate state of our family’s reputation?”

I had hoped to hide my presumption. “If you failed to notice, I danced the last with your older sister. I would request the favour of your hand for the next.”

She raised her eyes as though to see whether I spoke in jest. I met her gaze with my own, undaunted and without the hint of a smile.

“Mr. Darcy, pray do not think I am ungrateful that your friend extended invitations to my family for tonight’s ball. I understand what it signifies, and Mr. Bingley’s generosity is to be greatly commended. You, however, must not feel obliged to dance with me or any of my sisters. We will do perfectly well on our own.”

I nodded in acknowledgement of her words. “But I, Miss Elizabeth, shall not fare so well if you will not consent to be my partner.”

I held out my arm, willing it to remain steady. Ever so slowly, her eyes travelled up to mine where they lingered, seeming to search deep within until at length, she placed her hand on my arm.

Inside, we joined the line forming for the next set as the music began. The musicians had selected a favourite of mine, and I wondered whether Elizabeth shared my feelings. Instead of asking her, however, I remained as mute as a block of wood. The truth is, I could not think of one single subject on which to converse. I was swept into the enchanting and graceful way her body moved as we dipped and swayed and repeated the steps. Her skin glowed in the candlelight, and the blush on her cheeks rivalled that of a perfectly ripened peach. Throughout the dance, my eyes locked upon hers, and she did not avert her face. And at the end, when I was forced to give her up, Elizabeth favoured me with a smile.

Book Title: The Child
Authors: Jan Hahn
Blog Tour Dates: March 21 – April 2, 2018
Publisher: Meryton Press

Book Description:

Will Darcy ever grow to love a child he never wanted?

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford is disastrous. In Jan Hahn’s The Child, Darcy flees England soon afterward, striving to overcome his longing for her. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget. But who is the child holding her hand?

Darcy soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight. His misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.
Will Elizabeth be able to forgive Darcy for his good intentions gone awry? And what effect will the child have on Darcy’s hopes to win Elizabeth’s love?

Contact Links:

Jahn Hahn’s Facebook Page

Jan Hahn’s Author Page

Buy Links:

Amazon / Amazon UK

Jan Hahn’s Author Biography:
Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’
Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.

The Child Tour Schedule

March 21 My Jane Austen Book Club/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 22 From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway
March 23 More Agreeably Engaged / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 24 My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway
March 26 Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 Just Jane 1813/ Author Interview & Giveaway
March 28 Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview & Giveaway
March 29 So Little Time / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 30 Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 31 Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway
April 1 Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway
April 2 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

8 eBooks of The Child are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on March 21 – until midnight ET on April 4, 2018.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well, Readers, what do you think of this scene? Did you love it? I enjoyed the balcony encounter and the exchange between Darcy and Lizzy. I laughed while they were dancing and Darcy thinks, "I remained as mute as a block of wood." Poor Darcy. He always loses his tongue when he is around Elizabeth.

Thank you, Jan, for stopping by More Agreeably Engaged during your busy blog tour. We appreciate you sharing this excerpt with us. I wish you much success with your blog tour and especially, with your new release. I loved it! It seems by the many 5 star reviews that the others do too.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A More Engaging Guest Review...The Exile: Kitty Bennet & the Belle Époque

Available at Amazon
Sophia Rose is back with her "more engaging' guest review of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque, Don Jacobson. This is the third review by Sophia Rose of The Bennet Wardrobe Series. If you missed the first two, find them here;
The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey and Henry Fitzwilliam's War. There's a giveaway so don't forget to have your share in the conversation.

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Epoque by Don Jacobson
#2 The Bennet Wardrobe
Time Travel Romance, Austenesque
Publisher:  Self-published
Published:  6.2.17
Pages:  286
Format: ebook
Source: author
Sellers:  Amazon; Barnes& NobleGoodReads  


Longbourn, December 1811.

The day after Jane and Lizzy marry dawns especially cold for young Kitty Bennet. Called to Papa’s bookroom, she is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet who intends to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall.

She reacts like any teenager chafing under the “burden” of parental rules—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

Her heart’s desire?

"I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall! Anywhere but here!"

As Lydia later said, “The Wardrobe has a unique sense of humor.”

London, May 1886.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Marie Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam, a scion of the Five Families and one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, while their paths may have crossed that May morning, Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future. And Miss Bennet must now decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.

The Exile follows the story of Kitty Bennet as she grows from the coughing follower of her younger sister, Lydia, into a bright and engaging young woman living in the exciting world of the late 19th Century. However, she must pass through many trials before she can fully understand why the Wardrobe sent her 75 years into the future—and for her to become one of the most important fixtures in the Bennet Wardrobe Universe. 


It started with the making of a magical wardrobe and turned into a family legacy.  Keepers of the wardrobe have stepped up in their turn to show their worth and this time its Kitty and Henry's turn.

I am so glad I was able to read the novella Henry Fitzwilliam's War before embarking on The Exile, here.  It definitely helped to shape my understanding and deeper interest in this first volume of Kitty's story.  Ah yes, this is indeed part one.  I'm glad of that or I'd feel consternation about requiring more.

Though, that said, this one started slow with the laying down of the foundation of the story that takes place predominately in the 1880's before it catapults the reader into an intense, darker, grittier path than expected.  I'll issue a trigger warning here for those who are unable to read about abuse at this time.  Kitty must go through the fires of hell before coming out on the other side and I was moved deeply over her plight.  I wished Henry could have been fleshed out more during all this which is why I made the comment earlier that it was good to get that earlier story that lets the reader in on why he's so reticent.

I do not wish to spoil for other readers the shocking events in store for Kitty so I won't detail out the events.  I will say that she goes from petulant teenager to deeply introspective woman who is ready to take her place as a mover and shaker in the world.

On a side note, I got a kick out of the cameos from Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Renoir, and Freud.  What could be better when one is getting a Time Travel Family Saga than to see the characters rubbing shoulders with great literary and real famous figures.

The ending was gravely ominous without ending on a dreaded cliffie and set things up for the next part of Kitty's story.  My only disappointment was wanting a longer denouement before the epilogue for Kitty and Henry after all they experienced in this one.  Perhaps it comes later.

I continued to be quite captivated by this riveting series and am eager to press forward for what is to come.  Again, I am nudging this series toward Austen lovers particularly if they enjoy a strong ration of magical time travel with their variations and sequels.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author’s Bio:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.

He now exclusively writes Regency Romance fiction. In 2016, he published The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey which began the Bennet Wardrobe saga.

Subsequent books in the series include:

Henry Fitzwilliam's War (e-novelette) (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Epoch (2017)
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)
The Exile: The countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

He also published the paired novellas Of Fortune's Reversal and The Maid and The Footman which examine the same event from two different perspectives: that of the gentry and that of the servants.

He holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of the Jane Austen Society of Puget Sound (JASNA). He is also a member of the Regency Romance writers' collective Austen Authors.

Author’s Website:

Sophia Rose Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate. Writing has been a compelling need since childhood.



Thanks for taking the time to drop by and read the review of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque. Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? Sophia, thanks for telling us what you thought of this book in The Bennet Wardrobe Series. I am enjoying reading your reviews of these books that are so unique. Until April...when we share your thoughts on Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess. The giveaway is one eBook of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque. The giveaway ends at 11:59 on the 25th of March. Good luck to all. The giveaway is international.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Guest Review by a Great Reader...The Child

Available at Amazon
Good morning, Dear Readers! We have a special treat today. Christina Boyd is visiting and is sharing her thoughts on Jan Hahn's new release, The Child. Her review will give you a taste of what will be coming during the blog tour for The Child, which starts on March 21st. 

Thank you, Christina, and welcome to More Agreeably Engaged.

A Review: The Child by Jan Hahn

Accomplished author Jan Hahn’s latest Austenesque novel, The Child, beseeches “can love overcome all, even the prejudice against a child born to an archenemy?” She writes just the kind of tale that lures me in, consumes me. In Hahn’s stirring re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, two years after Miss Elizabeth Bennet baldly refused his hand in marriage, Mr. Darcy beholds her from across a London street...with a young child in tow. A child! Whose child? But before he can approach her, he is called into the church: “I say, Darce, are you coming? ... The bride is waiting, Darcy!” Bride! Whose bride? Thus, within the first pages, I was addicted.

Years have changed Darcy and Elizabeth since that ill-conceived proposal at the Hunsford parsonage and each has their own cross to bear. Darcy learns that while he and Charles Bingley toured the continent to escape heartache, the Bennets of Longbourn have been embroiled in scandal—the Wickham affair. George Wickham, his boyhood friend, now foe, had eloped with a Bennet daughter, abandoning her with child. Hearing the rumors, all fingers point to Elizabeth as the unwed mother. Yet, when the Bennets’ horse throws a shoe and waylays their carriage on the road to Hertfordshire, Fate intervenes, once again propelling Darcy and Bingley into the company of Miss Jane Bennet and Elizabeth. Offering to deliver the ladies and “the child” home, Darcy cannot but observe the interaction between Miss Elizabeth and Baby Fan:
Naturally, Elizabeth tended to the little girl, I observed she was a most proficient mother. How tender her touch and her tone as she petted and soothed the little one! Just the kind of mother I had envisioned her to be. I remembered dreams of old that had contained a child of mine suckling at her breast. Long vanished now, man!

Back in the neighborhood, the gentlemen see with their own eyes how even the four and twenty families of Meryton have shunned the Bennets. Gossips declare that Wickham is the father and Darcy is tested like never before—guilt, resentment, and pride clash with his enduring, unrequited love and his need to somehow, some way, restore the Bennets’ honor. How could she not have heeded his warning and eloped with the blackguard, resulting in these shameful consequences? Told in the first-person narrative through Darcy’s eyes, the warring between his sense and sensibilities is honest and intimate.  
Abruptly, she withdrew her hand from mine. I realized she could not bear the shame of my disapproval, for I represented society, the same society that condemned her and her family. Our hypocrisy be damned! Neither Elizabeth nor her sisters should suffer the degradation Wickham had inflicted upon them.

Darcy knows Bingley can never marry Jane Bennet as long as the child remains in the Bennet household—a constant reminder of their misfortune and fall from grace—and he takes it upon himself to find Wickham and convince him to claim the child (read: bribery). Alas, nothing ensues as Darcy expects and he must disguise these machinations—and his yearning—or risk losing all he has ever desired.
Immediately, I realized how I had exposed my feelings. What in blazes had I been thinking? That was the problem—I had not been thinking at all. I had been caught up in the pleasure of walking with Elizabeth and basking in the delicious scent that wafted over me when we inadvertently stepped too close to each other.

Further, several beloved and anticipated characters from canon add color to this heart-stopping tale.

I first discovered the elegant writings of “JanH” in February 2007 on-line at Mrs. Darcy’s Story Site. I inhaled all she had published on the Web and when she was posting her “work-in-progress” (WIP) on Sunday evenings, Sunday became “JanH Night” in my house—and soon after the dishes were put away, I was on-line, reading her latest installment. In 2011, she began posting The Child; this WIP became my weekly high, my drug of choice. To my delight, seven years later, I find this tightened and edited version exceptional as anticipated, nay, as expected. Hahn’s absolute understanding of Austen’s characters, imaginative story, and adept research of the language and mores of Regency England create powerful imagery and emotive reading. I heartily recommend you read The Child sooner than later. But be warned, once you start it, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll find yourself at midnight swearing, “Just one more chapter. I can stop any time.” 5 stars. —Christina Boyd

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. She is the editor of anthologies The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, and another coming later in 2018. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

Jan Hahn's much loved eBook, The Journey, is on sale for $1.99. Thank you Meryton Press.

Christina, I want to say a special thanks to you for agreeing to visit my blog and post your thoughts on The Child by Jan Hahn. I loved everything you said about the book. It is such a good novel and I'm thrilled to see it published as well. It's been a privilege to have you share your review with me and my readers. I invite you to come back anytime. Thank you again.

If you haven't already purchased the eBook, you have a chance to win it here. I'm giving it away and the giveaway is international. Please leave a comment for a chance to win. The giveaway ends March 19th at 11:59 PM. Good luck to all.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MAE Favorites of 2017 and the Ides of March

March was the first month of the year in the Roman calendar and March 15th always fell on a full moon. The Ides of March was the deadline for the Romans of old to pay off debts and settle affairs. I'm not a Roman but I will settle some affairs today. Even though some may consider the Ides of March an unlucky day, I'm choosing to consider it a good day for me to share some of my favorites. While I may be a little late posting my favorites of 2017, according to our calendar, I'm not late according to the Roman calendar. ☺ ♥ 

There were so many books that I did not get to read in 2017, but I've started reading some of those this year. I hope to get to many more of them and some being released in 2018 too. Isn't it wonderful how many good books we have, allowing us to spend time, reliving with the characters, the wonderful plots and twists imagined by the authors. I love getting immersed in their world and their lives for a short while.

The reads that made a lasting impression are below and not necessarily in any order. How many of these were your favorites too? I know some of mine also made it on a few other blog lists for favorites of 2017.

To read an interesting article on the Ides of March, click this link.


These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Two lovers are torn apart by a horrendous act, yet are beautifully connected by a strong thread that forever binds them together. This epic novel is much more than a Darcy and Lizzy love story.
It has many layers and as you peel back each layer, the story gets richer and more in depth. 

The Best Part of Love by A. D'Orazio
I truly enjoyed this first release by author, A. D'Orazio.
It was a neat change having Lizzy's true identity unknown to Darcy. Hiding in plain sight, 
Lizzy is much more than she is thought to be. Her story is different and fraught with danger.

A Quest for Mr. Darcy by Cassandra Grafton
Cassandra Grafton wrote a lovely story whose Darcy made me swoon. Oh my!
There are many exquisite unplanned moments with Darcy and Lizzy. A stranger in the woods,
a mistaken fox, a bucket of water, and the Bingley twins all add to the mystery and fun.

Mr. Darcy's Brides by Regina Jeffers
This was such a unique plot and I loved it! Regina Jeffers can spin a good tale. It was great
spending so much time with Darcy and Lizzy. As they got to know each other,
it was wonderful experiencing it with them.

Mr. Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
Aww, what can I say? This was another excellent story by author, Joana Starnes. I'll read anything she writes! I love a forced or arranged marriage scenario with much Darcy/Lizzy time and a little (or a lot) of angst thrown in. Nobody tortures Darcy and Lizzy like Joana Starnes! 

When We Are Married by Caitlin Williams
This was such a good story. Darcy was in quite a predicament with Jane and her misunderstanding.
It was interesting to witness this different turn of events. This is one of the few books that show another side to Jane Bennet and did so in a way that felt believable.

Mistress by Sophie Turner
I was unsure about reading this in the beginning but was curious about the premise. I'm so glad I chose to read it. Sophie Turner convinced me, while keeping the characters true to their originals, that the story could have happened just like she wrote it.


A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder
This comedy made me laugh more times than I can remember. It was quite fun!
Collins, may have been handsome but what about his personality? 

Christmas Anthology:

A Very Austen Christmas by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis and Barbara Cornthwaite
Each of these stories was so well-written and entertaining.
I was left with a satisfying and good feeling. It is an excellent read at Christmas but would be enjoyable any time of the year. I highly recommend these four stories.


The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd
The short stories were all from Darcy's point of view and were divided into Regency
and contemporary settings. With this many authors and the quality of their writing,
there should be something for every reader. 


The Bennet Wardrobe by Don Jacobson

This includes all the books I read in 2017. I love this series of novels and novellas. The Wardrobe takes on a life of its own, helping those of Bennet blood to reach their full potential. Mr. Jacobson incorporates other fictional characters, as well as historical people to interact within his story.
This series is an 'extraordinary journey'.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey 
Henry Fitzwilliam's War 
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
Elizabeth Bennet Meets the Countess
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

Most Unique and Fun:

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku by James Gaynor
This is the most unusual book I've read in awhile. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this author's take of the first lines of each chapter. I laughed out loud numerous times.
The Haiku made me think and taught me a thing or two.


That's my list of most memorable reads of 2017. How many are the same as yours? What are some of your favorites? I would love to know and add them to my TBR list if they are not already there. :) I have a rather lengthyTBR list that is growing daily!

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my favorites. Of all the books I read last year, none of them were poorly written. I enjoyed things about each of them. I'm already making my list for 2018. I'm hoping there will be some North & South variations to include in it! Hint, hint!