Thursday, January 24, 2019

Victoria Kincaid...Darcy and Deception

Victoria Kincaid is back to chat about her latest novel, Darcy and Deception, and I'm happy to have her here. I have followed Victoria's writing from the beginning, and I am always eager to see what she written next. In Victoria Kincaid's first book, she took Darcy and Lizzy to France. It was a unique premise and one that I enjoyed immensely. Darcy and Deception have Darcy and Lizzy in France again, but under quite different circumstances. I believe I will leave it there and turn this over to Victoria. Please join me in welcoming Victoria Kincaid.


Happy New Year, Janet, and thank you for having me as a guest!   Darcy and Deception has taken me longer to write than just about any of my other P&P variations—except the first, The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth.  I started to write it two years ago and just couldn’t get the plot to work.  But I returned to it in late 2018 and realized I needed to structure it more like a mystery novel (a genre I haven’t written in).  I also eliminated a plot point where Elizabeth gets engaged to Wickham (horrifying thought!) because it led the story off in the wrong direction.  I’m very pleased that my “Wickham as a spy” story finally made it into print, and I hope my readers will like it as well.  Please enjoy the excerpt below:

Returning home from Kent, Elizabeth Bennet is still distressed over Mr. Darcy’s insulting marriage proposal.  However, her attention is diverted by the local militia commander who asks her to observe Wickham, now suspected of being a French spy.  Pretending to be besotted with Wickham, Elizabeth accompanies the regiment when they relocate to Brighton.  
Darcy arrives at Longbourn with the intention of making amends to Elizabeth, only to discover that she is now at Brighton with Wickham.  Desperate to save her from the scoundrel, Darcy follows her to the seaside, where he hopes to woo her away from the other man.    
Deception piles on top of deception as Elizabeth attempts to carry out her mission without betraying confidences—or breaking Darcy’s heart.  However, the French plot runs deeper than she knows; soon she and Darcy are plunged into the confusing and dangerous world of international espionage.  Can Darcy and Elizabeth escape with their lives and their love intact?

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Those words had haunted Elizabeth’s dreams for a week.  All of Mr. Darcy’s words from that ill-fated night circled her mind like birds that refused to land, continuously intruding upon her thoughts.  But the declaration of love, in particular, pushed itself into her consciousness again and again, a most unwelcome visitor.  

Many of his other words that day had been painful and had provoked anger.  Many she could dismiss as the result of his mistaken pride or his misapprehension of her character.  But he had declared his love in an eloquent and heartfelt—and apparently unforgettable—manner.  Those words could not easily be brushed aside or ignored.

The shock of Mr. Darcy’s declaration had not worn off completely.  At unrelated moments she would suddenly be struck with a recollection that the master of Pemberley had made her, Elizabeth Bennet, an offer of marriage.  Even now as she watched the scenery of Kent stream past her carriage window, she struggled to reassure herself that the event had indeed occurred.  It would be easier to comprehend the happening if she could speak with someone on the subject, but she had resolved to tell the story only to Jane.  Nobody else would have the requisite discretion and understanding. 

If she told her father, he would be incredulous before considering it to be the occasion for a good many jokes.  Her mother would be in despair that Elizabeth had refused the offer.  Kitty and Lydia would perforce share the news with the entire population of Hertfordshire—which was also true of her mother, come to think of it.  Mary would moralize.

Only Jane will keep my confidence and will not laugh at my ignorance. Elizabeth willed the carriage to greater speed so that she might see her beloved sister all the sooner.  She arranged herself more comfortably against the carriage’s squabs and imagined the solace of Jane’s presence.   Her sister might also offer useful counsel.

Elizabeth could use some advice.  Reading Mr. Darcy’s letter had been a most unsettling experience.  She had thought Mr. Darcy a villain and Mr. Wickham a victim, but the letter had revealed how wrong she had been.  She had believed he disdained Jane’s match with Mr. Bingley because of her dowry when he had believed her sister to be indifferent to the man.  Likewise, Elizabeth had assumed he had observed her with disapproval and disdain when he had been viewing her with…longing.

Elizabeth closed her eyes briefly, still dismayed by the depth of her misapprehension.  She still struggled to ascertain her own sentiments about the man.  When Mr. Darcy had spoken in Hunsford, she had been horrified, but now…she knew that much of her dislike was based upon false information….

How did she feel about Mr. Darcy?  Believing he held disdain for her, she had felt the same for him.  But knowing he loved her…could she love him? 

He was handsome, well spoken, and certainly eligible.  They enjoyed lively conversations, and their tastes in books and music were surprisingly harmonious.  But he was proud and difficult.  Was he not? 

If only she could see him with new eyes!  More than once Elizabeth wished she could conjure him from the air so she might judge him with improved understanding.  Perhaps she could have developed tender feelings for the man under other circumstances.

Elizabeth shook off this thought and gazed out of the window to distract herself, spying a stream and a patch of wildflowers that had just burst into bloom.  How lovely. Yes, she would think upon these sights and ignore any thoughts about Mr. Darcy. 

After all, her misjudgment of the man hardly signified.  Their paths were not likely to cross again—at least in the near future.  Perhaps in ten or fifteen years they might meet by accident when they were both married to other people.

Why did that thought make her sad? 


Thank you for visiting, Victoria. It is always such a pleasure to have you stop by. I must say, I have been intrigued by this new story of yours. You always seem to come up with a new twist and I like that. I look forward to seeing what you "have up your sleeve" next. I think you have another winner with Darcy and Deception and I hope to post my review of the book in the future. I truly enjoyed reading it. 
Victoria is giving away one eBook to one lucky winner.  Leave a comment to enter. Tell us what you think of Wickham as a spy. What do you think about Elizabeth pretending to be besotted with Wickham? What will Darcy think? Oh, my! That does pose a serious problem, doesn't it! You will love the Darcy in this book. He is quite the romantic! 
The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 29th of January. Be sure I can reach you should you be the winner. Good luck to all!

Friday, January 11, 2019

And the winners are...A Very Austen Valentine

It's time to announce some winners!

A Very Austen Valentine launch party was fun and well received. Everyone loved the beautiful cover and looked forward to reading the anthology! Two lucky winners will get that chance very soon.

Paperback winner:

eBook winner:
Rory Lemond

Congratulations to the winners. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and helped make the day more special!

Thanks to all the authors. It was great having you stop by and respond to the readers. We all appreciate your generosity and wish you the best with your new release.

Be sure to stop in for the blog tour for more chances to win this book! The Blog Tour schedule is below.

A Very Austen Valentine Blog Tour Schedule
01/06 Just the Write Escape; Guest Post, Giveaway
01/07 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Giveaway 
01/08 So Little Time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/09 Babblings of a Bookworm; Author Interview/Character Interview, Giveaway
01/10 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
01/11 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
01/12 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway
01/13 open
01/14 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Review or Vignette, Giveaway
01/15 My life journey; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/16 My Vices and Weaknesses; Guest Post or Vignette. Excerpt, Giveaway
01/17 open
01/18 Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway
01/19 open
01/20 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
01/21 Austenprose; Author Interview

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament...Don Jacobson

This is my stop on the blog tour for The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament, by Don Jacobson. It is always a pleasure when Don Jacobson is my guest. I like reading his thoughts on the Wardrobe. Today though, Don shares with us a character vignette/interview and an excerpt. I think you will like getting to know this Thomas and Frances (Fanny) Bennet a bit better. 

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament was a MAE Favorite of 2018. I hope you'll take a look.


Character Vignette/Interview
From a brief prepared by Adelaide Reynolds, Research Department, Bennet Family Trust, September 23, 1948.
As I walked into the bookroom, ably escorted by Hill, the young butler serving this smallish Hertfordshire estate, I was struck by the floor-to-ceiling bookcases which lined this well-appointed room. The general atmosphere, light and airy despite dozens of feet of richly-stained shelves, inspired a sense that this was a space designed for contemplation but able to accommodate vigorous debate. From time-to-time a gardener’s shape could be perceived moving through the grounds beyond the windows: their crystalline panes new from France in the early 1690s, in 1948 still admitting ripping waves that warmed the library and cast its occupants in a golden hue.
The Founder, Mr. Thomas Michael Bennet, was seated behind the great oaken worktable which, while its provenance extended back to the Glorious Revolution and then forward through ten generations of Bennet men, none-the-less firmly established that this man was now, as he always had been, the Master of Longbourn. Contrary to the sense which Miss Austen left of the Bennet patriarch, he showed none of the legendary indolence which had been his image for nearly a century-and-a-half. His uniquely shaped eyes, hazel-green, alertly began to scan my figure as if he was seeking to take a preliminary measure of me before I had a chance to utter a word.
Then he rose, pushing the wheeled chair back with his legs.
He stood, perhaps, nine inches over five feet. His frame was trim and tending toward athletic, which surprised me as, schooled by Miss Austen, I had assumed that he would have been shaped more like men of his age in the current where/when, rounded by too much rich food and drink and too little exercise. Perhaps more akin to Sir William Lucas.  True, his hair was thinning, however, his face was unlined beneath a skin glowing from the regular rounds of golf which, my brother Walter had assured me, had become his passion. I will admit that I was taken by the manner with which his figure “V-ed” from his shoulders to his hips, made most apparent when he buttoned the grey jacket of what was a masterly evocation of Saville Row artistry.
His greeting, combined with an outstretched hand, was awesome in its familiarity. Who was I, a recent hire into the Trust after my graduation from Oxbridge, to be deputed to interview The Founder and his Lady? Yet, there I was.
[The following is an edited literary transcription of three Dictabelts produced during an hour-long interview. AR]
Mr. Bennet reached out to shake my hand and greeted me in a rolling baritone, “Ah, you must be another of that remarkable clan we have come to call ‘Research Reynolds.’ I am aware of your brother’s role in the Department. I must admit that my sensibilities, rooted as they are in the late Eighteenth Century, still find women in academic roles unique but not unsettling.
“However, I must allow that t’was my wife who schooled me in the modern way in which ladies move through society.”
Then his voice lowered into a conspiratorial whisper, moderated by an impish twinkle in those arresting eyes of his, “However, you will have to forgive me if I slip and act in an antediluvian manner.”
Returning to his normal voice, he continued, “Permit me to gather my wife. Mrs. Bennet was quite excited to learn that you wished to speak to us about her roses. She will organize the seating once we return.”
He left me standing to admire the tooled leather bindings encasing the hundreds upon hundreds of volumes in the Longbourn collection: while smaller than Pemberley’s vast hoard was well-curated and tailored for a family of more modest means. However, I had little time to contemplate for Mr. Bennet returned with a woman upon his arm.
I was stunned; for, while I had perceived The Founder as a total entity in our brief conversation, I now could sense a soaring of spirit when this woman’s presence was combined with his. They were, to use a hackneyed phrase, a force of nature.
They fit together.
Bennet provided the offices of introduction. Soon we were seated in three leather wingbacks around a low table on which rested a simple bowl filled with cut flowers.
Frances Lorinda Bennet, born Gardiner, was a delightfully shaped woman of middle years. She was clearly a lady who had birthed children but had been fortunate to retain a semblance of her figure that bespoke of the astonishing beauty she had been when she had first discovered the tigress power of Eve. As with most blonde women of a certain age, her hair was streaked with the purest white that added highlights to her tresses. A gentle dusting of freckles graced her lightly tanned cheeks and the bridge of her nose bespeaking of a love of the outdoors in her much-vaunted gardens.
Taking her appearance as my cue, I asked about her fascination with gardening.
Mrs. Bennet settled back into her chair and smiled brilliantly, “Well, Miss Reynolds, it seems that word of my love of rosa floribundae has made it to Town. Fine…I will satisfy your curiosity.
“My Grandfather Gardiner, I am not certain how many ‘greats’ he would have been, returned from the Far East—he was with Mr. Christopher Bennet, you know—bearing a number of cuttings from rose plants cultivated in China.  His wife planted them in her first garden, and when they installed themselves in Hertfordshire, she uprooted her best and favorite bushes and transplanted them in their garden behind their Meryton house.
“Every Gardiner woman, even my sister Mrs. Philips, has made the cultivation of roses her particular mission.
“When I married Mr. Bennet, my mama allowed me to take my own cuttings from her plants. That was the beginning of Longbourn’s rose beds! Mr. Bennet’s papa, Mr. Samuel Bennet, had allowed the original lawns behind the house to go to seed. T’was his grief over having lost Mr. Bennet’s mama, Mrs. Lizzie Bennet, on top of having his eldest son simply vanish, that had laid low the poor man. He had already passed on before I had married his son.”
The lady subsided into a thoughtful pause, so I broke in with another question, “Is that why your daughters were referred to as ‘The Roses of Hertfordshire?’ Was it their love of the plant and their carrying on of the Gardiner heritage that led to that moniker?”
Mrs. Bennet snorted and proudly replied, “No, my dear, they were so called because they were the beauties of the county! I am beyond certain that you have seen the portraits at Thornhill, Pemberley, and Selkirk. I defy you to find another collection of young ladies with whom they could be compared.
“Even my darling Mary, and I will ever forgive myself for the way I assailed that poor girl, who was the plainest of the lot was still a stunning woman in her own right. And, to think I would have considered aligning her with that slugworm, Mr. Bennet’s cousin, Mr…”
Here Mr. Bennet broke in, “Fanny, that is a name no Bennet will ever utter!”
Looking slightly abashed, Mrs. Bennet continued, “Tom, I was only seeking to offer an example of how beneath our Mary was that awful man.”
Then, directing her sky-blue, nearly purple, orbs back at me, she continued, “But, in answer to your slight misconception about my girls and roses. While each of them certainly loved the flower, only one, as I understand it, Lydia, whom all seem to refer to as the Dowager Countess, assumed my mantle. I would commend a tour of the hothouses behind Selkirk. There you will see the extent to which she carried the Gardiner legacy.
“On top of that, the family apparently gave her free rein over all of their houses, the Beach House at Deauville, and, beyond the beds here, the Longbourn cemetery. 
“Her handiwork is evident at Pemberley, although Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s mother, Lady Anne, had been the prime mover. 
“Mr. Bingley, my Jane’s husband, averred that the sunshine yellow Lady Anne roses reminded him of his wife. Lydia made sure there was an ample supply of those transplanted from Pemberley over to Thornhill so that Bingley could grace his wife with a bouquet any time he was so moved—which was nearly every day.
“Lydia’s work at Pemberley included creating a special hybrid for Mr. Darcy. She named it Lizzy’s Own Red Bourbon. That rose was such a rich red that only a lady with the darkest of brunette locks and eyes could do it justice. That was my Lizzy!”
During this oration, I glanced over to Mr. Bennet. His eyes had assumed a faraway look and swam with unshed tears. Mis wife’s speech was shaking his memories of young girls in their first bloom of womanhood.
Mrs. Bennet’s speech broke through my own reverie, “Lydia also found a way to create a hardy, late blooming white cultivar, suitable for outdoor plantings. Look at the Kympton Vicarage. Mr. Benton and his Mary adored late afternoon walks amongst the bushes. Of course, the white rose was perfect for my middle girl. It symbolizes purity, and if I have learned anything of the woman into whom my daughter grew, her spirit and motives were of a kind with fresh-fallen snow, unblemished.
“Of Kitty, well, I would suggest you visit the Beach House. Lydia planted hundreds of plants along the grey fieldstone wall surrounding the compound. Apparently, she once told Kitty’s husband, Lord Henry, when he was but a boy, that Kitty reminded her of all of the roses she had chosen to represent her beloved female relatives.”
At this, Mrs. Bennet quieted until I asked, “But, Mrs. Bennet, I have visited Deauville as I was researching roses and the Bennets. There are five varieties planted there.”
The lady nodded and replied, “You have the right of it. Lydia had originally planted four, but I chose not to mention the last for she did that to honor me, calling me the Mother plant. I would not wish to draw undue attention to myself as I have always felt that my girls were the ones who climbed to great heights. 
“My rose, you see is Rosa Chinensis.”
“That would be the one which tends toward a tangerine or salmon hue,” I added.
“Yes, it has always been my favorite. If you step out into Longbourn’s garden right now, you will find R. chinensis in full bloom.
“The fifth rose at Deauville was not planted by Lydia, but rather in her honor just three years ago. The two Countesses, Georgiana of Pemberley and Anne of Matlock, added the fifth rose as a memorial to her for all that she did for her sister.
“So, the final rose in the garland is the blush, and I think it suits Lydia perfectly. The tints of pink are redolent of happiness. That was my Lydia. No, she was not virginal, the other context for blush, but rather she embraced life—the good and the bad—with unfeigned joy. She had limited pretentions. She was neither haughty nor proud.”
Mr. Bennet interrupted his wife’s flow of thought saying, “Yes, our youngest ate life with a large spoon. Of course, Miss Reynolds, you must realize that we have only known her as a young girl, prone to an adolescent’s failings. 
“In our where/when she still trusts to easily and judges based upon surface traits rather than a deeper reading of character. I imagine that she changed considerably as she aged.”
Mrs. Bennet chimed in, “What little I have been able to learn about Lydia’s life in the years after she left home, it seems that she drew closer to her sisters and built a life with her husband and their sons. 
“But, she never stopped, as Mr. Bennet has reminded us, eating life with a big spoon.
With that, the discussion of roses ended, and the couple rose to bid me farewell. As Mr. Hill escorted me from Longbourn’s bookroom, I caught Mr. Bennet reaching down and pulling a salmon-colored blossom from that bowl on the low table, embellished his wife’s short coiffure with a perfect Rosa Chinensis.


Thank you for this opportunity to present this character vignette that might have appeared in The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament. I look forward to your comments.
I hope you will enjoy this little excerpt that offers a bit more about Mrs. Bennet and her roses.
This excerpt is ©2018 by Don Jacobson. Any reproduction—either in print or electronic—without the expressed written consent of the author is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.
From Chapter XXIX
Fanny Bennet carefully brushed dirt clumps and grass clippings from the knees of her pantaloons, what her grand-daughters and nieces called slacks, as she finished her afternoon’s attention to the manse’s rose beds. She stood and knuckled her lower back with clenched fists, trying to relax middle-aged muscles unused to being stretched as they had been for the past several hours.
What would Mathilda Lucas and Louisa Goulding have said if they spied me wearing a pair of Annie’s jodhpurs. The two of them probably would have fled down Longbourn Lane cackling like a pair of prize biddy hens. T’would be the stuff of Meryton gossip for weeks, if not months.
I could not care less! Back in my day, t’was always near impossible to do the right type of weeding around the base of the plants. Ground-length skirts and stays were never intended to permit a lady to drop to the ground. Of course, the gardener and grounds’ servants could be tasked to do the job, but oh lordy, they would make a first-rate mess of things.
Now, in this age, I can get down amongst my plants, making sure that the fall fertilizer is worked into the soil around the roots.
The reaches behind the manor house had always been special to Mrs. Bennet. Before she had moved to Longbourn after her wedding, the pretty little wilderness stretching away from the kitchen garden had become overgrown, having been ignored by Tom’s father, Samuel, in the decade after Mrs. Lizzie’s death. His heir, while a farmer, concentrated his agrarian efforts upon wheat and barley as well as turnips and swedes instead of ornamentals. The young matron had been given carte blanche by her new husband when she suggested that, in addition to redecorating their home’s public rooms, she begin the recovery of the eastward-facing acre.
Fanny had always lived with a purpose. Once she had set her mind to a project, she would not let it drop by the wayside. Longbourn’s distinctive beds were the first of many schemes she undertook as Mrs. Bennet. 
Upon Bennet’s say-so, she descended upon her mother’s garden behind the Gardiner residence on High Street: a walled space that was a riot of sharp-edged greenery. While Longbourn’s workers chopped brush and stripped back turf to reveal Hertfordshire’s rich, dark loam, the newly-increasing young wife began thinning her parent’s largess, carefully splitting away excess runners and then taking cuttings of the more unusual varieties before removing about one in every three mature plants. All were carted back to the estate to eventually grow into broad-shouldered bushes filled with the scents and colors determined to calm even the most troubled soul.
In her mind’s eye, she could see her five girls, each in brilliant white gowns and broad-brimmed bonnets, moving sedately between the beds. The older ones were armed with shears while the younger carried the baskets into which Jane and Lizzy would drop the flowers destined for the countless vases and displays throughout Longbourn’s halls. 
Now they are all gone. Nothing is left in this time to comfort me except my memories…and my roses. Odd how my work still lives after over 150 years. I guess that is the best sort of immortality.
However, Fanny Bennet knew she had no cause to repine. While her children had gone on ahead, she still had two of her grandchildren, Tommy and Eloise, as well as a fleet of great grandchildren who were of an age to call her ‘Grandmother.’ Those children were blessings…as were disparate nieces and nephews.
And, then there was Eileen.
Try as she might, Fanny could not separate the image of her Jane and Jane’s descendent. As Mrs. Bennet stood by the tilled ground, she looked across the sward to the oaken boundary under which branches Miss Nearne rested, nose buried in a book—probably another deep study of the human condition. The last time Fanny had asked after Eileen’s reading, the quiet young woman simply held up the slender tome which was entitled Pour une morale de l'ambigüité. [i] Eileen's curiosity about the nature of Man's navigation of life grew from her own trials.
And, thus, an inner difference from Mrs. Bingley was added to the more obvious man-made physical ones.
While Mrs. Bennet had undergone many changes since Lizzy and Jane had married and her husband had once again refocused his ardor upon her, she was still much her old self in terms of her interests. Chief amongst those was seeing her girls well settled. And given that she saw Miss Eileen Nearne as her daughter separated by one hundred-odd years, she had recently been sorting the cards of her memory. 
A powerful resolve now gripped her. She straightened up and called out to Miss Nearne saying that she was going into the house to bathe before the planned trip into Town for dinner. She reminded Eileen that she was included in the invitation and should not tarry in the garden. The younger woman never looked up from her book - how like two of my other daughters - choosing simply to wave in acknowledgement.

[i] Pour une morale de l'ambigüité (The Ethics of Ambiguity) by Simone de Beauvoir was originally published in 1947.   

Bennet looked at his wife’s swollen lips, softly bruised from several deeply loving kisses, and her flushed complexion, as alluring when gracing the countenance of a woman of four-and-forty as that of a girl of nine-and-ten. He was one of the lucky few to have fallen in love with the same woman at both ages.

Thomas Bennet, Master of Longbourn, had always counted himself amongst the few educated gentlemen of his acquaintance. But, he had to travel over 120 years into the future to discover how little he knew about the woman sharing his life.
Once again, the amazing Bennet Wardrobe proved to be the schoolmaster. Tom Bennet’s lesson? Mrs. Bennet had been formed especially for him. Yet, t’would be the good lady herself who taught him the power of the Fifth and Sixth Loves: Redemption and Forgiveness.
Fanny Bennet also would uncover deep wells of courage and inspiration as she stood by her man’s side in the bleak years after World War II. Together they would lead their descendants in pursuit of the beast who had wronged every member of the Five Families.

The Bennet Wardrobe series stands alone
The Avenger takes us on a new journey through The Bennet Wardrobe – an alternate universe rising from Don Jacobson’s vivid imagination and based upon the immortal Pride and Prejudice. The Avenger is another important step leading to the culmination of this enchanting trip: one that has drawn us into its reality to travel side-by-side with richly sketched characters. Each book has left us wanting more.
The Bennet Wardrobe series stands alone as a unique result of originality focused on beloved characters as they move—and grow—through surprising plotlines.
                                                Lory Lilian, author of Rainy Days

Author 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.  In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.”
 Jacobson 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 JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
            He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.  
His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

Contact Info:
Author Website (with blog)
Twitter  (@AustenesqueAuth)
Buy Info: 

Blog Tour Schedule:

12/28 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
12/29 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Giveaway
12/30 My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway
12/31 open
01/01 open
01/02 open
01/03 My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, Giveaway
01/04 So Little Time…; Guest Post, Giveaway
01/05 My life journey; Review, Excerpt Giveaway
01/06 open
01/07 More Agreeably Engaged; Character Interview, Giveaway
01/08 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Giveaway
01/09 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Giveaway


Don is giving away 4 eBooks of The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 6, 2019

MAE Favorites of 2018

It's time to list my favorites of 2018. I read more books this past year than I did in 2017 and that was great! All books I read were good books. I am getting more selective in my choices since reading time is scarce, but some I'm pretty certain will be good because of the author. I tried some new authors too, and was glad I did.

These books were not all published in 2018, but read in 2018. If there is an asterisk in front of the book, I reviewed it on MAE. Click on the link to read my review. Now without further adieux, these are my favorites, in no particular order.

Pride & Prejudice Variations


The Child by Jan Hahn
Jan Hahn never fails to deliver. She has written a fantastic story about Darcy and Elizabeth, their misunderstandings, and the growing love of Lizzy for Darcy. There is a theme involving a pillow that I found delightful! It was such fun. The child in the story is charming and a bit impertinent, but whose child is she? The interaction between Fan and Darcy is comical at times and moving at others. I loved Ms. Hahn's Darcy, his love for Elizabeth, and his eventual love for Fan! Wonderful read and one I highly recommend.

Conceit and Concealment by Abigail Reynolds
I heard from several that this was a really good book, and possibly the author's best to date. I had to read it, and now I must agree. It is an awesome read. The first meeting of Darcy and Lizzy is almost like a fairy-tale and I loved it! Part of it is carried throughout the book. This is a story to savor with characters that are well-drawn and believable. England is under French rule and allows the characters to have unique experiences. The premise is brilliant and the story is difficult to put down. If you haven't read it, do!

London Holiday by Nicole Clarkston
This book was so much fun! I loved every minute of it. It was neat to see Darcy and Lizzy get to know one another, even if under false assumptions. Mr. Darcy as a footman was utterly delicious. I laughed, I smiled, and I stressed! Lady Catherine has a new twist on her antics. Lots of Darcy and Lizzy page time, and that is always good! When Darcy sees Elizabeth at an assembly, well, you'll have to read it to find out!  *sigh*

*Darcy and Lizzy: A Promise Kept by Brenda J. Webb
I enjoyed this novel immensely. The love story that Ms. Webb writes between Darcy and Lizzy is awesome. If you love a swoon-worthy Darcy, you will find one within the pages of this book. There is a good bit of intrigue along with the romance. The promise between Darcy and Bingley involved much more than either could have imagined. I will be reading this one again.

To Conquer Pride by Jennifer Altman
This is the debut book by this author. I was impressed and will be watching for more from her. Darcy and Lizzy become stranded in a cottage, always an interesting scenario. Mr. Darcy is injured and Elizabeth cares for him and begins to care for him emotionally, as well. There are misunderstandings galore and both are unsure and mistaken about the other's feelings. Darcy "thinks" he's doing what is best for Lizzy, but is he? I enjoyed Colonel Fitzwilliam coming to the rescue. The story flows and engaged me from the first page.

*The Darcy Legacy by Joana Starnes
This was such a fun story and quite different from this author's other books. I laughed out loud so many times. It also had it's moments that were poignant. Darcy is tortured but not so much as usual! This time when Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam travel to Rosings, the roster of characters is changed Lizzy is there but not as Charlotte's guest!  There is a unique twist involving Mr. Bennet, too. Delicious! I enjoyed The Darcy Legacy immensely.

Mr. Darcy's Magpie by Kara Louise
I started reading this when the author was posting the first few chapters on Austen Variations. I was hooked and couldn't wait to read it when the book was finished and released. When Lizzy travels with the Gardiners, and they visit Pemberley, Mr. Gardiner is injured. They must stay for some time while he recovers. This presents an interesting situation and gives quite a bit of Darcy and Lizzy page time. I love the cover and drawing by the author's sister. The magpie theme throughout the book was great and beautifully depicted by the artist.

*A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by A. D'Orazio
This novel begins at Netherfield with Charles and Jane already wed. They are hosting a party for several friends. Darcy and Lizzy had been engaged, but Lizzy called it off for reasons unknown to Darcy. Each heartbroken from their past, decide to attend the Bingley party, thinking the other will not be there. Awww, let the torture begin, and Ms. D'Orazio does dish up some torture for both!

Series - The Bennet Wardrobe 

I love this series. Each book is well-written and fleshes out another Pride & Prejudice character while having him/her intermingle with other fictional characters and real people of history. Don Jacobson has created a fascinating world using the Wardrobe! I've said it before, but I must say it again. I'm amazed at the brilliance of this author and his interwoven tales! If you have not started this series, I highly suggest you do!

*The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn by Don Jacobson
Kitty, or Lady Kate, has come into her own. It is touching to see her visit her father. It made me smile and it made me cry. Parts of it broke my heart. Mr. Bennet's reaction to Lady Kate's more modern attire was amusing. This story of Kitty is the conclusion of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque and sets the stage for The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament.

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament by Don Jacobson
Excellent story of Thomas and Francis Bennet. The way that Don brings them together is wonderful and heart-warming. Each is aware of their own faults and we get to understand the why of their behavior. Their visit through the Wardrobe, meeting future generations, was rewarding and fascinating. I shed a few tears here too. The secondary love story between two other characters was well-done. This latest addition to The Bennet Wardrobe is not to be missed.

The author visits MAE tomorrow with a character vignette and giveaway for my stop on his blog tour. Hope to see you.


A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy H. Cook, and Susan Kaye
Each story was well done and entertaining. These are six fine authors. There is a mix of books here and some Jane Austen books combined. Each held my interest and left me feeling good. I couldn't wait to start the next short story. Great job, ladies!

The blog tour for A Very Austen Valentine began today. Stop by Just the Write Escape for a guest post and giveaway.

North & South Variations

Nowhere but North by Nicole Clarkston
What can I say about this one? It is well written with a depth and complexity that flows onto the page, pulling the reader in to experience everything with the characters. It is heart-wrenching and emotional. Although John and Margaret are married early in the book, it was so sweet to watch them come to realize each loved the other. The author introduces a tough subject and handles it masterfully. I have loved all of this author's N&S variations, but this may be my favorite to date.


I hope you enjoyed seeing my favorites. How many of them have you read? What did you think of them? It is fun to know what others liked and who had some of the same favorites.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my favorite awards. I'm eager to get started on my books for 2019! How about you? Have you already read any? I've read one!