Monday, December 7, 2020

Maria Grace...Unexpected Gifts

Maria Grace is my guest today, and it is always so good to have her stop by. She has a new Christmas book, Unexpected Gifts. Doesn't that sound lovely! I always enjoy reading Christmas stories and especially those about Darcy and Elizabeth. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this one. Maria is going to tell us a little about it, and she shares an excerpt with us. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thank you, Maria, for visiting today. I think we can all enjoy some "warm fuzzies" this year.


Thank you for hosting me, Janet. I love getting to visit with you.

I knew I wanted to write another Christmas book way back in the spring. But try as I might, I could not find the holiday vibe anywhere. Gee, I wonder why, right?

I kept trying and trying then pretty well gave up. Which was when I finally figured out what I wanted to write on. With all this this year has brought (I actually caught myself saying ‘then it all went 2020’ to describe something!), I wanted to write about difficult  relationships that come to the fore during a quarantine—oh I meant  the holidays.

The holidays just seem to bring out all those rough edges and leave us at risk for rubbing each other the wrong way but they also offer a chance for making difficult relationships better. That seemed to be a very appropriate place to dwell this year.

I didn’t have to look too long or hard at the Darcy family to identify places were prickliness was likely: Lady Catherine, Lady Matlock, Lydia, even Charlotte Lucas might harbor some serious resentments towards Elizabeth and Darcy. So that became the foundation for this collection of three holiday short stories. They may make you laugh, make you think, and might even make you cry, but they will definitely leave you with the warm fuzzy holiday vibe that we all so need right now!

This is the fourth book in the Darcy Family Christmas series. Remember to check out the other three!

Here’s a little excerpt:

Elizabeth paced the spacious, well-appointed bed chamber of Matlock Manor, the taffeta of her dinner gown swishing with that peculiar sound only taffeta made. Darcy had chosen the color, a luxurious green—a color he said set off her eyes. The gown had been purchased for hosting Christmas dinner at Pemberley which of course had not happened. So instead, it would be subject to Lady Matlock’s subtle and polite critique.

Even after the—events—of Elizabeth’s first Christmas in Derbyshire, her relationship with Lady Matlock remained—formal—yes, that was the best way to describe it.

She sat on the edge of the bed, piled high with feather beds and a generous counterpane. The bed curtains, striped burgundy and gold, matched the drapes and the linens while the mustardy-gold painted walls echoed the warmth of the fire and candles making the room seem warmer than it was. Boughs of evergreen, tied with red ribbons, draped the mantlepiece, scenting the air with their perfume. The guest room was tasteful, but a bit too elegant to be truly comfortable.

It was only a meal, only a dinner. It was not as if she had never attended a fancy dinner or even one at Matlock before—but none were quite like this. Lady Matlock had made certain that she knew the company tonight would be quite fine and if anything went wrong it would be the talk of Derbyshire and not easily forgotten.

Lovely woman.

Two knights and their wives and a baronet and his lady were among the guests tonight, along with several landowners with estates that made Longbourn look like a yeoman’s farm. Thankfully, Darcy’s favorite cousins would also be there, so that was some mercy.

Lady Matlock—she would never be Aunt Matlock any more than Lady Catherine would be Aunt Catherine—had ever so gently suggested that it would behoove Elizabeth to guard her conversation and behavior very carefully. All eyes would be on the Darcys. Even those guests so unfortunate as not to hold titles had intimated to Lady Matlock that they still considered Elizabeth a mere country farmer’s daughter, not truly fit for their company. Not that she felt that way of course; she and the earl supported Darcy in his choices, however unexpected they might have been.

It was probably a very generous sentiment all told, but it hardly made her feel any better. And the way in which Lady Matlock said it somehow left it sounding no more genuine than when she had declared the same thing at Pemberley.

Elizabeth let her head fall back and she stared into the inside of the bed canopy: generously gathered gold wool that swirled into a rosette in the center.

Merciful heavens! Back in Hertfordshire she had enjoyed dinner parties and social occasions. Looked forward to them, planned for them. Never, truly never, had an event caused her to experience the flutterings in her stomach and pains in her head that her mother so often described. The ones she experienced now and could not blame her increasing state for.

What did it mean that Mama was suddenly sounding reasonable?

How Darcy would laugh at that! He dearly loved to laugh now. Hopefully, after this was said and done, they would be able to look back at this night and laugh, too.

The chimes of a long case clock, stationed on the landing of the great stairs, striking six filtered through the heavy oak door of her chamber. Dinner guests would be arriving. She should make an appearance in the drawing room.

To her fate she went.


Ah, poor Elizabeth. I hope the dinner goes well for her. It does sound a bit intimidating, to be sure. I guess we will have to read the book to learn how it went. Have any of you read it yet? Here's the blurb or back cover copy if you want to know more about it.


Unexpected Gifts Back Cover Copy

Yuletide 1814, the Darcys are celebrating their third wedding anniversary and the baby Elizabeth is expecting. Overprotective and perhaps overbearing, Darcy is ready to do anything for Elizabeth’s comfort, including defying the will of his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh who demands their presence to bestow a gift that absolutely cannot wait.

What sort of gift is so urgent it cannot wait for a more auspicious time?

Christmastide 1815, the Darcys hope for a particular sort of joy to bring a close to a dark and difficult season. It only seems fitting that an unexpected—and unwelcome—guest disrupts their small family house party. Could the unexpected gift they bring be the key to the fulfillment of the Darcys’ most heartfelt desires?

Buy Link:

Unexpected Gifts


Author Bio:

Six-time BRAG Medallion Honoree, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.


She writes gas lamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction. Her books are available at all major online booksellers.  

She can be contacted at:



Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations 

English Historical Fiction Authors



What about the other three books in the series? Do you have them or do you want to buy them? The buy links are below.

Buy Links for Other Books in the Series:

Christmas 1811

The Darcy's First Christmas (currently on sale!)  

From Admiration to Love

 Let's take a look at the back cover copy of each of the other books. If you have read them, which is your favorite?

Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811

Jane Austen never wrote the details of Christmastide 1811. What might have happened during those intriguing months?


Following the Netherfield ball, Darcy persuades Bingley to leave Netherfield Park in favor of London to avoid the match-making machinations of Mrs. Bennet. Surely, the distractions of town will help Bingley forget the attractions of Miss Jane Bennet. But Bingley is not the only one who needs to forget. All Darcy wants this Christmastide is to forget another Miss Bennet.


Can the diversions of London help Darcy overcome memories of the fine eyes and pert opinions of a certain Hertfordshire miss?  


Without the Bingleys, the Bennets are left to the company of Mr. Collins and the militia officers—entirely suitable company, according Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth disagrees, refusing an offer of marriage from the very eligible Mr. Collins. Mama’s nerves suffer horridly until Elizabeth follows her advice to make the most of the officers’ company.


Even Mr. Bennet seems to agree. So, whilst Jane pines for Bingley, Elizabeth admits the attentions of one agreeable Lt. Wickham. What possible harm can it cause, especially when her parents are so pleased? 

The Darcys' First Christmas

Elizabeth anxiously anticipates her new duties as mistress of Pemberley. Darcy is confident of her success, but she cannot bring herself to share his optimism.


Unexpected guests unsettle all her plans and offer her the perfect Christmastide gift, shattered confidence.


Can she and Darcy overcome their misunderstandings and salvage their first Christmastide together?  


From the award winning author of Given Good Principles, Remember the Past and Mistaking Her Character, Sweet Tea short stories offer the perfect bite to transport readers back to the Regency era for the first days of new love.

From Admiration to Love

After the debacle of the previous holiday season, Darcy and Elizabeth joyfully anticipate Christmastide 1813, Georgiana’s come out at Pemberley’s Twelfth Night Ball culminating the season. With months of planning behind the event, even Lady Matlock is satisfied and sends Colonel Fitzwilliam to represent the family, assuring there will be no repeat of the previous Christmastide.


On St. Nicholas’, Anne de Bourgh and Lady Catherine arrive on Pemberley’s doorstep—never a good sign—demanding sanctuary against the de Bourghs who (according the Lady Catherine) are trying to retake Rosings Park for their family with plans to seduce and marry Anne. Needless to say, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are skeptical.

Not long afterwards, three gentlemen suitors appear at Pemberley, hoping to court Anne and obliging Darcy to offer holiday hospitality. Anne adores the attention whilst Lady Catherine makes her displeasure know, throwing Pemberley into turmoil that threatens the Twelfth Night Ball. Can Darcy and Elizabeth, with a little help from Fitzwilliam, soothe Lady Catherine’s nerves, see Anne to a respectable match, and still salvage Georgiana’s come out?   


These sound like good Christmas reading. With our strange year, all of us may have more time to read this year. Sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire with a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea, and a good Christmas story sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening or two. Thank you, Maria Grace, for stopping by, and for giving us some lovely stories to warm our hearts for the holidays. I look forward to spending some time with the Darcys at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Fitzwilliam Darcy Undone by Sue Barr

 It is my pleasure to welcome back, Sue Barr, to More Agreeably Engaged. It is always so nice to have you visit, Sue. This new book, Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone, sounds different and interesting. The excerpt you shared has me really curious. The descriptions give the scene such an ethereal quality. I look forward to reading more about this story. 

I've rambled enough so now, let's turn this over to Sue.


What would Pride & Prejudice be like if Darcy and Elizabeth had a touch of magic in their lives?

Thank you, Janet, for hosting me today. This is last stop on the tour for Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone and I’m thrilled to be here. As I’ve stated earlier, I’m humbled by how close the JAFF community is and how well they treat others as we stumble along in life. Truly amazing. 

I’m not one to talk a lot about myself, I’d rather share who I am with my writing and even then, I don’t delve too far because my mind is a twisted, cavernous valley filled with shadow and light, highs and lows. Usually I write what I call ‘fluffy’ pieces, solely about romance and I’m a huge sucker for an ‘out of this world’ alpha male who knows what he wants and sets out to get it. Fortunately, it’s usually our feisty heroine who keeps him on his toes, and my latest novel, Elizabeth most definitely has Fitzwilliam unbalanced. Or should I say… Undone? 

I hope you enjoy the following short excerpt.

“Do not leave me, Elizabeth.”

“Never. Now rest. We’ll discuss this in the morning.”

“What if morning never comes again.”

He heard her soft chuckle.

“Believe me, Fitzwilliam, we have all the time in the world right now.” 

“I cannot bear for us to be apart.”

The bed dipped softly as she joined him and curled into his side on top of the counterpane. When he would have protested and begged her to crawl beneath the covers, she laid a hand on his chest and murmured, “Sleep.” When he awakened, the sound of crashing waves and the salty tang of the ocean teased his senses. 

He opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. The room in which he lay was unlike anything he’d seen before. Floor to ceiling terrace doors opened wide, allowing fresh sea air to flow through the room. Wisps of almost translucent material for curtains fluttered in the breeze and beyond the window, a stone terrace. From there, he noted a strip of white sand sloping down to azure blue water which stretched as far as his eye could see. But what caused his heart to almost stutter to a stop was the sight of a slight woman standing on the pristine sand, her hair and skirts billowing out behind her like a glorious sail. 


As though he’d called to her with his mind, she turned and flashed a brilliant smile. Pain free, he stood and moved to meet her on the terrace. Without any thought of propriety, or who may be in the area, he hauled her up against his chest and captured her mouth with his. She met his demands with her own and they remained locked together for minutes, hours, days. He had no concept of time except this exact moment with his Elizabeth.

“My love,” he murmured into her hair, holding her close to his chest. “I thought I’d lost you.”

She stepped out of his embrace and when he would have protested and dragged her back, she took his hand and tugged. 

“We have much to discuss and we have all the time in the world to love each other.” 


Take a look at this book blurb. It puts more questions in my mind. 

Book Blurb:

She’s the outcast in her family…

Elizabeth knows she’s different from the rest of her family. She has visions and strange dreams and sees things others do not. With the advent of the odious Mr. Darcy and his friends from Netherfield Park, as well as the amiable Mr. Wickham of the _____shire Militia, her powers seem to increase and her greatest fear is that she won’t be able to contain them and will be discovered.

He has eight hundred years of tradition to uphold… 

No Darcy has married a non-magical woman since arriving on the shores of England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  However, his kind – Miatharans – are dwindling in numbers. Miatharan magic only flows through aristocratic blood lines, so his strange obsession with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is puzzling as she is not of noble blood. Just a country squire’s beautiful daughter who has him slowly becoming undone. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone is available in Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) until Dec 12 when it will be released to other major digital retailers.


Author Bio:

‘The prairie dust is in my blood but no longer on my shoes.’ 

Although it’s been over forty-two years since Sue called Saskatchewan home, her roots to that straight-lined province and childhood friends run deep. The only thing strong enough to entice her to pack up and leave was love. When a handsome Air Force pilot met this small-town girl, he swept her off her feet and they embarked on a fantastic adventure which found them settled in beautiful Southwestern Ontario when hubby retired from the military and began his second career as an airline pilot.

Sue started writing in 2009 and sold her first manuscript in 2010. Always a reader of Regency romance, she discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction in 2014 and almost immediately wanted to know – Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and Mr. Darcy became engaged to a Bennet sister? From that question, her first JAFF book was launched.

In her spare time, Sue cans and preserves her own food, cooks almost everything from scratch and grows herbs to dehydrate. Her latest venture is to create her own spice seasonings, experiment with artisan breads and make her own homemade vanilla. Hubby has no complaints other than his jeans keep shrinking. At least that’s what he claims…. Her sons, their wives and all seven grandchildren don’t mind this slight obsession either.




Amazon Author Page:


If you have missed any stops along the way, be sure to go back and visit the other blogs.

If you want to get your own copy of the book, use the buy link below. 



Thank you, Christina Boyd, for organizing the blog tour and for including my blog. It was great having Sue visit again. 

Sue Barr, I wish you the best with your new release. Thank you for sharing the excerpt and a little about yourself. I enjoyed reading both. I've been seeing much about your book around the blogosphere and in social media. Since this is the last stop for your tour, I hope it has been a fun tour for you. Again best wishes with your book.

Now for the giveaway... :)


*Sue Barr will giveaway an ebook of this latest novel to 3 random winners for entire blog tour. Follow the tour and join in the comments to be entered to win. Sue will choose the random winners and announce the winners on social media on December 5.