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I’ve had the pleasure of leafing through Rachel Dodge’s Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen, and it couldn’t have been released at a better time, with the holidays coming soon and the Jane Austen fan in your life looking for something new and different!

The introduction sums up the book perfectly: “This book is broken down into three sections, one for each of Jane’s prayers, with ten devotions per prayer.” You might not have known that Jane wrote three prayers herself, or that they were preserved by her dear sister, Cassandra.

Praying with Jane is as beautiful as Jane’s prayers, with tidbits about her life and religious upbringing, quotes from Scripture, an invitation to prayer with questions to ponder, and a prayer to close out each day’s devotion. Dodge even draws connections between the devotions and Austen’s novels. It’s the perfect book for Austen fans to gain a deeper appreciation of Jane and grow stronger in their own faith. While I have not read the book cover to cover, I plan to keep it on my nightstand for a closer study in those rare quiet moments.

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About the Praying with Jane

Daily Encouragement for Your Soul through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane’s spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Miss Austen’s faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane’s petitions.

May this journey into Jane Austen’s life of faith and prayer ignite and deepen your own relationship with the Father who loves you.

Click here for more information and to buy your copy!

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About the Author

Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog. She makes her home in California with her husband, Robert, and their two young children.

Connect with Rachel on Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Follow the Blog Tour (there are giveaways at several blogs!)

October 31 – Praying with Jane, My changed Relationship with Jane, Jane Austen’s World

November 1 – Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge,  So Little Time, So Much to Read!

November 2 – Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer (Review and Giveaway)Laura’s Reviews

November 3 – Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer by Rachel Dodge, Burton Book Review

November 4 – Blog Tour: Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer by Rachel DodgeBLOGLOVIN

November 5 – Guest Post: Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge and Book Giveaway!, Jane Austen in Vermont

November 6 – Calico Critic

November 7 – A Bookish Way of Life

November 8 – Diary of an Eccentric

November 9 – Becoming

November 10 – My Jane Austen Book Club

November 11 – My Love for Jane Austen

November 12 – Laughing with Lizzie

November 13 – Faith, Science, Joy … and Jane Austen

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Thanks to Bethany House for sending me a copy of Praying with Jane and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

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Christina Boyd has done it again, assembling a fabulous team of authors for another Austen-inspired short story anthology. Rational Creatures pays homage to the ladies in Jane Austen’s works. I’m about a quarter of the way through the collection, and I’m loving it so far.

Today, J. Marie Croft is here to discuss Emma‘s Hetty Bates and share an excerpt from her story, “The Simple Things.” I hope you enjoy it, and please stay tuned for a HUGE giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

An impatient reader might skim over quotes spoken by Miss Hetty Bates, the talkative spinster-aunt in Emma. Her chatter is, after all, entirely inconsequential. Or is it? Read between those lines of hers, and you’ll discover a highly observant character. Hetty—when not prattling on—is watching and listening. 

Unpretentious, Hetty loves life’s simple pleasures. But she isn’t simple…nor is her situation in The Simple Things. In a precarious financial situation, she is sensible, prudent, and in control of her own destiny…with a little help from her friends. Although having no superior intellect or schooling, Hetty shows care and a vision for the future. She’s passionate about education for young women in general and her niece in particular. If it can be helped, Hetty won’t have a loved one remain, like her, in poverty and ignorance. If educated, Jane Fairfax could become, at least, a governess and live a more socially acceptable life than that of her spinster aunt. 

Hetty enjoys relative independence, though; and she has the power of choice. She can stand up for herself. She can refuse to become anyone’s doormat, and she can remain single. Why, she asks, would any rational person, male or female, bind themselves to another without mutual respect or affection? 

One of the few privileges women had in the Georgian era was the right to decline a marriage proposal. Back then, even a famous female author exercised that right; and she survived being single. (Alas, we wish she had survived longer!) 

Similar to Jane Austen’s rational choice, Hetty’s decisions came from strength. Both women made hard choices. They made sacrifices. Woman like that were, and are, strong. Women protect the people and the things we love. As do the opposite sex. After all, women and men are equal.

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At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cole, Weaver-Smythe strode across the room in time to assist Hetty into her chair at the card table. Flipping coat-tails, he took the seat opposite hers. “I enjoyed your father’s sermon yesterday about overcoming evil with good. But was there really a thief at the vicarage last month? If so, did Mr. Bates really hit him over the head with your family Bible?” 

Hetty lowered her eyes. “No.” 

“Nevertheless, your father is quite the entertaining fellow, for a reverend.” 

“Oh, he can be entertaining, indeed. And, at times, irreverent. Quite irreverent! Father often complains to Old John Adby about our limited income, about being poor. He merely gets teased in return. ‘I know you are naught but a poor preacher, Bates. I hear you every Sunday!’” Hetty smiled as Weaver-Smythe guffawed. Growing sombre, she shook her head. “Mr. Adby has been my father’s clerk for as long as I can remember, but—bless him!—the dear man developed rheumatic gout in his joints. ’Tis sad—so sad!—to witness him, or anyone, in pain.” 

“You have a compassionate soul, Miss Bates.” Weaver-Smythe reached across the table, gently pressing her hand for the briefest of moments. 

Hetty blushed at his touch. “Thank you. Unfortunately, Father’s wit has put him in trouble with his bishop more than once.” At Weaver-Smythe’s expectant expression, Hetty told him to prepare for something dreadful. “I was mortified at the time.” 

“Better and better.” Rubbing palms together, he sat forward, smiling in anticipation. 

“Have you met farmer Mitchell yet? No? Well, he is a local man nearing his fifth decade. No, wait. Upon my honour, I do believe he recently turned one-and-fifty. Or two-and-fifty. No matter. Last April he took to the altar Miss Ward, the butcher’s daughter, who was but fifteen years of age at the time. ‘Mr. Mitchell,’ cried my father in a voice so loud the entire congregation heard, ‘you will find the font at the opposite end of the church.’ Poor Mr. Mitchell looked around in confusion. ‘Beggin’ yer pardon, Mr. Bates, but what do I want with the font?’ In his droll manner, Father said, ‘Oh, I beg your pardon, Mr. Mitchell. I thought you had brought the child to be christened.’” 

Hetty’s face had grown redder while relating the story, but she chuckled along with Weaver-Smythe. “It may be amusing now, sir. Yes, quite amusing. The entire congregation laughed, but I was mortified. Mortified! Mother hissed at me for slouching down in the pew. I wanted nothing more than the ground to open and swallow me whole. I have never, ever, been so mortified.” Palms to cheeks, she closed her eyes. “Now I am embarrassed all over again.” 

Weaver-Smythe reached across the table, intimately resting, far longer than before, his hand upon one of hers. 

That particular hand went unwashed until Hetty arose the next morning. 

After a fortnight in each other’s company amidst Highbury society, Hetty believed herself in love with Philip Weaver-Smythe. Whether he harboured any special regard for her was less certain. But to have the attention of a remarkably fine young man, with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy was something, indeed. 

Save George Knightley, who was always kind, no other eligible man had ever paid Hetty the slightest attention. Weaver-Smythe walked and talked with her. He understood her. He told her she was not at all dull and should not be ashamed of preferring basic comforts and that he, too, delighted in life’s simple pleasures. 

“Who needs more than modest belongings? Why, a second-hand carriage is as functional as a new one.” He smiled the special smile that made Hetty weak at the knees. “Did I ever mention, Miss Bates, that I am a vendor of such conveyances?” 

“Innumerable times, sir.” 

“Are you implying I talk too much?” 

“No. I talk too much.” 

“Utter nonsense! If anyone says you talk too much, you must simply talk them out of it. Now, as a special surprise, I have sent for my bespoke curricle. It should arrive within the week, newly refurbished to such an extent that it is even better than new. Wait until you see the improvements I ordered. If you agree, I shall drive you any place you wish to go. Even to Box Hill, if we can get a party together.” 

Others noticed their peculiar friendship. But Hetty was, after all, nearly a spinster at four-and-twenty. She had no dowry. There could be nothing more than amity between them, no sincere affection, no expectation on either side. Friends and neighbours thought so kindly of Hetty, they simply smiled and turned blind eyes and deaf ears, allowing her a summer of mild flirtation. 

“My dear girl,” said Mr. Bates, holding her hand, “do not set your cap at him. While he obviously fancies you as a friend, he does not seem the sort to know how justly to appreciate your value. Do you truly suppose he has serious designs on you?” 

Of course not”— for I am an undistinguished, penniless, bespectacled spinster with grey strands in my hair. 

Hope, however, bloomed within Hetty’s heart when Weaver-Smythe invited her and Jane for a drive in his curricle. With the three Buckleys following in their own carriage, they arrived at Bramblehill Park, an abandoned estate in Berkshire. The six of them strolled around the overgrown grounds, inspecting the place, peeking through the manor’s grimy, broken windows, and admiring the views. With a great deal of work, the adults all agreed, the place could be an excellent location to settle and raise a family. 

Weaver-Smythe had winked, then, at Hetty.

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About the Author

J. Marie Croft

J. MARIE CROFT is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Bearing witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight (a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014), her playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Just Jane 1813’s Favourite 2016 JAFF Novella), and her humorous short stories in the anthologies Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, The Darcy Monologues, and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. Joanne lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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About Rational Creatures

“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion
 
Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.

In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.

Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Rational Creature SUPER Giveaway: The Random Name Picker winner review all blog comments and select one winner from these blog stop comments during the tour for all 21 prizes: Winner’s choice of one title from each authors’ backlist (that’s 16 books, ebooks, or audiobooks), our bespoke t-shirt/soap/candle; #20, a brick in winner’s name to benefit #BuyABrick for Chawton House; and #21, the Quill Collective anthologies in ebook or audiobook.

The giveaway ends November 15, 2018 and is open to international winners. To enter, please leave a comment below.

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Follow the Blog Tour

September 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

September 22 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post

September 25 / Books & Wine are Lovely Playlist

September 27 / Fangs, Wands and Fairydust / Guest Post

October 2 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Guest Post

October 4 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post

October 9 / Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post

October 11 / Silver Petticoat / Guest Post

October 15 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review

October 16 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post

October 18 / Rosie’s Review Team / Book Review

October 23 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

October 25 / The Book Rat / Guest Post

October 30 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

November 1 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Guest Post

November 6 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

November 8  / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review

November 13 / Let Us Talk of Many Things / Guest Post

Dear readers, do I have a treat for you! It’s my pleasure to welcome Darcy and Elizabeth from Jennifer Joy’s latest release, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Traitor, to the blog. Jennifer has brought our dear couple here today, so I’ll turn it over to her. Please give my guests a warm welcome (and stay tuned for a giveaway)!

An Interview with Darcy and Elizabeth

When I write, I see a movie in my head. My kids teased me at the stack of blankets and sweaters I’d accumulated in my writing cave in the heat of summer when I wrote Fitzwilliam Darcy, Traitor. My story was set in late November/early December, and there was snow. I was cold.

The characters, too, become as real as the weather. In my mind, they’re Hollywood actors. And what do actors do when they release a new movie? They do interviews!

Do you want a sneak peek behind the scenes? A one-on-one with the lead actors? A glimpse into the making of their story? Then, I invite you to read on!

Hey guys! Your latest adventure just released this week. How does it feel to have starred in another story?

(Elizabeth looks over at Darcy, pinching her lips together, her body shaking with her effort not to burst into laughter.)

(Darcy openly glares at me. I know I’m in for it. This has been a long time coming.)

Darcy: Did you have to beat me up in every scene? I felt like Clint Eastwood.

Elizabeth: Don’t be so dramatic, Darcy.

Darcy: I’m an actor. It’s my job to be dramatic.

And it’s my job to give you conflict. Without conflict, there’s no story. Besides, no actors were hurt in the making of this book.

Elizabeth: The bruises were only make-up.

Darcy: I didn’t need make-up by the end of this story with all of the bumps and bruises covering my body!

(I get another smoldering glare.)

You could’ve used a stunt double.

Darcy: I do all of my own stunts. You know that.

I admire your dedication. You did amazing, and I have to admit that watching you perform all of these heroic acts was thrilling to see.

Elizabeth: I swooned. Many times.

Darcy: I won’t be appeased by flattery. I’m not a piñata.

Elizabeth: No, but you are a great kisser. (She shivers and grins.)

The first kiss was my favorite to write. What were your favorite scenes?

Elizabeth: The bathtub scene! Hands down.

(Darcy rolls his eyes.)

What did you like so much about that scene?

Elizabeth: I got an insight into Darcy’s soul, and I realized what an amazing man he truly is.

(Darcy tries not to smile. It’s growing increasingly difficult for him to stay grumpy.)

What about you, Darcy? What was your favorite scene?

Darcy: Several, really. I enjoyed the whole sequence when we were trapped in the abandoned cottage during the snowstorm. It gave us the chance to talk and clear our misunderstandings early on.

Is that when you fell in love with Elizabeth?

(He blushes and reaches over to hold Elizabeth’s hand.)

Darcy: I knew there was something special about her the moment we met, but yeah. I would say that the cottage was where it really started for me. (Looks over at Elizabeth.) What about you?

Elizabeth: I was so confused, I didn’t know what to think of you. In hindsight, I think I started to notice you differently at the highway robbery scene. My heart went out to you then, but it wasn’t until after I sprung you from jail and we were stuck together in London that I really came to know you. Right around the bathtub scene. That was when I knew.

No wonder you two have starred in so many stories together. You’re a lovely couple. So, readers want to know, what’s next?

Darcy: Well, that really depends on you, doesn’t it? But if you’re open to suggestions, I would love something calmer. Like You’ve Got Mail or While You Were Sleeping (Jack, not Peter) or The Proposal.

Elizabeth: I love it that you know those movies.

You want a romantic comedy? I’ll see what I can do! Thank you so much for chatting with me today!

Elizabeth: It’s always fun. I feel I need to warn you, though. I swung by Lady Cat’s and she’s miffed that she only got two mentions in this story — and one of them was an insult from her sister-in-law.

Darcy: You might want to send a fruit basket or something.

Thanks for the tip. I appreciate it. See you soon!

Darcy and Elizabeth: We certainly hope so!

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Thank you, Jennifer, for such a delightful interview, and a big thanks to Darcy and Elizabeth for taking time out of their busy schedule to discuss their latest adventure. I would love to see them in a romantic comedy next! 🙂

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About Fitzwilliam Darcy, Traitor

Hero or villain? Gentleman or traitor?

What if your life depended on discerning one man’s character?

He wants to honor his family legacy.

Fitzwilliam Darcy takes his responsibilities seriously. He excels in every endeavor he pursues and upholds the highest standards … and he has little patience for those who flaunt their flaws like the Bennets do.

She wants to fall in love with a hero.

Elizabeth Bennet longs for the toe-curling romance she reads about in novels. She dreams of an honorable man — loyal and generous to the less fortunate … everything Mr. Darcy is not.

Now, he’s England’s most wanted criminal … and she’s stuck with him.

Besieged by highwaymen and left for dead in a snowstorm, Mr. Darcy seeks help only to get arrested for treason. A split second decision forever attaches Elizabeth to his side, and together, they’re on the run.

When adversity reveals their true character, will Elizabeth regret her decision? Or will she find her hero in Mr. Darcy? Can such a rigid, proper man return the passion she craves?

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Traitor is a sweet and clean romantic suspense variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

If you like swoon-worthy romance and pulse-pounding action, then you’ll love this book!

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 4 ebook copies of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Traitor to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Saturday, October 27, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

My guest today is Elaine Russell, whose book Across the Mekong River I read and reviewed a few years ago and highly recommend. Today, she is here to celebrate the release of her new novel, In the Company of Like-Minded Women, which focuses on the struggle for women’s rights in the early 20th century. Please give her a warm welcome:

The level of political discord and despicable behavior in 2018 has sadly reached new heights (or maybe lows), prompting large numbers of American women to speak out, run for office, and organize for social justice. I thoroughly enjoyed stepping back over a hundred years to write about another generation of brave women—those who fought for women’s suffrage, access to professional careers, and other basic rights for women and children. The so-called “New Woman” demanded an equal voice, but faced incredible opposition from the men in power and moneyed business interests.

In the Company of Like-Minded Women explores the bonds between family at the start of the 20th century. Three sisters are reunited in Denver, Colorado, after a rift many years before. Mildred and Eva travel from Lawrence, Kansas, to visit Lida and her two children in Denver in June 1901. Lida, widowed two years before, has just graduated from medical school and begun working as a doctor. Eva, only twenty-five, begs Lida to help her overcome the opposition of Mildred and their mother to a match with the handsome Mr. Dearman of Boston. The women’s rights movement and Lida’s progressive friends provide the backdrop as the story unfolds.

Colorado led the charge for women’s rights when Republican, Democrat, and Populist women banded together to win a stunning victory in 1893, which granted women the vote in Colorado—twenty-seven years before national suffrage was approved. In 1901, the rest of the country watched with intense interest to see how this played out, challenging Colorado women to defend their accomplishments since obtaining access to the ballot box.

The story is told in three voices in alternating chapters by Lida (the middle sister), her 16-year-old daughter Sara Jane, and Mildred (the oldest sister). The following is an excerpt from Sara Jane:

I could barely contain my excitement. Aunt Eva’s predicament called to mind the dime novels that my best friend, Rose O’Malley, and I had taken to secretly reading after she found a stash hidden in the armoire in her mother’s sewing room. The romantic novels told complicated sagas of hopeless liaisons filled with improbable plots and unbelievable coincidences. We had found several rather sensational and shocking. Only Aunt Eva’s story wasn’t cheap or unsavory like those books. Her tale was more like a Jane Austen novel of thwarted romance and secret rendezvous, certainly nothing illicit.

The thrill of being privy to Aunt Eva’s intrigue offered an escape from my sheltered world and the dull, monotonous routines and sorrows of the past few years. My aunt had taken me into her confidence, and I could not disappoint her. I thought of Saint John, the patron saint of discretion, whom I had read about the previous week. He had died at the hand of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia rather than divulge the confession of the king’s wife, Queen Sophie. Such loyalty was to be admired. I would pray to Saint John to help me keep Aunt Eva’s secret.

Mama bit her lip before speaking. “I can talk with Mildred on your behalf.”

Aunt Eva grabbed Mama’s hands. “I don’t want to burden you, but you’re my last hope. You must meet Mr. Dearman first, so you can argue in earnest on his behalf. If we can only convince Mildred to give him a chance. She’s never even talked with him.”

Mama blinked several times. “But how will I meet him?”

“I’m expecting a letter…” Aunt Eva began, but she halted at the sound of heavy, uneven footsteps descending the stairs. She wiped away her tears and took a ragged breath.

Aunt Mildred loomed in the doorway. “What is going on? Eva, have you been crying?”

“It’s only a cinder from the train in my eye. I’ll run some water over it.” Eva bolted from her seat and brushed pass Mildred.

“What has she been telling you?” Aunt Mildred’s tone implied wrongdoing on Eva’s part and perhaps on my and Mama’s as well.

I gave Aunt Mildred my most serious look, frowning slightly. “She was talking about her illness.” This was mostly true. Eva had mentioned concerns over her health.

“Did you sleep?” Mama asked calmly. “Come have some coffee and a roll.”

Aunt Mildred blinked several times. “I didn’t sleep at all. That dreadful feline of yours is somewhere upstairs mewling like a hungry calf.”

I cringed. “I’m sorry, Aunt Mildred. She must have gotten locked in Cole’s room.”

Cole clattered from the kitchen across the dining room and front hall, sliding to a halt next to Aunt Mildred. He lifted his clasped hands toward her face. “Look, Aunt Mildred! I found a frog in the bucket by the water tap outside.”

Aunt Mildred gave a short yelp and clutched her chest with one hand. “Get it away from me. Right now.” She stumbled forward and collapsed onto the green velvet armchair, causing it to shudder with a worrying groan.

Mama jumped up. “Cole, take that back outside.”

“But, Mama, I want to keep him. Just look.” He scooted forward and tripped over the edge of the Persian carpet. His arms flew out as he hit the rug, and the frog sailed through the air. “Jesusmaryandjoseph!” The words slipped out as one from Cole’s lips.

The poor creature landed on the fireplace hearth and remained still as if stunned by its sudden freedom. It was only three inches long at most, a rubbery, gray-green blob with bulging black eyes. Harmless looking, really. I felt rather sorry for it. Cole lunged for the frog, but it hopped across the carpet and under Aunt Mildred’s chair.

Aunt Mildred leaped up, emitting staccato shrieks while shaking out her skirt and lifting her feet as if dancing one of Katherine’s Irish jigs. The frog proceeded to hop into the entry and down the hall toward the library. Cole sprang up and down in hot pursuit, always a moment too late.

There were murmurs and a scuffle. Eva appeared around the doorway with a bemused expression brightening her face. She gently held the frog in her hands. “We’ll be back soon. Cole is going to show me his yard.”

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About In the Company of Like-Minded Women

In the Company of Like-Minded Women explores the complexities of bonds between sisters and family at the start of the 20th century when women struggled to determine their future and the “New Woman” demanded an equal voice. Three sisters are reunited in 1901 Denver following a family rift many years before. Each sister faces critical decisions regarding love, work, and the strength of her convictions. The success of Colorado women in gaining the right to vote in 1893–twenty-seven years before the passage of national suffrage–and their continued fight for women’s rights, provides the background as the story unfolds.

Buy on Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

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About the Author

Elaine Russell

Elaine Russell is the award winning author of the novel Across the Mekong River and a number of children’s books, including the young adult novel Montana in A Minor, the Martin McMillan middle grade mystery series, and the middle grade picture book, All About Thailand. Elaine lives with her husband in Northern California and part time on the Island of Kauai.

Connect with Elaine: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway

Elaine is generously offering two copies of In the Company of Like-Minded Women to my readers (U.S. and Canada). To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, October 21, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

To double your chances of winning, check out Elaine’s guest post on Savvy Verse & Wit, where Serena is also offering a giveaway!

Thank you, Elaine, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

Hello, dear readers! I have a treat for you today! As many of you know, I’ve edited all of Victoria Kincaid’s Pride and Prejudice variations, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one, but there was something special about her latest: When Jane Got Angry. Oh yes, an angry Jane! What a delight it was to see Jane act much differently in this novella, and I couldn’t help but cheer her on.

Victoria is here today to talk about women and anger and to share an excerpt and giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

One of the reasons I like writing about the Regency time period is that it makes a great escape from the sometimes overwhelming and stressful news that we hear every day.  Their issues weren’t ours, so I can escape into their world for a while.  Except sometimes there’s unexpected crossover. The week that When Jane Got Angry was released, there was an interesting and thoughtful review in the Washington Post of two different books that analyzed why women are angry today.

Anger is usually something women are told to control because it’s not ladylike, but—as the Post reviewer pointed out—sometimes anger can be empowering for women.  Which is what happens to Jane Bennet in my story.

Most readers of P&P identify with Elizabeth—not just because she is the protagonist but also because she represents a kind of independent spirit that we would like to see in ourselves.  She becomes a middle way between Lydia’s heedless flouting of social norms (with attendant consequences) and Jane’s passive acceptance of what happens.  Compared to Elizabeth, Jane is dull, bland, too good.

When I thought up the plot for this book, I wanted a Jane who would fight back and shake things up a little, but I wanted it to be believable—to stay in character.  After all, I could have written a Jane who was suddenly as conniving as Caroline Bingley and turns the tables on the other woman.  But that wouldn’t be believable within the bounds of what we know about Jane’s character. The only way I could think of for Jane to change the course of her life—to be an active player—was for her to get angry.

Of course, she’s been fighting anger her whole life—it isn’t ladylike.  But when she embraces it, she finds it’s unexpectedly empowering.  I could just hear a whole chorus of female readers sighing and saying, “At last!  Jane finally got a backbone!”

Although we are frustrated with Jane’s passivity, I think we also empathize with her journey.  I’m not as passive or accepting as Jane, but I certainly have had moments in my life when I swallowed my anger and accepted what was happening. Later I would wish that I’d gotten angry.  I would wish that I’d fought for myself.  That I hadn’t stayed silent.  So, in writing this story I can share Jane’s angerand her empowerment as well.

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An excerpt from When Jane Got Angry, courtesy of Victoria Kincaid

Aware of Jane’s scrutiny, the maid dipped her head but made no move to depart.  “Begging your pardon, miss.”  The girl bit her lip.  “But are you, perhaps, sweet on Mr. Charles Bingley?”

Jane’s eyebrows shot upward.  Her mother would have chastised a servant for such forwardness.  Not that Jane was surprised the maid had guessed the truth; servants were always eavesdropping and sharing gossip.  But never had a servant asked Jane about her personal life.

Recognizing Jane’s shock, Maggie started backing toward the door.  “I’m sorry, miss!  I shouldn’t have said anything.  Never you mind—”

The maid clearly had images of being sacked for her impertinence, but Jane was not so easily offended.  She held out her hand in a reassuring gesture.  “It is quite all right, Maggie.  I was merely surprised.  What prompted the question?”

The girl’s hands twisted in her apron as she considered for a moment before speaking.  “Well, I noticed what you and Mrs. Gardiner were saying today…and I couldn’t help but overhear some of what Miss Bingley said….”

Jane was tempted to smile.  She imagined that Maggie’s “overhearing” was not particularly inadvertent.  “Miss Bingley did seem out of spirits today.”

Maggie made an indignant noise. “She was awful, that Bingley woman.  If my friend treated me in such a way, I would give her the back of my hand.”

Jane could not quite picture it.  “That would have shocked Miss Bingley,” she said.

Maggie gestured wildly.  “I don’t know how you stay so calm about it.  Me, I’d be spitting mad by now.  If you don’t mind me saying so.”

Suddenly the accumulated tension of the day caught up with Jane; her legs could barely support her.  Sinking onto the stool of the dressing table, she caught a glimpse of her drawn face in the mirror.

Many other women would be angry, Jane supposed.  Lizzy.  Lydia.  Her mother.  But Jane was the sister who did not make a fuss.  She did not demand.  She did not protest.  Papa called her “the quiet one.”  Jane could be counted upon to bring Mama her tea when she had an attack of nerves.  Or to mediate any dispute between Kitty and Lydia.  To remain calm no matter what happened.  That was who she was.

Even when your friend was revealed to be false.

Of course, none of this could be shared with the maid.  “Are you at all acquainted with Miss Bingley?”  Perhaps Maggie had heard some rumors; Jane could conceive no other reason to raise the subject with her.

“No, miss.  Not at all.  But I am acquainted with Mr. Bingley’s valet, Joseph.  That is to say, Mr. Harvey.”  The girl colored faintly.  She had red hair and the very pale skin that often accompanied it.

Jane felt a faint spark of hope, although she did not know how Maggie’s acquaintance might benefit the lowly Miss Bennet.   “I see.”

“Miss Bingley gives her brother a world of trouble.  He has complained about her to Joseph.”

“Do you know if Miss Bingley encouraged her brother to leave Netherfield?” The words were out before Jane could have second thoughts.  She should not be gossiping with her aunt’s maid, but the question was one she often had wondered about—and it was such a relief to share her woes with a sympathetic listener.  Aunt Gardiner attended to Jane’s anxieties, but she was very busy with her children—and often inclined to give advice about “forgetting” Mr. Bingley. Jane did not believe such a feat was possible.

“I don’t know, but I can ask.”

Jane said nothing, torn between her need to learn the truth and her quite proper desire to avoid gossip.

She caught another glimpse of her wan reflection in the mirror.  What did it signify?  “No, it matters not.  My path and Mr. Bingley’s are unlikely to cross again.”

Maggie’s reflection—standing behind Jane’s—frowned.  “Why is that?”

“We do not run in the same circles, and Miss Bingley seems inclined to discontinue the acquaintance.”

Maggie shook her head, making her red curls bounce.  “Och, people of quality make everything so hard.  If I liked a fellow, I would just go up and knock on his door.”

Jane stifled a laugh.  “Would that it were so simple.”

Emboldened, Maggie stepped a little closer to Jane and lowered her voice.  “I could ask Joseph about Mr. Bingley’s schedule so you might find him and speak with him.”

Jane gave the maid a sad smile.  “I thank you for the offer, but I could not possibly approach Mr. Bingley.  It would be unpardonably forward.”

“But if you was to know where Mr. Bingley would be, you could arrange to encounter him—all accidental like—with him none the wiser.”

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About When Jane Got Angry

When Mr. Bingley abruptly left Hertfordshire, Jane Bennet’s heart was broken. Since arriving in London to visit her aunt and uncle, Jane has been hoping to encounter Mr. Bingley; however, it becomes clear that his sister is keeping them apart. But what would happen if she took matters into her own hands? Defying social convention, she sets out to alert Mr. Bingley to her presence in London, hoping to rekindle the sparks of their relationship.

Bingley is thrilled to encounter Jane and renew their acquaintance, but his sister has told him several lies about the Bennets—and his best friend, Mr. Darcy, still opposes any relationship. As Jane and Bingley sort through this web of deceit, they both find it difficult to retain their customary equanimity.

However, they also discover that sometimes good things happen when Jane gets angry.

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Victoria is generously offering an international winner’s choice giveaway for When Jane Got Angry. One lucky winner will get a choice of an ebook or paperback. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, October 7, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you for being my guest today, Victoria! It’s always a pleasure to share your books with my readers.

I’m delighted to welcome Alice Isakova to Diary of an Eccentric today to share an excerpt of her Pride and Prejudice sequel, Georgiana Darcy, and a very generous giveaway. But first, the book blurb:

With her temptingly large dowry, the beautiful and talented Georgiana Darcy catches the eye of numerous suitors, not all of whom wish to marry purely for love. As Georgiana navigates the treacherous waters of courtship, her story becomes intertwined with that of Anne de Bourgh, her wealthy but painfully awkward cousin, who stirs up trouble when she sets her sights on a young gentleman with a rank far below her own. In so doing, Anne encounters the opposition of her proud and domineering mother, the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and sets in motion a chain of events that brings a damaging secret to light and threatens to destroy Georgiana’s dreams of happiness. Intrigues, gossip, and elopements further complicate Georgiana’s efforts to find love and avoid the snares of fortune-hunters.

Written in a sparkling, witty, humorous style on par with Jane Austen’s own in Pride and Prejudice, Alice Isakova’s Georgiana Darcy continues the tale that has delighted readers for over two centuries.

Buy: Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Smashwords | Google Books | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

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An excerpt from Georgiana Darcy, courtesy of Alice Isakova

On Sunday after divine service, as Georgiana and Anne were stepping out of the church, they were joined by their friend Miss Lawson, a young lady of fifteen years old. The three of them stopped a short distance away from the building for a little conversation. Georgiana began by observing, “What a thought-provoking sermon we heard today! I wish the church services back at home were half as interesting. What did you think of it, Miss Lawson?”

“I do not know,” the girl answered sheepishly. Then, lowering her voice, she added with a giggle, “To tell the truth, I did not hear half the sermon. Perhaps if Mr. Grey were not quite so handsome, I might have benefited more from his preaching.”

“God must truly have smiled upon this parish to have sent such a clergyman to Hunsford,” laughed Georgiana.

The three ladies continued their cheerful discourse until Miss Lawson was called away by her father, who was most anxious to return home as soon as possible so that he might have some luncheon.

Once they were alone, Anne said to her cousin:

“My thoughts have often returned to Friday’s assembly, and to Mr. Grey in particular. You know, he sought my hand for the first dance, and afterwards, he did not dance again for the rest of the evening even though he admitted to being very fond of the pastime. Instead, he kept me company for quite some time; you may remember that I was obliged to rest after the fist dance and did not have the strength to tread another measure until the end of the evening in the Boulanger. That Mr. Grey should have danced with me alone at the ball awakened a hope that he may perhaps regard me as more than just the daughter of his employer.”

“Anne, he did ask me to stand up with him, but I declined because I was already engaged to dance with Sir Matthew.”

Observing that her cousin looked quite downcast at this admission, Georgiana hastened to reassure her:

“But Anne, his asking me to dance does not mean that he prefers my company. Mr. Grey hardly spoke to me all evening, whereas I observed that he conversed at length with you.”

“Yes, that is true,” Anne brightened. “If only I had more opportunities to talk to him! Other than in church or occasionally at Rosings, I never see him, and when I do, Mama is always with me, so I hardly dare speak at all.”

“Well, that does present a difficulty, but it is one that can be overcome with a little effort,” said Georgiana. “Why do we not invite Mr. Grey to go for a walk with us this afternoon? Sir Matthew and I thought to take a stroll in the forest today after church, but we had to put off the plan because Elizabeth wants to call on Mrs. Collins instead, and so she cannot chaperone us. But now you and Mr. Grey could accompany us instead!”

Anne was delighted at the idea. In a burst of uncharacteristic boldness, Georgiana approached the curate, and with Anne standing quietly beside her, she invited the gentleman to join them on their walk. However, in her eagerness to arrange the outing, Georgiana forgot to mention that Sir Matthew would be with them also, and the clergyman therefore formed the erroneous impression that he alone would accompany the ladies on their forest walk.

Mr. Grey was very surprised to receive Georgiana’s invitation. Indeed, he could not account for the unexpected attention. Perhaps Miss Darcy wished to discuss religion during the walk? But then, she had made no mention of spiritual matters. A thought came into his mind, and was bolstered by Georgiana’s warm smile, that maybe Mrs. Townsend was mistaken as to the degree of regard that Miss Darcy and Sir Matthew had for each other. Perhaps the imminent union between them was nothing but idle gossip? Needless to say, Mr. Grey received a rude shock when, arriving at the appointed hour, he discovered that Sir Matthew Leigh was one of the party. Still, the clergyman determined not to be too hasty in making unpleasant conclusions.

Anne could hardly believe that she had taken the daring step of seeking out Mr. Grey’s society. Suddenly overcome with shyness, however, she could not bring herself even to look at him but instead stayed doggedly and silently by her cousin’s side. Awkward and diffident though she felt, Anne was filled with anticipation and excitement and would not have given up this opportunity for the world.

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About the Author

Alice Isakova

Born in Eastern Europe, Alice Isakova spent the latter part of her childhood in the United States before finally settling in Australia. There she obtained a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide and won multiple university prizes for outstanding academic achievement.

Alice now lives with her family in rural Tasmania. She spends her free time either writing or pursuing her passion for fitness, especially the disciplines of rhythmic gymnastics, yoga, and ballet. Georgiana Darcy: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is Alice Isakova’s first book.

Find Alice on Amazon | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Alice is generously offering 5 ebook copies of Georgiana Darcy to my readers. This giveaway is open internationally through Sunday, October 7, 2018. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Alice, for being my guest today and for sharing that lovely excerpt. Congratulations on the release of Georgiana Darcy!

Source: Borrowed from library
Rating: ★★★★☆

But what can I, with my dark skin and friends all over the world, have to do with such a grandfather? Was it he who destroyed my family? Did he cast his shadow first on my mother and then on me? Can it be that a dead man still wields power over the living? Is the depression that has plagued me for so long connected to my origins? I lived and studied in Israel for five years — was that chance or fate? Will I have to behave differently toward my Israeli friends, now that I know? My grandfather murdered your relatives.

(from My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, page 10)

Jennifer Teege was 38 years old when she learned a terrible secret that had plagued her family since long before she was born. Born in Munich, Germany, in 1970, Teege was placed in an orphanage at four weeks old, with sporadic contact with her troubled mother and her grandmother. Contact with her biological family ceased when she was adopted at the age of seven, and she missed her grandmother terribly. Her adopted family welcomed her with open arms despite her differences; with a German mother and a Nigerian father, she always stood out, especially in Germany at that time.

Never feeling like she truly belonged and feeling abandoned by her mother, Teege battled with depression. In the strangest of coincidences she was drawn to a book in the psychology section of the library in Hamburg, and when she pulled it off the shelf, she saw a photo of a woman on the cover who looked like her mother and shared the same name: Monika Goeth, daughter of Amon Goeth, commandant of the Płaszów concentration camp during World War II and who was hanged for his crimes in 1946. He was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in the movie Schindler’s List. The knowledge that she was the granddaughter of a Nazi war criminal and a sadistic murderer nicknamed “The Butcher of Płaszów” affected Teege deeply. She didn’t know how to process this information and how to face her friends in Israel, where she lived for five years and attended college, as many lost family members in the Holocaust.

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past tells Teege’s story of coming to terms with her family’s past and the secret that was kept from her. The book follows Teege as she visits the scenes of the atrocities committed by her grandfather in Poland, tries to balance her love for her grandmother with what she learns about her complacency during the war and her undying love for Amon Goeth, and tries to build a relationship with her estranged mother and understand why she was never told the truth and why she was given up for adoption. Teege’s story is told in her own words and interspersed with historical details and commentary from the people closest to her.

The book raises many issues, from the burden of family secrets to the guilt carried by the descendants of the Nazis, from the need to understand what is impossible to grasp about human nature and how to cope with the knowledge of the horrors and suffering inflicted by their relatives in the recent past even while knowing they are not directly responsible for those actions. Teege is honest with her feelings, the pain and shame she endured, her failure to make certain things right, and how to accept and move on in a positive light. There is much to ponder and discuss within these pages, and despite the heavy themes, the overall message of the book is one of hope, love, and compassion.