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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.

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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.

It is always a pleasure to welcome Paulette Mahurin to the blog. I really enjoyed her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, and while I sadly have fallen behind in reading her other books, I always want to bring them to your attention, not just because her writing is great but also because all of the profits from the sale of her books benefit animal rescue efforts in Southern California. Paulette networks with multiple rescues in the area to get dogs out of kill shelters.

Today, I’m happy to spotlight her latest novel, A Different Kind of Angel, and share with you an excerpt.

First, here’s the book blurb:

Inspired by real events chronicled by journalist for The World News, Elizabeth Cochrane (pen name, Nellie Bly), in 1887.

Klara Gelfman’s life in Kiev was serene until she turned nineteen. That’s when Russia’s Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and a vicious propaganda campaign spread that blamed the Jews for his death. Klara and her family became victims of the many pogroms breaking out throughout Russia. None were so violent as what hit Kiev in 1881. It was there that Klara’s family was torn asunder and her world changed forever.

This is the story of what happens to this traumatized, orphaned, young Jewish woman when she escapes Russia and crosses an ocean to arrive on the rough streets of New York City able to speak only a few words of English. There, in the land of the free, Klara’s life is thrown into turmoil when she is mistaken for a drunken prostitute. Mistreated by those entrusted to protect her—the police, a judge, doctors, and nurses—she is condemned to an unrelenting hellscape when she is incorrectly and involuntarily committed to a lunatic asylum.

At a time when women had no political, economic or professional rights, comes a story where corruption by the powerful was as overt and commonplace as was garbage on the New York City streets. From the award winning, international best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress, comes an unforgettable story of the devastating effects of persecution, hatred, and arrogance. A Different Kind of Angel is also a story of love, family, friendship and loyalty. It is a journey into the nature and heart of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave readers thinking about the story long after they finish the book.

Buy A Different Kind of Angel on Amazon

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An excerpt from A Different Kind of Angel, courtesy of Paulette Mahurin:

In that freezing room, I sat up to receive the embrace of Tillie’s warm good-morning hug. The affection of her arms around me spread through my body. The outside snow had all but melted into the new day. But the chill in the room directed my attention back to the snowstorm. Once again, I thought of Papa comparing snowflakes to people. It was more than just emotions we had in common. We had needs. I was pretty confident that, just like when the sun comes out and melts ice to water, our needs are very much alike when we soften from love.

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About the Author

Paulette Mahurin is a best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award-winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in August 2018. Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Check out Paulette’s Facebook and Amazon pages

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Giveaway

Paulette is generously offering a Kindle copy of A Different Kind of Angel to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through September 30, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Paulette, for sharing your newest book with my readers today and for your tireless efforts to rescue dogs from kill shelters. I appreciate you being my guest today!

Source: Review copy from author

In the first book in The Lost Heir Novella Series, April Floyd writes a unique take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In Mrs. Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth Bennet is now the widow of Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, with a four-year-old son named after his father. While little of the courtship is mentioned, readers learn that Elizabeth met the colonel after the Netherfield party left. Jane and Bingley are married with a child, Elizabeth and little Richard live with them at Netherfield, and Charles is estranged from his sisters and Mr. Darcy.

Elizabeth has never met the colonel’s family because he broke ties with them, and they know nothing of her son. However, upon the death of the Matlocks’ eldest son, Mr. Darcy is set to inherit, as they are unaware of little Richard being the legitimate heir. This brings Elizabeth to London, where she has a tense meeting with the Matlocks and begins to understand why her husband was estranged from them.

However, she soon finds an ally in Mr. Darcy and his sister. Despite her feelings having changed since the last time she met him, Elizabeth can’t bring herself to make little Richard’s presence known just yet. She knows what is best for her son, but she worries about the Matlocks’ interference in his upbringing. She carries this secret with her as she forges a new friendship with the Darcys and takes her place in London society as the colonel’s widow.

I really enjoyed Mrs. Fitzwilliam, especially the fact that years have made Elizabeth and Darcy wiser and more willing to put the past behind them, bonding over their mutual love for the colonel. I also loved that Bingley was willing to take charge of his own happiness, and his fondness for Elizabeth and especially her son was endearing. The novella does end with a cliffhanger, but not one that will drive you crazy waiting for the next book. At any rate, the second installment, The Colonel’s Son, has already been released, and the final book is coming soon.

Giveaway: April Floyd is generously offering 5 ebook copies of Mrs. Fitzwilliam to my readers! To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, September 30, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck! (Also, stay tuned for my review of The Colonel’s Son, along with another giveaway!)

Disclosure: I received a copy of Mrs. Fitzwilliam from the author for review.

I’m delighted to welcome Lizzy Brandon to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time today to celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Recognizing Love. Lizzy is here to tell us a little about Recognizing Love and to share an excerpt. Please give her a warm welcome!

Late last spring, I had just finished reading a series of books where Mr. Bennet died and realized I had never seen one where Mrs. Bennet died (unless most of the family was killed off with her). Mr. Bennet’s death would cause immediate problems for the family but how would their lives change if Mrs. Bennet died?

My first book, Folly and Forgiveness, was an angst fest as I killed off Mrs. Bennet early, after she argues with Elizabeth about accepting Mr. Collins’s proposal. Blaming herself, Elizabeth is guilt ridden and mourning as she learns how wrong she was about Mr. Darcy. I didn’t have a planned destination when I started, I just wanted to see how events and characters would change if Mrs. Bennet was no longer there. I liked exploring Elizabeth’s emotional growth through the book, but it was heavy.

For Recognizing Love, I started the story with the meeting at Pemberley after Elizabeth has already learned most of her lessons.  I enjoyed writing a lighter story this time where Elizabeth is still conflicted about her feelings but already views Mr. Darcy favorably and really wants to love him.  I most enjoyed writing a Mr. Darcy not only in love, but so confident he is living his own happily-ever-after that he feels free to say what is in his heart.

Today’s excerpt takes place at a dinner party Mrs. Phillips is hosting to honor the happy couple. Elizabeth has just arrived to discover a much larger crowd than she had anticipated.

“Lizzy! You look radiant, my dear,” Mrs. Phillips said as she took Elizabeth’s hands. “I am so pleased I could host a party in your honor. I was not certain Mr. Darcy would come.”

“Mr. Darcy has changed a great deal since last he was in Hertfordshire,” Elizabeth told her. “I would not have recognized him as the same man when we met again at Pemberley. I beg you allow him another opportunity to make your acquaintance.”

Mrs. Phillips looked unconvinced but said she would certainly do so.

“You have relieved your mother a great deal,” she continued. “I have not seen her take to her bed since she learned of your engagement.” Mrs. Phillips leaned in close to Elizabeth so as not to be overheard. “I had worried a great deal about her health, you know. She has always been excitable, but the past year she has had more palpitations and attacks of nerves than I have ever before witnessed. Your marriage may be the saving of her. I know you had hoped for a more amiable man but you have been a good daughter and provided safety for your family.”

“I assure you, I am quite happy to be marrying Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth exclaimed. “I would not have accepted him if I did not respect and admire him. He is the perfect match for me.”

“Exactly! I knew you would find happiness. You were not made to be unhappy for long. And now that Mr. Bingley is back, there is hope for Jane. I do not know why you stayed in London when your father went to search for Lydia, but I suspect you helped save her as well. You are a good girl, Lizzy, and you have ever been the dependable one. I know your mother does not understand you but know that she appreciates all that you have done for your family.”

Unable to continue in a conversation where she was being praised for such a heroic sacrifice, Elizabeth politely excused herself to seek her betrothed.

Mrs. Long next accosted her. “Miss Eliza, I wish you every happiness in your marriage as I fear you may find little.”

“I do not understand you,” Elizabeth replied, her smile becoming brittle. “I am perfectly happy to be marrying Mr. Darcy. In him, I have found a gentleman who will allow me to be myself.”

“Of course, dear,” she replied with a condescending pat on the hand. “But you will be the mistress of such a fine estate that you will have new social obligations. Do you know which charities the family supports? I expect Mr. Darcy will want you to join those societies.”

Elizabeth shrugged.

“No matter. I am sure he will tell you soon enough. Perhaps the family is not connected to any particular causes and he will allow you to choose your own.”

“Happy thought indeed,” Elizabeth said and again excused herself. Unfortunately, she turned around only to find her mother and Lady Lucas.

“Ah, Lizzy, I was just telling Lady Lucas—”

“Have you heard from Charlotte recently?” Elizabeth interrupted, afraid to find out what her mother had been discussing.

“I have. She is well. I wrote and told her of your engagement, so I expect a reply soon. Charlotte once told me she suspected Mr. Darcy had an interest in you, though none of us ever saw it. I wrote to tell her she was right after all. My Charlotte has always been an observant girl.”

“She did indeed have suspicions and I laughed at her when she told me,” Elizabeth said. “Charlotte might be happy to know she was right and I was wrong but not nearly so happy as I am.”

Lady Lucas beamed.

“I wish you joy, for I can think of no one who deserves it more.” Lady Lucas glanced toward Mrs. Bennet and continued. “Charlotte values you above all others in Meryton. Perhaps Mr. Darcy has another living somewhere in Derbyshire he might bestow on Mr. Collins so that you and Charlotte could be closer?”

Elizabeth knew Lady Lucas was genuinely fond of her, but the request rankled nonetheless. It was a reasonable suggestion. Elizabeth would like to have Charlotte closer, but she detested the idea of being requested to influence her future husband in such a way, most especially for a fool like Mr. Collins.

Luckily, Mrs. Bennet saw someone she had not yet regaled with tales of her victory–all marital plans of Elizabeth’s naturally being Mrs. Bennet’s rightful property for purposes of gloating.

Elizabeth allowed herself to be pushed along by the crowd until she came upon Jane and Mr. Bingley. In any other circumstance, she would have preferred to give them their privacy, but the room was far too crowded anyway and Elizabeth was desperate for a respite.

“Miss Elizabeth, how good to see you,” Mr. Bingley said.

“Are you well, Lizzy? You look upset,” Jane said.

“Have you seen Mr. Darcy? I last saw him in this area and I hate to think of what he may be enduring.”

“He did look put out. I believe he stepped outside for some air. If you push on, you may be able to make it to a doorway and find him,” Bingley said.

Elizabeth smiled ruefully. She had not travelled four steps before being greeted by Mrs. Goulding.

“Congratulations, Miss Eliza. You have made a fine match.”

“Thank you,” Elizabeth replied, already gritting her teeth as she wondered what fresh humiliation would follow.

“Your mother did not know, but I expect you do. Is Pemberley entailed? Your mother suffered so in trying to produce an heir that I would hate for you to be put in a similar situation.”

“I have no idea,” she replied in what was becoming her standard response when asked anything about Mr. Darcy.

“Oh. I imagine not. Mr. Darcy would be unlikely to risk marrying a woman who came from a family of five sisters with never a brother. Or perhaps he saw you as coming from strong country stock and able to produce a good brood. Delicate society ladies cannot be counted on to deliver as well as a country lass,” she said with a wink. “In any event, Mr. Darcy would be well able to provide for a collection of daughters, so you will not face the same pressures your own mother did.”

Mrs. Goulding tapped Elizabeth’s arm with her fan as she smiled conspiratorially. “You can also take comfort that if you do produce an heir he is likely to leave you alone and spend more of his time with his mistress. If you can be discreet, you may find an amiable man to love after all.”

Elizabeth was too incensed to speak had she even the words. Before she could escape, the woman leaned in to speak furtively.

“If your father has not already signed the settlement papers, make certain he does so soon. If Mr. Darcy was able to end his engagement to Miss De Bourgh, then he would have no qualms about ending one to a girl with no connections. You must ensure your security should he change his mind.”

Mrs. Goulding then waved to a nearby acquaintance and moved off, leaving Elizabeth alone in her shock. Her entire face burned as she pushed forward. She could only hope others would attribute it to the close company and not her conversations.

Did everyone truly believe she was marrying Mr. Darcy only for his money? They had seen little enough evidence of his goodness, so they would be unable to understand her true reasons. And if she was only marrying for money, then it was logical enough to suppose he was marrying her to acquire a quality brood mare. She could only hope people had been more reserved with Mr. Darcy. Not knowing him well, no one here would dare address these impertinent types of comments to him.

Would they?

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About Recognizing Love

Secrets will surface…

Accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal and allowing him to assume a love she does not yet feel pains Miss Elizabeth Bennet but she is certain she can love him…in time. After all of the miseries he endured to salvage her youngest sister’s reputation, how could she not come to love such a man?

Unfortunately, Lady Catherine arrives, bringing even thornier complications. With the many objections Darcy’s family will have regarding his marriage to the daughter of an unremarkable country squire, what more trouble can Lady Catherine stir up should she learn Elizabeth’s secret?

In this Pride and Prejudice romance variation, what will Mr. Darcy do when he learns his beloved has accepted him although her heart is not engaged?

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Lizzy Brandon once attempted to switch sections of a Brit Lit course after seeing Pride and Prejudice on the reading list. How could a book with such a boring title possibly compete with Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or Frankenstein? Luckily, her request was denied and she was introduced to Jane Austen’s amazing world of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Years later, Lizzy was thrilled to discover the world of Pride and Prejudice sequels and variations where her favorite characters could live on with countless adventures. After enjoying reading variations for years, she decided to try writing her own.

Connect with Lizzy Brandon on Facebook

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Giveaway

As part of the blog tour, Lizzy is generously offering 3 paperback copies of Recognizing Love and 3 $10 Amazon eGift cards. The giveaway is open worldwide, but you MUST enter through the Rafflecopter link. The giveaway is open through September 30, 2018. Good luck!

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Thank you, Lizzy, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

Victoria Kincaid is visiting again today to celebrate the release of her latest audiobooks, Pride and Proposals and The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth. She has a treat for you today: an excerpt and an international giveaway! Please give her a warm welcome:

Thank you for having me as a guest, Anna!  Recently I’ve made a big push to get my stories made into audiobooks, which has been a rewarding process in many different ways.  Pride and Proposals was just released as an audiobook, and The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth was released over the summer.  The narrators for both books have done terrific jobs with the stories.  Below is an excerpt from the beginning of Pride and Proposals:

Miss Bennet, I must tell you that almost since our first …

No. Too formal.

You must be aware of my attentions …

Would that assume too much?

You must allow me to tell you how much I admire you …

This came closest to expressing his sentiments, but would she view it as excessive?

Darcy guided his stallion along the path to Hunsford Parsonage, anxiety increasing by the minute. Somehow the perfect words for a proposal must come to mind. He was close by the parsonage.

Almost out of time.

He took a deep breath. The master of Pemberley was unaccustomed to such agitation of the mind. But Elizabeth Bennet had a habit of unsettling his nerves as no one else could. Not for the first time, he wondered why that should indicate she would be the ideal companion of his future life. However, he had wrestled with his sentiments all day and finally concluded that it must be so, despite his objections to her family.

He had not slept the night previous and only fitfully the night before that. Practically his every thought was occupied by Elizabeth Bennet. Every minute of the day, he would recall a pert response she had made to his aunt or a piece of music she had played on the pianoforte. Or the sparkle of life in her fine eyes.

Yes, at first she had seemed an unlikely candidate for the mistress of Pemberley, but his passion could not be denied.

He no longer made the attempt.

Strange. He had been angered with himself for months that he could not rid himself of this … obsession with Miss Bennet. But once he had determined to surrender to the sentiment and propose to her, he felt almost … happy. Despite the fleeting sensations of guilt and doubt, he could not help but imagine how joyful it would be to have her as his wife.

He pictured the expression on Elizabeth’s face when he declared himself. Undoubtedly, she was aware of his admiration, and she had returned his flirtatious banter on more than one occasion, but she could have no serious hopes for an alliance. Her delight would make any of his misgivings worth it.

The woods on either side of the path thinned, and Darcy slowed his horse to a walk as he reached the clearing surrounding the parsonage. Initially, he had been bitterly disappointed when Elizabeth’s headache had prevented her from accompanying the Collinses to Rosings for tea, but then he recognized a perfect opportunity to speak with her alone.

Excusing himself from the gathering had not presented any difficulties. His cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, had received a letter that day with word of an unexpected inheritance of property following the death of his mother’s sister. Darcy was well pleased for his cousin, who had chafed at the limitations of a second son’s life. Richard had excused himself to plan for an immediate departure from Rosings the next day so he could soon visit his new estate. Darcy had seized on the excuse as well – since, naturally, he would be taking Richard in his coach and would necessarily need to prepare.

Darcy turned his thoughts to the task at hand.

You must allow me to tell you how violently I admire …

No.

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you …

Perhaps …

Darcy swung his leg over the pommel and slid off his saddle, tying his horse up at a post outside the Collinses’ front door. Pausing for a moment, he breathed deeply, willing his body to calmness. Then he seized the door knocker and rapped.

The maid who answered the door appeared unnecessarily flustered. As he followed her down the short hallway to the Collinses’ modest drawing room, Darcy had a dawning sense of wrongness.

Voices already emanated from the drawing room. Darcy immediately recognized Elizabeth’s lovely soprano. But the other voice was male, too muffled for him to hear. Had Collins returned home unexpectedly?

Darcy quickened his stride, almost crowding against the maid as she opened the drawing room door. “Mr. Darcy, ma’am,” the maid announced before swiftly scurrying away.

Darcy blinked several times. His mind had difficulty understanding what his eyes saw. His cousin Fitzwilliam was in the drawing room. With Elizabeth. With Darcy’s Elizabeth. In actuality, Richard sat beside her on the settee, almost indecently close.

Why is Richard here? Darcy wondered with some irritation. Should he not be packing for his departure rather than preventing me from proposing?

Richard and Elizabeth had been smiling at each other, but now both regarded Darcy in surprise.

For a moment, all was silence. Darcy could hear the crackling of logs in the fireplace. He had the nagging sensation of having missed something of importance but could not identify it.

“I … uh … came to inquire after your health, Miss Bennet.” Given the circumstances, Darcy was proud that the words emerged at all coherently.

“I am feeling much recovered, thank you.” Her voice was somewhat breathless.

A look passed between Richard and Elizabeth, and she gave a tiny nod. Darcy’s sense of mystification increased. Finally, Richard sprang to his feet with a huge grin on his face. “Darcy, you arrived at just the right moment. You can be the first to congratulate me.” At that moment, Darcy started to get a sinking, gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Elizabeth has consented to be my wife!”

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About Pride and Proposals

What if Mr. Darcy’s proposal was too late?

Darcy has been bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet since he met her in Hertfordshire. He can no longer fight this overwhelming attraction and must admit he is hopelessly in love. During Elizabeth’s visit to Kent, she has been forced to endure the company of the difficult and disapproving Mr. Darcy, but she has enjoyed making the acquaintance of his affable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Finally resolved, Darcy arrives at Hunsford Parsonage prepared to propose – only to discover that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from the colonel, Darcy’s dearest friend in the world. As he watches the couple prepare for a lifetime together, Darcy vows never to speak of what is in his heart.

Elizabeth has reason to dislike Darcy but finds that he haunts her thoughts and stirs her emotions in strange ways. Can Darcy and Elizabeth find their happily ever after?

Check out a sample on Audible

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About The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth

What if Darcy and Elizabeth were plunged into the war between England and France?

It is 1803, and a treaty has allowed England and France to enjoy a brief moment of peace in the midst of the Napoleonic wars.

Darcy is despondent over Elizabeth’s refusal of his proposal at Hunsford, so Colonel Fitzwilliam proposes a trip to Paris as a distraction. At a ball, Darcy unexpectedly encounters Elizabeth, who is visiting Paris with the Gardiners. He sees this as his opportunity to court Elizabeth properly and rectify past mistakes.

Before he can make much progress, however, England declares war again, and Darcy must help Elizabeth flee France. As they make their way to the coast, Elizabeth and Darcy must battle brigands, French soldiers, illness, and their own mutual attraction – all without a chaperone.

When they return to England, Elizabeth and Darcy have their own secrets to conceal – even from those closest to them.

Check out a sample on Audible

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Giveaway

Victoria is generously offering 1 audiobook of Pride and Proposals and 1 audiobook of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth to my readers. Two winners will be selected, one for each audiobook. This giveaway is open internationally through Sunday, September 30, 2018. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and let us know which audiobook you’d prefer. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Victoria, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new audiobooks!