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Source: Review copy from Meryton Press

The Mist of Her Memory is another winner from Suzan Lauder, and this being her first romantic suspense variation of Pride and Prejudice, it shows her versatility and growth as a writer. I don’t want to delve too deeply into the plot because it’s best that you just dive in and enjoy the ride for yourself.

When the novel opens, readers quickly learn that some sort of accident happened when Elizabeth was visiting Lambton with the Gardiners and that she has lost her memory. While her aunt and uncle believe Mr. Darcy isn’t to be trusted, Elizabeth struggles to make sense of the bits and pieces she remembers of him and longs to escape from the confines of the Gardiners’ home to speak to him. Meanwhile, Darcy is struggling with his feelings for Elizabeth and that he can never see her again, given the Gardiners’ demands.

I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book, wanting to know why the Gardiners kept avoiding her questions about Lydia, why the Bennets have been treated so harshly by the townspeople, and what happened to Elizabeth in Lambton to cause her memory loss. Lauder does an excellent job with pacing, parceling out the details in such a way that you can’t stop turning the pages to see how it all fits together. It was hard to see Elizabeth so weak in that she can’t remember things and suffers extreme headaches the more she tries to remember, yet she was so strong in that she survived at all. Mr. Darcy’s suffering was hard to read as well, especially as he laments his permanent separation from Elizabeth. The Mist of Her Memory is the perfect blend of suspense and romance, and it’s definitely one I would read again even though I know how it all plays out.

****

About The Mist of Her Memory

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton?

What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?

Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”

̶ author L. L. Diamond

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Suzan Lauder

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.

She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150 year old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead, on her Facebook author page, on Twitter, and on Instagram as Suzan Lauder. She is a lifetime member of JASNA.

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Mist of Her Memory. The giveaway runs until midnight, May 19, 2019. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

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May 7 / Just Romantic Suspense / Book Excerpt

May 8 /  Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post

May 9 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Book Excerpt

May 10 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post

May 11 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

May 12 / Half Agony, Half Hope / Book Review

May 13 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Character Interview

May 14 / Just Jane 1813 /  Author Interview

May 15 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt

May 16 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

Source: Review copy from the author

Allie Cresswell’s newest novel, Dear Jane, is the final installment of the Highbury trilogy, based on Jane Austen’s Emma. I can assure you that it’s a standalone novel, as I have not read the first two books yet (but definitely plan to) and was able to follow and enjoy the story just fine. Dear Jane fleshes out the backstories of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, whose childhoods away from their closest relatives in Highbury are mentioned in Austen’s novel but not covered in great detail.

What was it like for Jane to grow up with the affluent Campbell family, away from her impoverished grandmother and aunt, Mrs. and Miss Bates? What was it like for Jane to enjoy the love and acceptance of the Campbell family, plus the luxuries and opportunities afforded to her as their ward, while knowing that it wouldn’t last forever, and that she likely would have to go into service as a governess? Meanwhile, what was it like for Frank to live under his demanding and controlling aunt, to prepare to one day inherit their estate but be unable to enjoy the usual freedoms of young men — not to go to university as planned and not even visit his father, Mr. Weston, without doing so secretly?

Cresswell does a great job showing how difficult it was for them to navigate their situations, even while being given better lives and opportunities than they likely would have had in Highbury. She also gives readers an in-depth look at their meeting in Weymouth and the events that occur before we meet them for the first time in Emma.

I really enjoyed getting a chance to better know and understand Jane and Frank, beyond what is seen of them in the original novel, much of which is clouded by Emma Woodhouse’s opinions about them — her longtime rivalry with Jane and her infatuation with the young man everyone has talked about and fawned over for years before he finally arrives in Highbury. It is easy to dislike both of them in Emma, especially Frank, but seeing this side of their story gives readers much to think about.

Dear Jane is a fantastic look at some of Austen’s most intriguing secondary characters — with the addition of some very interesting original characters, like the infuriating Lady Sowerby — and getting to see Emma, Mr. Knightley, Miss Bates (whose babbling is perfectly captured by Cresswell; I could hear her dialogue in my mind like I was watching one of the movie adaptations), and the rest of the Highbury natives was a real treat.

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About Dear Jane

The final installment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day.

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Allie Cresswell

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook.

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Dear Jane as part of the blog tour using this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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Follow the Blog Tour (click the button below)

 

I’m delighted to welcome Jayne Bamber back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of Unexpected Friends & Relations, the second book in her Friends & Relations series of Jane Austen crossover novels. Jayne is here today with an excerpt and a giveaway, but first, we have Sir Gerald Sutton’s interview with Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam.

Seventeen Questions with Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam

By Jayne Bamber

Lady Rebecca

Good Morning all, Sir Gerald Sutton here. I have recently had the honor of marrying my neighbor and long-lost-love, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. We have just informed our family of our intention to acknowledge our daughter, who has spent the last 18 years hidden away at my sister’s boarding school in Surrey. To help our daughter get better acquainted with her new extended family, which includes my five children as well as Lady Catherine’s many nieces and nephews, three of whom have recently married, I have decided to sit down with some of my new relations, and sketch their characters….

Today I am joined by my new niece, and perhaps one of the most formidable members of the Fitzwilliam clan, Lady Rebecca. Rebecca, my dear, thank you for joining me here at De Bourgh House in London.

Lady Rebecca: Thank you for inviting me. It is pleasant to see how comfortably you have settled into the townhouse of your bride’s first husband. Perhaps you might ring for tea?

Sir Gerald: Of course! And now, I have some questions to put to you, and our housekeeper, Mrs. Banks, will take down the dictation.

LR: I am sure Mrs. Banks will find it a most edifying experience – I am ready, sir.

SG: Capital! Let us begin with some of the simpler questions. Tell me, what do you like best about residing here in London?

LR: There are a great many attractions in London, to be sure, but I most enjoy the people here. Human nature quite fascinates me –there is always so much to amuse, in taking a person’s likeness… as you may yet discover.

SG: And when you are not in London, you can be found at your father’s estate in Matlock. What is your favorite part of the estate?

LR: Well, let me think. There are a great many delights there – the scenery to be had, if one has the stamina to ride extensively about the countryside. The house is quite marvelous, as well, and my own apartments are quite elegant, a great place to retreat when the company becomes tedious. Too obvious a place to hide for long, though – that is when I would recommend the wine cellar. I discovered it in my youth, playing games with my brothers, but it is excellent for hiding from a great many other things, such as tiresome governesses or unwanted suitors, even irritating stepmothers. And of course, if one is obliged to hide for a lengthy period of time, one can always have a drink.

SG: Well, I shall keep that in mind, when next I visit.

LR: ‘Tis my hiding place – you must find your own.

SG: Aside from hiding and lurking in wine cellars, what is your favorite childhood memory?

LR: Learning to ride a horse. I was twelve, and my brother Richard taught me one summer when he came home from school. I was a little frightened – oh dear, do not transcribe that, Mrs. Banks – but I was so eager to spend time with Richard, whom I had missed very much, that I would have done just about any activity at all, if only to spend time with him.

SG: What a charming thought. I am aware that you are quite close with your brother the Viscount, which leads to my next question – who did you look up to the most, growing up?

LR: I am sure Richard will be very cross if I do not say him, but he shall have to console himself about that. I looked up the most to my mother, growing up. She was an incredible woman.

SG: So I hear. Will you tell me about her?

LR: No, I think not.

SG:

LR:

SG: Er – very well, then. Let us speak more about yourself. What is your favorite time of year?

LR: I enjoy the winter. I feel quite comfortable when the weather is as frigid as my own icy heart, and I look smashing in fur.

SG: You do have a very unique style, I am sure. Have you a favorite book?

LR: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft – my goodness, Mrs. Banks, that is quite a cough you have! Sir Gerald, I have taken the liberty of purchasing a copy for your new daughter as a welcome present.

SG: My, my, you really… shouldn’t have.

LR: I thought it the best way to welcome her to the family – I have made sure that every other lady in the family has read it, so Miss Sutton will have something in common with us all.

SG: Moving right along, what is your favorite food?

LR: I expect brandy is not quite a food, per se…. I have taken quite a liking to boiled potatoes, particularly since last summer.

SG: How odd, that is just what Mrs. Darcy said.

LR: I am not at all surprised!

SG: And speaking of surprises, have you any secret talents?

LR: A great many, sir – I am almost entirely composed of both secrets, and talents. The one I take the most pride in, aside from general intimidation, is gift-giving. I excel at selecting thoughtful and personal presents for the people I care about. I once gave Lizzy the same gown twice, and she liked it very much each time.

SG: Most extraordinary! And what is the best present you have ever been given?

LR: Mary Bennet once gave me her copy of Fordyce’s Sermons.

SG: That is certainly an unexpected answer! It is hardly the sort of book I should expect you to enjoy!

LR: On the contrary, sir – I have never enjoyed sitting by the fireplace at Pemberley more than I did that night, and I find that parting with it has improved dear Mary, as well.

SG: You are often full of praise for the members of this family. If you could choose any three of them to go on holiday with, who would you select?

LR: Only three? Oh dear, let me think. My brother Richard, to be sure – he would provide protection, and always carries a flask with him, making him dependably excellent company. Elizabeth would be my second choice; I absolutely adore her. Lastly, I would choose dear Mary Bennet, as I think our company would be most instructive for her.

SG: And if you could travel to any destination, where would you like to go?

LR: I should like to go to Egypt, to see the Nile, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. I should like to compare riding a camel to riding a horse, and I have a great curiosity to encounter a crocodile. I might bring one back as a pet.

SG: Most unusual!

LR: Is it?

SG: Next question… If you could be any person for a day, whom should you like to be?

LR: The Prince Regent, I suppose. I find Beau Brummel a most intriguing fellow, and quite dashing. He might help me get dressed.

SG: Mrs. Banks, I beg you do not write that down. Let us strike that from the record, and proceed…. Tell me about your schooling, Lady Rebecca. I am interested to learn what sort of seminary has produced such a paragon of… ahem… virtue?

LR: I went to school in Reading, at Madame La Tournelle’s. It was certainly…. instructive, in some ways. Madame was not even remotely French, did not speak a word of French, had never even been to France, in fact. She was vastly diverting, however, and I liked a few of the girls there very much. There was a clever young lady a few years older than myself called Jane, very bookish and quite cheeky. We used to put on little theatricals together and compose rude verses to shock Madame La Tournellle, until Papa discovered she was really called Sarah Hackit and did not teach anything remotely useful, and so he took me away. I do wonder whatever became of Jane, and her sweet sister Cassandra….

SG: Ahem… well, hopefully they are both well-settled with husbands and children!

LR: How tedious that would be!

SG: …Which leads me to my next question. What is your greatest annoyance?

LR: Strong sentiment – I think it quite odious.

SG: I see. And what ought one do to get into your good graces?

LR: Surprise me. I take delight in the ludicrous and the unexpected. And carry a flask. Speak impertinently, challenge authority, and be very clever indeed.

SG: Of course. Mrs. Banks….

Mrs. Banks: I’ve marked through that one, sir.

SG: Very good. And now, Lady Rebecca, what advice would you give to a young lady joining our extended family?

LR: Mrs. Banks, take down every word of this. I would say that a young lady joining this family must be prepared to ignore a great deal of unsolicited advice. She must have an unshakeable sense of humor, and understand that she is unlikely to have any secrets that will not be quickly wheedled out of her. She will likely do a great deal of traveling, be quite spoilt, and must learn to enjoy it. She must be very kind to poor Georgiana, she must endeavor to behave with the grace and decorum befitting her station and bring no disgrace upon us, and if anyone gives her any trouble, she need only come to me, and I will set it all to rights.

SG: Well, that last bit was very kind – I am sure my daughter will appreciate the kind sentiment.

LR: The sentiment you may spare me, sir.

***

Thanks for joining me for this glimpse into the mind of Lady Rebecca, an original character from Volume 1: Happier in her Friends than Relations. Lady Rebecca is back in Volume 2, Unexpected Friends and Relations, more determined than ever to make herself useful to the ladies in her family, but with a little twist, as seen in the excerpt below…

    Mr. Knightley gestured for Rebecca to accompany him into the next room, and as she followed him, she cast one backward glance at Mary. “Dearest, perhaps you would be so good as to play something for us, while I step into the parlor and speak with Mr. Knightley.”

Mary regarded her nervously for a moment before seating herself at the pianoforte, and she began the first strains of a concerto that would allow Rebecca and Mr. Knightley to speak with some degree of privacy. Mr. Knightley took Rebecca by the arm and led her to a sofa, his solemnity making Rebecca anxious. “Are my cousins well,” she asked again.

“I do not know how to say this,” Mr. Knightley said, seating himself in the chair across from her. “Your cousin Isabella died of a fever last October, about a month after we met at the Darcys’ ball.”

Rebecca slumped heavily against the back of the sofa, bringing her hands up to her face to cover her dismay. “Good God! But that was months ago! How could I have heard nothing of it since then? Why was this kept from me?”

With a pained expression, Mr. Knightley withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to Rebecca, as the tears began to spill freely down her cheeks. “There was an illness that afflicted many in Highbury last autumn. We think it originated from some gypsies that were in the area at the time. They were camped in the west fields, and we thought them perfectly harmless. If we had any idea they brought sickness with them, they would have been removed from the area much sooner. The fever took several people in the village. Though Mr. Woodhouse was always a fastidious man in matters of health, he was one of the first to become afflicted. John and Isabella were visiting at the time, and Isabella refused to leave her father’s side. It did not take long for his strength to give out – about a week. By the time he left this world, both of his daughters were abed with fever. Poor man died fearing for their lives above his own. I know not why my brother and I were spared, but we did everything we could to aid their quick recovery. Dr. Perry was with them day and night, and John even sent for a physician from London. By then it was too late for Isabella. Only Emma recovered.”

Mr. Knightley paused. A tear slid down his cheek as he held her gaze, and seeing him thus affected completely shattered Rebecca’s resolve to remain strong in front of him; she wept without restraint on the sofa across from him. “What of her children? Isabella has five children!”

“The children were removed from the house when Isabella took sick – a neighboring family, the Westons, took them in, and within a week my sister Charlotte came down from London to collect them, as John would not leave Isabella’s side. When Emma began to improve and Isabella did not, Emma was removed to the Weston’s home, where she eventually made a full recovery. It took her nearly a month to get her strength back, and by the time she returned to Hartfield, both her father and sister had been laid to rest in the parish cemetery. Once the illness was gone from the village, Charlotte brought the children back to John, and they are such a great comfort to him even now, though he has many burdens beyond his grief for his wife. Hartfield now legally belongs to him, as he knew it one day would, but not like this. It is a poor excuse for his not telling you sooner, but it is the truth.”

“Poor John! Poor Isabella! Good God, those poor children! They shall grow up without a mother.” Sobs began to rack Rebecca’s body as she considered this notion, which hit all too close to home for her. It was hard enough losing her own mother when she was nearly a woman grown, but Isabella’s children were still in the nursery; the youngest would likely not even remember her face.

As Rebecca closed her eyes and hugged herself with despair, she suddenly felt Mr. Knightley’s arm around her. He had moved to the sofa beside her, and pulled her into unexpected embrace. Thinking of nothing but her anguish, Rebecca allowed her head to rest on his shoulder, and her body leaned against his. “I am sorry, so very sorry,” said he, “I wish I did not have to give you such terrible news, and I hope my honesty has not caused you any undue pain.”

“You could not have broken the news in any possible way that would have affected me less, I suppose. It is just so shocking. Isabella and I have not been close since we were girls, but as we grew up we shared the bond of entering womanhood without a mother, and now all her poor children will share the same fate. Just like my poor cousin Georgiana. The world is a cruel place for motherless little girls.”

“It is much the same for the boys, I think,” he whispered, his face pressed up against hers as he cradled her in his arms. She began to weep once more, and a moment later felt a sudden pressure, as if he had kissed the top of her head. Feeling her heart twisting in torment, Rebecca braved a glance up at him, her face brushing against the rough stubble on his chin, and she let out a slight gasp as she beheld the tears in his eyes. Her fingers reflexively tightened their grasp on his soft woolen coat, and she felt his arms tighten around her ever so slightly. Another breathless sob escaped her lips, and Mr. Knightley’s face turned toward her; his lips slightly parting, he drew nearer still, and just as her eyes slipped closed and her breath caught in her throat, a sudden commotion in the corridor caused her to flinch. Mr. Knightley abruptly moved his hands down the length of her arms and drew back, even as Rebecca leapt up off of the couch, fidgeting with her dress as she tried not to think about what had nearly happened between them.

A moment later, Elizabeth and Georgiana entered the room, having returned from their morning calls. Elizabeth greeted Mr. Knightley warmly, before perceiving that something was amiss. “Rebecca, dearest,” Elizabeth said cautiously, “whatever has happened?”

Fresh tears fell down Rebecca’s face, but she was past caring for her appearance at such a time. “Cousin Isabella… has died. And my Uncle Woodhouse. Poor Emma barely survived, and the children….”

“Good God,” Elizabeth gasped. “I am so sorry, Rebecca. What a tragedy for your family.”

Rebecca nodded feebly at her friend. She wished to say something profound, but she found herself quite at a loss. It was the glistening eyes and compassionate countenance of Mr. Knightley that shook her all the way to her core, and feeling completely unfit for company, she quickly fled the room.

***

Thanks for joining me on the next stop of my blog tour! I will be giving away 7 copies of the e-book free on May 20th – click here to enter. See the full schedule for the blog tour below, and click here to follow me on Facebook for updates on the final installment of the Friends & Relations Series, coming soon!

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

My guest today is poet Jessica Goody, whose latest collection is Phoenix: Transformation Poems. Jessica is kindly sharing a poem from the collection: “Jazz.” Please give her a warm welcome!

Transforming Pain into Poetry

Because I tend to think in images, a lot of my poetry is ekphrastic–inspired by artwork.

I am endlessly inspired by the lives and exploits of artists, like the Beats, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Bloomsbury Group. My poetry collection Phoenix: Transformation Poems features numerous odes to artists of every stripe–writers, actors, painters and musicians.

The opening poem, “Jazz,” is about Henri Matisse. Confined to a wheelchair following major surgery, he could no longer climb ladders to paint murals, so he covered the walls of his studio with butcher paper and drew with extra-long pencils. When arthritis left him unable to continue sculpting, he switched to collage, cutting shapes out of colored paper and arranging them in patterns to create Jazz, a book of decoupage art.

I believe that well-chosen words are the greatest agents of change; they provide hope to the suffering and clarity to the misguided. Phoenix offers glimpses of meaningful lives and explores what it means to be fully human. These poems cover a wide variety of subject matter, including beauty, creativity, and courage, but the main theme is transformation–the triumph over pain and trauma and the resilience of the human spirit.

Jazz

Patterns catch the eye, crawling along wallpaper

and upholstery in a melange of colors and textures,

rendering the room as exotic as a harem, draped with

vivid slipcovers of Moroccan arabesques and damasks.

 

The wallpaper blooms humid tropical foliage,

blood-red blossoms unfurling behind the heads

of odalisques reclining on striped pillows, the divan

curving beneath them like the body of a lover.

 

A backdrop of vibrant fabrics curtain the room like a seraglio.

Oushaks and kilims burn underfoot as the light shines

through the lacework windows and shuttered doors,

where beaded lamps drip crystals atop runner-draped tables.

 

Orchids and potted plants crowd every surface, swarming

the carved mantel and bowlegged iron tables. Lovingly arranged

into precisely disheveled still-lifes, the palm fronds spread their graceful

green arms to the sun, tendrils inching upward like ivy.

 

Joyful nudes dance along the walls. Cobalt blue outlines

like police silhouettes stretch and tumble, leap and caper.

Tinted ultramarine, the color of distant horizons,

they resemble woad-stained Celts, rangy of limb and sinew.

 

Matisse lies abed in his atelier, industrious as Proust,

surrounded by a sea of colored paper, scattered leaves

and whimsical shapes that might be flowers or flames,

strewn petals drifting to the floor like shards of glass.

 

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Jessica Goody

Jessica Goody is the award-winning author of Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Love, and Loss (Phosphene Publishing, 2016) and Phoenix: Transformation Poems (CW Books, 2019). Goody’s writing has appeared in over three dozen publications, including The Wallace Stevens Journal, Reader’s Digest, Event Horizon, The Seventh Wave, Third Wednesday, The MacGuffin, Harbinger Asylum and The Maine Review. Jessica is a columnist for SunSations Magazine and the winner of the 2016 Magnets and Ladders Poetry Prize. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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To follow the blog tour for Phoenix: Transformation Poems and for more about the collection, click the button below

I am thrilled to have been chosen to reveal the cover of Suzan Lauder’s upcoming Meryton Press release, The Mist of Her Memory. I’ve long been a fan of Suzan’s Pride and Prejudice tales, and I’m looking forward to this romantic suspense variation.

I know you’re all eager to see the gorgeous cover from Janet Taylor, but first, the book blurb!

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton? What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries? Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”

– author L. L. Diamond

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!?

And now…here is The Mist of Her Memory:

I think the cover perfectly captures the suspense and mystery in the description, and I love how their eyes seem to say so much.

Here’s the full cover:

I’m hoping you all are as eager to read this book as I am. Get your copy on Amazon (U.S./U.K.) today!

Now, let’s show Suzan and Janet some love in the comments!

I’m excited to welcome C.P. Odom to Diary of an Eccentric today to share an excerpt from his latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Perilous Siege. I’m intrigued by the idea of Pride and Prejudice in an alternate universe, and I hope you all are as well! Please give him a warm welcome!

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Good day, Anna. It’s a pleasure to be here at Diary of an Eccentric to share this excerpt from Perilous Siege with your readers. I hope your readers enjoy this scene between Jane and Elizabeth.

Thursday, November 28, 1811
Hertfordshire

Mrs. Bennet’s joy had begun to decline by the next day since she had already dragged Mary to see most of their friends. Since her two youngest daughters were more than desperate to escape from her presence, they expressed their inclination to walk to Meryton as they so often did in the mornings. Elizabeth was reluctant to go with them, despite her usual zest for exercise and sunshine, but Jane was most urgent in wishing her to come, and Elizabeth reluctantly relented.

Upon reaching the town, the group almost immediately met with Lieutenants Denny and Wickham, who greeted them warmly—or mostly so since Elizabeth noted his greeting to her was terser and less cordial than on previous occasions. However, since she was far more concerned with recovering from her encounter with Darcy, she paid his coolness little attention, especially since she knew he never could have had any intentions toward her because of her lack of money.

At her younger sisters’ insistence, Wickham joined their party when they went to their aunt’s house. When they arrived, Mrs. Philips was most enthusiastic about Mary’s good fortune. She was also cognizant of the events at the ball and slyly complimented both Jane and Elizabeth on their good fortune, even going so far as to wonder whether additional good news might not be forthcoming.

This latter statement was not received well by Wickham, who now carefully looked all about the room at everyone except Elizabeth. He realized why she had been so unresponsive on the first evening they met when he tried to spin his tale of Darcy’s malefactions toward himself. However, as a seasoned campaigner in the pursuit of the opposite sex, he put the topic from his mind. There were far more fish in the sea than Miss Elizabeth Bennet, even if she was one of the more delectable ones.

As Wickham and Denny walked back with them to Longbourn, the Netherfield ball remained the prime topic of conversation. Elizabeth noticed that Wickham continued to ignore her, seeming to pay more attention to her youngest sister, who was so flattered by the attention that she invited the two officers inside to introduce them to her father and mother.

Soon after their return, a letter arrived from Netherfield for Jane, who opened it immediately. Elizabeth saw her sister’s expression change as she read the sheet of paper covered on both sides with a fair, elegant hand. Though Jane collected herself and tried to join the conversation with her usual cheerfulness, Elizabeth knew her sister too well. She guessed the note came from Caroline Bingley, and her sisterly eye told her it contained news less than pleasant in nature. As soon as possible, even though Wickham and Denny had not yet departed, Elizabeth gave a nod of her head toward the stairs and both sisters went to Jane’s room.

There, Jane confirmed her suspicions. “This letter is from Caroline Bingley, and its contents have surprised me a good deal. It was written yesterday, and it says she and her sister have decided to follow their brother to London with none of them intending to return to Netherfield. Caroline does declare her only regret was being thus deprived of the society of me, her dearest friend.”

Despite the worries afflicting her, Elizabeth heard these high-flown expressions with her usual distrust of the writer’s sincerity. Yet, what she had heard so far did not explain the unhappiness she could see in her sister.

“While it is unlucky you did not have an opportunity to see your friends before they left the neighborhood, their leaving will not prevent Mr. Bingley from returning to Netherfield. In that case, the absence of your friends will be offset later by the greater happiness you will have as sisters.”

To this, Jane shook her head. “Caroline decidedly says none of their party will return into Hertfordshire this winter. She says her brother’s business in London will take more than the three or four days he imagined, and since he does not plan to return, she and her sister decided to follow him immediately so he would not be left alone without the company of family. She goes on to wish my Christmas in Hertfordshire would be joyous, and I would have so many beaux I would not feel the loss of their presence.”

Jane choked back a sob. “Do you not see, Lizzy? Caroline means Mr. Bingley will not come back this winter.”

“It is only evident Miss Bingley does not mean he should.”

“Why do you think so? It must be his decision since he is his own master. But there is more. Let me read you the most painful parts for me. I will keep nothing from you.”

Elizabeth could hear the pain in Jane’s voice as she read Caroline’s words singing the praises of Miss Georgiana Darcy and their hope that the affection she and Louisa held for Georgiana would soon be heightened by the three of them being sisters. She went on to talk of her brother’s great admiration for Georgiana, which she expected to deepen into a more serious association.

“Listen to what Caroline says: ‘With all these circumstances to favor an attachment, and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?’

“What think you of this sentence, my dear Lizzy?” Jane said as she finished it. “Is it not clear enough? Does it not expressly declare Caroline neither expects nor wishes me to be her sister? That she is perfectly convinced of her brother’s indifference and, suspecting the nature of my feelings for him, means to most kindly put me on my guard? Can there be any other opinion on the subject?”

“Yes, there can, for mine is totally different. Dearest Jane, Miss Bingley knows her brother is in love with you while she and her sister wish him to marry Miss Darcy. As a result, the two of them followed their brother to town in the hope of keeping him there. Then she wrote you this despicable note to persuade you that he does not care about you.”

Jane shook her head.

“Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me,” Elizabeth said urgently. “No one who has ever seen you and Mr. Bingley together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She is not such a simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love from Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have already ordered her wedding clothes.”

Jane looked doubtful since she had not seen Miss Bingley’s attentions to Darcy through the same eyes as Elizabeth.

“We are not rich enough or grand enough for her and her sister’s aspirations to rise in society, so Miss Bingley is anxious to attach Miss Darcy to her brother because it will aid in her goal of achieving a similar attachment for herself with Mr. Darcy. There is certainly some ingenuity in her plan since one marriage might well engender another.

“But you must not believe Miss Bingley when she tells you her brother greatly admires Miss Darcy since he never would have shown you the attentions I witnessed on Tuesday were it true. Miss Bingley is possibly mistaken in everything she writes, but it is far more likely she wrote with the object of deceiving you.”

“If we thought alike of Miss Bingley,” Jane replied, “what you say would make me feel quite easy. But your charges are not just. Caroline is incapable of willfully deceiving anyone. I simply hope she is deceived herself.”

“Believe that if you will not believe me. Believe her to be deceived, by all means. Now you have cleared your friend of my suspicions and must fret no longer.”

“But, my dear sister, can I be happy in accepting a man whose sisters and friends all wish him to marry elsewhere?”

“You must decide for yourself. If you find the misery of disobliging his two sisters too distressing in comparison to the happiness of being his wife, then I advise you to refuse him.”

Jane had to smile slightly at this comment. “You know better, Lizzy. I would be grieved at their disapprobation, but I could not hesitate.”

“I did not think you would.”

“But what if he returns no more this winter? If he does not return until summer? A thousand things may arise in six months!”

Elizabeth heaped scorn on the very idea of his returning no more. It appeared to be yet another of Caroline’s wishes. And how could such wishes influence a young man so independent and master of his own house and fortune?

She made this point as forcibly as possible and soon had the pleasure of seeing the growth of hope for Bingley’s return to Netherfield, which would answer every wish of Jane’s heart.

They were undecided on how much to tell their mother since they knew learning of the departure from Netherfield would alarm her. Since they could reach no decision, they decided simply to wait for further developments if they were to occur.

***

At twilight, Jane and Elizabeth’s worries about what to tell their mother were put to rest by the arrival of Mr. Darcy at Longbourn. Elizabeth easily recognized his figure as he turned his horse up the drive, and she quietly left the room and climbed the stairs to her chamber.

Darcy found all the ladies save Elizabeth in the parlor and greeted them in his usual, reserved fashion.

Turning to Jane, he said, “Mr. Bingley sent me a note today, asking me to inform you of his planned return to Netherfield in four or five days, which is longer than he had anticipated. My own party, including my sister and Major McDunn, will be returning to town before then since McDunn and I have business associated with our several enterprises.”

Mrs. Bennet received the news with a frown. She had not realized Bingley would be gone so long, but what concerned her more was Darcy’s sudden and unexpected departure. How would he make his declarations to Elizabeth if he did not return?

But Darcy saw the relief on Miss Bennet’s face, and he knew she had likely received some kind of distressing news, probably from Caroline Bingley.

I was right, Darcy thought to himself. Bingley’s note did not mention it, but it would be just like Caroline to try to throw Miss Bennet into despair by sending a nice, little, vicious note of some kind.

He was not surprised at Elizabeth’s absence. In light of their encounter, he had anticipated she would remove herself rather than meet him. From the intensity of her reaction and the totally unexpected passion she had revealed, there had been a remote possibility she might not truly comprehend the impossibility of a connection between them and could thus engage in a hopeless pursuit embarrassing to all parties.

He turned to Jane. “Please convey to your sister my most sincere felicitations and all hope she will have a joyous Christmas season—as I hope for all of your family. Farewell to you all, ladies.”

And so he departed, suddenly and precipitously, leaving Mrs. Bennet with an open mouth. She had been so involved with worrying about Elizabeth, she had not even had time to tell him of Mary’s impending marriage.

From the window of her room, Elizabeth watched the tall, handsome man mount his horse, and both her eyes and her heart followed his every movement. The grace and muscular power inherent in his performance of such a familiar action spoke to those parts of her that vainly loved and desired this unattainable man.

She was completely aware she might never see Darcy again, and she tried to memorize his every aspect as though it had to last her a lifetime. As he turned down the drive, she felt a stab of pain at how his head made not even the slightest movement to glance up at her window. It was apparent he was determined to abide by her parting words—that they should not meet again.

Her fingertips went to her cheek, only to find fresh tears there. At the moment, she was only cognizant of the desperate yearning in her heart for what could never be, and her tears became rasping sobs as her shoulders heaved with the grief derived from losing something incredibly dear.

Elizabeth felt a sudden impulse to dispel all propriety, to run down the stairs of Longbourn, and chase Darcy down the drive. Her words echoed in her mind as she called out to him, desperately begging him to pull her up behind him on his horse and carry her away to an unknown future with no regard for consequences.

But Elizabeth Bennet was a woman of her time, and thus, she did nothing. She could only watch as Darcy turned at the end of the drive and disappeared before she threw herself onto her bed and buried her head in her pillow.

What am I going to do? she wondered, her fist in her mouth to quell the sound of her sobs. How shall I ever get by?

***

Elizabeth was thankful it was almost a half-hour before she heard Jane’s footsteps in the hall, allowing her the time to get her emotions under regulation and to repair the evidence of her tears.

And Jane’s news did much to cheer her when Elizabeth learned the reason for Darcy’s visit.

“Did I not say as much, Jane?” Elizabeth said, forcing a laugh she believed to be unaffected. “I said Mr. Bingley would not be kept from Netherfield by his sisters’ departure! Do you not see his supposed attraction to Miss Darcy was entirely contrived by Caroline Bingley? I sat with Miss Darcy once when you were sick, and I discerned nothing on her part but polite attentiveness to Mr. Bingley.”

“Yes, you must be right. This is very difficult for me to understand, but Caroline must have written her note to deceive me. It is I who was deceived in thinking her a true friend.”

“There you see Miss Bingley’s skill in her polite and sophisticated ability to slip the knife of deceit into the back of another. No matter how attentive she and her sister were to you, I never trusted them—not at all. But let us not dwell on this! When she sees the failure of her efforts, I have no doubt her supposed friendship will make a sudden reappearance!”

“You are likely correct.” Jane was more than a little unhappy at being forced to this admission.

“That is because I love the sweetest and most unaffected sister.”

“And I love you, Lizzy,” Jane said then suddenly stepped forward and clasped Elizabeth’s arms when her sister would have turned away. “But I have to ask why your eyes are so red? Have you been crying on my behalf?”

Elizabeth made no response, and Jane went on. “That is the reason, is it not? You were distressed at the possibility of Bingley not returning to Netherfield, just as you always think of the happiness of others before your own.”

Jane did not get the response she expected since her sister would not meet her eyes and instead cast them downward.

“And why did you slip out of the room when Mr. Darcy arrived?” Jane asked slowly, her eyes on her sister. “I wondered that he did not ask for you. Instead, he sent his good wishes, but the words seemed more like a farewell than the usual pleasantry. And now I find you have been crying, and you never cry!”

Elizabeth hugged herself and turned to the window and the darkness beyond, which seemed to mirror the darkness she felt inside. At length, she said, “It was a farewell, Jane. I shall not see him again.”

“But how can it be?” Jane cried. “I saw the two of you at the ball, and my heart swelled for joy at how at ease both of you seemed, how well you appeared to be getting on. What has happened?”

To this, Elizabeth made no response at first. When she finally turned around, Jane was shocked to see tears flowing down her sister’s face.

“Whatever is the matter, Lizzy? What has distressed you so? Oh, now all my joy at Mr. Darcy’s news is gone!”

Elizabeth met her sister’s eyes. “I love him, Jane.”

At these shattering words, Jane simply collapsed onto the bed. “Mr. Darcy?” she said in shock. “You love Mr. Darcy?”

Elizabeth nodded, and her voice broke. “I do, Jane. I think I love him more than life itself.”

“How can this be?” Jane said in complete disbelief. “I know he danced with you, and I have heard the whispers our neighbors have made about you, but I never saw any indication of a particular regard!”

Elizabeth came over and sat beside her, taking one of her hands in both of hers and clasping it to her chest. “It just…happened. And I am ashamed to tell you, it did not even seem like love. Not at first. Not from the first night.”

“At the assembly?”

Elizabeth nodded. “From the first time I laid eyes on him. I felt a sudden surge of a most shocking and inexplicable attraction. It spread through my whole body. It was…disturbing.”

“Not love? I do not understand, Lizzy.”

“It was passion, Jane. The passion a woman feels for a man. The passion a wife feels for her wedded husband, which is supposed to be consummated in the marriage bed.

“I did not understand my feelings, at first. They were new and foreign—nothing I ever imagined. I tried to shove them away, pretend they did not exist, but I could not. They went too deep and…and they affected me in ways I could not explain.”

Jane could only stare at her dear sister as Elizabeth searched for words.

“Every time I met Mr. Darcy, every time our fingers touched when we danced, I could feel the attraction he had for me, and I was lost. He invaded my dreams—but I did not realize at first that it was Mr. Darcy who came into my bedroom in my dreams. Only slowly did I connect those dreams with him. And I was equally slow to put a name to what I felt—what had taken possession of me.”

Elizabeth went silent, staring into the night, until Jane asked softly, “And that was…?”

“It was passion, dear sister—physical passion for a man when I had no intimation such an attraction even existed.”

“Nor do I,” Jane said slowly.

“It is more than simple passion now, Jane. Much more. I knew it as soon as we danced together. I felt something I never imagined to feel with this man; I felt as though I belonged in his arms. And I am certain he felt something similar—an acceptance of me as a woman.”

Elizabeth was silent for a moment before going on. “But make no mistake, Jane. My passion for Mr. Darcy was real—is real. Do you remember how our mother warned of the misfortune of the marriage bed? And how we should just lie still since it would soon be over?”

Jane nodded, and Elizabeth continued. “Well, it seems some women—not our mother, I am sure—must take pleasure in the carnal side of marriage. They must desire it. As I desire it.”

Jane’s lack of understanding was clear to see, but she asked no questions, so Elizabeth could only continue. “Imagine how I felt after the assembly with unaccountable longings plaguing me. I could come to no other conclusion than I was wanton—a harlot in fact. A woman who seeks physical intimacy for her own gratification.”

“You cannot be wanton, Lizzy.”

“What other conclusion could I reach? I had no one to advise me. I thought once or twice that Aunt Gardiner might be able to help me since she is so much more levelheaded and sensible than our mother. But we see her so seldom.”

“But you keep talking about feeling passion for Mr. Darcy—”

Elizabeth nodded. “I wanted to feel his touch. And I wanted to touch him. It is shameful, I know, but I wanted it then, and I want it still.”

Elizabeth rose from the bed and went back to look out the window. “But as I said, now there is more. I love Mr. Darcy, as well as desire him, even though we both know I did not like him when I first met him. He had so many disagreeable traits—pride, haughtiness, selfishness, and a disdain for others. He still has those traits. It is the side of himself he shows the world.”

Elizabeth began to pace the room. “And with the realization of my feelings, something inside me changed since I saw the side of him you spoke of—how he is pleasant and amiable with those he knows well. He showed that side to me at the ball, and my joy overflowed when we went into supper with the way he smiled and talked easily with me. He wanted to be with me the way I wanted to be with him. He still has those faults I first saw, but he is more than those faults.”

Elizabeth stopped and looked out the window for a time before she spoke again. “The simple fact is: I love this very complicated man, and I want more than just passion from him. I want to be with him always. I want to love him and make him feel loved. I want him to make love to me, I want to bear his children and raise them. Most of all, I want to be his companion and grow old with him.”

She turned around, and Jane saw her tears had returned. “And it shall never be, Jane. Not ever. I saw everything change in just a few minutes. We were conversing as we never had before, and Mr. Darcy was smiling and laughing with a warmth I had never seen. I am convinced, at that moment, that he was entertaining the possibility I might bring him happiness.

“Then my mother destroyed everything,” she said, with flat, cold finality.

“How?”

“As she usually does—by her words. You were too far away to hear, but she crowed aloud about her good fortune. She would soon have one daughter well settled in Derbyshire and another at Netherfield Park. And the other girls would then be in company with other rich men. She did not say these things quietly, but announced them to all about her with Mr. Darcy and me sitting less than ten feet away!”

Jane closed her eyes in shared pain.

“Everything changed. Suddenly, Mr. Darcy was his haughty, prideful self, and all my dreams were less than mist—gone as though they never existed. Mr. Darcy reverted to the man I first met, a man of his class, a man who will choose a wife who can bring fortune or station to the marriage. I can bring nothing.”

“But Bingley—”

“—is not Darcy. Those things matter little to him. His fortune was earned in trade by his father. While our own father’s fortune may not match his, our family has been part of the gentry for generations. But Darcy is different. That is why he only gave a disguised farewell tonight. We agreed to as much at Netherfield.”

Elizabeth could say no more for she could not hold back her sobs any longer. Jane opened her arms to her, embracing her fiercely and pulling her down to the bed beside her while her brave and independent sister wept uncontrollably for a love that could never be.

Jane said nothing, for there was nothing to say. She just held Elizabeth close until her poor sister finally cried herself to sleep.

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About Perilous Siege

What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?

When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world.

Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

C.P. Odom

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the  Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, was recently published in the second quarter of 2019.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

Connect with C.P. Odom: C.P. Odom’s Facebook Page | C.P. Odom’s Amazon Page | C.P. Odom’s Goodreads Page | C.P. Odom’s Meryton Press Page

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege. The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019. You must use this Rafflecopter link to enter. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

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April 8 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

April 10 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt

April 12 / Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview

April 13 / Just Jane 1813 / Meet C.P. Odom

April 14 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

April 15 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Excerpt

April 16 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette

April 17 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Excerpt

April 18 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

A big thanks to C.P. Odom for being my guest today. Congratulations on your new book!

Source: Review copy from CICO Books

Sophie Andrews is well-known in the world of Austen-related blogs, and when I heard that she’d written her own book, I was more than happy to join the blog tour. Be More Jane: Bring Out Your Inner Austen to Meet Life’s Challenges shines a light on the lessons we can learn from Jane Austen’s novels, like how to “Be More Lizzy” and what Austen had to say about Love, True Friends, Happiness, the Role of Women, and more. Andrews’ love for Austen’s works shines on every page, and her vignettes from the points of view of Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and several other characters are a delightful addition. Not to mention to beautiful artwork by Jane Odiwe, another treasure in the Austen community.

Be More Jane is a short book, but one to be savored. Although the insights from Austen’s novels weren’t new to me, I enjoyed Andrews’ writing, and especially the humor in the vignettes. Be More Jane reminds us that Austen’s novels are more than just love stories, and themes in her novels remain relevant today. This book would be a perfect gift for the Janeite in your life or the perfect treat to add to your own Austenesque book collection.

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About Be More Jane

 

Be More Jane by Sophie Andrews, published by CICO Books (£7.99/$9.95)
Illustrations by Jane Odiwe © CICO Books

Are you more Marianne than Elinor, Lydia rather than Lizzy? Be More Jane will teach you to address life with more sense and less prejudice, taking useful lessons from the novels and letters of Jane Austen, one of the world’s best-loved writers. Times may change, but many of our problems remain the same. Sophie Andrews, a young Janeite, knows from personal experience that in times of trouble, or just on matters of friendship, family, and love, answers are to be found in the pages of Miss Austen’s novels.

Buy Links: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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About the Author

Sophie Andrews by Brian Hubbard©HiRes

Sophie Andrews is a founder member of the Jane Austen Pineapple Appreciation Society, and organises events such as picnics, balls and house parties for her fellow Austenites. Sophie started her blog, Laughing with Lizzie, in 2012, aged 16, after studying Pride and Prejudice at school. She has been attending Austen-themed events since then, and was featured in the BBC documentary “My Friend Jane” which focused on the fun and friendship she has found with her fellow Janeites. She lives in Berkshire and has over 100 different editions of Pride and Prejudice on her bookshelves.

Connect with Sophie: Laughing with Lizzie Facebook page | Laughing with Lizzie Instagram page | Laughing with Lizzie Twitter page

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Giveaway

CICO Books is generously offering a copy of Be More Jane to one lucky reader. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States, Canada, and Europe. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. Since each stop on the blog tour is offering a giveaway, I’ll keep the giveaway open until after the blog tour ends. This giveaway will close on Friday, April 19, 2019. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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April 8         Regency History/Q&A & Giveaway

April 9         Diary of an Eccentric/Book review & Giveaway

April 10       More Agreeably Engaged/Book review & Giveaway

April 11       Babblings of a Bookworm/Excerpt & Giveaway

April 12       My Love for Jane Austen/Guest Post & Giveaway

April 14       My Jane Austen Book Club/Book review & Giveaway

April 15       So Little Time/Guest Post & Giveaway

April 16       Austenesque Reviews/Book review & Giveaway