Archive for the ‘jane austen’ Category


Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Jane laughed, “I know exactly what you mean! That’s the beauty of novels, isn’t it? How well fiction can illustrate and even reflect everyday life. I never open a novel without reading about someone I know — and often meet people I’m already familiar with from the pages of a book.”

(from “Once Upon a Story” in Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet)

Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet is a collection of six Halloween-themed stories based on each of Jane Austen’s novels.

“Must Be Magic” by Kimberly Truesdale (based on Persuasion)

Anne Elliot is still learning how to control her powers — the powers that cost her the love of Fareed Walia eight years ago when she turned down an offer from him in order to find herself — when her family is forced to sell Kellynch House. Fareed comes back into her life at the same time as a dark figure from Anne’s past seeking a powerful talisman and revenge.

“Once Upon a Story” by Rebecca M. Fleming (based on Northanger Abbey)

College student Catie meets a pair of curious sisters at a coffee house as she attempts to piece together what went wrong at the annual Fall-o-Ween festival. Her research about the Battlefield Legend may have cost her the friendship of the Tilney family and the man she loves.

“Insensible” by Cecilia Gray (based on Sense and Sensibility)

Betrayed by her parents, Miriam Dashwood’s life and the family’s business, Dashing Events, are in shambles. She scrambles to pull off the ultimate Halloween party for Brandon Firestone’s law firm as she navigates her confusing feelings for him and the excitement of a motorcycle ride with the bad boy rocker from the band Willow Bee.

“Emma Ever After” by Melissa Buell (based on Emma)

Emma Woodhouse is planning the annual Fall Ball to benefit the charity in her late mother’s name and decides it would be a great idea to auction off local eligible bachelors. Her friend Grant Knightley is skeptical of the plan, her matchmaking abilities, and TV show host Frank Hill, who may or may not have his sights set on Emma.

“Mansfield Unmasked” by Jennifer Becton (based on Mansfield Park)

In a mash-up of Mansfield Park and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pug — Lady Bertram’s furry friend at the Mansfield Park Boarding House — wants to use his cupid magic to help his friend, Pryce, but things get all mixed up at an outrageous, last-minute Halloween party.

“Beyond Midnight” by Jessica Grey (based on Pride and Prejudice)

Will Harper loses a bet to his sister and must attend the high school’s Trick or Sweet dance dressed in the costume of her choice: Mr. Darcy. Things get very uncomfortable for Will when he insults Elena Marquez, who is unlike any girl he’s ever liked before, and he worries the magic between them will be lost when the dance is over and he takes off the Darcy costume.

All of the stories in Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet are fun, humorous, and romantic, not to mention quick and satisfying. The stories are connected in small ways, namely the Mansfield Perk coffee house, which I really wish existed! I enjoyed all of the stories, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be probably be “Insensible,” as I really found myself drawn to Miriam and Brandon’s sweet relationship and how they both changed over the course of the story. All of these authors did an admirable job setting the autumn/Halloween scene and retelling important aspects of Austen’s novels in just a handful of pages, making them modern and very different (in a good way) at the same time. I can’t wait to read the rest of the Holidays with Jane collections!

Disclosure: Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet is from my personal library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Again Tate’s face changed, only this time he went from anger to what appeared to be amusement. “I have never owned you, even though you first appeared to me in a nightdress that was from a child’s fairytale. Was your intent to seduce me into an illicit liaison?”

Casey’s anger increased. “Seduce you? Why you vain, arrogant –” She glared at him. He was not going to make her forget where she was! “You, sir, are the villain in this. When you first showed yourself to me, you were as bare as the day you were born. You conjured rain from above and soaped parts an unmarried woman should not see.”

(from The Girl from Summer Hill)

The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in Summer Hill, Virginia. Casey Reddick is a chef who left the hustle and bustle of D.C.’s restaurant scene to live in the guest house on Tattwell Plantation. She has been hired by Kit Montgomery to cater meals for the cast and crew of the stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that he is directing for charity. She meets the sexy actor Tate Landers when he shows up naked on the porch of her cottage. They get off on the wrong foot when he catches her watching him at the outdoor shower and accuses her of taking pictures on her phone. She later catches him in her home eating one of her fresh-baked pies after having torn apart her bedroom.

Much to her chagrin, Kit casts Casey as Elizabeth Bennet and Tate as Mr. Darcy. Casey can’t stand Tate, and her opinion of him only worsens when his ex-brother-in-law Devlin Haines (cast as Mr. Wickham) tells her his tales of woe at the hands of the rich and powerful actor. Meanwhile, Tate is drawn to Casey because she is the only woman he’s ever met who isn’t in awe of him, sees the man behind the celebrity, and has no qualms telling him how she really feels about him.

As Casey and Tate grow closer, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes drama involving Tate’s best friend Jack (Mr. Bingley), Casey’s half-sister Gizzy (Jane Bennet), Kit, and Olivia, who once played Elizabeth and has returned to the stage after many years to play Mrs. Bennet. Jack is an action-movie star who is in awe of Gizzy, who appears to be a delicate flower but is really a danger-loving adventurer. Kit and Olivia seem to share a secret from a long-ago summer at Tattwell, and Devlin will never be happy unless he’s bested Tate at something.

The Girl from Summer Hill is a real page turner, one of those books you pick up for a few minutes before bed and end up breezing through 20 to 30 pages in no time. Deveraux does a good job writing two Pride and Prejudice adaptations — one on the stage and one behind the scenes — and running them parallel to one another. It’s easy to see Austen’s characters in how Deveraux’s characters act both on and off the stage. (In this aspect, I was reminded of a delightful book I read a few years ago, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan, which also has a stage version of the novel running parallel to the modern adaptation.)

For the most part, I liked how Deveraux updated Austen’s characters, though I must admit that I initially found Casey annoying, but then she softened a bit and grew on me. I enjoyed the chemistry between Casey and Tate, and Tate’s encounters with a peacock are humorous and thoroughly delightful. Deveraux handles the modern-day Wickham/Lydia scandal in a sensitive, realistic way, and it was fun to see the characters evolve over the course of the play — especially when they are supposed to love or hate each other and the actors feel the complete opposite.

The Girl from Summer Hill is the first book in Deveraux’s Summer Hill series, but don’t let the fact that it’s a series prevent you from reading it, as there is a satisfying ending that doesn’t leave you hanging at all. I’m not sure where the series will go next, but I’m looking forward to it. The Girl from Summer Hill is a lighthearted and fun take on Pride and Prejudice that doubles your Austen fun and strikes the right balance between funny and sexy and serious and sassy.

Disclosure: I borrowed The Girl from Summer Hill from the public library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★★

Yes, the stone-cold sniper hated snakes, each and every one of them, but he knew that while danger was real, fear was never an option. He feared no man, woman, or experience. The only thing the assassin feared was his own demons — or rather, facing them.

(from Denial of Conscience)

Cat Gardiner’s Denial of Conscience is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice of sorts — not a straight retelling but inspired by Jane Austen’s characters. It’s safe to say I’ve never read anything like it. Fitzwilliam Darcy is an assassin contracted by the CIA. Part of the covert civilian contract group Obsidian, Darcy is the Iceman — able to eliminate targets without flinching and so haunted by his past that he has frozen his heart to any woman. That is until he is hired to kill Thomas Bennet and can’t pull the trigger once he spies the stunning Lizzy Bennet in the window of the dilapidated Longbourn Plantation House in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Lizzy knows what it’s like to suppress her true self, having devoted the last eight years of her life to her depressed father’s every need. She’s even willing to marry a man she doesn’t love to save the plantation — her father’s legacy and obsession — from ruin. Darcy’s decision sets in motion a dangerous series of events that force both of them to acknowledge the passion between them and conquer their demons.

Denial of Conscience is a downright hot and sexy novel. Darcy oozes sex appeal; he’s a bad boy with tattoos and a Harley, but he’s also James Bond, suave in a suit in a Monte Carlo casino with Liz on his arm. Oh, how I loved Gardiner’s take on Darcy! The danger and excitement, the passion and the painful soul-searching on nearly every page made this novel unputdownable. I loved how Gardiner worked in other characters — from Jane Bennet the wild child to Caroline Bingley as a cold and calculating member of Obsidian. The intricacies of the operations were well thought out, and there was plenty of humor and action to go along with all the sex. (And, yes, there is a lot of sex in this novel, so be aware!)


Source: Gift from the author
Rating: ★★★★☆

Gardiner was so kind as to send me a copy of Guilty Conscience, a novelette to get readers excited about the upcoming sequel, Without a Conscience. I breezed through these vignettes right after finishing Denial of Conscience, loving the scenes with Liz on a Harley and being able to get a glimpse of the next novel. It’s not necessary to read Guilty Conscience, but it sure was fun!

Denial of Conscience was the third novel I’ve read by Gardiner this year (check out my reviews of Undercover and A Moment Forever), and it’s another winner. Gardiner is a fantastic storyteller, whether writing a steamy take on Pride and Prejudice or historical fiction. She has a knack for crafting fun and sexy characters and exciting plots. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her novels, and I’m anxiously awaiting Without a Conscience!

Disclosure: Denial of Conscience is from my personal library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from the authors
Rating: ★★★★★

It was that smile, that sparkle of mirth in her eyes, which was his undoing. He could no longer claim to be Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, brother to Georgiana, master of Pemberley. In that moment, he was but a man. A man filled with more frustration than most souls could bear. A man torn asunder by his desperation, his fruitless dreams and desires. He had become, in that moment, quite common.

(from The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy)

Beau North and Brooke West’s latest novel, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, can best be described at Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice meets Groundhog Day. Try as he might, Mr. Darcy can’t overcome his feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, and he also can’t comprehend why she dislikes him so. For reasons he cannot fathom, Darcy is forced to live the same day over and over again — the day he proposed to Elizabeth at Hunsford and was rejected. While reliving the worst day of his life, vacillating between utter clarity and near madness and unable to escape the confines of Rosings Park, Darcy is forced to confront himself and his wrongdoings head on and accept some harsh truths.

I absolutely adored this novel from the very first page. North and West make a great team, with a fascinating and clever premise and a Darcy who is at turns hilarious in how he navigates the monotony and endearing when he takes the time to observe those around him. I loved the scenes between Darcy and Anne (who was such a lovely character here), Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam (ever the charmer), and even Darcy and Lady Catherine (with a surprisingly tender moment between the two).

The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy is unique and exciting. It made me laugh, and it left me in tears, so much so that my husband kept asking if I was okay and I worried I would short out my Kindle! It’s been a while since I’ve been so emotionally affected by a Pride and Prejudice variation. It’s absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year, possibly one of my all-time favorites, and definitely one I won’t forget!

Book Description

“He could no longer claim to be Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, brother to Georgiana, master of Pemberley. In that moment, he was but a man. A man filled with more frustration than most souls could bear. A man torn asunder by his desperation, his fruitless dreams and desires.”

After Elizabeth Bennet rejects his marriage proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the most unusual of circumstances. At first believing the extraordinary turn of events has granted him an inexplicable boon, he is eager to put the humiliating proposal behind him.

He soon discovers that he is trapped in the same waking dream with no end in sight and no possible escape. All that he holds dear—his name, his home, his love—remains ever out of reach. How will he find his way back to his normal life? Will one mistake haunt the rest of his days? It will take all of his fortitude to weather the storms of his strange new fate, and all of his courage to grasp the promise of his future.

Check out The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy on Amazon | Goodreads

About the Authors


Beau North

Beau North is the author of Longbourn’s Songbird and a contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Beau is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, a pop culture podcast and website, and a contributor at the San Francisco Book Review.

Connect with Beau North on Facebook | Instagram: Miznorth | Twitter: @BeauNorth | Newsletter | Podcasts | Blog (coming soon) | Goodreads | Amazon


Brooke West

Brooke West is a contributing author to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Brooke has a naturally creative soul that pulls her into myriad artistic endeavors.  While writing fiction always has been her life’s passion, Brooke also finds joy in silversmithing, sculpting, and costuming. Between projects, she runs and practices yoga.  She lives in South Carolina with her fiancé, son, and three cats.

Connect with Brooke West on Facebook | Twitter: @WordyWest and @BrookeWest | Goodreads | Amazon


Beau and Brooke are giving away 8 copies of their book, which includes 4 ebooks and 4 paperback copies. To win a paperback copy, the winners must have a U.S. mailing address.

Click here to enter the giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

October 8/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

October 9/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Beau and Brooke

October 10/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

October 11/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

October 12/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

October 13/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 14/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 15/ The Calico Critic/Excerpt & Giveaway

October 16/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Guest Post

October 17/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

October 18/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 19/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Fitzwilliam Vignette

October 20/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

The Many Faces of Fitzwilliam Darcy contest

Vote for your favorite Darcy by clicking here. The choices were based on reader submissions at Just Jane 1813. The winning image and the winner will be announced on October 20, 2016, at the last blog stop, So Little Time… So Much to Read.


Disclosure: I received The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy from the authors for review.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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mr-darcy-loves-elizabeth-bennetWhat happens when 4 Jane Austen Fan Fiction authors get together and write stories?

A boxed set called Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet.

What happens when they decide to play a game of Ask Me Anything all together? Well, take a look . . .

Elizabeth: Elizabeth Ann West
April: April Floyd
Barbara: Barbara Silkstone
Kristi: Kristi Rose

Elizabeth: So here are the rules, we each get to ask one question of the other, and unlike Truth or Dare, it’s all Truths! April gets to ask the first question!

April: Okay, this question is for Barbara because of something you said the other night when we were chatting on Facebook. Why would you need to carry around a sewing kit?

Barbara: I am grossed out by holes in fabric. Just the thought of them makes me quake. If I see someone wearing jeans or a T-shirt with holes, I will cross the street to avoid them. If I check into a hotel, I immediately uncover the sheets to do a hole-inspection. If I find one, I ask to be moved to another room.

I have had this affliction for as long as I can remember. I do believe in reincarnation, and think perhaps I was done-in by an icky, shredded cloth in a previous life.

Elizabeth: Oh boy, needle and thread stat for Barbara! You definitely win the right to ask the next question.

Barbara: Right, so this is for Kristi, everyone has a phrase they use repeatedly, what’s yours? And I bet I can guess from all of the Facebook chats we had to have to publish this book!

Kristi: That’s right up my alley. Or Ain’t nobody got time for that.

April, Elizabeth: We say that, too!

Barbara: Which one?

April: Ain’t NOBODY got time for THAT.

Elizabeth: Yep, it always brings a giggle on the phone! Okay, Kristi, it’s your turn . . . who is your question for?

Kristi: My question is for you, Elizabeth, what is something you can’t do well that people would be surprised to learn?

Elizabeth: ::deep breath:: I cannot bake. I know, I know, follow the instructions. But I just can’t seem to make most recipes work! I can cook, make sauces, but baking? My Achilles Heel. I mostly stick with boxed sets for that reason. Or like that scene in Bad Moms? I totally buy the baked goods for any school obligation.

Elizabeth: I get to ask April’s first question! Hmm, decisions, decisions, almost not fair since we’ve worked together for 4 years . . . how about what would you consider is your most annoying habit?

April: Well you know I like to talk! And my youngest and I both have to talk all through a movie, but only if we are watching at home. We never, ever do this in public because that’s just rude. My husband can’t bear to sit through a movie with us because we are constantly wondering what’s next and discussing what just happened.

April: I do the next question, right? Here’s another one for Kristi, are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

Kristi: If by gatherer you mean hoarder then yes, that’s me. I horde paper. My office looks like a paper factory exploded. I’m ashamed of my role in not preserving the trees.

Elizabeth: Oh Kristi I am just as bad! I totally shopped my office supply stash to outfit my oldest for school this year. Sssshhh. Or don’t sshhh, you get to ask the next question.

Kristi: Hey, the stores might run out of paper and pens, you just never know! Now, it’s Barbara’s turn, because the first question about fears made me curious, what is your greatest fear if holes in clothes is your weirdest one?

Barbara: Oh boy, you’re really ganging up on me! Escalators! I get sweaty palms just thinking about them. In London they have multistory monsters that make me feel as if I am falling backwards. I grip the railing and look down at my shoes and pray.

One of the tallest escalators in London is the Angel Tube Station. You almost have to use it to get to the theater district, unless you go by cab. I have palpitations each time I plan to go to the theater. I stand around waiting for some burly guy to get into the queue, and then I jump in front of him. I figure he might be strong enough to catch me when I fall.

To overcome my fear of escalators I took up hot air ballooning. Don’t ask…it made sense at the time. I competed in hot air balloon races and overcame my fear of heights, but I still won’t set foot on an escalator. I will walk miles to find an elevator or stairs, anything to avoid a bloody escalator.

Elizabeth: Right, elevators only for Barbara. And hot air balloons if available! I think you have a question for me, next.

Barbara: Indeed, Chief!

Elizabeth: That and kiddo, I have the best nicknames from you!

Barbara: So if you were an animated character, who would you be?

Elizabeth: I am busting out some obscure character here, Bright Heart Raccoon. When I was a kid, I loved Care Bears. And Bright Heart Raccoon was different, and purple, and his friends liked him for his ideas.

I was that kid growing up. I was the one in my neighborhood that read Ramona Quimby and made stilts with 5-gallon drywall buckets and jump ropes. Or came up with all of the games we played, like riding bikes we went on journeys to crazy places with mailbox stops to “stamp our passports.” The backyard was Terabithia because I read it in a book. More or less, if I read it in a book and liked it, I tried to make it real life.🙂

Elizabeth: Okay Kristi, I will give you a food related question since I had to confess I can’t bake! What’s the oddest thing you like on your pizza?

Kristi: Pizza toppings? Well, this isn’t something I find many others like, so I’ll share this. I like peas. Green ones. In the south they call them English Peas.

Elizabeth: Well will you peas ask April her next question?

Kristi: Absolutely! April, we all sing alone, but if you don’t know the words to a song, do you improvise or just skip it?

April: Oh, even when I know the words I still improvise the lyrics to make them funnier! I will sing a tune as a country song if it is a pop song or turn it into a rap song if it’s country. I just act like a goofball whenever the radio is on. My youngest is not amused as he is now getting to the age where he likes the Top 40 on the radio. One favorite is Shawn Mendes Stitches. I replace stitches and kisses with fishes, wishes, dishes….just pulling a Dr Seuss basically.

April: And I get to put Elizabeth’s feet to the fire again. I know a lot about you since we work together and talk almost everyday, so let’s do another question about your childhood. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

Elizabeth: When I was 10 we did a really cool unit in science called Voyage of the Mimi, and I loved it! We even sponsored a whale as a class and had pictures of the fluke. I wanted to be an oceanographic cartographer and go to college at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. As I grew older, I wanted to be an international businesswoman, and so far, the closest I’ve come to the later is being a publisher worldwide, and the former, I married a submariner!

It actually turns out that now just footage of underwater scenes gives me the creeps. I can’t watch it! And a shipwreck? I hyperventilate. And when I was 10 I was all about learning about the Titanic and everything I could about maritime topics. And that has turned into a kind of strange phobia like Barbara’s which brings me to her last question.

Elizabeth: This is a dark question, but it was one you agreed to answer, so here goes. How would you like to die?

Barbara: Not on an escalator.

Elizabeth: I think that might be cheating, but we’ll let the judges decide! You get to ask April her last question.

Barbara: Well since everyone asked me about fears, here’s my question for April…On a scale from 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?

April: That depends on several factors. My imagination for one. If I’ve been reading something creepy then I have to jump in bed and pull the covers over my head so that’s a 5. If it’s summer and lightning bugs are out, then it’s a wonderland and that would be a zero on the 1-5 scale. If it’s Halloween night and my 9 year old is acting silly saying he saw a werewolf across the street in the shadows and I look and there’s the figure of someone ducking behind a building then we’re zooming up to a 4 about to pass 5. So yeah, it’s situational.

Kristi: I think that’s a fair scale for the dark! So now it’s your turn! What questions do you want us to answer? Add them in the comments below and who you want to answer and we will go at it!

Thank you so much to Anna for hosting us on her blog, and we hope you all will check out our anthology of stories with our favorite Dear Couple!


About Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet

Join authors Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd as they each share an exclusive short novella reimagining our dear couple falling in love! We all know Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet, but the question universally wondered is how many ways can they show that love? Two Regencies, Two Contemporaries, there is a perfect story for every Jane Austen Fan Fiction lover!

Included in the anthology:
Darcy and Lizzie’s Wedding Breakfast by Barbara Silkstone
An Accidental Assignation by April Floyd
Much to Conceal by Elizabeth Ann West
Honeymoon Postponed: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Adventure by Kristi Rose

Check out Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet on Amazon | Goodreads


About the authors

Elizabeth Ann West

Elizabeth Ann West

A Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! Elizabeth Ann West is the author of 4 novels and 7 novellas, 10 of which are story variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her books have won reader conference awards and hit the Historical Bestseller lists on Amazon, Kobo, and the iBooks stores multiple times. A lover of all things geeky, Elizabeth codes websites, dabbles in graphic design, and is always looking for new technology to learn and master. A Navy wife and mother of two, her family has lived all over the United States, currently residing in upstate New York. Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, you can keep up with Elizabeth on Twitter @Eawwrites and on her website, http://elizabethannwest.com where she posts new fiction as she writes it!

Elizabeth is EXTREMELY proud and honored to have A Winter Wrong win Best Novella and Best Literary Fiction in the 2015 eBook Festival of Words. Thank you to all of the readers who nominated the novel and have voted for it. You made Elizabeth smile!

To contact Elizabeth, please visit her reader site: http://elizabethannwest.com or writer@elizabethannwest.com

Barbara Silkstone

Barbara Silkstone

Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. Light comedies based on Jane Austen’s timeless tales of love denied and love discovered.

“I enjoy doing playful things with language, blending two distinct words to create a new word. If I’m laughing out loud when I’m writing, then I know I’ve hit the mark. I laugh so loud while I’m writing that the neighbors think I’m having wild parties. I’m not. I live in South Florida where I survive on buttered popcorn and fried chicken… extra crispy.”
~ Barbara Silkstone

Kristi Rose

Kristi Rose

Kristi Rose was raised in central Florida on boiled peanuts and iced tea. Today, she’s a wife and a mother. She’s been lucky enough to travel the world and has lived by an active volcano, almost fallen off a German Alp, and eloped in Arkansas. No matter where she is, she enjoys watching people and wonders about their story. That’s what Kristi writes about: everyday people, the love that brings them together, and their journey. Kristi is a member of RWA. The Girl He Knows is her debut novel.

April Floyd

April Floyd

April Floyd lives in Alaska with her husband and youngest son. She loves happy endings, nice people, and reading great stories. Once upon a time, she was an Army wife and a phlebotomist and recently ran a successful ebook deals site for four years. Historical fiction, Jane Austen, and fantasy/dystopia are her favorite genres.


A big thank you to Elizabeth, Barbara, Kristi, and April for being my guests today. I really enjoyed learning more about each of you through this post! Stay tuned for my review of Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet!

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Miss Darcy's Companion front cover_V4

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

He consciously ran his fingers through his forelocks to brush them to one side, yet kept the pose nevertheless for Georgiana’s benefit — until he felt compelled to look her way again, merely to discover that his sister was not the only one who kept him under scrutiny. Miss Bennet’s eyes were also steadily fixed on him, her countenance oddly solemn, but before he could wonder why, she dropped her gaze and instantly turned away.

(from Miss Darcy’s Companion)

Miss Darcy’s Companion is the latest Pride and Prejudice variation by Joana Starnes, and it imagines Elizabeth Bennet as a temporary governess for Colonel Fitzwilliam’s nieces and nephew, which is how she meets Mr. Darcy. The Darcys and Richard feel bad for how Lady Stretton treats Elizabeth, and Darcy thinks about how he would feel if his sister, Georgiana, were in her shoes: the daughter of a gentleman thrown out of her home upon the death of her father.

Convinced by Richard that Georgiana needs a companion closer to her age and that, despite her lack of experience, Elizabeth’s liveliness will do her a world of good, Darcy agrees to hire Elizabeth as Georgiana’s companion — and the three settle into a comfortable friendship at Pemberley. That is until Elizabeth becomes withdrawn, and Darcy realizes he wants the love and passion he witnesses between his friend Bingley and his new wife, Elizabeth’s sister Jane. Forced to distance himself from Pemberley to get his feelings under control and make a life-changing decision, Darcy must rush back to Pemberley when a ghost from his past arrives and destroys his hopes for happiness.

In Miss Darcy’s Companion, Starnes puts Darcy and Elizabeth in entirely new situations with entirely different misunderstandings but stays true to Jane Austen’s characters, namely Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s impertinence. She also portrays a Darcy whose true character is known almost immediately by Elizabeth, and a more solemn Elizabeth who is more difficult for Darcy to figure out. I really enjoyed seeing Georgiana blossom under Elizabeth’s watchful eye and Richard relentlessly tease his cousin. There also were plenty of original characters to liven the plot, from the obnoxiously arrogant Lady Stretton to the vicar’s sweet sister, Miss Bradden, to Fitzwilliam’s charming nieces Margaret and Hetty.

Miss Darcy’s Companion is the third Pride and Prejudice variation I’ve read by Starnes, and it’s another winner. (Check out my reviews of The Subsequent Proposal and The Unthinkable Triangle.) Starnes has quickly become one of my favorite authors of Austen-inspired fiction. She never lets me down with her beautiful writing style, tenderly drawn characters, and imaginative plots. I can’t wait to read her next book, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, for the blog tour next month!

Disclosure: I received Miss Darcy’s Companion from the author for review.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

As she crossed the ring back toward Mr. Darcy, a lump formed in her throat. Rebellious tears stung the backs of her eyes, threatening to spill over and make her humiliation complete.

She brought Bliss to a halt about an arm’s distance away from him and waited for some sort of dismissal. He appraised her with one slightly arched brow in a way that made Elizabeth wonder if he was evaluating the dog’s appearance or her own.

(from Unleashing Mr. Darcy)

Teri Wilson’s Unleashing Mr. Darcy is a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set on the dog show circuit. Forced to leave her teaching job at an elite Manhattan school due to a scandal, Elizabeth Scott heads to England with her beloved dog Bliss to care for her new friend Sue’s show dogs. But even crossing the ocean doesn’t get her away from Donovan Darcy, the sexy British dog breeder and judge whom Elizabeth finds herself attracted to despite his annoying arrogance. As the two grow closer and the hostility between them lessens while the passion ramps up, they seem destined to be kept apart. They must navigate numerous obstacles, from the schemes of Helena Robson and Darcy’s Aunt Constance to the troubles Elizabeth thought she left behind in New York.

I read Unleashing Mr. Darcy earlier this year in preparation for the Hallmark movie adaptation (more on that later), and I am shamefully behind in posting reviews of non-blog-tour books. I found the novel to be thoroughly enjoyable and definitely spicier than allowed on Hallmark! The developing attraction and interactions between Donovan and Elizabeth felt true to their characters, and I thought Wilson did a good job creatively adapting Pride and Prejudice via dog shows (which I know absolutely nothing about but enjoyed nonetheless). I also liked how she revamped Austen’s characters so they felt fresh and modern but were still recognizable.

I must admit I liked the novel much more than the Hallmark movie adaptation. It felt like a lot of the details from the book were missing, details that were important to the plot in my opinion. Also, Elizabeth’s treatment of Darcy was a lot harsher than in the book while Darcy’s character was softened a bit. This made it harder for me to understand their attraction. So if you watched the movie first and then decided the book wasn’t for you, I strongly encourage you to forget the movie and give the book a try.  I definitely plan to read more by Wilson down the road.

Disclosure: I borrowed Unleashing Mr. Darcy from my public library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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