Archive for the ‘jane austen’ Category

the unthinkable triangleThank you, Anna, for having me as your guest today to talk about my latest release, The Unthinkable Triangle.

But firstly, may I speak of Mrs. Bennet? I must admit that I am rather fond of her. Partly because I am fast approaching the age I think she would have been in the original novel. Married very young and presumably pregnant with Jane almost immediately, she must have been in her late forties when Pride and Prejudice started to unfold. I am also rather fond of her because I simply cannot see her as an evil, scheming mother selling her daughters to the highest bidder, but rather as a realist. Of course her daughters needed to get married, preferably soon and hopefully well. What choices other than marriage or genteel poverty were open to them, should the worst happen and they lose their father and their home?

Lastly, as an author, I am very fond of her, and also of Lydia, because they are wonderful plot devices. A pair of blabbermouths can be extremely useful in moving the plot along, or having the main characters learn of details they would not yet dare disclose to each other – or would not have the crassness to mention themselves.

For instance, in The Falmouth Connection, my last book but one, Lydia makes Elizabeth see that Mr. Darcy might be in love with her. In my latest, The Unthinkable Triangle, Mrs. Bennet orchestrates a journey north that would allow Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to finally reach their understanding. Moreover, it is thanks to her that Elizabeth finds herself travelling in Mr. Darcy’s carriage, along with her sister Mary, with Georgiana – and with the gentleman himself.

These days it takes mere hours to drive from Hertfordshire to some place or another in the vicinity of ‘Pemberley’. Not so 200 years ago, when a gentleman travelling with his own equipage and a large party of family and friends would take to the Great North Road with the expectation of covering roughly 50 miles in a day, weather permitting. They would have to frequently stop at coaching inns along the way to rest the horses and have them fed and watered, as the travellers partook of their own refreshments.

And then they would proceed at a stately pace again, and spend many hours in the close confines of a carriage. During those hours, in The Unthinkable Triangle, Elizabeth must confront her recently discovered feelings – a daunting task, in such close proximity, as the following excerpt shows.

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Coaching InnThe Unthinkable Triangle

Excerpt from Chapter 14

Meryton was far behind now, as the swaying carriages proceeded at a stately pace along the Great North Road.

In the first there was silence. Fed and content, the babe was sleeping in her mother’s arms, and the three other occupants were keen to prolong that desirable state of affairs for as long as they could.

In the second there was a mayhem of Lydia’s, Kitty’s and Mrs. Bennet’s making, which would cease for some ten minutes or so whenever Mr. Bennet determined he could not tolerate it any longer and threatened with bidding the coachman make an about-turn and head back home to Longbourn.

In the third there was no mayhem but, despite appearances, there was precious little peace. One of the seats was taken by the readers – Mary and Mr. Darcy. Presumably mortified by her father’s injunction, Mary took it to heart and forbore to say a word, devoting her full attention to Mr. Gibbon’s History of the Roman Empire. Mr. Darcy’s reading matter, although less ponderous, still lacked the power to engross him fully, and now and then he would close his book and leave it in his lap, his finger holding his place between the pages, until he would tire of staring out of the carriage window and take up reading again, with infrequent glances at the seat before him, where Elizabeth and Georgiana were maintaining a cheerful conversation.

Truth be told, the cheer was all on Georgiana’s side. Elizabeth’s sole contribution was to skilfully drop the necessary words here and there, that would encourage her young friend to share more tales of town and Derbyshire. No one could doubt Georgiana’s excitement and her delight with the company and the travel plans. She was chattier than ever, which was a surprise but no less of a blessing, for otherwise the carriage ride would have been mostly spent in awkward silence.

Elizabeth clasped her gloved fingers in her lap and smiled to Georgiana as she declared her intention to visit the Lakes in the very near future, thus providing the young girl with another topic that would bear lengthy and elaborate descriptions, and giving her leisure to cast a surreptitious glance towards her friend’s brother. She longed to speak to him – she did not dare – and her own unprecedented shyness vexed her beyond endurance.

He was intent upon his book, so she allowed her glance to linger. Dark tousled hair, a few long, wavy forelocks falling over the wide brow. Eyes cast down, lidded as though closed, with only the flicker of dark lashes to prove it was not so. Lips pressed together, presumably in concentration, making the chin jut ever so slightly forward. Strong jaw above the neckcloth and the pointed corners of the collar, no longer perfectly aligned, as they had been this morning. Cheeks vaguely shadowed. A very straight nose, the nostrils widening all of a sudden, with a deep intake of air. And then the lips again. Perfectly formed. Still tightened.

Did he kiss Miss Wyatt when he had offered for her?

She had no answer to that question. Likewise to another: what alerted people when they were being watched? A sixth sense, or whatever else it might have been, prompted Mr. Darcy to glance up so suddenly that he caught her staring. Someone who had nothing to hide might have met his eyes squarely. Those who still had their wits about them would have looked away casually and slowly, as if their mind was elsewhere and they were simply staring blankly into space. Sadly, the sensible alternatives occurred to her when it was all too late. When her cheeks were already flaming as though set on fire, and her eyes had darted in panic from his face.

She did not look his way again, not for a long time, and Georgiana was surprised to note that she was getting monosyllabic or rather odd answers to her questions. Across from them, Mr. Darcy turned to stare at the Bedfordshire countryside again.

There was at least another hour and a half till their next stop. And to their destination – one hundred and twenty-two gruelling miles.

* * * *

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. There is an international giveaway of a Kindle copy if you would like to find out more – just leave a comment for the chance to win. The giveaway ends on Sunday, October 18.

Best of luck, thank you for visiting and many thanks again, Anna, for welcoming me as your guest.

* * * *

Thanks, Joana! It was a pleasure having you on the blog today!

Stay tuned for my review of The Unthinkable Triangle. In the meantime, check out my 5-star review of one of Joana’s previous novels, The Subsequent Proposal. You can also connect with Joana here:


© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Photo 1Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your blog today, Anna, to make my very special announcement!

In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen’s 5th great niece, tell you all!

“It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today. They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates. Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential. Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them. The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane. We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity. We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

Photo 2I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works. With over 7,000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie,” a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog. I was intrigued. Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen? I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews. Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Photo 3Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie’s love affair with the written word. As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie,” as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane.”

Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

Photo 4As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just 9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it – you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen’s world and words!

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of ‘persuasion’ (if you’ll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, Laughing With Lizzie. It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won’t go into now!), and so I really threw myself wholeheartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.

Photo 5Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my Facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen’s descendant on Skype! Caroline told me all about growing up Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane’s popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to Skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader; well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.

Photo 6I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library – which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! – celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.

Photo 7Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane’s hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website – https://www.janeaustenlf.org/support-us – click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!

Photo 8Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!


Bath Boutique Stays have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.

All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place? (Three flights of stairs and the hallway.)

4 sydney placePlease email your answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at lucy@bathboutiquestays.co.uk, and the person who guesses the correct – or comes closest to it! – amount of steps will win!

The competition entries end on 2nd October.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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mistaking her character

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

“Rosings Park is my nest, girl, and all within it, my keep. It is my role to protect it, by whatever means necessary. I want, and will insure, what is best for all under my wings.” She spread her hands, the sleeves of her gown rustling like feathers. “Even you.”

(from Mistaking Her Character)

Quick summary: Maria Grace’s latest variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is her most unique yet. Mistaking Her Character (Book 1 in The Queen of Rosings Park series) imagines that Elizabeth Bennet is the daughter of a doctor, Thomas Bennet, who has been hired by Lady Catherine to care for her daughter, Anne. Elizabeth helps her father care for his patients and has earned the respect of Rosings Park’s servants by caring for them, too. Her kindness, intelligence, and keen eye grab the attention of Mr. Darcy, but Lady Catherine will stop at nothing to control those within her reach — and Elizabeth’s father will do anything to maintain his position, even if it means endangering one of his own.

Why I wanted to read it: Grace is one of my favorite Austenesque authors, so this novel was a must-read for me.

What I liked: Mistaking Her Character is another breath of fresh air among Pride and Prejudice variations. While many of the characters feel familiar, Grace really shakes things up by showing Lady Catherine at her most ruthless and drastically altering the character of Mr. Bennet. Changing the Bennet family’s circumstances dramatically changes the course of events, and I loved not being able to predict what would happen from one chapter to the next. I was surprised by how engrossed I was in the story and how emotional it made me; I seriously wanted to throttle some of these characters, and I loved that it made me have such a reaction.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!

Final thoughts: Mistaking Her Character is a solid start to Grace’s new series. It was shocking, exciting, and of course, romantic at times, and had I not been swamped with back-to-school chaos and freelance projects, I would have breezed through this one in a day or two. I hated having to tear myself away to deal with real life. I can’t wait to see where Grace takes these characters next!

Disclosure: I received Mistaking Her Character from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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about the book


pompous schemesThrown from his horse, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is left to traverse the remaining fifteen miles to Pemberley on foot. Richard never imagined the first carriage to cross his path would contain the one woman he thought he would never see again.

Lady Aimée de Bourbon the only child of Prince du Sang Geoffroy de Bourbon, Marquis of Agen had captured and nearly broke Richard’s heart four years earlier. He had loved her and planned to give up his bachelor ways, but her father intended her to marry a royal, not an English Earl’s second son. Now Lady Aimée is affianced to Señor Duarte de Cortázar, a lesser Portuguese royal.

While lost in his thoughts of his prior love, the carriage is robbed, Lady Aimée’s dowry stolen, and Lord Agen is injured. Colonel Fitzwilliam directs the driver to take them to Pemberley where Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth take them in and offer refuge and a place to heal.

Ancient customs of Dom Duarte’s family forbids marriage without the dowry present at the wedding and now with the dowry stolen, Lady Aimée and her father fear the de Cortázar’s will call off the marriage. But Lady Aimée intends to have love and will let nothing stand in her way, even if it means hurting the man she once professed to love.

Pompous Schemes Paperback and eBook Links:



Gumroad (Author Direct): https://gumroad.com/l/AyrBray-PompousSchemes


author information


ayr bray“From an early age I have always been fascinated by the written word and the mood and atmosphere it creates for a reader; especially those books that affect me and transport me to some far-off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my books. My books in many ways record what most affects me: my feelings and experiences with family, friends, and those I have run into on my life’s journey. My hope is that in my books you will find something that touches you, something which will resonate in your soul and remind you that you are strong and can overcome anything, especially if you have the support of loving friends and family.” – Ayr Bray

Ayr Bray is from the Pacific Northwest, but travels as much as possible so she doesn’t have to deal with the cold. Ayr loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at her website http://www.ayrbray.com or on Facebook at http://goo.gl/kAAO3u  and Twitter: https://twitter.com/AyrBray


Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I wanted to read it: I love sequels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that focus on the secondary characters, especially Colonel Fitzwilliam.

What I liked: I’m really into novellas lately, especially since I have so little reading time these days, and I loved that I was able to read Pompous Schemes in one sitting.  It’s the second book in Bray’s Pemberley series, and although there are some vague references to the first book, Cowardly Witness, it can be read as a stand-alone.  There was a little bit of everything in this novella, from highwaymen to a love triangle to sweet moments between the newly married Darcys and even some humor and a mystery.  It didn’t end the way I’d expected, and I liked being surprised.

What I disliked: I only wish the mystery surrounding Lady Aimée’s dowry had not been so easily resolved.

Final thoughts: Pompous Schemes is an exciting, entertaining novella whose original characters, Lady Aimée and her betrothed, take center stage, but there is enough of Austen’s characters to keep readers satisfied.  This was my first time reading the work of Ayr Bray, but it won’t be the last.  I can’t wait to go back and read the first book in the Pemberley series.


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Disclosure: I received Pompous Schemes from Loving the Book for review.

© 2015 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 to the rescueI’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, which I had the privilege of editing.  Victoria is here to talk about humor in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

The Importance of Laughter

So, I wrote a Pride and Prejudice variation in which Elizabeth actually becomes engaged to Mr. Collins. Why was I motivated to write such a plot? Well, there are multiple reasons, but one is because my son (then 11 years old) thought Mr. Collins was funny. My son laughed at the guy when he read the Pride and Prejudice graphic novel and even more when we watched the 1995 adaptation (He also does a wicked impersonation of Mrs. Bennet: “You have no compassion for my poor nerves!”). His reaction made me think about Mr. C as more than just a plot contrivance.

When writing P&P variations, authors like me tend to focus on the romance, which makes sense. It’s a beautiful, compelling, timeless love story. Just the fact that P&P can sustain so many wonderful variations is a testament to how well-written it is and how well-drawn Darcy and Elizabeth are. But it’s easy to forget that it’s also a wicked social satire. My son’s reaction reminded me that humor is an essential element of the novel.

And, although Collins isn’t a very nice person, he’s a great source of humor. I had a great time writing scenes with him because he’s so egregious in so many ways. And unexpectedly, those scenes set the tone for the entire novel; the rest of it became fairly light and humorous despite the drama inherent in Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance. Darcy himself even reveals a sly sense of humor when dealing with Caroline Bingley’s insults to Elizabeth.

Writing Mr. Darcy to the Rescue taught me something about Austen’s novels: the importance of laughter. Although her characters often face worrisome dilemmas, the thread of humor helps remind us of a valuable tool in facing the difficult world. Elizabeth encounters some awful people, like Collins and Lady Catherine, but her sense of humor prevents her from growing too angry and resentful toward them (and probably helps her avoid an ulcer). She could easily become bitter, but instead she is amused.

Along with tremendous insights into the human character, laughter is one of the gifts Austen gave us in Pride and Prejudice—and it’s one I flatter myself :) I have been able to share with the readers of Mr. Darcy to the Rescue.

About Mr. Darcy to the Rescue

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…

How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

Giveaway: Victoria is generously offering one ebook copy, in any format, open internationally. Simply leave a comment about why you want to read Mr. Darcy to the Rescue and/or whether or not you find Mr. Collins to be a humorous character, and please include your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 23.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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a will of iron

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

This has been a most trying evening.  Mama continues furious that Darcy has gone away again without extending an offer of marriage.  I say, bless him.  She goes on and on, and I do wish she would invite the vicarage guests to dinner to ease the strain on me as she does not yammer quite so much in company.  Or perhaps the presence of others makes it easier for me to ignore her.  Selfish, Anne!

(from A Will of Iron)

Quick summary: In this darker variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Linda Beutler puts Anne de Bourgh front and center.  A Will of Iron lets readers into Anne’s head through her journals, which make their way into the hands of Charlotte Collins and Elizabeth Bennet after her sudden and shocking death.  Anne had a lively mind, made astute observations about the people around her, and wasn’t shy when it came to taking her future into her own hands.  As the residents and guests of Rosings Park and the Hunsford Parsonage try to come to terms with the events leading up to Anne’s death, they soon face even darker realizations while simultaneously seeking out happiness for themselves.

Why I wanted to read it: I enjoyed Beutler’s previous takes on Pride and Prejudice (check out my reviews of The Red Chrysanthemum and Longbourn to London), love the variations that expand on Austen’s secondary characters, and couldn’t resist imagining an even darker side to Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

What I liked: Beutler wastes no time in shocking readers, and I was glued to the pages from Anne’s very first journal entry.  The dark twists and turns of this novel are both shocking and morbidly funny, and there are plenty of love triangles and romantic entanglements to lighten the mood.  Beutler does a great job blending the darkly comic events with the sweet romantic scenes.  The novel is set just after Elizabeth rejects Darcy’s first proposal, and watching them find their way back to each other amidst all the other happenings was exciting.

What I disliked: Nothing at all (except trying to summarize the plot without saying too much).

Final thoughts: A Will of Iron is a must-read for fans of Austen-inspired fiction, who, like me, continually seek out unique variations of Pride and Prejudice.  I must say that I’ve never read anything like this novel before, and I was surprised by how many times I was shocked and then laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, which made me love it more.  I can’t wait to see what Beutler writes next!

Disclosure: I received A Will of Iron from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the prosecution of mr. darcy's cousin

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

“I will not send for Mrs. Fitzwilliam, but I do mean to send word that you are safe.  Neither Mrs. Darcy nor my sister deserves to spend another hour in worry over your actions.”

He could not control speaking in disappointment.

“I thought better of you, Edward.”

(from The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin)

Quick summary: The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin is the latest Pride and Prejudice mystery by Regina Jeffers.  Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy have been happily married for about five years and are enjoying life with their two young sons, but their world is turned upside down when Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, sends word that her husband, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, is missing.  Darcy tracks down his cousin in a seedy inn in London, drunk and in a uniform covered in dirt and blood.  Fitzwilliam’s marital problems and PTSD are the least of the family’s concerns, once it becomes known that he is the prime suspect in a serious of gruesome murders.

Why I wanted to read it: I’ve long been a fan of Jeffers’ novels (check out my reviews of Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, Christmas at Pemberley, and The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy), and I was intrigued by the idea of a darker side to the charming and amiable Colonel Fitzwilliam.

What I liked: I was fascinated by this tale from start to finish, and I especially enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery.  Jeffers really digs deep into her characters, particularly Georgiana’s need to find inner strength in the face of great loss, Darcy’s realization that he is no longer his sister’s protector, and Fitzwilliam’s troubled transition to civilian life.  The assortment of original characters, like Cowan, secondary characters given bigger roles, like the Earl and Countess of Matlock, and even some courtroom drama help round out the story, and I was happy to see another of my favorite Austen heroes make an appearance toward the end.

What I disliked: Nothing!

Final thoughts: The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin is a darker take on the characters of Pride and Prejudice, but it is exciting and shines in the complexity of the characters and the multilayered mystery at its core.  It was hard to see Fitzwilliam in such a light, but Jeffers’ portrayal of a man who has spent a great deal of his life at war and remains haunted by his experiences is realistic and heartbreaking.  Although it focuses on some heavy subjects, like PTSD, and puts Austen’s beloved characters in some dangerous and hopeless situations, the romantic moments between Darcy and Elizabeth help to lighten the mood.  Jeffers had me guessing and biting my nails until the very end, a sign of a great mystery, and I hope there will be more installments in this series.

(I haven’t yet read the previous installment, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy, so that’s something to look forward to, and I should point out here that The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin can be read as a standalone novel.)

Disclosure: I received The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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