Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.
I’m still playing catch up in reading and blogging while I’m in between editing projects, so these are the free ebooks that I downloaded over the past month or so.
Passion and Principle by M.J. Felice
Thoughtful, revealing, and effectively told, Passion and Principle is a must-read for Jane Austen fans in search of a realistic sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is dignified and true to form.
Honoring Austen’s tone without retelling her story, Passion and Principle confronts the strong natures of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam in their quest for a deeper relationship beyond pleasant marital companionship. Dedicated to “learning each other,” they discover the benefits and hardships of honesty and trust; separately they challenge themselves to support the other, and together, they open doors to secrets neither of them had imagined. (publisher’s summary)
Game of Kings by Anthea Carson with D.J. Natelson
Darla Martin is perfectly content to live in Denver, work at a library, and play chess every night.
That’s before she meets Mikhail, a mysterious and proud Russian grandmaster.
And Maxwell, who is charming and handsome and speaks of dark things.
And Fred, who warns her not to look into his eyes.
Before she knows it, Darla’s comfortable world is turned upside down. (publisher’s summary)
Emma + Elsie Meet Fitzwilliam Darcy by Maddy Raven and Monica Leonelle
Emma Woodhouse is planning the wedding of the century for her practically-a-sister Annabeth Taylor—but when her relationship with the best man, Jace Knightley, comes into question, she worries that their bickering will ruin everything she’s worked so hard on…and change them both in the process.
Elsie Bennet intends to make a good impression on Rosebelle’s newest family, the Bingleys, but struggles when her family interferes. And then, there’s Fitz Darcy, who comes across as cold, aloof, and at times, flat-out rude. He seems to have something against Elsie and the rest of the Bennets for reasons she can’t figure out…
What would happen if Emma Woodhouse and Elsie Bennet were best friends in modern times? Find out!
A modern retelling of Emma and Pride and Prejudice, Emma + Elsie Meet Fitzwilliam Darcy is the first book in the Emma + Elsie series, a New Adult contemporary romance collaboration by Maddy Raven and Monica Leonelle (recommended for adults 16+). (publisher’s summary)
Jane Austen and the Highway Woman by LJ Lawry
Jenna Bowen was traumatised as a child when her father turned up at the school gates wearing a sarong. This had the effect of Jenna seeking refuge from all forms of attention by disappearing so far into the background of her own life that she risked it passing her by altogether. It took the supernatural intervention of the ghosts of Jane Austen and Mary Roberts to give Jenna’s life the shaking up it needed. Jane Austen needs little introduction but Mary Roberts had been lost to history as a result of a terrible injustice, which led to her being burned at the stake. The ghosts are determined to find a husband for Jenna, who is secretly in love with someone very different from the man they have selected for her. Ghosts, gangsters, cyber bank robbery, animal rights, sex-slave liberation, romance, lots of parties and shopping. What more could a girl want? (publisher’s summary)
May’s Grand Tour by Pamela Warren
In this Regency romance, beautiful artist May Weston travels from America to England and the Continent to go on the Grand Tour. Her first stop is London where she stays with her cousin Charles Bingley and his wife Jane. Charles introduces her to his friend and former brother-in-law Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy is a widower who is still recovering from the loss of his beloved wife Elizabeth Bennet. Mr. Darcy invites May to a literary salon given by his publisher where they meet the Romantic poet Lord Byron whose first book has led to his instant fame.
Byron is entranced by May but must marry a rich heiress in order to pay off his family’s enormous debts. He is afraid that if he doesn’t pay these debts, then he will end up in debtor’s prison. May has been invited to join friends in Venice and Bingley and Darcy decide to accompany her there. Lord Byron also departs for Venice in order to escape his creditors. While in Venice, both Darcy and Byron fall in love with May, but which one will she choose? (publisher’s summary)
Most Truly by Reina M. Williams
Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarred—and a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his aunt—Lady Catherine de Bourgh—and his parents arrive with their own plans for his future.
Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happiness—or his family’s displeasure—for his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lesson—love will find you at Pemberley. (publisher’s summary)
Amish Knit Lit Circle: Pride & Prejudice by Karen Anna Vogel
From winter to spring, Granny and her circle, now consisting of Amish and English friends, knit for the homeless and discuss books. As these women reach out into their community, they share what they’ve learned. Missy Prissy, a snobby rich woman, reads A Christmas Carol, but will it change her Scrooge heart? Mona reads Black Beauty and images of past abuse haunt her dreams, and this could not possibly be a good thing, or is it? Visions of romance dance in the women’s heads, too. After reading Pride & Prejudice, they swoon over Mr. Darcy telling Elizabeth, “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Marriage problems come to the forefront, but will they be swept under the rag rug? (publisher’s summary)
The Jane Austen Dictionary of Word Usage Examples by Lucas Nicolato
This dictionary provides examples of word usage in the works of Jane Austen, selected so as to provide a glimpse of the range of the word’s use patterns in the Austenean oeuvre.
It is an excellent tool both for students of Jane Austen, and for any writer wanting to gain better insight of how one the best writers in history employed words.
Example entry: acuteness –
•“and she was reasonable enough to allow that a man of five and thirty might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment.” – Sense and Sensibility;
•“and, in the acuteness of the disappointment which followed such an ecstasy of more than hope, she felt as if, till that instant, she had never suffered.” – Sense and Sensibility;
•“More was not expected by one who, while seeing all the obligation and expediency of submission and forbearance, saw also with sympathetic acuteness of feeling all that must be hourly grating to a girl like Susan.” – Mansfield Park;
•“Well read in the art of concealing a treasure, the possibility of false linings to the drawers did not escape her, and she felt round each with anxious acuteness in vain.” – Northanger Abbey
This dictionary can both be searched directly and configured as the Kindle Device’s or App’s dictionary. (publisher’s summary)
A Lot of Pride and Some Prejudice by Petronela Ungureanu
On the verge of losing her home and her position in society, Miss Portia Thorpe is fighting all her battles with her very heart. When Lord Salisbury is offering his friendship and support, she develops a most unsuitable inclination towards him. Surrounded by uncertainty and some very strange events, Portia must face the future where her estate, Valhalla, lost at poker by her father, gets a new mysterious owner. Will she manage to find her place in the new order of things? Will she accept an unexpected marriage proposal, just to save her home? With some pride, a little prejudice and all the courage in the world, she will eventually find a solution. (publisher’s summary)
World War II:
Temperance’s Trial by Hallee Bridgeman
The Third Reich Seeks to Extract the Information She Alone Knows
Marie Gilbert and her elder brother flee from Vichy France after the Gestapo arrest her father for suspicion of aiding Jewish children to escape the oncoming fascist front. Once in London, Marie is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills.
Known only by her code name, Temperance, she is trained to operate a wireless radio and returns to her beloved France. With a new identity, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters but unwillingly attracts the attention and apparent adoration of a handsome but ruthless Nazi officer, Oberleutnant Leopold Schäfer.
As the H-hour to execute their daring mission draws ever closer, Marie plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the unrelenting and merciless young Lieutenant Schäfer and the Nazi soldiers under his command. (publisher’s summary)
The Mousetrap by Ruth Hanker Eigner
Ruth Hanka Eigner (1926 – 2010), who eventually immigrated to the United States and converted to Judaism, was one of many Germans living in the Czechoslovak Republic (Hitler’s Sudetenland) for nearly a millenium. In The Mousetrap — winner of the 2003 San Diego Book Award for an Unpublished Memoir — she tells the harrowing true story of her experiences as a young Bohemian woman in the years after the Second World War ended. She tells of the understandable brutality with which she and her family and friends were treated after the Germans lost the war.
She also tells the story of a mother-daughter relationship that, because of the terrible times in which they lived, threatened to kill them both. (publisher’s summary)
A Gift From the Enemy: A True Story of Escape in Wartime Italy by Enrico Lamet
Lamet offers a tender, highly observant memoir of his boyhood years in Italy during World War II.
With his Jewish mother and father, the author spent the first eight years of his life in Austria in a comfortable bourgeois atmosphere. But then the storm clouds of war forced the family to move from Vienna to Milan, Paris, Nice and San Remo, before they found the obscure sanctuary of Ospedaletto, Italy. Along the way, Lamet’s father left for Poland, and therefore plays little role in the remainder of the memoir, but his mother remains a steady force throughout. As the author writes of his days with her, he brings an authentic feel of childhood to the story, and readers will likely remember their own similar, universal joys. He touches upon activities in all manner of daily life, including woodworking, hearing Jewish singers and occasionally eating in restaurants. He also writes of attending summer camp and spending another summer on a farm, and of the kindness of a newswoman who lent him the latest comic books—all while he lived as a Jew in Europe at the wrong time in history. He draws other moments with a quieter, emotional ache: His mother finding a new man (“My parents had never kissed like that in front of me”), his family’s lack of food and the terrifying experience of seeing a uniformed German soldier. The book’s second section comprises the author’s postwar years, and although readers may enjoy finding out what happened to Lamet down the road, his life during wartime is far more gripping, whether he’s dodging bombs or learning to love poetry. (publisher’s summary)
Outcry: Holocaust Memoirs by Manny Steinberg
Mendel (Manny) Steinberg spent his teens in Nazi extermination camps in Germany and Poland, miraculously surviving while millions perished. This is his story.
Born in 1925 in the Jewish ghetto in Radom (Poland), Manny soon realized that people of Jewish faith were increasingly being regarded as outsiders. In September 1939, the Nazis invaded, and the nightmare started. The city’s Jewish population had no chance of escaping and was faced with starvation, torture, sexual abuse and ultimately deportation.
Outcry is the candid and moving account of a teenager who survived four Nazi camps: Dachau, Auschwitz, Vaihingen and Neckagerach. While being subjected to torture and degradation, he agonized over two haunting questions: “Why the Jews?” and “How can the world let this happen?” These questions remain hard to answer. (publisher’s summary)
Other freebies that caught my eye:
Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel by Lisa Zunshine
Why We Read Fiction offers a lucid overview of the most exciting area of research in contemporary cognitive psychology known as “Theory of Mind” and discusses its implications for literary studies. It covers a broad range of fictional narratives, from Richardson’s Clarissa, Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment, and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Nabokov’s Lolita, and Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Zunshine’s surprising new interpretations of well-known literary texts and popular cultural representations constantly prod her readers to rethink their own interest in fictional narrative. Written for a general audience, this study provides a jargon-free introduction to the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field known as cognitive approaches to literature and culture. (publisher’s summary)
Second-Hand Jane by Michelle Vernal
When footloose and fancy-free Jessica, a thirty-something writer, decides to follow her journalistic instincts and trace the story of a young girl for her weekly column in a Dublin newspaper, she unwittingly embarks on a journey into Northern Ireland’s tragic past.
With her love of all things vintage, Jessica Jane Baré is known as Second-hand Jane to her friends. Hailing from New Zealand, these days she’s finding the grass is greener in Dublin and not just because of all the rain. In fact, life would be sweet if it weren’t for the reason she left home in the first place–her meddling mother. Marian views Jess’s life in Dublin as nothing more than a stop-gap until she meets Mr. Right and he’s taking his time. Things look set to change, however, when Jess meets the delectable Nick, who ticks all of Marian’s boxes.
In the meantime, Jess’s latest second-hand collectible–a children’s book—gives her an idea for her column. Deciding to track down the girl whose name is scribbled inside the cover of that book, she uncovers more than she ever expected. “Amy was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the girl’s taciturn brother, Owen, informs her. Intrigued, Jess travels to the family pig farm in County Down and listens to Amy’s poignant tale unfold through Owen. With a little help from a rather cute runt of the litter she names Wilbur, Jess is about to help put the past to rest and learn that appearances can be deceptive.
Then Marian announces she is coming to Dublin to sort her daughter’s increasingly tangled love life out and Jess’s chance of a happy ending like those in the story books she collects looks about as likely as Wilbur flying. (publisher’s summary)
Seduction and Mashed Potato by Janis McBride
Molly Batters is a successful cookbook and romance writer living in Battersby Hall. When she meets and falls in love with publisher Mr. Tidy, all is set fair for a fine romance. They are both widowed, both dog lovers, and both grasping rather awkwardly at a second chance of happiness. However, their love is threatened by the dark plans of those around them, including the menacing gardener, Thompson.
Set in 1960s Yorkshire and London, this is a brilliantly quirky book which will have you up all night to find out whether Molly and Mr. Tidy will live happily ever after, or be swept away by the dastardly passions of those working for them. (publisher’s summary)
Cinema Lumière by Hattie Holden Edmonds
What if someone had secretly made a film of your life? Hannah Bailey has resigned herself to a dead-end job, she’s sealed her heart against love and her catastrophic thinking is out of control. In fact, she’s hard pushed to find a single reason for her existence until the day she stumbles across a tiny one-seated cinema and its mysterious French owner Victor Lever… Cinema Lumière doesn’t screen Hollywood blockbusters or even low budget arthouse indies. Instead it shows people films of their lives. But how does Victor create such unique biopics and why is he so determined to coax Hannah into that single red velvet seat?
Set between the bustling streets of both Portobello and Paris, Cinema Lumière turns a literary projector on the timeless experiences of love and loss. (publisher’s summary)
Breath to Breath by Carrie Maloney
Veterinarian Anna Dunlop can recite all 230 bones in a cat’s body. She can listen to a dog’s chest and know instantly how to save its life. What she can’t seem to do is work her way through her own personal pain.
Sadness over her husband’s death hasn’t lessened with time, as the world promised it would. In fact, every year her grief burrows in more deeply, making good days seem dull, and upsetting days almost unbearable.
So when someone tries to do away with a litter of puppies, her world unravels.
She saves the pups and adopts them out to people in her community of Milk River, Wisconsin—on one condition. They must agree to gather monthly on her radio call-in show. It soon becomes clear that people cannot talk about their dogs’ lives without revealing what’s happening at home. Anna finds herself helping her new circle of friends work through their most intimate problems, live on air.
Meanwhile, the good doctor searches for a way to heal her own heart. (publisher’s summary)
A Handful of Pebbles by Sara Alexi
A Handful of Pebbles follows Sarah who travels to the village in Greece for the wedding of her youngest son.
But Sarah’s own marriage is strained, and now that her children have grown up and left home she finds herself questioning her role of wife and mother.
Meeting up with her best friend Michelle, who is also over for the wedding, and whom she has not seen for years adds a further dimension, and why does Sarah feel so unsettled in the presence of Nicolaos, the shepherd who she seems to keep bumping into? (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.
Read Full Post »