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Source: Review copy from author

Anngela Schroeder’s new Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas novella, An Unexpected Merry Gentleman, is a delightful, heartwarming story for the holiday season. Mr. Bingley invites the Gardiners and the Darcys to Netherfield for Christmas, and while there, he hopes to find out for himself whether Jane Bennet really does have feelings for him. Mr. Darcy is a little ruffled at the change in his holiday plans, mostly because he’s spent much of his time since the Netherfield Ball trying to forget Elizabeth Bennet. But it’s not long before he’s spending all his time trying to change her opinion of him.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth can’t believe the Mr. Darcy who is so playful with her rambunctious nieces, Victoria and Emily, is the same Mr. Darcy who denied Mr. Wickham his livelihood. But Christmas at Netherfield gives them the opportunity to get to know each other and get past their first impressions and misunderstandings.

I absolutely adored this book, so much so that I read it in one sitting. I loved how Victoria and Emily Gardiner are the spitting images of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and I especially loved Emily; what a spitfire! And it’s so cute how Mr. Darcy is so taken by Emily, recognizing that she is like a “Little Lizzy Bennet.” The presence of the children not only brings joy to Darcy’s sister and helps him realize that she’s no longer a child, but it also enables Darcy and Elizabeth to bond over their childhood escapades. I just loved their tender interactions and how their feelings evolved over the course of the book.

An Unexpected Merry Gentleman is a must-read for your Christmas list. Anngela recently stopped by my blog to talk about the painting that inspired the story and to share an excerpt, which is my favorite scene in the book with Darcy and Emily. To check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway for a Kindle copy of the book, click here. (The giveaway ends December 16.)

Disclosure: I received An Unexpected Merry Gentleman from the author for review.

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The holiday books just keep on coming, and today Anngela Schroeder is here to celebrate the release of her Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas novella, An Unexpected Merry Gentleman. This is such a sweet story! I read it in one sitting, in front of my Christmas tree with a cup of peppermint-flavored coffee, and it was just perfect! I will be sharing my review later this week, but in the meantime, Anngela is here with an excerpt (one of my favorite scenes from the book!) and a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

Anna, thank you so much for allowing me to share An Unexpected Merry Gentleman with your readers this holiday. This little book has been a goal of mine for quite some time, and I was finally able to buckle down, push life aside and get it written. 🙂

I love Christmas stories, and the idea of a ‘warm fuzzy’ quick read on a cold December night, reminds me of the spirit of Christmas. Add our favorite couple and the idea gets even better! But, I was busy. I has just finished Rational Creatures from the Quill Ink Collection, and Christina Boyd asked me if I wanted to be part of Yuletide, a collection of short Christmas stories to benefit the Great House of Chawton. Throw in a husband and 3 sons? There was no way. But, things changed when I opened up an ‘old’ file on my phone.

About a year ago I was looking for pictures for another book I was working on, and I came across the image I used for my cover. I LOVED the little girls, and how one was a blonde and the other a brunette. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be darling if this was Jane and Lizzy as little girls?” That’s when the idea of the possibility of a Christmas story was hatched. However, I wanted it to be short–­–something you could read lying in bed after wrapping presents, or waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven. A story which would show that much growth and development of our two main female characters would take way too long. Plus, how would they meet Mr. Darcy as a child, then transition to adulthood? Nope. The little girls needed to be Jane and Lizzy, all while NOT being Jane and Lizzy. Hence, the Miss Gardiners were born.

One of my favorite things about writing this story was little Emily Elizabeth Gardiner, and how she was a younger and less refined version of her cousin Elizabeth. I love how she says things we are certain Elizabeth said at a young age. Well––we actually hope Lizzy would have said. It was fun crafting scenes where she interacts with the Darcys and to watch her insight as a child blossom on the verge of adult comprehension.

It was difficult choosing an excerpt to share with your readers today, as I wanted to give them a taste of Darcy and Lizzy together, but still highlights the precociousness of Emily and the sedateness of her sister Miss Victoria (Tory) Gardiner. I hope they enjoy this little ‘Christmas gift’ from An Unexpected Merry Gentleman.

He could tell the girls were attempting not to bubble over with enthusiasm, especially the younger who most resembled Elizabeth. And with her chocolate curls, she could be a childhood portrait come to life. Miss Mary asked his sister about her music preferences and he noticed Elizabeth’s curious eyes on him.

“What are you looking forward to the most during this holiday season, Miss Emily?” he asked.

“Oh, to be sure, the stairs at Netherfield.”

“The stairs?”

“Oh, yes,” she said with eyes that mirrored Miss Elizabeth’s. “Cousin Jane tells us Netherfield is such a beautiful home and there are two sets of long stairs. I have never slid down banisters before.”

“Emily,” Elizabeth said, gently reproaching the girl.

“But it is true, Lizzy,” she whispered back. “We only have one banister, and Longbourn’s banisters are not long enough. I’m sure it is a jolly time.”

Her innocent face looked up at him, and it was all he could do to not tussle her hair. “If I might make a confession, Miss Emily,” he said, leaning in and lowering his voice, “my home, Pemberley, has four banisters.”

“Four banisters?”

“Yes.” He glanced at Miss Elizabeth and winked. Watching her start, he continued, “And I have slid down all of them.”

“All of them?” the young girl asked with adoration in her eyes. “Would you slide down them with me at Netherfield?”

“Emily!” Elizabeth said, reaching for her hand to stifle the eagerness of her cousin. “I believe it is time you and Tory return to the nursery.”

“That was not ladylike, was it?” she whispered to Mr. Darcy.

A small smile edged at the corners of his mouth. “My sister and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with you and Miss Gardiner.”

“Thank you.” She curtsied and ran out of the room, little Miss Gardiner following at a demure pace.

I do hope the excerpt has enticed you to check out the full novella of An Unexpected Merry Gentleman available on Amazon, and on Kindle Unlimited. I have also included the opportunity to win a Kindle version of the book, which is open internationally. Have a Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday!

Giveaway

Anngela is generously offering a Kindle copy of An Unexpected Merry Gentleman to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway is open internationally through Sunday, December 16, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Anngela, for being my guest today. I hope my readers enjoy An Unexpected Merry Gentleman as much as I did! I can’t wait to share my thoughts later this week. Stay tuned!

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