Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘author guest posts’

Today I am delighted to welcome Sara Marks to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to celebrate the release of her new novel, Modern Persuasion, a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I asked Sara if she would be kind enough to share her story of coming to love Jane Austen. Please give her a warm welcome:

High School Overachievement in Reading

I knew very little in High School, but one thing I did know was that I was going to have to read Pride and Prejudice in my senior year.  I have always been a voracious reader and I wanted, at the time, to be ready for the book when it was time to read it.  That how I ended up reading P&P on my own as a Junior.  I still have the copy they gave us when we read it my senior year.  There were so many things I missed as a teenager, but the more often I read Austen books, the more comfortable I got with them.  Over the years I would read more books, stopping and starting as my irritation at characters ebbed and flowed.  I stopped reading for a few years when I tried Sense & Sensibility.  I felt annoyed with characters in this book, especially Marianne.  I enjoyed Northanger Abbey years later, but Mansfield Park felt like it just never ended.  Persuasion was the last of her books that I read and has been firmly locked in my heart ever since.

Movies, Mini-Series, and More

I spent most of my adult reading life as a fan of fantasy and science fiction more than classics.  I re-read a few favorite Austen book (P&P, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion), but, like for many others, it was the movies and adaptations that I found most enjoyable.  I remember the first time I saw Clueless, just as I was starting to read Emma for the first time and realizing they were one and the same.  I remember watching the BBC P&P miniseries and realizing Mr. Darcy SHOULD have lovely curls…he should ALWAYS HAVE CURLS!  I love Colin Firth, but I had to cast my own Mr. Darcy and, alas, he will never play the role… The modern movies and mini-series have more of a place in my heart than the classic ones.  I prefer McFayden’s Emo-Darcy or Matthew Ryhs’ coy and playful interpretation.

I Gave Myself Permission to Write

The shift in my obsession stems from Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.  I know it’s not for everyone, but it brought me back to Austen in a way nothing else had.  For me, it was the introduction to the idea that I could write fan fiction of Austen and tell an original story.  It got me interested in reading the Jane Austen Fan Fiction (some I loved and some made me cringe…most I loved).  Seeing other authors try to modernize, re-interpret, extend, or look back in time on Jane’s stories was thrilling as a reader and writer.  Then came the Lizzy Bennet Diaries and it was like I had permission to write the fantasies inside my head.  I had always played around with trying to understand who a character would be if he or she was alive today.

What Comes Next?

I have taken a break from most JAFF at the moment because I am writing it.  I read it with a range of emotions from “I would have done this instead” or “well, all my writing is crap compared to this!” I have a list of Persuasion JAFF books that I am going to finally read once Modern Persuasion comes out!  I am also re-reading Austen’s books on my blog.  I have done Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.  This fall will be Emma and winter 2018 I will do Pride and Prejudice.  It helps me get back into the frame of the story as I write my modernizations.  I love having my readers leave comments through the readings!

****

About Modern Persuasion:

Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams? What would you do if given a second chance at that decision? Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of. Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour. Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other. Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?

Check out Modern Persuasion on Goodreads | Amazon

Read a sample chapter here.

****

About the Author

Sara Marks

Sara Marks is an author, knitter, Wikipedian, and librarian from Massachusetts. Born in Boston, her family moved to Miami, Florida, when she was 3.  There she spent the next 14 years of her life. She attended Florida State University for 3 years, but graduated with an A.A from Miami-Dade College and a B.A. from Florida International University before moving back to Boston for graduate school.  She hasn’t left Massachusetts since (except to visit people and places in the world).  Now, over fifteen years later and over 10 years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, she is releasing her first novel, Modern Persuasion, with Illuminated Myth Publishing.  Sara works with local writing group Mill Pages, which creates an annual anthology of short stories, poems, and art work.  She is a member of the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA), a group supporting writers in the Merrimack Valley.

When she isn’t writing, Sara is an academic librarian at University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She has a masters degree in library science and another in Communications.  She is an active Wikipedian who has been editing Wikipedia for over 10 years.  She is a member of Toastmasters International where she has twice earned the status of Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest status members can achieve.  She is one of the local organizers for National Novel Writing Month.  She is an avid knitter who designs and publishes her own patterns.  She love unicorns, Paris, and the color purple.

Connect with Sara via email | website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

****

Giveaways

#1: Sara is generously offering an ebook copy of Modern Persuasion to one lucky reader! To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell us what most excites you about the book. This giveaway will close on Sunday, June 4, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post.

#2: She is also offering a special giveaway to U.S. readers. Since part of the story happens on Frederick’s book tour, she is offering touristy knick-knacks from each of the cities they visit (the NYC item will be a surprise!). The winner will receive the entire collection of knick-knacks and an autographed paperback copy of the book. To enter, you need to sign up for her mailing list, and you can do so and enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter link. Everyone who signs up for the mailing list is added to the raffle and also will receive a short story related to Modern Persuasion: “Mary and the Anti-Feminist.” This giveaway ends on June 5.

****

5/22 My Jane Austen Bookclub

5/22 More Agreeably Engaged

5/23 Half Agony, Half Hope

5/24 JustJane 1813

5/24 The Ardent Reader

5/25 From Pemberly to Milton

5/26 Diary of an Eccentric

5/26 My Love for Jane Austen

5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm

5/28 Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

5/29 vvb32 Reads

5/29 Austenesque Reviews

Thank you, Sara, for being my guest today!

Read Full Post »

I’m happy to welcome Denise O’Hara back to Diary of an Eccentric today, this time to celebrate the release of Darcy & Elizabeth’s Timeless Adventures: Titanic, which is Book 3 in the Timeless Series, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I hope you enjoy the excerpt, as well as Denise’s very generous giveaway! (And stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of the Timeless books!)

****

About Darcy & Elizabeth’s Timeless Adventures: Titanic

In the third installment of the Timeless Series, Darcy and Elizabeth are catching up on the history they missed after their long sleep. Darcy becomes fascinated with the Titanic, leading him on an adventure like no other! Part history, part entertainment, Darcy has a dream which puts beloved Pride and Prejudice characters on the TITANIC! The dream proves quite unsettling, leading our couple to some revelations and their next adventure.

Goodreads | Amazon

****

Excerpt, courtesy of Denise O’Hara

By tracing the names back step by step, and paying the subscription fees here and there to some sites that promised to make it easy, he finally found what he was looking for. In the family tree of the name he had scribbled down, he had found the name he had been looking for—Lydia Denny. It was certainly that child he had seen at the wedding, and Elizabeth definitely had a relation that had been aboard the Titanic!

He grabbed the book of pictures and rushed upstairs, not even pausing to shut down his computer or turn off the lights in his study. He could hardly wait to share this news with Elizabeth. He knew she would be as stunned as he was. As he charged up the stairs, the thought of how she would take the news of Lydia and the baby flickered across his mind. He had all but forgotten about it and had never mentioned it to her. If Mr. Bennet had the same observation or suspicions, he had never mentioned them to Darcy so he could only assume that he had never spoken a word of it to her either. It was something that had belonged in the past and needed to stay there—until now.

He burst into the room and strode towards the bedroom, pushing the door open.

“Lizzy, you will never guess what I have…”

He allowed the sentence to trail off, seeing his beloved wife lying in bed, the book she had been reading fallen onto her chest and rising and falling gently with her steady breathing. The lamp was still on but she was sound asleep. His news would have to wait until morning. He gave a quiet, disappointed sigh then carefully, so as not to wake her, he laid the book on the dresser and got ready for bed, tiptoeing round to remove the book and place it on her nightstand, and turn off her lamp before climbing as softly as he could under the covers.

He stared at her, thinking how peaceful and beautiful she looked. He brushed away a strand of her hair that had fallen over her face. “I love you, Lizzy,” he whispered. “I adore you so much it makes my heart hurt.”

He gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead before lying down. In spite of the very late hour and his tired, gritty eyes, he had suspected that he would not be able to sleep, his mind still whirling with all the information he had looked through and the revelations he had discovered. In fact, the opposite turned out to be true. Only moments after his head hit the pillow, he fell into the deepest of slumbers.

In his sleep, Darcy murmured and pulled the covers more tightly around him. Outside, the wind was picking up, causing the original and frequently restored sash windows of Pemberley Manor to rattle slightly. Outside in the stables, the carriage horses neighed and shifted restlessly. Somewhere in the countryside, a dog barked. The couple slept on, entirely unaware of the storm that was brewing. The images in Darcy’s head shifted and changed in that strange, unpredictable way that dreams have, to where his subconscious knew things his conscious mind was aware he should not know. His recent research, past experiences, and the movie he had watched all came together, forming a story of its own. For the moment, he was no longer experiencing the dream first hand, but watching scenes unfold as an omnipresent observer, as unseen as a specter by the other parties involved…

****

About Darcy & Elizabeth: Timeless

Elizabeth eagerly awaits her sister Jane’s letter while visiting Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. But circumstances cause the letter to be delayed by two additional days. The extra time with Darcy changes the course of both of their lives, in ways no one could have predicted… or even thought possible. In a plot twist, you won’t see coming, Darcy and Elizabeth find out if their love is truly timeless. FYI- This book has a sci-fi element which brings the couple into the present. It’s written to be believably scientific.

Goodreads | Amazon

About Darcy & Elizabeth’s Timeless Adventures: London

In this sequel to Darcy and Elizabeth: Timeless, Darcy and Elizabeth from the early 1800’s are now living in the year 2013. On a trip to the now very different city of London, the newlyweds discover new interests and experiences.

Goodreads | Amazon

****

About the Author

Denise O’Hara

Denise O’Hara loves everything Jane Austen. She accidentally came across her first continuing story of Pride and Prejudice many years ago while browsing her public library. She excitedly checked the sequel out to take with her to Destin, Florida, one of her favorite vacation spots of all time! After years of loving Pride and Prejudice, she was so thrilled to get more of the story!

Over the years, she read many Pride and Prejudice adaptations and sequels. She decided to jump into the Pride and Prejudice waters herself with her first three stories, A Pride and Prejudice Continuation: Life after the Wedding Series! While Darcy and Elizabeth’s story was her favorite, she always felt there was more to discover about Charles and Jane Bingley. Becoming Jane Bingley delves into the Bingley’s life after the wedding, with the Darcy’s story continuing also. In subsequent books, Caroline Bingley’s story is furthered as well. Of course, she soon found herself intrigued with putting Darcy and Elizabeth in different predicaments, and has written several books with them taking center stage. Legally Darcy is her first retelling with the couple as modern day couple. But as with all her books, the content remains a clean romance.

She lives with her own Mr. Darcy of 29 years. They enjoy simple things, like baking goodies, pies especially, having coffee or tea on the deck, and taking walks together, and sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows. They have two grown children whom they adore. Right now they are in the final weeks of getting ready for their only daughter’s wedding in February. Exciting times! She and her Mr. Darcy are grateful to have parents nearby, as they love to spend time with family. They just wish there was more time to visit! Between them, they have ten sisters! That’s right, no brothers. Sisters are the best!!!

And they are thankful for their many good friends from all over the world who are as true brothers and sisters to them!

And as anyone who knows them will tell you, they love the Bee Gees, who have given Denise and her Mr. Darcy countless hours of joy.

****

Giveaway!

Denise is generously offering 3 ebooks of Darcy & Elizabeth’s Timeless Adventures: Titanic, PLUS the first and second books in the series if the winners don’t have them yet! To enter, please leave a comment with your email address about why you want to read the series. This giveaway will close on Sunday, June 4, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Denise, for being my guest today!

Read Full Post »

I am delighted to welcome Melanie Rachel to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Courage Requires, the sequel to Courage Rises. The series continues Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I will be posting my thoughts on both books on Thursday and Monday. Please give a warm welcome to Melanie Rachel:

First, let me thank Anna for the opportunity to post a guest blog. I appreciate the space and your time, Anna!

I teach creative writing every so often, and one of the more significant lessons we work through is the one teaching students the difference between character and plot-driven stories. What is the difference? It’s not difficult to define.

A character-driven novel focuses on relationships, on the small things that make up the inner life of a human being. It’s also interested in the relationships between people. There’s no need, really, for complex events to occur to make the narrative interesting, because the reader is emotionally invested in the characters’ choices, motivations, and outcomes.

A plot-driven novel, on the other hand, focuses on the external event or environment that creates the story rather than the people who experience it.  The best plot-driven novels are “big-picture” stories, where the themes addressed are larger than the individual characters who enact them.

If we considered the two as camera shots, we might think of a character-driven novel as a “close-up” and the plot driven novel as a “wide-angle.”

Both kinds of stories have strengths. Character-driven novels are often emotionally satisfying and the plot-driven novel is well structured and exciting, using anticipation to keep readers moving through the tale at a rapid clip. The best novels tend to do both.

Very few authors can honestly claim that they focus on both character and plot in equal measure. Most of us naturally lean towards one and work to make the other stronger. For example, I am a character-driven writer. I sketch out a plot, but it may change a good deal by the end of my first draft based on how each character reveals him or herself. In my first JAFF novel, Courage Rises, the plot that most engaged readers was actually a response to getting Darcy out of the way so that Elizabeth could have Pemberley all to herself. That decision was based on the notion that Elizabeth’s choices, while admirable, were also risky, and Darcy would never have allowed her to make them had he been in residence. So what do we do with him? What would keep him from his new wife but also underscore his loyalty and sense of honor? It would have to be important. It would likely have to do with family. What about a request for assistance from his closest cousin? That’s how the Colonel Fitzwilliam/Hawke story was born.

In Courage Requires, the second and final novel in the Courage series, I had a good time placing a larger cast of characters in one location, Pemberley, and seeing what would happen as they all interacted. As the consequences of the actions in the first book come to fruition, secrets, jealousies, pride, friendship, love, and more, are all a part of the interaction which guides the plot, a wonderful position for a character-driven writer.

I’ve offered two excerpts below, with no spoilers—the first is from Courage Rises and the second from Courage Requires.

Let me know what you think! If you leave a comment at the end of the post, you will be entered for a giveaway—you can choose either the first or second novel as your prize. If you are not the lucky winner, you can still purchase both books online at Amazon.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

****

An excerpt from Courage Rises, courtesy of Melanie Rachel

The Earl was not quite as tall as his son, but he was broad shouldered and muscular, a well-built man. Like both his sons, he had sandy brown hair that looked auburn in the sun, though, nearing his sixtieth year, it was giving way to silver. His face was lined, but not weathered, and a pair of spectacles, balanced precariously at the end of his nose, only served to make him appear more distinguished. Next to his handsome father, Richard felt every bit the weather-beaten, sunburnt wreck of a soldier he saw in the entryway mirror.

Of course he knew I was here, Richard thought. The moment I surfaced near Piccadilly, he was informed. He felt the old flicker of annoyance, but responded civilly.

“I am, father. I was surprised to learn that you are still in town. You and mother normally travel north as soon as the session is complete.”

“Yes, I had some additional business in town, but we will be leaving within a few days. Are

you able to join us?” The Earl motioned to a chair and Richard walked in and sank into the cushions.

“No,” he said quietly. “I am afraid I do have a commission to complete. Perhaps I shall join you after.”

The Earl frowned. “I thought you were on leave.”

Richard shook his head. “I am on leave, but I am not at liberty.”

His father lowered himself into the chair behind his desk with a small grunt. “Must you always speak in riddles, Richard?”

Richard grimaced. Must his father always demand details to which he had no right?

“I have to deliver the news of a fallen officer to his sister. Therefore, I am not available to remove with you to Matlock.”

“Are you the only man available for that job?” The Earl was already reaching for ink and paper, planning, no doubt, to ask one of his contacts at the War Office to relieve him of his duty. Richard rubbed his palms along his trousers and tried not to lose his temper.

“I am the one charged with it by the man who fell.” He paused, and then decided that the Earl would likely know soon enough anyway. “He saved my life, father. I will not allow anyone to take my place.”

The Earl was still, though he did not look up. “He saved your life?”

“He did.” Richard gave his father an abbreviated version of the story.

His father’s only reaction was to briefly close his eyes. When he opened them, he asked in an off-handed manner, “What was the man’s name? If I can offer any additional assistance to his sister, I would be pleased to be of service.”

Richard was startled by his father’s statement. He had expected a lecture about the dangers of the battlefield and the idiocy of choosing to put himself at risk when he could do more to help England by assisting his father and brother with their political work. He had heard the lecture many times before.

“Thank you, father. He was a boy, really. Captain Oliver Hawke.”

The Earl blinked, and Richard thought he saw a muscle twitch in the old man’s cheek, but his face settled so quickly into its accustomed placid inscrutability that he could not be certain. He pressed on. “Did you know him, father?”

The Earl did not answer right away, gazing as he was at something above and beyond Richard’s left shoulder. Finally, he focused on his son, who was awaiting a response.

“No,” he replied slowly. “I did not know Oliver Hawke.” Richard stood, unconvinced but knowing he would learn nothing more.

“Well, sir, I should say hello to mother, then.”

“You will stay with us until your commission draws you away?” The Earl asked, and then abruptly added, “I know your mother would appreciate it.”

“Yes, father, thank you. I shall seek out mother and then change. I will see you for dinner.”

“Until then, son.”

The Earl watched his son leave the study. He stood very still for a few moments, and then locked the door. He crossed the room to a cabinet sitting on the floor behind his desk. Inserting a small key and opening the door, he drew out a bottle of very fine, very illegal French brandy, and poured himself a generous drink.

“Captain Hawke,” he said, lifting his glass in salute. He sipped the brandy until it was gone, then turned to the window and silently refilled his glass.

****

An excerpt from Courage Requires, courtesy of Melanie Rachel

Fitzwilliam Darcy settled into the heavy leather chair behind the desk in his study to go over the quarterly accounts. The harvest had been surprisingly good, considering the unseasonably heavy rains over the summer—not as profitable as the previous one, but it might have been a good deal worse. He knew he was very fortunate, that many families had finished the year in debt. He was thankful that his father had long ago disregarded the fashionable dictates of society by keeping the family’s wealth in various investments as well as in the land. In years like this, those investments made up the shortfall, helping him meet his obligations without appreciably drawing down the estate’s accounts.

It had taken two years after inheriting, but once Darcy had felt more experienced handling the finances of the estate, he had been confident enough to evaluate and invest in a few opportunities brought to him by the earl. While he had been a highly conservative investor at the beginning he was now better able to understand when some level of risk might be worth the reward. He smiled at that, thinking of what he had once considered a risky marital alliance.

Darcy was certain his uncle gained political favors for convincing his nephew to part with his money, but so long as the investment was honest and sound and he was making money for Pemberley and his family, he did not mind helping his uncle. In the past year, after much discussion with his new uncle Gardiner about the increasing speed of changes in trade and industry, he had invested as a silent partner in Gardiner’s import/export business. With Darcy’s additional capital and Gardiner’s contacts and supply lines, they had seen a reasonable return within six months and he had hopes that it would remain a steady source of income, particularly after the war with Bonaparte finally concluded. He would need those additional funds to offset the drop in agricultural prices he expected would follow the war’s end, and Gardiner had recommended procuring practical items rather than luxuries for the same reason. In times of uncertainty, he had said, leaning back in his chair in the study at Gracechurch Street, people will have neither the funds nor the stomach for fripperies. Darcy shook his head recalling the conversation. Not so long ago I thought relatives in trade would be a disadvantage, he thought, reprimanding himself. Another gift from my wife.

Despite Elizabeth’s recent difficulties and her teasing this morning, Darcy believed she harbored hope for more children, and he was determined to provide for them all. It would not be many years before Georgiana wed and her substantial dowry would have to be paid. He anticipated that by then he would have enough to completely replace it, careful as he had been in the years since his father’s death. His wife, fortunately, was not one who required funds beyond those already set aside for her use. In fact, she had spent some of it on tenant matters until he explained that there was already a fund set aside for such things. She left much of it in her own account unspent, and she had already begun to accumulate a tidy sum.

His thoughts wandered back to some of the women of the ton who had demonstrated an interest in becoming his wife over the years. He chuckled quietly as he considered whether any of them would have money remaining in their account at the end of the quarter. More likely they would have spent everything and simply continued to spend, using his name for additional credit, particularly with the London merchants. Miss Caroline Bingley came to mind, with her fashionable gowns and turbans, her ostrich feathers, the silk slippers he had overheard her gleefully relate to her sister that she had worn but once before discarding them, and again congratulated himself that he and his bride were so well matched.

In one of the many little shops they had entered on their wedding tour, Elizabeth had tried to provoke him by picking up a fan of egret feathers and making a pretense of fawning admiration. Unfortunately, the jest was doomed to failure, as the feathers almost immediately caused her to sneeze several times over. It had been the first time he heard her sneeze, and he was still fascinated by the tiny little whistling noise she made as she fought valiantly for control. Truly, it could hardly be termed a sneeze at all. Richard always sneezed as though he was releasing a violent tempest, and even Georgiana’s sneezes were far heartier than Elizabeth’s. His wife was no fragile creature, thank the Lord, but her sneezes were incongruously dainty. He recalled her embarrassment as she had returned the fan to its place with an upraised eyebrow and he had struggled not to laugh.

“No,” she had said, with an exaggerated shake of her head, “That will not do. I cannot attempt to tease you and make sport for you instead.” Her dark eyes were shining as she said it, though, and she had stood on her toes and tilted her face up to his for a kiss, despite their location in the back of a public shop. He had been happy to comply.

****

About Courage Rises

Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, recently returned from the battlefields of Spain, calls on his cousin Darcy to help him fulfill a troublesome debt of honor. In her husband’s absence, Elizabeth is faced with an influenza outbreak at Pemberley, and she must make a dangerous decision to keep everyone alive.

Check out Courage Rises on Goodreads | Amazon

****

About Courage Requires

Darcy has returned to Pemberley to find his wife Elizabeth expecting and growing increasingly ill. When she invites the enigmatic Hawke sisters and the Fitzwilliams to join them for the festive season, will the company provide the friendship and solace Darcy hopes for his wife? Or will the Earl’s opposition to Richard’s love interest divide the family?

Check out Courage Requires on Goodreads | Amazon

****

About the Author

Melanie Rachel

Melanie Rachel is a university professor and long time Jane Austen fan. She was born in Southern California, but has lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Arizona, where she now resides with her family and their freakishly athletic Jack Russell terrier.

Connect with Melanie on website | Facebook

****

Giveaway

As you see above, Melanie is generously offering one lucky reader a choice between Courage Rises and Courage Requires. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will close on Sunday, May 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Read Full Post »

My guest today at Diary of an Eccentric is Kathleen A. Flynn, who is here to celebrate the release of her new novel, The Jane Austen Project, which went on sale today. As soon as I heard about this book, it went on my must-read list (stay tuned for my review!), and I was delighted that Kathleen was willing to share her inspiration with me and my readers.

Please give Kathleen a warm welcome:

Anna, thank you for inviting me to your blog!

In The Jane Austen Project, two time travelers go to 1815 in search of the famous author. New evidence has emerged that she finished The Watsons, a manuscript previously thought incomplete, so they’ve been sent to find it and bring it back to their own age. They are also tasked with getting hold of those many letters that Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed before her own death, which would fill in many holes in Austen’s biography. Finally, they hope to learn more about the mysterious illness that killed Jane Austen in 1817.

But they can’t just show up like a SWAT team, guns blazing, and take what they want by force.  The travelers, Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane, must finesse their way into 1815 life and the Austen family, with a plausible back story and proper period manners. In this they succeed, but they find the experience challenges them in ways they hadn’t expected.

Why Jane Austen and time travel?

I had long admired Jane Austen, author, with little curiosity about Jane Austen, person. But once I began wondering about her, I found it was hard to stop. What could it have been like to be her? An obscure spinster daughter of a country clergyman, an irrepressible genius stuck in a time and place with little use for brilliant, funny women.  And then, the cruel irony of how she’d finally gotten back to writing, after many dry years, only to fall ill and die at 41, her last novel incomplete.  Did she not seethe with rage at the injustice of it all? Did she never long for escape, for opportunities equal to her talents? How did she manage?

It tormented me that there was no way to know — short of building a time machine and going back for answers.  Since I couldn’t do that, I decided to write a story about people who do.

I was interested in the collision of the past with an age more like ours. What would amaze you if you suddenly found yourself in 1815 England? What would it look and sound and smell like? What did people eat for breakfast, what kind of underwear did they have? I needed to know so many things: about food and hygiene, agriculture and medicine; clothing and coach travel.

Trying to imagine myself into that world, for a long time I read only the novels Jane Austen could have read or historical novels set in her era. I went to London and Bath to walk on streets she did. (Also to Dublin, which has a lot of Georgian architecture, making it easier to picture 1815 London.) I visited Jane Austen’s last home in Chawton, and Winchester, where she died.

My research made me impatient with the romantic, sanitized image of Regency life so often found in Austen film adaptations, and with the place she often occupies in our culture as the icon of happily-ever-after. Her world was complicated: beautiful, but also squalid and unjust, and the horrors just off the pages of her novels were now apparent to me.

And her vision of love was complicated, too: along with the wit, and the happy endings, there’s a steely core of morality, lessons about sorting out false from true.  My novel ended up being more of a love story than I expected, because I realized that in writing about Jane Austen you can’t get away from that. The story is told through the eyes of Rachel, an adventurous physician more interested in sex than love — who is indeed a little afraid of love, and what it might require. Giving her her own “marriage plot” was one way of exploring what love means in an age when whom to marry is, fortunately, no longer a woman’s only option in life.

****

About The Jane Austen Project

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.

Check out The Jane Austen Project on Goodreads | Amazon

****

About the Author

Kathleen A. Flynn (Photo Credit: Bryan Thomas)

Kathleen A. Flynn is an editor at the New York Times, where she works at “The Upshot.” She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina. She has taught English in Hong Kong, washed dishes on Nantucket, and is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their shy fox terrier, Olive.

Connect with Kathleen on Facebook | Twitter | Website

****

Giveaway

HarperCollins is generously offering a paperback copy of The Jane Austen Project to one of my readers, U.S. addresses only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell me what intrigues you most about the book. This giveaway will close on Friday, May 12, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Read Full Post »

Today, I’m pleased to welcome Engin Inel Holmstrom to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to spotlight her latest novel, House of Daughters, which is set during the 1920s in Ottoman Turkey and inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As soon as I heard about this book, I was intrigued, and I was thrilled that Engin was willing to tell me and my readers what inspired her to put Austen’s characters into a setting I’d never considered before.

Please give Engin a warm welcome:

So glad to hear that you are interested in my new novel, House of Daughters, inspired by Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Let me explain how it came about.

I still remember the day I bought my copy of the book. I was a sophomore at the American College for Girls in Istanbul—a private school where most classes were taught in English. My roommate and I had gone to Pera, Istanbul’s main shopping and entertainment venue then, to watch a movie and visit my favorite shop, the Hachette Bookstore. The minute I saw the book, I fell in love with it. It was a palm-sized leather-bound version in navy blue…very elegant and practical. After all these years and multiple readings, the book is still intact. Every time I open it, it tickles me to see my handwritten definitions of the words ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’.  My English was that bad then and, as a result, most of Austen’s gentle barbs at the frailties of human behavior went over my head. But, I got the delicious basic story of a spunky girl putting a proud man in his place and taming him! For a while, Elizabeth became our role model, but unfortunately, not a single Darcy was around!

Many years later, when I was waiting for an inspiration for my second novel, I picked up the book and started reading it again, as I usually do once a year. Lo and behold, right in front of my eyes, Austen’s first sentence morphed into something else:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a father in possession of five daughters must be in want of peace of mind that only suitable sons-in-law can provide.

Pride and Prejudice, Turkish style! Why not? So many retellings or sequels to the novel have been written but no one has transported the popular story to another country, least of all to Turkey. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.

I started imagining scene after scene of a Turkish family saddled with the problem of five unwed daughters. I gave the name Perihan to the second oldest, my doe-eyed Turkish version of Elizabeth. I imagined my Turkish Darcy, named Murat, to be a dashing wounded officer, in a hospital, taken care by Nurse Perihan. But where and when in Turkey? Istanbul, of course. That’s where I was born and raised. Then I knew it had to be the 1920s for two reasons. First, I didn’t want the story to take place in modern times. Nowadays most Turkish girls find their own husbands without the help of their family or matchmakers. The dynamics of a certain class of Turkish family in the 1920s Istanbul were somewhat similar to those of English families of Austen’s time. Second, the decade of the 1920s, following WWI, provided me with an exciting background for my story. Istanbul was occupied by the British. The Ottoman Empire was dying. The nationalists were fighting for independence in Anatolia, and Mustafa Kemal Pasha, later renamed Ataturk by a grateful nation, was busy with plans to found a new Turkish republic and transform what was left of the Ottoman Empire into a modern democratic state.

I had learned from my first novel, Loveswept, a romance involving a Turkish girl and an English merchant marine officer, that it’s easier to start with something from one’s own life history. So in the first chapters of House of Daughters, I described my own family house in Goztepe, on the Asian side of Istanbul. And once you start, the rest follows, right?

My female characters, although traditionally subdued at the beginning, become more outspoken and independent women as the country undergoes dramatic social and cultural changes. Murat and his friends are not the dandies of Austen’s time but officers involved in a clandestine plot to outsmart the British.  And who helps them achieve their goal? My Perihan! So, the book has a lot to offer not only to Austen fans but also to those who like novels about strong female characters.

Here’s a teaser from House of Daughters. After their break-up, Murat and Perihan meet again:

…Perihan has never seen him standing up. Nor dressed. He seemed taller, more powerful, and more masculine. Wavy brown hair made him look younger and more handsome. Much more. She could still feel his cool taut skin under her hands and the ripple of his muscles…

…Murat was staring at Perihan now, so different from the one in the ill-fitting nursing uniform he had known. Dressed in a full-skirt and a tight-fitting white blouse, this one had a tiny waist that he was certain his hands could encircle easily. A slender neck rose from the open collar she was nervously trying to button. He smiled. That simple act attracted more attention than if she had left it alone.

If you read and like House of Daughters, try my first novel, Loveswept, too.

****

About House of Daughters

Engin Inel Holmstrom’s second novel, House of Daughters, is a delightful adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to 1920s Turkey. The Ottoman Empire is dying. Istanbul is occupied by the British. But all Emin Efendi can think of is marrying off his five daughters to secure their places and fortunes.

While working as a nurse, Emin Efendi’s favorite daughter Perihan meets a dashing, wounded Turkish officer, Major Murat. They’re attracted to each other, but Murat’s pride in his family’s social status prejudices their blossoming love.

In this retelling, Jane Austen’s beloved characters are taken out of the drawing room and their tale is told within the historical context of the Turkish fight for independence, birth of its new nation, and greater opportunities for women. House of Daughters should appeal to Austen’s readers as well as all those who enjoy reading novels with strong female characters.

Check out House of Daughters on Goodreads | Amazon

****

About the Author

Engin Inel Holmstrom

Engin Inel Holmstrom was born and raised in Turkey. She came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Exchange Student to go to graduate school for her Ph.D. and later married her classmate. They both taught at her alma mater in Istanbul for three years before returning to the United States and settling in the Washington, D.C. area. House of Daughters is Holmstrom’s second novel. In her spare time, Holmstrom enjoys writing, painting, and ballroom dancing. She currently lives in Leesburg, with her husband of 53 years and her two cats.

Connect with Engin on Facebook | Twitter | Website

****

Giveaway

I have 3 ebook copies of House of Daughters to offer to my readers, courtesy of the publicist at Lavidge. This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell me what most intrigues you about the book. This giveaway will close on Sunday, April 30, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Read Full Post »

Longtime readers of my blog know that I am a huge fan of the Austen-inspired fiction published by Meryton Press, so I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the Dear Friend Event:

“Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure, and Elizabeth was more and more satisfied with coming, when she found herself so affectionately received.” – Jane Austen

Jane Austen describes a fine friendship between Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Collins. One friend welcomes another with “the liveliest pleasure,” and the other is pleased to share in that. We at Meryton Press know from your words that you, our fans, receive our books with pleasure and affection. It makes our authors warm inside to know that.

In the month of April, we want to show our appreciation to you, our most steadfast supporters, our dear friends. Good friends give each other gifts. You have given us the gift of your affectionate reception, and we want to reciprocate by giving some of you gifts in return.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t give everyone a gift, but at each hosted blog post during this event on the schedule listed below, an opportunity will be given to enter to win a surprise gift. Each person who comments can enter a Rafflecopter drawing to win. Although a person can enter multiple times (once on each blog post and tweet daily on each blog post), they can win only once. One winner will be chosen at each blog. Five gifts total will be awarded.

****

What a very generous giveaway! I’ve read and enjoyed many books from Meryton Press, so the winner is in for a real treat! If you are interested in learning about some of the books published by Meryton Press, check out my reviews of these stellar books:

2017

The Best Part of Love by A. D’Orazio

2016

Letter from Ramsgate by Suzan Lauder
Second Impressions by Amy George
The Elizabeth Paper by Jenetta James
Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia
A Searing Acquaintance by J.L. Ashton
Undeceived by Karen M Cox

2015

Then Comes Winter edited by Christina Boyd
Longbourn’s Songbird by Beau North
A Will of Iron by Linda Beutler
Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer edited by Christina Boyd
Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James
A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn
Aerendgast by Rachel Berman
Pride, Prejudice & Secrets by C.P. Odom

2014

The Muse by Jessica Evans
Haunting Mr. Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory
Consequences by C.P. Odom
Alias Thomas Bennet by Suzan Lauder

2013

The Red Chrysanthemum by Linda Beutler

****

The Dear Friend Event is not just about Meryton Press showing appreciation to their readers; it’s also a celebration of books and why avid readers love to read.

I’ve always loved to read. I don’t remember when I started; it’s just something I’ve always done for as far back as I can remember. Books have always been an escape for me. They’ve helped me through some difficult times over the years, giving me an opportunity to put aside my troubles for a little while and slip away to another world. They help relax my mind after a long day at work and send me off to sleep every night.

One of the reasons Meryton Press grabbed my attention so many years ago was its focus on Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice in particular. Pride and Prejudice is one of the first classics I ever read and fell in love with. I never read Austen in school; only on my own. So after the stresses of college were over and the stresses of marriage and motherhood began, I was overjoyed to stumble upon dozens and dozens of Austen variations and realize that I never had to let go of my favorite characters.

Moreover, I love to read World War II novels; the history of that period just fascinates me. However, they aren’t the easiest books to get through, especially the ones focused on the horrors of the war. So to finish one of those and then pick up an Austen variation and be 99 percent sure that Darcy and Elizabeth will find their way to each other and live happily ever after is refreshing.

But most of all, my love of books and Jane Austen has brought me in touch with so many like-minded people, and I treasure these friendships here on the blog, on Goodreads, and on Facebook. 🙂

Now, as a special treat, I am delighted to welcome Meryton Press author Karen M Cox to Diary of an Eccentric to talk about her love of reading…and Jane Austen, of course! Please give her a warm welcome:

I don’t remember learning to read.

I asked my mother to teach me when I was three, according to the family lore. All I know is, by the time I was about five, I could pretty much read whatever my child’s mind wanted. My mother and father are both readers, so becoming one myself was as natural as breathing. There were always books in my parents’ house. In my childhood, I devoured children’s novels:  A Wrinkle in Time, Little House of the Prairie, Caddie Woodlawn, The Witch of Blackbird Pond were among my favorites. Alas, as I grew, life sometimes got in the way of reading for fun: music and plays in high school, boys (!), college and graduate school, and then marriage and little children of my own. I couldn’t always drown myself in that netherworld of a great novel when I wanted, but that only made the experience more precious when I had it.

I love taking in the stories of people’s lives, whether in history (Mary Chesnut and Thomas Meagher come to mind) or in novels (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Dragonwyck, the In Death series by JD Robb). When I found Jane Austen though (as an adult—late, compared to some) something was different. She was unique: witty, satirical, funny. And yet, (like a certain gentleman’s version of an accomplished woman) to all this, she added something more. She saw her characters: their truth, their flaws, their foibles, their sweetness, their infamy, and their integrity. And she told their stories in a way that made them leap off the page for me, and become real enough to stick around as I went through my days. When I found others who felt the same way I did about Austen, it was kismet. And when I discovered along the way that I too, had things I wanted to say—about families, about love, about life—Jane was the one who pointed the way for me to do that.

Joseph Campbell’s books on the role of myth in culture and society have always intrigued me. In The Hero’s Journey, he states: “When you find a writer who really is saying something to you, read everything that writer has written and you will get more education and depth of understanding out of that than reading a scrap here and a scrap there and elsewhere. Then go to people who influenced that writer, or those who were related to him, and your world builds together in an organic way that is really marvelous.”

This is sort of inadvertently how I’ve built my reading house. It’s a chaotic, disordered house at times, littered with history, sociology, education, psychology, literature, trashy novels, serious works, and wonderful fluffy stories that make me smile. Campbell might find a few too many “scraps” here, there and elsewhere in my reading world. But what I’ve discovered is that in the midst of this chaos, my series of author obsessions, and reading what influenced them and who they, in turn, influenced, is a meandering path that leads me to places I never imagined. It makes for a rich, colorful journey around the sun. Reading opens the world to all of us. I don’t know how an activity that seems so solitary can connect us, but it does. Reading is a powerful thing, a magic—ever-changing, ever fresh and new—that any of us can obtain, simply by picking up a book and entering within.

And if, by some quirk of fate, I can write something that takes a reader to a place where she can smile, think, or remember, I’m humbled by that—and eternally grateful.

Happy Reading!

Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your story! You describe my thoughts on Austen perfectly. And my dear readers, I hope YOU will share your stories about learning to read and falling in love with books in the comments!

***

Giveaway

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Eligible entries will comment on Dear Friend Event blog posts, tweet about the event and use the rafflecopter to enter. Winners will provide a valid U.S. shipping address for gift delivery upon request. Further details for entering to win a gift are posted here.

General: 

  • All Winners will be contacted via social media or email and announced on the Meryton Press website, Facebook, and/or Twitter.
  • In the event that a winner or winners do not respond within 5 days, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Winners may not be Meryton Press employees, contractors or authors.
  • An entrant can enter once per Dear Friend Event blog post and multiple times on Social Media, but can win only once.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.

****

Dear Friend Blog Schedule:

More Agreeably Engaged–April 1; ends at 11:59 PM April 6th; winner announced April 7th

Austenesque Reviews–April 8; ends at 11:59 PM April 13th; winner announced April 14th

So little time…–April 15; ends at 11:59 PM April 20th; winner announced April 21st

Diary of an Eccentric–April 22; ends at 11:59 PM April 27th; winner announced April 28th

Just Jane 1813–April 29; ends at 11:59 PM May 4th; winner announced my May 5th

Read Full Post »

I’m delighted to welcome Jane Odiwe to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Searching for Mr. Tilney.

Please give her a warm welcome:

Thank you so much, Anna for inviting me to your blog to talk about my new book Searching for Mr Tilney. It’s a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and tells the story of a young art student who is invited to Bath by neighbours to help recover from illness. While there, staying in a house on Great Pulteney Street, she finds an old journal that she is sure must have been written by her favourite author Jane Austen. And when she starts experiencing bizarre dreams with strange, yet increasingly realistic images, she’s gradually pulled into another world, becoming Jane’s sister Cassandra, living her life with all her thoughts and hopes. Here’s a little excerpt where we see life witnessed through Cassy’s eyes.

An excerpt from Searching for Mr. Tilney, courtesy of Jane Odiwe:

Cassandra Austen, Bath, Somerset, July 1789

The Assembly Rooms are lit up with torches glowing in the fading light. There is so much to see and take in, and I try to commit it all to memory because I know, however late it shall be, my sister will still be up when I get home and will want to know every last detail. The women look like unearthly creatures, exotic in their coloured silks and satins, with towering hair and feathers so tall I feel under-dressed and somewhat like a country rustic, which I suppose is exactly what I am. And even if I could, I’m not certain I should wish to be quite so fancily or saucily attired. They have the appearance of expensive dolls, the kind that mantua-makers show in their shop windows, with their false hair and rouged countenances.

A blur of people walk past me, and I’m smiling and curtseying everywhere I go. All of our relations are in attendance, the Motley-Austens with their son Lucius who grins and stares at me until I do not know where to look, cousins Jane and Edward Cooper with their father, Uncle and Aunt Leigh-Perrot, all smiling and making small talk, though, as Jane would say, eager to have one another over the moment they are out of earshot.

It’s while we are standing in the Octagon room waiting for things to happen that I become aware of him. Despite the furious paced chattering, and the high-pitched laughing, the great guffaws and the mounting excitement, I am suddenly aware, by some kind of sixth sense, that I am being scrutinised from a distance. When I look across the room to the party of people standing by one of the great mantelpieces his eyes connect with mine, and I feel the familiar pull, the fluttering deep inside me along with the wild beating of my heart. He’s here. Mr Fowle is here in the same room, and I dare not look at him any longer than it takes to acknowledge him with a smile. But in those seconds I’ve noted how much he’s changed since I last saw him. He’s taller, broader, and his hair, which a few years ago was wildly curly and tawny brown, has been slightly tamed, darkened to a charcoal shade that matches his eyes and the dark brows that give him a brooding look sometimes. I dare not look again, but I still feel his eyes watching me and cannot help but hope that he likes what he sees. Or is he wondering whatever became of Cassy Austen who once promised to be a beauty, but is hardly more than a country wench with little style and fashion.

My mother is securing a first dance with Lucius. He has improved since last summer when we saw him in Kent, he’s taller and more filled out, but there is still something wanting in his behaviour. Jane says she thinks he is quite mad, and I must admit there is something about him that unnerves me. I do not like to judge, but his previous conduct gave us reason on several occasions to be on our guard. He is quite a handsome young man now, but he possesses the arrogance of a youth who thinks his attentions to young women must be wanted. He preens, and stares, not only at me, I notice, but also at any young woman who takes his fancy. He makes remarks about them to his father, seeming not to care whether he’s heard or not, though his mother’s hand on his arm indicates that she, at least, disapproves. I care not for his regard, and while it pleases me to know our cousins, I feel Mama is still hoping for something more between us. Not that she would force me to anything I do not wish, but I know her hopes for me and what I feel is my duty to my family are inextricably linked. My parents require me to make a good marriage, one which will help the family prosper, and what could be more easily accomplished, than by marrying a wealthy cousin? We are too young to marry, though I feel the wheels are being set in motion to that end. I would be foolish to discount it entirely. And yet … I know my heart, and it does not yield easily where it has no desire. In fact, I know it will not give way at all.

I cannot remember the first time I realised I was falling in love with Tom Fowle. I think I’ve always loved him in one way or another, though he behaved only ever as a brother to his sister when I was very young. I felt something change between us when he visited us in Steventon last spring, though I hardly dared hope that what I felt for him was reciprocated. But, his manners were different during those few days he stayed with us, and he treated me like an equal for the first time. Sitting in the garden with Jemmy on a sunny day, he poured my tea, and fussed over me with shawls and blankets at the slightest breeze. He made me a daisy chain and crowned me “Queen of Steventon”. Placing the ring of small white flowers in my hair so gently, the touch of his fingers on my curls stayed with me throughout that golden afternoon.

‘Cassandra will be very pleased to start the ball with you, Lucius,’ I hear my mother say, and I’m brought out of my reverie as if doused in cold water. I try and smile, and do what is expected, though it is exceedingly hard. I glance over at Mr Fowle, and I see him regarding us, looking from Lucius to me, and back again. How I want to run over to the other side of the ballroom and tell him that nothing is as it appears, but instead I smile wanly, which probably does nothing to assure him either. All I can hope is that our mother will see our Kintbury friends and wish to greet them.

Then, just as I’m about to give up all hope, my mother takes charge and we cross the room to meet them, my heart in my mouth. Mr Fowle and I are standing opposite one another, and I hardly hear what my mother is saying to the Reverend and Mrs Fowle, though I hear her offer some words of congratulation on her son’s new curacy. When the adults carry on chatting, Mr Fowle does not say much at first. But, he’s smiling, his eyes crinkling into laughter lines, as he holds my gaze.

‘My goodness, Miss Cassandra, I hardly recognised you.’

‘Have I changed so much since last April?’ I ask, praying that he likes what he sees.

‘Forgive me, I do not wish to appear ungallant, but you look so different this evening. I still have a memory of the little girl who sat next to me in school lessons with short, unruly curls, and a most serious expression. I find the child I once knew has completely disappeared.’

‘I sincerely hope you’ll find I have changed for the better, Mr Fowle. I recognised you immediately, and though the passing years have altered you in some respects, in others, you remain much the same. Being so much older than myself, and no doubt, a good deal wiser, I recall you were always fond of giving me your thoughts and forthright opinions.’

I catch my tongue. Goodness, what am I saying? I sound as flirtatious as my wicked cousin Eliza who does not care whom she pursues or what she says to them.

Mr Fowle can hardly suppress his laughter. ‘And you think I’m still as outspoken as ever, and clearly advancing into my dotage. I suppose my four and twenty years must seem a vast difference to your tender age, though I assure you, I am not a very old man. I’ve not yet taken to wearing flannel vests.’

I feel my cheeks burning, and note Mr Fowle’s bemused expression.

‘I am not yet too old for dancing either, Miss Cassandra, though I daresay your card will be filled up by the young beaux of Bath to allow such attentions from an ancient clergyman from Kintbury.’

‘I … that is, my card is by no means full, Mr Fowle.’

‘Then I hope you will permit me to ask you to dance.’

‘Thank you, I would like that,’ I answer, and find I can no longer look at him. ‘The first two are taken …’

‘By the young man standing with your party,’ says Mr Fowle, and he stares at Lucius, a grave shadow passing over his handsome countenance. ‘Who is he? He has a look of the Austens … a distant cousin, perhaps?’

‘Yes, he’s Great-Uncle Francis’s grandson.’

Mr Fowle’s face clouds for a moment, and his brows draw together over the dark eyes that search Lucius out across the room. ‘A young puppy, but a wealthy one … and handsome too … he’d be a good match for you.’

I cannot speak. I don’t know how to answer him; everything that comes to mind seems completely the wrong thing to say. Thankfully, he requests the two dances after Lucius, and I struggle with my composure. I am so happy I could burst.

Yet, my euphoria does not last long. The musicians are tuning up, and my mother is hurrying me away, pulling me through the crush of people to the ballroom. It’s impossible to see for the tiers of benches and the large crowds who are surging onto the floor.

‘Oh, goodness me, they’re about to start and where is your partner? Can you see him, Cassandra?’

I’ve seen him, but there’s a small part of me that’s wants to pretend I haven’t. And then it’s too late to run away or back out, and Lucius is standing opposite me in the set and the music starts.

Thanks so much, Jane, for being a guest here today. I am very much looking forward to reading the book!

****

About Searching for Mr. Tilney

What secrets lie at the heart of Jane Austen’s teenage journal?

When Caroline Heath is taken to Bath in 1975, she little expects to find the gothic adventure she craves, let alone discover Jane Austen’s secret teenage journal, or how it’s possible to live in someone else’s body. Yet, she’s soon caught up in a whirlwind of fantastic events – travels through time, a love story or three, and even the odd sinister murder – or so she thinks.

As the past and present entwine, Jane’s journal reveals a coming of age tale, set against the scandalous backdrop of Knole Park in Kent, and the story behind an enigmatic portrait. In Bath, a Georgian townhouse acts as a portal in time, and Caroline finds herself becoming Cassandra Austen, a young woman making her debut in society, torn between family duty and the love of her life. As the riddles unfold, and the lines blur between illusion and reality, will Caroline find the happiness she seeks or will she indulge her wild imagination, threatening her future and a fairytale ending?

Check out Searching for Mr. Tilney on Goodreads | Amazon U.S. | Amazon U.K.

**The ebooks are currently on sale for $1.24 in the U.S. and 99p in the U.K.**

****

About the Author

Jane Odiwe

Jane Odiwe lives in North London with her husband, children and two cats, but escapes to “Fairyland”, Bath, whenever she can. When she’s not writing she enjoys painting, reading, and music, and loves spending time with her family.

Connect with Jane on Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Website

****

Giveaway

Jane is generously offering a paperback copy of Searching for Mr. Tilney to one lucky reader, open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell me what intrigues you most about the book. This giveaway will close on Sunday, April 23, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »