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Happy release day to Elaine Jeremiah and her first Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth & Darcy: Beginning Again. Elaine is here to talk a little about the book and share an excerpt. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Please give her a warm welcome!


I’m really excited to do this guest post today, on the publication day of my very first ‘Pride and Prejudice’ variation, ‘Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again’. Thanks to Anna for featuring me on her blog! I thought I would share with you some thoughts about what are to me some of the most appealing aspects of the original ‘Pride and Prejudice’ story, things that make us want to read so many retellings of it.

Well, I guess unsurprisingly, the biggest draw for me is the two main characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. Aren’t they just great? They’re so memorable and feel so real. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing I could be more like Elizabeth Bennet; confident, forthright and witty.

And Mr Darcy. Hmm – he’s just about the best romantic hero ever written. I say that most of all because of the way that after Elizabeth so flatly refuses his first marriage proposal, in no uncertain terms, he goes away and reflects on what she’s said and starts to re-evaluate himself as a person. Over time he realises there’s a lot of truth in what she’s said to him about his character and he begins to change.

The amazing thing is – so does Elizabeth! She too, having read Darcy’s letter after that first disastrous proposal, gradually begins to see things from his point of view. She starts to see that she’s been wrong as well in her behaviour at times – ‘Till this moment, I never knew myself’ – perhaps one of the most famous lines in the novel.

Austen’s tale of Elizabeth and Darcy is perfect, really great – and yet ripe for retelling! You can tell the story so many ways; there are so many ‘what ifs?’ What if Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t meet again in Derbyshire after the first proposal? What if they met when they were very young? What if they meet when they’re older? The possibilities are endless.

The secondary characters are so good too. Who could forget the venomous Miss Bingley, saintly Jane Bennet or the permanently marriage-obsessed Mrs Bennet? There are so many other wonderfully unforgettable characters who it’s possible to use in retellings of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, let alone all the possibility for stories about the secondary characters themselves.

Another thing that I love is the Regency era during which ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was written and in which it’s set. I love the history of the time in which Jane Austen lived, reading about the events that took place during her lifetime and how different society was in England back then. It’s so very different from life in England in the twenty-first century! So that’s another definite draw for me to want to write a novel set in that era.

There’s so many reasons I love Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, almost as many reasons why I love to read retellings of the story, and also a whole load of reasons why I loved writing my own retelling of it myself. I do hope you enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it.


An excerpt from Elizabeth & Darcy: Beginning Again

As Darcy strode away from Elizabeth Bennet, he contemplated the situation they had found themselves in. Being unable to find help did not bode well. If or when they were discovered alone together, they would have difficulty explaining how it came to pass. He was unsure what he would say in his defence if they were.

He reflected too on his ambiguous feelings for the lady. It was true that she was the daughter of an inconsequential gentleman and her other relations… well vulgar did not begin to describe the mother. As for her sisters, excepting the eldest, Miss Jane Bennet who was perfectly amiable, he had never come across such boisterous, flirtatious misses in his life.

And yet he could not deny that Elizabeth intrigued him. She piqued his interest and those eyes of hers were most arresting. He shook his head as he thrashed his riding crop through the foliage of the woods, forcing a path through. Their meeting today was unaccountable. His very purpose for heading out from Netherfield on his horse, despite the indifferent weather, had been to clear his thoughts of her.

These nascent feelings for her simply would not do. She and her family were beneath him in every way. So it was that his surprise on happening upon her so suddenly had been great. At first, dismounting from his horse, he had felt as though he had been robbed of the power of speech. When finally he had turned and spoken to her, he saw by the expression of her fine eyes that her surprise was equal to his.

‘Attend to the task at hand, William,’ he told himself. At this moment, his biggest regret ought to have been his horse. Under usual circumstances, the horse would never have behaved in such a way. But he was unused to thunder and lightning, poor creature. Darcy had also had to rein him in very suddenly to avoid trampling Elizabeth, which had only added to the horse’s confusion.

In spite of his attempts to the contrary, however, Darcy’s thoughts would return to Elizabeth. He felt a need to protect her. After all, it was his fault she was injured. It was true that he had no wish to ruin her reputation; in fact, he knew that as a gentleman it was his duty to preserve it. Yet it was something greater than that which spurred him on, forcing him to ignore the raindrops trickling down the back of his neck, his cravat and greatcoat no match for the inclement weather.

He refused to acknowledge that feeling, however. It could lead nowhere. In any case, there were more important considerations to be thought of. He was unsure how long he had been walking for, but at that moment a smallish wooden hut with a stone chimney came into view. He halted abruptly, surveying it. Would it do for their purposes? Was it habitable? Although it was rudimentary, it appeared well kept. When he knocked, there was no answer. Taking a breath, he tried the door and to his relief discovered it was unlocked.

Darcy took a cursory glance around the interior. There was only the one room, but it did have a substantial fireplace on the far wall with firewood piled up beside it and a small bed in one corner. This will do nicely, he thought. Now all that remained was to fetch Elizabeth. It was a considerable distance for him to carry her, but the thought of having her small, warm, curvaceous body in his arms again made his mouth curve upwards in a grin.

~

Could this moment really be lasting an eternity, Elizabeth wondered, as she was sitting under the tree getting wetter by the minute. It certainly felt like it. The pain in her ankle was severe and it occurred to her that it may be broken. God forbid, she thought with a shudder. If she had broken a bone in her ankle and it was then set incorrectly, it could mean she would never walk again.

And Mr Darcy. Elizabeth could not make him out. In all her previous encounters with him, he had been aloof, taciturn and on occasion more than a little rude. During the short time she had been in his company this morning however, he had behaved with great chivalry towards her. It was perplexing to say the least. She shook her head. Mr Darcy was only performing the service that any gentleman would and that was all.

But his keeping hold of her hand for longer than necessary. What could he mean by it, if he truly disliked her? Attempting to answer this vexing question kept her mind occupied for a good while, in fact until the gentleman himself appeared in front of her. Elizabeth felt her face flush and bit her lip as her eyes met Mr Darcy’s own.

For a moment neither of them spoke but remained as they were with their eyes fixed on one another. It was as though someone had cast a spell over them. Elizabeth was startled that Mr Darcy seemed as transfixed as she. She wanted and yet did not want to look away. Finally, he cleared his throat. The spell was broken and he said, ‘Miss Bennet, I have discovered the gamekeeper’s cottage that you mentioned, although in truth it is more of a hut.’ He gave her a rueful smile, which seemed somehow to transform his face, lightening it, making him appear even more handsome than before.

She gave him a brief nod. ‘Thank you for searching in this dreadful weather,’ she said. ‘It may be a mere hut, but I think it is the best we can hope for. Beggars cannot be choosers.’

‘No, indeed,’ he replied. He paused and she saw that he seemed to be bracing himself for what he would say next. ‘Unfortunately, it is quite far from here, about a half mile. Miss Bennet, I must carry you for all of that time, if you will permit me?’

‘But of course,’ she replied. ‘I suppose that will have to suffice, as my ankle can scarcely support my weight.’

He gave a wry smile at her tart comment. ‘In that case, I suggest we depart immediately,’ he said and stooped to pick her up. She put her arms around his neck. ‘You are wet through,’ he added as he straightened and began to walk away from the tree which had proved so mean a shelter for her.

‘It is a very wet day, sir,’ Elizabeth replied lightly. ‘I cannot be expected to look the part of a lady in conditions such as these,’ she added in a mischievous tone.

He did not understand her. ‘Miss Bennet, I was not suggesting for one moment that you…’

‘Of course not, Mr Darcy,’ she replied. ‘I merely jest.’

‘Ah. I see,’ was his response.

They remained silent for a while as Mr Darcy soldiered on through the rain with Elizabeth in his arms. Gradually, her initial apprehension began to wear off and she found herself relaxing the rigid body posture she had adopted when he had lifted her off the ground. His arms around her made her feel warm in spite of the weather. Yet a sense of unease remained. She, an unmarried woman, was being carried a fair distance by a man who was not her betrothed and certainly never likely to be her husband. What would society say?


About Elizabeth & Darcy: Beginning Again

Little does Elizabeth Bennet think the journey across muddy fields from her home at Longbourn to Netherfield Park will change her life forever.

But an unexpected encounter with the proud and haughty Mr Darcy leaves her injured and vulnerable. Worse still, she is left alone with him for a significant amount of time. Her reputation at risk, she is forced to make a decision about her future. Now her life will never be the same again.

Can Elizabeth ever be happy? Or will she always loathe Mr Darcy?

Amazon (U.S.) | Amazon U.K.


About the Author

Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.

She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again’ is the first ‘Pride and Prejudice’ variation she’s written.

If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/elainejeremiahauthor/

Her Twitter handle is: @ElaineJeremiah

Her website is here: https://elainejeremiah.co.uk/


Giveaway

Elaine is generously offering 2 ebook copies of Elizabeth & Darcy: Beginning Again to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, February 7, 2021. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!


Thanks for being my guest today, Elaine, and congratulations on your new book!

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To celebrate the release of her latest novel, By Time Divided, the second book in a trilogy, Elaine Jeremiah is here to share an excerpt and a giveaway. If you’ve ever wanted to go back in time to visit Regency England, you won’t want to miss these books!!

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Thank God for ladies’ maids, I thought fervently as the maid who’d served me at Westerleigh last time I was here, Susan, laced my corset up tightly over my chemise. I glanced over at Mia who was undergoing the same ordeal. She grimaced at me, giving a small shake of her head. I gave her a rueful smile.

I raised my arms and Susan deftly lifted a petticoat over my shoulders. It was held up by thin straps. Then came the dress. Like the petticoat, it was white and looked like the one I’d worn to the ball in Lyme, but I couldn’t be sure. Where had all these clothes come from anyway?

I glanced at Mia again. She seemed well provided for too. When we’d opened her trunk, we’d found a veritable treasure trove of gowns and accessories, including some beautiful fans and intricately stitched reticules. Mia had gasped, her mouth hanging open as we lifted out wonder after wonder of amazing dresses, pelisses, shawls and bonnets, not to mention various shoes and undergarments.

‘I think you’re richer than I am,’ I’d joked when we’d finished going through the contents.

Mia had given me a slightly dazed smile and said nothing. Now, as she turned towards me with a bashful expression, I took a good look at her. I was astonished. I’d always known she was beautiful, but now she was nothing short of stunning in the dress which we’d chosen for her to wear. It was a very pale pink, so pale it was nearly white. This ambiguous colour suited her honey-toned skin and hair perfectly.

‘Amazing!’ I told her. Again, Mia said nothing, simply nodded. She seemed tongue-tied – unusual for her. But then she was out of her depth here, even more than me. And it showed. It’s not every day you walk into Regency England, I reminded myself. Even so, I was concerned for her, anxious to keep my promise to her and prevent Lady Margaret in particular from insulting her if I could.

Now we were ready and our maids stood back from us to admire their handiwork.

‘You both look very well, miss,’ Susan told me. But she looked askance at Mia, belying her kind words.

‘Thank you, Susan,’ I replied. ‘You and Fanny may go now.’

‘Thank you, miss,’ Susan said. She and Fanny quickly bobbed a curtsey and hurried out of the room. I turned to Mia. Her brow was furrowed and her expression bleak. I reached a hand out to hers and squeezed it.

‘It’ll be OK, Mia.’

‘Will it? How can you be sure?’

I sighed. ‘I can’t, but I promise you I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that the Montagues treat you kindly.’

****

About By Time Divided

Having accidentally time travelled to Regency England, Jane Austen fan Cassie Taylor finds herself unexpectedly back in the twenty-first century. But everything has changed. She’s been missing for three weeks and her parents are upset and disbelieving when she tells them where she’s been. The police aren’t too pleased either.

Cassie’s best friend Mia doubts the story, yet stands by her friend. And then the unthinkable happens when both of them end up in Regency England. Now Cassie has an even bigger problem: Mia is mixed race and they’re stuck in an era where the slave trade has only just been abolished. Cassie must somehow explain herself to her Regency friends – why she vanished and who her friend is. She also needs to find Ted, the love of her life.

How will Cassie manage to protect Mia from the insults of Regency people who see her as worthless? And how will she ever find a way for her and Ted and Mia to finally return home?

Buy on Amazon U.S. | U.K.

****

About the Author

Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.

Writing has always been a passion of hers, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Love Without Time’ is the first in a trilogy best described as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. ‘By Time Divided’ is the second book in the trilogy.

 

If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/elainejeremiahauthor/

Her Twitter handle is: @ElaineJeremiah

Her website is here: https://elainejeremiah.co.uk/

 

‘Love Without Time’ is available from Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/2DxRPHO

It’s also available from Amazon UK here: http://amzn.to/2Dywq0y

‘By Time Divided’ is on Amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2YEKzzH

It’s on Amazon UK here: https://amzn.to/2KokZtv

 

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Giveaway

Elaine is generously offering ebook copies of the first two books in the trilogy, Love Without Time and By Time Divided, to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Thursday, November 21, 2019. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Elaine, for sharing an excerpt with us, and congratulations on your latest release!

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I’m delighted to welcome Elaine Jeremiah to Diary of an Eccentric today with an excerpt from Love Without Time, in which a modern-day Jane Austen fan somehow finds herself in Regency England. Please give her a warm welcome, and stay tuned for a giveaway!

****

I was hit by bright sunlight and drew in a breath, blinking furiously. What on earth was going on? I looked around me, not really taking anything in, expecting everything to return to how it had been a moment ago. But it didn’t. When I took another, closer look around me, I saw that I was standing under a tree, on the edge of an immaculate lawn of a large, well-maintained garden.

I gasped. Where am I? I asked myself. Squinting, I shielded my eyes against the relentless sun. Across the other side of the garden, I saw a huge house, a mansion, a place which could easily be Mr Darcy’s home of Pemberley.

There were people on the lawn ahead of me, smiling and laughing. It looked as though they were playing croquet. And they were dressed in clothes which would be the perfect costumes for a Jane Austen-inspired TV drama…

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment. Suddenly, my throat felt parched and dry, like I hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. Although thinking about it, it had been a while. I opened my eyes again, hoping that I would be back in the dark, standing by the gate.

I wasn’t. When I looked behind me, I saw that the gate was still there, but now it was in pristine condition. I walked back to it and pushed it open, desperate to get back to the hospital grounds. But walking through it, I was dismayed to find that there was only dense woodland ahead of me, no sign of the hospital.

My breathing became laboured and for some reason my chest felt constricted. The fabric of my underwear felt scratchy. I frowned. Had I put a vest on this morning? I couldn’t remember doing that… But I had better things to think about. Panic rising inside me, I turned around and walked back through the gate, nearly bumping into someone standing in front of me. It was a young woman dressed in a white, sprigged muslin dress. She could have stepped out of the pages of any Jane Austen novel.

I stood there staring at her, my mouth hanging open. She was a little shorter than me; her hair was pulled back into a bun, its golden tendrils curling on her temples. Her blue eyes surveyed me with interest and I surmised that her expression must have been as surprised as my own, because I saw that her brow was furrowed as she gazed at me intently.

I gulped; my heart began thumping in my chest and I felt breathless. I made a move to turn and walk away and almost tripped over a large trunk. It hadn’t been there a second ago, I was sure of it. It was then that I noticed what I was wearing.

Gone were my jeans and favourite heeled leather ankle boots. I was wearing a pale yellow, sprigged muslin dress, very like the one of the young woman standing in front of me, except for the colour. But on top of that I was also wearing what looked like a blue pelisse, or something like a coat to twenty-first century people. No wonder I was so hot.

‘May I help you, miss…’ the young woman began.

****

About Love Without Time

When Cassie Taylor meets an ordinary-looking man in a bookshop, the last thing she imagines is the encounter will lead to her time travelling to Regency England.

Jane Austen-obsessed Cassie would love a romantic hero of her own to sweep her off her feet, but meeting Ted is seriously underwhelming. Then everything is turned upside down when Ted saves her life – and she nearly ends his.
Guilt-ridden and panicked into saying she’s Ted’s girlfriend at the hospital, Cassie takes a walk outside at night, loses her way and finds herself in the past. She meets a young Regency woman, Isabella, who takes pity on her, allowing her to stay at the majestic Westerleigh Hall. But not everyone there trusts her and Cassie will find there are many pitfalls to be avoided if she’s to survive in this world.

Can this be real? Is she dreaming? Will she ever get home?

Buy on Amazon | Amazon U.K.

****

About the Author

Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.

She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it’s only now with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she feels she’s finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Love Without Time’ is the first in a trilogy and it’s best described as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. She’s currently hard at work on the second in the trilogy, ‘By Time Divided’.

If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here. Her website is here.

****

Giveaway

Elaine is generously offering a signed copy of Love Without Time to one lucky reader, open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, December 2, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Thank you, Elaine, for sharing that intriguing excerpt and for being my guest today! I can’t wait to read the book, and I bet my readers are thinking the same thing right now!

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