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Source: Review copy from author

Joana Starnes’ newest Pride and Prejudice variation, The Journey Home to Pemberley, was a treat from start to finish. She imagines what might have happened had Elizabeth reunited with Mr. Darcy following his disastrous Hunsford proposal while touring the Lake Country with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. Darcy is taking the long, scenic route to Pemberley as he tries to come to terms with Elizabeth’s refusal, and when he is injured during a storm, he ends up at the inn where Elizabeth and the Gardiners are taking refuge.

While their initial reunion is a little awkward but sweet and full of hope for the future, I knew it was too soon in the book for that to last. But what happened next gutted me. I hadn’t expected THAT, and I hadn’t realized I was so wrapped up in their newfound happiness until I had the rug pulled out from under me, much like our dear couple. I felt it to the core, but I’ve never been disappointed by Starnes before, so I kept reading through their pain and trusted there would be a reward in the end.

The Journey Home to Pemberley was a true page turner, full of romance, angst, and passion and twists and turns that I hadn’t anticipated. Starnes has a way of transporting readers into the story, and I truly felt like I was on the journey with Darcy and Elizabeth. Telling the story mainly through Elizabeth’s point of view provided some suspense, as I kept wondering what Darcy was thinking and feeling at that moment while I was feeling Elizabeth’s pain as she observed him. When they were reunited at the beginning, they both had confronted some hard truths about themselves, but Starnes had many more trials in store for them, and she does a fantastic job of showing how they were changed by their circumstances. The original characters, from Timms and Moll, the innkeeper and his wife, to Bella and Meg, the Monkford sisters, were delightful additions as well.

I’ve loved all of the books I’ve read by Starnes so far, and The Journey Home to Pemberley was no exception. I expected to love it like the others, but I didn’t expect to FEEL it as much as I did, and that, to me, is the sign of a great book and a great writer. I’m already eagerly anticipating what she has in store for us next!

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Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Joana Starnes

Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination, and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley; The Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s Companion; Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacy) and one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know, Rational Creatures and Yuletide). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

You can connect with Joana on: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Austen Variations

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Giveaway

Joana is generously giving away 8 Kindle copies and a paperback of The Journey Home to Pemberley and a Jane Austen & Pride and Prejudice goodie bag as part of the blog tour. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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I am very excited to welcome Brigid Huey to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time today to celebrate the release of her new Pride and Prejudice variation, A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Hello Anna and readers! Thank you all for welcoming me to Diary of an Eccentric. Today I would love to share a bit about my inspirations and creative process for A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods.

I love a strong woman. I also love the classic damsel in distress story. I’m a sucker for a knight on a white horse. I swoon when a strong man marches in to save the day. But I detest reading about helpless women. Oh dear, what am I to do?

Read Jane Austen, of course! But you knew that already.

One of the reasons I love Jane Austen’s works so very much is how she manages to create stories where the heroine is in distress, yet is also incredibly strong. Jane Austen writes a character that stands up for herself and her beliefs, but then also graciously accepts help from the man who loves her. Tally ho, Lizzy!

In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor quietly keeps her family from financial ruin while missing her true love. Far from being rescued by her knight, she forgives him his stumbles and rejoices in her own happy ending. I love it!

So while I sat watching my son play outside on a blustery day, I started daydreaming about Mr. Darcy riding in such weather (why not?) and how perhaps as he rode he would come upon Elizabeth. That kernel led to picturing Lizzy trying to keep her bonnet on in such wind, which soon became a storm in my mind. Now I had Darcy on horseback and Lizzy without a bonnet. In a storm. Oh, and in the woods.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that scene. And so I decided to write it down. To my surprise, the rest of the story seemed to be tucked away in my mind. I am happy to share it with you all, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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About A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods

A surprise meeting

A baby alone in the woods

And a second chance at love

Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley with one thing on his mind ̶ to forget Elizabeth Bennet. Riding ahead of his party and racing a storm, he happens upon the very woman he wants to avoid. To his astonishment, she is holding a baby whose name and parentage are unknown.

Elizabeth Bennet never dreamed she had wandered into Pemberley’s Woods on her afternoon walk. But when she finds an infant alone in the storm, she turns to the last man in the world she wants to see ̶ and the only one who can help them both.

As the mystery of the baby’s identity intensifies, Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy to be quite the reverse of what she expected. But when the child’s family is discovered, will the truth bring them together, or tear them apart?

Buy: Amazon U.S. | Amazon U.K.

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About the Author

Brigid Huey

Brigid has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids, and spends her free time reading and writing. This is her first Pride and Prejudice variation, though many others live in her imagination.

Connect with Brigid: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebook copies of A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods as part of the blog tour. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

Thank you, Brigid, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

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It’s always a pleasure to have Rose Fairbanks as my guest, and today she comes bearing gifts: an excerpt from her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Courtship at Rosings, and a giveaway! I really enjoyed this sweet Darcy and Elizabeth story, and I hope you all do as well. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Hello, readers! It’s always great to be on Diary of an Eccentric, and I regret that it’s been so long since I was last here. Courtship at Rosings was the first JAFF story I ever began. I hammered away at it for an afternoon, the words flying from my fingertips. After a few thousan words, I sat back and read, grimaced, closed the file, and promptly forgot about it for about five years. I stumbled across it earlier this year, and despite the extreme amount of editing needed, the concept intrigued me. It is low-angst, almost fluffy, but lured me in to ask my favorite question regarding Pride and Prejudice, “what if?”

I hope you enjoy this excerpt and participate in the giveaway!

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“I suppose I would always have viewed you with suspicion. Perhaps I would have imagined you to be a rake. Why else would you take a fancy to a country gentleman’s daughter with no money or connections?”

“Do you truly think so meanly of yourself?”

Elizabeth shrugged. “I do not know that I would persist in that way of thinking. Only it would be one thought which crossed my mind. I would not likely believe you admired me at all. Charlotte has argued the very thing, and I never saw it.”

“Perhaps if I had not attempted to hide it.”

“And what would your open admiration look like?” She arched one brow, a playful smile on her lips.

Darcy assessed her before replying. “I can be a very determined man, Elizabeth. If I openly courted you, then I would not stop until you were mine.”

Elizabeth beamed. “It is too bad you never had the opportunity. Something tells me that would have been a sight to behold.”

“May I begin again?”

“You are leaving for London tomorrow.”

“Yes, and you will be there in a few weeks.”

“I will be staying at Gracechurch Street.” Elizabeth lifted her chin and squared her shoulders. “I know you find my relations unworthy of your notice.”

“I would be pleased to meet them.”

“Would you really?”

“If it would secure your hand, then I would go through any matter of things.”

“I cannot be bought.” Elizabeth pulled away and began to walk off.

Darcy quickly caught up with her. “I do not mean that you can.”

“When I marry, it will be for great love. I will respect my husband. I will not be indebted to him or constantly reminded of the condescension he has shown me by rescuing me from my supposedly low and inferior state.”

Darcy caught Elizabeth’s hand. “Elizabeth, wait. I would be happy to meet them because they are your family and you love them. I wish to please you. I desire to show you that I am not so mean as you first believed and am correcting the faults in my character which you did justly assess. How else could I show you that?”

Elizabeth remained unconvinced and crossed her arms over her chest.

“If you would rather I wait to court you until you return to Longbourn, then I will. If you had hated the idea of my courtship, you would have said so. That can only mean that you are not set against me. I will not quit the field now.”

“And manipulating me into loving you is part of your design?”

“No. I wish to share a life with you and everything that means-all of your relations. You should meet mine as well. Together, we would form a family of equal parts yours and mine.”

“And your relations would approve of this match?”

“I really do not care.”

They were now in view of the parsonage, and Elizabeth saw the curtain of the front sitting room flutter. Discreetly gathering her hand in his, he squeezed it whilst staring into her dark eyes.

“I am yours to command. If you do not wish for me to court you, then tell me so at once. If, however, your feelings have changed, only tell me where and when I may next see you.”

Elizabeth took a long moment before replying. All the while, her heart hammered, and her head pounded. She felt as if she were about to jump off a cliff. “Very well, Mr. Darcy. I accept your offer of courtship. I will see you in a fortnight in London.” She turned and walked to the parsonage without a backward glance.

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About Courtship at Rosings

A man truly in love is a sight to behold.

Despite Fitzwilliam Darcy’s better judgment, he asks Elizabeth Bennet to marry him. Instead of retreating upon learning her heart, he decides to use everything in his power to woo her.

In Elizabeth’s mind, Darcy has always been haughty and arrogant. When he approaches her with humility and an apology on his lips, she can barely contain her astonishment. When he expresses his love, she is nearly incredulous. Realizing she has misunderstood the man, it only seems right to give their acquaintance another chance—even if that means accepting a courtship.

Of course, it would take a miracle to change Darcy from the last man in the world she would be willing to marry to the conqueror of her heart. Luckily, the Master of Pemberley can be quite the romantic. However, when Darcy goes missing, it will take more than Darcy’s charm to see these two finally united.

Courtship at Rosings is another delightful novella from the author of Mr. Darcy’s Compassion. If you have ever wanted to see Mr. Darcy romance Elizabeth, this book is for you! The perfect length to read before bed, it will ensure sweet dreams and a sigh-worthy experience. Download today!

Universal buy link: books2read.com/u/

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About the Author

Born in the wrong era, Rose Fairbanks has read nineteenth-century novels since childhood. Although she studied history, her transcript also contains every course in which she could discuss Jane Austen. Never having given up all-nighters for reading, Rose discovered her love for Historical Romance after reading Christi Caldwell’s Heart of a Duke Series.

After a financial downturn and her husband’s unemployment had threatened her ability to stay at home with their special needs child, Rose began writing the kinds of stories she had loved to read for so many years. Now, a best-selling author of Jane Austen-inspired stories, she also writes Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to finish her master’s studies someday. When not reading or writing, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and Romance Writers of America.

You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog.

To join her email list for information about new releases and any other news, you can sign up here.

Facebook fans! Join Rose’s reading groups:

Rose’s Reading Garden

Jane Austen Re-Imaginings Series

Christmas with Jane

When Love Blooms Series

Pride and Prejudice and Bluestockings

Loving Elizabeth Series

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Giveaway

Rose Fairbanks is offering two ebooks of Courtship at Rosings. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link Best of luck!

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Thank you, Rose, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

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It’s my pleasure to welcome Jennifer Redlarcyzk back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate her newest release, A Taste of Peanut Butter. I can’t get enough of modern Pride and Prejudice variations, and I love peanut butter, desserts, and cooking shows, so I’m very excited about this book! I hope you’ll feel the same way after reading this excerpt. Please give Jennifer a warm welcome!

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Greetings JAFF lovers! And many thanks to Anna for hosting me and A Taste of Peanut Butter today. In my latest novella, Elizabeth Bennet has a passion for baking and peanut butter happens to be her signature ingredient. In this scene Elizabeth is about to share some of her baked goods with the man who helped her after going through security at the airport. Shall we eavesdrop on their conversation?

Several minutes later, Elizabeth noticed Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome returning with beverages in hand. She could hardly wait to get his reaction when he tasted her baking.

“By the way, I’m William Darcy. And you are?”

“William Darcy?!” She sat up straight with a definite look of mischief written all over her face. “As in Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice?”

“Yes, Fitzwilliam Alexander Darcy at your service. If you don’t mind, I prefer William.”

“Oh.” She couldn’t help but giggle. “What would you say if I told you my name was Elizabeth Bennet?”

“Well, if you are indeed Elizabeth Bennet, then I guess I’d better say here’s to Jane Austen.” The two of them laughed as they carefully clicked their paper cups and took a drink.

“Honestly, William, my name really is Elizabeth Bennet, but most of my friends call me Liz or Lizzy.”

“If you don’t mind, I quite like Elizabeth. It has such a classic sound.”

“Thank you.” She blushed and gestured to her blue plastic container. ”Please, help yourself. I kind of went on a baking spree before I left home, so there’s plenty to choose from. These three are apple peanut butter, and these two are chocolate chip peanut butter. Then we have peanut butter balls, peanut butter blondies and my latest creation…” She leaned over and whispered in his ear, “Blissful peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake in a cup.” She bit her lip, anxiously waiting to see which treat he would choose.

“You said blissful?” He arched an eyebrow in question.

“I did.” She beamed.

“Then blissful it is!” Within seconds, William took a bite and quietly moaned, delighting in the creamy rich flavour of the cheesecake. “This is incredible!” He licked his lips before taking the last bite followed by a sip of coffee. “You say this is your own creation?”

“That I did. I’m a finalist in the Pemberley Network’s Weekend Bake Off—Another Slice. This is one of my secret weapons. It’s an improved version of the recipe that got me into the contest.

William nearly choked on his coffee when she mentioned the network. “You’re not serious, are you?”

“Why wouldn’t I be serious? I have the letter in my wallet if you need proof.” Elizabeth folded her arms across her chest, appearing very indignant.

“Elizabeth, forgive me, I didn’t mean to insult you. When I heard you speaking with your sister about a bake off, I had no idea that you were…”

“Wait a minute, buster,” she said pointing an angry finger at him. “You mean to tell me that you listened in on my private conversation? The one where my sister warned me about letting a new date taste my cooking? The one about how all my guy friends treat me as their best bud hoping that I’ll cook for their next get together?”

“Yes,” he held up his hands. “I’m guilty as charged, but I swear, I’m nothing like those blokes she was referring to. Please let me explain, nearly everyone in my family cooks, and I.…”

“I’m sorry, but I have to go. Thanks for the coffee, Mr. Darcy. You’re welcome to finish what I baked. Have a nice life!” she said plopping her coffee down in such a way that it splashed all over William’s light coloured Chinos. Grabbing her belongings, Elizabeth walked as fast as she could towards gate C-21, without looking back.

Well it looks like William and Elizabeth are off to a stormy beginning. Any speculations on how our guy might make it up to her. In the meantime how about a slice of Peanut Butter Lover’s Pie, and while you’re at it be sure to leave a comment below for my giveaway of two eBooks. Enjoy!

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About A Taste of Peanut Butter

Elizabeth Bennet has a passion for baking and peanut butter happens to be her signature ingredient. William Darcy’s family owns Pemberley Network where she is a contestant in their next bake off television series. Will their newly found romance be complicated by a conflict of interest? Find out in A TASTE OF PEANUT BUTTER. This romantic comedy is followed by a short Regency tale called BLAME IT ON THE SQUASH.

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 2 ebook copies of A Taste of Peanut Butter to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, September 15, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Jennifer, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

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I’m excited to welcome Jayne Bamber back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, A Sister’s Curse. I was intrigued by the title alone, and after reading the excerpt, I’m even more eager to read it. I hope all of you feel the same way, too. Please give Jayne a warm welcome!

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Hello everyone! I am excited to share another excerpt with you from my new release, A Sister’s Curse.

One of the most exciting things for me about writing this book was getting to know some characters that you don’t often see in JAFF. Some of the small, side characters like Colonel Fitzwilliam and Uncle Gardiner are always fun, and even though they have made many memorable appearances in fan fiction, I hope I have put on own little spin on their characters as well.

But one character I am especially proud of is Lady Anne Darcy, who is very much still alive in this variation. The story opens when Lizzy and Darcy are still children, so our first glimpse of Lady Anne is when she is not yet thirty, and over the course of the book, the events of the story have their effect on her. It was very interesting to write, especially because the opening of the story really hinges on her choices and wishes so much. I hadn’t intended it to be quite like that, but as I started writing Lady Anne Darcy, I came to like her so much that her role in the story really grew.

I knew that I wanted her to be a different kind of mother than Mrs. Bennet, but still have her own weakness and imperfections. One thing I had to consider when writing her was, what sort of mother would Mr. Darcy have had, to be the sort of man he is? And what is Lady Anne’s place in the family? I considered Georgiana – who does not actually appear in this book – and tried to work from there. I thought it likely Lady Anne would have the same sweet temper and loving heart, and perhaps a little more spirit and banter with her siblings, and I knew that her marriage to the elder Mr. Darcy would absolutely have to be a love match.

From there I worked out that Lady Anne must have wished to give her beloved George Darcy more children, in the ten years after she had William. It was a quick leap to conclude that in such a situation, her sister Lady Catherine de Bourgh would have wanted to make herself useful, and the carriage accident in the prologue took on another layer of depth. I decided that Lady Anne and Lady Catherine had been travelling to see the doctor who might have helped Lady Anne conceive Georgiana, were it not for their carriage colliding with that of the other family, and throwing the little orphan girls into her path just as she was wishing for more children.

Of course, as her children grow up, so too does Lady Anne, and they are none of them perfect. To read what the future hold for them, A Sister’s Curse is available on kindle now, but for now, here is just a glimpse of Lady Anne Darcy at the open of the story…

Anne and George Darcy were a love match, and in twelve years of marriage they had ignored the custom of sleeping in separate bedchambers. As the two of them came out of their respective dressing rooms, attired for bed, George drew his wife into a gentle embrace before pulling back the bedclothes and gesturing for her to come and sit beside him. “I am sorry for that dreadful business this evening. You were right to be angry with all of us, carrying on like that. I am sure de Bourgh and I would have had words at some point during his stay, we always do, but tonight of all nights, it was horrible of me. Can you forgive me for being so beastly?”

Anne nestled in close to her husband, her head on his shoulder and one hand on his chest as they lay back against the pillows. “I forgive you, dearest. I am sure my brother Henry must have come in already worked into such a state.”

“And I ought to have known Sir Lewis would make this whole ordeal about himself. Not a thought for how close he came to nearly losing his wife today! When I think of it – when I think of how it might have been you….”

Anne raised her fingertips to George’s lips. “Hush, my love. I am safe. Only I….”

“What is it? You are not concealing some injury from me, are you?”

“No, not at all. I was a little knocked about, of course, but nothing serious. Nothing at all like – oh, it was so horrible. I shall never forget the sight of it, that is all I meant to say. I feel as though I am forever changed by what I have seen today.”

“I daresay we both are, my love. It is no small thing, to see a man die, to hear his final words. To see so much suffering – but I am proud of you. I always have been, but never more than today. You were like a lioness looking after her cubs.”

Anne smiled sadly. “They are such dear children.”

George placed his hand on hers. “I know it is your wish – that is, you have wanted to give me more children, but after today, Anne, I would beg you give it up. I cannot bear the thought of losing you, whether it be on the journey to some doctor in Bath who might be able to help, or if you were to conceive again, and….”

Anne sniffled, and brought her hand up to her face as if to stop the tears from coming. “Oh George, do not ask me this. Not tonight, I can scarcely think clearly. I almost agree with you, perhaps it is not worth it. My madness for more children led me to this folly, and it has cost a man his life, a man who will never see his own daughters grow up. Yet, all those hours I spent in the nursery today…. I ought to be ashamed of how happy it made me to be with those dear sweet girls. I want one so badly, George. I want to be a mother again.”

George cradled his wife in his arms as she wept. “Let us not think of it now, dearest. It has been a difficult day, and nothing need be decided just now. If the Almighty wishes us to have any more children, we shall have them. For now, he has given us the Bennets to care for, and I daresay we had better get some rest so that we can do our best to face whatever tomorrow brings.”

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About A Sister’s Curse

Two families from very different situations in life are linked forever after a fatal accident on the Great North Road. This tragedy breeds years of sorrow and misunderstanding as well as prosperity and even romance in an emotional coming of age tale not only for Elizabeth Bennet, but for her sisters, and even the adults who let them down.

For nearly two decades, Edward Gardiner is haunted by the difficult decisions he has made. Lady Anne Darcy must bear all the guilt and delight of being granted her heart’s desire… at a price. The Fitzwilliam family has motives and misgivings of their own as the Earl of Matlock tries to keep them all together, right the wrongs of the past, and pave the way for the next generation.

Fitzwilliam Darcy realizes too late what it means to be a brother, and is faced with a parts of his past he regrets, just as his desire to protect the family he loves leads him back to the woman he was destined to love the most… a woman who despises him.

Elizabeth Bennet struggles through the turbulence of adolescence, her judgement clouded by past trauma and the complicated dynamics of her extended family. Secrets are revealed and re-examined as she is forced to come to terms with the truth of her past and the promise of her future, in a family bound together by heartbreak.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
This story is based on a deviation from canon 18 years prior to the opening of Pride & Prejudice. Several canon characters are omitted entirely, and aside from Darcy and Elizabeth, the story will focus on several minor canon characters. Some of these characters have developed differently from canon due to the events of the story as they unfold. New characters have also been introduced: the Earl and Countess of Matlock and their children: the Viscount and Lady Charlotte, as well as the Dowager Countess of Matlock, lady Olivia Gardiner and Rose Gardiner, Sir Lewis de Bourgh and Elliot de Bourgh. This story may be unsuitable for anyone triggered by the loss of a spouse, parent or child.

Elizabeth Bennet struggles through the turbulence of adolescence, her judgement clouded by past trauma and the complicated dynamics of her extended family. Secrets are revealed and re-examined as she is forced to come to terms with the truth of her past and the promise of her future, in a family bound together by heartbreak.

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Jayne is offering an ebook giveaway of A Sister’s Curse as part of the blog tour. To enter, use this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

Thank you, Jayne, for being my guest today and congratulations on your new release!

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Hello, dear readers! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Bronwen Chisholm to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time, to celebrate the release of her new Pride and Prejudice variation, Mrs. Collins’ Lover. I hope you are as intrigued by this excerpt as I am! Please give her a warm welcome:

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Hello Readers! Thank you, Anna, for hosting me today. I am beyond tickled to spend time getting to know you. My favorite part of the JAFF world is the wonderful people you get to meet.

As many of you know, I am releasing my sixth Pride and Prejudice variation … TODAY!! Mrs. Collins’ Lover has been a work of the heart, which means it took much longer than normal. So, without further ado, I will share the blurb and … not quite an excerpt. This is actually a scene which is in the book, but told from a different perspective. Originally, it was included, but had to go during editing.

Elizabeth Bennet was raised with a strong belief and faith in God’s plan for her life. She knew He had a plan, even if the details were hidden from her. But, when placed in an untenable situation, she turned instead to the arms of a man to find brief moments of joy. Finally, when able to realize the happiness which was always intended for her, the weight of her guilt over her past sins convinces her of her unworthiness. Only through reconciliation with the Lover of her soul can she truly fulfill the life He planned for her. But first, she must forgive herself in order to find redemption.

Remember: In order to be redeemed, there must be sin. This story is intended for mature audiences.

Trigger Warning: There are incidents of abuse in this story.

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Mary Bennet drew her shawl tighter about her as she looked across Longbourn’s fields. There was no sight of her sister and she feared she knew where Lizzy had gone. Releasing a heavy sigh, she began walking toward Oakham Mount, dragging her feet as her mind wandered over what she had observed for the past few days.

With so many visitors to Longbourn due to Jane’s wedding, Mrs. Bennet had decided Lizzy and her husband would have to share a room. No one anticipated the man’s displeasure over the situation. Uncle and Aunt Gardiner always shared a room, even if it was not necessary. Elizabeth had attempted to smooth his ruffled feathers by suggesting she share a room with Jane, but the man demanded she share with Mary instead.

Though surprised by this, Mary had quickly agreed as she missed her older sister dearly. It was not until Lizzy had left in January that Mary realized how much she had done at Longbourn and how they all depended upon her. It was Lizzy who visited the tenants weekly and Lizzy who calmed tempers. Jane might be better at nursing injured feelings, but Lizzy provided the incentive to bring the parties together once more and promote healing. For weeks after her departure to Hunsford, the entire household felt as though it stood on its head.

The previous evening, after the last guest had finally left and everyone began to retire, Mary suggested Elizabeth move into Jane’s room. Her sister had demurred, saying she would be there for only two more nights and she had no desire to move everything now unless it was Mary’s preference. Having no objection, the sisters readied for bed and the candles were extinguished soon after.

Mary lay in silence staring into the night and waiting. About half an hour later, she heard the first soft sniffling. It had been the same every night. When Elizabeth thought Mary was asleep, she would release her tears. Mary had watched her sister during the day, and noticed Jane doing the same. The remainder of their family seemed to avoid the practice as though they did not want to know. Elizabeth was thinner and her eyes had a haunted look. Only when the Netherfield party joined them did she show any signs of her prior self, but even then she was extremely guarded and spoke little.

This morning, Elizabeth had slipped from their room very early. Mary knew her sister’s love of long walks and decided not to say anything, but when Lizzy had not returned in half an hour, she decided she would go out to meet her, hoping to be a buffer should Mr. Collins be displeased as he always seemed to be.

She had not meant to walk the entire way to Oakham Mount. Indeed, she was not normally fond of walking. However, the morning was lovely, and something seemed to spur her forward. She was about to enter the clearing at the top of the mount when she heard the voices. Mary stopped, uncertain what to do, until she realized she could hear what was being said.

“Has he hit you again?”

Mary gasped as Elizabeth responded in the negative. Mr. Collins struck Lizzy? She shook her head as her anger grew toward the man her sister had been forced to marry, before she listened again. She knew it was wrong, but Lizzy would never confess any of this to her otherwise. Their words became muffled and she moved that she might be better able to hear or possibly see them. It was then she realized they shared an intimate embrace.

A hand flew to her mouth as she stared disbelievingly. Elizabeth would never act the harlot. And with Mr. Darcy no less? She turned away, careful not to make a sound, though she doubted they would notice. She knew she should leave; it would be mortifying if they found her there, but she was torn between what she knew of her sister and Lizzy’s actions. After an internal struggle, she finally crept slowly back up the path and hid once more.

“I will not abandon you … rightful Mrs. Darcy … Elizabeth, you were meant to be mine.” Mr. Darcy’s words were muffled by the wind or his attentions to her sister.

“… he never dies? … lost my soul truly is …”

Hearing her sister’s words, realizing Elizabeth knew how wrong her actions were; Mary suddenly felt the impropriety of her own and left as quietly as she could. Once she was far enough from them, she walked quickly to put more distance between her and the couple. She had no desire to see their loving embraces. There was a time she would have taken her sister to task for her actions, but now her heart simply broke for Elizabeth. Married to such a man as Mr. Collins and loved by Mr. Darcy … Mary shook her head. Once she was far enough past the split in the road, she took a seat upon a stile and waited. Her heart was torn and, for the first time in her life, she questioned her convictions.

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Poor Mary. Known by most JAFF readers as the righteous sister – to be confronted with her sister’s downfall. I think you will be proud of how she handles the situation.

And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog (with your email address) and Anna will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Mrs. Collins’ Lover. The giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 18, 2019. Good luck! And I hope you enjoyed our visit as much as I did. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Bronwen Chisholm

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

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Follow the Blog Tour

7/31 Austen Authors

8/9 Babblings of a Bookworm

8/10 Diary of an Eccentric

8/12 From Pemberley to Milton

8/14 More Agreeably Engaged

8/17 My Love for Jane Austen

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It’s always a pleasure to feature Amy D’Orazio on the blog, so I’m delighted that she’s back today to celebrate the release of A Lady’s Reputation. Today she’s here to talk about a fan favorite character, Viscount Saye. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Back when I began writing my stories and posting them online at AHA, a character sort of wormed his way into my writing. He wasn’t part of the first two I wrote but by the third story, A Willful Misunderstanding (unpublished), he had begun to make himself known.

I can’t say I’ve always had a clear idea of him— it might sound odd to say so but he really sort of forced his way in and took on a life of his own. He’s the elder brother of Colonel Fitzwilliam, an unnamed and vaguely present entity that doesn’t appear in canon but who has come to figure large in my stories!

I have named him Viscount Saye, Antony Fitzwilliam. He is about 3 years older than Colonel Fitzwilliam which makes him around 5 years older than Darcy. He is heir to his father’s earldom (which in my stories is usually called Matlock) as well as his fortune.

Saye is a little bit rakish, and enjoyed the London scene very well as a young bachelor. He is wealthy, handsome, irreverent and impertinent. He knows his is a rarefied and privileged position and he enjoys every bit of the status and wealth afforded to him.

Although he likes to tease, and even torment, however, he loves his brother and his cousin Darcy. As a good friend of mine once put it, “Saye loves to do good as long as he’s sure no one will catch him at it.”

The love of his life is a young lady of the ton called Lillian—her maiden name was Miss Goddard and in my most recent book, A Lady’s Reputation, they are engaged. Sometimes they’re already married, it all depends on the story!

I have something of an enormous crush on my Saye (sometimes even more than Darcy but shh, don’t tell!) and it was a huge compliment to me when a recent reviewer wrote “He’s such a natural extension of the Fitzwilliam family that it’s hard to believe that he wasn’t in Austen’s original.”

From A Lady’s Reputation

The scene within the Gardiner residence was not one Darcy could have contrived in his wildest imagination.

His aunt sat in a chair next to Elizabeth on a small settee. Colonel Fitzwilliam sat across from them on another sofa with Mr and Mrs Gardiner on either side. As Darcy and Saye were shown in, all save Elizabeth turned to look at them. Uneasiness made Darcy pause, but Saye had no such scruple, all but leaping into the room with eagerness and going directly to Elizabeth.

“So then! This is Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the centre of our most recent Fitzwilliam Family Furore!”

Elizabeth looked at him in shock as he strode towards her, belatedly rising for the introduction. Saye bowed low over Elizabeth’s hand, boldly kissing it as she watched with clear amazement.

“Enchanté, my dear. Is it too soon to call you Cousin?” Saye settled himself on the settee, still holding Elizabeth’s hand, thus forcing her to sit as well.

“Saye,” Lady Matlock said, a warning tone in her voice.

He disregarded his mother, leaning so close to Elizabeth it almost appeared he would kiss her. “Fitzwilliam Family Furore…I challenge you to say it twenty times fast. I thought of nothing else but that for the entire journey here. Try it with me. Fitzwilliam Family Furore, Fitzwilliam Family Furore, Fitzwilliam Family Furore—”

He stopped suddenly, leaning back and looking concerned for a moment. “Though to be perfectly just, I must own that perhaps it cannot truly be regarded as a Fitzwilliam Family Furore since Darcy is the originator of all this. Or can it? For we must concede, he is half Fitzwilliam…and his given name is Fitzwilliam…so yes, I must conclude it works, much to the delight of all.”

He beamed at Elizabeth as she recovered from her astonishment and, to the great surprise of everyone in the room, began to laugh, her fingers pressed to her lips and her eyes twinkling merrily.

Colonel Fitzwilliam closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose while Lady Matlock admonished, “Saye, stop being ridiculous at once.”

“Why should I? I daresay, of us all at this moment, I am likely Miss Elizabeth’s favourite Fitzwilliam. Can you deny it?”

He addressed the last to Elizabeth, and she replied with laughter still in her tone, “I have no wish to deny it, sir. This is indeed the most enjoyable five minutes I have had these three days together.”

“You see?” Saye gave his relations a smug little smirk.

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About A Lady’s Reputation

“Mr. Darcy, I am eager to hear your explanation for the fact that quite a few people believe we are engaged.”

It starts with a bit of well-meant advice. Colonel Fitzwilliam suggests to his cousin Darcy that, before he proposes to Elizabeth Bennet in Kent, perhaps he ought to discuss his plans with their families first.

What neither man could have predicted however was that Lord Matlock would write the news to his sister or Viscount Saye would overhear, and tell his friends, or that his friends might slip a little and let their friends know as well. The news spreads just as quickly through Hertfordshire once Mrs Bennet opens the express Mr Bennet receives from Mr Darcy, and in a matter of days, it seems like everyone knows that Mr Darcy has proposed marriage to Elizabeth Bennet.

Everyone, that is, except Elizabeth herself.

Her refusal is quick and definite—until matters of reputation, hers as well as Jane’s, are considered. Then Mr Darcy makes another offer: summer at Pemberley, so that Jane can be reunited with Mr Bingley and so that he can prove to Elizabeth he is not what she thinks of him. Falling in love with him is naturally impossible…but once she knows the man he truly is, will she be able to help herself?

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Amy D’Orazio

Amy D’Orazio is a long-time devotee of Jane Austen and fiction related to her characters. She began writing her own little stories to amuse herself during hours spent at sports practices and the like and soon discovered a passion for it. By far, however, the thing she loves most is the connections she has made with readers and other writers of Austenesque fiction.

Amy currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and daughters, as well as three Jack Russell terriers who often make appearances (in a human form) in her book.

Amy’s other releases include “A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity” and the “The Best Part of Love,” a Readers Choice Gold Medal Winner for 2017. She has also contributed short stories to “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues,” “Rational Creatures: Stirrings of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen’s Fine Ladies” and “Yuletide: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories.”

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Giveaway

You are encouraged to visit all the stops on the blog tour and comment. Quills & Quartos Publishing will be giving away one $50 Amazon gift card to one enthusiastic follower! You get one point for every blog stop you visit and leave a comment. Good luck! (See Blog Tour banner)

A big thank you to Amy for being my guest today. Congratulations on your latest novel!

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