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I’ve welcomed Jennifer Joy back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate her latest release, Diamonds & Donuts: A Jessica James Cozy Mystery, the fourth installment of the Murder on the Equator series. Many of you know Jennifer for her Pride and Prejudice variations, but if you’re like me, your reading is varied and you’ll want to give her cozy mysteries a try. Jennifer is here with an excerpt from Diamonds & Donuts with an Austen connection — and keep reading for information on a promo deal for the first and second books in the series. Please give her a warm welcome!

As many of you are aware, I am a Regency romance writer with a special fondness for the characters in Pride & Prejudice. I love the history, the research, the innocent side of romance, and the intriguing contrast of people who lived at that turbulent period in time. It’s fascinating, and I enjoy every minute of it! In fact, I’ve already begun another standalone novel featuring a proud Mr. Darcy and a fiery Miss Elizabeth that I’m hoping to finish this summer.

So why did I start writing contemporary cozy mysteries set in my backyard? Because my backyard is GORGEOUS! And I wanted to share a piece of my life with you (except for the murder bits…that’s pure fiction). I wanted to write about the people who have had the most influence on me and my family without restrictions of time and place. That’s how Jessica James and her quirky friends came to be. Together, they solve mysteries and help conflict-averse, Jane-like Jessica bring out her inner, adventurous Lizzy. It’s a wild ride full of exotic destinations, third world quirks, a crazy cast of characters to root for, mystery, and humor.

The scene below is taken from a place near and dear to my heart, a waterfall about an hour away from my apartment: Pailon del Diablo. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement, but I hope you can appreciate a taste of its beauty in this excerpt. In this scene, Tia Rosa and Abuelita (elderly sisters who get Jessica into scrape after scrape) have conspired with Jessica’s grandma (whom she lovingly calls “Mammy”) to keep her out of her recently broken into apartment. Jake, adventure tour guide and Jessica’s love interest, drives them to the waterfall while Abuelita and Tia Rosa rig Jess’ apartment. It’s the calm before the storm, and I hope you enjoy it!

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An excerpt from Diamonds & Donuts, courtesy of Jennifer Joy

Liquid sunshine sprinkled on us halfway down the gravel trail, and I was grateful for the polyester blend shirt and yoga pants I wore. Everything got damp in the jungle.

Mammy stopped at a lookout to snap some pictures.

Jake turned to me, speaking low, “So what are Abuelita and Tia Rosa up to that they arranged for you to be out of the house most of the day? I’m guessing Mammy’s in on it, too.”

I smacked my forehead as comprehension lit the light bulb in my brain. The thing Tia Rosa had insisted on didn’t have anything to do with Jake and me.

It was a setup.

Jake looked at me in confusion, and I realized how stupid I must look. “Mosquito,” I mumbled, rubbing my hands against my yoga pants.

He was gracious enough to smile and ask no further questions.

Mammy turned around. The sweet expression of innocence in her smile and wide eyes convinced me that she’d overheard Jake. Also, whatever Abuelita and Tia Rosa were up to, she played a role in it.

With a sigh, I said, “Just promise me I’ll have a home to go back to?”

Mammy nodded gravely. “Oh, yes. They’re just making it safer for you until Jake’s friend can install the alarm.”

Jake chuckled. “This should be interesting.”

“I don’t feel safer,” I muttered, still feeling stupid for not seeing what Tia Rosa had so blatantly tried to communicate this morning. Abuelita wasn’t the only one who couldn’t take a hint.

We continued down the path, stepping over the springs of water streaming over the gravel.

Jake held his arms out at a patch of steeper incline. Mammy accepted with gusto, wrapping her arm around his and tapping her fingers against his bicep.

“Nice!” she said with a wink.

Jake laughed and shook his head while I tried to figure out how I could accept his help without actually touching him.

He made it easier when he grabbed my hand. The callouses on his fingers scratching my nerves into a frenzy. On a positive note, I didn’t melt or light on fire. I just had a harder time breathing.

“This should be interesting,” he said, talking to both of us as we proceeded down the path. “When I was in high school, Abuelita encouraged me to take a class on electricity.”

“Encouraged?” I asked in disbelief.

“Encouraged … demanded … I choose to remember my memories with Abuelita in a positive light,” he said.

I couldn’t help myself. “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure,” I quoted.

He looked down at me, his eyebrow raised. “Very well, Lizzy Bennet.”

We’d discussed literature before, but my heart melted just a little bit more at his knowledge of my all-time favorite classic, Pride & Prejudice. Most guys had no clue who Mr. Darcy was, let alone recognize a quote from my favorite book heroine.

He continued, “She wanted me to rig her windows with copper wires connected to batteries without shocking either of us.”

“Did you do it?” I asked, momentarily forgetting I was supposed to be nervous around him.

“Of course, I did. I earned extra credit for it, too. The only downside was that she forgot to tell my dad what she’d done, and he got a good shock when he cleaned her windows.”

I found comfort in not being the only one to get roped into Abuelita’s schemes.

Mammy said, “I doubt it was an accident. Bertha never did like your father.”

“Yeah, well, the feeling was mutual. But he stayed around another year after the incident. Washo is made of tougher stuff. I almost think Abuelita’s a little scared of him. She behaves herself more now that he’s around.”

I raised my eyebrows, trying to think of anything Abuelita was scared of. Respected, maybe. But scared? Nah.

“What do you think of Washo?” I asked.

Jake shrugged. “He’s a good guy. He helps Mom in the kitchen after he’s had a long day. He brings her lunch on his days off just so he can talk to her. She appreciates the break from the kitchen and loves eating food she hasn’t cooked.”

Mammy said, “That’s the way to any woman’s heart.”

Jake craned his neck to look at her. “Really? It’s that easy?”

Mammy grinned. “Not quite, but it’s a promising start.”

I did my best to shrink and be quiet, feeling like an intruder eavesdropping on their conversation.

Jake dropped my hand and pointed to a rock stairwell going back up the side of the mountain. “We’re here,” he said.

I looked at the stairwell, thinking how unfair it was to have to climb up it when we’d spent the last twenty minutes hiking downhill. Someone’s calculations had faltered.

The view from the top, however, silenced my inner grumblings. Ferns sprouted out of the rock face. The waterfall pounded into the river below with such a force, it vibrated in my chest and surrounded us with mist.

We continued forward and down another rock stairwell so close to the waterfall, it enveloped us in spray and roared in my ears. Whoever had carved the steps out of the mountainside were intrepid souls bent on sharing this natural beauty with others. And I was eternally grateful to them for going to the trouble.

The sun reflected off the spray, shooting dozens of little rainbows everywhere I looked.

Lady bit at the spray. To her, it must’ve looked like a giant hose nozzle. It sure felt like one.

We were sopping wet within seconds, but I was too full of awe to care.

I gripped the edge of the stone wall — the only barrier separating us from the roaring cauldron. I understood the waterfall’s name now. Pailón del Diablo. Devil’s Cauldron.

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The promo deal for Book 1 (FREE) and Book 2 (99 cents) ends Sunday, June 10, so act now! (The Amazon links are below with the description of each book.)

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Cabs, Cakes & Corpses (Murder on the Equator Book 1)

Defying the boundaries of her comfort zone … one murder at a time.

Jessica James isn’t the kind of girl who has adventures. She isn’t the kind of girl who hops on an airplane to a foreign destination. And she most definitely isn’t the kind of girl to traipse around in the jungle for a murder weapon. But one taxi ride changes everything.

Caught between the crime scene’s evidence and a hard-nosed homicide detective, Jessica is forced into one catastrophe after another as she searches for the truth. With the help of two elderly sisters (who are more troublesome than helpful), she’ll either catch a murderer … or end up in jail.

Will Jessica’s newfound bravery help her survive her vacation? Or will it make her the next victim?

Cabs, Cakes, and Corpses is the first novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Cabs, Cakes, and Corpses to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Rum Raisin Revenge (Murder on the Equator Book 2)

Just when she thought her vacation couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Jessica James has big plans to finally enjoy her vacation. But when she discovers a dead body in the freezer of a local ice cream shop, she’s soon mixed up in another mystery.

Caught between an investigation, an argument between two mischievous elderly sisters, and a televised fundraiser, Jessica finds herself neck deep in doughnuts, conflict, and unanswered questions.

Can Jessica stay out of trouble and off the camera while catching a criminal and raising money for a good cause? Or will she become the next headliner in the national news?

Rum Raisin Revenge is the second novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Rum Raisin Revenge to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Cold Case Crumble (Murder on the Equator Book 3)

Some secrets are best left buried.

Jessica James is helping her friends design the doughnut shop of her dreams. But when a skeleton is discovered under the foundation of the shop, the simple remodel turns into a full-fledged investigation.

With her friend’s livelihood on the line, Jessica cooks up a plan to discover the truth. But digging up the past unearths more secrets and Jessica’s troubles go from bad to worse when her dog disappears, her elderly “helpers” volunteer her to cater a school event, and the murderer claims another victim.

Will Jessica taste sweet victory and solve the cold case in time? Or will her investigation turn sour?

Cold Case Crumble is the second novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Cold Case Crumble to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Diamonds & Donuts (Murder on the Equator Book 4)

Family, Friendship, Community, and … Doughnuts.

A vandal is wreaking havoc in paradisiac Baños — and he’s got his sights set on Jessica James.

The grand opening of Jessica’s dream doughnut shop is days away. She’d rather sort sugary sprinkles than chase after another criminal. But when the crazed crook crosses the line, leaving nothing but a trail of flour behind him, desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the help of her trusted friends, Jessica determines to restore peace to her town, protect the people she’s grown to love, and save her shop from an unknown enemy out to sabotage The Sugar Shack.

Diamonds & Donuts is the fourth novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy small town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Diamonds & Donuts to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced mystery of humor, travel, and discovery today!

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About the Author

Jennifer Joy

When Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favorite Jane Austen characters, she is learning Sign language, reading, baking (Cake really is her one weakness!), or chasing her twins around the park (because … calories).

Her wish is to continue to write sweet romances and mysteries with happy endings for years to come.

While she claims Oregon as her home, she currently lives high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador with her husband and two kids. All of them are fluent in Spanglish.

Right now, Jennifer is imagining how a courtship with such a turbulent beginning can possibly lead to a smooth Happily-Ever-After for Darcy and Elizabeth. She senses there’s more trouble to come and promises to keep a detailed account of events (because, let’s face it, it makes for fun reading!).

Connect with Jennifer Joy via Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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

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I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Joy’s Meryton Mystery series, and I was so excited when I saw there was going to be a fourth book. Well, it’s available now, and I have a treat for you, my dear readers. I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer back to Diary of an Eccentric today, and she’s brought with her an excerpt from The Immovable Mr. Tanner and a very generous giveaway.

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About The Immovable Mr. Tanner

She longs to be free from her past. He refuses to let go of his.

Jonathan Tanner, owner of the Meryton Inn, stands on his own. Proud of the life he has carved out, he scorns those of the upper class and keeps those who wish to befriend him at a distance. And then Fitzwilliam Darcy came along like the pesky little brother Tanner never wanted.

When Tanner finally accepts the Darcys’ invitation to visit them in London, he’s forced to answer to Mrs. Annesley — the fine lady he’s tried to forget over the past year. But Tanner’s defensive walls are no match for the gentle beauty.

Arabella Annesley chose to follow her heart … and she’s paid the price for it. Disowned by her family, widowed, and without a protector, she refused to sell her dignity to keep a roof over her head. Finding refuge and friendship with the Darcys, she feels safe … until Mr. Tanner shows up at Darcy House.

When a stranger calls and is murdered in Mr. Darcy’s front parlor, suspicions Arabella thought were long-buried resurface to threaten her and everyone she holds dear, forcing her to choose between the privilege she was born into and a heart she doesn’t trust.

Can Tanner let go of his resentful past to grasp onto a hopeful future with Arabella? Or will her history, riddled with secrets and disguise, deprive them of a happily-ever-after?

The Immovable Mr. Tanner is the fourth novel in Jennifer Joy’s A Meryton Mystery romance series set in England’s captivating Regency era — when a gentleman’s manners were regarded as highly as a lady’s reputation and a happy marriage was the ultimate prize (although a fortune was never frowned upon).

If you like falling in love with Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth as they fall for each other, then you’ll love this sweet romance-mystery variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

Read The Immovable Mr. Tanner to satisfy your craving for a fast-paced mystery interwoven with a heartwarming, wholesome romance today!

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An excerpt from The Immovable Mr. Tanner, courtesy of Jennifer Joy

“You will let me pay,” Tanner grumbled, sticking to his initial argument when he realized how shaky the ground was on which he stood. Who was he to tell Darcy how or when to spend his own money? So long as he spent it on someone else, Tanner’s pride insisted.

Darcy leaned forward, making sure he had Tanner’s full attention before he said firmly, “No.” He sat back and crossed his arms, his glare fixed on Tanner, who returned his determined look with one of his own.

The rest of the ride to Darcy House was spent in silence, both gentlemen equally matched in their unwillingness to budge.

When they stepped into the entrance hall, anxious to part ways, only to see Georgiana waiting for them, Tanner determined not to inflict his bad mood on her. Darcy, too, forced a smile.

She still noticed something was off. Georgiana noticed everything. Looking between the two of them several times, she said in an overly cheerful voice, “It is time for your first lesson, Tanner.”

If there was a merciful God in Heaven, Tanner wished He would strike him down then and there. Maybe break his leg on the way to the music room? Was that too much to ask? Anything to spare him from having to prance and twirl like a dandy after the humiliations of the morning. Tanner did not dance.

But neither could he refuse Georgiana when she turned her sky blue eyes on him.

She smiled at him, knowing she would get her way, and he followed her in defeat. At least her company was preferable to their pig-headed pest of a brother. Anything was preferable to his aggravating association.

Except for the sight awaiting them.

Arabella stood in the middle of the music room, the sunshine coming through the windows bathing her in a radiant glow.

“I hope you do not mind I enlisted the help of your sister to provide music,” Arabella said as he stood frozen in the doorway.

Georgiana played a cheerful jingle, plucking at the keys of her pianoforte with a happy grin and a saucy wink in the direction of her companion.

It was a conspiracy of siblings — a competition to see who could make Tanner more miserable. Georgiana won by a landslide.

Tanner broke out in a hot sweat. Great. Not only was he fairly certain his face looked like a beet, but he would have to hold the woman whom he spent a great deal of energy not thinking about while he reeked of perspiration.

Being the lady she was, Arabella pretended not to notice his discomfort. She pointed to a spot on the floor two steps away from her and said, “We will begin with something simple, and we will add to it as the week progresses.”

He stood where she indicated, clasping his moist hands behind his back and waiting for further instruction while praying this dance did not require him to draw any closer to her than he presently was. Lord, but she was beautiful. Her grace under the intense pressures of recent events only raised her in his estimation. But it was her strength of character which truly won his admiration. Arabella was not a wilting lily.

She nodded at Georgiana, who began playing a slow, steady tune.

Taking a step closer to him, Arabella said, “You stand in place while I move in a circle around you.”

“Easy enough,” Tanner said, his voice cracking like a stripling, firmly pressing his arms against his sides. At least, he was not expected to move. He could stand in one spot easily enough.

It was easy until Arabella passed behind him, and he caught a scent of her spicy rosewater. What was it? Cloves? Cinnamon?

When the next step required him to stand before her with his palms pressed against hers — and his worst fear was allayed when he raised his arms and she did not pinch her nose — he thought he could stand thus forever with her hands against his. How long and thin her fingers were. How perfectly they would fit between his. If he spread his fingers ever so slightly, he would find out…

So mesmerized was he at her touch, Tanner forgot how to walk when Arabella turned to the side and skipped down an invisible line of dancers holding their arms in an arc over them in a promenade. Tripping over his own feet, he tried to catch up with her like a bumbling oaf. His palms tingled where her hands had been.

Georgiana giggled as she played. “You will have to crouch down just as William does. You will be in high demand at the ball.”

Tanner scoffed. “I doubt that. I shall do my best to blend in and stand against the wall.”

“You? Blend in?” Georgiana stopped playing, her eyes raised to the ceiling and her expressions changing as she considered the possibility of Tanner’s plan. Finally, she shook her head. “No, it simply will not work. You are new in town, connected with us, and dashingly handsome. Do you not think so, Arabella?”

Georgiana cocked her head and raised her eyebrow at Arabella, who bit her lower lip and blushed, causing Tanner to break into a sweat again. He pulled at his collar, but there was no relief from the fire consuming him. He foresaw a very long week of dance lessons ahead of him.

Georgiana returned her attention to her instrument, and Arabella resumed her position to begin the dance again. Tanner did his best to follow along, eventually performing the expected steps without having to give them much thought.

After what felt like forever — an hour according to the chiming clock on the mantel — Tanner was ready for a break. He was out of breath for reasons other than the exuberance of the dance. It did not help that every breath he took was scented with Arabella’s spicy, sweet aroma. She smelled like cake and mulled cider — his favorites.

After a pivot and a turn, Georgiana stopped playing to clap enthusiastically. “That was excellent! If you learn the other dances as quickly as this one, you will have an easy time of it at the ball.”

Tanner’s relief was brief, for Arabella struck her hands together like a schoolmistress and said, “Again.”

His torture was set to a quicker rhythm this time, and he now understood why ladies and gentlemen insisted on wearing gloves when they danced. The electric bolts jolting up his arms at Arabella’s every touch melted the knot of nerves in his stomach, filling it with something infinitely worse — desire.

Tanner did not know which direction his limbs moved, but he kept up with Arabella. He must have done well because she smiled at him.

Georgiana increased the tempo of the music once again, and Arabella acknowledged the challenge. “Are you up for another turn, Mr. Tanner? Your sister seems to think we cannot keep up with her.”

Tanner stepped, turned, and swayed as Arabella had taught him to.

“This is not so bad,” he said when he felt confident enough to speak whilst his feet moved.

“How is it you never learned?” Arabella asked.

“My mother loved to dance, and she tried to teach me. But I was an unwilling student. I suppose I never saw the point of it.” He ought not to have said that. What he did not understand as a young lad, he fully understood under Arabella’s tutelage. The closeness, the contact, the conversation. The dangerous combination made him dizzy, intoxicating him in a way no drink had ever done.

“And now?” she asked, her lip curling up into a lopsided smile.

“I see why she loves to dance,” he replied, trying not to blush to his ear tips.

“Your mother would be proud. You are a graceful dancer.”

Tanner had not noticed the decrease in tempo until Georgiana increased it again. He wished his mother were there to see him now. She would delight in Arabella’s company — just as he did.

Arabella laughed gleefully when she had to run around him to keep up with the music. It was easy to get caught up in her happiness, and Tanner bellowed along with her as they skipped down the imaginary promenade, making it to the end, breathless with glee. It felt good. It felt happy.

Georgiana applauded, joining in their laughter. “Well done. If you can manage that, you will be perfectly fit for the ball. Nobody will doubt you are one of us.”

“Until I step on a lady’s slipper and knock out the gentleman next to me with an ill-aimed flail of the arm,” Tanner teased. He could take a thousand dance lessons and still never truly be one of them. Although, it irked him to realize he now wanted to be. Not a gentleman — no, never that — but rather, a part of their family.

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If that scene grabbed your attention, you’ll be happy to know that Jennifer is offering a bonus scene from the book, available to her newsletter subscribers. Click here to sign up for her New Release newsletter!

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 3 ebook copies of The Immovable Mr. Tanner. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell us what you think of the excerpt. This giveaway will close on Sunday, May 6, 2018. 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. It’s always a pleasure! Congrats on your latest release!

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I read 73 books last year, and while I enjoyed most of them, there are a handful that really stood out. Here are my top 10 favorites, with links to my reviews (in no particular order):

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

The Honorable Mr. Darcy by Jennifer Joy

The Best Part of Love by A. D’Orazio

A Lie Universally Hiddenby Anngela Schroeder

T

he Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd

Rules for a Successful Book Club by Victoria Connelly

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane

Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

Mendacity & Mourning by J.L. Ashton

A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder

What were your favorite books of 2017? Please tell me in the comments!

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Source: Blog giveaway

She hissed, “I am an excellent judge of character. I would know.” She realized how silly she sounded, but her pride would not allow her to admit her mistake.

“An excellent judge of character? When you would accuse me — if not for certain events of which we must not speak — of murder? You would not know a murderer if he confessed it to you,” Darcy scoffed, returning ire for ire loudly enough that Mr. Bingley turned around to look at them.

(from The Honorable Mr. Darcy)

The Honorable Mr. Darcy (A Meryton Mystery Book 1) was my first time reading a Pride and Prejudice variation by Jennifer Joy, and I was delighted from start to finish. When Mr. Wickham is found dead in his tent during the Netherfield Ball, the inhabitants of Meryton are quick to point fingers at Mr. Darcy. They have a poor opinion of him since he insulted Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, and he was seen leaving Wickham’s tent in anger. Elizabeth isn’t Darcy’s biggest supporter, but she knows he couldn’t have committed murder. However, explaining how she knows would tether her to the man forever.

Darcy doesn’t help his cause by refusing to say where he was at the time of the murder and why he had argued with Wickham, and Elizabeth’s perception of him begins to change as she realizes he is a man of honor. However, Darcy must contend with the cantankerous Mr. Tanner, Meryton’s innkeeper and constable, and Mr. Stallard, the magistrate, as they make it difficult for Darcy to prove his innocence while hiding secrets of their own. As Darcy and Elizabeth navigate their changing feelings for one another, Elizabeth finds herself determined to solve the crime and help Darcy clear his name, while he worries that danger may befall her as a killer continues to roam free.

Joy does a great job creating a sense of mystery and danger, and she stays true to Austen’s characters while dramatically altering events. I enjoyed how Darcy and Elizabeth worked together to uncover the truth behind Wickham’s death and how Darcy embraced Elizabeth’s inquisitiveness and didn’t expect her to change even while wishing she would be careful in her sleuthing. Joy adds several original characters, including the Bennet daughters’ new companion, Mrs. Yates, and the magistrate’s daughter, Miss Stallard, who liven up the plot. What I loved most was the fast pace and how I was able to piece some things together but was still surprised in the end. And Colonel Fitzwilliam, oh how I loved his dramatic entrance and take-charge attitude!

The Honorable Mr. Darcy is a solid start to an exciting series, and I can’t wait to read more. In fact, as soon as I finished this book, I immediately started book 2, The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth (stay tuned for my review). I have a feeling that this is a series I won’t want to end!

Disclosure: I received The Honorable Mr. Darcy from a blog giveaway.

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Today is an exciting day here at Diary of an Eccentric, dear readers! I’m delighted to welcome back Jennifer Joy, this time for the cover reveal of her third Meryton Mystery: The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.

I am honored to have been one of the first people to see the cover, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! But before I share it with you all, I hope this blurb whets your appetite:

When your family betrays you, whom do you trust?

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have had their fill of crime-solving. Now engaged to be married, their greatest wish is to leave Meryton with its penchant for mysteries for the serenity of Pemberley. If only Mr. Bennet would give his consent.

When a secret correspondence is discovered, revealing a possible elopement, a plot against Parliament, and exposing their families’ reputations to shame, the investigations begin anew. The couple’s search for answers unfolds more trouble as Mr. Bennet becomes the target of their unknown enemy … or is it merely the desperate act of a lonely father unwilling to part with his favorite daughter?

Darcy and Elizabeth team up to once and for all prove that family trumps adversity and love conquers all — if they can make it to the altar…

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!

Now I know you are all anxiously awaiting the reveal, so it is my pleasure to introduce The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy by Jennifer Joy:

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover?! I think the expressions on their faces are true to Darcy and Elizabeth, and the cover perfectly complements the first two books in the trilogy. (These are standalone novels.)

The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy is now available on Amazon. I just got my copy! Have you?

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About The Honorable Mr. Darcy (A Meryton Mystery Book 1)

Everyone has a secret. Who will kill to keep theirs?

Lieutenant George Wickham is dead.

The shot rings out in Wickham’s tent as the good citizens of Meryton dance the night away at Mr. Bingley’s Netherfield ball. The only person who can confirm Fitzwilliam Darcy’s alibi faces the loss of her reputation and her freedom if she comes forward.

Convinced that her sole motive is the pursuit of justice— and not her growing attraction to Mr. Darcy— Elizabeth Bennet begins an investigation to clear his name and evade an unwanted marriage.

If Darcy didn’t shoot Wickham in cold blood, who did? Which of Longbourn’s neighbors is not who they seem?

With a killer on the loose, can Elizabeth avoid being the next victim as she comes closer to revealing the truth?

Check out The Honorable Mr. Darcy on Goodreads | Amazon

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About The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth (A Meryton Mystery Book 2)

Two determined women. One murder. No eyewitnesses.

Lady Catherine has come to Meryton.

When a devastating secret is revealed, putting Elizabeth Bennet’s future happiness and the loyalty of the man she loves in the balance, her hopes for a Happily-Ever-After are dashed to pieces. Threats are made and family obligations are enforced, leading to an event no one could foresee. Another murder in Meryton.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is more determined than ever to win Elizabeth’s love— no matter what obstacles their families place between them. When a matron is found murdered in the midst of a militia parade, he soon discovers the strength of the woman’s enemies… and their closeness to Elizabeth. Can Darcy protect her when she is determined to bring the murderer to justice?

With a killer on the loose and their hearts on the line, can Darcy and Elizabeth work together to solve another mystery while fighting for each other? Or will the pressure break them apart forever?

Check out The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth on Goodreads | Amazon

Read an excerpt here.

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About the Author

Jennifer Joy

When Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favorite Jane Austen characters, she is learning Sign language, reading, baking (Cake really is her one weakness!), or chasing her twins around the park (because … calories).

Her wish is to continue to write sweet romances and mysteries with happy endings for years to come.

While she claims Oregon as her home, she currently lives high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador with her husband and two kids. All of them are fluent in Spanglish.

Right now, Jennifer is imagining how a courtship with such a turbulent beginning can possibly lead to a smooth Happily-Ever-After for Darcy and Elizabeth. She senses there’s more trouble to come and promises to keep a detailed account of events (because, let’s face it, it makes for fun reading!).

Connect with Jennifer Joy via Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 4 ebook copies of The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and let me know what you love most about the cover or why you want to read the book. This giveaway will close on Sunday, June 18, 2017. 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! I hope you’ll visit again soon!

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I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Joy to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth. I will be reviewing it here soon, along with the first book in the Meryton Mystery series, The Honorable Mr. Darcy. (These are standalone novels.) Jennifer is here with an excerpt from The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth and a very generous giveaway! I hope you all enjoy the excerpt as much as I did, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. I am eager to read the book in its entirety!

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An excerpt from The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth, courtesy of Jennifer Joy

Entering the room, Darcy saw the two standing three paces away from each other. Aunt Catherine clutched the sharp-tipped cane she used more to make a statement than for the stability it offered. Tanner’s feet stood hip-width apart, his thick arms crossed firmly over his large chest forming an impenetrable wall against which Aunt’s pointy arrows bounced off. He was clearly unimpressed. Darcy needed to interfere before Tanner suggested she sleep at the stables with the other mules.

Neither of them turned their heads to look at him and Richard as they entered the parlor. Anne sat in a chair by the fireplace massaging her temples while Mrs. Jenkinson fanned her and patted her arm reassuringly. Anne looked dreadfully pale despite the heat from the fire.

“Aunt Catherine, you must allow Mr. Tanner to see Anne to a room. She must be fatigued after your journey,” Darcy said, forgoing greetings and pleasantries when his cousin was in obvious need of assistance.

Tanner’s lips tightened. “That is exactly what I have been trying to convince Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Rosings Park in Kent to allow me to do.” He enunciated every syllable of her name, making it clear he knew precisely who she was. “Mrs. Molly already has a suitable room ready if only her ladyship would agree to it. I have offered to send for the apothecary, but she has refused that too.”

“Darcy! You must order this man to give me the best room in his inn. I will settle for nothing less.”

Mrs. Jenkinson dared approach Aunt Catherine, saying, “Pardon me, Lady Catherine, but Miss de Bourgh should rest.” The softness of her voice was in direct contrast to the intensity of her stare.

Aunt Catherine’s pulse throbbed at her temples, but she nodded her head. Mrs. Jenkinson led Anne out of the room and Darcy heard Mrs. Molly speak with them as the stairs creaked under the footsteps.

Richard broke the tense silence with exaggerated cheer. “Good afternoon, Aunt Catherine. How pleasant it is to see you here. To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?”

How he could smile at a moment such as this was incomprehensible to Darcy. Tanner looked like he would strangle Aunt Catherine if he uncrossed his arms. Aunt Catherine looked capable of poking Tanner with her pointy cane.

“You are grinning like a fool, Fitzwilliam. It does not suit you. Or have the residents of Hertfordshire ruined you too?”

Here it came.

“You wish to know the purpose of my visit?” Aunt Catherine turned her glare away from Tanner and Richard to focus on him. Great.

Darcy took a deep breath and steadied himself.

“I am here to discredit certain rumors about my nephew forming an attachment to a young lady of inferior birth. What have you to say about that, Darcy?”

There it was. The accusation that Elizabeth was unworthy of their family. He had thought he was prepared to hear it, but his blood boiled with more anger than he had imagined himself capable of. He closed the distance between himself and his aunt, looking down at her from his superior height. He was unafraid of her and her sharp cane.

He felt Tanner’s hand grasp his shoulder. Darcy was wound up as tight as a carriage spring and his immediate reaction was to lash out against his brother who dared restrain him, but he controlled himself. He looked at Tanner, who met his level gaze and squeezed his shoulder as if to remind him not to lose his temper. Fine advice from one who was so often provoked.

Darcy felt Richard move to his other side. Another reminder to hold his temper. Darcy took a deep breath and cleared his focus.

He would do nothing to satisfy Aunt Catherine’s curiosity until he first got the information he required. It was a much more humane — and far more effective — way of frustrating her. “Who is the source of this rumor?”

“You confirm it is merely a rumor?” she snapped.

He would not make it so easy on her. “I neither confirm nor refute it. Who is the source of the rumor?” he repeated.

“Mr. Collins.” She offered nothing more.

“What did he tell you?”

“He seemed to think I would be pleased at the news of your attachment to one of his country cousins … one Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Is her uncle not in trade and her father’s estate in a state of disrepair?”

Mr. Collins. Darcy should have known. The clergyman meant well, but he did not know when his assistance was unwanted nor when to keep his mouth shut.

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet is the daughter of a gentleman and, as such, she is my equal.”

Aunt Catherine gasped. “You dare compare your elevated station to one so insignificant, her name is unknown amongst the beau monde?”

“You would regard her as insignificant because she is not recognized in society? Of what use has society been to us?”

Society could hang itself for all the value Darcy placed upon it. Aunt Catherine lived in constant fear of becoming the brunt of its malicious gossip, and his mother had accepted the dalliances of his father because society had taught her to look the other way while pretending to be the adoring wife. It had killed her. And how did society reward its handiwork? His father had died miserable and friendless.

No, Darcy cared not for what society thought of him nor Elizabeth. The fact that she refused to be impressed or intimidated by those who would look down on her only served to reaffirm his decision to make her his wife. As soon as he could convince her to have him. There was that small detail … though his patience grew thinner by the second.

“You dare defy society when you were born into it? Your position in the first circles demands the consideration of your peers.” Aunt Catherine’s lips pinched together so tightly, they were rimmed in white.

“I will choose what is best for me and those for whom I am responsible. It is my decision and mine alone. I will permit nobody authority over me when I am able to make up my own mind.”

“And is that what you have done? Have you chosen to forsake your own cousin and bring reproach on the Darcy name by marrying a nobody?”

He would bring no more reproach— not even close— than what his own father had brought on the Darcy name.

“I cannot forsake Anne when I have given her no promise —” he stopped, the words choking in his throat when Mrs. Molly rushed into the room with a complexion the color of his aunt’s powdered hair.

The rim of Mrs. Molly’s cap trembled. Looking anxiously between Tanner and Aunt Catherine, she said, “Please, Miss de Bourgh is …” She wrung her apron in her hands, looking down at the floor.

Tanner stepped forward, reaching out for her. “She is what? Calm yourself and speak plainly, Mrs. Molly.”

Aunt Catherine’s cheeks had lost all color. She stood frozen in her haughty posture in defiance of bad news.

Mrs. Molly looked up, her eyes shut like a child believing herself to be invisible so long as she saw no one. “Miss de Bourgh has suffered an —”

“Enough!” interrupted Aunt Catherine. “I will see to my daughter. No doubt, she was overly fatigued from our journey and merely needs a dose of tonic from our family doctor. There is no need for talk, do you understand?” She eyed Mrs. Molly with a stony glare until the nervous housekeeper cracked her eyes open.

And then Aunt Catherine did something Darcy had never known her to do. She pulled out some coins and handed them to Mrs. Molly.

“For your silence,” she said as she marched out of the room. When Mrs. Molly followed her, Aunt Catherine astonished them further by refusing her assistance and ascending the stairs alone.

Tanner moved a chair over to Mrs. Molly, who looked like she might collapse at the slightest provocation. She slumped into it and rubbed her free hand over her face, shaking her head back and forth. Finally, after some time, she straightened her spine and, with a firm nod, she held out the coins for Darcy to take.

“I cannot accept these, sir. I understand her ladyship’s reason for giving them to me, but I am now well aware it is not merely her daughter’s future at stake, it is yours as well. My conscience will not allow me to remain silent when you should know what I just saw.”

Darcy’s pulse hammered in his head. She spoke as if her news could adversely affect his future. It must be horrible news for Aunt Catherine to separate from her precious coin to hide whatever it was she wished to bury.

“Very well, but I insist you keep the coin.”

“I cannot, Mr. Darcy.”

“You cannot return it to Lady Catherine. So long as what you have to tell me remains a secret within these walls, I see no reason why you cannot dispose of the coin for the benefit of another and thus appease your conscience.”

The trimming on the front of her cap bobbed up and down as she nodded enthusiastically. “Mrs. Thorne will use it to assist a family in need. She is a good woman.” Mrs. Molly took a deep breath. “I pity your aunt, as will you, once you understand why she insists you marry her daughter.”

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About The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth (A Meryton Mystery Book 2)

Two determined women. One murder. No eyewitnesses.

Lady Catherine has come to Meryton.

When a devastating secret is revealed, putting Elizabeth Bennet’s future happiness and the loyalty of the man she loves in the balance, her hopes for a Happily-Ever-After are dashed to pieces. Threats are made and family obligations are enforced, leading to an event no one could foresee. Another murder in Meryton.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is more determined than ever to win Elizabeth’s love— no matter what obstacles their families place between them. When a matron is found murdered in the midst of a militia parade, he soon discovers the strength of the woman’s enemies… and their closeness to Elizabeth. Can Darcy protect her when she is determined to bring the murderer to justice?

With a killer on the loose and their hearts on the line, can Darcy and Elizabeth work together to solve another mystery while fighting for each other? Or will the pressure break them apart forever?

Check out The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth on Goodreads | Amazon

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About The Honorable Mr. Darcy (A Meryton Mystery Book 1)

Everyone has a secret. Who will kill to keep theirs?

Lieutenant George Wickham is dead.

The shot rings out in Wickham’s tent as the good citizens of Meryton dance the night away at Mr. Bingley’s Netherfield ball. The only person who can confirm Fitzwilliam Darcy’s alibi faces the loss of her reputation and her freedom if she comes forward.

Convinced that her sole motive is the pursuit of justice— and not her growing attraction to Mr. Darcy— Elizabeth Bennet begins an investigation to clear his name and evade an unwanted marriage.

If Darcy didn’t shoot Wickham in cold blood, who did? Which of Longbourn’s neighbors is not who they seem?

With a killer on the loose, can Elizabeth avoid being the next victim as she comes closer to revealing the truth?

Check out The Honorable Mr. Darcy on Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Jennifer Joy

When Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favorite Jane Austen characters, she is learning Sign language, reading, baking (Cake really is her one weakness!), or chasing her twins around the park (because … calories).

Her wish is to continue to write sweet romances and mysteries with happy endings for years to come.

While she claims Oregon as her home, she currently lives high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador with her husband and two kids. All of them are fluent in Spanglish.

Right now, Jennifer is imagining how a courtship with such a turbulent beginning can possibly lead to a smooth Happily-Ever-After for Darcy and Elizabeth. She senses there’s more trouble to come and promises to keep a detailed account of events (because, let’s face it, it makes for fun reading!).

Connect with Jennifer Joy via Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

***Subscribers to Jennifer’s Historical Romance newsletter will receive access to a BONUS scene involving Lady Catherine and an important character in The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth!***

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 4 ebook copies of The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth and 2 audiobooks of The Honorable Mr. Darcy. To enter, please leave a comment about what intrigues you most from the excerpt. Please leave your email address and indicate which book you would prefer to win. This giveaway will close on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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