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Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to have Jessie Lewis as my guest again today to celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Fallen. Jessie is here to share a deleted scene from the novel, and there’s a giveaway as well. Please give her a warm welcome!


This scene didn’t make the final cut into Fallen, but I wrote it to demonstrate how the relationship between Darcy and the Bingleys is the-same-but-not-quite-the-same as we’re used to seeing in Pride and Prejudice. Their ‘closed ranks’ superiority is heightened, yet the tension between them all is more pronounced, and it is this which intrigues the observant Elizabeth Bennet right from the off as she attempts to put her finger on what is going on behind the scenes at Netherfield Park.


“Move over, Mary, you are taking up half the seat.” This demand was accompanied by a determined shove as Lydia shouldered her sister into the corner of the carriage.

“I am taking up no more room than you!”

“For heaven’s sake, put your book down.” Mrs Bennet gave Mary no time to object—only snatched the offending article from her grip, snapped it closed and thrust it back towards her. “There is not enough room for you to sit with your elbows sticking out every which way.”

Lydia sent Mary a look of triumph; Elizabeth sent Lydia one of disapproval that was returned with a loud sigh and theatrical eyeroll. She turned away to look out of the window, wishing she had insisted upon walking, for so many Bennet women in such a confined space was making even the short drive to Netherfield arduous.

Several coos arose when the house came into view. Elizabeth had glimpsed it many times over the last few years, but as neither her mother nor any of her sisters shared her love for walking, this was their first sight of it since the Connellys gave up the place. Nobody had been inside since then, and Elizabeth could not help but be impressed by what she saw as they were shown through to the saloon, for she had forgotten quite how grand the house was. Her interest in the proportions of the rooms was not equal to her curiosity about the people occupying them, however, and while Mrs Bennet craned her neck to admire the gilt cornices, Elizabeth watched closely to see how they were received by the ladies of the house.

With dismay bordering on alarm was how, if she did not mistake the fleeting look Miss Bingley sent Mrs Hurst, and the disdainful twitch that pulled at the former’s top lip until it stretched into a tight smile. “How good of you to call, Mrs Bennet,” that lady said. “And so soon after we saw you at the assembly.”

Mrs Bennet—from whom Jane had inherited her propensity to always see the good in people, and Elizabeth her propensity to always assume people would see the good in her—smiled unquestioningly. “That is precisely as we thought, Miss Bingley, for though we were enchanted to make your acquaintance on Saturday, there is never much opportunity to talk at a dance,”—Elizabeth dipped her head to hide a smile, fancying her mother had never suffered any such impediment—“and we wished to make certain you knew how welcome you are to the neighbourhood.” As though to ensure they never left it, Mrs Bennet anchored herself, without being invited to, on the nearest sofa. Her youngest three daughters followed suit, dropping onto various pieces of furniture around the room until only Jane and Elizabeth remained standing.

Miss Bingley’s chest swelled with indignation.

“Are you finding the country to your liking?” Elizabeth enquired to distract her from her pique.

“We are not yet much acquainted with the area, so it is difficult to say. Will you not sit down, Miss Elizabeth? Miss Bennet? You may as well now.”

Elizabeth inclined her head and lowered herself into the nearest seat, as did Jane and then Mrs Hurst. Miss Bingley remained standing.

With seamless grace and a little assistance from Elizabeth, Jane turned the indelicate beginning into a genteel discussion of Hertfordshire’s merits. Mrs Bennet only occasionally contributed; Mary, Kitty and Lydia not at all; thus, the conversation had begun to show real promise of becoming agreeable to all when the door burst open and Mr Bingley strode into the room, looking for all the world as though he had thought it was on fire and he was the man to put it out.

“Ah! Caroline! I heard we had guests, and…well, I…I thought you might need me to…that is, I was worried you would, ah…Good day, Miss Bennet. And Mrs Bennet. And Miss…Good day to you all.”

Elizabeth could not be happier for Jane, whose presence had almost certainly induced this hasty and tongue-tied arrival. Why Mr Darcy had thought it necessary to come was less clear. He walked into the room more sedately than his friend, but glowering at everybody present, less as though he meant to extinguish a blaze and more as though to determine who started it. She was still delighting in his supercilious nonsense when his sweeping gaze reached her, and she took some pleasure in his obvious surprise at having been observed in his scrutiny of the room. She made no attempt to disguise the fact that she was diverted and instead raised an eyebrow by the smallest increment—I know what you are about, sir!—then turned to join the conversation that had sprung up amongst the others.

“Aye, there is a dance every month at the assembly rooms,” Jane was telling Mr Bingley.

“Though, you must not concern yourself that you will have to wait that long to dance again with Jane,” Mrs Bennet informed him. “There are forever impromptu little reels being danced at the sorts of parties we attend.”

Elizabeth cringed inwardly, which turned out to be an unnecessary precaution, for Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst both did so outwardly.

Mr Bingley either did not share his sisters’ disdain for ungarnished country amusements or was too gallant to show it. “How merry and uncontrived all your gatherings must be. I am impatient to experience one for myself.”

“Then I hope you will agree to dine with us a week on Tuesday, sir. We shall send a card, of course. I hope you will come, for if it is lively and informal that pleases you, then I think you will like Longbourn very well indeed.”

Elizabeth’s increasingly good opinion of Mr Bingley was bettered further still when he gave no indication of being put off by this and accepted on behalf of his entire party. She glanced at Mr Darcy to determine how deeply the prospect appalled him and caught sight of Miss Bingley sending a most expressive look in the same direction—one that seemed to beg him to extricate them from the engagement. Elizabeth did not think he could have missed it, for Miss Bingley was directly in his line of sight, yet rather than acknowledging her, Mr Darcy turned away to look out of the window. It was an exchange by which Elizabeth was uncharitably diverted. Jane had reported to them all a remark Miss Bingley had made that while Mr Darcy rarely spoke among strangers, he was remarkably agreeable among his intimate acquaintance. Not so very agreeable, it seems, she thought. Or so very intimate. Poor Miss Bingley!

“Have you had the opportunity for much sport since you arrived?” enquired Mrs Bennet, never one to let a conversation lapse long enough for anybody to grow complacent.

“Not as much as my brother would like,” Mr Bingley replied amiably.

“We thought you might be shooting today,” Jane said with a smile that Elizabeth fancied must signal to everybody her pleasure that he was not.

“We would have been, had we known the weather would be so clement. Alas, we went out yesterday—in the rain—and we have to constrain ourselves to one shoot a week else Darcy will kill every bird on the estate before Michaelmas.” He leant forwards and whispered theatrically, “There is such a thing as being too good an aim.”

“How good of you to be the one to make the sacrifice,” Elizabeth remarked. “I might be more inclined to enjoy the sport whenever I chose and ask my friend to curb his efficiency.”

“We could hardly expect Mr Darcy to shoot fewer birds simply because Charles does not aim as well,” Miss Bingley interjected. “We should as soon ask Mr Hurst to win fewer hands at cards because none of us play as well as he.”

“Or you to buy fewer dresses, though you do look better than I in all of them,” Mr Bingley said to her over his shoulder.

Try as she might, Elizabeth could not fully repress a laugh; it bubbled up and caught in her throat just loudly enough to draw notice. She made a more concerted effort to conceal her amusement when Jane cast her a beseeching look, though she did not truly believe she had done much damage until she noticed Mr Darcy was glowering at her again. She bit her lips together to banish her smile and resolved to be sensible for the remainder of the visit.

“Well, that went well, did it not, girls?” Mrs Bennet said as their carriage pulled away. Then her expression soured. “Though Lizzy must learn not run on at people the way she does.”

“She was only being polite, Mama,” Jane protested.

“No, no she was not!” She tossed a vexed glanced at Elizabeth. “She was being clever, as she always has to be. Well I beg you would stop being clever, Miss Lizzy, until your sister is engaged. Then you may run on at everybody to your heart’s content.”

“Why, thank you, Mama. I am not sure there is any logic to your hope that my being stupid will increase Jane’s chances of falling in love, but if you are convinced it will help then you may count on my obedience.”

This answer pleased her mother not at all, but Jane laughed more easily than she usually would have, convincing Elizabeth that the visit truly had gone well, and delighting her enough that she did not object once to Mary’s elbowing her in the ribs all the way home.


About Fallen

The air was all gone, and coldness overtook her, as though she had fallen into icy water and was sinking into the blackness. Her stomach churned, as it was wont to do these days. He would not marry her. She was ruined.

THE ARRIVAL OF TWO ELIGIBLE GENTLEMEN at Netherfield Park sends ripples of excitement through nearby Meryton. But Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy are not the only additions to the neighbourhood raising eyebrows. An unremarkable cottage in the woods between Netherfield and Meryton also has new tenants. One of them—a lively little girl with an adventurous spirit, a love of the outdoors, and a past shrouded in mystery—draws the notice of more than one local.

ELIZABETH BENNET—YOUNG, INTELLIGENT, and UNFASHIONABLY INDEPENDENT—forms a poor first impression of the haughty Mr Darcy. On closer acquaintance, and against her better judgment, her disgust begins to give way to more tender feelings. Yet standing in the way of any potential romance is the closely guarded history of a certain little girl in a cottage in the woods. Elizabeth might be ready to disclose her hidden affections, but she is about to learn that some things are better kept secret, and some hearts are safer left untouched.

Buy on Amazon


About the Author

Jessie Lewis, author of Mistaken, Speechless,and The Edification of Lady Susan,enjoys words far too much for her own good and was forced to take up writing them down in order to save her family and friends from having to listen to her saying so many of them. She dabbled in poetry during her teenage years, though it was her studies in Literature and Philosophy at university that firmly established her admiration for the potency of the English Language. She has always been particularly in awe of jane Austen’s literary cunning and has delighted in exploring Austen’s regency world in her own historical fiction writing. It is of no relevance whatsoever to her ability to string words together coherently that she lives in Hertfordshire with two tame cats, two feral children, and a pet husband. She is also quite tall, in case you were wondering.

You can check out her musings on the absurdities of language and life on her blog, LifeinWords.blog, or see what she’s reading over at Goodreads. Or you can drop her a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter, or on her Facebook page.


Giveaway

Quills & Quartos is generously offering a free ebook of Fallen as part of the blog tour. The winner will be chosen by the publisher from the commenters on this post one week after the tour is over (January 22, 2021). Good luck!


Thank you, Jessie, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

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Source: Review copy from the editor

Christina Boyd and her “dream team” of Austenesque writers put out the best Austen-inspired anthologies, hands down. It took me a while to finish Rational Creatures, partly because my life has been so busy and reading time has been limited and partly because I wanted to savor this collection. For me, it’s easy to quickly read through stories that are lighthearted romances, and while there is some romance in these stories, the romance in my opinion wasn’t the focal point here.

These stories are about the women in Austen’s novels, a mix of prequels, sequels, and side stories covering the heroines (and everyone’s favorite antiheroine Lady Susan) as well as many secondary characters, including Charlotte Lucas, Sophia Croft, Penelope Clay, Mary Crawford, and Eleanor Tilney. I’m not going to detail each of the stories, as it’s more fun to jump right in and just go with the flow. As with all of The Quill Collective anthologies, I enjoyed each story and getting to know each of these characters in a new way. I loved how the stories delved deeper into each character — their back stories, the love stories we don’t see in Austen’s novels, their thoughts on their place in society and the limitations that accompany that status, and so much more.

Rational Creatures is a fantastic anthology that shows exactly why we love Austen’s characters: love ’em or hate ’em, Austen’s female characters each are strong in their own way. These stories gave me a new appreciation of characters who aren’t the usual favorites, like Fanny Price, or who make bad decisions, like Charlotte Lucas and Louisa Musgrove, or the “bad girls,” like Mary Crawford, or the ones we simply know little about but who must have rich stories, like Sophia Croft. The stories made me laugh, made me think, and basically made me want to re-read Austen’s novels. I really hope these Quill Collective anthologies keep coming!

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My guest today is Jessie Lewis, who is here to share an excerpt from her latest release, Speechless. The cover alone makes me want to read the book, but if you need a little more convincing, please keep reading — you don’t want to miss this one. And please give Jessie a warm welcome!

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Thank you, Anna, for letting me stop by at your blog to tell my readers about my new novel, Speechless. I’d like to share an excerpt from early on in the story. Darcy has been injured but is not yet sure how. Elizabeth Bennet is tending to him, but he’s not yet sure why—and she is not particularly happy about it, though he is too ill to fully comprehend that either. Fortunately for him, this is Elizabeth Bennet, and she is not the sort to let enmity interfere with compassion.

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Worse than the unrelenting sense of suffocation, worse even than the agony of whatever affliction gripped his throat, was the terrible thirst to which Darcy awoke. His tongue cleaved to his palette, his head pounded, and exhaustion pinned his arms to his sides. When he begged for water, his lips cracked and his tongue spasmed, but his plea remained unspoken, for no sound came from the parched wasteland of his mouth. He could hear the hoarse scrape of what he presumed was his breathing, a crackling that he supposed was a fire, the faint whistle of wind trespassing around an ill-fitted windowpane—but of his own voice he heard not a croak.

Fear added its bite to the gnaw of thirst. What in God’s name had happened to him? Fighting an upwelling of alarm, he forced his eyes open. He was in a chamber, the ceiling of which was yellowing and peppered with mildew. He could see the uppermost corner of a window from where he lay; it was glazed with diamonds of thick, distorted glass. The walls were painted a utilitarian shade of taupe. He did not know the place or why he was in it. The time of day eluded him, for the light was all wrong—grey and bright at the same time. He knew neither how he came to be there, nor how long he ago he had arrived. All that was certain was that he hurt atrociously, though the reason for that was as shrouded in mystery as everything else, and the confusion of his mind terrified him almost as much as his physical suffering.

Thirst overshadowed everything, compelling him to lift his head in search of water. Excruciating pain drove him instantly back down, his eyes and jaw clenched shut and his mind awhirl, grasping futilely at wisps of memories that might—but did not—explain the feeling of being utterly spent, utterly broken. His neck was ablaze and there was something horribly unfamiliar about the way his head and shoulders were aligned—an unnatural rigidity betwixt the two that when he reached up to touch it, felt numb, despite the monstrous pain. He dug his fingers into it, attempted to scratch away whatever was hurting him, but everything he did and everywhere he touched exacerbated the torture.

Something took hold of his hands. He recoiled from the contact, ripping free of its grip and shoving it away, fearful of anything touching him. The movement tightened the constriction about his throat. He tugged frantically at the collar of his shirt to relieve it, but again his hands were seized and drawn aside, this time more firmly. Somebody spoke, the words nebulous but the tone fretful. He was not alone! There was comfort in that—or at least, there would be, if only whoever it was would do something to relieve his torment.

He or she—she—said something else. He knew not what; he could not concentrate on anything beyond the all-consuming need for liquid. He begged for water and shuddered when his throat gave forth nothing but an arid wheeze and a flood of pain. He forced one eye open and mouthed his plea again at the silhouette bent over him.

For the briefest moment, Darcy forgot his thirst entirely as the achingly familiar apparition slid her hand beneath his head and lifted it slightly to meet the cup she held to his mouth.

“Sip it slowly, Mr Darcy. Your throat is wounded. You would not like to choke.”

Then water trickled between his lips and all else became immaterial. He meant to sip but need bade him gulp. His throat contracted, he bucked in agony, spluttered out most of the water and sucked the rest into his lungs.

“Calm yourself, sir. Breathe. ’Tis well. ’Tis well.”

The composure of the voice was vastly at odds with the desperate situation. It steadied him until he ceased coughing. As did the hand that remained at the base of his neck. Somebody—the same woman, presumably—dabbed the water from his face. He strained to focus his gaze on her countenance, his eyes found hers, and his breath hitched, though nobody would have noticed amongst the already erratic clamour.

“Now sip,” said Elizabeth Bennet—to all appearances the real one, not an apparition or a delusion or a dream.

“What in blazes?” Darcy wondered in bewilderment, for in his present condition, with his mind as empty as his lungs, he could think of no goodly explanation for her being there. He had not the strength to reflect upon it for long. Distracted by the cup that was back at his lips, he attended instead to assuaging his thirst, though the pain of swallowing and the effort not to gag made it impossible to take more than half a dozen sips. By the time Elizabeth laid his head gently back on the pillow and removed her hand, exhaustion had crept into Darcy’s mind and settled heavily upon his limbs. His eyes were already closed.

He heard, and envied, the deep breath Elizabeth took. He heard her, also, as she let it out, slowly and a little shakily—and he heard her speak.

“Good. The only thing that could possibly make this situation worse would be if you were actually to die.”

Sleep was upon him before her meaning could even begin to matter.

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About Speechless

Could anything be worse than to be trapped in a confined space with the woman you love?

Fitzwilliam Darcy knows his duty, and it does not involve succumbing to his fascination for a dark-eyed beauty from an unheard of family in Hertfordshire. He has run away from her once already. Yet fate has a wicked sense of humour and deals him a blow that not only throws him back into her path but quite literally puts him at Elizabeth Bennet’s mercy. Stranded with her at a remote inn and seriously hampered by injury, Darcy very quickly loses the battle to conquer his feelings, but can he win the war to make himself better understood without the ability to speak?

Thus begins an intense journey to love and understanding that is at times harrowing, sometimes hilarious and at all times heartwarming.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Jessie Lewis

Jessie Lewis, author of Mistaken and The Edification of Lady Susan, enjoys words far too much for her own good and was forced to take up writing them down in order to save her family and friends from having to listen to her saying so many of them. She dabbled in poetry during her teenage years, though it was her studies in Literature and Philosophy at university that firmly established her admiration for the potency of the English language. She has always been particularly in awe of Jane Austen’s literary cunning and has delighted in exploring Austen’s regency world in her own historical fiction writing. It is of no relevance whatsoever to her ability to string words together coherently that she lives in Hertfordshire with two tame cats, two feral children and a pet husband. She is also quite tall, in case you were wondering.

You can check out her musings on the absurdities of language and life on her blog, LifeinWords.blog, or see what she’s reading over at Goodreads. Or you can drop her a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on her Facebook page, JessieLewisAuthor.

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Giveaway

Quills & Quartos Publishing is giving away one ebook of Speechless per blog tour stop. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this blog post, and Quills & Quartos will randomly choose winners for the entire blog tour on December 19. So, make sure you join in the conversation! Good luck!

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

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It’s my pleasure to welcome Jessie Lewis to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her new novel, Mistaken, a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Jessie is here to discuss theatres in Regency England and the role they play in the novel, and there’s an excerpt and giveaway as well. Please give her a warm welcome!

Thank you, Anna, for hosting this part of the Mistaken blog tour. I’d like to share with your readers a scene from the early part of the book, in which a somewhat repentant Elizabeth has an unexpected encounter at the theatre, shortly after she returns to London from Kent.

Mistaken has its fair share of twists and turns, and it never hurts to drop a good plot bombshell in a public place—you know, to maximise the impact on your poor unsuspecting characters. The theatre might seem a clichéd choice of public venue, but in the absence of Netflix or Nando’s, it was popular evening entertainment for those reality-TV-starved Regency folk.

In order to make my theatre scenes credible, it was necessary for me to do a fair amount of research, and though most of what I learned has been relegated to a file buried somewhere on my hard drive or a long-forgotten bookmark on my browser, some of what I discovered was more memorable. So before I reveal Elizabeth’s encounter, I thought I’d share some of my own unexpected discoveries about the theatres of the Regency period.

The predominant trait I stumbled upon in my research was their propensity to burn down. With alarming regularity, the playhouses of London were reduced to cinders—a sight altogether greyer and less interesting to watch than the eponymous pantomime that occasionally graced the stages on those rare occasions when they were not engulfed in flames.

The Theatre Royal in Covent Garden burned down twice, as did Her Majesty’s Theatre in Haymarket. The theatre presently situated on Drury Lane is the fourth to have stood on the site, two having burned down and one having been completely demolished just for the fun of it.

All these pyrotechnic shenanigans make writing a historically accurate evening at the theatre during the Regency far trickier than it ought to be. Though I dug up all manner of information about which plays were billed at which times, starring which actors, I invariably found that on the night I needed my characters to attend, the theatre in question was either in the midst of a blazing inferno or the throes of a years-long reconstruction. Thus, other than Darcy’s one mention of “the new theatre on Drury Lane,” (which opened on 10th October, 1812 after—guess what?—a fire!), every other mention of theatres in Mistaken is hopelessly but deliberately vague.

That’s the buildings themselves covered; now onto what went on inside them. Far from the refined, elegant outing I had previously imagined, a typical Regency evening at the theatre seems to have been more akin to a pub lock-in. People arrived early, remained late into the night and consumed food and alcohol in copious quantities as they watched a whole succession of performances ranging in nature from high drama to the aforementioned pantomime.

It seems that by the beginning of the C19th, the theatre had ceased to be the bastion of the very rich (not that they were so very well behaved either, but that’s another story). Though the wealthy kept to their private boxes, the lower classes had begun attending in numbers too, squeezing into the gallery up in the rafters and filling up the pits in front of the stage. This led to a mix of people in the audience whose social conventions were rather at odds.

According to the British Library, prostitutes in the pits were a given, riots in the stalls were commonplace and heckling was routine. One doesn’t like to imagine the stately Mr. Darcy partaking in such bawdy behaviour, but it seems to have been de rigueur to hurl at least one “boo” and possibly a rotten tomato at the stage. People talked amongst themselves, sang along to popular songs, and came and went as they pleased throughout the performances—though another snippet of information I happened across led me to think people did not get up and go quite as often as they should have.

According to QI.com, people without the privilege of a box were so unwilling to give up their unreserved seats that they occasionally relieved themselves where they sat. Though such a practice would at least have offered some much needed protection against the constant threat of fire, the problem was so severe that in the mid C19th, a theatre in Newcastle was forced to line the floor of its gallery with lead to save the wealthy patrons in the boxes below from the “inconvenience” of being dripped on.

All in all, my research painted a very different picture of the theatre than I had previously imagined Darcy and Elizabeth might experience—a fact I think readers will see reflected in the theatre scenes in the book. Fortunately, the characters in Mistaken don’t behave quite as poorly as this. That’s not to say they all behave well, mind, as you’ll see in the excerpt I’m sharing with you today. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek, and thanks for visiting with me at Anna’s blog.

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An excerpt from Mistaken, courtesy of Jessie Lewis

Wednesday, 22 April 1812: London

The intermission came, more an interlude to Elizabeth’s tragic narrative than to Shakespeare’s, and Mr. Gardiner was sent for refreshments. The ladies had not long been alone when an altercation erupted between two men a short way off.

“Oh, dear! Let us move away,” Mrs. Gardiner whispered.

Elizabeth would have done so directly had not one of the men then mentioned he who had been uppermost in her thoughts all evening.

“…never known anybody so high in the instep. Well, fie on him and his righteousness! I say Mr. Darcy is a sanctimonious prig!”

She fixed her eyes on the clearly inebriated speaker, her lips pursed against all the things she should like to say but could not. True, she had accused Mr. Darcy of worse, but she was acquainted with him well enough to have received an offer of marriage. She sincerely doubted this horrid little man had any such claim to intimacy.

“I never said he was not, but he did not cheat you, Wrenshaw,” the other man replied, and it seemed very much as though it was not the first time he had said it.

“How is it then that we parted with the same piece of land within two months of each other, and he made a fortune while I made naught but a fool of myself?”

“Because you are reckless with your money!”

“Piffle!” the man named Wrenshaw shouted to the tittered delight of the growing crowd. “He took advantage of me, I tell you! He is cheat—a bounder! Do not be fooled by the stick up his bailey. No man can be that damned proper. I wager he has a whore in every bedroom at Pemberley!”

A squall of gasps flew up.

“Come away, Lizzy,” her aunt repeated, but she could not leave.

“Mr. Darcy does not deserve this! He is not a bad man!”

“I confess I am surprised to hear you defend him.”

“I know, but I was very wrong about him.”

“Here we are!” Mr. Gardiner announced behind them. Before either lady could do more than receive the drinks he had brought, he added, “Good gracious, is that you, Harding?” and walked directly to the pair of squabbling men.

Mrs. Gardiner groaned. Elizabeth felt nothing but relief that Mr. Wrenshaw would be silenced. Within moments, her uncle was gesturing for them to join him. He introduced the quieter of the two men as a business acquaintance, Mr. Harding, and the other as that gentleman’s friend, Mr. Wrenshaw.

“And this is my lovely wife, Mrs. Gardiner. She has spent a good deal of time in your part of the country actually, Mr. Wrenshaw, in Lambton. And this is my niece, Miss—”

“Lambton? In Derbyshire?” Mr. Wrenshaw interrupted.

“Yes, between Pemberley and Yewbridge,” answered Mrs. Gardiner, looking as displeased with his incivility as Elizabeth felt.

“I know very well where it is, madam,” he replied curtly. To Mr. Harding he said, “It was Lambton that Crambourne wished to bypass with his blasted railway. And since Darcy would part with nary an inch of his estate, the arrogant swine bought half of mine and sold that to Crambourne instead! Now tell me he is not a swindling bleater!” His voice grew louder as he warmed to the topic, recalling the attention of all the eavesdroppers who had begun to lose interest.

Elizabeth’s vexation flared. “Upon my word, you have been very free with your opinion of that gentleman this evening, sir.”

Mr. Wrenshaw looked at her sharply. “What of it? You cannot have any peculiar interest in him.”

“I daresay the energy with which you have maligned him has provoked us all to be a little curious,” Elizabeth replied, indicating with a glance the scores of inquisitive faces watching their exchange. “You are obviously keen that we should all agree with your estimation of his character, but none of us will be able to until you decide what it is you wish us to think of him.”

His countenance reddened. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“You have accused Mr. Darcy of being righteous and depraved. I have been used to consider those opposing qualities. I am afraid he cannot be both.”

“I merely suggested, madam, that the appearance of one often conceals the presence of the other.”

“Indeed?” Elizabeth resisted a smile. “Then, it is to all our advantages that there are respectable men such as yourself to evince the difference for the rest of us.”

“Lizzy!” Mrs. Gardiner hissed.

“Indeed!” Mr. Wrenshaw assured her airily, to all appearances satisfied with the turn of the conversation—until several people sniggered nearby and his brow creased in puzzlement.

His friend wasted no time engaging Mr. Gardiner on another matter. Elizabeth retreated, happy to observe the crowds and their interest dissipating and happier still when the second curtain call came and she was able to escape Mr. Wrenshaw’s odious company.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I can’t wait to read Mistaken. Thank you, Jessie, for sharing your fascinating research and this excerpt with me and my readers! I learned a lot about the theatre today that I’m not likely to forget. 😉

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About Mistaken

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a single man in possession of a good fortune, a broken heart, and tattered pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a young lady in possession of a superior wit, flawed judgement, and a growing list of unwanted suitors. With a tempestuous acquaintance, the merciless censure of each other’s character, and the unenviable distinction of a failed proposal behind them, they have parted ways on seemingly irreparable terms. Despairing of a felicitous resolution for themselves, they both attend with great energy to rekindling the courtship between Darcy’s friend Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane.

Regrettably, people are predisposed to mistake one another, and rarely can two be so conveniently manoeuvred into love without some manner of misunderstanding arising. Jane, crossed in love once already, is wary of Bingley’s renewed attentions. Mistaking her guardedness for indifference, Bingley is drawn to Elizabeth’s livelier company; rapidly, the defects in their own characters become the least of the impediments to Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness.

Debut author Jessie Lewis’s Mistaken invites us to laugh along with Elizabeth Bennet at the follies, nonsense, whims, and inconsistencies of characters both familiar and new in this witty and romantic take on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.

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

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About the Author

Jessie Lewis

I’ve always loved words—reading them, writing them, and as my friends and family will wearily attest, speaking them. I dabbled in poetry during my angst-ridden teenage years, but it wasn’t until college that I truly came to comprehend the potency of the English language.

That appreciation materialised into something more tangible one dark wintry evening whilst I was making a papier-mâché Octonauts Gup-A (Google it—you’ll be impressed) for my son, and watching a rerun of Pride and Prejudice on TV. Fired up by the remembrance of Austen’s genius with words, I dug out my copy of the novel and in short order had been inspired to set my mind to writing in earnest. I began work on a Regency romance based on Austen’s timeless classic, and my debut novel Mistaken is the result.

The Regency period continues to fascinate me, and I spend a good deal of my time cavorting about there in my daydreams, imagining all manner of misadventures. The rest of the time I can be found at home in Hertfordshire, where I live with my husband, two children, and an out-of-tune piano. You can check out my musings on the absurdities of language and life on my blog, Life in Words, or you can drop me a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter, or on my Facebook page, Jessie Lewis Author,  or on Goodreads, Jessie Lewis.

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Giveaway

Enter here for a chance to win one of eight ebook copies of Mistaken that are up for grabs as part of the blog tour. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link.

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Mistaken by Jessie Lewis. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Good luck!

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10/03   My Jane Austen Book Club Vignette, Giveaway

10/04   Darcyholic Diversions Author Interview, Giveaway

10/05   Just Jane 1813 Review, Giveaway

10/06   Diary of an Eccentric Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/07   My Love for Jane Austen Character Interview, Giveaway

10/08   Of Pens and Pages Review, Giveaway

10/09   From Pemberley to Milton Guest Post, Giveaway

10/10   Half Agony, Half Hope Review, Excerpt

10/11   Savvy Verse and Wit Review, Giveaway

10/12   So little time… Guest Post, Giveaway

10/13   Babblings of a Bookworm Vignette, Giveaway

10/14   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl Review, Giveaway

10/15   Laughing With Lizzie Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/16   Austenesque Reviews Vignette, Giveaway

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