Posts Tagged ‘leenie brown’

I’m very excited to welcome Leenie Brown to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time today to celebrate the release of Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy, a continuation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Now, you all know how much I adore Pride and Prejudice and can’t get enough of those variations, but I’m always thrilled to see an author take on a different Austen novel. Please give Leenie a warm welcome as she talks about what inspired her to tackle Mansfield Park, gives us a peek at the novel, and offers my readers a generous giveaway!

Thank you, Anna, for hosting me today. I am delighted to be here to share with you and your readers about my newest book.

Last school year, I was fortunate enough to speak to a class of very young authors.  One of the questions that I got asked during that session was about where I get my ideas for my stories.  My answer? Everywhere.  You have to be curious. Inspiration for stories is all around us. Of course, each book I write tends to have a different source of inspiration and even within the book itself, there may be several sources of inspiration as characters and scenes unfold.  You could say that each story has a story of its own.

With that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about the story behind Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy.

Each Monday on my blog, I share music, writing news, and an excerpt of a current work in progress.  I count these as my accountability posts ─ the posts were I have to examine and share what I created during the prior week. There are days when I would rather do anything but write; however, I know that Monday is coming, and my readers are waiting to sample what I have been working on. Therefore, I write.

However, back in May of this year, I had just finished editing and publishing two books, a short novel and a novelette, and I was working on getting another novella ready that was scheduled to publish in June.  My brain was tired, but Monday was coming. So, I pulled out a story that had been hanging around for a while and attempted to work on it. I managed a few words but none that pleased me.  I knew I couldn’t share what I had written because I wasn’t positive the story was going as I wanted it to go.

Saturday, the day when I prepare my Monday post, arrived, and I had nothing new.  So, I pulled out something I had written for an Emma read along in which I had participated and shared that, explaining that I was between ideas and my creativity was flagging.

In the comments on that post, someone asked if I could write a piece making Henry Crawford redeemable ─ Henry Crawford! Of all the no good, rotten players to have to make likeable! I mean, I love Mansfield Park, but Henry Crawford? Oh, no, I do not like Henry Crawford.  Not. at. all.

However, the idea would not let me go. It begged me to consider it.  I spent that evening rereading sections of Mansfield Park and taking notes.  A story began to formulate, and by the end of the night,  I had even chosen a name for my heroine based on something Henry lacked. I spent another day or two allowing the story time to percolate and solidify into more of a plan, and then I began writing.

In the last chapter of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen writes

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort and to have done with all the rest.

She then goes on to detail in part what the future holds for the characters we met in her novel.  Henry’s section is fairly lengthy and includes details about his affair with Maria and how it dashed all his hopes of happiness with Fanny.  And then, Jane leaves him in wretchedness.

That punishment, the public punishment of disgrace, should in a just measure attend his share of the offence is, we know, not one of the barriers which society gives to virtue. In this world the penalty is less equal than could be wished; but without presuming to look forward to a juster appointment hereafter, we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had rationally as well as passionately loved.

This is where I decided to pick up that “other pen.”  Henry has had his transformative moment ─ that painful experience of having lost everything due to poor and selfish choices.  He has wallowed in his misery for some time, and he is now ready to make his change complete and find a woman of good character to take as a wife.

But change is never easy.  Sometimes it requires help.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 4 as Henry begins his lessons with a very pretty and proper tutor ─ Constance Linton.  The other principal players mentioned in this section are Linton ─ Trefor Linton, Constance’s older brother ─ and Trefor and Constance’s Aunt Gwladys.


“Crawford,” Linton greeted the next afternoon as he entered the sitting room where Henry was waiting for Constance. “What brings you to my house again today?”

“Do try to sound civil,” Aunt Gwladys chided from her corner. “Remember that Mr. Crawford is your friend.”

Linton raised a brow at his aunt. “I remember precisely who Crawford is, and I see his curricle in front of my house and wish to know why.”

“He is taking Constance for a drive at my request.” Aunt Gwladys spared only a glance up at her nephew from her stitching. “Do you not remember that Constance and I are helping Mr. Crawford learn to be a proper gentleman?”

“You said you were going to instruct him on how to treat a lady.”

“And we are.”

“By sending Constance out in his curricle with him?”

Aunt Gwladys nodded and peered over her spectacles once again at Linton. “There is no better way to learn something than by doing. So, Mr. Crawford is going to practice courting a lady on your sister. There is nothing to fear. Constance is not so retiring that she will not tell him where he is going wrong, and you have been threatening the man with bodily harm for several years, have you not?”

Linton growled, and Henry worried the brim of his hat. “If you harm her or her reputation, I will see you pay.”

“I know, you have said so several times, and I do not doubt your words,” Henry replied. He swallowed as Linton stepped close enough to his side that their shoulders were touching.

“Do not break her heart,” Linton whispered, “or I will pierce yours.”

“I have no intention of engaging her heart.”

Linton scowled. “See that you don’t.”

Constance stopped at the doorway. She knew that her brother had said he threatened Henry on a regular basis, but she had never seen it until now. Though she did not hear any exchange of words, she could tell that Henry was not just uneasy but fearful. To give him time to compose himself and to spare him any embarrassment, she stepped back from view and called out cheerfully that she was ready as she entered.

Henry smiled at her. She was lovely. The blue of her eyes was heightened by the blue of her pelisse and hat. “Shall we go then?”

Constance shook her head and grinned. “No. A gentleman should always compliment a lady on her looks before they depart. We like that sort of thing. Begin again.” She caught how Henry darted a look at her brother. “He shall not harm you for saying his sister is lovely.” She crossed her arms and glared at Trefor. “Unless, of course, he thinks she is not.”

“Do not be ridiculous, Connie. You know I think you are beautiful.” He crossed the room to give her cheek a kiss. “I just find it difficult to hear other gentlemen say it.”

She patted the hand that had grasped hers. “Then do not listen.” She chuckled at his huff. “Mr. Crawford and I are only friends. He requested my help, and I am providing it.” She tipped her head and smiled up at her brother.

“Be careful,” Linton cautioned.

“When am I not?” Constance asked.

“You do not wish for me to answer that. However, I will say that you are intelligent enough to know how easily plans can go awry.”

“All will be well,” Constance assured him. “Now, my pupil awaits to tell me how fetching I look.” She gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “You can question me about every detail over dinner.”

She turned away from her brother and back to Henry. All would be well, she assured herself. She could entertain the attentions of a charming gentleman without falling under his spell. This was Henry Crawford, after all. She had never before fallen for his pretty words. Of course, that was before he had taken on his current persona. No, she shook herself mentally, this was Henry. All would be well.

“You look lovely,” Henry said as he approached her and offered his arm. “Now, shall we go?”

She nodded and placed her hand on his arm. “That was much better. However, in the future, a more specific compliment might be better. You might wish to mention the colour of my ensemble as being flattering or some such thing.”

“Not with your brother present,” Henry muttered.

“Are your intentions less than honourable?” she questioned in a teasing voice.


“Then you should not fear what a brother or guardian might think. They do the same when they greet ladies. I have heard Trefor do it.”

Henry laughed, looking over his shoulder at Linton. “Perhaps I should not fear your brother, but I do.” He gave Linton a knowing nod and was rewarded with something less like a scowl and more like a smile as they left the sitting room.


You know, of course, that not all will be well, right? There will have to be at least a few stumbles and moments of decision in which our hero, the reformed Henry Crawford, can prove his worth before we come to a happy ending. 

However, when this book ends, my time with Mr. Crawford and his friends will not.  There are currently two more stories that I would like to tell.  It’s amazing the ideas that a simple question from a reader has sparked! 

If you would like to have your say about which character’s story I should write next in this collection of books, stop by my Other Pens Readers Group before September 22, 2017, and cast your vote in my poll. 

Thank you so much, Anna, for the opportunity to share about my book with you and your readers.

Thank you, Leenie, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release! I’m looking forward to reading it!


About Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy

He’s failed before, but with her help, this time, he might just succeed.

Henry Crawford has failed to secure the heart of a good woman before ─ and quite spectacularly so! There are few in town who have not heard of his scandalous affair. While his debacle might have proven great fodder for the gossips, it has left him with a shattered heart and a deep desire to change his ways.

However, change is never easy.

Old habits can die hard, and some friends may wish to see you say as you always were. Thankfully for Henry, there are others, such as Trefor Linton, who will wish to help and will offer his sister as a dance partner to help Henry ease his way into society.

While most girls her age dream of a rich and handsome husband, Constance Linton is looking for more. She wishes for an intelligent gentleman of good character who is not opposed to a bookish lady. But sifting through the dross in a ballroom in search of such a man is no easy task.

A gentleman with Henry’s reputation is not the sort of man for whom Constance seeks, yet she is not opposed to lending him her aid in achieving his desires.

What begins as a single dance will grow into a collaboration that will equip Henry with all he needs to win a woman of worth, while entangling hearts and leaving not only his own heart and reputation but also that of his friend and tutor at risk of being irreparably damaged.

Check out Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy on Goodreads | Amazon (global link) | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Other Retailers


About the Author

Leenie Brown

Leenie Brown has always been a girl with an active imagination, which, while growing up, was a both an asset, providing many hours of fun as she played out stories, and a liability, when her older sister and aunt would tell her frightening tales. At one time, they had her convinced Dracula lived in the trunk at the end of the bed she slept in when visiting her grandparents!

Although it has been years since she cowered in her bed in her grandparents’ basement, she still has an imagination which occasionally runs away with her, and she feeds it now as she did then ─ by reading!

Her heroes, when growing up, were authors, and the worlds they painted with words were (and still are) her favourite playgrounds! Now, as an adult, she spends much of her time in the regency world, playing with the characters from her favourite Jane Austen novels and those of her own creation.
When she is not traipsing down a trail in an attempt to keep up with her imagination, Leenie resides in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia with her two sons and her very own Mr. Brown (a wonderful mix of all the best of Darcy, Bingley, and Edmund with a healthy dose of the teasing Mr. Tilney and just a dash of the scolding Mr. Knightley).

Connect with Leenie Brown via email (LeenieBrownAuthor@gmail.com) | Twitter | Facebook | Other Pens Readers Group | Instagram | Blog | Mailing List | Austen Authors



Leenie is kindly offering 2 ebooks of Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell us what intrigues you most about this take on Mansfield Park. This giveaway will close on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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I read a lot of Jane Austen-inspired short stories and novellas recently, so in order to catch up, I thought I’d do another round of mini-reviews:

four days in april

Four Days in April by Maria Grace

This Pride and Prejudice-inspired short story opens after Darcy’s failed proposal and imagines what might have happened had Elizabeth responded to his letter by writing him one. I love Grace’s writing, so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed it. I loved their conversation in Lady Catherine’s drawing room, where they said so much without saying much at all. It lives up to the promise that one can read it while enjoying a cup of tea, and while I was satisfied with the ending, I wouldn’t have minded it being longer. (This is a Kindle freebie.)

sweet ginger

Sweet Ginger by Maria Grace

Inspired by Emma, this is the story of Harriet Smith, how she ended up at Mrs. Goddard’s school, and how she met Robert Martin and his sisters. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the Martins’ home life and especially how Harriet — so in need of a loving family — immediately fit right in. Grace shows readers how truly wrong Emma was in persuading Harriet to turn down Mr. Martin’s proposal. I was glad to see Harriet take center stage.

half agony half hope

Half Agony, Half Hope by Maria Grace

This story aims to fill in the gaps in Persuasion, rather than re-imagine the novel. My favorite scene was toward the end, when Anne, Lady Russell, and Elizabeth are discussing Anne’s upcoming marriage, and Captain Wentworth shows up and offers his opinion when Elizabeth attempts to persuade Anne against getting married before her. That was a laugh-out-loud moment! (This book is available for free on the author’s website.)

teatime tales

Teatime Tales by Leenie Brown

This is a collection of short stories mostly inspired by Pride and Prejudice, though there is one inspired by Mansfield Park. It lives up to the promise of being “a bit of fluff to brighten your day.” My favorite stories were “A Music Room Meeting,” where Colonel Fitzwilliam gets his happily ever after, “From Tolerable to Lovely,” in which Darcy and Elizabeth’s first meeting plays out much differently, and “A Battle of Wills and Words,” in which Colonel Fitzwilliam learns the hard way what happens when one tries to spar with Elizabeth Bennet.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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