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Posts Tagged ‘mr. bennet’s dutiful daughter’

Happy New Year!! I thought I would start off 2017 by celebrating the best of the books I read last year. Rather than do my usual Top 10 list, I thought I’d try something new this year and list my favorites in various categories, with links to (and quotes from) my reviews.

BEST HISTORICAL FICTION (WWII)

A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner

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A Moment Forever is not a book you merely read; Gardiner ensures you actually live the story — from the overindulgence of Long Island’s Gold Coast to the wartime excitement in the Big Apple, from the airfields and USO dances and the fashions of the ’40s to the solemnity of Paris 50 years after the roundup of its Jewish residents for deportation. There are so many layers to this story, and I never wanted it to end.

BEST HISTORICAL FICTION (OTHER ERA)

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

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Simone St. James is a new-to-me writer, and as soon as I finished Lost Among the Living I determined that I must read her previous novels, which all seem to be equally suspenseful. I loved her writing here, particularly the passages that describe the intensity of Jo and Alex’s relationship, which enable readers to feel Jo’s grief and the frustration inherent in not knowing Alex’s fate. I also liked that while there was romance and passion, Lost Among the Living is at its core a ghost story, but it’s so much more than that. St. James shows the impact of the war on the returning soldiers and the women whose men never came home, as well as the blurring of the boundaries between social classes and how greed and selfishness can tear families apart.

BEST AUSTEN VARIATION (REGENCY)

Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes

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Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is a beautifully written novel, with just the right amount of angst to move me to the brink of tears without making me put the book down in despair. Starnes has a knack for putting Elizabeth and Darcy in impossible situations, delving deep into their souls, and keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they wonder how a happily ever after will be achieved. I loved the pacing of the novel, and Starnes does a wonderful job evolving their relationship through many ups and downs as they navigate the challenges posed by their families and themselves.

BEST AUSTEN VARIATION (MODERN)

Without a Conscience by Cat Gardiner

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Like Denial of Conscience, Without a Conscience is sexy (definitely for mature audiences only) and exciting from the very first page. Gardiner is a fantastic storyteller who weaves clever plots and navigates Darcy and Liz through the twists and turns while further evolving their relationship. In the midst of the danger and excitement, Gardiner provides plenty of humor, and the obvious rivalry between Liz and Caroline had me laughing out loud several times. The novel is perfectly paced, and there’s just something about Gardiner’s writing style that has me hanging on every word.

BEST AUSTEN VARIATION (SECONDARY CHARACTERS)

The Trouble to Check Her by Maria Grace

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The Trouble to Check Her exemplifies why Grace is one of my favorite authors of Austen-inspired fiction. Her attention to detail in terms of character development and the history of the era is fantastic, and I hope there is another book in the series (mainly because I want to find out what happened to Jane Bingley after her falling out with Elizabeth Darcy).

BEST AUSTEN VARIATION (OTHER)

The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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I enjoyed reading both Elizabeth’s diary and about the rocky start to Charlie and Evie’s relationship and their determination to find Elizabeth’s papers. I especially loved how James showed that even Austen’s beloved couple likely didn’t have a perfect marriage, and by telling that story from the point of view of Elizabeth, readers are able to see her insecurities and her frustration while having little clue what Darcy is thinking or feeling, which creates just the right amount of tension. I also loved getting a glimpse of the Darcys and their family years into their marriage, so they are no longer bright-eyed newlyweds but older and wiser and settled into their life together. Charlie and Evie’s story was exciting and even had some similarities to Darcy and Elizabeth’s, and Charlie’s client, Cressida Carter, is very Caroline Bingley-esque. The dual narratives were seamlessly connected, and the shifts between the two were timed perfectly to ensure readers can’t put the book down.

MOST UNIQUE AUSTEN VARIATION

The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Beau North and Brooke West

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The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy is unique and exciting. It made me laugh, and it left me in tears, so much so that my husband kept asking if I was okay and I worried I would short out my Kindle! It’s been a while since I’ve been so emotionally affected by a Pride and Prejudice variation. It’s absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year, possibly one of my all-time favorites, and definitely one I won’t forget!

BEST HOLIDAY NOVEL

Lucky 13  by Cat Gardiner

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Oh, how I loved this novel! Gardiner is a master at bringing Jane Austen’s characters into the present day and turning up the heat (and the laughs). From their heated arguments to their heated encounters at the jaw-dropping calendar audition and the chest-oiling photo shoot, I couldn’t get enough of this Lizzy and Darcy. The secondary characters are equally entertaining, from Jane, the supermodel with a secret, to Caroline, the matchmaking poochie mama, and especially Charlotte (aka “Punky) and Darcy’s cousin, Rick (aka “Preppy”), who are the most obnoxious of the numerous matchmakers.

BEST POETRY COLLECTION

The Jane and Bertha in Me by Rita Maria Martinez

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Martinez’s poems are full of vivid imagery (“The Bertha in me sleeps until three in the afternoon and sits on the back porch with a cup of Earl Grey that quells the desire to chop up her crotchety landlord,” from “The Jane and Bertha in Me”), sensual (“Charlotte’s manuscript sepulchered like an incorruptible saint, splayed on its back like a woman whose architecture I want to touch,” from “At the British Library”), insightful (“Pain caused by first love never truly subsides,” from “Jane’s Denial”), and even humorous (“She’ll be sorry for canoodling with the missionary, thinks Rochester, who’s exceeded his cursing quota and looks like Wolverine,” from “Jane Eyre: Classic Cover Girl”). Martinez even writes about Brontë herself, from her different personas to the migraines she suffered through in order to create her “pristine prose” (from “The Literature of Prescription”).

BEST SHORT STORY/COLLECTION

“Tea Time” by Tiffani Burnett-Velez

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I finished reading “Tea Time” in less than half an hour, and I was satisfied with the abrupt ending even though I wasn’t ready for the story to be over. The final few lines pack a punch and made it a story I won’t soon forget. I can’t wait to read more from Burnett-Velez.

FAVORITE COVER

Undercover by Cat Gardiner

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Gardiner is a fantastic storyteller who had me hooked from the very first page. The use of slang from the era, her vivid descriptions, the steamy scenes, and the murder mystery are handled so perfectly that I could picture the entire book in my head, as though I were actually watching a black-and-white hard-boiled crime drama on the screen. She moved Austen’s characters into 1952 New York City in a way that felt true to them. I loved that she gave Darcy a painful back story and that Elizabeth and Jane weren’t the best of friends. Gardiner’s portrayal of Georgiana as a modern and independent though innocent and sheltered young woman is handled beautifully, as is Lydia’s downfall at the hands of Slick Wick.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Some of the more memorable 5-star books from 2016 (click the covers to read my reviews)

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Miss Darcy's Companion front cover_V4

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What were your favorite books of 2016? I’d love to know!

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Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

Her breath came easier after the first hundred yards as the strenuous pace she kept worked its magic, just as it always did. She might well be Mrs. Darcy now, but she would not lose sight of Elizabeth Bennet. And Elizabeth Bennet did not sit moping and blaming the world for all her troubles. She would make the best of what she was given, and make haste about it, too.

(from Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter)

Joana Starnes’ latest novel, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that takes readers on an emotional journey, imagining what might have happened had Mr. Darcy interrupted Elizabeth Bennet and Colonel Fitzwilliam’s stroll at Rosings Park before the colonel tells her about Mr. Darcy’s interference in her sister’s relationship with Mr. Bingley. In Starnes’ tale, Darcy brings Elizabeth news that her father has fallen ill, and he acknowledges that while his timing is bad, he loves her and wishes to marry her. Making this disclosure immediately is meant to bring a bit of calm to the chaos, with Mr. Collins seeking to swoop in and take over Longbourn before Mr. Bennet is even gone. Knowing that marrying Mr. Darcy will provide security for her mother and sisters in the event of Mr. Bennet’s death, Elizabeth agrees, taking some comfort in the fact that Mr. Darcy is indeed a much better man than she’d originally believed.

Elizabeth has a hard time coming to terms with the extent of Mr. Darcy’s feelings for her, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that she doesn’t return those feelings. Still, she approaches their marriage with courage and kindness, but eventually the reality of their situation — namely the differences in their backgrounds — can no longer be ignored. Her family’s impropriety and connections in trade and his family’s outrage over the rushed and ill-suited match put a damper on their relationship, and misunderstandings conspire to separate them for good, just when Elizabeth believes they have found real happiness.

Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is a beautifully written novel, with just the right amount of angst to move me to the brink of tears without making me put the book down in despair. Starnes has a knack for putting Elizabeth and Darcy in impossible situations, delving deep into their souls, and keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they wonder how a happily ever after will be achieved. I loved the pacing of the novel, and Starnes does a wonderful job evolving their relationship through many ups and downs as they navigate the challenges posed by their families and themselves.

I’ve loved all of the novels by Starnes I’ve read so far (The Subsequent Proposal, The Unthinkable Triangle, and Miss Darcy’s Companion — all 5-star reads!), and her stories and her writing get better with each book. Starnes has easily become one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait to see what torturous situation she puts Darcy and Elizabeth into next! 😉

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About Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

Check out Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter on Goodreads | Amazon

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About Joana Starnes

Joana Starnes

Joana Starnes

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Connect with Joana: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Giveaway

Joana is generously offering an ebook copy of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter to one of my readers. To enter, simply leave a comment and include your email address. This giveaway will close on Sunday, December 4, 2016. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Follow the blog tour

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November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway

November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving

November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway

November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway

November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway

December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

Disclosure: I received Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter from the author for review.

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mbdd-nov-2-cover-reveal-br-ann_edited-2-1I am thrilled to be among the bloggers participating in the cover reveal festivities for Joana Starnes’ latest novel, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, which releases today!

Before I share the stunning cover for what promises to be a fantastic variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, here’s a description of the book to whet your appetite:

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, I’m delighted to introduce Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, featuring the Portrait of Miss Frances Vinicombe by John Opie, a British landscape and portrait artist famous for his paintings of well-known people, including the author Mary Wollstonecraft. Opie’s works also are featured at the Chawton House Library.

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International Giveaway

One winner will receive a paperback and two will receive an ebook of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. The winners also will receive assorted Austen-related mini-gifts.

Also, as a special bonus, all Rafflecopter entrants will receive an exclusive excerpt of the book that will not be included in the Amazon sample. These sample excerpts will be emailed to entrants using their Rafflecopter email addresses. (Please let me know if you have any trouble getting Rafflecopter to accept your entry, and I’ll make sure your email address is sent to the tour host.)

Click here to enter the giveaway. The winners will be announced on November 16. Good luck!

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Connect with Joana Starnes

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Follow the blog tour

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November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

November 18/From Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

November 19/Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

November 23/Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving

November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes

November 27 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway

November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway

December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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