Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘nicole clarkston’

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

She was adrift, without direction or inspiration. And for what? For the loss of something which had ever been hers? For envy of her beloved Jane, or disappointment over Lydia? A flash of anger rose in her eyes — the only life to spark back from her mirror. No! She swiped her hand over the flame, quenching it with a quick, stinging pinch of her fingers. There must be more.

(from These Dreams)

Nicole Clarkston’s These Dreams, a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is a novel I was forced to savor because of my busy schedule, but really I wanted to devour it in one sitting. This was one of the most creative — and angsty — variations I’ve ever read. I loved all the twists and turns, and even though it was hard to see my favorite characters brought so low, Clarkston does a fantastic job getting into their heads.

These Dreams opens as Mr. Darcy is orchestrating the marriage of Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, except he doesn’t show up for the wedding, which pains Elizabeth at a time when she thought they would have a second chance. Darcy is brutally captured as part of a complex scheme dating back generations, and his family and friends believe him to be dead. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in dark, hopeless situations, grieving what might have been.

Meanwhile, Colonel Fitzwilliam finds himself in charge of Darcy’s estate and sole guardian of Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, who is heartbroken at the loss of her brother and pulled every which way by family members who believe they have her best interests — and that of the Darcy name and estate — at heart. Fitzwilliam enlists the help of Elizabeth to bring some light back into Georgiana’s life and help her take the reins as mistress of Pemberley, which makes it possible for him to investigate his cousin’s death and unravel the many threads to the conspiracy that ultimately rips the bandage off his wounded heart.

Clarkston did a great job crafting a multilayered story with chaos and possible scandal at every turn. It was impossible to know who to trust, and she handles the healing of these damaged souls in a tender and realistic manner. I loved how Clarkston forged a special bond between Elizabeth and her newly married sister Lydia, allowing them to find some common ground amid their trauma and giving more depth to a character who is usually written off as foolish and unrepentant. There also were plenty of intriguing original characters, especially Amália, who reminded me so much of Elizabeth in her outspokenness and strength.

I absolutely loved These Dreams, even though the pain she caused Darcy and Elizabeth was like a punch to the gut at times. I had no idea how it was going to play out, so I just went along for the ride, and it was so worth it. Trust me, Clarkston doesn’t make you suffer too, too long, and all that pain makes the outcome so much sweeter. Definitely a contender for my Best of 2017 list!

****

About These Dreams

An abandoned bride
A missing man
And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn — alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain
and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

Goodreads | Amazon U.S. | Amazon U.K.

****

About the Author

Nicole Clarkston

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

Connect with Nicole: Website | Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Blog | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter

****

Giveaway

Please click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, where 10 ebook copies are up for grabs. This giveaway is open internationally.

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 These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

****

09/19   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, Giveaway

09/21   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway

09/22   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/23   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

09/24   My Vices and Weaknesses; Excerpt, Giveaway

09/25   Babblings of a Bookworm;  Guest Post or Vignette, Giveaway

09/26   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

09/27   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

09/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

09/29   My Love for Jane Austen; Charcter Interview, Giveaway

09/30   Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/01   Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, Giveaway

10/02   Austenesque Reviews; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/03   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review, Giveaway

10/04   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of These Dreams from the author for review.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

tcoeg-cover

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

In another ten or fifteen years, Jane wold likely be the sweetheart of the county, and it would be a lucky man who won her hand. Lizzy, however…he shook his head. She would need a husband with an iron will! Whoever the man should be, Gardiner decided, he had best win the girl’s respect early, for Lizzy would not be apt to grant him a second chance.

(from The Courtship of Edward Gardiner)

Nicole Clarkston’s newest novel, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, is a prequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that centers on Mrs. Bennet’s brother, Edward Gardiner. Mr. Gardiner has worked hard to build up his business in trade in London and finally has the means to support a family. After being rejected by a Miss Rutherford, a brokenhearted Mr. Gardiner finds himself on the way to Sheffield with his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennet, and his oldest daughters, eight-year-old Jane and seven-year-old Elizabeth. When Jane falls ill, the uncle and his nieces are forced to stay in the village of Lambton while Mr. Bennet journeys toward his ill brother. It is in Lambton that Mr. Gardiner meets Madeline Fairbanks, the daughter of a bookkeeper who has been hired to care for the Bennet sisters during their stay in the village.

Mr. Gardiner is almost immediately captivated by Miss Fairbanks. After all, she is sweet, kind, and clever, and while other young ladies are worried about gowns and ribbons, Madeline helps her ailing father with his business. In short, she is the woman Edward has been waiting for but didn’t believe truly existed. But how are they to build any sort of relationship when he will be heading back to London in a matter of days?

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is a charming novel that puts Elizabeth’s favorite aunt and uncle in the spotlight and imagines how they might have met. I adored Edward and Madeline, as well as the Madeline’s dear friend, Mrs. Porter, the innkeeper. It was also fascinating to get a glimpse of Elizabeth as a rambunctious, outspoken little girl, and especially to see a 14-year-old Fitzwilliam Darcy as he helps his little sister through their grief after their mother’s passing, struggles to keep his pride in check, and begins to understand all of the responsibilities he will one day have as Master of Pemberley. A young Lizzy and Darcy butting heads during a hailstorm, and Mr. Bennet having his fun at Lady Catherine’s expense were some of my favorite scenes.

I generally enjoy when authors put Austen’s secondary characters at the forefront, and Clarkston’s novel is the first I’ve seen that focuses on the Gardiners. The Courtship of Edward Gardiner is a delightful tale, with plenty of humor and excitement mixed in with the romance. This is the first book I’ve read by Clarkston, but it definitely won’t be the last!

***

About The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Every great love has a beginning.

In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, we meet with perhaps the most sensible, caring relatives a lovelorn young woman could hope for: Mr and Mrs Gardiner. What is their story?

Edward Gardiner has just been refused by the lovely young woman he had intended to make his wife. Heartbroken and eager for a diversion, he accepts an invitation from his brother-in-law, Thomas Bennet, to accompany him along with his two eldest daughters to the north on family business. Gardiner’s pleasure tour is interrupted, however, when his eldest niece falls ill and is unable to travel farther.

Stopping over in the scarcely remarkable village of Lambton, the men decide that Bennet must continue on, while Gardiner and the children remain. The only trouble is that Gardiner has not the least idea how he should care for one ailing niece and another who is ready to drive him to distraction… until he meets with Madeline Fairbanks.

Check out The Courtship of Edward Gardiner on Amazon | Goodreads

***

About the Author

Nicole Clarkston

Nicole Clarkston

Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don’t ask).

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole’s books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Connect with Nicole Clarkston via Website | Facebook | Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Blog | Amazon Author Page

***

Giveaway

Nicole is generously offering a copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner in a reader’s choice (ebook or paperback) giveaway, open internationally! To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will close on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

***

Follow the Blog Tour

tcoeg-blog-tour-bannerh

10/21: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
10/22: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
10/27: Review & Giveaway Savvy Verse & Wit
11/01: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
11/08: Guest Post & Giveaway at So little time…
11/10: Review & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
11/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
11/15: Review & Giveaway at My Vices and Weaknesses
11/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
11/26: Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
11/30: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
12/01: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

Disclosure: I received The Courtship of Edward Gardiner from the author for review.

Read Full Post »