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Posts Tagged ‘pride and prejudice’

I’m delighted to help Robin Helm celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, More to Love, which is certainly a different take on Austen’s novel. I hope you all are as excited as I am to read this book, and that the excerpt Robin is sharing today makes you even more excited!

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Early October, 1811

The second eldest Bennet sister sat alone, trying to smile as she watched the couples dancing gracefully around the floor. Occasionally, she nibbled at the cookie she held, taking comfort in the richness of the sweet almond confection. As Elizabeth was a great favourite of Longbourn’s housekeeper and pastry cook, Mrs. Bailey, she was never without several of the tasty morsels in her reticule. Mrs. Bailey, who had learned the recipes for several types of cookies while a young woman in America, kept Elizabeth well-supplied.

Knowing her mother would disapprove of her eating while she waited for an invitation to dance, Elizabeth practiced her usual ruse. She hid the jumble in her embroidered handkerchief, careful to let no one see it. In any case, she was rarely asked to dance, cookie or not, as there were always more ladies than gentlemen at Meryton’s Assemblies. This night had been no exception. She had danced only one set, and that with Joshua Lucas, a friend since childhood.

Her sister Jane’s amiable partner for an earlier dance, Mr. Bingley, stood fairly close to Elizabeth, chatting with a handsome, austere man. Mr. Bingley’s voice carried over the music and gaiety, impossible to ignore.

“Darcy! Why are you standing here with your arms folded when there are so many uncommonly pretty girls lacking dance partners? You should not keep yourself apart from the company in such a stupid manner when lovely young women are seated and gentlemen are scarce. ’Tis rudeness itself. I must have you dance.”

“I certainly shall not,” answered the gentleman, drawing himself up to his full, intimidating height, looking down his nose at his friend. “You have been dancing with the only handsome girl in the room, and your sisters are engaged at present.”

Bingley’s voice softened. “She is an angel, is she not? The most beautiful creature I ever beheld.” He sighed. “However, there are plenty of suitable young ladies who are available.”

Elizabeth smiled upon hearing his praise of her sister. Mr. Bingley’s pleasant manner and good sense caused him to rise several notches in her estimation.

The young man continued, “Look! There is her sister, and she has a very pretty face, too. I daresay she is most agreeable. You must ask her to dance. Allow me to ask my partner to introduce you.”

The young lady felt the weight of the gentleman’s disapproving stare and glanced away, but she could not avoid hearing his reply.

“She is tolerable, I suppose, but there is rather too much of her to tempt me. Return to Miss Bennet and bask in her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with unshed tears as she crushed the cookie hidden in her handkerchief. While she had never been obsessed with her looks in the way her younger sisters were, she always took pride in her appearance. Her father had often complimented her beautiful skin and her lustrous, thick hair, while her mother made certain her bonnets and dresses were stylish.

Even so, she grudgingly acknowledged to herself that she had been avoiding mirrors for at least two years now, and lately, her gowns had become uncomfortably snug.

True or not, his comments wounded her deeply. Though she was well-known for her intelligence and quick wit, she yearned to be told she was altogether lovely. She had many friends, but she feared that being bright and cheerful with a pretty face described a governess or a lady’s companion, and she did not aspire to either of those vocations.

Secretly, Elizabeth wished to be the wife of a gentleman who adored her, as well as a mother to children she would love with all her considerable depth of heart, regardless of their outward features. She prided herself on valuing the characters of her friends and relatives rather than their physical attributes.

To be judged so harshly by a person she had never met was disconcerting. Her view of the world and her place in it was shaken.

In the moment the haughty gentleman had declared her to be “too much,” she had become, to herself, “not enough.” Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not tempting enough.

Mr. Bingley, sweet man, would not agree with his friend. “How can you say that, Darcy? She has a perfect complexion, beautiful eyes, and dainty hands which are lovely. Her entire face is alight when she smiles, and I have also observed how graceful she is when she walks. Surely you have noticed that.”

Darcy snorted. “I have. Who could miss it? She approaches the refreshment table every half hour, and she is sorely mistaken if she thinks her handkerchief hides what she is constantly eating. Bingley, I am not in humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men, especially when that slighting is so obviously justified in this case by the lady’s lack of discipline.”

His companion rather testily replied, “I would not be as fastidious as you for a kingdom. You are determined to be disagreeable, so I will leave you to it. Furthermore, I shall dare your disapproval and ask her myself.”

Elizabeth hardly ever allowed herself to dislike people to whom she had never been introduced, but she was willing to make an exception for tall, dark, brooding Mr. Darcy. Upon further reflection, she was somewhat surprised to realize she truly despised him, despite his arresting beauty and aristocratic profile. She had never formally met the gentleman, yet she could barely stand the sight of him. Odd, for she was generally accepting of everyone.

Seeing Mr. Bingley approaching her, she stuffed the handkerchief into her reticule and placed it under her chair. Her determined attempt at a pleasant countenance was successful.

A moment later, Mr. Bingley appeared before her, bowed, and extended his hand with a smile and a request.

Elizabeth stood and placed her hand in his, determined not to disgrace herself. She held her head high and fixed a smile upon her face, allowing her brilliant, green eyes to sparkle with mischief as he escorted her past Mr. Darcy onto the dance floor.

As she and Mr. Bingley moved through the steps, she glimpsed Mr. Darcy watching them several times, his dark eyes fixed upon her, an inscrutable expression on his striking face.

Assuming that he looked at her only to find fault, her active mind formed a scheme, and she could hardly wait to set it in motion.

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About More to Love

“She is tolerable, I suppose, but there is rather too much of her to tempt me.”

Overhearing Mr. Darcy’s rude dismissal of her shocks and mortifies Elizabeth Bennet to the core.

She is living her worst fear, and it galvanizes her into action.
oon, the gentleman cannot keep his eyes from her, but can she forgive his thoughtless judgment of her appearance and character?

Especially since he faces a worthy competitor for her attention?

Who will win the lady’s hand, along with the right to love her through thick or thin?

Check out More to Love on Amazon

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Giveaway

If that excerpt grabbed your attention, then you’ll be thrilled that Robin is generously giving away an ebook copy of More to Love to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveway will be open through Thursday, February 28, 2019. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Robin, for treating us to a peek of More to Love. Congratulations on your new release!

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I’m pleased to welcome Caitlin Marie Carrington to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time today to celebrate the recent release of Darcy and Diamonds. When I first saw the cover and read the description, I knew this was a Pride and Prejudice variation that I had to read! I was lucky enough to win a copy in a Facebook giveaway (thanks again, Caitlin), and as soon as my reading gets back on track from a chaotic 2018 and a busy start to 2019, I hope to get a chance to read it. Caitlin is here with an excerpt that is absolutely delightful, and she’s even brought some books to share with you, dear readers. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Thank you Anna for having me here today! I am in awe of all that you do for the JAFF community and love your blog. It’s an honor to be here!

I’m so excited to share an excerpt from my recent sweet and clean romance, Darcy and Diamonds. This variation occurs almost eight years after the original events in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth, now a young widow, and Mr. Darcy meet again at a house party at Netherfield. Unfortunately, a scheming Caroline Bingley and all of Elizabeth’s boisterous relations are there, as well.

In this scene, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have both woken early and independently decided to take their favorite horses for an early-morning ride. (Yes, Elizabeth loves horses, in this variation.) Elizabeth is distressed to see her solitude will be broken by the proud, judgmental and annoyingly handsome Mr. Darcy. And so, in a wild moment, she decides to race him.

What could go wrong?

Enter to win one of five free ebooks below! Happy reading!

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From behind, she could hear Mr. Darcy and his stallion approaching—no, racing—through the woods. He shouted again. Elizabeth couldn’t turn to look at him now; she was too intent on the path ahead. But his exhortation hadn’t sounded angry that she had tricked him and raced ahead. If anything, he sounded—excited. Exultant?

Or perhaps she was just confusing her own feelings with his. How lovely! How wild! Then, twenty feet in front of her, Elizabeth saw the fallen tree. It was recently downed—probably just from last night and the heavy rains. Its roots were lifted high in the air, with dark, wet earth still clinging to them.

And it completely blocked the path.

“No—watch out—!” Elizabeth just had time to try and adjust herself, and her blasted skirts, before Sabine panicked. The horse tried to stop, skidding in the wet, soft earth. At the same time, Elizabeth was urging her forward and over the obstacle. But Sabine refused, bucking and rearing up into the air. Elizabeth shouted, clinging to the saddle as her leg slipped from its secure post. Sabine bucked again, angry and unsure and Elizabeth nearly fell before the horse righted itself. Elizabeth had just gotten her balance but not yet put her right leg up over the padded leather branch, when Sabine finally chose to listen to her first directions and leapt—neatly, cleanly, perfectly over the fallen tree.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth hadn’t expected it. “No!” she cried as she scrabbled for a hold—anywhere, anything. Instead, she fell to the ground, just missing the fallen log, but landing hard on the muddied forest floor.

“Elizabeth!”

She heard Mr. Darcy call her name but she couldn’t quite open her eyes yet. Where was she? On her back, her head aching, her pride in tatters.

“Elizabeth. Oh God.”

She opened her eyes to see blue sky. White clouds. And Mr. Darcy’s beautiful face, directly over her, his eyes frantic.

“Hullo,” she said. “Your eyes match the sky.”

He frowned, staring down at her. “Have you hit your head?”

“But you’re still so…frownish,” she murmured.

Her voice sounded funny to her own ears, like perhaps she was underwater.

Mr. Darcy shook his head, his hands surprising her and suddenly cupping her face. He was so gentle that she felt her eyes closing. “You have injured your head. Don’t—don’t move, Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth blinked and settled back into the earth. Not moving sounded like a good idea. No, an excellent idea. She was sure her hat was crushed—wait, she wasn’t wearing a hat.

“Did I lose my hat?” she said. “And you shouldn’t call me by my given name.”

Mr. Darcy startled her by running his hands over the back of her head. She closed her eyes again. It felt rather nice.

“Elizabeth!” His sudden yell made her startle and she opened her eyes, looking up at him again.

“Gracious, no need to shout, Mr. Darcy.”

“So you know my name? You recognize me?”

“What a silly question.” She squinted up at him. “You’re tall. Tyrannical. Perfectly attired. Yes—yes, you must be Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.”

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About Darcy and Diamonds

Forget the missing diamonds. Will Mr. Darcy steal Elizabeth’s heart—again?

What could go wrong at a Netherfield house party?
Why, everything!

Elizabeth is trapped for days with a conniving Caroline, a match-making Mrs. Bennet, and now—surprisingly—Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

She has not seen Mr. Darcy since his disastrous proposal to her in Hunsford nearly eight years ago. Since that time, Elizabeth lost her father and husband—but gained a certain measure of independence.

She is happy, she reminds herself—especially when Mr. Darcy and his sky-blue eyes seem to seek her out constantly and make her question everything.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is as proud, arrogant—and annoyingly handsome—as ever.
And he seems to have very firm opinions about Lizzy’s life and how she should conduct it.

After her first marriage, Elizabeth is determined to never again allow a man to control her. But when a devious thief targets the house party, Elizabeth finds herself working with Mr. Darcy to discover the culprit.
Will they be able to bring the criminal to justice?

And will a changed Mr. Darcy be able to steal Elizabeth’s heart?

Are you ready for a sweet and clean Pride and Prejudice variation that features love, humor, and Mr. Darcy in a soaking-wet shirt? (Because who doesn’t like to be reminded of Colin Firth?) This 67,000-word novel also includes a Darcy who knows what he wants, an Elizabeth who needs to find herself again, a runaway horse, a truly conniving Caroline, a guaranteed happily ever after, and—of course—diamonds!

Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Scribd

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About the Author

By day, Caitlin Marie Carrington juggles motherhood, her editing job, one surly cat and all the fun drama that life with small children (and one giant husband) entails.

By night, she imagines new adventures for her favorite literary couple, Darcy and Elizabeth.

Connect with Caitlin on Facebook | Instagram

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Giveaway

Caitlin is generously offering 5 ebook copies of Darcy and Diamonds to my readers. To enter to win a copy, please leave a comment with your email address. We’d love to hear what interests you most about the book. The giveaway will be open through Sunday, February 24, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Caitlin, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your newest releases!

Readers who don’t mind a hot and sexy variation should check out Caitlin’s newest book, a novella titled My Alpha, Mr. Darcy.

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Source: Review copy from author

Reunited is the second book in Rose Fairbanks’ Loving Elizabeth trilogy of novellas that reimagine the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It takes place five years after the first book, Pledged.

It has been five years since Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy parted ways, having pledged themselves to one another before he was to leave on a summer trip to Ireland with his father, Elizabeth’s father and brother Sam, and Mr. Bingley and his father. They were just 16 and 22 when they first met, and despite knowing each other only a matter of days, they forged a connection that they were sure would last.

However, tragedy befell the Bennet, Darcy, and Bingley families on that trip, and the effects linger years later. Still grieving her family’s loss, Elizabeth also mourns the loss of her relationship with Will, as he had written only once to her family and never went to Longbourn to claim her hand. Since their betrothal was secret, she must hide her feelings from the rest of the world, but everything is pushed to the surface when Darcy and Bingley arrive at Netherfield.

It’s not long before Elizabeth and Darcy realize that someone has been conspiring to keep them apart, but despite learning their feelings had never changed, Elizabeth must fight her insecurities and the opposition of her mother and her best friend to their relationship.

Fairbanks has me on the edge of my seat with this trilogy. There is a sense of danger as Elizabeth and Darcy seek to determine who attempted to sabotage their relationship, and there is so much passion between them. I love how they have known each other since Elizabeth was a young woman, and Fairbanks does a great job showing how they and their feelings for one another have matured. I plan to read the last installment, Treasured, soon, so stay tuned for my review.

Disclosure: I received Reunited from the author for review.

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Source: Review copy from author

The Colonel’s Son is the second book in April Floyd’s Lost Heir series that began with Mrs. Fitzwilliam. A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the series imagines that Elizabeth Bennet met and married Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, after the Netherfield party leaves Hertfordshire. About four years have passed since Elizabeth gave birth to Richard, who is destined to be the Earl of Matlock. When the late colonel’s family learns of Richard’s existence, Elizabeth is thrust into London society and forges a bond with Mr. Darcy.

In The Colonel’s Son, Darcy has become a big part of young Richard’s life, and his feelings for Elizabeth and hers for him have slowly blossomed. However, one thing on which they disagree is the presence of Major Wickham at Fitzwilliam House, but Darcy can’t bring himself to tell Elizabeth the exact reasons for his stern warnings against the man. With Wickham and Darcy at odds and Elizabeth still worried about losing her son to the Matlocks, there is a lot at stake and numerous obstacles in Darcy and Elizabeth’s path to happily ever after.

I love that Floyd took a chance in giving Elizabeth a previous marriage, a dead husband, AND a child, and for those of you who commented on my review of Mrs. Fitzwilliam that you were reluctant to read it because of the colonel’s death, please be assured that his death is known from the beginning of the first book, and readers never officially “meet” him but only hear about him in conversation. That definitely softens the blow. And by taking such a chance, Darcy and Elizabeth have much in common — namely their love for the colonel — but also different challenges to overcome.

The story is perfectly paced, and with all three installments having been released, readers don’t have to wait to finish the story. The first two books each feature a major obstacle that Elizabeth and Darcy must overcome and hint at the challenges to come in the next book, but I didn’t feel as though there were any major cliffhangers, which was a real relief to me.

I do hope you will give this trilogy a chance. Floyd shakes things up while staying true to Austen’s characters, and there is plenty of romance and light moments interspersed with the drama. I will be reading the last installment, Mrs. Darcy, soon, so stay tuned for my review.

Giveaway: April is generously offering 5 ebook copies of The Colonel’s Son to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, February 10, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received The Colonel’s Son from the author for review.

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Source: Purchased

Today marks the last of my holiday catch-up reviews, and I finished with a good one. A Holiday to Remember by Jennifer Redlarczyk is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice variation with very little angst but a lot of romance. Redlarczyk’s Elizabeth Bennet is a choral director at the Mertyon Academy for the Performing Arts, and Mr. William Darcy is CEO of Darcy Enterprises. Their troubles and misunderstandings happen before the events of this book, when Georgiana Darcy has an unfortunate run-in with George Wickham at a summer music festival. In the months since they last saw each other, Darcy has come to his senses and realizes he acted harshly toward Elizabeth and her aunt, who was his sister’s piano teacher.

Elizabeth and Darcy are brought together again at a Christmas party thrown by Charles Bingley, Will’s friend and the boyfriend of Elizabeth’s sister, Jane. A mishap with a dress and some sultry music increase the steam between them — and prompt an unfortunate (but entertaining) reaction from Caroline Bingley. Their romance is a whirlwind that takes readers through the holiday season, and it read much like a Hallmark movie.

I really enjoyed Redlarczyk’s take on Elizabeth and Darcy, even if their romance progressed a little too quickly. I loved that it was a sweet, fun read for the busy holiday season, but I do wish there had been some obstacle or tension of some sort to stand in their way. However, that didn’t affect my enjoyment whatsoever. I also loved how music was woven throughout this short tale, helping to ramp up the romance.

Redlarczyk offers readers a treat at the end of the novella in the form of a Regency-era short story centered around the Twelve Days of Christmas. Someone takes the song a bit literally, and the Darcys’ home is thrown into chaos. I loved it, and I can’t wait to see what Redlarczyk comes up with next.

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Hello, dear readers! I have a treat for you today, especially if you’re looking for a new book to cozy up with for Valentine’s Day. April Floyd is my guest today, and we’re celebrating the release of her newest Pride and Prejudice variation, Mr. Darcy’s True Love. Please give her a warm welcome!

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I would love to take a moment and thank Anna for having me once again on her blog. I am so grateful for her reviews and the opportunities she gives many JAFF authors as we seek to woo you, our dear readers!

Now for a romantic excerpt from Mr. Darcy’s True Love. My favorite parts to write and read are when Elizabeth and Darcy are alone together and the rest of the world ceases to exist. Hopefully you love those romantic scenes as well!

Don’t forget to enter to win one of the e-book copies up for grabs when you’ve finished the excerpt!

“I believe a bit of fresh air would be as welcome as the punch. Would you care to join me on the terrace, Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth said as she turned and looked across the room at the terrace doors.

Mr. Darcy agreed. “It is warm with all the dancing and this crowd.”

He lifted his arm and Elizabeth tucked her hand against his elbow. Together they wove through the crowd and were soon standing shoulder to shoulder looking out over the small garden of Bingley House. Light from the ballroom only stretched halfway across and the trees that bordered the garden wall cast long shadows.

Elizabeth shivered when a cold gust of wind swept past and Mr. Darcy removed his coat. He placed it on her shoulders and Elizabeth inhaled the scent of orange and some spice she could not name. It was likely a cologne mixed by the chemists at one of the two famous shops in Town. It tickled her nose and brought back the memory of how he’d smelled the night he came to visit and ate baked apples with her. She smiled.

Mr. Darcy noticed. “I must say I have never encountered a lady who loves the outdoors as much as you, Miss Bennet. It is refreshing. It is a pity you do not ride, though.”

She laughed, a deep, amused sound, and looked up at him as she stood warm inside his coat. “Horses are far too unpredictable, Mr. Darcy. I prefer the surety of my own two feet. Besides, I never run headlong into the brambles like my old mare was wont to do. Papa tried for years to make a horsewoman of me, but it was not to be.”

He turned and gazed down at her, his eyes alight with mischief. “I could make a horsewoman of you for I have many gentle, and intelligent, mares at Pemberley. I know of one in particular that might be your perfect match. Oh you would certainly love to explore the fields and woods of my home in Derbyshire.”

Elizabeth breathed deeply to calm her racing heart. Being alone with him on the terrace, inhaling his scent, and listening as he practically begged her to come to Pemberley with him had an intoxicating effect.

“My Aunt and Uncle Gardiner wish to tour the Lake District this summer. Perhaps I might visit with them. Is your home open for private tours then?”

Mr. Darcy pushed a curl behind her ear and smiled. “It is, though I am seldom there in the summertime. I often ride North and pitch a camp near my cousin’s country estate so that I might fish and ride to my heart’s content.”

Elizabeth was surprised by this admission and by the tender touch of his fingers against her ear. “I would never have taken you for the type of man who would live in a tent, sir.”

“It is uncommon for someone of my circle, yes. But I am uncommon for someone of my circle, Miss Bennet. There is much about me that might surprise you. I hope you may come to know me better.”

Mr. Darcy leaned closer and Elizabeth stood completely still. She stared into his eyes wondering whether he might kiss her. Feeling silly, she finally looked down. “I would like that very much, I think. I am not surprised when I think that perhaps your camp is an escape of sorts. I admit that wandering in nature is my own way of being alone and sorting things in my head. Perhaps we understand one another more than we know?”

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About Mr. Darcy’s True Love

Mixed Up Valentines and Scheming Cousins threaten ODC’s blooming romance!

Elizabeth Bennet goes to London with newlyweds Jane and Charles Bingley and is reunited with a kinder Mr. Darcy than she remembers from their first meeting in Hertfordshire. Before their romance can blossom, Mr. Bingley’s cousins arrive in Town and jealousies arise. Elizabeth is uncomfortable with the attention paid her by Mr. Bingley’s male cousin and curious about his female cousin’s prior history with Mr. Darcy.

Will mixed-up valentines and an unwanted marriage proposal keep Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy apart? Oh no, an HEA must be had!

Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks

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About the Author

April Floyd

April Floyd lives in Alaska with her husband and youngest son. She loves happy endings, nice people, and reading great stories. Once upon a time, she was an Army wife and a phlebotomist and recently ran a successful ebook deals site for four years. Historical fiction, Jane Austen, and fantasy/dystopia are her favorite genres.

April’s Website | Amazon Author Page

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Giveaway

April is generously offering 5 ebook copies of Mr. Darcy’s True Love to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Friday, February 1, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, April, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book! I hope you all come back closer to Valentine’s Day for my review!

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It’s release day for Riana Everly’s latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Through a Different Lens, and I’ve invited her here today to talk about the inspiration for her unique take on Mr. Darcy. Please give her a warm welcome!

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I am thrilled to be releasing my third novel today, and am equally thrilled to be celebrating here at Diary of an Eccentric. Thanks, Anna, for hosting me.

My new release, Through a Different Lens, takes a slightly different view of Mr. Darcy. What if, rather than merely being aloof or shy or unreasonably proud, he has something else going on, a neurological difference that makes social interactions extremely challenging for him? In short, what if Mr. Darcy is on the autism spectrum?

My inspiration for this question that spawned a novel came from the pen of Jane Austen herself. In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy excuses his unsociable behaviour by telling Elizabeth, “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

Many, many years ago I did some work for a charity that helped kids on the autism spectrum, and I have a son who flirts with the edges of Asperger’s Syndrome (now classified as a type of “high-functioning” autism). Consequently, I’ve done a fair bit of reading and research, and Darcy’s words leapt out at me. These are exactly the things that someone with Asperger’s would find challenging: tone of voice, facial expressions, reading between the lines, feigning interest where there is none—these subtle cues that are so much a part of “normal” interactions and which can be all but incomprehensible to someone whose brain works differently.

I started with a single scene, just to write out what I imagined would happen if Lizzy had the same idea that I had. What if she had other experiences with somebody on the autism spectrum, a young cousin perhaps? What if she understood a little more than might be expected? In a world long before autism was identified as a “thing,” where there were no supports or therapies or awareness of such neurological differences, there was nothing left but personal experience and compassion to help people on the spectrum manage in a society that didn’t really understand them.

I happened to mention this idea of mine to a friend and fellow JAFF author who also has a child on the spectrum. She commented that she had wondered the same thing, and after some wonderful discussion, I sent her my scene. She read it and immediately said, “Finish the story!”

And so I did, and this is the result.

Here is an excerpt from Through a Different Lens.

“I am,” stated the grave gentleman as he stood so awkwardly by the pianoforte, “ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.”

Elizabeth heard these words somewhat distractedly, as she perused the selection of music being placed before her by the colonel, his friendly eyes matched by an engaging grin. Still, something in the more serious man’s demeanour caught her attention. She had never liked him, but she had always found herself fascinated by him. She sat up a little straighter and listened as Fitzwilliam Darcy continued to explain himself. He spoke, as always, formally, somewhat stiffly, as if acting the part of himself in the grand production of his life.

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said he, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

Suddenly, with these words, Elizabeth felt her world shift slightly. With every syllable that haughty man uttered, isolated facets to his perplexing character seemed to realign themselves and come into focus. She stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. He cleared his throat and stepped back an inch, standing quite still and averting his eyes from her curious gaze. A flood of recollections and half-formed ideas cascaded through her consciousness. She stared up again at the stiff and serious man half hiding in the shadows, wondering if her suppositions might be correct.

“Miss Bennet?” the genial colonel sounded concerned. “Are you well?”

Realising she had been distracted most grievously from her supposed task of selecting music, she uttered a rushed apology. “Indeed, very well, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Forgive my wandering mind, please. I have no excuse but that your cousin, Mr. Darcy, suddenly reminded me of somebody I know, and at that realisation, you might have knocked me down with a feather, it was so surprising.”

The man under discussion drew closer, edging towards the pianoforte where the two were conversing with such easy repartee. “Knocked you down with a feather?” he asked in some confusion, “How could that possibly be? While you are by no means a large woman, your weight most certainly surpasses that of a bird’s plumage, even that of an ostrich or a peacock. To knock you down would surely take something much more substantial than a mere feather!”

Exchanging an understanding smile with the colonel, Elizabeth replied evenly, “It is an expression, sir, meaning to surprise greatly. Is this, may I ask, but one example of why you feel discomfort joining others’ conversations?”

The man nodded. “Indeed it is so. I seem, always, to miss the meaning of what is being said. Not everybody is as compassionate as you, to explain the nuances I do not catch.”

Thank you, Riana, for sharing your inspiration and excerpt. I’m looking forward to exploring this different take on Darcy. Congratulations on your new release!

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About Through a Different Lens

A tale of second glances and second chances

Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy since he insulted her at a village dance several months before. But an unexpected conversation with a startling turn of phrase suddenly causes her to reassess everything she thought she knew about the infuriating and humourless gentleman.

Elizabeth knows something of people who think differently. Her young cousin in London has always been different from his siblings and peers, and Lizzy sees something of this boy’s unusual traits in the stern gentleman from Derbyshire whose presence has plagued her for so long. She approaches him in friendship and the two begin a tentative association. But is Lizzy’s new understanding of Mr. Darcy accurate? Or was she right the first time? And will the unwelcome appearance of a nemesis from the past destroy any hopes they might have of happiness?

Warning: This variation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice depicts our hero as having a neurological difference. If you need your hero to be perfect, this might not be the book for you. But if you like adorable children, annoying birds, and wonderful dogs, and are open to a character who struggles to make his way in a world he does not quite comprehend, with a heroine who can see the man behind his challenges, and who celebrates his strengths while supporting his weaknesses, then read on! You, too, can learn what wonders can be found when we see the familiar through a different lens.

This is a full-length novel of about 100,000 words.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s second novel, The Assistant, was awarded the Jane Austen Award by Jane Austen Readers’ Awards, and her debut novel, Teaching Eliza, was listed on a list of 2017 Favourite Books on the blog Savvy Verse & Wit. For both of these honours, she is delighted and very proud!

You can follow Riana’s blog, and join her on Facebook and Twitter. She loves meeting readers!

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Giveaway

Riana is generously offering five copies of Through a Different Lens to readers world-wide as part of the blog tour! Just sign up through this Rafflecopter link to enter.

If you prefer not to use Rafflecopter, send Riana an email message (riana.everly@gmail.com) or leave a note on her Facebook page, and she’ll add you to the list for the draw.

Entries close at midnight Eastern time (GMT-5) on February 10, 2019, so the winners have something to read on Valentine’s Day. Good luck!

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Jan 21 ~ Diary of an Eccentric
Jan 22 ~ Author takeover at Historical Reads and Research with Leila Snow
Jan 23 ~ Rose Fairbanks
Jan 24 ~ Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
Jan 25 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm
Jan 28 ~ So Little Time…So Much to Read
Jan 29 ~ My Love for Jane Austen
Jan 31 ~ Half Agony, Half Hope
Feb 5  ~ From Pemberley to Milton
Feb 6  ~ More Agreeably Engaged
Feb 8  ~ Austenesque Reviews

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