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I am delighted to welcome Riana Everly back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Bennet Affair. She has brought a special guest with her today: Lord Stanton. Please give them a warm welcome!

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Riana: Good morning, Lord Stanton. Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to talk with us today.

Stanton: The pleasure, dear lady author, is mine. I am charmed and delighted to converse with you for the edification of your readers. I am speaking to the Royal Academy this evening on my latest discoveries, but I am all prepared and have the day at leisure. Please ask your questions.

Riana: I would love to know more about your alter-ego, the activities you pursue when not being the baron Lord Stanton.

Stanton: Ah yes. I am humbled by your knowledge of my work. I have always had, since childhood, a fascination with Natural History, and most particularly with the local avian wildlife of Britain. In other words, I am a bird lover. Since I have some facility with a pencil and paint, I have achieved some respectable renown as an author of books for interested amateurs who wish to pursue that same interest. I have published my works, most importantly Birds of Britain under my given name of Raymond Orville Fynch. And yes, I have heard the comment before, of how fortuitous it is for a man named Fynch to have a passion for birds!

Riana: Fortuitous indeed! It certainly makes it easy to remember your name. Is this your only interest outside of your barony and the House of Lords?

Stanton: Ah. You wish for me to divulge secrets which ought, most properly, to be kept silent. I admit only to some most carefully chosen companions my activities in service to Country. I cannot, of course, divulge any details of my activities, but I have the advantage of using my pursuits of ornithology to further my government work. I may travel throughout Britain wherever I wish and need only explain myself as searching for some new species of yellow wagtail or to discover the nesting grounds of the great heron. And most often, I can indeed combine my tasks, for even the most dedicated spy must take some time for personal amusement! I can think quite well whilst sitting by the edge of a pond, waiting for the wildlife to appear.

Riana: My readers will be, I’m sure, most interested in how you met Mr. Darcy. He is a great favourite, as you can imagine.

Stanton: Ah, yes, Darcy! What a fine young man he is. It began as rather an alarming tale. I was returning to my town house late one evening from a soiree with friends when I saw a gentleman being set upon by ruffians. There were three of the miscreants, all seemingly set on bringing down this gentleman, with what end in mind I do not know. Perhaps they intended theft; perhaps something more vile. This gentleman, I need not say, was your Mr. Darcy.

Although gravely injured, he had managed to fend off one, and might have succeeded against all three, but when the blackguards heard my carriage approach – and at some great speed, once I saw what was happening – they ran off into the night. I might, perhaps, have chased them, but my concern was with this young man who was by now lying insensible on the cold ground. We were almost at the door to my house, so we most carefully carried him inside, whereupon I sent for the doctor to tend to his wounds.

By necessity of his injuries, Darcy spent several days recuperating in my house, during which time I discovered a man whom I am pleased to now call a friend. He is intelligent with well-formed opinions, makes fine conversation, and most importantly, likes birds!

Riana: Was that the end of your association with Mr. Darcy, then?

Stanton: No, as it turns out, our association now goes deeper. When I discovered what skill Darcy has with a pencil and what understanding he has of matters mechanical, I engaged him to assist me with a rather intriguing situation that has come to my attention. I’m afraid I cannot say more at this moment.

Riana: Yes, yes, I completely understand! Thank you once again, Lord Stanton, for your time today. I wish you a most pleasant afternoon.

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An excerpt from The Bennet Affair

“What happened?” The words scratched themselves from Darcy’s throat. “How…?”

“May I entice you to lean back, sir? Then I shall explain.” The pounding in Darcy’s head convinced him of the wisdom of the suggestion, and he allowed himself to be lowered until his head rested once more on a mountain of pillows, but with his upper body sufficiently inclined that he could see something of the space around him.

“Good,” the doctor nodded once, and then seated himself beside his patient and informed Darcy of his injuries. The strike to his thigh had been a sharp stone, flung from the slingshot, that had torn a gash through his leg. “That leg will smart for a while,” Doctor Yarrow explained with good humour, “but as long as infection does not set in, there should be no permanent damage, other than an impressive scar.” He explained how he had doused the wound in alcohol, as per the most modern military procedures for battle wounds, stitched it closed, and had seen no sign of infection as of yet.

The crack to Darcy’s shoulder had been more serious. “I believe that rock broke your clavicle, your shoulder bone, that is. Not much we can do about that, other than keep it still and give it time to heal. A month, perhaps two, should see you right. I’d recommend a nice long rest somewhere.

“You did lose a fair amount of blood through that gash to your leg,” Doctor Yarrow continued, “which would account for your subsequent loss of consciousness. You hit your head rather hard on the stone street when you went down. That can be a serious injury indeed, but you came to quickly enough, so I foresee little trouble there.” He peered at Darcy’s eyes and bade him to track a moving finger without moving his head. “Seems all right. Still, I would caution you not to move for some days. Lord Stanton assures me you may remain here until I give you leave to depart.”

“But I cannot… I have appointments to make, and business to attend to…”

“And they will all keep. Messages can be sent. Ah, here is Lord Stanton.” The doctor rose and gave a neat bow, then addressed Darcy one last time. “I shall return in the morning, young man. I’ll ask him to summon me if you take a turn for the worse. I’ve left a draught to help you sleep. Your lordship,” he bowed once more to the newcomer and departed the room.

Darcy attempted once more to struggle upright, but the room swam about him, and he succumbed to the pull of his pillows. “Do not, on any account, attempt to move,” a new voice sounded, and a different face now hovered above his own. “The doctor informs me you must rest and rest you shall. I am Stanton, at your service. You are my guest until Yarrow informs me you may be moved. May I have the honour of knowing to whom I speak?”

Darcy blinked and the face came into focus. Stanton seemed only some ten years older than himself—somewhere between five-and-thirty and forty years of age, Darcy surmised—and possessed dark eyes and hair that had not begun to grey. His manner was soothing and everything elegant, and he spoke with the calm tones of a man more accustomed to sober thought than rash action. The invitation had been warm and genuine but not gushing, and despite being a man slow to trust others, Darcy took an instant liking to his savior.

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About The Bennet Affair

A tale of secrets, sweethearts, and spies!

Elizabeth Bennet’s bedroom in the ancient tower of Longbourn has always been her private haven. So what are those footsteps and shuffling noises she’s now hearing from the room above her head? Drawn from her bed one dark summer night, her clandestine investigations land her in the middle of what looks like a gang of French spies!

William Darcy’s summer has been awful so far, especially after barely rescuing his sister from a most injudicious elopement. Then he is attacked and almost killed nearly at his own front door in one of the best parts of London. Luckily his saviour and new friend, Lord Stanton, has a grand suggestion—recuperate in the countryside and help uncover the workings of a ring of French spies, rumoured to be led by none other than country squire Thomas Bennet!

Drawn together as they work to uncover the truth about the Frenchmen hiding in their midst, Elizabeth and Darcy must use all their intellect as they are confronted with an ingenious code machine, a variety of clockwork devices, ancient secrets and very modern traitors to the Crown. And somewhere along the line, they just might lose their hearts and discover true love—assuming they survive what they learn in the Bennet affair.

The Bennet Affair is a full-length JAFF novel of about 112, 000 words.

Buy Link

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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 novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

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 giving away one eBook copy of The Bennet Affair on each stop of the blog tour. To enter, please leave a comment on this post, and include your email address so Riana can contact the winner. She will choose the winner using a random number selector. This giveaway will be open through April 13. Good luck!

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Follow the Blog Tour

March 31 ~ Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
April 4 ~ My Love for Jane Austen
April 6 ~ From Pemberley to Milton
April 9 ~ Diary of an Eccentric
April 13 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm
April 15 ~ Half Agony, Half Hope
April 17 ~ More Agreeably Engaged
April 24 ~ Author Takeover at The Historical Fiction Club
May 8 ~ Austenesque Reviews

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

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