Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two new releases in time for Christmas

As  most of you already know, the first novel I ever published was a Regency Novel, An Improper Suitor. My publisher was Robert Hale, a successful publisher who had been in the business since the 1920s. Mr. Hale was a lovely, old-fashioned publisher who actually read every manuscript that was considered for publication and interacted personally with his writers. His publishing company had a specialized market which was supplying hardcovers to libraries. He had been doing this for many years, but as the budgets for libraries shrunk, the business was hit hard.

I'm indulging in some reminiscing now because I'm in the process of revising An Improper Suitor to put it out with a new cover, and I'm remembering the thrill of first receiving a letter of acceptance from Mr. Hale telling me he'd like to publish my novel. Sadly, Robert Hale closed their business last year around this time, but I remember Mr. Hale telling me to stick to writing Regencies which is what I was good at, and not to get distracted writing Jane Austen sequels. He did publish my first two P&P sequels anyway, but I can't help thinking sometimes about what he said.

Well, I have gone back to writing some more Regencies, mostly because I was invited to be part of a lovely group of ex-Hale Regency writers and I'm more than delighted to participate in their box-set project. So this year I've written a new novella for the Regency Romantics Winter box set, Dancing Through the Snow. It's already out for a very reasonable price, considering there are six of us.


A Collection of 6 Regency Romances From Bestselling Authors

One Night at the Abbey – Amanda Grange
When Miss Hilary Wentworth takes up an appointment at Carisbrooke Abbey, she finds it embroils her in a winter of mystery and romance. What secret haunts Lord Carisbrooke? And when Hilary uncovers it, can they find the love and happiness they deserve?


A Most Unexpected Christmas - Fenella Miller
Lydia Halstead has no desire to remarry or to attend social gatherings. However, she is persuaded to accompany her brother and his family to Fakenham Manor.
Lord Theodore Fakenham is not pleased to discover his mama has arranged a Christmas house party without his permission. This is not an auspicious start to the festive period.
An infestation of mice in the nursery, a riotous snowball fight and an accident in the study make for a very unexpected Christmas.

Dancing Through the Snow – Monica Fairview
Amelia Neville is convinced she has found the perfect husband, but unfortunate circumstances throw her into the company of the distrustful Duke of Sutcliff. Forced to attend the Duke’s Christmas house party by her matchmaking Mama, Amelia knows she’s going to hate every minute. But romance is in the air in the snowy landscape…. A traditional Regency romance with a touch of laughter.

Christmas at Castleray – Wendy Soliman
When Alisa Langdon and Chase Beaumont are invited to Castleray for Christmas, they expect a peaceful holiday. But instead they are attacked on the road and then Alisa’s servants are ostracised in the local village. Can Chase and Alisa discover who attacked them? And can Chase ignore his growing attraction to Alisa, who appears intent upon honouring her father’s dying wish by marrying her indolent stepbrother…

A Winter’s Madcap Escapade - Elizabeth Bailey
A stranger hiding in Lord Dymond's coach pitchforks him into a chaotic enterprise to protect young Apple from her own folly - much to her indignation!

The Duke's Christmas Bride - Melinda Hammond
Waldo, the fifth Duke of Charingden, shows no inclination to marry. In desperation his family invite a string of eligible beauties to the Christmas Ball at Birklands for him to choose from, but the only young lady to interest the duke is little Clara Tillotson, who is herself desperate to avoid being forced into marriage….. A sparkling Regency romance with just a touch of snow! 

My second release is last year's box set novella, A Merry Christmas Chase. If you missed it last year, then here's your chance to get a copy, since the box set is no longer available.




Description 
When the new Earl at Sorrelgate Lodge catches Cherry poaching, she manages to escape before he discovers her identity. But the Earl is serious about catching his poacher and bringing “him” to justice, so Cherry flees to her estranged rich aunt. Imagine her dismay when she discovers that the Earl is a house guest there for the whole Twelve Days of Christmas! She quickly has to improvise to throw him off the scent.
Lord Carsdale is attending the Christmas house party to find a wife, but there is something very odd about Lady Ashburn’s niece. At first he does everything he can to avoid her, but soon catches glimpses of someone else behind the mask she wears. As Carsdale becomes more and more intrigued, he is unaware that she is leading him on a merry chase in which the boundary between the hunter and the hunted quickly gets hopelessly tangled. 
A Sweet Traditional Regency romance that will warm the cockles of your heart. 










Friday, 9 September 2016

Giveaway and chance to win a free e-book: The Darcy Novels


Over at Laura's Reviews, I have a treat. Not only did Laura review Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy, but she is hosting me as part of the Blog Tour. So head over there to read an excerpt of the novel and for a chance to win an e-book copy.

Plus there is still a chance to win one of The Darcy Novels at Diary of an Eccentric, which ends on Sunday the 11th. You can find a different excerpt there. I hope you enjoy. Meanwhile, if you'd like to read Anna's review of Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy, you'll find it here. 

Meanwhile, I was delighted to see a review of not one, but two of my novels on Meditative Meanderings. Susanna reviewed both Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy and Steampunk Darcy. I do like surprises! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Mr. Darcy: Example of a Regency Gentleman



I thought it would nice to share this video produced by the BBC about The Regency Gentleman, particularly since they talk about Mr. Darcy in it! What do you think? Does he live up to your expectations?



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Blog Tour Progress

So I'm right in the middle of my Blog Tour and I have to say, I do love the chance to interact with readers. It gives me a chance to get feedback and get a much more personal sense of who's reading my novels, what they enjoy about them, and what they would like me to write.

Today I'm visiting Maria at My Jane Austen Book Club and I'm answering a series of questions about MR DARCY himself, so hop on over and see if you agree with the answers. Plus, if you haven't yet started the Darcy Novels series, you'll have an opportunity to win a copy of one of the three novels: Mr. Darcy's Pledge, Mr. Darcy's Challenge and Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy.



Other Stops On the Tour So Far

with more to come!





Thursday, 23 June 2016

Here It is At Last! Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy

It's been a long journey from start to finish, but here it is, finally!


Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy is now available to pre-order on Amazon and will shortly be available in other outlets, too. Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy concludes the Darcy Novel series, but it can easily be read as a standalone novel.

If you haven't had a chance to read the earlier books, here they are.


Meanwhile, since the pre-order at Amazon doesn't show an excerpt, here is the opening of the novel for you to enjoy.

Chapter One 

It was a glorious autumn day, with just the right nip in the air, just the right kind of blue in the sky, and just the right kind of cream clouds soaring above the city. In short, the weather had contrived to be perfect on this most perfect of occasions. At least, that was what Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley thought as he stepped out of his townhouse, deposited his top hat on his head, and twirled his walking cane by his side. He was too dignified to skip down the steps as he would have liked to, or to slide down the banister as he did when he was a child, but his heart was leaping with joyous energy nevertheless. Miss Elizabeth Bennet had agreed to be his wife -- dearest, loveliest Elizabeth -- and nothing could complete his happiness other than to have her in his arms, in his bed, and in Pemberley. For now, however, London must do, and accordingly, London seemed to be doing its best to make the day as radiant and sublime as it could possibly be.

He had asked for the carriage to be brought round, and as he emerged, it halted on the cobbled stones in front of the townhouse. He viewed it with pride. It had been scrubbed clean of the grime of London and polished until it gleamed, the gilded Darcy coat of arms glittering in the sunlight. On this momentous day, he would not arrive at the Gardiners in a hired cab. He wanted as much pomp and ceremony as he could garner in barely an hour’s notice. He had sent out for the best flowers that could be found this late in the season and ordered the inside of the carriage hung with garlands and the seats strewn with rose petals. He would take Elizabeth to Hyde Park in the afternoon and make her feel like a queen. As he stepped in, the sweet aroma infused his nostrils, evoking in him the buoyant feeling of spring time.

He could still scarcely believe it. He had proposed to Elizabeth for the third time and she had finally accepted him. All that remained was for Mr. Bennet to give his consent and for the papers to be drawn. It was a mere formality, he knew, but things would not feel settled until he had done so. In a few hours – nay, even earlier – Elizabeth Bennet, the love of his life, would be his.
He knocked on the roof to get the carriage going and immediately the horses set off at a trot. Not for long, however. Soon the clamor and the traffic slowed them down to a crawl and Darcy started to become restless. He was impatient to see Elizabeth, as well as to speak to her father. On a more mundane level, too, he was hungry. Mrs. Gardiner had extended an invitation for Darcy to join them for luncheon and he had been glad to accept, not only for the opportunity to spend time with Elizabeth, but also because he had not eaten a morsel of the Bingley’s lavish wedding breakfast. He had been too nervous to even consider eating then, but now his stomach was making rumbles of discontent.

As they drew closer to Church Street where the Gardiners resided, a commotion sounded ahead and the carriage came to a standstill. Darcy put his head out of the window and found a wheelbarrow full of lettuces had been upset and was blocking their way. They were close to their destination, and Darcy considered whether he would not be better off walking, but he did not want his newly polished boots to be stained, not today, when he wanted to look his absolute best.

“Can you turn back?” said Darcy, to Young Ebenezer, the coachman.

Ebenezer grinned. “Well, Mr. Darcy, it is quite difficult to turn it in such a tight space, but if anyone can do it, I can.”

Darcy nodded. “Do it.”

Then it was an eternity of waiting as the carriage was slowly and painfully maneuvered until it was facing the opposite direction. After that, they still had to find their way through some of the back streets to the Gardiner’s place, which was a challenge even for Young Ebenezer’s ingenuity. They were forced to stop and ask the way a few times.

Then, finally, they were there, in front of the elegant white stucco townhouse. The blue door to the house opened, the stairs were let down, and there was Elizabeth, standing in the doorway, the sun glinting off her auburn curls. He leaped from the carriage and was by her side in a moment. She put out her hands to him and he grasped them, longing to draw her closer, but forcing himself to be content with that limited contact.

“I have missed you,” he said, drinking in her presence.


Her eyes laughed back at him. “You cannot have missed me, Mr. Darcy, surely. It has been less than two hours since I last saw you.”

See on Amazon



Sunday, 24 January 2016

An Interview with Jane Austen, by Monica Fairview

Jane Austen is known for her caustic and irreverent wit. I thought it might be fun to highlight some of her most famous statements by framing them in a particular way.

So today, as a special guest, I have Miss Jane Austen, who has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about romance, her view of marriage and her writings, using her own words. I hope you will welcome her warmly.

So many people have come to love and admire Mr. Darcy, your creation. What do you think is the main attribute of the romantic hero?
There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.

In your opinion, what is the best way to win a gentleman’s heart?
In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

What about all the enhancements a young lady has at her disposal? All the fine Regency gowns we love so much?
It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.

Elizabeth Bennet’s lively manners and intelligence are an important aspect of why Mr. Darcy loves her. Do you think this is true generally in romance?
A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. However, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance. A good-looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man.


In Pride and Prejudice, you write about failed proposals. What do you think is the essence of a successful proposal?
Is not general incivility the very essence of love?

But Elizabeth accuses Mr. Darcy of being uncivil, yet he fails in his proposal.
Angry people are not always wise. Besides, he surprises her. Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.

You are fond of portraying selfish, self-centred people in your novels. Take Mary Elliott in Persuasion, Lady Catherine and Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey and many others. Yet even if they’re villains, you never condemn them fully. Why is that?
Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

Some would even go so far as to say you favour your villains over your heroes and heroines. Would you agree that is the case?
Very possibly. I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal. Besides, pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.

One thing that puzzles me about your novels is how many ineffective clergymen there are in them. Even the hero of Mansfield Park Edmund Bertram succumbs easily to temptation. Why is this the case?
It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.

If you will permit me, Miss Austen, I would like to ask a question of a personal nature. Have you ever been in love yourself?
No. The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love.

Do you think marriage is an important part of a lady’s identity?
It depends. It is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid! -- the proper sport of boys and girls -- but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else. 

What do you think is the foundation of a good marriage?
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.

Do you believe in marrying your soulmate?
There is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry.

But you do have some happy relationships in your novel -- Darcy and Elizabeth, for example. What do you think is the reason for the success of their relationship?
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

Finally, Miss Austen, what do you think of the Romance genre?
I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life.

Thank you, Miss Austen, for your timeless words.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

From Elizabeth Darcy: Video, Christmas At Pemberley

Thought I'd share this with you. It's long, but I think it's enjoyable. Bring yourself a cup of tea (or wine, if that's your preference), sit back and relax.




Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My first novel ever was An Improper Suitor -- published by Robert Hale in the UK. It is a sweet Traditional Regency.
An Improper Suitor has now been re-released in a boxset with four other Bestselling Regency Authors Amanda Grange, Melinda Hammond, Liz Bailey and Fenella Miller.

Regency Quintet Summer Edition is 
EReader News Book of the Day!! 
Woohoo! Better still, it is selling at the amazing discounted rate of $.99c or £.99p!! Time limited offer!! 
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Here's an excerpt from the novel:

The few riders at this unfashionable hour in Hyde Park moved out of their way and watched as they galloped by. Fashionable society did not approve of the Ladies’ Cavalry Charge, as Lady Bullfinch jokingly called it, but that had never stopped her.
She spurred Hamlet on. This was as close to flying that any mortal could reach. Certainly with the whoosh of air past her ears and the sensation of hovering above her side-saddle she could imagine herself a swallow in flight, or even a sparrow hawk swooping down on its prey.                   
A high pitched scream brought her down to earth.
Julia checked her horse. Colours resolved themselves into shapes. Hyde Park settled back into green grass, Rotten Row, South Carriage Drive, and lines of oak.
From the corner of her eye she glimpsed a lady fighting to control her mount. It reared, then suddenly broke into a fierce gallop. The rider pulled at the reins, and for a moment it looked like the horse had slowed down. But it was only objecting to her clumsy handling. It tossed its head then bolted, running as if pursued by a colony of bees.
There was no time to think. Julia veered off the path and chased after the renegade horse, urging Hamlet onwards. Delighted to show the racing skills for which he had been bred, Hamlet lengthened his stride and accepted the challenge.
So far the girl was still on the horse, hanging on precariously. Julia willed her to remain seated for a few minutes longer, until she could reach her.
They departed the avenue of tree and headed into an area that was more thickly wooded. Julia redoubled her efforts. She did not want the girl to be felled by a low hanging branch.
Not far behind her, the beating of hoofs showed that she was not the only rider who had witnessed the event. She did not look back. Her gaze stayed fixed on the unfortunate girl, as though her eyes themselves could pin the girl to her saddle.
Then something large hurtled into Julia, emerging from behind a copse of trees to her right. The impact jolted her. She slid down in her side saddle, dangerously close to losing her seat. An iron arm wrapped itself round her throat. A hand reached out and gripped the reins of her horse, pulling them from her.
In a daze, her mind registered that someone was abducting her. She recalled horrible tales she had heard about foolish debutantes who rode in the park without a chaperon or groom. Tales of kidnappings and ransoms. Only this time, she was in the tale. 
She glanced desperately around her, but there was no-one else in sight. The trees hid her from the main path and apart from the endangered rider some way ahead of her, there was not a single person who could help. Perhaps someone was around, out of view but not out of earshot. She opened her mouth to scream.
The iron arm clamped down on her mouth. “Don’t be bird-witted,” said a man’s voice close to her ear. The voice did not sound uncouth. His accents were refined, clearly those of a gentleman. But gentlemen of the ton, too, could be villains. “If you scream,” he continued. “We’ll have everyone within earshot descending on us.”
Why exactly did he think she was going to scream? To frighten the magpies?
She sank her teeth into the flesh of his palm and bit down hard. She could feel her teeth cut the skin.
He yelped. “Damnation, woman! What did you do that for?” But to her utter surprise, he did not take his hand away. He kept it firmly in place. A grudging respect for his resilience passed through her.
“If you give me your word not to start shrieking, I’ll remove my hand.” She nodded as well as she could. How did he expect her to give him her word when his palm was smothering even the tiniest squeak?
He removed his hand and examined it. She noted with satisfaction the red marks she had made. An impulse to scream as loudly as she could rose up in her, but she restrained it. She would not act dishonourably. There would be opportunities to escape him, she was certain. It was possible, of course, that he was a bedlamite. The idea gave her more confidence. She was used to dealing with unreasonable people. Her grandmother was one of them, as was her aunt Viola.
“You may wish to reconsider what you are doing, sir,” she said in a firm, no nonsense tone. “I do believe you have mistaken me for someone else.”
He did not answer. Her words had no effect at all. She tried to pry his fingers off the reins, but he held onto them fast. All his effort was concentrated on keeping hold of the reins.
Julia realized that he would soon be running into difficulties, trying to control not only his own horse, but Hamlet and her all at once. So far, he seemed to be managing, and a tiny traitorous part of her admired his skill. However, she was certain that if she kept thrashing about, he would sooner or later be forced to let go of one of the three. So she wrestled with his arm and thrashed around as much as she could, waiting for him to tire and lose his grip.
A vigorous twist brought her assailant’s face to view. He was exactly the kind of figure they warned young girls about – a ruthless-looking man with a pronounced jaw, thunderous brows and piercing black eyes. What made matters worse, he was gnashing his teeth, which made him seem like a villain straight out of a gothic story.
Then Hamlet reared. My worthy horse. He came to her rescue, attempting to throw off her assailant and escape his clutches.  
“Well done, Hamlet!” she cried.  
But instead of releasing the reins, the man tightened them, forcing Hamlet down. Hamlet succumbed with an angry snort. The reins pressed into her right shoulder cutting into her. 
“Let go at once, sir,” she said, mustering as much arrogance as she could, but growing worried now that she would not be able to get away. “And let go of my horse. You’re injuring his mouth.”
“If you weren’t so hen-witted and just stopped struggling, I’d be able to let go,” said the villain. “I’m only trying to protect you from injury.”
Definitely a bedlamite.
“I…do … not … need … protection,” she said, very slowly, articulating each word clearly.
He did not react. He held on grimly with that iron grip, refusing to let go.
A different strategy was called for, clearly. Julia went limp. It was worth a try. Perhaps he would relax his hold if she pretended to give up.
She had not realized that going limp would imply leaning into him. Her position on the side-saddle meant that now her whole back moulded into his chest. His breath tickled her ear. The musky scent of his shaving cream filled her nostrils.
Julia felt a strange sensation go through her – a warmth and a yearning she had never experienced before. She closed her eyes, driven by the temptation to give in to that feeling. 
The man shifted away and let go of the reins abruptly. “Your horse appears to have settled down.”

“Of course he’s settled down.” she said, angry at herself for letting down her guard. “I’m sure he’s a great deal more comfortable now that you aren’t mangling his mouth."



Thursday, 5 March 2015

Songs & Stories: The Darcy Brothers Tour: Character Interview with ...

Songs & Stories: The Darcy Brothers Tour: Character Interview with ...:     Hello! Today it is my pleasure to host Messrs. Fitzwilliam and Theophilus Darcy, stars of the exciting new literary collabora...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

More Agreeably Engaged: My share in the conversation...The Darcy Brothers

More Agreeably Engaged: My share in the conversation...The Darcy Brothers: A Book Review:  The Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds One of ...

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Darcy Brothers Launch on Austenprose


Well, the day is finally here. The Darcy Brothers is now LIVE.

We are celebrating the occasion on Austenprose today on February 2nd 2015, where you can find out more about the novel and have the opportunity of winning a copy. Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress for kicking off the launch tour!

You can follow Theo Darcy (who always has a great deal to say) on his launch page today and on his Facebook page.




Saturday, 24 January 2015

Flawed Motivations in Pride & Prejudice


"If one could but go to Brighton!" observes Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, "A little sea-bathing would set me up for ever." In my novel Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, she has an opportunity to do so, though not under the best of circumstances (Lydia has gone missing). Not surprisingly, despite Mrs. Bennet’s anxiety about her daughter, she is not about to give up the chance of a lifetime to experience some sea-dipping.

In Pride and Prejudice, Lydia’s trip to Brighton plays a pivotal role. The basic themes of the novel – pride and prejudice, which are two sides of the same coin in many ways – are centered on the fact that people are limited by one-sided perceptions of the world. These perceptions, moreover, are flawed. In a few skilled strokes of the quill, Jane illuminates her characters’ motivations while at the same time showing how each one, in very different ways, is responsible for the disastrous consequences of Lydia’s trip to Brighton.


Lydia

It comes as no surprise that Lydia’s whole world revolves around the officers, and who can blame her, really? She is fifteen, and in a small village like Meryton there are few opportunities to meet young men. For her, the departure of the militia is nothing short of a disaster – so much so that it is almost one of the first things she mentions when she goes to meet Lizzy and Jane at the inn after they return from Hunsford/London.

"They are going to be encamped near Brighton; and I do so want papa to take us all there for the summer! It would be such a delicious scheme, and I dare say would hardly cost anything at all. Mamma would like to go too of all things! Only think what a miserable summer else we shall have!"
Jane Austen provides us with an insight into the workings of Lydia’s mind – and indeed into the fantasies of many a hormone-driven teenager, revealing her vanity as well as her hopes and dreams.

“She saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention to tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw all the glories of the camp … and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once.”

Jane Austen is careful to show us that, behind that extraordinary vision, however, there is a certain insecurity. It is no coincidence that after she initially breaks the news of the Brighton plans to Lizzy and Jane, she brings up the subject of marriage, showing that to her, flirting is not just an idle pursuit.

“Have you seen any pleasant men? Have you had any flirting? I was in great hopes that one of you would have got a husband before you came back. Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. She is almost three-and-twenty! Lord, how ashamed I should be of not being married before three-and-twenty!... Lord! how I should like to be married before any of you!”

Under Lydia’s flighty silliness, there is in fact a sense of determination, and she accomplishes what she is determined to do. Unlike her sisters, she will not come back without a husband and she will be married before them. Her perspective is flawed, however, because she does not care how she achieves this goal.

Mrs. Bennet

Mrs. Bennet is most adamant about having her daughter go to Brighton. There is a certain wistfulness in her desire to send Lydia to the coast that shows how much she identifies with her youngest daughter. You could almost feel sorry for her, in fact. It is clear that she is saddled with a husband who has little interest in travelling or doing anything exciting. He doesn’t even like to go to London.

“Lydia's going to Brighton was all that consoled her for the melancholy conviction of her husband's never intending to go there himself.”

Evidently Mrs. Bennet feels she has missed out on her own youth. Her lively spirits have been given no outlet when she is married to a man who spends as much time as possible in his library. It is as if Mrs. Bennet has chosen to live vicariously through her daughter. This need to see her daughter enjoy life makes her blind to the dangers of sending her away with the equally giddy Mrs. Forster.


Mrs. Bennet was diffuse in her good wishes for the felicity of her daughter, and impressive in her injunctions that she would not miss the opportunity of enjoying herself as much as possible -- advice which there was every reason to believe would be attended to.

Mr. Bennet

Of the four characters I’m dealing with, Mr. Bennet’s motivation is perhaps the most flawed. In his avoidance of conflict at all costs, he is unwilling to take a firm stance and is so good at side-stepping the issue that even Lizzy is taken in by him.

“Elizabeth saw directly that her father had not the smallest intention of yielding; but his answers were at the same time so vague and equivocal, that her mother, though often disheartened, had never yet despaired of succeeding at last.”

Lizzy believes she understands her father. She thinks he sees things the way she does, but she is proven wrong. The moment the Fosters offer to take Lydia with them, Mr. Bennet is more than happy to yield, as long as it doesn’t require any effort on his part. His initial refusal to allow Lydia to go doesn’t stem from concern for Lydia. It stems from his reluctance to travel. “We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton. Let her go, then,” he says.


Lizzy

Apparently, Lizzy is the only one that shows any alarm at the possibility of sending Lydia off unaccompanied. She feels it so strongly, that she is willing to “betray” her sister by arguing against it.
"…detestable as such a step must make her, were it known, she could not help secretly advising her father not to let her go.

Since we identity with Lizzy, it is easy to think that at least she was being sensible. However, Jane Austen doesn’t let her main character off the hook. She very quickly reveals that Lizzy has her own self-interest in mind, and Mr. Bennet is quick to seize on that.

"If you were aware," said Elizabeth, "of the very great disadvantage to us all which must arise from the public notice of Lydia's unguarded and imprudent manner -- nay, which has already arisen from it, I am sure you would judge differently in the affair."
"Already arisen?" repeated Mr. Bennet. "What, has she frightened away some of your lovers? Poor little Lizzy! But do not be cast down. Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth a regret. Come, let me see the list of the pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia's folly." 

Elizabeth’s attempt to persuade her father not to send Lydia fails precisely because it is centered on herself. She is thinking of Darcy and of what he would think of her. This becomes even more complicated when it comes to not mentioning what she knows about Wickham to her father. Again, she shows her motivation is not primarily concern for Lydia. After all, knowing what she knows about Wickham, and knowing that Lydia is bound to meet him, the least she could have done is warn Lydia not to trust him (even if it fell on deaf ears).


Having revealed the flaws inherent in the Bennet’s perception of Lydia’s trip to Brighton and what it means, Jane Austen leaves us with a sense of inevitability. No one person alone is to blame for Lydia’s disastrous choice. Everyone is. Consequently, the Bennets stare ruin in the face.


Thank heavens for Mr. Darcy, who sails right in and makes everything alright. What would we have done without him?


(This post appeared yesterday on Austen Variations
@copyright Monica Fairview
All quotes must be linked to this address or to Austen Variations 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Happy Birthday, Jane!!


We have a great deal to celebrate because, even though Jane's life was cut short very early, she still managed to achieve something wonderful. Her books have delighted millions over two centuries, and they have the ability to bring together so many people from different backgrounds from around the world. Her wit, her memorable characters, her ability to see through the hypocrites and sycophants of the time, her clever obsevations and of course, her innovative (at the time) depiction of romance -- these are just a few things that we have come to love and cherish. To me, what is most memorable about her is her sharp which has the capacity to startle you out of your complacency.

Here are some examples of phrases by her that I'm particularly fond of:


Next week I shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend. ~Letters


It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of a man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire. ~Northanger Abbey

...it was not in her nature to question the veracity of a young man of such amiable appearance as Wickham. ~Pride and Prejudice

A lady, without a family, was the very best preserver of furniture in the world. ~Persuasion

I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. — These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay. ~Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Collins)

Those who do not complain are never pitied. ~ Pride and Prejudice (Mrs. Bennet)

How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! ~ Pride and Prejudice (Caroline Bingley)



I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased. ~Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy, of course)

And here it is -- in Jane's own mischievous words -- the reason we should celebrate Jane's birthday


I am very much obliged to my dear little George for his messages, for his Love at least--his Duty I suppose was only in consequence of some hint of my favourable intentions towards him from his father or mother. I am sincerely rejoiced however that I ever was born, since it has been the means of procuring him a dish of Tea. ~Letters
Thank you, Jane Austen!!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend Goodreads Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mr. Darcy's Challenge by Monica Fairview

Mr. Darcy's Challenge

by Monica Fairview

Giveaway ends November 29, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends across the pond!!!!!


Have you spotted Mr. Darcy yet?? :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Release day! Mr. Darcy's Challenge

It's finally here! We're celebrating the release of Mr. Darcy's Challenge today at Austen Variations with a chance to win copies of the novel as well as a reading of Chapter Two. Come and join us in the celebration!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Mr. Darcy's Challenge available for pre-order on Nook, Kobo and iTunes

I'm very pleased to announce that you can now pre-order in several different formats. You can order in all these formats on Smashwords, which sells the novel in various formats (you pick which format you'd like when you check out). Or of course you can do it directly. Here are the various links.

Smashwords|iTunes|Kobo|Nook

Amazon.comUSA|Amazon.co.UK|Amazon.CA

Unfortunately, the paperback is not yet available for pre-order.

First Review of Mr. Darcy's Challenge on The Ardent Reader

It's exciting and nerveracking  to read about people's initial impressions when a novel you've written has first been published and I'm very happy with my first review on The Ardent Reader.

Here are some choice quotes from the review

Being a continuation of the first book, I was anxious to get started! We left Darcy in a precarious place and I just had to know what happened next! Well, I was floored! This book is an emotional roller coaster that you will want to ride again and again!
Monica Fairview has a way with our favorite characters! She brings out the best and worst in them and makes me love them all over again! 

I highly recommend this set of books to any Jane Austen lover! I know I will read them again and again!

Sounds enthusiastic, wouldn't you agree? Now you know why I'm happy!



Monday, 17 November 2014

Gearing up to go for release day Mr. Darcy's Challenge

Release day is November 25, 2014, which is approaching fast. I really can't wait for everyone to start reading the novel!

Meanwhile, here's the banner for Mr. Darcy's Challenge. It's available for pre-order on Amazon, Nook and Kobo. It will be available soon in paperback. Keep checking back to find out when.



Monday, 10 November 2014

Mr. Darcy's Challenge (Mr. Darcy's Pledge Part 2) Cover Reveal


I am absolutely thrilled to be able to finally reveal my new cover for Mr. Darcy's Challenge. I loved the cover for the first in the series, and I think this one is just as pretty. Let me know what you think!

To give you a taste of the new novel, Here is the Prologue which I posted originally on Austen Variations. If you would like to read more, I have Chapter One up on Austen Variations as well, so if you'd like to head on there, take a look at it and make a comment I would really like that.


Prologue


A man in possession of a fortune may be in need of a wife, but there were many ways to choose one. Writing a list of required qualities was perhaps not the best approach. That, at least, was Darcy’s conclusion as he rode away from Longbourn, his thoughts on how best to convince Elizabeth Bennet that marriage to him was not as disagreeable a prospect as she seemed to think.

He tore up the list he had made into many pieces and threw it behind him. The list of requirements for a wife was gone. Darcy was no longer bound by it, nor was he bound by society’s restrictions. He was free once again to follow the dictate of his emotions. A huge burden shifted from his shoulders. Now all he had to do was find Wickham and rescue Lydia from his clutches, then return to fulfil his pledge to woo Elizabeth until she gave him her hand in marriage.

The torn bits of paper were taken up by a light breeze. They floated back towards him like blossoms tossed over a bride and groom, as they would be tossed one day over him and Elizabeth. He imagined the two of them emerging from the small chapel at Lambton, surrounded by well-wishers, with Elizabeth by his side, smiling and radiant.

Darcy was not normally given to flights of fantasy but, fired up by the conviction that he would find a way to make things right for Elizabeth and her family, he indulged himself in an altogether pleasant daydream. He was a knight on horseback, like the Darcys of old, and an evil knight threatened his fair lady. He was riding off to challenge the evil knight to a duel, and, to prove himself the hero once and for all. He would return, having vanquished his adversary, and would find his fair lady awaiting him, her fine dark eyes full of admiration – and love. She would run out of her home and cast her arms around him. The daydream culminated with him leaning over to receive the kiss he had craved for so long.

A branch brushed against Darcy’s face and awakened him from this happy trance. He was half-asleep on his horse and likely to fall if he did not pay attention. His childish fantasy embarrassed him. How Wickham would have mocked him for his ridiculous notions! Darcy had always loved tales of valor and bravery when they were children, while Wickham had always scoffed at them. Once, Darcy had tried to creep inside the old suit of armor in the Picture Gallery at Pemberley and had been stuck inside, unable to get out. Wickham had laughed at his discomfort and refused to assist him, saying he should shout for a knight on a white horse to come and rescue him. In the end, Darcy had to bribe Wickham by promising him two of his toy soldiers in return for going for one of the servants. Wickham had agreed to the bargain, but instead of bringing someone to help Darcy, he had fetched Darcy’s father. Darcy had been whipped for desecrating one of his family’s oldest possessions and lectured for days afterwards about not taking enough pride in his ancestors. 

In any case, this was not the time for dreaming. It was the time for action. He needed to sort out this business with Wickham and return, as he had pledged, to woo Elizabeth until she agreed to become his wife, even if it meant taking up residence in Meryton for the next five years.  

He spurred his horse onwards. His aspirations, however, came to a sudden and complete standstill when his horse slowed down to a trot then halted, refusing to go any farther. She had found a particularly juicy clump of grass and she intended to enjoy it.

Darcy sighed, recognizing in the horse his own bone-deep weariness. Driven by Lady Catherine’s letter informing him of Lydia’s elopement and the Bennet family’s disgrace, he had ridden as fast as he could to Longbourn, intent on showing Elizabeth and her family his support. He was thirsty, hungry and sore. The mare he had hired from the last posting-inn felt much the same, he imagined. Unlike him, she did not have the impetus of being heroic. She needed a good rub-down and some rest.
Now that they had stopped, Darcy realized where he was. The uprooted oak tree lying on its side by the road signaled that he was drawing closer to Netherfield. There was the path that forked left and led across the fields toward Bingley’s estate. This was undoubtedly the way Elizabeth had taken when she walked from Longbourn to attend to her sick sister. He had not even known he had been looking for it until he found it.

At least six inches deep in mud. Caroline had pointed out the mud, but he had not noticed it. His gaze had been drawn to the brief glimpse of a fine-turned ankle that had been revealed as she had shifted her skirts self-consciously under the onslaught of probing eyes.

Hardly conscious of what he was doing, Darcy descended, tethered the horse to the oak tree and took the path left. He followed the path until he reached an old cross-step turnstile. He climbed it awkwardly and jumped down the other side. Unsurprisingly, his boots sank with a squelch into the mud. He grinned with delight at the thought that he was experiencing what Elizabeth had experienced, stepping into the very same mud that she did. Then he felt embarrassed and hastily rearranged his features into a more serious expression. Fortunately, no one but a group of brown cows clustered together had witnessed his exhibition. 

Passing through hazel copse, he continued, drawn as if spellbound towards his friend’s house. Then suddenly the view opened up and a lavender field spread before him, row upon neat row of purple sprigs waving gently in the breeze. The aroma drifted up towards him, an irresistible blend of sweetness mingling with the scent of the earth. In the distance, the grey stone edifice of Netherfield sat on the slope of a knoll, looking out to the apple orchards beyond it. He stared at it, his heart filled with a myriad emotions. His gaze sought out a particular window. She had slept there, in the bedchamber closest to her sister Jane. She had been under that same roof. If he had only known it then, he would have made every effort to make a good impression on her. He had departed from Longbourn just two days later, believing he was putting an end to the whole story.

It was just the beginning.

He stood gazing at the house for a moment longer, contemplating his blind, naïve confidence that day, then turned away. He was wasting time. He had a mission to accomplish, and he would not do so stopping in the middle of a field and reminiscing about the past. He strode back to where the horse had been contentedly feasting and mounted, turning towards the direction of London.

A light breeze came up and a piece of paper drifted lazily across the green expanse to settle near the horse’s hoof. He thought of the pieces of paper he had tossed behind him and a sudden panic gripped him.

He had stupidly left his list behind on the grounds of Longbourn for everyone to see. What if Elizabeth were to chance upon them? Would she connect the pieces of paper to him? He had torn them up but the segments were still large enough to be legible. He tried to dismiss his sudden fear, to rationalize that she could not guess that it was his list, but he knew the evidence would incriminate him. Paper was not commonly found strewn around the countryside, with most of the population illiterate and without access to the expensive material. Besides, Elizabeth had seen him write on that memorable day in Netherfield. Caroline had drawn Elizabeth’s attention to his handwriting. She would very likely recognize it.

He could not afford to have her find the list. If she did, she would have nothing but contempt for his cold-blooded manner of acquiring a wife. He had to go back and retrieve the pieces at once.
He turned back towards Longbourn. The mare shook her head as if to question his sanity in deciding to retrace the same path they had taken so recently, then responded to his urgency by breaking into a reluctant trot.

As he approached the spot where he had thrown the paper, he distinguished a feminine figure approaching from a distance, walking with confident strides and swinging her bonnet in her hand.

He was too late.







Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Huge Austen Variations Sale



Over at Austen Variations, and in collaboration with The Book Rat's Austen in August, we are having a huge sale of Austen-related novels from August 27th to September 5th. You will find the links on our Austen Variations Blog, but here a the list of discounted novels. More may be added, so keep checking that page.

Monica Fairview
  • Steampunk Darcy - $0.99
  • Mr. Darcy’s Pledge - $1.99
Maria Grace
  • Darcy’s Decision - $0.99
  • The Future Mrs. Darcy - $0.99
  • All the Appearance of Goodness - $1.99
 Abigail Reynolds
  • Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections - $0.99
  • The Darcys of Derbyshire - $0.99
  • A Pemberley Medley - $0.99
  • Morning Light - $0.99
  • By Force of Instinct - $0.99
Mary Lydon Simonsen
  • When They Fell in Love - $0.99
  • Becoming Elizabeth Darcy - $0.99
  • Darcy on the Hudson - $0.99
  • The Second Date - $0.99
  • Three’s a Crowd - $0.99
  • Another Place in Time - $1.99 
Shannon Winslow
  • For Myself Alone - $0.99

Jack Caldwell
  • Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner - $0.99

Kara Louise
  • Pirates and Prejudice - $1.99
  • Pemberley Celebrations - $1.99
  • Master Under Good Regulation -  $1.99

Susan Mason Milks
  • Mr. Darcy’s Proposal - $1.99

Jane Odiwe
  • Project Darcy - $1.99
  • Searching for Captain Wentworth - $1.99

Marilyn Brant
  • Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match - $2.99

Cassandra Grafton
  • A Fair Prospect (3 Volume Set) - $2.99

Links for each book to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. at www.austenvariations.com/austen-in-august-book-sale-aug-18-31/