Review: Love Letters from Mr. Darcy by Dawn J. King

Love Letters from Mr. Darcy by Dawn J. King is a Pride and Prejudice variation that begins directly after the proposal scene when Darcy hands Elizabeth the letter to read. In this version, she doesn’t read it right away, but instead, they walk the gardens talking.

The Elizabeth in this book is slightly different from other Elizabeth’s we’ve seen. She can’t let issues fester and instead likes to face confrontation head on. She’d rather take a walk and talk it out rather than let months or even a day pass with a misunderstanding between her and another person.

The story takes place primarily at Rosings and the main characters besides our lovely couple are Lady Catherine, Anne De Bourgh, the Collins, and my favorite, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Some of the highlights (and possible spoilers) are:

Lady Catherine actually blackmailing Darcy.

Darcy and Fitzwilliam’s fun cousin relationship.

The interesting take on the Collins’ relationship.

The story behind Anne’s health problems.

One of my favorite segments is when Anne, being motion sick in a carriage, throws up all over Darcy and Fitzwilliam’s boots. Elizabeth really puts her in her place when Anne asks her to wash her shoes. I love this feisty Elizabeth and her wisdom in all situations. Although she’s not the Elizabeth we’ve come to admire, she is a different sort of woman who still shares the fire of the Elizabeth we enjoy in the original book.

The love story and second proposal is all that we Janites would hope it to be and I love that Darcy writes her so many letters. A truly enjoyable book with some different ideas I really enjoyed exploring.

 

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Review: The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy by Victoria Kincaid

The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy by Victoria Kincaid

Just finished reading this awesome Pride and Prejudice variation. From the first sentence of this book I knew it would be enjoyable. It picks up with Darcy and Bingley traveling to Longbourn to propose to their two favorite Bennett girls. The horrid first proposal has taken place and the letter has been read, but the trip to Pemberley with the Gardeners and the Wickham fiasco are yet to take place. I won’t be giving anything away to reveal what this book blurb says: When Darcy and Bingley arrive at Longbourn they discover Elizabeth has died in a ship explosion.

And man, here is where I fell in love with this book. The heartache Darcy feels when he finds out Elizabeth is gone and that there will be no chance for reconciliation is palpable. I actually started crying. Not only his heartache, but Janes, too. That Darcy—one of my most beloved characters—would be deprived of the best love story known to us, killed me.

But this revelation didn’t make me want to put the book down. It pushed me to find out what happened next. Darcy then sets off for France to avenge her death. Now, I did not read the blurb before reading the book and I’m glad because it gives away too much of the book for my liking. I urge you to read the book and not the blurb because the adventure Darcy sets up on is dangerous, exciting, and very fulfilling. It’s also best left a mystery, because this author expertly unfolds a story I adore.

I knew he would somehow find what he was looking for, but the how and the journey is delightful. This is one of those books you hate to stop reading. Real life becomes a burden, set against you continuing the story. This is now one of my favorite variations. Can’t wait to read other varitations from this author.

 

Meant to Be Press Podcast: Episode 003, Prejudiced

Meant to Be Press

Meant to Be Press Podcast
003 Meant to Be… Prejudiced
Hosted by Emmy Z. Madrigal & Kadirah Wade
Theme Music: Mr. Darcy’s Minuet by Michele Roger

Meant to Be… Prejudiced

Pride and Prejudice, 1995
Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Crispin Boham-Carter, Susannah Harker

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Pride and Prejudice, 1995
Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Crispin Boham-Carter, Susannah Harker

http://meanttobepress.com

Theme Music: Mr. Darcy’s Minuet by Michele Roger
https://michiganconservatory.com

Win this title! Comment on this post and win!
Pride and Prejudice, 1995
Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Crispin Boham-Carter, Susannah Harker

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Book Review: Mr. Darcy’s Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Mr. Darcy’s Bite

reviewed by guest Sebastian Grimm

I’m a gentleman of varying tastes. I mostly read horror and classic literature which is a strange combination, but one that I think compliments each other more often than not.

Recently, I came across a Jane Austen variation called Mr. Darcy’s Bite, which by the cover promised a gentleman of Regency times possibly encountering or becoming a wolf. Never one to let a shapeshifter pass me by, I decided to try this, “Forbidden tale of passion in possession,” despite the possibility of it being a romance with no bite whatsoever.

For those of you not “in the know” about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel, Mr. Darcy is a wealthy bachelor who every mother wants to marry her daughter. He falls for Elizabeth, who wants nothing to do with him whatsoever. In Mr. Darcy’s Bite, Mr. Darcy just happens to be a werewolf.

For the Janites out there, Mr. Darcy’s Bite takes place after Jane and Mr. Bingley are married, but before Mr. Darcy’s second proposal.

Now, while I can get behind a werewolf tale and I’m not averse to reading regency novels whether they be romance or not, this story was a little disjointed for me.

First, you have a werewolf tale which was actually very interesting. However, this book also carried on the story way past its ending. There were also strange religious references in this book that I found rather odd because they didn’t seem to make sense in the context. I found myself asking if this author wanted to write a book with bible references, why would she write a werewolf book? And why would she choose these references that really do not make any sense? It came off a little preachy, but not because of what was said, but the way the verses were inserted as if to subliminally teach you bible references? These were rare, but there was at least three times during the read that I had to stop and try to figure out why the reference was used in that way. Pulled me out of the story and ended up not making sense in the long run anyway.

Despite this, I did enjoy the werewolf lore in this book and the actual story about the werewolf and how he loves his woman and courts her was pretty entertaining. As were references to the new world and America which weaved in seamlessly. I even found the details about the werewolf transformation interesting.

There were a few steamy scenes between the two love interests and I believe even the romance was written well and not overly gory given that it’s about werewolves. Those who like romance or are craving more Darcy content will not be disappointed. However, a few loose ends were not tied up such as Georgiana’s relationship with one of the young wolves. Also, the exciting part of the book should have been ended as soon as the climax occurred. Instead, the book went on and on and on well after the excitement died.

Now, because this book went on and on I kept waiting for something more exciting to happen. When it didn’t, I found myself disappointed at every new milestone of mediocrity. I’m just not sure if this author knew how to write a book about werewolves and what horror readers expect. The werewolf transformations were often glossed over or ignored altogether in lieu of werewolf politics and Elizabeth adjusting to the news of Darcy’s disposition.

In conclusion, if you are a werewolf or shape-shift lover, you may enjoy the backstory, transformation story, and full moon occurrences as they are rather well laid out, however no need for you to go past Chapter 30. If you are a Jane Austen lover and simply craving more Mr. Darcy, this book will be good for you however you may find the werewolf nonsense a bit over-the-top for you and you may be disappointed by the non-appearance of certain “villains” you know.

Now, for the stars… The werewolf lore does deserve a high 4 ☆☆☆☆, but the “nothing happening” ending and strange religious references that have no real connection to the story plummet the book to a 2 ☆☆ out of 5 stars for me.

Sebastian Grimm signing off…

Catherine Morland, The Horror Addict

Hi! It’s Emmy and I am here to talk about the heroine of Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland.

You see, being a Gemini, I have a romance side and a horror side (I host the podcast horroraddicts.net under the name Emerian Rich) which makes me the perfect person to talk to you about Northanger Abbey and its horror-loving heroine, Catherine Morland.

I’ve been told people don’t like Catherine because she’s just a silly, naive girl that lives a large part of her life in her head. I’ve also been told that she’s un-relatable because she likes Gothic novels and horror. Well, I’m here to explain her fascination in a way I hope will be more relatable.

I will attempt to prove that Catherine Morland was not simply some ignorant young miss wiling away her hours in a fantasy world, but she was a horror fan misunderstood by her peers but with a healthy imagination.

To understand Catherine as a horror fan, you have to break down the attributes of a horror fan.

First:

We are people who like to be scared in a removed way through movies, books, and music. Inspecting a horrid situation from a distance not only allows us to experience danger without any real harm to ourselves but also prepare ourselves for the true horrors of life that may come like—the zombie apocalypse. Horror Addicts are just like any other fan. Fans of Jane Austen might read Jane Austen all weekend, or attend a Northanger Abbey ball. Horror Addicts might read Stephen King all weekend or go to a horror film festival. As a rule, we aren’t axe murders, we don’t glorify serial killers, and we definitely don’t want to die at the hand of a chainsaw-wielding maniac. We do, however, like spooky things like ghosts, vampires, and like Catherine Morland, spooky old Abbeys that may contain such creatures.

Second:

We have active imaginations. This may be said about any reader. How many times have you watched a movie based on a book and been dissatisfied? The movies are never better than books, right? Those of you who agree with that statement have vibrant imaginations. The reason they can’t make the movie to please us is because our imaginations have weaved such an awesome image of what we’ve read, that no movie could possibly match. Just like Catherine conjuring up this gothic idea of Mrs. Tilney’s room… and then being disappointed at it looking just like any old bedroom.

Third:

The third aspect of Horror Addicts is, we like to geek out with other Horror Addicts. One reason Catherine likes Henry so much is that he gets her. He is at least in part an addict himself. He is able to make jokes about the novel she’s read, and by teasing her, show he likes her passion and accepts that part of her. And who doesn’t want to be accepted by someone who understands you?

Fourth:

Which brings me to attribute number four. Horror fans often like to find the humor in things. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and often accompany our love of horror with comedy. Either in an attempt to lighten the mood of such serious scary stuff or just because we are generally jovial people. Another reason Catherine likes Henry is because he has a good sense of humor and makes her laugh. For someone who likes humor, Jane painted the winner pretty clear. Grumpy old General Tilney, pompous Frederick, and ridiculously boastful Thorpe have no chance. Henry is clearly the best choice.

So given these attributes of a horror fan,

I think we can all agree that Catherine Morland is one and although she has some growing up to do, just because she learned something about the difference between fantasy and reality does not mean she ceased being a horror addict. I like to think that she went on to read more Gothic novels and perhaps even wrote some herself, but learned to not take them so literally.

Contrary to popular belief,

Horror Addicts don’t tend to grow out of our fascination with the macabre. I hate it when I read reviews that say Catherine grew out of her innocence and realized horror was just for kids. I don’t think that’s what Jane was saying at all. I think she captured perfectly the vision of a young Miss who didn’t know how to enjoy her passion without letting it bleed into reality and by experiencing more and falling in love, she could experience her passion in a somewhat removed way that didn’t get her in trouble.

Now, one of my favorite passages (abridged) of Northanger Abbey and shows her Horror Addict tastes.

Again she passed through the folding doors, again her hand was upon the important lock, and Catherine, hardly able to breathe, was turning to close the former with fearful caution, when the figure, the dreaded figure of the general himself at the further end of the gallery, stood before her! The name of “Eleanor” at the same moment, in his loudest tone, resounded through the building, giving to his daughter the first intimation of his presence, and to Catherine terror upon terror. An attempt at concealment had been her first instinctive movement on perceiving him, yet she could scarcely hope to have escaped his eye; and when her friend, who with an apologizing look darted hastily by her, had joined and disappeared with him, she ran for safety to her own room, and, locking herself in, believed that she should never have courage to go down again.

When I read that, I imagined how I might feel, being watched by a tyrant, but also still wanting to solve the mystery… WHAT IS BEHIND THAT DOOR??

Catherine found herself alone in the gallery before the clocks had ceased to strike. It was no time for thought; she hurried on, slipped with the least possible noise through the folding doors, and without stopping to look or breathe, rushed forward to the one in question. The lock yielded to her hand, and, luckily, with no sullen sound that could alarm a human being. On tiptoe she entered; the room was before her; but it was some minutes before she could advance another step. She beheld what fixed her to the spot and agitated every feature. She saw a large, well-proportioned apartment, a handsome dimity bed, arranged as unoccupied with a housemaid’s care, a bright Bath stove, mahogany wardrobes, and neatly painted chairs, on which the warm beams of a western sun gaily poured through two sash windows!

Catherine had expected to have her feelings worked, and worked they were. Astonishment and doubt first seized them; and a shortly succeeding ray of common sense added some bitter emotions of shame. She could not be mistaken as to the room; but how grossly mistaken in everything else!–in Miss Tilney’s meaning, in her own calculation!

She was sick of exploring, and desired but to be safe in her own room, with her own heart only privy to its folly; and she was on the point of retreating as softly as she had entered, when the sound of footsteps, she could hardly tell where, made her pause and tremble. To be found there, even by a servant, would be unpleasant; but by the general (and he seemed always at hand when least wanted), much worse! She listened–the sound had ceased; and resolving not to lose a moment, she passed through and closed the door.

At that instant a door underneath was hastily opened; someone seemed with swift steps to ascend the stairs, by the head of which she had yet to pass before she could gain the gallery. She had no power to move. With a feeling of terror not very definable, she fixed her eyes on the staircase, and in a few moments it gave Henry to her view.

“Mr. Tilney! How came you up that staircase?”

“How came I up that staircase! Because it is my nearest way from the stable-yard to my own chamber; and why should I not come up it? And may I not, in my turn, ask how you came here? This passage is at least as extraordinary a road from the breakfast-parlour to your apartment, as that staircase can be from the stables to mine.

‘I have been to see your mother’s room.”

“My mother’s room! Is there anything extraordinary to be seen there?”

“No, nothing at all.”

“You look pale. I am afraid I alarmed you by running so fast up those stairs. Perhaps you did not know–you were not aware of their leading from the offices in common use?”

“No, I was not.”

“And does Eleanor leave you to find your way into all the rooms in the house by yourself?”

“Oh! No; she showed me over the greatest part on Saturday–and we were coming here to these rooms–but only… your father was with us. I only wanted to see…”

“My mother’s room is very commodious, is it not? Large and cheerful-looking, and the dressing-closets so well disposed! It always strikes me as the most comfortable apartment in the house, and I rather wonder that Eleanor should not take it for her own. She sent you to look at it, I suppose?”

“No.”

“Eleanor, I suppose, has talked of her a great deal?”

“Yes, a great deal. That is–no, not much, but what she did say was very interesting. Her dying so suddenly” (slowly, and with hesitation it was spoken), “and you–none of you being at home–and your father, I thought–perhaps had not been very fond of her.”

“And from these circumstances,” “you infer perhaps the probability of some negligence–or it may be–of something still less pardonable.”

She raised her eyes towards him more fully than she had ever done before.

Catherine Morland grew up in that moment. She realized sometimes when a most beloved mother dies, it’s just because she ceased to live, not because of some murder plot by an overbearing husband. And by learning the reality of such situations, this led her to build more devious and believable plots in her career as a novelist…or that’s how I’ve written the end in my head anyway. 🙂

Do you like Northanger Abbey? what are your favorite parts?

Review: Ruined Reputations by Lela Bay

Ruined Reputations by Lela Bay

A pair of delightful tales from a new Regency author. I personally like the second one better because it’s a bit steamer, but they are both fun stories.

“The Unusual Manners of Mr. Arrons” is a sweet romance and speaks more of the comedy of manners popular in Regency tales. I would expect nothing less of a tale began in church. This is a story about hats and birds. It’s comical and I like that neither the author nor her characters take themselves very seriously. There is a different kind of love here between a fashionista and an odd gentleman from out of town that isn’t familiar with societal ways. I didn’t connect with any character in particular, it was more like watching a humorous stage play.

The second story, Virtue’s Temptation is about a selfish, flighty young woman named Bitsy who you just want to smack. Eleanor, an older and wiser woman, tries to step in to help, but Bitsy may not head her warnings. When an acquaintance of Bitsy’s comes in to aid them, Eleanor questions her own heart. Is it as broke as she thought, or will she find love again?

The male lead in this story is yummy and worth ruining a few reputations for. For you Pride and Prejudice lovers out there, this tale reminds me of Lydia. What would have happened had a wiser female observed her running off with Wickham? Are girls like Lydia and Bitsy destined to be ruined, or can they head the warnings long enough to save themselves and their families heartache?

I would like to see a sequel to this. What exactly happens after they go to Mr. Stinson’s large estate?

Through a Different Lens– Character Interview & Giveaway

I love this idea of giving an interview of the different Mr. Darcys in JAFF!

Stories from the Past

I’m so pleased to have another guest for the blog this month! I was interested in Through a Different Lens when I saw Riana posting on social media about writing Mr. Darcy with Autism. As both of my kids are on the Spectrum, I was eager to see how the story would change with Darcy having such a different way of viewing the world. The book is one of a kind and I loved this chance to interview Mr. Darcy! Riana is also offering a giveaway for my readers!

Considered the father of American Psychiatry, Benjamin Rush was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, physician, politician, social reformer, humanitarian, and founder of the Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He was internationally known in the academic and medical worlds for progressive ideas for the mentally ill and handicapped. In Through a Different Lens, we learn that Mr. Darcy…

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