Category Archives: Guest Blog

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…

Guest Blog: The Ultimate Romantic Cemetery by Loren Rhoads

Loren Rhoads is a good friend of mine and just happens to be an aficionado on cemeteries. She’s here today to tell us about the most romantic one, Saint Giles Churchyard.

Eighteenth-century poet Thomas Gray composed his “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” while visiting lovely old Saint Giles Churchyard in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire in the heart of England.

The manor, which stands 200 yards away, served as a Saxon thane’s home until the Norman Conquest in 1066. By the 1080s, the Normans built the first Christian church here. The chancel (the part near the altar), walls, and pillars in the main body of that Norman church still survive.

The word Stoke meant a stockaded place. In 1086, the lord of the manor became known as William of Stoke. In the 13th century, Amicia of Stoke, heiress of the manor, married Robert Pogeys. Their land became known as Stoke Poges.

The church is first mentioned in 1107, when it was “made over” with money tithed to the Priory of St. Mary Overie in Southwark. It was remodeled every hundred years or so, enlarged and improved. In 1702, the spire was erected — Gray admires it in his poem as the “ivy-mantled tower”— but the ivy-damaged the spire was in danger of collapse when it was removed in 1924.

Inside the chancel stands the tomb of Sir John de Molyns, Marshal of the King’s Falcons and Supervisor of the King’s Castles. Although he served both Edward II and Edward III, Sir John was a robber baron believed to have murdered his wife’s uncle and cousin to inherit their land. He died in March 1360.

Around 1558, Lord Hastings of Loughborough added a chapel inside the church for the use of inmates of a nearby almshouse. The chapel served as a burial place for succeeding generations of the Hastings family. Sir Thomas and Sir Walter Clarges were buried here with their families, but the graves have been lost. A mural with skulls and cherubs’ heads survives on the chapel’s south wall.

St. Giles’s oldest monument is a flat tombstone dug out of the churchyard, now on display inside the Hastings chapel. In Norman French, the stone says, “All those who pass by here, Pray for the soul of this one. William of Wytermerse he had for a name.”

Out in the churchyard, Thomas Gray lies beneath a brick sarcophagus next to his mother and her unmarried sister. His name doesn’t appear on the grave, but a tablet on the church’s wall records his burial. Immediately opposite the southwest door of Saint Giles’ Church stands the yew tree under which Gray composed his poem.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r

And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave

Awaits alike the inevitable hour:

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Saint Giles’ Churchyard is one of the 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads. She is also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel and writes about graveyards for the Horror Writers Association and She blogs about cemeteries as vacation destinations at

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

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Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel