Saturday, March 17, 2018

Guest Review by a Great Reader...The Child

Available at Amazon
Good morning, Dear Readers! We have a special treat today. Christina Boyd is visiting and is sharing her thoughts on Jan Hahn's new release, The Child. Her review will give you a taste of what will be coming during the blog tour for The Child, which starts on March 21st. 

Thank you, Christina, and welcome to More Agreeably Engaged.

A Review: The Child by Jan Hahn

Accomplished author Jan Hahn’s latest Austenesque novel, The Child, beseeches “can love overcome all, even the prejudice against a child born to an archenemy?” She writes just the kind of tale that lures me in, consumes me. In Hahn’s stirring re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, two years after Miss Elizabeth Bennet baldly refused his hand in marriage, Mr. Darcy beholds her from across a London street...with a young child in tow. A child! Whose child? But before he can approach her, he is called into the church: “I say, Darce, are you coming? ... The bride is waiting, Darcy!” Bride! Whose bride? Thus, within the first pages, I was addicted.

Years have changed Darcy and Elizabeth since that ill-conceived proposal at the Hunsford parsonage and each has their own cross to bear. Darcy learns that while he and Charles Bingley toured the continent to escape heartache, the Bennets of Longbourn have been embroiled in scandal—the Wickham affair. George Wickham, his boyhood friend, now foe, had eloped with a Bennet daughter, abandoning her with child. Hearing the rumors, all fingers point to Elizabeth as the unwed mother. Yet, when the Bennets’ horse throws a shoe and waylays their carriage on the road to Hertfordshire, Fate intervenes, once again propelling Darcy and Bingley into the company of Miss Jane Bennet and Elizabeth. Offering to deliver the ladies and “the child” home, Darcy cannot but observe the interaction between Miss Elizabeth and Baby Fan:
Naturally, Elizabeth tended to the little girl, I observed she was a most proficient mother. How tender her touch and her tone as she petted and soothed the little one! Just the kind of mother I had envisioned her to be. I remembered dreams of old that had contained a child of mine suckling at her breast. Long vanished now, man!

Back in the neighborhood, the gentlemen see with their own eyes how even the four and twenty families of Meryton have shunned the Bennets. Gossips declare that Wickham is the father and Darcy is tested like never before—guilt, resentment, and pride clash with his enduring, unrequited love and his need to somehow, some way, restore the Bennets’ honor. How could she not have heeded his warning and eloped with the blackguard, resulting in these shameful consequences? Told in the first-person narrative through Darcy’s eyes, the warring between his sense and sensibilities is honest and intimate.  
Abruptly, she withdrew her hand from mine. I realized she could not bear the shame of my disapproval, for I represented society, the same society that condemned her and her family. Our hypocrisy be damned! Neither Elizabeth nor her sisters should suffer the degradation Wickham had inflicted upon them.

Darcy knows Bingley can never marry Jane Bennet as long as the child remains in the Bennet household—a constant reminder of their misfortune and fall from grace—and he takes it upon himself to find Wickham and convince him to claim the child (read: bribery). Alas, nothing ensues as Darcy expects and he must disguise these machinations—and his yearning—or risk losing all he has ever desired.
Immediately, I realized how I had exposed my feelings. What in blazes had I been thinking? That was the problem—I had not been thinking at all. I had been caught up in the pleasure of walking with Elizabeth and basking in the delicious scent that wafted over me when we inadvertently stepped too close to each other.

Further, several beloved and anticipated characters from canon add color to this heart-stopping tale.

I first discovered the elegant writings of “JanH” in February 2007 on-line at Mrs. Darcy’s Story Site. I inhaled all she had published on the Web and when she was posting her “work-in-progress” (WIP) on Sunday evenings, Sunday became “JanH Night” in my house—and soon after the dishes were put away, I was on-line, reading her latest installment. In 2011, she began posting The Child; this WIP became my weekly high, my drug of choice. To my delight, seven years later, I find this tightened and edited version exceptional as anticipated, nay, as expected. Hahn’s absolute understanding of Austen’s characters, imaginative story, and adept research of the language and mores of Regency England create powerful imagery and emotive reading. I heartily recommend you read The Child sooner than later. But be warned, once you start it, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll find yourself at midnight swearing, “Just one more chapter. I can stop any time.” 5 stars. —Christina Boyd

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. She is the editor of anthologies The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, and another coming later in 2018. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

Jan Hahn's much loved eBook, The Journey, is on sale for $1.99. Thank you Meryton Press.

Christina, I want to say a special thanks to you for agreeing to visit my blog and post your thoughts on The Child by Jan Hahn. I loved everything you said about the book. It is such a good novel and I'm thrilled to see it published as well. It's been a privilege to have you share your review with me and my readers. I invite you to come back anytime. Thank you again.

If you haven't already purchased the eBook, you have a chance to win it here. I'm giving it away and the giveaway is international. Please leave a comment for a chance to win. The giveaway ends March 19th at 11:59 PM. Good luck to all.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MAE Favorites of 2017 and the Ides of March

March was the first month of the year in the Roman calendar and March 15th always fell on a full moon. The Ides of March was the deadline for the Romans of old to pay off debts and settle affairs. I'm not a Roman but I will settle some affairs today. Even though some may consider the Ides of March an unlucky day, I'm choosing to consider it a good day for me to share some of my favorites. While I may be a little late posting my favorites of 2017, according to our calendar, I'm not late according to the Roman calendar. ☺ ♥ 

There were so many books that I did not get to read in 2017, but I've started reading some of those this year. I hope to get to many more of them and some being released in 2018 too. Isn't it wonderful how many good books we have, allowing us to spend time, reliving with the characters, the wonderful plots and twists imagined by the authors. I love getting immersed in their world and their lives for a short while.

The reads that made a lasting impression are below and not necessarily in any order. How many of these were your favorites too? I know some of mine also made it on a few other blog lists for favorites of 2017.

To read an interesting article on the Ides of March, click this link.


These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Two lovers are torn apart by a horrendous act, yet are beautifully connected by a strong thread that forever binds them together. This epic novel is much more than a Darcy and Lizzy love story.
It has many layers and as you peel back each layer, the story gets richer and more in depth. 

The Best Part of Love by A. D'Orazio
I truly enjoyed this first release by author, A. D'Orazio.
It was a neat change having Lizzy's true identity unknown to Darcy. Hiding in plain sight, 
Lizzy is much more than she is thought to be. Her story is different and fraught with danger.

A Quest for Mr. Darcy by Cassandra Grafton
Cassandra Grafton wrote a lovely story whose Darcy made me swoon. Oh my!
There are many exquisite unplanned moments with Darcy and Lizzy. A stranger in the woods,
a mistaken fox, a bucket of water, and the Bingley twins all add to the mystery and fun.

Mr. Darcy's Brides by Regina Jeffers
This was such a unique plot and I loved it! Regina Jeffers can spin a good tale. It was great
spending so much time with Darcy and Lizzy. As they got to know each other,
it was wonderful experiencing it with them.

Mr. Bennet's Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes
Aww, what can I say? This was another excellent story by author, Joana Starnes. I'll read anything she writes! I love a forced or arranged marriage scenario with much Darcy/Lizzy time and a little (or a lot) of angst thrown in. Nobody tortures Darcy and Lizzy like Joana Starnes! 

When We Are Married by Caitlin Williams
This was such a good story. Darcy was in quite a predicament with Jane and her misunderstanding.
It was interesting to witness this different turn of events. This is one of the few books that show another side to Jane Bennet and did so in a way that felt believable.

Mistress by Sophie Turner
I was unsure about reading this in the beginning but was curious about the premise. I'm so glad I chose to read it. Sophie Turner convinced me, while keeping the characters true to their originals, that the story could have happened just like she wrote it.


A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder
This comedy made me laugh more times than I can remember. It was quite fun!
Collins, may have been handsome but what about his personality? 

Christmas Anthology:

A Very Austen Christmas by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis and Barbara Cornthwaite
Each of these stories was so well-written and entertaining.
I was left with a satisfying and good feeling. It is an excellent read at Christmas but would be enjoyable any time of the year. I highly recommend these four stories.


The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd
The short stories were all from Darcy's point of view and were divided into Regency
and contemporary settings. With this many authors and the quality of their writing,
there should be something for every reader. 


The Bennet Wardrobe by Don Jacobson

This includes all the books I read in 2017. I love this series of novels and novellas. The Wardrobe takes on a life of its own, helping those of Bennet blood to reach their full potential. Mr. Jacobson incorporates other fictional characters, as well as historical people to interact within his story.
This series is an 'extraordinary journey'.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey 
Henry Fitzwilliam's War 
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
Elizabeth Bennet Meets the Countess
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

Most Unique and Fun:

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku by James Gaynor
This is the most unusual book I've read in awhile. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this author's take of the first lines of each chapter. I laughed out loud numerous times.
The Haiku made me think and taught me a thing or two.


That's my list of most memorable reads of 2017. How many are the same as yours? What are some of your favorites? I would love to know and add them to my TBR list if they are not already there. :) I have a rather lengthyTBR list that is growing daily!

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my favorites. Of all the books I read last year, none of them were poorly written. I enjoyed things about each of them. I'm already making my list for 2018. I'm hoping there will be some North & South variations to include in it! Hint, hint!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Cover Reveal...The Child by Jan Hahn

My guest is not only an excellent author but also a dear friend. I'm thrilled to host Jan Hahn and the cover for her soon to be released novel, The Child.  This long awaited book is set to release around the 16th of March and her blog tour will follow soon after. I can hardly wait to see what all Jan has in store for us. I'm excited for the fun to begin!

Before we get to the actual reveal of the cover, Jan is going to talk to us about some similarities in creating a book cover and writing a book. Jan, it's all yours.


Thank you, Janet, for not only hosting the cover reveal of my new book, but for designing the cover. I’m very happy with it, and I loved working on the project with you.

Creating a book cover and creating the book itself have several things in common.

As an author, I find plot is the first hurdle. Naturally, the overall focus of all my books is Darcy and Elizabeth’s love story―how they fall in love, overcome obstacles, and find their way to a happy conclusion. The obstacle is the sticky point. In my last book, A Peculiar Connection, Elizabeth struggled with the assumption that she was an illegitimate child. Evidently, the idea of scandal still hovered somewhere in my subconscious when the scheme for The Child began to take form. I knew I wanted to do something I had not attempted before―write a story from Darcy’s point of view―and I wanted to begin years after Elizabeth refused his offer of marriage at Hunsford. I wanted the difference in status between Darcy and Elizabeth to be even more pronounced than it was in Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice. Adding a child to the mix produced the necessary wrinkle.

When Janet and I began to discuss ideas for the cover, I sent her a portrait of a child. That, and the story were my sole contributions. As she always does, Janet went through the book and marked scenes that might be pertinent for the front and back covers. Since I like oil paintings, she began her search for appropriate nineteenth century art.

In 2011, I posted The Child online on a couple of Austen-based websites. Although it was well received, I wasn’t satisfied with it. I found writing from a male viewpoint difficult, and I wanted to change parts of the book. I really did not intend to publish it. During the past seven years, however, readers have continued to ask about the story and strongly encouraged me to release it. Last year, Meryton Press agreed to publish it in early 2018. Thus, I began rewriting parts, omitting some passages, and creating new scenes.

In the same vein, Janet tried several different approaches when designing the cover. She found the right art work of the child and played with it until she had a pleasing format. She selected the background and lightened it until the flowers could be seen. St. George’s Church played an interesting part in the plot, and a lovely painting of the building existed. Janet worked her magic on the print until it turned out just right. She also found other paintings we could possibly use―a hut hidden in the woods, men on horseback obviously searching, and a woman lying in the snow―all reflecting significant scenes in the story. Janet made various drafts using these works of art. Although we ended up using only two paintings, I enjoyed seeing the choices she created. Her beautiful finds made me wish I was writing an illustrated book!


Our final product contains a story I’m happy to send out into the world all wrapped up in a beautiful book with simple but elegant front and back covers. I hope you enjoy The Child.

Now for the cover reveal of The Child...

Thank you Meryton Press and Jan Hahn for allowing me the privilege of working on the cover
and working with you again, Jan. It was a pleasure, as always. Readers, what do you think?

Isn't this child beautiful? She has such a sweet little face and lovely hair. Although, I must admit, much like her relationship with Darcy in part of the book, we had a similar beginning.
I'll leave it to you to figure out what that might be when you read the book. :) 

Thanks to you, Claudine Pepe, and to Meryton Press, for giving me the opportunity to host
the cover reveal for The Child and Jan Hahn. This one is special for many reasons.

We hope you love the cover that encases a lovelier book within.

The blurb will give you a bit more information about the story inside. Enjoy.


Will Darcy ever grow to love a child he never wanted?

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford is disastrous. In Jan Hahn’s The Child, Darcy flees England soon afterward, striving to overcome his longing for her. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget. But who is the child holding her hand?

Darcy soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight. His misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.

Will Elizabeth be able to forgive Darcy for his good intentions gone awry? And what effect will the child have on Darcy’s hopes to win Elizabeth’s love?

Author Bio:

Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’

Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.


We hope you enjoyed today's cover reveal for The Child and learning a bit more about Jan and her creative thoughts when writing this book. We had a great time with the pictures and design that wrap it up. I agree, Jan. An illustrated book would have been fun! 

Claudine Pepe is hosting a giveaway for the cover reveal. She is giving away one eBook of The Child to be gifted at the time of the book's release around the 16th of March. The giveaway is international and will end at 11:59 PM on the 14th of March. Good luck to all. Please share your thoughts and some love in the comments below. If you want a chance at the giveaway, leave me your contact information, unless you know that I already have it! If in doubt, leave it again. Thanks to each of you for stopping by. Please feel free to share about the cover reveal on social media. 

Meryton Press has a nice surprise for you and has given me the honor to announce it with this post. In conjunction with the cover reveal and release of Jan Hahn's The Child, Meryton Press is having a special sale on two of Jan's other books, An Arranged Marriage and The Journey. What a great time to get these eBooks if you do not own them. 

The sale dates are as follows:

March 8-14; An Arranged Marriage will be $1.99
March 15-21; The Journey will be $1.99

Isn't this great news! Thank you Meryton Press for this sale. These are the first two published books by Jan Hahn and if you haven't read them, I encourage you to get them and dive in. I highly recommend both. They are two of my all time favorites. I've lost count on how many times I've read An Arranged Marriage, and I've read The Journey almost as many times. Great books! Don't you just love these banners too! They look so fresh and make me feel like spring is around the corner! An Arranged Marriage is on sale now and The Journey sale starts on the 15th!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mark Brownlow...Cake and Courtship

Available on Amazon US & UK

I am so excited to have Mark Brownlow visit us today. This is his first time at More Agreeably Engaged. His book, Cake & Courtship is 'a tale of love, regret and nerve tonic'. Don't you just love that line? I do! I bet we can guess about the nerve tonic! lol

I invite you take a little time and get to know Mark Brownlow. If you have been following his blog tour, you have been treated to some delicious, I mean, great posts. I can't seem to get my mind away from Mark's giveaway, or maybe it's the title of his book! Either way, I hope you enjoy this stop and comment for a chance to win.


When John Barton falls in love with the elusive Anne Hayter, there is only one man he can turn to for advice. Unfortunately, that man is Mr Bennet of Longbourn, a world-weary gentleman with five daughters pursuing their own marital ambitions.

To help John, Mr Bennet must emerge from his beloved library and face the challenges of the tearoom and dance floor one more time. In doing so, he finds his own romantic past catching up with him.

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Mark Brownlow takes you on an Austenesque journey full of wry humour and Regency romance (with a few slices of sponge cake).

“As you get older, Lizzy, you will discover that life does not
bow easily to the wishes of even the most romantic of souls.
Quite the opposite. Life must be mastered with pragmatism
and sense, which explains why so few people succeed at it.“

Cake and Courtship is a standalone story, but also the first book of Mr Bennet’s memoirs. Look out for the sequel in 2018.


Mark, I turn it over to you! :)

Thanks so much, Janet, for having me over!

My novel Cake and Courtship tells the story of how Mr Bennet is thrust into the unusual and alarming position of having to help a young man (John Barton) court a young lady (Anne Hayter). And all while the first part of Pride and Prejudice is going on around him.

The book also deals with Mr Bennet’s changing relationships, particularly to his own past. As John and Anne’s story develops, events and conversations force our dear Mr Bennet to reflect on his own youth and character, and we learn a little more about just why he is touched by cynicism.

There is, however, one relationship within the book that remains unchanging throughout – the one he has with Elizabeth.

We know from Pride and Prejudice that Mr Bennet has a high opinion of his second-oldest daughter and that they share some common characteristics, such as intelligence, wit and a marvellous way of jousting with words. His love for Elizabeth is perhaps best expressed in the scene after Darcy asks for his consent. Mr Bennet wants to be sure she has a husband that deserves her, one she can truly respect. In other words, he doesn’t want her to suffer like he has. As he says:

“I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy.”
Since the Cake and Courtship story all takes place pre-Hunsford, Elizabeth is still at home.  She is the only female at Longbourn that Mr Bennet regards as his intellectual equal, particularly once Jane leaves for London. So Elizabeth plays a vital role in the novel’s plot. But I also wanted her there to highlight that special father-daughter bond between the two characters. There is plenty of teasing and verbal sparring, but also moments of tenderness.

In the original, Mr Bennet refuses to insist on his Lizzy marrying the delightful Mr Collins. This leads to one of the most memorable lines in the book:

“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
In my variation, we learn a little more of Mr Bennet’s frustration with his guest from Hunsford, who is a comic gift to any writer, but we also see some more of the aftermath of the failed proposal. In this little excerpt, he explains his decision to Lizzy. Enjoy!

The following day began ominously. The rain got in and ruined my copy of the Chronicle. Then Peggy took ill and Froggat spent all morning nursing her. Presumably it was something she ate, since our pig would eat anything and everything. The time she got hold of some rum cake was still a fresh memory for us all. We pursued her across the meadows all the way to Meryton, where she put a small gathering of officers to flight. Discretion appeared to be the better part of their valour when confronted with two hundred pounds of drunk sow.

Then Mr Collins proposed to Lizzy.

I was not privileged to hear the exact words he used, but he likely managed to mention the name of his patron and express his affection in as insulting a manner as possible. Lizzy turned him down, of course.

Such a marriage would have solved many problems. But Mr Collins as a son-in-law? I would rather have dined with Peggy, who at least would be silent on the topic of Lady Catherine and fireplaces.

Naturally, Mrs Bennet saw the proposal differently. Once I refused to intercede on Mr Collins’s behalf, I knew the future would soon contain the words “my nerves” and “vexing.” The study seemed the best place to retreat to.

Lizzy found me there, hunched over my desk, gripping a pinned dragonfly. She rested her hands on my shoulders and leant down to whisper, “Thank you.”

I stared up at her, all deep brown eyes and high cheekbones. She had much of Mrs Bennet in her looks, but, fortunately, less in her character. “Today has not been an easy one for us all, especially your mother.”

“And you seek refuge from her anger in your collections?”

“Some men flee their cares through drink or a mistress, but for me there is nothing better than sending colours cascading across a set of wings as they turn in the sunlight. Insects interest me far more than any loosed cork or looser woman. Also, your mother does not like the smell in here.”

Lizzy nodded and then moved to leave. Before she reached the door, she turned. “May I ask why you said no?”

“I could not imagine you having to listen to descriptions of fireplaces every night for the rest of your life.”

She smiled, waiting for more.

“My dear, there are so many rational reasons why a match with Mr Collins would be advantageous and I will not question your sensibility by listing them.” My new resolve, forged in the fire of those smiles in London, pulled more words from me, though I hesitated before continuing, glancing at the wings of the dragonfly in my hand. “I have seen what it is to live with someone you neither love nor respect. I wish such a fate for none, least of all a favourite daughter. Some say that love can grow with time. Respect, too. This may be so, but not between two people so unequal in intelligence and character as you and Mr Collins.”

“I could not learn to love Mr Collins.” It was half a question.

“Love needs a foundation to prosper, good soil to plant its roots. Mr Collins is rock and sand—love will never grow there, excepting his own love for himself.”

“Does a marriage need love to succeed?”

“No, but a marriage without love cannot bring true happiness. And I would wish such happiness for you, Lizzy. Your mother is fond of saying that Jane’s beauty cannot be for nothing. I believe the same of your intelligence. It will find its reward, though it will take a special kind of man, of that I have no doubt. Mr Collins is certainly special, but not in that way.” I returned her smile. “And there, now you have witnessed my romantic side. Let us not talk of it again. I have a reputation to keep and it will do no good to expose myself so.”



Mark’s website
Mark’s author page at Goodreads
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Author Bio:

Mark Brownlow is a British-born writer living in Vienna, Austria. His debut novel, Cake and Courtship, is a Regency romance narrated by Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Bennet. He has also written a novella, The Lovesick Maid, a cozy mystery set in Jane Austen’s fictional village of Hunsford. You can find Mark at, where he is known for his reimagining of classic literature as emails.

Science degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Aberdeen and Reading prefaced a short-lived career as a research academic. Since turning from facts to fiction, Mark has also worked as a translator, agony aunt, marketing consultant, journalist, business writer, web publisher and copywriter. None of which kept his soul happy in the way that creative writing does. When not writing, he works as a part-time lecturer in medical and scientific English at a local university.

If there is no pen to hand, he can be found watching his kids play football or sharing a glass of wine with his wife in front of a costume or historical drama.


It's giveaway time and Mark Brownlow leaves with quite a dilemma. Which should you choose if you are the winner? Chocolates or a paperback of Cake & Courtship? Of course, you want the paperback, but...those Viennese chocolates are calling your name! Decisions, decisions! I have it on good authority that those chocolates "may" all be gone! They are next to Mark's desk AND they are also calling to him! LOL The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time on the 12th of March. Good luck to all of you. The giveaway is international.

Mark, thank you so much for stopping by. It has been such a pleasure having you visit. I enjoyed your post and the excerpt immensely! I'm ready to read the book and munch on some chocolates! Mine may not be Vienesse but, they are still chocolates! 

I hope you are having fun on the blog tour. I have read your posts and liked every one! They've been great! Best wishes with your book.

If you have missed some of the stops, the blog tour schedule is above. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

And the winners are...

Thank you to all who stopped by and commented on Sophia Rose's reviews and on my review. Sophia Rose shared her thoughts on The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey and Henry Fitzwilliam's War, both by Don Jacobson. I shared mine on These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. From your comments, winners were randomly selected and those winners need announcing! 

Drum Roll......

The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey
by Don Jacobson

eBook: Eva Edmonds


These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston

eBook: BeckyC

Once again, thanks to each of you for stopping by and having your share in the conversation. I love reading your thoughts. Congratulations to the winners. Enjoy reading your new eBooks.

Thank you for supporting More Agreeably Engaged. Thanks to the authors for creating such fabulous books for us to love!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My share in the conversation...These Dreams

Available on Amazon

Have you read These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston? If you have not, I strongly encourage you do so. Even if you are not fond of some angst, you will still find much in this novel to enjoy. Do you like reading a good story with a great Colonel Fitzwilliam? Then this story is for you. Thanks for taking some moments out of your day to stop by and read my review.

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston

These Dreams is unequivocally, one of the best books I have ever read. It left me thinking about it for days. The author wrote a story that vividly portrays love, heartache, agony, feelings of betrayal, desperation, fear, joy, hope, romance, oh, the romance, and so much more. The narrative moved along at a steady pace, and there was nothing artificial in the solutions to the plot twists. It kept me on the edge of my seat, experiencing a multitude of emotions.

The story begins with Darcy arranging the marriage of Wickham and Lydia. While doing a kindness to an unknown person, he is knocked unconscious, kidnapped, and transported to Portugal. A body, found in the streets and dressed in Darcy’s clothes, leads his family to believe he is dead!  This was such a difficult part, and I could hardly wait for answers. Thankfully, we are quick to learn that he lives, but his family is not as fortunate as the reader.

The one thing that keeps Darcy going is Elizabeth. No matter how horribly he is treated, no matter how alone he feels, he has hope in the darkest of those moments. He sees Elizabeth in his dreams, he hears her in his thoughts, and he feels her touch.

Elizabeth, in despair of all that could have been, grieves for the loss of the best man she has ever known. Her feelings for Darcy had changed but she had not the opportunity to tell him. That alone, increases her anguish thinking he never knew of her love. Life for Lizzy becomes almost unbearable. Lizzy’s only comfort comes in her dreams, asleep or awake. There she hears and sees Darcy. She feels his arms around her. She talks with him. What can this mean? Is she losing her mind?

The deep emotions that both Darcy and Lizzy experience and the unfathomable love they share, connect them in a way that is poignant and thrilling. I shed tears many times as these scenes evoked strong feeling and touched me deeply. They were tormenting and enchanting at the same time.

Colonel Fitzwilliam cannot get past the feeling that Darcy lives. Thankfully, he never gives up his quest for the truth. At Colonel Fitzwilliams’ request, Elizabeth stays with Georgiana at Pemberley, and Lydia tags along. Lydia is a light spot in this tale and totally unpredictable. She was refreshing and fun. In the search for what happened to Darcy, dear Colonel Fitzwilliam meets up with his past. What a thrill it was to have him play such a leading role. At times, he stole the show and it was delightful!

When Darcy makes his way back to England, the author allows Darcy time to heal, to learn to trust again, to regain his strength of character, his physical strength, and once again, to be the Darcy who is ready to fight for those he loves and for what is his. Watching him go from near broken back to confident and strong because of love, was both heart-wrenching and inspirational. The story comes full circle when the author reveals the who and the why of Darcy’s capture and imprisonment, bringing a satisfying conclusion to an awesome novel.

Nicole Clarkston was not afraid to tackle a tough premise, and she did it skillfully, with ease and authenticity. The story flows and never skips a beat. I didn’t want to put it down. If you have yet to read These Dreams, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Get it and read it as soon as you can. It is a book you will not soon forget. Well done, Nicole Clarkston!


If you have read These Dreams, what are some of your thoughts? I would love to know what you think. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? I'm giving away the eBook to help you get started. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on the 5th of March! The giveaway is international. Good luck!

Nicole Clarkston is also the author of two North & South variations, No Such Thing as Luck, Northern Rain, and two other Pride and Prejudice variations, Rumours & Recklessness, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner.

The February Author of the Month at From Pemberley to Milton, Rita Deodato's blog, is Nicole Clarkston. Nicole shares an excerpt from each of her works in progress. Stop by and comment for a chance to win No Such Thing as Luck

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wickham Is Besotted...Don Jacobson

Mr. Wickham, during an interview by a reporter from The Times, opens up much more than I would have expected. I was pleasantly surprised by his frankness and his admissions. 

This character interview of Lieutenant George Percival Wickham has been composed in the form of a short vignette which, if it had been included in The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn, would have fallen within Chapter XXXIV of the book. © 2018 by Don Jacobson. Publication or other use of this work without the expressed written consent of the creator is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

This is a re-post from Barbara Tiller Cole's blog, Darcyholic Diversions. Barbara was unable to post on her original date, February 24th, and it seems most people missed the later date, February 25th, as it was not on the schedule. Due to the subject and information revealed, this interview deserves a second chance at being seen. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and get to know the new and improved George Wickham. :)


This character interview of Lieutenant George Percival Wickham has been composed in the form of a short vignette which, if it had been included in The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn, would have fallen within Chapter XXXIV of the book. © 2018 by Don Jacobson. Publication or other use of this work without the expressed written consent of the creator is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

March 24, 1815,
A café in Hietzinger Hauptstraße opposite Schöbrunn Palace, Vienna
The man stepped from the street into the café. His black suit, if one looked closely, betrayed considerable wear with fraying threads drooping from the cuffs of the jacket’s sleeves and his pant legs. Shiny spots and knees and elbows likewise suggested that his chosen trade paid little and irregularly at that. His deep-set eyes scanned the tables distributed around the cheerily decorated room, candlelit now even though the first day of spring had heralded longer days. Finding his desired target, he doffed his hat, ran his fingers through unkempt brown hair, and wove between guests and furniture toward a lone British officer seated by a window looking out onto the boulevard.
While the city was full of officers of all stripes given the Great Congress, this man, handsome to be sure, was one of the lowliest but, in his own way, one of the most important—at least to a reporter for The Times.  He was only a lieutenant in a city where colonels were often used to fill gaps on the lower end of countesses’ tables. However, his regimental facings were easily identified as being of the 33rd Infantry, Wellington’s Own. That and the silver cords of an aide de camp looping down from his left epaulet made him the object of the journalist’s desire.
Reaching his destination, the fellow unceremoniously dropped into the vacant chair opposite the lieutenant. Barely acknowledged by his quarry, the reporter dug into a pocket under his left lapel. Successfully removing a well-folded and somewhat grubby newspaper he dropped the publication next to the officer’s cup of chocolate. Using an ink-stained finger, he stabbed at a column-length article under a screaming header.
Without ceremony he addressed the Lieutenant, “What you gave me a few weeks ago was pure gold, Wickham. My editor is beside himself wondering what comes next. And if John Stoddart[i] is asking, that means that everybody from the Prince Regent to the charwoman at Carlton House wants to know.
“And that means, I need to know what the Duke plans to do now that the Emperor is back in Paris.”
George Wickham grinned back at the earnest newshound. Brigadier Fitzwilliam, his master, already had given him his remit: he was to feed Tomlinson exactly what the Duke was planning to do.
As his old playmate had put it, “Well, George, his Grace wants that bloody man to come to him. Rather than leave him to wonder, we will let him know exactly where to find us.
“So, tell the Times that the Coalition will defend the path to Antwerp somewhere outside of Brussels. We will feed his spies the same information, thus confirming one with the other. With luck, Napoleon will have to prove his claim to the throne by showing his followers that he can defeat our best and avenge Leipzig and Toulouse. That means he will want to take on Wellington.
“But he still has to raise his force and arm his men. So do we. That should take the better part of two months, time enough for us to scarper from Vienna up to Brussels with stops along the way to get our Allies committed to sending their troops to the Low Countries. Nothing should happen until sometime in early June.”
In several curt sentences delivered in low tones to convey the seriousness of the information, Wickham passed on the general outlines of Wellington’s plans. Tomlinson had fished out a pencil stub and took notes at a furious pace. In a few minutes, all was as the Duke wished it to be. Wickham signaled a waiter who bowed over the table before scuttling off with Tomlinson’s order.
While he had fulfilled his commission, Wickham still had something else he wanted to cover with the scribe. However, he did not know how to begin.
Tomlinson sensed his hesitation and employed his own interrogator’s skill.
“How long have we known one-another, Wickham? Four, five years? Certainly since before your marriage. When was that? The year ’11? So, at least five years. You crossed my path when you were still one of the ‘leading lights’ of the demimonde.
“But, since then, I have heard just that little tidbit about you and some elderly French Countess. After that, nothing,” Tomlinson quizzed.
Wickham sighed and leaned back into his seat. He tipped his head to the side and regarded the reporter much as a bull mastiff would consider a puppy intent upon disturbing his afternoon nap in the sun; he wondered how much energy he would expend explaining himself. Eventually he chose to offer some meat to cover the bones knowing that Tomlinson would be more inclined to fulfill Wickham’s request if he understood what rested behind it.
In the same low tone he had used before, thus, he hoped, placing the information on par with his earlier tip, Wickham related his thoughts, “I am not the man you first met. On the contrary, that young lady who married me has become quite dear. That tittle-tattle your gossipmonger printed back in December ’11 could have sorely hurt Mrs. Wickham’s trusting heart.
“You know she is nearly three-and-ten years my junior. I will own that my motives for marrying her were less than honorable, but shortly after we were wed, I began to reconsider the path down which the currents of life had been carrying me. I began to find that I wanted to comport myself in a manner that would give credit to my name and raise myself in her eyes.”
Tomlinson interjected, “So, poor fool that you are, you fell in love with your wife?”
Wickham chuckled, a relaxed smile easing his features, and replied, “There you have it. George Wickham, dissolute rake and gambler, had his locks shorn by a Delilah from Hertfordshire. Yes, I will own up to it; I have discovered that I love my wife. She has made me a better man, although, the Good Lord knows that anyone could have made me better given the state of my soul at the time.
“But, Mrs. Wickham made me think. And, then she captured me lock, stock, and barrel one chilly January eve early in ’12. After that, I really changed my ways.”
So saying, he raised his cup of chocolate in silent salute to a woman who waited for his return at her old family home, although she was in mourning for her father’s recent passing. They had rarely been together since the Second Battalion had posted to Portugal in the spring of 1812. Lieutenants were not colonels or majors. Unlike in the past years, leave had not been granted often to any officers as Wellesley pursued the French from Iberia across the Pyrrenes and into the Midi. However, there was a lively correspondence between himself and Lydia, augmented by another stream between his color sergeant, Henry Wilson, and his wife, the former Laura Jenkinson. Wickham read his letters from Lydia to an attentive Wilson while the blonde giant related his from Laura. Between the two of them, they managed to patch together a fairly clear picture of the goings-on in Meryton.
Then he continued, “I have truly come to treasure my wife. But, I am worried about what the future will bring. There are no guarantees in my business. The fight we are going into will be desperate indeed…and the infantry will take the worst of it. A voltagieur could easily place a ball between wind and water (his hand touched first his shoulder and then dropped to his stomach) and put paid to old George. Rather not think about what a 32 pounder from the Beast’s le Brutal would do to me.
“I have made sure she will be provided for. I’ve invested in a closed trust set up by some of those clever men from the City. But, money is not the sort of legacy I want to leave. I wasted too many years chasing gold. I have something else much more important to my posterity.
“No, t’is nothing anyone else would care about. But, I think Lydie would find comfort that her husband had grown to be more akin to her other brothers who are serious, thoughtful, and upright men.”
He reached underneath the table and pulled out a leather valise, its straps securely buckled. The thump it made when he dropped it to the table was noticeable, giving testament to the weight of what was contained inside.
Wickham added, “This is my journal. I have been writing in it since December of ’11. I am going to presume that you will read it, however, I beg of you to give me your word of honor that you will not publish a word of it, and that you will deliver it only to me if I survive or my wife if I do not. If the latter, make whatever arrangements with Mrs. Wickham you will.
“I would, however, remind you that those brothers I mentioned are Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley. Her uncle is Edward Gardiner. Between the three of them, they could buy your great newspaper and use every copy they print to wrap fish from Wapping to the mouth of the Estuary.”
Having said his piece, he pushed the case across the table into Tomlinson’s waiting hands. The Lieutenant stood and shook hands with his messenger. He then shook the other’s hand, gave him a quick nod, and, wrapping his cloak around him against the Austrian chill, swiftly strode out the door into history.
The Bennet Wardrobe books are best read in the following order:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn 

[i] Editor of The Times of London from 1812 to 1816

Contact Info:

Buy Links:  Paperback & Kindle

Blog Tour Schedule:

Feb. 14 Austenesque Reviews;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
Feb. 15 My Jane Austen Book Club;  Guest Post, GA
Feb. 17 My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, GA
Feb. 19 So little time…  Excerpt, GA
Feb. 20 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl;  Review, GA
Feb. 21 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, GA
Feb. 23 More Agreeably Engaged; Review, Excerpt, GA
Feb. 25 Darcyholic Diversions;  Character Interview, GA
Feb. 26 From Pemberley to Milton;  Excerpt
Feb. 27 More Agreeably Engaged; Character Interview, GA
Feb. 28 Just Jane 1813;  Review, GA
Mar. 2  Diary of an Eccentric;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
Mar. 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, GA
Mar. 5  Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, GA


What do you think of Wickham now? I like how Mr. Jacobson has revealed this new side of him. How about you? I would love to have your share in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have not read my review of The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn, and would like to, click here. It is toward the bottom of the post. Thanks for stopping by.

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