Mar 212016

GPHello readers!  I’m very excited to be participating in the A Searing Acquaintance Blog Tour and to be able to welcome back author J. L. Ashton to Austenesque Reviews today!  Last month you may remember we participated in a cover reveal for Ms. Ashton’s debut release, A Searing Acquaintanceand it was a lot of fun to anticipate this story and become intrigued by its JanAshton headshotgorgeous cover image. Today Jan shares with us a post about the fairy tale theme in JAFF and how she incorporated that theme in her new modern-day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

One of the themes that runs through JAFF, especially variations of Pride and Prejudice, is the fairy tale parallel. Some writers and readers see Darcy as the “beast” and Elizabeth the “beauty” who transforms him, or view him as the “prince” who provides Elizabeth escape from a provincial life married to a town clerk, not so far akin from the hardworking, mistreated Cinderella rescued from life as a scullery maid.

Well, the Fitzwilliam Darcy of A Searing Acquaintance is wealthy, intelligent and handsome, but he is no prince. True, he lives in a building that looks like a castle overlooking Central Park but he isn’t living a fairy tale; his past is rather sad and his life is pretty lonely. Darcy’s apartment in The Beresford looms over Central Park West while Elizabeth, a recent escapee from her dysfunctional family home, lives across the river in a New Jersey walkup. She doesn’t need rescuing—she is smart, ambitious and hard-working, not to mention attractive, witty and capable of taking care of herself.

I really like a strong, funny Elizabeth in a modern re-telling. Whether they are Regencies or moderns, I admire JAFF stories that play off Jane Austen’s subtle intimation that Darcy sees Elizabeth Bennet’s intelligence, curiosity and social ease and recognizes how limited her opportunities are in Meryton. He knows he could offer her so much more, give her a richer life—materially and spiritually—while she could provide him a happier emotional (and yes, physical) life. Of course, in JA’s actual book and in many (if not most) variations, Darcy completely fouls up communicating those hopes and desires to Elizabeth and instead makes sure to emphasize the vast social gulf between them.

Ella Enchanted is a fairy tale story that has a lot of rescuing happening, both for the hero and the heroine!

It’s she, in fact who rescues him—after much painful yearning and self-discovery, of course, which might be my very favorite part of JAFF stories. The effect that Elizabeth and Darcy have on each other, how they fill each other’s empty spaces, heal hurts and heartaches, and complement each other’s personalities, is the love story in Pride and Prejudice, and it is certainly what I had in mind writing A Searing Acquaintance.

Even superficially in A Searing Acquaintance, while Darcy can offer Elizabeth his palatial homes in New York and the Hamptons (not to mention London and one or two others never mentioned), social connections, box seats at Yankee Stadium, she offers him a much simpler palate of comfort, lighthearted companionship, and warm empathy. Problem is, early on, she doesn’t like him and isn’t consciously extending that offer to him.

asa8abigSo, with all of that in your mind, why did you ask her out?”

Darcy took a deep breath and reached over to pull out a beer. He handed another one to his cousin and slowly walked past him to the darkening living room. Because I’m in love with her. He fell back into a chair.

Because she’s smart and pretty. And fun to be around. And completely unpretentious.”

Rich, settling into the sofa, snorted. “All of that is true, but it describes a dozen women I could name. Please be more specific.”

Darcy took a long pull on his beer. “She’s…she’s somebody I want to know better,” he said quietly. “She’s so lively, but I feel comfortable around her. She makes me open up. I feel alive with her—happy.”

Wow. I knew you liked her.”

Darcy shrugged. “But she didn’t.”

Yet, she is the oil that makes your rusty locks swing open?”

Darcy looked up, annoyed. “Rich, stop trying to use ridiculous Moldavian proverbs in America. They don’t translate well.” One more joke and I’m done talking.

Rich nodded. “Sorry, man. But why her—why does she do that?”

I have no idea. I just like being around her. I need to be around her.”

Once they sort themselves out and declare their love, Elizabeth offers Darcy some fun, as well, introducing him—the very proper product of an American mother and a British father—to American pop culture. (Some of them are likely a bit foreign to overseas readers as well.) There’s everything from college football traditions to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Jetsons. And of course, we cannot forget Elizabeth singing Wagner, a la Elmer Fudd in Looney Tunes. Of course, the couple bond over old pop tunes, stray animals and a screwball comedy, and Darcy teaches Elizabeth a little about baseball.

So really, they rescue each other from a life lacking passion and color and unconditional love. And there is nothing more wonderful than a relationship full of those things.

That’s lovely, Jan!  I love finding fairy tale themes in stories.  But I especially love the idea of both characters being rescued by each other.  Looking forward to reading A Searing Acquaintance in the near future!  Thank you so much for visiting Austenesque Reviews!


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Meryton Press is generously giving away 4 paperback and 4 ebook editions of A Searing Acquaintance in conjunction with this blog tour!!  Woot woot!  Commenting and entering through the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Meryton Press!
  • This giveaway ends March 24th!


Thank you to Jakki Leatherberry and the lovely people at Meryton Press for making this blog tour possible! Click image to check out the rest of the tour!


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  17 Responses to “Guest Post + Giveaway with Author J. L. Ashton!!!”


    Isn’t it amazing when two people rescue each other? Love this story line!


    I will always love fairy tales and fairy tale themes!


    Ohh, this sounds delightful!! Can’t wait to pick it up!


    I bought this when I saw the cover and read the description and loved it. It is definitely a must read and I will certainly be reading it again. Thank you


    Elizabeth singing Wagner a la Elmer Fudd in Looney Tunes ?!!!! That cartoon is hilarious! This I have to read not only for that but for the rescuing they both need…Thank you for the giveaway too!


    This is special and delightful. I enjoy this type of meaningful story. Thanks for this great feature.


    Wow, this sounds great! Would love to read it!


    Sounds like a great read! I love the comparison to Beauty and the Beast! 🙂 Love the cover too!


    I read this on my kindle unlimited account so as I liked it so much I would not mind owning a paperback copy or my own kindle copy if I am lucky. I did post my own review. This was an excellent read for me.

    Orange socks…if I remember correctly?…that was funny. Yes, I just went back and verified that. Read that part in the Sample.


    Ahhh, you make me want to read it all the more. Nice post!


    I’ve thought the cover was totally gorgeous even since the reveal and all of the excerpts on the tour have been so tantalising and enjoyable.

    (Still smiling about the cushions in The Fitzwilliam. For some reason that’s really appealed to my sense of humour).


    I love it when Darcy and Lizzy rescue each other. Sounds like a fun read. It is definitely going on my wish list.


    Wonderful post. I am loving this blog tour.


    love this line: “Yet, she is the oil that makes your rusty locks swing open?”


    Congrats on publishing! Adding in to my TBR list!


    I had added “A Searing Acquaintance” to my TBR list after reading this post. Thanks for your wonderful book review.


    I never thought of a fairy tale theme in P&P, but I can definitely see it now that you mentioned it. I do love when two people rescue each other. Looking forward to reading this novel.

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