Mar 102017

Hello readers!  I am very happy to welcome the lovely Shannon Winslow back to Austenesque Reviews today!  Shannon is the author of several fantastic Austenesque stories (The Darcys of Pemberley, Return to Longbourn, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen) to name a few!  And today Shannon is here to talk about her newest series, Crossroads Collection, which has some fantastical elements in it!  I hope you greatly enjoy her post!

Fulfilling the Fantasy

What Jane Austen fan hasn’t at least once entertained a fantasy about waking up in Regency England, another Lizzy Bennet destined for her own Mr. Darcy? I have! That’s sort of what my new book, Leap of Hope, is all about and why it was so much fun to write! It became my risk-free, wish-fulfilling, vicarious romp through the pages of Jane Austen’s novels, primarily Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. I hope it will do the same for you.

Hope O’Neil is an incurable optimist, and she jumps at the chance for an Austen kind of life, leaving everything she’s ever known to start over in Regency England. All she can take with her is the sum total of her knowledge of that time period, mostly acquired from the Jane Austen novels and movies she’s half-memorized. So she’s always looking at her new world through that lens, seeing Jane Austen characters and situations wherever she turns and applying a What-would-Elizabeth-Bennet-do? rationale to every problem.

Not that it takes much of a stretch of her imagination. After all, Hope has chosen a family that very much reminds her of the Bennets of Pride and Prejudice, slipping into the place of the second daughter, Kathleen Barrett, just as the original Kate slips away, victim of a fatal fall from a horse. (Trust me, it all makes perfect sense in the book!)

Here’s Hope as Kate (her recently acquired Regency identity), relating her first private conversation with her new sister after arriving on the scene, written in her own words:


Oh, Kate,” Lucy began, still holding my hand, “what a fright you have given us! When I saw you slip from Horatio’s back, I thought for sure I had lost you forever.”

“Did I strike my head?”

“Oh, yes! There happened to be this great stone exactly where you fell. There was so much blood, and then you lay still for the longest time. I hardly knew what to do. I thought perhaps I should ride for help, but I could not bear to leave you. So I screamed at the top of my lungs, hoping against hope that someone would hear and come to my aid.”

“And did someone?”

“He did! A stranger, although I daresay he will be a stranger no longer. It was Mr. Sotheby, the new owner of Coleswold. Just think, Kate! It was only this morning we were discussing how we could contrive a way to meet our neighbor, and now he has been introduced to our family in such an unexpected fashion!” She then hastened to add, “Of course I should have much preferred it had been by ordinary means. Surely Papa would have eventually relented and done what was required, or we might easily have been introduced at a ball.”

“But wasn’t it clever of me to expedite matters by throwing myself from my horse?” I suggested, trying out my best British accent. “Now you must tell me all about this Mr. Sotheby, for I was quite unconscious, you will recall.”

Although I believe Lucy Barrett was as solicitous for my health as any sister could possibly be, she was equally enthusiastic for the subject I had suggested. Once I had assured her I was not too tired to hear it, she launched into an animated recital of Mr. Sotheby’s merits in impressive detail. He was rumored to be rich. Most importantly, though, he was definitely single. Lucy had cleverly induced him to give up this information. He must also be handsome, I suspected, judging from the way she was blushing as she talked about him. His gallantry could not be doubted, considering how he had managed to be around just when help was needed.

“And he is so strong!” Lucy continued, breathlessly.

A definite virtue in a man.”

“He lifted you so easily, as if… as if…”

I could not resist filling in the blank from my own frame of reference. “As if I weighed no more than a dried leaf?”

“Yes, it was exactly so! How well you have captured the idea! And then he carried you all the way home without becoming the least bit tired. It is unfortunate that you were deprived of seeing it for yourself.”

“Unfortunate, yes, but if I had been awake, there may have been no need.”

Lucy laughed. “I suppose you are right.”

“I can imagine, though. I have witnessed such things before,” I added, thinking of that rain-drenched scene in my favorite film version of Sense and Sensibility.

“Have you? When?”

“Oh, never mind about that now. Tell me more of Mr. Sotheby. And what of this Mr. Cavanaugh? His manner implied some level of acquaintance, but I really cannot at this moment remember.” Here, I closed my eyes and reached one hand to the back of my bandage-wreathed head to reestablish the reason for my lack of recollection.

“You poor darling!” Lucy cooed. “I suppose it will come back to you in time, but let me help you along a little. You met Mr. Cavanaugh at the most recent assembly, where you refused to dance with him, I might add.”

No wonder, then, that he seemed none too friendly. “But why would I refuse such a reasonable request? Did I say? I love to dance, after all, and there is nothing objectionable in his looks.”

“Nothing whatever! He is such a fine figure of a man. No, you told me it was something else that did not suit you. Something you overheard him say, although I cannot now recall what it was.”

But suddenly I did recall. […] I announced to Lucy, “He’s a conceited snob, stuck up higher than a light pole.”

“A what?” she asked.

“Oh… I mean… I mean that he gives himself airs,” I corrected. “He thinks too well of himself, above his company. And who is he, after all? Only a doctor.” My outburst had been another mistake, but at least I had remembered that doctors had no special status here.

“Now, Kate,” Lucy chided, “Mr. Cavanaugh is a gentleman from a very good family, we are told. I hope you do not intend holding the fact that he also has a profession against him. Really, I think it quite commendable that he should want to do something useful with his time. There are far too many idle young men about as it is. So I said before and you agreed with me. Do you really not remember, dearest?”

“It’s coming back to me, little by little. So you have a high opinion of this Mr. Cavanaugh as well as the handsome Mr. Sotheby.” This reminding me of another Austen reference, I asked, “Do you never see a fault in anybody, Jane? All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes, I suppose.”

“Jane?” Lucy repeated, her brows drawn together with confusion. “You know my name as well as your own, Kate. You had better rest, as Mr. Cavanaugh recommended. That will no doubt set your brain to rights. I will sit with you a while, but you must close your eyes now.”

I humbly obeyed, relieved to have an excuse to shut my big, fat mouth too. I had begun feeling at home in my new role, to enjoy being in character, so much so that I let down my guard. And look what happened!

When Lucy described our handsome new neighbor coming to rescue ladies in distress, I had pictured Willoughby sweeping Marianne up into his arms. And when Lucy spoke so favorably of Mr. Cavanaugh and Mr. Sotheby both, I had heard Jane Bennet’s voice.

Although I was tickled beyond anything to finally be a living, breathing part of the culture that had inspired the Regency stories I loved so much, ideas like this were bound to keep popping into my head. How was I supposed to stop them popping out of my mouth? That was the question. It seemed like this was going to be harder than I’d expected since everywhere I turned I was sure to see something that would remind me of Austen – her books and the movies made from them. My mistakes might be blamed on my accident for a while, but not forever.

Keep your head in the game, Hope, I coached. Then I reminded myself of one more very important fact. There was no more Hope; I was Kathleen now.


I’m afraid Hope is doomed to make more mistakes while adjusting to her new life as Kate Barrett. She has to keep reminding herself not to play music or mention books that haven’t been written yet, and she goes into a panic when she’s expected to do needlework, having failed to adequately prepare herself in that area. At least she has a knock on the noggin to blame her lapses on!

I might do okay with the needlework, but I tend to think my mouth would get me in trouble too, if I were in Hope’s shoes. What about you? Do you think your Jane Austen knowledge would allow you to blend seamlessly into Regency life? Would you like to give it a try? And would you choose a situation as close to Lizzy Bennet’s life as possible or something else?

Doesn’t that sound so wonderful?? 

I’ll be honest, I feel myself kind of shying away from fantasy/paranormal stories lately.  Not sure why.  But this one has me greatly intrigued and I’m gunning to read it!  (Especially after that excerpt!) Who wouldn’t love to try living in a situation similar to a Jane Austen heroine?!?  I’d love to try it and see how terribly I mess up!  Hopefully, I’d do a little better than Amanda Price from Lost in Austen! 😉


Leap of Hope: chance at an Austen kind of life

At the Crossroads Center, they’re in the business of granting second chances. And their newest client is Hope O’Neil – college student and Jane Austen devotee, who always believed she’d be more at home in Regency England, wearing corsets and courted by men in cravats. But can a modern girl really fit into a world with no electricity, cell phones, or indoor plumbing? Hope is about to find out when her wish for an Austen kind of life is unexpectedly granted. Although she envisions her second chance will be like something straight out of Pride and Prejudice – complete with her own Mr. Darcy and a romantic happy ending – she gets more than she bargained for in this delightful romp through Regency England… a lot more.


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Shannon kindly brings with her 2 LOVELY ebook copies Leap of Hope for me to randomly give away to TWO lucky readers.  Woot Woot!!!


To enter this giveaway, answer Shannon’s questions, or leave a comment, a question of your own, or some love for Shannon!!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Shannon!
  • This giveaway ends March 17th!

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  35 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Shannon Winslow!!!”


    Thank you, Meredith, for hosting me today! I’m so glad you’re intrigued by Hope’s story. The set up may be different, but I promise this one delivers in the romance and happy endings departments, just like my others. 😀


      My pleasure, Shannon! I ma so thrilled to have you visit Austenesque Reviews and I cannot wait to spend more time with Hope!


    This sounds fun…I like this kind of time travel story


    This is definitely my type of book. I love travel stories. Can’t wait to read this one.


    This looks like a great book. I have always wanted to step back in time.
    Becky B.


    Oh I just love the sound of this!!! I love anything that has someone go back in time and I haven’t found many for the Regency period. This will have to be read whether I’m lucky enough to win or not!!


    This does sound quite interesting. I always find myself obsessing about little things like personal hygiene whenever I read a time travel story, especially one that goes so many years to the past. And then there’s all the clothing required to be worn (stays, chemise, whatever) — I would have no idea how to dress! I also would have no idea how to walk or sit gracefully while bound up with a corset. Speaking would also be a hazard for me — so many modern expressions and idioms would have to be suppressed or else others would think me quite mad.


      Yup, all things Hope faces in her adjustment to Regency life, Jan. I couldn’t do it except for a brief visit maybe, but she is highly motivated and braver than I am!


      I’d probably regret it, but I’m actually curious to see if wearing a corset and stays would help my posture…I’m terrible with sitting up straight! 😉


    I’ve read all your other books and loved them, so I’m sure I will love this one as well!


    This story sounds so intriguing and I really want to read it! I’ve only read a handful of otime travel story. Thanks for the giveaway.


    I really am looking forward to reading this! My problem would be a bit different. I have a hard time bringing myself to talk when surrounded with people I don’t know well. I just sort of sink into myself so if she is a “Lizzy type” of character, they would think I really was unwell. LOL Less chance of blurting out things, but also less chance of getting into the experience. I love time travel, so this is fun for me!!


      Hope does get the chance to study up and get to know the people before she goes, and she chooses someone similar to herself so she doesn’t have to forever behave like someone else. That would be dreadful!

      Hey, Stephanie, if you’re the same Stephanie L that commented on my launch post at Austen Variations, you’ve already won Kindle copies of this book and also Leap of Faith! Maybe you missed the announcement of the winners. Better bop back over there and check.


        That would be me. *sigh* I have sent you an email!! Meredith, please exclude me from this drawing please!! Thanks Shannon! I am excited and didn’t intentionally ignore you 😉


      We are kindred spirits, Stephanie! 🙂

      And congrats on your win!!! Woot!


    I quite like Hope/Kate’s new last name, Shannon. So that’s the reason for the hint you gave, you sneaky thing! 😀

    I can’t wait to read this book; it sounds fascinating! Crossing my fingers to win one of the e-books… 😉

    Congratulations, Shannon, on your series and most recent publication! And thank you, Meredith, for hosting Shannon on your lovely blog today. Such a treat!!

    Susanne 🙂


      Haha! Yes, that’s the reason, Susanne. Barrett just happens to be very close to Bennet, after all. Hope you don’t mind me and Hope borrowing it for a while. 😉



      Thanks for the kind visit, Susanne! I’m thrilled to hear you are as intrigued by this story of Shannon’s as I am!! Best of luck!


    Like you, Shannon, I’d get by with the needlework, but fail miserably with all of the other “accomplishments” a young woman was expected to have. Singing – I could curdle milk; dancing – I make Mr. Collins look like Fred Astaire; drawing – a five year old would do better; and as for the elegant script needed for writing letters – one of my teachers once described my handwriting as if a spider had crawled over the page! Oh, I can ride a horse (sort of) – astride but haven’t ever ridden sidesaddle. The only way I’d want to visit Regency England would be if I knew I’d be coming back home at the end of the day. I’m too attached to 21st century life, with it’s indoor plumbing, health care, women’s rights and being able to carry the equivalent of Mr. Bennet’s library around in my handbag.

    Meredith, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy Shannon’s latest book, including watching Hope/Kate getting used to her new life, I know I did. I maybe a little biased, as I love this particular sub-genre of JAFF, but the premise is a unique one, as far as I can tell. Having read this one, I’ve now moved on to the other book in the series, Leap of Faith. It’s not JAFF but set in the same “universe”. Loving what I’ve read so far, Shannon.

    By the way, I can feel a re-watch of Lost in Austen coming on! Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, for obvious reasons


      Yes, I’d definitely want a round-trip ticket too, Anji, for some of the same reasons you mentioned. We romanticize the period, but there’s nothing romantic about the harsh realities that JA doesn’t bother to mention.


      Hi Anji! LOL! You are so right, I think many of us modern-day females would have a hard time passing off or faking accomplishments we don’t have! I think my only accomplishment I could properly boast of is piano playing…too shy to sing. I love to dance and ride, but I’m not knowledgable in country dances or the proper technique for riding and taking care of horses.

      So glad to hear you are loving this series, my friend! I can’t wait to read it!!

      Yes, Lost in Austen is so much fun! I kind of wish they would make more movies like that for the other Jane Austen books! How cool would it be to time-slip into Hartfield or Kellynch!


    Yes this sounds intriguing and look ofrward to reading. While I might like to visit for a short time, I don’t think I could live in the regency era forever. I’d miss my hot showers and caramel lattes.


    Yes, I can’t wait to read both of these books! I could probably imitate the accent well enough, once surrounded by it, but my sewing would be atrocious! I would miss my showers though…Thank you for the giveaway!!!


    What a great idea for a story! Yes, I would love to go to the Regency time period, but I would BOMB dreadfully! I think i would be awful at everything!


    I really LOVE the idea of a swapping of modern and regency people. I know we all have dreamt of it and imagine it being a walk in the park but a story like this shows you what you’d be in for and it usually ends up with many funny situations. Can’t wait to read another one of your books!!!


    I’ve always answered (in my head) the question of ‘would you like living in _____ (name that time period,)’ with the dread thought that if I was born then I’d for sure end up in the servant class or even lower. I can see myself being housekeeper or cook for an estate like the Bennet’s and pining away for the books when summoned to Mr. Bennet’s library. Because of course my mother would have married beneath her station yet taught me to read as a child. You know, like one of an impoverished Vicar’s ten children, oh well, I can really get carried away. Then my second thought would always be: ‘HYGIENE.’ Imagine the ripping sound of an old record player needle arm tearing across and old vinyl record.
    I’m looking forward to reading this story, though. Living vicariously through the characters in a book is the whole point of reading. 😀


      Yes, Michelle, you definitely would want to be sure you could specify gentry or above! That’s the only way we can preserve the JA fantasy. Hope got to choose her spot, so she’s safe on that score. I allude to the hygiene issue, but Jane Austen never liked “to dwell on guilt and misery,” and neither do I. Haha!


      Love your thoughts, Michelle! 🙂 It definitely would be a much better lot to slip into the time period as a gentleman’s daughter! I can’t imagine making it a day as a servant! They worked so hard for so many hours!


    Oh I love timetracel stories, especially if they involve the Regency era 😀 I guess I’m a lot like hope in thinking that I was born in a world that doesn’t fit me. But on the otger hand, I wouldn’t have all the books I love so much to read…


    This one sounds like a gem!! Love to go and see Jane’s time for myself. Possibly meet her or my own Mr Darcy 😀


    What a fascinating excerpt! I can’t wait to read it!!


    This book sounds fantastic! I don’t think I could blend in, but I think it would be fun to visit that period…but I wouldn’t want to stay there!

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