Nov 272017

Hello dear friends!  Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  If not, this enchanting vignette from Joana Starnes’ Miss Darcy’s Companion might just do the trick! 😉  As you may have seen, the lovely Joana Starnes has released a new audiobook of Miss Darcy’s Companion (which was one of my most favorite reads for 2016!)  Woot woot!  Now readers who like to listen to their favorite novels while they drive, clean, or work with their hands can do so with this lovely story about Elizabeth falling in love with Darcy while working as Georgiana’s companion!!

Many thanks, Meredith, for welcoming me here today. You’re so kind, it’s always wonderful to be your guest!

This time my good news is that Miss Darcy’s Companion was released in Audible earlier this month – my fourth book to become available in this format. Stevie Zimmerman is the producer, and as always, her narration style captures your heart and won’t let go, and her Mr Darcy is absolutely to die for! You can listen to the sample here to see what I mean.

I thought this would be the perfect time to celebrate, and if your readers would like to curl up with a paperback over the holidays, or sit back and listen to Stevie Zimmerman bringing the story to life, at the end of this post there’s a link to the international giveaway – a chance to win one of the 2 signed paperbacks, an audio code (10 are up for grabs) or a bag of goodies from our favourite places.

Speaking of our favourite places, I’m guessing that for many of us Pemberley at Christmas is up there in the top ten, so I hope you and your readers will enjoy this little vignette. So, come on a virtual trip. The setting: the shrubbery at Pemberley, under a thick layer of snow. The time: shortly before Christmas. The extended family is on the way to Derbyshire to celebrate, but so far only Georgiana and her husband had arrived from their estate, a few of miles away. For old times’ sake, Georgiana was easily persuaded to take a morning stroll with her relations. Come and join the Darcys in their winter wonderland.

A Darcy Wonderland

Miss Darcy’s Companion 10 Years On

A snowball shot right past her, missing her by inches, and Georgiana drew back from the line of fire, her right hand instinctively covering her midriff. There was nothing to see, no discernible change, and there would be none for quite some time. She had not told anyone yet, not even her husband. Georgiana smiled to herself. She would tell him at Christmas. Henry would love that present best of all.

Her smile grew wider at the sight before her. There they were, her brother and his happy family, just she had imagined, all those years ago: they were chasing each other through the shrubbery, everyone’s dignity abandoned as they dodged snowballs flying from all directions.

Some came from beyond the azaleas – or rather from beyond the white mounds that stood where the azaleas would be – with no perpetrators in sight, their presence betrayed only by giggles. Some were very accurately sent flying by her eldest niece, who was peeping from behind the artful arrangement of rocks at the furthest end.

Fitzwilliam was returning fire with no less skill, and there was Elizabeth, dashing from behind a flame-shaped conifer, chased by two ruddy-faced imps who were eagerly taking her back as a target.

The snowball fight had begun as a haphazard whirl of laughter and excitement, but before long an alliance was formed between the scamps, all united in the determination to pelt their parents with as many projectiles as they could fashion. Some stood the test and flew with uncanny accuracy, while the others disintegrated in the air, for they were little more than scoops of snow thrown without much care for the result, but with prodigious glee.

The parents’ alliance was more of the defensive kind. Even now, Fitzwilliam put an arm around Elizabeth and twirled her from the path of a snowball that would have caught her in the face, and offered his broad back to be pelted as he sheltered his wife in his embrace, before spinning around to chase after their second daughter, scooping up snow for more projectiles as he went.

Little Georgy ran away with squeals and giggles, towards the white-capped hedge, where reinforcements awaited. The other three sprang out with armfuls of snowballs, and easily overpowered their compliant father. Moments later, he was on his knees, in a melee of flailing limbs and wriggling little bodies, trying to fend off the four-pronged attack by any means possible. Unfair means too, by the looks of it, for Georgiana’s youngest niece shrieked with laughter, then lisped in admonishment:

“No, Papa! No tickles. You promised!

“I did no such thing,” Darcy retorted – a shocking falsehood from a gentleman who often claimed that disguise of any sort was his abhorrence. But his unprecedented slyness received its just reward, and the last word was lost into a splutter, when his diminutive opponents joined forces most effectively and immobilised his arms, so that at least three little hands out of eight could reach up and scrub his face with fistfuls of snow.

It was rather adorable, Georgiana thought, that for nigh-on ten years her brother had to countenance being severely outnumbered. Four girls were born to him and Elizabeth, one after another, little more than two years apart, and after a while even Elizabeth – cheerful and sensible Elizabeth – had begun to fret that she was too much like her mother, and she might never be able to beget a son.

Such worries were eventually shown to be for naught. Little Richard Charles George proved them unfounded, and was now squealing in his nurse’s arms and turning this way and that, in equal measure entertained by the goings on, and very cross that he could not take part in the excitement. The fact that he had brought his mother great relief and joy with his arrival, nine months ago, could not interest him anywhere near as much as his relations’ antics, nor could he understand that he was heir to everything around him.

Georgiana’s glance softened. Such a fortunate little boy, her nephew was! Not just because of his heritage – she had learned many years ago that, at times, the Darcy heritage could be rather daunting – but for having dearest Fitzwilliam for his father. Her brother would teach his son to ride, hunt, box and fence; would teach him to love Pemberley as much as he did, and how to care for everyone who made the dear place their home.

Touching as that notion was, the deep emotion stirred in Georgiana’s heart was conquered by a little giggle. Aye, a strong bond would form between them in the years to come, especially if they were to remain outnumbered – which might very well be the case, unless Elizabeth took to bringing several sons into the world.

The rumpus in the snowdrifts seemed to have quietened somewhat, once her nieces had achieved their mischievous purpose and, his face bright-red from the ignominious treatment, Fitzwilliam sought to straighten himself up.

“There, satisfied now?” he grinned at his daughters.

“Eminently, Papa,” the eldest grinned back. “That was most satisfactory. For us, at least,” she added as she leaned forward to ruffle his hair. She might have been named after her mild aunt Jane, but she was growing more like her mother every day, Georgiana thought and chuckled.

Still held to ransom in the shrubbery, Fitzwilliam chuckled too, as he retorted:

“Oh, I will have my revenge on the morrow, Miss Sauciness, you may depend upon it. Now be off, all of you. Get yourselves indoors and change out of these wet things. Come now, lively, lively. Fear me and tremblingly obey,” he finished with a playful growl that sent his daughters into another fit of giggles.

Madeleine stifled hers into small red fists.

“Papa, you are too funny! Who could ever fear you?” she said as she reached up to put her arms around his neck and pecked him lightly on the cheek, then set about brushing the snow off his cravat and coat.

Not wishing to be outdone in caring for their dear Papa, the other three joined her in the endeavour, with quite as much diligence as they had shown in splattering fistfuls of snow over him in the first place. Then, when the deed was done to their satisfaction, the little troop scampered to their feet, giggling as they sought to shake the snow from their own apparel and long ringlets, with great energy, but little effect.

“Chocolate in the nursery, Mamma?” Jane asked, with no real expectation of a change in the habitual routine. She was not disappointed.

“Of course,” Elizabeth replied, affectionately patting her husband’s back to remove the snow their daughters had missed.

“Will you come up to have chocolate and scones with us? You must, and Aunt Georgy, too,” Georgiana’s namesake insisted, and once her aunt assured her she would not miss that treat for the world, the little one scampered away towards the house, with her sisters following in a cheerful and vociferous pursuit.

Arms linked and still smiling widely, Darcy, Elizabeth and Georgiana leisurely set off after them, when little Richard decided he had something to say about the arrangement. Utterly out of patience, he released a demanding squeal and stretched his arms towards his father with an insistent clamour of “Da-da-da-da,” leaving them all in no misapprehension of his wishes. With a soft chuckle, his Papa complied and came to scoop him up from his nurse’s arms.

“Not fair, little fellow, is it, missing all the excitement? Never mind, you’ll have your turn, and no mistake. But for now, you might have to be content with a scone in the nursery. What say you? Will that do?”

A little tongue came out between rosebud lips to blow a loud raspberry, and it was hard to tell whether young master Darcy had found a way to express his views, even if he could not speak as yet, or whether he was just making all the noises expected of a youngster his age. Either way, his father laughed and dropped a kiss on the chubby cheek, then fell into step with his wife and sister as they made their way towards the house.

All three footmen were at hand to relieve the cheerful party of their coats, muffs and gloves, and take the wet garments away to be dried before the fire. Merrily chattering, the three elder girls made their way up the stone staircase, followed by Master Richard and his nurse, while the youngest daughter and her doting aunt were bringing up the rear, holding hands. As for the remaining two, they seemed somewhat distracted, Georgiana noticed with both amusement and affection. The last ones in the entrance hall, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam were now standing under the kissing bough, eyes locked in a tender gaze and bright smiles glowing in their faces.

Apparently, she was not the only one to notice that they were tarrying below. When her brother’s hand came up to brush a lock from Elizabeth’s brow, then cup her cheek, little Anne piped up with no little concern.

“Has Mamma got something in her eye?”

Her parents could not have missed that, surely. Georgiana could have sworn she heard them chuckling lightly, just before they kissed. A brief kiss it was, since it had an audience, but although their faces drew apart, they still held each other in a warm embrace as they glanced up as one. But by then little Anne had lost all interest and blithely looked away.

“Oh, that,” she said with a little shrug, tossing her hair back. Then she clasped her aunt’s hand and resumed her tottering ascent as she said sagely, “No need to worry, Aunt Georgy, they are well. Do you know, they do that all the time!”

* * * *

Ah, so heartwarming and lovely!  I just want to go join the Darcy children for some chocolate and scones!  How wonderful for them to grow up in such an affectionate and playful family!  Thanks for this delightful Christmas vignette, Joana!  I especially love that Darcy and Elizabeth have four daughters and the return of the bough of mistletoe, I’m sure that is one tradition Elizabeth and Darcy love keeping! 😉


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Blog    ❧    Facebook   ❧   Twitter   ❧   All Roads Lead to Pemberley


In conjunction with her lovely blog tour, Joana Starnes generously brings with her several prizes that readers can win!  The prizes include:





To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Joana! And fill out the rafflecopter form below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Joana!
  • This giveaway ends December 10th!


~ Follow along on the rest of Joana’s tour! ~

* 27 Nov 2017 – Austenesque Reviews *
29 Nov 2017 – Just Jane 1813
30 Nov 2017 – From Pemberley to Milton
2 Dec 2017 – Obsessed with Mr Darcy

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  75 Responses to “Vignette + Giveaway with Author Joana Starnes!!!”


    Miss Darcy’s Companion is a fabulour book as all of Joana Starnes books are. I would love to win an audiobook – what fun to prepare for the Festive Season while listening to the book through bluetooth! Thank you for the story and giveaway.


    love the excerpt 🙂


      So happy you liked it, Darla! It’s not in the book, it’s a little ’10 Years Later’ fantasy, that links with a scene in the book, where Darcy was romping in the snow with his cousin’s children, and Georgiana was thinking it would be nice to see him playing with his own kids.

      I thought it would be fun to imagine him having 4 daughters first, and being putty in their hands 🙂 . Thanks for reading and best of luck in the giveaway!


    This was one of my favorites too! Audio is a fabulous way to indulge in Jaff while attending to daily tasks.


      Thanks so much, Christina! Aren’t they just great, audio-books, how they help us cope with all the boring & frustrating times when we can’t keep our eyes & hands on a paperback or e-copy? 😀

      I can’t wait to listen to The Darcy Monologues!!!! Is DTK going to be available in Audible too?


    Joana, your little tale was the best. I love seeing how happy the family is in the future through your eyes. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us and Happy Holidays! Jen Red


    So happy to see this release on audible. Thanks for the giveaway.


    I gave a sample listen to the audio book and would so love to win this! You are so gracious to do these give-aways and I am always hopeful!! Happy Holidays everyone!


      Over the moon that you liked the sample, Sharon. ‘Deep, vulnerable and intense’ that’s such a perfect description of Stevie’s voice for Darcy, and she portrays him so beautifully. You’ll have to hear our deal Colonel too, asking Darcy about his long overdue epiphany, and then exploding ‘Are you telling me this was news to you? What are you, 28 or 14?’ 😀

      Stevie voices every character to perfection. Her Lizzy is so Lizzy, bubbly and full of life (until she realizes she’s fallen in love and thinks it’s hopeless), the voice she uses for the drop-dead gorgeous gents is swoonworthy, and the ridiculous people are so spot-on!

      Best of luck in the giveaway, hope you’ll like it if you win and thanks for taking part!


      Isn’t the giveaway fabulous? Super generous!

      Joana, you are definitely making me want to listen to this audiobook and relive your brilliant story!!


    I loved Miss Darcy’s Companion. Thank you for this giveaway.


    Thanks for this captivating and lovely feature and giveaway.


    Enjoyed this book very much. Thank you for the great giveaway.



    What a simply wonderful snapshot into the family life of the Darcys!
    Such an innocent yet memorable way to spend a Christmassy,Winter’s afternoon!
    Four siblings against their beloved parents with their darling younger brother looking on unaware of the depth of love, friendship and kinship he’s been born into.
    Not forgetting Henry and Georgiana and the fact that those that love them will soon be wishing them joy!!
    Thank you for this heartwarming tale!
    Meredith,thank you for this lovely post!


      Thanks so much, Mary! I’m so happy that you liked the vignette and that it made you write such a warm and lovely comment! We do imagine all sorts of scenarios for the Darcy offsprings in terms of number and gender, but you’re so right about the depth of love, friendship and kinship, what a beautiful way to put it! Thanks again for reading the post and sharing your wonderful thoughts, and wishing you all good things and lots of happiness this Christmas!


      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mary! I know both Joana and are so happy to hear how you enjoyed this enchanting vignette! I agree completely about the loving family snapshot – how lucky for these children to grow up in such an environment!


    Loved the excerpt and love Joana’s writing! She’s one of the best.


      Oh, Jan, you’re so kind!! I’m over the moon that you read and loved the excerpt, and I’m hugely honoured by your praise. It means the world to me, coming from you, when your amazing writing was one of the reasons why I started reading and eventually writing JAFF in the first place.

      Wishing you lots and lots of inspiration, and hope you have another glorious variation in store for us soon.


      I agree, Jan! And so are you!! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading Joana’s post!

      I second Joana’s hope! 😉


    OMG! What a delightful vignette. I loved Miss Darcy’s Companion. I read it last year and it was 5-stars for me. I don’t do audio so please don’t include me in the give-a-way, sorry. Thanks Meredith for hosting today. Hello Joana, hope you have a great launch and much success in your new audio branch. Most excellent.


      Thanks so much for the kind words, the wonderful review for Miss Darcy’s Companion when it first came out in Kindle and for all your support, you’re absolutely awesome! Hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas, and all the best!


    Oh Joana, your wonderful, heartwarming tale had made me swoon. 🙂 And then I got up to put my Christmas decorations up. Thanks for sharing.


    A 5-star book, that I loved last year. Would love to win a signed copy or maybe the goodie bag.
    Thanks for the snippet…will have to re-read it soon.
    Thanks for the giveaway too.


      Thanks so much for the review and for this lovely comment, Stephanie! I’m so glad you liked Miss D’s Companion and the vignette. Thanks for stopping by to read the post and best of luck in the giveway.


    Loved the vignette! This book is one of my favorites!


    I smile most of the way through Joanna Starnes books! (expect for the angsty parts) I can’t help myself! Her writing is divine! I have the book, ebook and audio book so leave my name out of the drawing. Just had to stop in and read the snippet and smile some more!


      Thanks so much for you kind words and wonderful support, Brenda, that’s exactly how I feel about your books! I’m so glad you liked the vignette, thanks for stopping by to read it. Have a very happy Christmas season and all the best.


      You are so sweet, Brenda! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your love for his beautiful story! 🙂


    The new audio book is wonderful, but of course! The ‘perfect Stevie Zimmerman.’ I’m so greedy though, I want all of Joana’s books in audio, and I want more books. (more, more, MORE!!) I know, such a nag. The wait is always worth it, not matter how tough it is. I’ll just keep rereading the old ones.

    What a completely charming, heartwarming vignette. I hope it entices everyone who hasn’t yet read Miss Darcy’s Companion to treat themselves very soon.

    Merry Christmas, Joana Starnes. I hope your holidays are graced with every blessing. And hurry back to Meredith’s site next year.


      The very same to you, Michelle. Have an absolutely magical Christmas and a very happy New Year!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading the vignette, I’m so glad you liked it, and huge apologies for the very long wait. I’ll do my very best to make it up to you next year 🙂 . I hope the wild ideas spinning in my head right now will take shape soon and please you. Thanks again for this ever so lovely comment and all the best!


      I’m definitely hoping to have Joana come back again and again, Michelle! Her stories and characters bring me such immense joy! I’m so glad to hear you love her stories too!


    That was a beautiful piece and it is a great follow up to the book “Miss Darcy’s Companion”.

    I have the ebook on my Kindle and I got the the audio book on Audible the same day it was released. I really love the story. I have reread the story a few times since I got it and I have heard the Audible version a few times as well. Stevie Zimmerman is a gem. Everytime I see a new JAFF story released on Audible that is narrated by her, I get automatically. I don’t even think about it.


      I’m so glad you liked the vignette, Julia! Thanks for stopping by to read it, and for the wonderful words about ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion.’ Over the moon that you liked the book so much, and OMG isn’t Stevie amazing? Her narrations are so full of emotion, and I’m so happy she agreed to narrate some of my books too. Wishing you all the best and thanks for reading the post.


    Looks like a delightful book!! I am crossing my fingers to win a copy!!

    Susanne 🙂


    This was so precious, I couldn’t even deal with it!!! Loved seeing into their happy lives years on and seeing that Darcy is outnumbered by his beauties!! I’m sure little Master Darcy will have his work cut out for him with four older sisters!

    Christmas at Pemberley has to be the most magical thing EVER!!


      Awwww, thank you, Jami!!! I’m so happy you liked the vignette. I thought it would be so funny to imagine Darcy outnumbered by his wife + daughters, and putty in their hands. Bless, the soft and ‘marshmallow-in-the-middle’ kind of husband and father that we see him as :))

      He-he, four older sisters bossing him about (gently guiding him, I mean 😀 ). It’s bound to do young Master Darcy a would of good, it’s character building.

      Thanks so much for the wonderful comment and for all the fun! Take care, and have a magical Christmas with *your* beauties!!


    My cheeks hurt from smiling over that delightful vignette. Too adorable! Thanks, Joana.

    This was one of my favorites when it released, too, Meredith!


    I loved this thank you.


    Hi Meredith, I’m a new follower of your blog–I found it through the newsletter from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I’ve already added several of your reviewed book to my “must read” list! Thank you for a wonderful resource!! Joana, I LOVE PnP books that tell me more about the Darcy’s AFTER their marriage, so your short story above was just perfect!! That’s exactly how I want them to be! Whether I win something or not, Miss Darcy’s Companion is added to my “READ” list! (And a shout-out to Stevie Zimmerman–I have another PnP retelling with her narration and she’s perfect!) Happily, Joann


      Hi, Joann

      I’m so glad you’ve discovered Meredith’s wonderful blog, you’re in for such a treat! It’s one of the earliest blogs established in the genre, and you’ll find lots of news about upcoming JAFF, and all sorts of exciting things going on. Also, don’t miss Meredith’s lists, they’re awesome!! (if you have a look under the Austenesque Lists tab, you’ll see what I mean 🙂 ).

      Wonderful to hear you liked the vignette, and that you added Miss Darcy’s Companion to your ‘read list’. Most of my books, including this, are PnP variations before their marriage, but my first book is a sequel to the original (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley). I hope you’ll like it if you read it. Best wishes, thanks for stopping by and leaving this lovely comment, and best of luck in the giveaway!


      Hi Joann, you are most welcome! I am so glad you found my blog and appreciate you leaving a comment on Joana’s lovely post! I hope you get the chance to read Miss Darcy’s Companion soon, it truly is a wonderful work!

      Thank you, Joana, for the very kind words about my blog. You make me blush though, it is the kind readers and authors of this genre that make my blog what it is.


    Dear Joana – I loved the vignette!!. Miss Darcy’s Companion has been on my TBR list since Meredith’s review. I hope to read it soon, but the audio book may be the way to go. Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie


      Thanks, Leslie, I’m so glad that Meredith’s wonderful review made you add ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’ to your TBR list.

      Stevie Zimmerman’s beautiful voice and narration style makes it even better in Audible, so I hope the audio-book is your first experience of it, and that you’ll like it. Best wishes in the giveaway and thanks for taking part.


      I hope you get the chance to read or listen to this beautiful story soon, Leslie! 🙂


    Will you be releasing more of your books on Audible?


    What a wonderfull and moving story Joana!!! Loved every bit of it 😀


    Oh Joana I love your writing, it always takes me away from the days sorrows. And what a a great little story you created here. I would love to be entered for the paperback or goodies, thank you.


    That was a lovely and enjoyable vignette, Joana. I always thought Darcy and Elizabeth have an equal share of daughters and sons in their family. But it looks like Elizabeth has taken her mother’s side and bore more girls. Thanks for showing us the Jane Austen goodies. I would love to win either that or paperback copies.


      So did I, Sylvia (re the equal share of sons and daughters). Or I thought she might redress the balance and have lost of sons. But in this vignette it was fun to go the other way and imagine lots of little Darcy daughters filling the nursery at Pemberley. So glad you liked the vignette. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!


    I have not yet read this book but it sounds delightful – I am intrigued at the idea of seeing Darcy in a new light 🙂 I always loved the way he talked about and interacted with Georgiana in P&P, so seeing him from a different perspective would be great. And I love audiobooks! Thanks so much 🙂 Erika Messer, hopefuldelights1 (at) yahoo (dot) com.


    Glad to hear this is heartwarming and lovely! Sounds like a good book!


    I haven’t read this one yet, but I loved Mr. Darcy’s dutiful daughter and The unthinkable triangle, so I’m sure I will love this book too!


      I’m so happy to hear you loved the Dutiful Daughter and the Unthinkable Triangle, Arjanne, that’s such wonderful news! I hope you’ll like ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’ too, and best of luck in the giveaway. Thanks for stopping by to take part!


    Oh, I love it!

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