Happy Monday, friends!! What better way to start your week than meeting a brand new Austenesque author and learning about her new Pride and Prejudice inspired release!?! I am so excited to welcome Jennifer Altman to Austenesque Reviews today! She is here to share about her debut novel, To Conquer Pride – which sounds fantastic and is available for preorder now! We hope you enjoy this special reveal and introduction to Jennifer and her debut release!
Hi Meredith! Thanks so much for hosting the cover reveal for my debut novel, To Conquer Pride.
I stumbled across my first Pride and Prejudice retelling several years ago when I was browsing through a bookstore—and while I don’t remember the title, I know that once I read it, I was immediately hooked. After purchasing everything I could find in print form, I got myself an e-reader and was soon devouring Austen-related fiction at the rate of a couple of books per week. I still remember the thrill of discovering a great debut, or the rush of happy anticipation when a favorite author released a new book. But all too soon, I began to run out of variations to read. The authors writing in the genre simply weren’t publishing fast enough to keep up with my growing addiction. So, to keep myself entertained, I decided to write my own!
~ Book Description ~
The course of true love never did run smooth…
When Fitzwilliam Darcy departs Hunsford after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, he does not expect their paths to cross again. Indeed, knowing the lady’s true feelings for him, he makes every effort to see that they do not. But when a chance encounter leaves him stranded in an abandoned cottage with the one woman he can never have, Darcy quickly realizes there is more at risk than just Elizabeth’s reputation.
Elizabeth Bennet knows Mr. Darcy is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry. Until the morning he hands her a letter, his countenance as dark and forbidding as the windswept sky. Now, trapped in a snowstorm with the one person she was certain she despised, Elizabeth is startled to discover that her feelings are not at all what she expected.
But is one night alone together enough to alter the course of their future?
Can any man as proud as Mr. Darcy be expected to offer for the same woman a second time?
In this tale of serendipity and second chances, the world’s unlikeliest couple must conquer pride, prejudice, and faulty first impressions in the elusive quest for their own happily ever after.
~ From the Author ~
When I started thinking about my book cover, there were two things I knew: 1) I wanted to use a Regency era painting, and 2) I wanted to crop any faces out of the picture. Yes, I know… I’m a bit of an odd duck that way; but I’ve always felt that one of the magical things about books is that they allow the reader to imagine the characters any way they choose. I think that goes for all novels, but it’s especially true when it comes to such iconic characters as Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. People have very strong opinions about what these characters should look like, and I didn’t want to take ownership away from the reader by attaching a face to either Darcy or Elizabeth.
After scouring the internet for Regency paintings in the public domain, I reached out to Susan Adriani at CloudCat design. From the beginning, Susan was a joy to work with – not only did she patiently explain why most of the images I sent her were lacking the number of mega-pixels necessary to translate into a book cover, but she didn’t bat an eyelash when I told her I wanted to cut off everyone’s heads. 🙂 While there was a lot of trial and error involved in finding an image Susan could work with, the painting we landed on happened to be one of my favorites. When Susan emailed me to say that the file size was large enough to use, I felt like I’d won the lottery! And I couldn’t be happier with the final design. I hope you like it as much as I do!
And without further ado….here is the big reveal!!!
(expected release date: next week)
What an elegant cover!! I love all the rich details!
That dress is stunning and I love how the diaphanous material comes through in the illustration!
Is the woman Elizabeth? If so, that is a very exquisite dress…I wonder if it is a special occasion…
She is holding a letter, I wonder if it is from Mr. Darcy?!? I wonder what it says!
What do you think, friends?
In addition to the cover reveal, Jennifer is sharing an excerpt from chapter one of To Conquer Pride!
Under different circumstances the rocking of the carriage might have been soothing; however, on this brisk November day, the motion offered little comfort to the compartment’s sole occupant.
Fitzwilliam Darcy stared out the frosted windowpane, but his thoughts were far removed from the passing Kent countryside. From the outset, he had dreaded this journey. Indeed, if it were up to him, he would not have come within fifty miles of Hunsford for as long as he lived. But despite the accusations leveled at him in that very village, Darcy was a man who knew his duty, so when Lady Catherine had requested—nay, demanded—his assistance, he had come. Even so, he kept his visit as brief as possible, arriving yesterday morning and working late into the night. He spoke to no one, save his aunt’s steward, going so far as to take meals in his chambers. And not his usual chambers, either. No, he had made a point of requesting a different apartment. Never again would he step foot in the room where he had dared to dream of a life spent happily with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. The room where he had poured out his soul in that ill-conceived letter…
Releasing a rough sigh, Darcy pressed his forehead to the cold glass. Seven months. It had been seven months since his previous trip to Rosings. Seven months since he had last seen her.
Darcy’s head fell back against the cushions. Just thinking about Elizabeth was like a spill of salt to an open wound—and yet he could do nothing to stop thinking. God knows he had tried.
Oh, it had not been difficult at first. After leaving Rosings, he had gone straight to London to set things right with Bingley, and then there was Wickham to contend with. That endeavor had proven a bit more challenging, but at least it had kept Darcy from dwelling on his disappointed hopes. By mid-summer he was back at Pemberley, and though he made every effort to throw himself into the management of his estate, even the brandy he had taken to consuming on a nightly basis did little to dull his memories. For no matter what he did, Elizabeth Bennet haunted his dreams, both sleeping and awake. Sometimes she would appear to him the way he wished to remember her—her smile radiant, her expression bright with humor. But other times he recalled the way she had looked at him the day of his disastrous proposal—her fine eyes dark with anger.
Had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner…
An icy wind swept into the carriage and Darcy started, realizing they were no longer moving. Turning to face the open door, he regarded the footman silhouetted against the lead-gray sky. When Darcy spoke, his voice was tight.
Why are we stopping? I thought I made it clear I wished to travel straight through.”
Despite his master’s black expression and clipped speech, the footman’s countenance remained carefully composed. “I beg your pardon, Mr. Darcy. This is the last coaching inn before we reach Town. I believe Mr. Johnson thought it prudent to check the status of the roads.”
Darcy lifted his gaze, cursing under his breath as he took in the fat white flakes rapidly descending to join the thick snow already blanketing the ground. Blast! His mind had been so preoccupied; he had not even noticed the worsening conditions.
Turning to his footman, Darcy immediately relaxed his tone. “Of course. Forgive me, Thomas. I had not perceived the change in weather. Johnson was correct to stop.”
His man offered a deferential nod and Darcy moved to the door, exiting the carriage. In the near distance, he could see the retreating form of his driver, heading for the mews. Addressing the footman, Darcy issued instructions to have the horses watered and rested before stalking off in the direction of the inn. Despite his protestations, he was glad to escape the confines of the coach. His legs needed stretching, but more than that, he required a distraction. Anything to keep from continuously reliving those horrible moments at the parsonage.
No, he did not welcome the delay, but perhaps a change of scene would help banish Elizabeth Bennet from his thoughts, even if only for an hour.
~ * ~
Elizabeth Bennet pressed through the thickening crowd, the note clutched tightly in her hand. She should have known something was amiss when her uncle’s carriage was not waiting to meet her. Moving to the nearest window, she stared out at the blowing snow and her shoulders slumped. What had she been thinking, releasing the carriage without being certain someone had arrived to collect her? But before the thought was fully formed, she already knew the answer. She had simply been grateful to get away. Away from Hunsford. Away from Charlotte’s happiness. And most of all, away from the parsonage, where she could still see Mr. Darcy standing before the empty hearth, professing his admiration and his love.
Of course, he had said other things, too. Hateful, horrible things. About her sister. About the inferiority of her connections.
And she had replied in kind.
Elizabeth shook her head and a soft sigh escaped her lips. More than half a year had come and gone since that awful day, and Mr. Darcy clearly had no intention of being in her company ever again. So much so that he had not even bothered to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends.
Not that this had come as a surprise to Elizabeth, given his feelings about the match.
Well, there was nothing to be done for it. Mr. Darcy was out of her life, and despite her desire to leave the area as soon as may be, she would have to remain at the Bell until tomorrow, along with what appeared to be half of Kent.
Elizabeth’s gaze swept the cramped parlor, but every seat was taken. Circling back the way she’d come, she threaded her way towards the outer corridor. Perhaps she would have better luck in the dining room…
Oh my! I am loving the set up already! Such tension and such memories for both! Imagine returning to the area knowing all the took place the last time they were there! Poor Mr. Darcy didn’t attend Bingley’s wedding… and I wonder how he took care of Wickham…I cannot wait to see how this all plays out!
Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing us to be a stop on your tour! We are so excited for your new release! Congratulations and best wishes!!
About the Author
Jennifer Altman is a novelist, an anglophile, and a lover of all things Regency. After a long career in the television industry, Jennifer shifted to book publishing in 2016. She currently works in the corporate division of a large publishing company. Jennifer makes her home in New York City where she lives in a compact apartment with a considerable collection of books. When she’s not writing, Jennifer can be found reading, watching British period dramas, and not cleaning her house. To Conquer Pride is her debut novel.
Connect with Jennifer
Jennifer is generously giving away one copy of To Conquer Pride at each stop of her upcoming blog tour, (including this stop!) Yay!!!
In order to be entered to win an ebook copy of To Conquer Pride, please comment with a question for Jennifer. You can ask about her path to publication, her Jane Austen likes and dislikes… (almost) anything goes!
To enter this giveaway leave a question for Jennifer below! Her answers will be revealed November 30th @ Babblings of a Bookworm
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Jennifer!
- This giveaway ends November 26th
To Conquer Pride Blog Tour
November 19th ~ Austenesque Reviews ~ Cover reveal, book excerpt, giveaway
November 26th ~ More Agreeable Engaged ~ Author interview with Joana Starnes, book excerpt, giveaway
November 29th ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Book review, book excerpt, giveaway
November 30th ~ Babblings of a Bookworm ~ “Ask Me Anything” author interview, book excerpt, giveaway