Jan 092019
 

Hi Friends! I am so excited to welcome back Abigail Reynolds to Austenesque Reviews today for several reasons…one being because she is Abigail Reynolds – and one of the first Austenesque authors I read that wrote variations (which completely blew my mind!). But the other reasons are because I know her newest book Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment is a little out of the norm for this genre and I’m eager to learn more about it! And because this new release of hers was quite popular in the Readers’ Choice Vote for 2018 Favorite Austenesque reads! Woot! Congrats, Abigail! I’m so happy readers are loving your new story! Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

How did I come to write a Pride & Prejudice variation with fantasy elements? Well, the explanation starts with a short excerpt from my previous book, Conceit & Concealment, of Darcy and Elizabeth meeting for the first time in Regency England occupied by Napoleon’s troops:

~~~

Darcy had loved springtime when his mother was alive. She had taught him the names of each spring flower in the Pemberley gardens, encouraged him to watch each stage of leaves unfolding, made wishes with him over the star-shaped wood anemones, and taken him on adventures in Pemberley’s magical bluebell wood. She had died in the springtime, too, just as the bluebells were fading away to nothing. And then there had been the terrible spring of 1805 which had cost him his father and more relatives and friends than he could count, as well as his freedom and his country.

Spring had once been a time of beginnings for him. Now it made him think of all he had lost.

At Pemberley he could gallop for miles over the empty moors, but Hertfordshire was more settled. He spotted a copse in the distance and made for that, hoping to find some semblance of untamed nature there. He skirted the edge until he found a path leading into it, but before he even entered the copse, a familiar floral scent transported him into the past. It was a bluebell wood.

On impulse, he dismounted and tied Hurricane’s reins to a tree. Ahead of him bluebells swayed in the dappled sunlight. He strode towards them as their almost otherworldly scent enveloped him, raising goose bumps on his skin. The spring green of the wood was the perfect frame for the sapphire flowers. Magic, his mother had called the bluebells.

His pace slowed. How long had it been since his last visit to a bluebell wood? He could not even recall. The bluebells seemed to dance around him with a ripple of laughter. But no – that was human laughter, and it was followed by a squeal of pain.

“That hurt, young man! Or young woman, if that is what you are.” A woman’s musical voice seemed part of the magic, drawing him towards it with a seductive enchantment of its own. Where was she, the woman of the rippling laughter? He searched for a side path through the flowers. His mother had taught him never to trample bluebells.

There it was, so faint it could barely be called a path, just grass dividing a sea of bluebells. Carefully he stepped along it.

He could see her now. Tendrils of dark chestnut hair escaped their binding to riot across her long neck in exuberant curls. She sat on the ground, her legs curled up beside her, and she was surrounded by… puppies? Yes, puppies, crawling over her lap, nipping at her skirts, and rolling over for petting. She picked one up and kissed its head. Fortunate puppy!

His lips curved. A poet would call her Titania, queen of the fairies, in the flesh. More woodland magic.

She must have heard his footsteps, or perhaps the yapping of a puppy alerted her, because she looked back over her shoulder. At the sight of him, she twisted around and scrambled backwards.

In the dappled sunlight, his Titania’s face was alive with energy, full of fine sparkling eyes and kissable lips.

And she was pointing a fully cocked pistol at him.

He took a step back and opened his hands to show they were empty. “I mean you no harm.” The sound of his own voice startled him.

“English?” Her voice was sterner now.

“Yes. I am visiting from Derbyshire. Or, if you prefer, I will say it – Theophilus Thistle, the thistle sifter, sifted a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrusting three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.” It was the tongue twister no Frenchman could pronounce, no matter how accentless his English might be.

Her lips quirked, but she kept the pistol leveled at him. “Well, Theophilus Thistle from Derbyshire, why are you following me?”

“Because I was walking through an enchanted bluebell wood when I heard the dulcet tones of Titania, queen of the fairies, which bespells any mortal man.” He swept her a full court bow.

She chuckled. “Lovely words, but perhaps you should avoid sudden movements when I have a pistol trained on you.”

~~~

As Darcy continued to refer to ‘Proud Titania’ through the rest of the book, it gave me an idea. Years ago, I had wanted to write a Pride & Prejudice variation incorporating evil Fae into the Regency, similar to Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, which has evil Fae creatures invading modern Ireland. I even tried writing a bit of it, but writing evil characters just isn’t a strong point of mine. I kept trying to humanize and redeem them, which doesn’t work so well when the creatures aren’t human in the first place! So I gave up on that story, but the plot bunny kept nagging at me until Darcy handed me the answer in the bluebell wood. I could write my variation with Shakespeare’s mischievous faeries rather than with evil Fae!

That was the piece I needed. I already knew the story would be primarily about our beloved characters in the Regency, because that’s the kind of fantasy I enjoy – books like Harry Potter that take place in our world, but with a little twist. So that’s what Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment become – a Darcy and Elizabeth story set in a Regency England where magic just happens to be real.

Once my muse got into the act, things got exciting. Several Pride & Prejudice characters have striking behaviors that are so consistent as to appear almost unnatural – Mr. Collins’ devotion to Lady Catherine is one example – that it’s very easy to believe they could be under a spell. Once I knew which characters might be bespelled, I could figure out which characters were casting spells. It should have been a tangled web, but amazingly it all made sense in the end. I could almost imagine Jane Austen had planned it that way!

It’s hard to say much more about the story without giving away major spoilers, but I can tell you this much: you don’t need to be a fantasy lover to enjoy this book. If you’ve liked my other books, you’ll like this one.

Meredith, thanks for hosting me!

Sounds fantastic, Abigail! I adored your meet cute for Darcy and Elizabeth in Conceit & Concealment. I also remember loving the nods to A Midsummer’s Night Dream in Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections! Yay for Shakespearean nods!! I can’t wait to read a story that combines Jane Austen’s characters with faeries and enchantments! Thanks so much for sharing!

~~~

 Connect with Abigail

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Author Bio

Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can’t follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a hobby during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Conceit & Concealment, the national bestsellers Alone with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections, and Mr. Darcy’s JourneyHer books have been translated into five languages. A lifetime member of JASNA, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.

~~~

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Today, Abigail brings with her TWO ebook copies of her new novel, Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, for me to giveaway to TWO lucky winners!

 

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, a question, or some love for Abigail!!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Abigail!
  • This giveaway ends January 16th!
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  54 Responses to “Guest Post + Giveaway with Author Abigail Reynolds!!!”

  1.  

    Your book sounds “enchanting”. I enjoy reading about fairies and can’t wait to read this one.Thank you for the giveaway.

  2.  

    I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it. What a great opportunity!

  3.  

    I really look forward to reading your review of this book Meredith. I absolutely loved it as I have loved all Abigail’s books. (Some of which I’ve read many, many, many times!)
    The details in this book were so wonderful, Faerie was definitely a magical place and I loved the interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth.
    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I bought this as soon as it was published.

  4.  

    I love fantasy books and Jane Austen so this sounds like the perfect book for me. Thanks for the giveaway!

  5.  

    Loved the book so no need to include me in the giveaway. Fun to read this excerpt again. Thanks Meredith and Abigail.

  6.  

    I did read this so count me out of this drawing – I also won a copy through another blog but just dropped in to say how much I enjoyed this and every other one of Abigail’s books!

  7.  

    I absolutely ADORED this book. It’s Abigail’s longest book by far, and I still managed to read it in two days. It’s so compelling and magical and AMAZING!! One of the best JAFF I’ve ever read,and I’ve read close to a thousand thus far…

    I already have a copy, so no need to enter me in the giveaway. Just wanted to say how much I loved this book!! (Goodreads and Amazon reviews pending.)

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  8.  

    Oh my word!! You are testing my resolve to not buy books this year, Abigail! This is exactly the kind of book I love most.

  9.  

    I love the excerpt. I am beginning to long for the spring you write about in your book. I think there is nothing like a man who loves flowers.

  10.  

    I love that this book is so different, plus Abigail is a fantastic writer. Sounds perfect to me!

  11.  

    Oh my giddy aunt! This sounds fantabulous! 🙂 I’ve been on a big faerie kick lately, so why not mix them with Darcy? 😀 Definitely adding this to my list, and crossing my fingers the fae odds are with me 😉

  12.  

    Abigail Reynolds has definitely been my favorite writer of Jane Austen variation, I am so excited to read this book!!! It is definitely on my must have list!!!

  13.  

    This book was amazing. I loved it… 5-stars. Well done. Good luck to those in the drawing. You will love this story. Thanks to our author and her publisher for this generous giveaway. I couldn’t wait for the blog tour with only a hope and a promise to win a copy… I grabbed this as soon as possible. I had to read it. Thanks Meredith for hosting and special hello to your Mr. Bingley. Blessings everyone.

  14.  

    Loved ‘Conceit & Concealment’ and I have read most of the ‘Fever’ series by Karen Marie Moning…(haven’t read the last 2 yet), so I’m looking foward to reading this one! Congratulations on all the accolades for this book Abigail! Thank you for a chance at winning it!

  15.  

    You do make this book enticing and all that is charming. I love the mental image of the bluebells in the woods, with Titania just the other side of their magic. Titania with a pistol – who would have imagined such a sight?? Thank you for this chance to win!

  16.  

    Abigail, all your books are amazing!

  17.  

    OK, you’ve convinced me! Though I’m not a big fan of the fantasy genre, I *am* a big fan of Abigail Reynolds, so I would love to be entered into the kitty for a chance to win this book. Thanks!

  18.  

    Sounds charming. Thanks for the giveaway.

  19.  

    This book has been on my wish list since I first saw it…would love to win a copy.
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

  20.  

    I enjoyed reading excerpts that Abigail posted before publication. I do plan to eventually buy the paperback but certainly wouldn’t mind winning a free copy of the ebook, thanks for the opportunity!

  21.  

    I have the book. Now to find time to read it. Sounds wonderful.

  22.  

    Anything Abigail Reynolds is fabulous. I think I had better reread A Midsummers Night Dream. It was interesting how Abigail got the idea while writing a book. Was it difficult keeping or creating all of the fairies?

    •  

      Thank you! You don’t really need to re-read Midsummer Night’s Dream for this book. Oberon and Titania are both in this, and they still quarrel over mortal children (a key plot point). I only introduced four fairies, and the main one, Aelfric, was very good at keeping himself straight. He was a plot hijacker extraordinaire!

  23.  

    Such an enchanting book (and comeback). Was worried Mrs Abigail Reynolds stopped/retired from writing P & P variations…Whew. Thank you for this chance to win this book

    •  

      I’m still writing! It was a year and a half between Conceit & Concealment and Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, but it’ll only be a few months until my next one because I worked on them both at the same time. 🙂

  24.  

    Hi Abigail, such an amazing sweet idea ! And thank for a worldwide contest…
    Your book might come to France !
    Cheers

  25.  

    I am French, my son’s name is Théophile 🙂
    I will learn how to say “Theophilus Thistle, the thistle sifter, sifted a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrusting three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb” properly ! 🙂
    I love your writing!

  26.  

    Wow what a wonderful concept. I look the sound of it and I have read all your other books so I know this one will be another blockbuster. The cover of the book is absolutely beautiful, I love it.

  27.  

    Such a nice gift !
    I love your books
    My first “what if ” was “the last man in the
    world “.
    You will make 2 readers very happy, indeed !
    Thank you so much !

  28.  

    I loved the tongue twister idea for Darcy to prove he’s English!
    I recently discovered Conceit & Concealment (shame on me, I know) but now I’ve purchased it I’m days away from reading it. 🙂
    What better than having another Abigail Reynolds book to follow?
    So thanks for the giveaway!

    (Why on earth do you think Mr. Collins’ devotion to Lady Catherine is unnatural? :-P)

  29.  

    Oh my, you’ve already got me hooked! Charming interview, intriguing excerpt. Cape Cod, critters, and Jane Austen — what else could anyone want? Many thanks for the generous giveaway.

  30.  

    I loved reading this story. The fairy world is interwoven so,well it seems as though it belongs. Please do not enter me as I already have the ebook.

  31.  

    Abigail Reynolds was the first Austen variations author that I ever read, and the book was Impulse and Initiative. I’ve loved all of her books ever since and look forward to this one since I like fantasy and magical realism as well. Thanks for the chance to win.

  32.  

    Abigail, you are one of my favorite JAFF authors ever! I own many of your e-books already, but I don’t have this one. And I have been introduced to the fantasy genre and I’m loving it! I would love to win a copy. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

  33.  

    I love all Abigail’s books and it seems whatever she tries, she does a good job of it. I look forward to reading and enjoying this one as well. Thanks!

  34.  

    I love the premise of this book (and the excerpt of Conceit & Concealment, as well)! I’m curious, Abigail: have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? I remember loving the way Susanna Clarke wove magic into a book about Regency manners. Looking forward to catching up with your work. Your novels were some of the first Austenesque novels I read; like Meredith, I’m grateful that your work introduced me to the world of Austenesque fiction!

  35.  

    This book was absolutely fantastic! I would love to see more set in this world! Congrats! Hope I get to win a copy!

  36.  

    I’m not a fan of fantasy genre, but I’m reading a book by Kurland at the moment and there are some aspects I like. So I thought: Austen’s characters + Abigail Reynolds + fantasy? Yes, please!

  37.  

    Thank you for the excerpt Abigail and Meredith. Abigail you are one of the first authors I read of P&P variations. I have all your first books. I’m so glad you are continuing to write and I look forward to reading this latest novel. Thanks for the giveaway!! –Leslie

  38.  

    I loved Conceit and Concealment!! This one sounds like it’s going to be delightful. I very much look forward to reading it.

  39.  

    Congratulations on your new release! The cover looks enchanting 🙂 Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  40.  

    Sounds like a brilliant book looking forward to reading it

  41.  

    A: Heavenly moonbeams! A “Pride And Prejudice” fantasy with spells, enchantment, fairies, and magic sounds like my cup of tea! I so adore light paranormal romance combined with a Regency era setting and/or a Jane Austen variation! If I won this giveaway, of course, I would post a review of it on both Goodreads and Twitter.

  42.  

    I enjoyed learning what inspired you to pen this P&P variation with a magical twist, Abigail. I am not a fantasy reader so it’s good that you mentioned other JAFF lovers who don’t normally read this genre like your story. And thanks for the giveaway too.

  43.  

    This seems like such a neat idea and I would love to read it. I have no idea where you get all your stories from!

  44.  

    What an enchanting giveaway – I am so looking forward to reading more wonderfulness from Abigail Reynolds.

    Thanks so much for the chance to win “Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment”.

  45.  

    Love your books they are some of my favorite stories. Which one of your is your favorite?

  46.  

    Sorry I’ve missed the other posts in this brief tour. RL getting in the way of things, I’m afraid!

    That scene from <Conceit and Concealment is one of my favourites from that book and I think that book is my favourite of Abigail’s so far. Ever since, I’ve not been able to look upon a bluebell wood without thinking of it. That “alternative universe” and the fantasy aspect of this new book can’t help but appeal to the part of me that’s a sci-fi geek as well as a Janeite. It all sounds wonderful and the fact that this is Abigail’s longest book yet means it’s something to settle down with and really get your teeeth into. Is it going to be produced as an audiobook at sometime in the future? With C&C, I ran the ebook and audio in parallel, so I didn’t have to break off my “reading” to drive to work or cook dinner!

  47.  

    This is such a compelling book, Abigail! I had a very difficult time putting it down at 3 a.m. so I could get some sleep! I did, but finished it the next day.

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