Feb 112019

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m happy to start my week off by welcoming back authors J.L. Ashton and Justine Rivard as they begin their blog tour for The Most Interesting Man in the World (you may recall their visit and lovely cover reveal last month!) Today, these ladies bring with them a vignette to share with you all. We hope you enjoy!

Thank you so much for hosting us here at Austenesque Review, Meredith. I was here with my previous two books. A Searing Acquaintance and Mendacity & Mourning, and it’s great to visit again with my friend and partner in crime, Justine Rivard. We’ve only met once in person and we write across the miles, sharing the same love for Jane Austen and a quirky sense of humor. In The Most Interesting Man in the World, we explore the friendship between Darcy and Bingley.

Among the characters mentioned but never actually appearing in The Most Interesting Man in the World is Caroline Bingley, sister to one of our protagonists. She, in fact, is the only female voice ever heard within the book’s pages. Her “Hallooo!” called through the window of a carriage is the lone moment her voice is heard, but her presence permeates the book as Bingley recoils not only from her voice and looming arrival, but from the memories of her as a child and her behaviour as one of his dreadful sisters.

But, unsurprisingly, she would like her share of the conversation and, more particularly, her share of Mr Darcy. A few days before the double wedding in Hertfordshire, we had that lady and gentleman sit down together in the drawing room at Netherfield, the Hursts sitting nearby and a footman standing ever vigilant by the door, so Caroline could explore the whys and wherefores of the man both she and her brother consider the most interesting man in the world.

Darcy and The Other Bingley

“Mr Darcy, you are my brother’s closest friend. He trusts and confides in you, for obvious reasons, and I must ask you the question so many have pondered. Why are you his great friend? What do you like about Charles?”

Darcy’s eyebrows rose. “That is an absurd question. He is easy to like, and I take pleasure in his company.”

“You were born a gentleman, Mr Darcy. He aspires to be what you are, but he is your equal neither in intellect nor in station nor in…”

“Nor in what?”

“In anything!” she cried. “You read thick tomes, you follow the libretto at the opera, you oversee Pemberley and your business, your shoulders are broad and strong!”

“Miss Bingley,” Darcy handed the lady her tea and watched her take a calming sip. “Just as there is more to a lady than whether she can play and sing and speak Italian, there is more to a man than a list of accomplishments. Your brother is superior to me in his understanding of true love and happiness. He aided me in the attainment of these things in my own life.”

Caroline’s expression shifted from one of bewilderment to a less familiar melancholy. “Eliza.”


After a short pause, made longer by Caroline sipping her tea, she turned to Darcy. “Am I so dreadful?”

“There, there. Of course you are not dreadful.” Darcy patted her hand. “Younger brothers can feel put upon by elder sisters.” He sat back in his chair and the hints of his fabled toothy grin began to emerge. “He has told a story or two of you and Louisa putting ribbons in his hair and making him wear your old gowns for tea parties.”

“Oh! He was barely out of leading strings. He tells you everything!”

“On the latter, I fear I was not his only audience.” He glanced at her, hesitating.

“Your cousin? The naughty mustachioed one?”

“I cannot safely say what your brother has said to my cousin. This past year found them together enjoying my brandy and some shared amusements. I had fled such entertainments, preferring my bed to Archie’s long-winded tales and interrogations.”

“Then who has heard the colourful tales of our childhood?”

“Ah, Charles was, er is, rather loquacious and impressively detailed in his telling childhood tales. Some fellows at Cambridge were privy to his stories.”

Caroline set down her teacup with a clatter. “He has told you of my cousin Emily. And of all our aunts, who adored him.”

“Caroline, you are aware he is a likeable sort of man. Stray cats follow him. Bees alight on his collar but do not sting him. Angels love him.”

Darcy eyed the biscuits, prettily arrayed but untouched. He smiled and unbeknownst to himself, sighed amusedly.

A sigh of a different sort came from his companion. “Charles is formed for happiness, as you say Elizabeth is as well. You truly could never have married me.”

“No,” Darcy said solemnly. “You are my friend. I enjoy your company. But I will love only one woman.”

“This thing called love,” Caroline scoffed. “It is a most inconvenient impediment to marital felicity.”

“May I offer you a small piece of advice?”

She nodded eagerly and leaned closer.

“Learn to enjoy brandy and sit up with your brother tonight while he is still a man without a wife and pining for his wedding day. Get a bit of brandy in you and lot more in your brother and you may learn that love is not dreadful at all.” Darcy nodded. “He is surprisingly wise.”

The door burst open. “Caroline! Oh dear god, Darcy! I am so sorry, I thought—.”


Bingley whirled about, looking up at the footman behind the door and, behind him, Hurst slumped on the settee and Louisa intent on a fashion magazine. His attention focused on table holding a small tray of biscuits and cakes and two half-emptied teacups. “I see. A tête-à-tête, from which I have been excluded.”

Caroline waved at him impatiently. “Charles, is there something you need?”

“Why, yes there is, Caroline.” Standing at his full height, he crossed his arms and stared down at her. “An explanation. My family gathers here without me, and here you sit in private conversation with my friend, the man who will soon become my brother by marrying the sister of my Jane.”

He glanced at Darcy, trying to summon a glare, but was cut short by the amused expression on the man’s haughty mien. He watched as Darcy flicked some imagined piece of lint or dust off his perfectly smooth and pristine breeches.

“Your sister requested a conversation with me, Bingley, one akin to what you and I have shared.”

“No,” Bingley gasped. “You would not.”

Caroline shook her head sadly. “No, he would not. Unlike you, brother, I do not swill brandy or speak of lost loves and flying carpets and Greek buffoons.”

“Ah,” Bingley said, grinning at Darcy. “But that you would, you would be the most interesting lady in the world.”

“After Elizabeth.”

“And Jane.”

After a long look at the two besotted men, Caroline sighed. “Perhaps a bit of brandy in my tea.”

Thank you so much for sharing, ladies! It is nice to see Caroline grow a little in her awareness and understanding, and I love seeing Mr. Darcy defend Mr. Bingley! 🙂 And lol! Does Colonel Fitzwilliam have a mustache again? 😆


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Giveaway Time!

Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook editions of The Most Interesting Man in the World  in conjunction with this blog tour!!  Woot woot!  



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Commenting on this post and filling out the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Meryton Press!
  • This giveaway ends March 1st!

Thank you to Claudine Pepe, Meryton Press, J.L. Ashton and Justine Rivard for making this blog tour possible!!

~ The Most Interesting Man in the World Blog Tour Schedule ~

**February 11 ~ Austenesque Reviews ~ Vignette**

February 12 ~ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life ~ Guest Post

February 14 ~ Margie’s Must Reads ~ Book Review

February 16 ~ Just Jane 1813 ~ Meet the Authors  

February 18 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm ~ Guest Post

February 22 ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Character Interview

February 24 ~ Diary of an Eccentric ~ Book Review

February 26 ~ My Vices and Weaknesses  ~ Book Excerpt

February 28 ~ More Agreeably Engaged ~ Guest Post

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  80 Responses to “Vignette + Giveaway with Authors J.L. Ashton and Justine Rivard!!!”


    I love this little peek at Darcy with Caroline. It’s nice to see him admit to being Caroline’s friend, but just not loving her. A very refreshing and sweet take. This is a fantastic and original P&P variation that I’m really happy to see in print. Congratulations ladies!


      We are so fortunate to have Meredith host our cover reveal AND our blog tour launch. And on the same day you debut your gorgeous new cover, Jessie! Thanks for stopping to read and good luck to you on Mistaken, my friend.


      Thanks, Jessie. So glad to have the privilege of being here on Meredith’s site with your cover reveal.


    Thank you for sharing this vignette. I do hope Caroline takes the advice given as she needs all the help she can get 🙂
    A generous giveaway but I never have much joy with Rafflecopter. I do however have this on my list so will be reading it sooner rather than later.
    Good luck to all who enter and for the success of this book.


    This is a sweet little conversation. At the beginning of P&P, Darcy does seem to consider Caroline a friend, but by the end, he seems heartily sick of her comments against Elizabeth. We never find out what happens to Caroline, but it’s nice to think that she’d listen to Darcy’s advice in this scenario and seek out love for herself.

    I encourage everyone to read this book – it is hilarious! The way Bingley’s mind works is baffling at times but always fun! I promise you will be smiling as you read this, and you’ll laugh out loud at least once!


      Gail, you marvelous editor you! Thank you so much for all you did to make our story better and More Interesting. 😉 You are the best of the best.


      You’re right, Gail, we never do hear what happens to Caroline in canon. More space for JAFF writers to play around in! Thanks again for the pleasure of working with you to make this book better and better.


    I was dismayed to see that in order to enter the drawing, one must agree to make personal information available to MailChimp and wonder if you are aware of this restriction.


      Hi Betty, I’m not the one who set up the rafflecopter form so maybe I’m not seeing the same thing you are – but it looks like you just need to either enter an email address or login with Facebook. Both of which I think are necessary to keep the drawing fair and allow the winner to be easily contacted by the blog coordinator to distribute the prizes.


    This is such a fun excerpt! I’m really looking forward to reading this tale! Jen Red


    Enjoyed the excerpt and look forward to reading more. Thanks for the giveaway!


    Bingley is such a fun guy. I am glad Mr. Darcy finally tells Caroline that he will not marry her; they are just. friends. Can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway.


      Bingley would be the best buddy for anyone, but his happy temperament and cheerful spirit are perfect for Darcy. Hope you enjoy the rest of their bromance in the story.


      Yes, and it’s nice that Darcy lets her down pretty gently. Well played, Jan! We hope you enjoy the book.


    I love Austen Fan Fiction! I like to imagine myself in the days and scenes of that era. Thank you for the opportunity to win a coy of this book!


      Imagination was the key to writing this story. We are blessed to have so much fantastic JAFF to read and take us into new realms.


      I agree, it is a lot of fun to decode the “rules of the game” in another time and place and imagine what our own spot could be in it. Thanks.


    What a fun vignette. Thanks Meredith for hosting, and ladies, for sharing it. Poor Caroline. I wonder if Mr. Darcy may have stretched things a bit when he said he enjoyed her company! lol


      Thanks for all your help and advice, Janet. And for the gorgeous cover you and Ellen designed!


      And thank you, Janet, for your part in bringing the book to fruition. You are right, he may have been stretching the truth a bit, but at least he’s learned to be kind. That’s personal growth!


      My pleasure, Janet! I’m so happy to participate in this tour and love the idea of a story from Mr. Bingley’s perspective!


    Thank you for the excerpt. I am quite surprised that Mr. Darcy was so frank with Miss Bingley.


      Once he could admit he was in love with Elizabeth Bennet and had won her love in return, Darcy could likely do anything–even give romantic advice to Caroline. Thanks, Eva


      You’re right, he was pretty direct. It was rather kind of him to tell it to her straight, though, wasn’t it? Elizabeth has a good effect on him, apparently.


    Haha! Now that I have to read! Caroline with some brandy in her and Charles telling her about love! So looking forward to reading this book!!! Loved the vignette!


    The interview between Darcy and Caroline was interesting. I love Bingley barging in. That was a blast. Thank you for the generous give away.


      Thanks, Debbie. Bingley is ever the little brother to both Caroline and Darcy, at least in our eyes. 😉


      Thanks, Debbie. Our goofy Bingley in this book does a lot of barging in and missing social cues. We hope you enjoy those episodes as well.


    What a delightful post. Special thanks to the authors and the publisher for this generous giveaway. Man, that is so cool. This certainly sounds interesting. Thanks for hosting Meredith [say hello to your own Mr. Bingley]. Blessing everyone, and good luck in the drawing.


      When we found out from the wonderful Claudine Pepe that we would kick the blog tour here, Justine and I wanted to write something special, and we’re thrilled you found it “delightful.” (As you know, Caroline Bingley isn’t always the most cooperative of characters.)


      What a lovely compliment–just what authors hope to hear. Thank you. We hope you find the book as interesting as everyone in the book finds Darcy.


      Thank you, Jeanne! So looking forward to reading this one, especially as I have a very certain fondness for Mr. Bingleys…and more specifically for my own dear Mr. Bingley!


    I’m a HUGE fan of Jan and Justine, both at AHA and Meryton Press. I hear from some retired editor (Gail Warner) that the new material in this book is as hilarious and typical of these authors as the original, and I expect to enjoy quite a few laughs at their inimitable style. Well, they’ve tried to capture the best of the Jane Austen snark and overachieved! Thanks for hosting, Meredith. Have a blast on the blog tour, Jan and Justine!


      Suzan, you are always so generous with your praise, laughter and support. Thank you. We’re looking forward to your release in a month or two!


      Just as we are great fans of yours! We hope our new material lives up to this advance praise. can’t wait to read your next book.


    Cute excerpt! Could there really be hope for Caroline?
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book. I’d love to read it!


    I expect Caroline to revert back to normal the next day


    What a fun excerpt!! I hope that brandy loosens Caroline up a bit; she is just too highly strung!

    Thanks for the excerpt and congratulations on the new release!! And thanks for the giveaway; I am hoping to win a copy!! 😀

    Susanne 🙂


      Thank you, Susanne! Caroline is a character we love to play around with, and the book makes a lot of references to her–off the page, of course. Good luck in the drawing!


      You’re right, she does need to loosen her strings a bit. We don’t see much of her in the main story, nor of any of the ladies, but we do hear quite a bit about how she tortures her poor brother. Hopefully the brandy will help mellow her out.


    This sounds like a fantastic novel, Jan and Justine. I like this easy going and cheerful Bingley who exudes an abundance of charm. I love Darcy too and seeing his characteristics and manners slowly revealed through the eyes of his close friends. Thank you for writing this delightful vignette, ladies.


      Thank you, what a lovely thing to say. Our Bingley is indeed engaging. He’s easy-going and somewhat loose around the edges. But we think he’s a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy getting to know him as well.


      Oh, you have the perfect read on this Bingley, Luthien. And he is the perfect vessel to learn more about Darcy (I adore those stories too, with others revealing D&E to us). Hope you enjoy the book!


    This sounds like fun.. loved the excerpt!


    It is rare that you can read a variation that Caroline is a little on the passive side or doesn’t have something uo on her sleeve. Thank you for this nice excerpt and this give-away


      Right, in this vignette she already knows her goose is cooked with regard to Darcy, so she is ready to listen to what he has to say. Thanks for dropping us a line.


      Caroline, Caroline. Ever so misunderstood. It’s nice to show her human side. Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed it!


    I very much enjoyed “overhearing” this conversation between Darcy any Caroline! Looking forward to reading your book, and have fun with the blog tour!


      We’re really glad to hear that you enjoyed the vignette, and hope you enjoy the whole book as well. The blog tour is off to a great start thanks to Meredith’s generosity in hosting us on her site. Thank you!


      Thank you, Christina! I am so looking forward to your book as well–first book queued on my Kindle.


    Thanks for sharing such a fun vignette with us. In fact, the whole book looks like a lot of fun! Now, tea with a splash of brandy is something that sounds rather tasty. I think I once saw brandy used in this way described as ‘French cream’.


    This is such a good excerpt, I’m really looking forward to reading this book.


    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the e-book. Loved this except.


    What a fun interview. Darcy willing to have a conversation with Caroline and putting some sense into her…


    This sounds like a amazing novel. Thank You for this giveaway.


    I am having problems with leaving a name on which site I commented on on rafflecoptor. does not give me an option to give any name


    I want to read this book so thanks for a chance to win. I agree with Patricia – the rafflecopter would not allow me to name the blog on which I commented…several times.


    I really enjoyed this vignette, thanks for sharing it

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