Hi readers! I hope you are enjoying a great week! I am so excited to be welcoming a brand new-to-me author to Austenesque Reviews today – Kelly Miller! I understand Kelly has been writing for a long time and I am so happy to see that she is debuting her first book this month – Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. I’m not one to gravitate towards fantasy stories, but this one definitely has me intrigued! Poor Mr. Darcy escapes a near-death experience and now an angel of death is paying him a visit with lots of demands!
In Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, an ailing, elderly tenant at Pemberley is shown to have a preference for confections referred to as Pomfret Cakes. The lady is quite appreciative when Mrs. Darcy thoughtfully brings her a jar of them. Some readers might be confused at the true identity of a Pomfret Cake. Is it a cake or is it candy? A Pomfret cake is actually a small, round, piece of liquorice candy that was first produced in Pontefract, Yorkshire, England. They have also been called Pomfrey cakes and more recently, Pontefract cakes. (Pomfret is an old Norman word for Pontefract.)
As far back as ancient Egypt, a sweet liquid liquorice mixture was favored by prophets and pharaohs, who believed it had healing properties. Beginning in 1612, Pomfret cakes were being produced and stamped with the castle lodge emblem of Pontefract, along with the initials “G S,” which is thought to stand for Sir George Savile, a prominent local land-owner. These Pomfret cakes were used as medicine for people and horses, In fact, the flavinoids in the liquorice root have been proven to be effective in reducing stomach discomfort.
In 1760, an apothecary named George Dunhill added sugar to the recipe of the Pomfret cakes. The Dunhill factory was to be the more enduring and well-known of the manufacturers of Pomfret cakes. However, the product did not become extensively used for confectionary until the 19th century. Today, the Dunhills factory is still in operation, but it was purchased by the candy company Haribo in 1972.
~ Excerpt from Death Takes A Holiday at Pemberley ~
Elizabeth was making her way towards them with Rory at her side. The collie burst forth with a series of excited barks as was his wont when within sight of the sheep. The vision of his wife brought an automatic smile to Darcy’s face. At her wave, he raised his arm and waved back.
As she drew near, his spine stiffened. His happiness at seeing her was eclipsed by Graham’s unsettling presence. Darcy made an effort to smile. “I should have known you would be back to see the lambs this morning.”
“They are so adorable, and they will be grown soon, so I want to see them as often as possible.” Elizabeth faced the blond gentleman. “Mr. Graham, I hope you like our little herd. In the last year, we have attempted to expand our flock. Their wool is extremely fine and a popular material for pelisses and stockings.”
A smile lit up the man’s face as he stepped nearer to her. “Mrs. Darcy, your sheep are impressive, but I would greatly appreciate it if you would call me Graham. Darcy and I are so close that calling you Mrs. Darcy and your calling me Mr. Graham would feel wrong.”
Her eyes widened.
Although he maintained his countenance, Darcy cringed at the man’s presumption. However, he held his tongue; certainly, a more grievous reason to challenge him would present itself before long.
Graham’s words flowed out with eloquence. “I realize it might not be considered the height of propriety here, but I beg your indulgence. You see, in the section of Calabria where I live, we use given names unless we do not like each other. I am quite a vain man, and I cannot bear the thought that my hostess, and wife of my dearest old friend, dislikes me.”
Elizabeth glanced at Darcy, and he fought to keep his unease from showing on his countenance. He was tempted to state his objection, yet it was a small enough thing. His instincts told him to cooperate with the man for now.
Her easy smile had returned. “I have no objection to your request, Graham. Please feel free to call me Elizabeth.”
Graham’s smile widened. “Thank you, Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth looked over the area. Her brow creased as she fixed her gaze upon the collie sitting on the road a fair distance away. “Rory, what are you doing there? Come here.”
Rory took halting steps towards her for a short distance. The dog stopped and sat again.
She turned to Darcy and pointed at the dog. “Do you see that? Is it not odd? Most of the time, Rory cannot wait to meet new people. I often need to restrain him from being too friendly and boisterous.”
“Yes, it is unusual behaviour for him.” Did Rory sense Graham’s uncanny nature?
Graham presented an ingratiating smile. “He may be too distracted by the sheep. A collie is a herding dog after all.”
Darcy examined his wife’s expression as her eyes focused upon Graham. Her sight remained riveted upon him as the sunlight illuminated the blond man’s striking blue eyes. Whatever she had been prepared to utter appeared to have died on her lips as she continued to stare at the man.
With a start, Elizabeth looked around herself as her composure returned though her cheeks blazed a deep red. She shook her head as if to clear it and addressed Darcy in a bright, cheery cadence. “Have you seen the lambs? Are they well?”
Avoiding her eyes, Darcy replied in a hollow tone. “Yes, they are all well, though I am certain you will want to get a closer look for yourself.” The pain in his chest was akin to having been smote with a dagger. He had always taken it for granted that he was considered handsome, having heard as much from family and friends all of his life—but not just from them. On countless occasions, ladies in Derbyshire or London whispered words of approval for his tall stature, striking, even features, and his thick, dark, curly hair—without bothering to wait until he was out of earshot. Yet unlike several vain men of his acquaintance, he never dwelt upon his appearance. Until Graham arrived, he had never encountered a man who so surpassed him in looks and stature. His wife’s reaction to Graham shook him to his core. It was unmistakable: she was attracted to this man, angel, or whatever he called himself.
Thank you so much for sharing such an enticing excerpt, Kelly!! I love that Elizabeth has a dog and I am very intrigued about Graham’s intentions…and if Elizabeth knows what he is…I am definitely looking forward to reading Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. We wish you the best of luck with your debut release!
Connect with Kelly
~ Author Bio ~
Kelly Miller discovered her appreciation for Jane Austen late in life, and her love of writing even later. It was the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice that made her take notice and want to read the actual book. It was many years later that she discovered the world of JAFF. After reading a slew of wildly inventive stories featuring the beloved characters created by Jane Austen, she was inspired to write one of her own. Now, writing is one of her favorite pastimes. When not writing, she spends her free time singing, playing the piano, and working out. (Yes, like Elizabeth Bennet, she is an excellent walker.) Kelly Miller lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter and their many pets.
Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook editions of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley in conjunction with this blog tour!! Woot woot!
Commenting on this post and entering through 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 June 25th!
Thank you to Janet Taylor, Meryton Press, and Kelly Miller for making this blog tour possible! Be sure to check out the rest of this tour!