Apr 242019
 

Happy Wednesday, readers!! I am very excited to welcome back Jayne Bamber to Austenesque Reviews today! Jayne, as you might remember, released her debut novel Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, not too long ago. And today she is back to celebrate her newest release – Unexpected Friends and Relations. While we haven’t read this series just yet, we have enjoyed all that we have heard about it and our exchanges with Jayne! Jayne planned an extra fun post to share with you today and we were thrilled to take part in the discussion with her. We hope you will share your thoughts with us too!

Villainy & Vindication

By Jayne Bamber

The Friends & Relations series imagines a world where all of Austen’s characters from her six completed novels, and the unfinished fragment Sanditon, are all connected through either friendship or family relation. Familiar heros and heroines are thrown together in unlikely ways, and though Lizzy and Darcy get their happy ending, a lot of other couples are re-imagined, and get a HEA with someone from an entirely different novel, or even an original character. All the familiar villains of Austen’s works make an appearance, too, though many of them have rather different story arcs. Some are painted as even worse schemers than we had even known them to be, some are surprisingly redeemed, and some are ruined or even killed off!

The villains Jane Austen imagined are, to me, some of her best characters, and I’ve had a wonderful time toying with them, even getting into their heads a little too much, at times. In the first book, Happier in her Friends than Relations, which largely focuses on Elizabeth Bennet and Marianne Brandon nee Dashwood, I have a great time getting into Wickham’s head, and the scenes with him reacting to both Lydia Bennet and Evil Jane were some of my favorites to write. Continue reading »

Feb 132019
 

Hi dear friends! I hope you are enjoying a great week! We’ve been busy hosting lots of wonderful authors here this past week and we are thrilled to continue that trend today by welcoming the lovely authors of Austen Variations to Austenesque Reviews!! These authors are here to celebrate the very special (and much anticipated release!!!) of their latest collaborative effort titled Persuasion: Behind the Scenes! We love these sorts of projects that share some hidden scenes and spotlight some new vignettes from other character’s POVs! We hope you enjoy this post put together by the authors of this collection!

Thank you so much for having us, Meredith! All of us at Austen Variations are so excited to finally release Persuasion, Behind the Scenes and we’re thrilled to have you kick off our release celebration.

We have some fun posts lined up for the next couple of weeks, but for today, we thought to share with everyone why each of us contributed to this amazing project and a short scene. We hope you enjoy it!

~~~

I know Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the hands down favorite of her books. But to be entirely honest *whispers* I like Persuasion better.

Whew, that’s a load of my chest, to have finally fessed up to that.

Mind you, I love Pride and Prejudice—it’s fantastic, brilliant, amazing. But, at the end of the day, I’m far more of an Anne Elliot than an Elizabeth Bennet. Where I admire Elizabeth, I get Anne. I understand her; I feel like I know what she’s thinking and why; I feel like I’ve been in her shoes. I really relate to her. Continue reading »

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.”

~~~

Continue reading »