Winner Announced in the Project Darcy Giveaway!

ProjectDarcyCover-09-10-13One person has been chosen the winner in the Project Darcy giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. junewilliams7 who left a comment on December 3rd

Please contact me with your mailing address by Sunday, December 15, 2013 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe, Excerpt + GIVEAWAY

Please help me in welcoming author Jane Odiwe to the blog as she discusses and shares an excerpt of her newest book, Project Darcy.  As a special thank you to her readers, she’s offering up a paperback copy of the book in an international giveaway! Details will be at the end of the post. Welcome, Jane!

Thank you so much, Kim, for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my new timeslip book, Project Darcy.

JaneCassandraI’ve loved doing the research for the book – settings include scenes in Hampshire, in and around Steventon Rectory where Jane Austen lived as a young girl, and at some of the big houses in the area that Jane Austen knew, like Deane House, and Manydown Park, as well as in Bath and Devon. Then there is the timeslip element – in the present, five friends volunteer for an archaeological dig taking place on the site of the old rectory – like the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice, the five girls share similar initials and characteristics – their names are Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty. In the past, Ellie sees life through Jane’s eyes at Steventon with the Austen family and their neighbours during the Christmas period of 1795/96, and, in particular, she lives out Jane’s reactions and experiences with a young Irishman, Tom Lefroy, falling in love like she’s never done before.

Weaving two stories is always great fun, and I had a lovely time travelling from the present to the past with Ellie who experiences increasingly strange phenomena – she’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past, and finds herself being transported to another time – living life as Jane Austen lived it in 1795/96.

Ashe ball-1It’s the start of summer when the girls arrive in Steventon and they’re all enjoying the warm weather at Ashe Rectory where they are staying. In this excerpt, Ellie and the girls have just been to a welcome party for the archaeological dig, and they’ve all had a lovely time, meeting lots of new friends …

It was dark by the time the taxi turned in at Ashe Rectory. The chatter all the way home had been about the day’s events and the day to come. Liberty was delighted with the way that Greg had responded, and Jess was already privately thinking that Charlie seemed like a young man she’d like to know better. Cara had been in awe of the whole proceedings and had watched Liberty in action with admiration. Martha was disappointed that she hadn’t got to speak to Will MacGourtey but knew that the chances to do so would be increased on the following day. Ellie, quite simply, felt exhausted. She was pleased that Jess had found someone who seemed as sweet as she, but she’d been a bit disturbed by the fact that the person who seemed to be his closest friend was clearly idiotic, and that was putting it politely.

She looked out of the window watching the car headlamps lighting up the narrow lanes. Cow parsley, frothing white in the hedgerows, loomed and tapped on the car windows, and the branches of summer trees arched over them like fan vaulting in a cathedral. Summer in all her lush greenery flashed past in a blink of the eye. Ellie felt her eyes closing, the rhythm of the car lulling her to sleep, and it was only when she felt the car stop that Ellie looked out once more. She shivered in her thin top. And it wasn’t only her tiredness and the lack of sunshine that made her feel quite so cold. The scene she saw outside could not be explained. There was a picture from a Christmas card in front of her – snow covered the ground, lit up from the moon above and from the candlelight in the windows, which threw bars of gold against the blue snow shadowed by tall trees. Powdering every surface, snow crystals were piled in pillows up to the steps and weighed down lacy boughs on trees, bending them to the smooth white blankets on the ground. The house was alight, the gardens and surrounding fields, dark, icy and mysterious. Feathery showers whirled to the earth, and as Ellie peered through the swirling snow she glimpsed moving figures at the windows. Like enchanted shadows at first, the spectres became alive, vital with life, real. It looked like a party, the rooms were full, and the strains of music, a piano and a harp, could be heard.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing this book, and imagining all the scenes – I’d love to know – which is your favourite season – are you a summer or a winter person?

Book Blurb:

ProjectDarcyCover-09-10-13It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home. She’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with Mr Darcy’s ghost at the house where she’s staying.

When Ellie travels into the past she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796 with her dashing Irish friend. As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice – a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination.

Author Bio

janeodiweJane Odiwe is the author of five Austen-inspired novels, Project Darcy, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Mr Darcy’s Secret, Willoughby’s Return, and Lydia Bennet’s Story, and is a contributor to Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, with a short story, Waiting.  You can connect with her through any of the links below!

Austen Effusions – Jane Austen Sequels – Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest
 

Giveaway – Special thanks to Jane Odiwe for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Saturday, December 7, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Sunday, December 8, 2013.  Open to all.  Good luck!

What Are You Reading This November?

With Thanksgiving approaching in a little over a week, I figured I’d publish a quick “What Are You Reading?” post! I’ll be traveling with Todd out to Ohio to spend the holidays with his mom’s side of the family.  We have a 12 hour drive out, so you can be sure I’ll be getting my read on.

So what’s on the agenda to read during the trip? First up is book three in Jessica Sorensen’s The Secret series (my reviews on the first two books, The Secret of Ella and Micha & The Forever of Ella and Micha, can be found by clicking on their titles.)  Also on the list is Jane Odiwe’s newest release, Project Darcy.  I’ve been a fan of Odiwe’s Austenesque novels for a while now, so I’m looking forward to adding this title to my completed reads list for the Pride and Prejudice reading challenge I’ve been taking part in.  My most recent of her reads was Searching for Captain Wentworth).  And last, but certainly not least, is Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.  Drums of Autumn is the fourth book in her Outlander series (see reviews for book one, two, & three.)  My goal of reading one a month didn’t exactly pan out so well, huh…..

wayrnAnyway, I’m sure I’ll read more than just these three over the holiday, but they have my top priority.  How about the rest of you? Any special Thanksgiving plans/books you’re planning on reading?  Share them in the comments below!

Kim’s Review of Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

sfcwWhat do Jane Austen, time-traveling, “Captain Wentworth”, and a pair of white gloves all have in common?  They’re all major parts of Jane Odiwe’s newest novel Searching for Captain Wentworth, a time-travelling tale that puts us smack dab in the middle of Jane Austen’s life!

Sophie Elliot is in a bit of a slump, to put it mildly.  Her boyfriend has cheated on her, with her best friend, no less.  Totally distraught, she can’t focus on the book she is attempting to write, and is quite depressed indeed.  So, in order to help her recuperate and focus on her writing, her great-aunt gives her the keys to the family townhouse in Bath.  She is shocked to learn that the home is located right next to the former home of none other than Jane Austen herself.  She is not alone, however, as she meets a somewhat mysterious man in the townhouse named Josh Strafford.  After Strafford drops an old glove, Sophie grabs it in order to return it to him.  Instead of simply picking up the glove, something extremely unexpected happens.  She finds herself transplanted into the body of her namesake, in Jane Austen’s time!  She is able to live out her wildest dream as she befriends Austen and experiences life in Regency-era bath.  She soon becomes caught in the dizzying travel between these two eras separated by 200 years.  She learns more about Austen than she ever thought possible.  What will become of Sophie now that this magical transformation has occurred?  What will happen with Josh once she tells him about the magical properties his glove seems to possess?

Right off the bat I was impressed with this book.  I loved how Odiwe was able to make Austen herself personify traits that fit all of her heroines.  She had the wit of Elizabeth, the matchmaking skills of Emma, the lost love like Anne, etc.  I personally like to believe that Jane truly did have traits from all of her heroines.  Knowing her characters so well and then believing they’re little parts of Jane herself makes me feel closer to her work for some reason. (Any one else feel this way??)  Also, can I talk about Charles Austen and Josh for a second?  What wonderfully male creations Odiwe has invented.  They were both written with such superbly gentleman-like characteristics that I couldn’t help but swoon over them.  Overall, Odiwe fleshed out each character quite well, with my opinions on them matching what I thought Odiwe would want to happen, making the story progress that much faster and drawing me in more.

Finally, I have to give Odiwe a lot of credit for her inspiring words throughout the work.  I was touched by several quotes, my personal favorite being:  Time is but a shadow; Too slow, too swift, but for those who love, time does not exist.  How amazing is that?  It’s all too true in our society today.  It makes the maxim “take time to stop and smell the roses” all that more important, as we are constantly bombarded by stimuli and fail to take in the importance of the people and places around us.  Between the exquisitely written story and  intriguing characters, I was hooked from cover to cover.  Even if time travelling books aren’t normally your style, I’d suggest that you still give this a try.  After all, haven’t we all wanted to be Jane’s best friend?

5 out of 5 Stars

This is my first completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe
Paintbox Publishing (2012)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 9780954572228

Special thanks to Ms. Odiwe for my review copy!

What Are You Reading This January?

My time for blogging and writing reviews has unfortunately been short lately due to the demands of life offline.  I’m still reading, however, and wanted to throw a quick post up showcasing what I’m reading and to also find out what books the rest of you are reading!  I’m currently in the process of finishing Jane Odiwe’s Searching for Captain Wentworth.  I’m also planning on starting Robert Goolrick’s Heading out to Wonderful and Philippa Gregory’s The Lady of the Rivers.  Now it’s your turn! Tell me what’s currently holding you in a trance in the comments section below!

reading

#28 A Review of Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe

Cover Image

Fresh off the success of Willoughby’s Return and Lydia Bennet’s Story, Jane Odiwe is back with her third Austen-inspired novel, Mr. Darcy’s Secret.  Picking up where the pages of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice left off, Odiwe brings us back to Pemberley with the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Along with the Darcy’s we are treated to a deeper look at Georgiana as well as introduced to a whole cast of new characters.

Set immediately after the newlyweds return to Pemberley, life seems full of bliss, that is until a Mrs. Eaton comes along to shatter the post-nuptual honeymoon period.  Gossiping about a malicious rumor of a Darcy connection to an illegitimate affair, Mrs. Eaton plants a seed of doubt in Lizzy’s mind that grows further when Lizzy discovers some love letters hidden in the library!  Furthermore, Darcy begins acting differently, pushing Georgiana to marry for title and fortune, rather than love, which is exactly the opposite of his own history.  With Georgiana torn between honoring her brother’s wishes and her own true desire to marry a Mr. Butler, her strain seems to rub off on Lizzie who begins to view Darcy in a much different light.  Why is he pushing Georgiana so hard in the wrong direction?  What is the true history of the secret love letters?  Will their marriage ever be one of equal minds or will Darcy revert back to the taciturn prideful man he once was?

Jane Odiwe does a fantastic job at making Darcy and Lizzy’s marriage realistic.  What I mean by realistic is that it wasn’t perfect.  There are little arguments here and there that make it a more believable sequel than others; it stands out above the rest because it’s unafraid to delve into the challenges of Darcy overcoming his brooding personality and Lizzy becoming less impertinent to become a respected woman in society.  Odiwe gives us faithful representations of Austen’s characters as well as infusing the story with new characters that could have come from the mind of Austen herself.  Most of the sequels that I have read portray Lizzy and Darcy’s marriage as one without conflict and filled with perfection, happiness, and love.  And while it is believable that their marriage really could be happy, there is no way it could have been this extreme.

The attention paid to Georgiana has made this one my favorite sequels.  Georgiana’s story in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is so sad due to what befalls her at Wickham’s expense.  It’s nice to see fan fiction authors give her the opportunity to grow into herself as a woman and as an individual.  The strangest part of reading this book for me was how thrown off I was by the title Mr. Darcy’s Secret.  When I picked up the novel, I originally thought that it was going to be about some deep, dark secret that Darcy had, one that could shake the Darcy marriage to its core.  Instead, the “secret” storyline was just bits and pieces thrown around the novel that suddenly became a big deal at the end of the book.  The book instead focused on Georgiana’s quest for love with someone below her social standing.  What disappointed me the most was that the “secret” storyline was magically resolved at the end of the book with practically three sentences.  I would have loved to have seen the resolution fleshed out more since I was kept wondering about it throughout the novel.

Overall, Odiwe is to be thanked and praised for her willingness to stick with a storyline that can be classified as historically accurate for the time period, and followed social norms, rules and scandals of the time.  This being the first time that I’ve read Ms. Odiwe, I was impressed by her characters and obvious attention to detail.  These elements combined are the ingredients needed to make an irresistible and addictive novel.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to those of you who love continuation pieces to Austen’s masterful classic.

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my fifteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe
Sourcebooks (2011)
Paperback 368 pages