Posted in Uncategorized

Valentines Countdown to Great Giveaways Romance Special: Day 6

51023235_10218775640245995_7138630907497283584_nWhen I think of romance, the classic love stories of Jane Austen often come to mind. I want to share some of my favorite quotes with you along with some relationship tips inspired by Austen’s novels. And as a special treat, I’m offering an ebook copy of my novel If Only It Were Yesterday for free on Amazon. My heroine, Liz Cooke, is an avid reader and major Austen fan. You’ll find several nods towards Austen’s work throughout the novel.
And keep scrolling for the joint giveaway and the countdown calendar link. 

I hope you enjoy revisiting these timeless stories, or that it encourages you to pick up a new-to-you Austen novel. If it does, be sure to share with me which one you’re planning to grab first!

*Note: As I was searching for the best quotes to share, clearly I could have chosen a hundred more, but was forced to limit them. I started this post out, strictly quoting the novels. But I soon found out that Miss Austen’s common style was to explain the course of events, rather than allow us to eavesdrop on the happy couple and the professions of love. Because of that, many of the romantic quotes we go around repeating actually come from the movie adaptions and not the original work. In order to keep things romantically focused, I’ll be quoting movies and novels. 

captain wentworth

Pride and Prejudice:
“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ~ Mr. Darcy

Sense and Sensibility:
“To your sister, I wish all the imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavor to deserve her.” ~ Colonel Brandon

“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and will always be yours.” ~ Edward Ferrars

Mansfield Park:
“I have loved you as a man loves a woman. As a hero loves a heroine. As I have never loved anyone.” ~ Edmund Bertram

“Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough.” ~ Edmund Bertram

Emma:
“I cannot make speeches, Emma … If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” ~ Mr. Knightley

“Mr. Knightley, if I have not spoken, it is because I am afraid I will awaken myself from this dream.” ~ Emma Woodhouse

Persuasion:
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope … I have loved none but you.” ~ Captain Wentworth

“I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” ~ Captain Wentworth

Northanger Abbey:
“I felt myself bound to you, by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong that nothing could deter me.” ~ Mr. Tilney

“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” ~ Mr. Tilney

 

Austen-inspired Advice Column:

Pride and Unforgiveness Will Ruin Any Relationship:
“My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” ~ Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy show us how these attitudes can cause unnecessary rifts in a relationship. Could you imagine all that these two would have missed out on had they stuck to their earlier feelings? Is there any wonder that the Lord teaches us to be quick to forgive others and to repent of our pride?

True Friendship is Sometimes Painful:
“Badly done, indeed!” ~Mr. Knightley
“Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.” ~Mr. Knightley
There is no greater example of a true friend in Austen’s works than  Mr. Knightley. At first glance, he sounds harsh, condescending, and the enemy of dear, sweet Emma. But in truth, he’s the truest friend of all. The Bible teaches us that a true friend might wound us from time to time, but it’s the kisses of the enemy that you have to be aware of.

Beware of Their Fruit:
“I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.” ~ Fanny Price
“I mean to be too rich to lament or to feel anything of the sort. A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” ~ Miss Crawford
This is a theme that we can find in all of Austen’s novels. The Bible teaches that just as a tree is known by its fruit, so people are known by their deeds. And it’s only a matter of time before those deeds are brought to light. As Fanny stands between two men, one she had loved a lifetime and another who promises her the moon, it would have been all too easy for her to be swept away by the tender promises of one so attentive and handsome as Mr. Crawford, and for a season Fanny was. But she was never fully certain of his motives and kept him rightly at arm’s length. In time, Mr. Crawford proved who he really was just as his sister eventually shows her true colors. Fanny was not only saved a lifetime of disappointment but was offered her greatest joy.

Being Tongue Tied Could be a Sign of Deep Feelings:
“You have bewitched me, body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you.” ~ Mr. Darcy*
“I cannot make speeches. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” ~ Mr. Knightley
“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness.” ~ Edward Ferrars
“My soul mate must take tea. I wouldn’t even care if he loaded it with sugar or refused to take cream. But all of Jane Austen’s heroes took tea, and she knew a thing or two about worthy men. One could argue that she also died single, but I prefer to think that she died refusing to settle for less. I found it best to stick to her example.” ~ Liz Cooke 
Just as my heroine Liz Cooke learns, sometimes we fictional readers can be a bit blind sighted by what we think the right man ought to do or say. When we see such breathtaking examples of romance, we might be tempted to hold the men in our lives up to fictional standards. But even Austen shows us that sometimes the hero doesn’t always know the right thing to say or do. Think of Mr. Darcy’s insulting first proposal. Or later his declaration of love in which we could say that he muddled because he stuttered his way through it. Mr. Knightley was so in love with Emma that he had very little to say. If the man in your life is shy and not good with his words, cut him some slack. Words and emotions aren’t always easy for people to express.

Impressing the Right Guy Shouldn’t be Hard:
“All were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. … He advised her against it, thought the jar too great, but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, ‘I am determined I will.’ … she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!” 
Louisa Musgrove is a joyful young lady who is enjoying the attention of a rich, older gentleman. The moment she’s most known for, however, is when she lets her silliness run amuck and we find her jumping off the flight of steps in order to have the thrill of being caught by her handsome escort. Oddly enough, it’s this little stunt that takes Louisa down the path to finding the right sort of man for her and … her handsome escort realizes he needs someone more mature … someone he’s never stopped loving. Lesson learned: If you’re tempted to go to the extreme to get someone to notice you  – don’t bother, he clearly wasn’t interested enough to notice your natural beauty on his own. Save your time and efforts for someone who will.

How We Behave Will Reflect on Who We Catch:
“Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.” 
To the Austen fan, the name Wickham is never attached to anything pleasant. He’s one of those cads who you think is God’s gift, but after a bit of fruit examination and a background check, we learn that he’s as low as they come. We see characters like this a lot in Austen’s fiction … possibly because we find so many in real life. Sometimes, these guys can blind us to the truth, but be careful that we don’t set ourselves up for failure. Offering the world a cheap version of yourself is bound to attract cheap men. The Bible teaches us to adorn ourselves with the Word of God. Not only is it right, but it’s a great way to increase your chances of catching the right sort of man.

Fiction is Still Fiction:
“It seemed as if the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading which she had there indulged.” ~Northanger Abbey
“What sort of fevered imagination you must have? Perhaps, after all, it is possible to read too many novels.” ~ Mr. Tilney

“Don’t make the mistake of comparing a great reality with a flimsy fairy tale.” ~ Betty Tanner (If Only It Were Yesterday) 
Just like my character, Liz, Catherine Mooreland learns the hard way that fiction is just fiction. Like Liz, Catherine is consumed with makebelieve worlds, so much so that she almost ruins a great relationship in order to chase after her fantasies. Catherine and Liz have that in common. While fiction is fiction, we’ll do well to learn from their mistakes by enjoying our books then setting them down to enjoy our lives and those in it. Your family and friends will benefit from your attention, and you’ll benefit from the clear air.

And I’d like to wrap up this post with one of my absolute favorite Jane Austen movie clip videos. I don’t own the rights to the video. ENJOY! And then be sure to comment and talk Austen with me! Who is your favorite couple?

My post and novel gift is part of a bigger giveaway. So be sure to visit the other stops in this countdown series and enter the joint giveaway. 

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of If Only It Were Yesterday from Amazon
or add it to your Goodreads shelf. 

Valentines special.png

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: First Impressions by Debra White Smith

227

First Impressions: A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Lawyer Eddi Boswick tries out for a production of Pride and Prejudice in her small Texas town. When she’s cast as the lead, Elizabeth Bennet, her romantic co-star is none other than the town’s most eligible–and arrogant–bachelor.

My Thoughts: It was interesting to see how the story could have played out in the 21st century. And I really enjoyed the angle Smith brings to the story by having them act out the Pride and Prejudice play. There were some elements of the original story that I felt like were very creatively translated into the new story. But I also felt like there were some elements that were either forced or flat out uncomfortable. For me, one of the more disappointing areas were the characters’ view of marriage. I know in the original, Mr. Bennet has a great deal of disdain for his silly wife. But for me, to have Mr. Boswick have such open and unrepented disdain for his wife while claiming that the only reason he isn’t divorced is because he’s a Christian had me feeling like a Christian’s responsibility in marriage was misrepresented.
First Impressions was a solid retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It was a light, entertaining read whether you’ve read Austen’s famous novel or not.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving First Impressions 4 stars and recommend it to Contemporary Fiction fans or those who enjoy Austen retellings.

~ I received a copy from Net Galley. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own. 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Reviews: February’s Backlist: 2 in 1 Review

Alongside my usual new release reviews, I’m trying to squeeze in more books from my backlist. Here are the books I read this month. Have you read any of these books yet or are you planning?
*All links unless otherwise stated will take you to Goodreads

219A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears
Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store–where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

My Review: I absolutely loved this one!!! The first one was good, but this one was my favorite of the series so far. I was surprised at the twists and turns the story took along the way.
Rating: 5 stars

222Pride and Prejudice in AUDIO

Pride and Prejudice is a beloved classic for a reason. You either love it, or you don’t, or you know you need to give it a try, so I’m not going to review the book. Suffice it to say that all things Austen rank highly with me. I enjoy the romance and the old-fashioned language. But I do want to share the audio version that I’m listening to and the great deal I had found.
If you’ve looked at the classics in audio, you would have found SEVERAL versions for a single book. Many reviews will point out that the more expensive versions are best. But I picked up this one dirt cheap and I’m loving every minute of it.
The original audible price is $14.95. But they had an option of buying the kindle version with it (which turned out to be free) THEN buying the audible version at a discount. My records show that I paid less than $2 for the audio. And I have I mentioned that I’m loving it?! I’d give this audio 5 stars but at this price, I’d give it 10 stars! 😉
Here are the two links I used when buying. Always, always, always preview the audio to make sure the narrator is pleasing to your ears. Be sure to double check prices before pushing any buttons because prices can change. And if you’re looking to pick up the audio at a discount, be sure to pick up the ebook version first and click on “add the audio.” Ebook and Audio

Posted in Book Reviews

Review: Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Love and Friendship

301I had the pleasure of watching the latest Austen movie, Love and Friendship, in the same week that I read one of her earliest stories, Lady Susan. Since these are lesser known works, I thought it would benefit you to get a full review. For those who didn’t know, Love and Friendship is based on the story Lady Susan. Before I review the movie, the book, and the audiobook, let’s take a look at the story itself.

The Story: Lady Susan
I had always heard that Lady Susan was an unfinished work. I was under the impression that unfinished meant that she had not finished writing it and therefore the plot wouldn’t be complete. Who wants to read a story you’ll never have an ending to? Because of this, I had put off reading it for several years. But I’m happy to announce that this just isn’t so. Lady Susan is a finished story but is not as polished.
Lady Susan is different from the common Austen novel in two major ways. It’s an epistolary story therefore written completely through letters. And the main character, Lady Susan, is NOT the heroine Austen is known for. She’s not the sweet downtrodden female, although there is a sweet heroine to cheer for. But Lady Susan is manipulative, selfish, a liar, a flirt, and most likely an adulteress as well.
Now, this hardly sounds like something worth reading, but I beg you to think again. While the main character is…a total mess, we also have endearing characters to root for. Lady Susan’s conduct stands in clear contrast to the conduct of the more noble characters. And we’re treated to the classic wit of Austen all throughout the story.
Knowing that Lady Susan is an early work, you can easily see signs of her later, more famous works. The names of Churchhill and Martin will ring a bell with Austen fans. You’ll also see characters that remind you of some of your favorites. Lady Susan herself brings to mind several characters that I’ve loved to hate from her other works.

The Book:
As mentioned above, I found Lady Susan to be brilliantly written. You have to understand going in that with this being an early work, there may be areas of her writing that aren’t very strong. I’ve little doubt that someone has come along already and picked apart everything they felt was wrong with it. But for me, the thing I love the most about an Austen novel, or any other classic, is the language. I love the way they word their sentences. There’s a romantic, poetic tone to their speech that I just flat out enjoy. And all of that is present here which made it enjoyable to me.
I had picked up the story (we contemporaries would probably label it as a novella because it’s shorter than a novel) several months ago but didn’t finish it. There’s just a lot of information to pick up at once without the benefit of narration. Reading letters from person to person makes it harder to grasp who these people are and their connections to one another. But despite the rocky start, things mellow out with time.
*The link will take you to a free ebook version from Amazon.

The Audiobook: 
I had the opportunity to pick up the audiobook and decided to give this story another try since I never finished the written version. The link will send you the version I listened to.
They used different actors for each character. This was so much easier to listen to. Overall, I enjoyed it. However, there was one voice that got on my nerves. There was a whine to her speech, that while being very accurate for the character, grated on my nerves the more I listened to her. But it’s only three hours long, so it’s a quick audiobook just perfect for a day trip or in between longer audiobooks.

The Movie: 
If you’ve watched Austen movies over the years, you would have been shocked at some of the vulgar scenes we’ve witnessed. I’m happy to announce that this was a CLEAN movie. Granted, let’s remember that Lady Susan, while it never exactly says, is thought to be an adulteress. So there are adult and sinful themes. But Lady Susan’s sins are hinted toward and never fully exposed so younger viewers aren’t likely to pick up on the meaning of the conversation. And most importantly, we don’t SEE anything unpleasant or shocking…aside from the unfortunate low cut gown. Again, there are also honorable characters involved and Lady Susan’s conduct is always viewed as shameful. SHE never finds shame in her conduct, but the viewer is always encouraged to think the worst of her lifestyle, so I didn’t feel like her sin was encouraged or condoned.
Love and Friendship has a strong comedic tone to it. I laughed out loud a few times. Some of the characters are meant to be ridiculous and you can’t help but laugh at them because they don’t seem to notice their faults.
Again, the beginning tripped me up. I liked the way they opened the movie by introducing the characters. But even then, I found it to be a lot of info to try to soak up and I was still lost for the first thirty minutes or so. But I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you just need to watch a period drama more than once to fully understand it.
Watching the movie first had helped me to grasp the story when I listened to it later that week. And I must say that this was probably the closest adaptation I think I’ve ever seen. The characters were not altered from Austen’s vision in any way that I could tell. And I can’t think of any real plot point that was altered. The original story was told through letters and the movie was acted out without the use of letters so some of the characters conversed in the same room instead of reading correspondence. But the point and the purpose was always one and the same. In that regard, this was extremely well done.

Rating and Recommendation: 
I think my first impression of either the book or movie was to give it 4 stars. But it has that sort of endearing quality to it that grows on you with time and it has already been moved above a 4-star rating in my opinion. I plan to add the movie to my collection and I’ll reread Lady Susan again someday.
I recommend it all Austen fans. I think you’ll find something worth enjoying here, even if it never becomes your new favorite Austen movie/story.