Wednesday, August 30, 2017

By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything...P.O. Dixon

Available on AmazonAmazon
It is my great pleasure to welcome P. O. Dixon back to More Agreeably Engaged. I always love having her visit and it has been too long since the last time she dropped by. Ms. Dixon comes today sharing an intriguing excerpt from her latest release, By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything.  She also tells us a bit about the book to entice us even more! :) It certainly enticed me! Thank you, P. O., for continuing to write such lovely books. 


I’m so happy to visit More Agreeably Engaged to share an excerpt from my new release, By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything. A thousand thanks for having me here, Janet. It’s always a great pleasure.

About the Book

Promised to one sister. Bewitched by the other. And thus, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s dilemma. Who else but Miss Elizabeth Bennet might possibly bewitch Mr. Darcy? This begs the question: to whom is the gentleman promised?

We all know it was the favorite wish of Darcy’s mother, Lady Anne, as well as her sister, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, that their children were intended for each other. By Reason. By Reflection, by Everything poses the question: what if the elder Mr. Darcy had a favorite wish of his own? What if his first-born son was promised to Mr. Bennet’s first-born daughter? 


Excerpt (Reprinted with Author’s Permission. All Rights Reserved.)

Chapter 8 – Unsisterly-like Sentiments

After walking along for a time, relishing in what felt like her own private sanctuary, Elizabeth examined her watch. Much to her dismay, she had walked longer than she had intended. Much longer, she considered as she spun round on her heels and proceeded to return to the manor house.

What will the Darcys think of me, should I fail to make an appearance at breakfast this morning? Exploring the grounds had occupied her so thoroughly that upon coming to a fork in the wooded path, Elizabeth was not entirely certain she knew which direction would lead her back to where she meant to be.

She was just about to strike out on the path to her left when the sound of horse steps drew her attention. Turning, she espied Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. She knew not whether he was simply out enjoying an early morning ride or if he had come in search of her. He dismounted. Taking the horse by its reins in his gloved hand, he stopped a short distance from where Elizabeth stood and bowed slightly.

“Miss Elizabeth,” said the gentleman, his melodic voice accompanied by his brooding stare which sent a frisson of anticipation through her body.

All too aware that these were the first two words he had uttered to her since making his acquaintance, Elizabeth’s stomach fluttered a bit. She did not dare admit how the sound of his voice made her quiver inside. Besides, to whom would she make such a telling confession? Certainly not to Jane. He was, after all, Jane’s prospective suitor.

“Mr. Darcy,” she said, curtsying. “Pray I have not caused you to come all this way in search of me.”

“No,” he said.

His taciturn manner in addition to his gaze left her feeling a bit uneasy.

“I was enjoying a morning walk,” she announced, more eagerly than she had intended.

“Do you often ramble about during the early morning hours to parts unknown?” The look he bestowed spoke volumes. “Alone, no less,” he added.

“I am very fond of walking, sir.”


Her courage rising in the wake of what she perceived as chastisement, she responded, “Are you judging me, Mr. Darcy?”

“Judging you? No. Questioning you? Indeed. I would go further to caution you to be more prudent in your choice of paths—that is until you are more familiar with Pemberley Woods.”

“I shall take your words under advisement, sir.” And with that, she abruptly turned on her heels with the intention of returning to the manor house, preferably alone. It simply would not do to spend too much time with the gentleman so certain was she that if she were not careful, she might grow afraid of him. That would never do.

“Where are you going?” Darcy inquired. “If you do not mind my asking.”

“No, I do not mind your asking, sir. I am returning to the manor house before my continued absence arouses my family’s concern.”

“Then might I suggest you choose the path to the right, Miss Elizabeth. I have it on good authority that it leads directly to the manor house.”

She arched her brow. “Are you laughing at me?”

“I would not dare. In fact, if you will allow me to be of service, I will be more than happy to escort you.”

“I do not believe that is necessary,” she said. In fact, the last thing she wanted was to be seen with him. Heaven forbid if that jealous Miss Bingley were to begin thinking she had yet another competitor for the gentleman’s attention.

“If you are concerned about what others will think if the two of us were to be seen walking together at this hour, then you need not be. You are perfectly safe with me.”

I suppose that is a matter of opinion, she thought but did not say.

In response to her silence, he said, “I am more than happy to offer you my steed. I will walk.”

“Oh! Heaven forbid, sir. Even if I were inclined to ride your horse, which I absolutely am not, I would never dream of inconveniencing you in such a manner.”

“Trust me, it is no inconvenience at all. Allow me to assist you,” Mr. Darcy offered.

If Elizabeth did not know better, she would have sworn the gentleman was flirting with her. How in the world did he expect to assist her in any way that would not result in more familiarity than ought to be allowed between two people so wholly unconnected as the two of them?

“Sir, you are very kind,” she said coolly. “However, as I said, I am not inclined to ride horseback.” Wanting to offer him a reasonable explanation, she went on to say, “You see, Mr. Darcy, I am not a horsewoman. Indeed, I never learned to ride.”

Darcy laughed a little at this confession. His spirits rising to playfulness, he threw a furtive glance over his shoulder as if looking to see if anyone was about. “Pray do not let my aunt Lady Catherine hear you say such a thing. You know how concerned she is about your having no governess.”

Elizabeth laughed a little too in recollection of her ladyship’s outrage. “Indeed. But you need not worry that all the Bennet daughters have been remiss in that regard. My sister Jane is an excellent horsewoman, as I am certain you will discover over the coming days and weeks.”

His manner suddenly cool and grave, he said, “No doubt.” Just as quickly, he resumed his former attitude just a bit. “Still there is the matter of your expeditious return to the manor house. I really would be honored if you would allow me to accompany you. There is much I would enjoy discussing with you.”

“About my sister Jane,” Elizabeth said with some enthusiasm.

Darcy nodded a little. “Indeed.”

Disguise of any sort was Darcy’s abhorrence. The secret that he was keeping from everyone, even his closest friend the colonel, about his father’s ailing health and the fact that he was pretending to give some consideration to marriage caused him no small measure of discomfort. He took some comfort in the fact that he was not entirely dishonest in urging his companion to allow him to accompany her back to the manor house. If discussing her elder sister was the means of accomplishing his goal of spending time with Miss Elizabeth, then far be it from him to do otherwise. What better way to satisfy his own increasing curiosity about her.

“You mentioned that your sister - that Miss Bennet - is an excellent horsewoman and yet you do not ride horses at all. Why is that, if I might ask?”

“Unlike me, Jane never witnessed another person being tossed from a horse and sustaining a debilitating injury.”

The two exchanged looks, hers laced with a semblance of the pain she suffered at the time and his filled with empathy.

“I am sorry you had to suffer such an unpleasant experience, Miss Elizabeth.”

“Sir, you are very kind. However, that was many years ago, and I am only reminded of it when in proximity to one of those fierce creatures.” Here she glanced over her shoulder. She bit her lower lip.

Seeing this, Darcy ceased his step and approached his horse. He whispered in the beast’s ear and then secured the reins to its saddle. Seconds later, the fierce animal was on its way - racing ahead. Alone.

Removing his gloves one by one and then clasping his hands behind his back, Darcy said, “How is that, Miss Elizabeth?”

Her spirits rising to playfulness, she said, “Again, sir, you are far too kind to me.”

“As you are my guest, I hope you will find that I am more than happy to do whatever it takes to be of service to you,” Darcy said. “You and your sister,” he added, smiling.

If Elizabeth secretly delighted in admiring his brooding mien, seeing him smile really stole her breath away. Indeed, she had seen him smile a time or two the evening before but not like this. My sister Jane is a most fortunate woman, she reminded herself.

Allowing her mind to wander, she wondered what it would be like if that particular smile of his was meant for her alone. How fortunate it would be if she were the woman who garnered his esteem.

No, I must not allow myself to think this way, else it will be a very long, hot and tumultuous summer, at the end of which this man might be my brother.

Contact Details

Newsletter:              Such Happy News
Twitter:                     @podixon

Buy the Book


Oh, I did enjoy that excerpt! What do you think, Dear Readers? Do you want to know more? I certainly do. If Miss Bingley is at Pemberley, then Charles must be too. I'm wondering about the tangled web that Ms. Dixon may be spinning! Questions, questions, and more questions! One of you lucky readers will get the chance to discover what lies ahead for beloved couple. Yes, that is correct. P. O. Dixon is giving away one eBook of By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything and the giveaway is international. Please have your share in the conversation and tell us what you think. Have you read this book yet? Be sure and leave your contact info. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 4th of September. Good luck to all.

Thank you for having the giveaway Ms. Dixon, and I do hope you will come back soon.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A More Engaging Guest Review...The Journey Home

Today, I am doing a first for More Agreeably Engaged! I have a guest reviewer! Yes, that's right. Sophia Rose is sharing her review of the novella, The Journey Home: A 1932 Sidequel, by Karen M. Cox. Sophia, thank you so much for your willingness to visit and tell us your thoughts. I love having you here as a guest vs. a commenter! :) 


The Journey Home by Karen Cox
#1.5 ‘1932’
Historical Romance, Austenesque
Publisher:  Pronoun
Published:  8.1.17
Pages:  115
Rating: 4.5
Format: eARC
Source:  Author
Sellers:  Amazon
              Barnes& Noble


Georgiana Darcy has left girlhood far behind her. A young, single mother with two small daughters, she escaped a precarious existence. Now she has returned to her ancestral home, ready to rebuild her life. Her brother, William, welcomed her with open arms and helped her back on her feet. But home is more than a place—it’s a state of mind, and Georgiana has a journey of the heart ahead of her. As her brother falls in love with Elizabeth, the new girl in town, Georgiana finds herself drawn to William’s long-time friend, Sheriff Richard Fitzwilliam, a widower fifteen years her senior. Richard would never want her, or so she believes, but when he’s near, her sorrow vanishes. When Georgiana’s past comes roaring back to haunt her, can Richard and his kind, gentle ways help see her through?
The Journey Home, a companion piece to the award-winning novel 1932, is a stand-alone “sidequel” novella—a story of self-discovery, acceptance, and romance that details one woman’s journey back from despair and forward to her future.

Starting over after a terrible mistake, a young single mother attempts to get past her shame and guilt while rearing her young girls and watching her stalwart and serious older brother find love.  She doesn't see her own inner strength and worth though she has learned to love again and this time, he's a man worthy of her love.

This gently-paced parallel story to the original Pride & Prejudice other historical era retelling, 1932, was a sweet and heartwarming follow-up giving a few of 1932's important and engaging side characters their own story. 

Georgiana narrates from her first person perspective.  The way she is developed as a character drew out my deeper emotions.  I adored her and her children and I really wanted her to get her own second chance at happiness.

The author cleverly wraps this story around and through '1932' with William and Elizabeth's story set in Kentucky farmlands of the 1930's so that this works best with that story being read ahead of time, but can also stand alone as its own independent piece.

It's novella-length and reads swiftly, but it doesn't chintz on the development of plot or characters.  The writing was superb and the heartwarming, redemptive tones were lovely.  I finished this one with a smile of satisfaction.  I can easily recommend it to those who love sweet historical romance retellings and variations, but particularly Austenesque lovers.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author’s Bio:

Karen M Cox is an award-wining author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932,
Originally from Everett, WA, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, where she works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter. Like Austen’s Emma, Karen has many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but like Elizabeth Bennet, she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker.
Find Wonder in All Things, At the Edge of the Sea, and Undeceived. She also wrote “Northanger Revisited 2015”, which appeared in the anthology Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, and "I, Darcy," a short story in The Darcy Monologues. Her latest work is an ebook novella, published August 1, 2017, entitled The Journey Home, a stand-alone companion piece to her debut novel "1932."

Author’s Social Media Links:

Twitter:  @KarenMCox1932

Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening.

Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.


Thank you, Sophia, for sharing your thoughts about The Journey Home. I am enticed to read this one by Karen Cox. Good review! If any of you have read it, what are your thoughts? We would love for you to have your share in the conversation. 

It has been great having you as a guest reviewer, Sophia. Let's do this again!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sharon Lathan...Vocabulary Rocks!

Sharon Lathan visits today and gives us a bit of a vocabulary lesson. It is quite fun and I think you will all enjoy it. See if there is anything you didn't know. This 'word' lesson came about from researching her latest novels, The Darcy Saga Prequel Duo. The newest is Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. Volume one is Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship.

It has been a long time since Sharon Lathan has visited my blog and I'm glad to have her return. Please join me in welcoming her back to More Agreeably Engaged.

From Troth to Spousage: Vocabulary Rocks!

Thank you, Janet, for welcoming me to your awesome blog today! It is always a joy to share a new novel with, hopefully, new readers. What would authors do without lovely ladies willing to host us on their websites?

My newest novel — Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future — is the second (and final) volume of the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo. Together with volume one — Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship — I went backwards, as it were, from my eight-book Darcy Saga Sequel series, which began on the wedding night and moved forward in time. With the Prequel Duo, I cover the two-month span from Mr. Darcy’s successful proposal of marriage up to and including the wedding ceremony.

My first order of business in delving into the engagement months was to research the specifics during this period of history in England. As with most aspects of research, particularly when delving into a past over two-hundred years ago, comprehending the terminology is vitally important. As a writer of historical fiction, doing my utmost to ensure the proper, period-appropriate verbiage is essential. Granted, I am writing fiction, so can employ measures of “creative license” here and there—if it isn’t too “creative.” LOL!

Often, I am amazed at words and phrases that feel modern, but end up being ancient. And vice versa. As an avowed language nut, vocabulary is a passion. While it is fun to add the occasional old, now-obsolete word, or period-slang and cant, it is usually better to choose words that are immediately recognizable to a modern reader. On the flip side, picking words or phrases that are too modern—as in did not exist two hundred years ago—is a big no-no. Fortunately, this wasn’t too difficult when it comes to common marriage-related words.

I’ll begin with two word that are the precursor to the formalized promise of marriage. To me, these two words have a slightly modern feel, and the dates are newer, relatively speaking, yet still period appropriate.

Intentions - “one's purposes with regard to courtship and marriage,” by 1796.
Proposal – 1650s, from propose “advance, suggest.” Meaning specific to “an offer of marriage” dating from 1749.

The following words refer to the act of promising to marry (the acceptance of the proposal), as well as the interval between the proposal and the binding vows. By the Regency, troth had become outdated for normal use other than within the marriage vows themselves. Nevertheless, it would have been a familiar word more so than it is today, and is the root of the common betrothed and variants. Affianced, similarly, is a bit unusual as a modern term, but would have been quite common during the Regency.

Troth – Dating to late 12c., from Old English, meaning “faithfulness, veracity, truth, a pledge.” Restricted after the 16c. to certain archaic phrases, such as: plight one's troth.

Betroth - c. 1300, betrouthen, “to promise to marry.” A combination of be- (thoroughly) and troth. From 1560s as a “contract to give a woman in marriage to another; to affiance.” Variants: Betrothed (past particle); Betrothal (act of betrothing, from 1825); Betrothment (earlier variant, from 1580s); and Betrothing (14th c.)

Affiance - 1520s, “to promise.” From the Old French afiancier “to pledge, promise, give one's word,” from the noun afiance “confidence, trust.” Specifically, “to promise in marriage” attests from the mid-16th c.

Engage – Dating to the early 12th c. Old French engagier, meaning “to pledge; bind by promise or oath.” The specific sense of “promise to marry” is from 1610. This use evolved to Engagement, meaning a “formal promise” at roughly the same time, and later in the sense of “the state or period of having entered into a promise of marriage” in 1742.

Courtship – 1570s, “behavior of a courtier.” Meaning “paying court to a woman with intention of marriage” is from 1590s.

When it comes to referring to the promised-to-be-wed person, either the man or the woman, the options are somewhat limited. Betrothed was by far the most common, and was applied to either gender. Phrases such as “my husband/wife-to-be” or “my future groom/bride” were often used, along with the general “my intended.”

Those latter phrases are adequate, and I did use them, but are simply not overly appealing to me. To exclusively use only “betrothed” went against my need to mix up words. Therefore, I confess to stretching the limits and laying claim to creative license in my novels by choosing to sprinkle in “fiancé” and “fiancée.” As noted below, etymologically, neither was likely to have been used in England during the first two decades of the 19th century. Or if they were, it would have been rare. Personally, I figure an author is within acceptable boundaries in using a word 20-30 years before it is first recorded. Presumably a word was uttered by people long enough to grow common and spread around before anyone wrote it down. Nor can we be certain that the extant recorded source is the first time that word was written. With these points in mind, I believe logic works in my favor. Plus, I simply like the words fiancé and fiancée!

Intended – As in “one’s intended husband or wife,” dates to 1767.

Fiancé – A “man to whom one is betrothed,” by 1826 as a French word in English. From the French fiancé “to betroth” and borrowed from Middle English afiance “confidence, trust, word of honor.” 
Fiancée – A “woman to whom one is betrothed,” by 1837 as a French word in English. From the French fiancée (feminine form of fiancé). Same root found in Latin fidus “faithful,” fides “faith,” and fidare “to trust.”

Moving on to the final stages, that being the ceremony and marriage itself, there seems to be a wealth of possible choices!

Marry - c. 1300, “to give in marriage, to take in marriage.” From Old French marier, and the Latin maritare “to get married; to marry off, to wed, give in marriage; to bring together in marriage.” Married (adj.) – “formally wedded” dating from late 14th c.

Marriage - c. 1300, “action of marrying, entry into wedlock,” also “state or condition of being husband and wife, matrimony, wedlock.” From Old French mariage “marriage; dowry” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin maritaticum (11c.), from Latin maritatus “to wed, marry, give in marriage.” As in the context of the ceremony itself, “the marriage vows, formal declaration or contract by which two join in wedlock” and also “a wedding, celebration of a marriage; the marriage ceremony” are from late 14c. Marriageable (adj.) – 1550s, from the word marriage + -able. Earlier form Mariable.  

Wed - Old English weddian “to pledge oneself, covenant to do something, vow; betroth, marry,” also “unite (two other people) in a marriage, conduct the marriage ceremony.” From the Proto-Germanic wadi-  “to bet, wager,” and Old Frisian weddia “to promise, pledge.” Related: Wedded, as in “one who has been wed” and Wedlock, “condition of being married.”

Wedding - Old English weddung “state of being wed; pledge, betrothal; action of marrying.” Meaning of “nuptials, ceremony of marriage” is recorded from early 13c. The usual Old English word for the ceremony was bridelope, literally “bridal run,” in reference to conducting the bride to her new home. Wedding Ring is from late 14c. Wedding Cake is recorded from 1640s. Wedding Dress attested from 1779.

Nuptial - late 15c., from Middle French nuptial, or directly from Latin nuptialis “pertaining to marriage.”

Connubial (adj.) – 1650, from Latin connubialis, “pertaining to wedlock.”

Matrimony - c. 1300, from Old French matremoine “matrimony, marriage” and directly from Latin matrimonium “wedlock, marriage.” From the root matrem “mother” + -monium, a suffix signifying “action, state, condition.” Matrimonial (adj.) - mid-15c., from Middle French matrimonial (14c.) and directly from Late Latin matrimonialis.

Common Law - mid-14c., “the customary and unwritten laws of England as embodied in commentaries and old cases,” as opposed to statute law. Phrase common law marriage is attested from 1909.

I threw in the last one mainly to show that the concept of a “common law marriage” was unknown until the modern era. I shall conclude the vocabulary lesson with a few words specific to after the official marriage vows were exchanged. Too bad I missed noting the word “spousage” until writing this blog or I would have worked that one in, just for fun!

Spouse - c. 1200, “a married person, either one of a married pair, but especially a married woman in relation to her husband.” From the Old French spous (fem. spouse) “marriage partner,” a variant of espous/espouse, from Latin sponsus meaning the “bridegroom” as opposed to the feminine sponsa for the “bride.” Both deviations (masculine and feminine) come from spondere “to bind oneself, promise solemnly” and “to make an offering, perform a rite.” Related: Spousal, 1510s “pertaining to marriage,” and Spousage, mid-14th c. “marriage, wedlock.”

Mate – The general usage of “an associate, fellow, comrade,” dates to mid-14c., with the added sense of “companion” from the late 14c. Meaning “one of a wedded pair” is attested from 1540s.

I hope this exploration of etymology, definitions, and terminology was enlightening. Even if not the word nerd that I am, it is fascinating to learn where words come from and the nuanced meanings as they evolve. Still, whether a lover of etymology or not, everyone loves a romantic story ending with happily ever after, right? I can promise readers will have plenty within the pages of the Darcy Saga novels!

Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future —

Mr. Darcy sat beside his desk, the tall back of the leather-and-wood chair ending exactly along the line of his shoulders so that all she could easily see was the back of his head. One hand waved over his shoulder, vaguely in the direction of the desk, and his tone was distracted more than harsh, but the dismissal was obvious.

Whatever sunny greeting she might have extended was forgotten, and for several seconds Lizzy stood frozen in the doorway. The weight of the tray restored enough clarity for her to gingerly enter the room, each step closer to the sleek surface of his desk bizarrely mixing her emotions.

Darcy’s head was bent slightly, and Lizzy suspected he was listening to the murmuring voices of Jane and Georgiana drifting through the open window he faced. Fleetingly wondering if he listened for her voice, she soon realized all his focus was on a thick book propped in his lap. It was a ledger of some kind, and he traced one finger down a line of sums written in penmanship Lizzy knew not to be his. He had removed his jacket—a glance noted it on a coat rack in the corner—loosened his cravat, and sat with booted feet propped onto a large ottoman. It was the most relaxed pose she had ever seen him in, despite the fact he was attending to business.

Abruptly, all traces of enthusiasm for her surprise interruption vanished. The sense of imposition compounded. For a panicked moment, she almost dashed from the room, tea tray still in her clutches. Mastering the impulse, she placed the tray quietly on the corner of his desk—praying he did not choose that instant to turn around—and took one step backward before freezing once again.

Mr. Darcy had blindly reached with his free hand to nudge a sovereign-sized wooden ball on his desk. The ball rolled across the flat surface some four inches, smacked into the base of the unlit lamp, ricocheted, and rolled back into his waiting hand. Never glancing away from the ledger in his lap, he repeated the maneuver several times in rapid succession. 

It was astounding! Lizzy stood mesmerized for six or seven precision rolls before the realization that she was engaged in active voyeurism woke her out of the daydream.

A decision was required. Her options were to either slink out the cracked open door or speak up. The urge to do the former remained, yet felt a cowardly move now that she had mastered her initial panic. Elizabeth Bennet was rarely intimidated. After all, she had boldly accosted Mr. Travers with the intent to enter her fiancé’s sanctuary unbidden. If she backed away now, how would she explain it to Miss Darcy and Jane? Or Mr. Travers? The butler was unlikely to inquire directly, but if he saw her scurry away, then he would assume the future Mrs. Darcy was a milksop. That was unacceptable!

The speaking-up option would, of course, prove that she had been spying on him. Being a private, reserved man, Lizzy was honestly unsure how he would react to such an intrusion, even from her. At the end of the mere seconds it took for these thoughts to race through her mind, she observed him in unguarded repose, and it was the returned yearning to be alone with him that impelled her to action.
Dwelling on the possible outcomes no longer, she slipped behind him, squeezed both shoulders, and whispered close to his left ear, “Any guess who this is?”

Perhaps she should have given the matter a tad more thought, she later confessed. 

Mr. Darcy jerked violently, the book tumbling to the carpeted floor with a dull thunk and the wooden ball shooting off the desk. She was fairly sure he swore too, but the precise curse was lost amid her instant laughter and gasping attempts to apologize.

Adding to the ridiculousness, he precipitously swiveled around. Lizzy emitted a squeal along with the gasping giggles, caught utterly off guard by a chair that moved. Still in a bent posture, her jolt of surprise pitched her forward until their noses bumped together, falling into his lap prevented when she locked her elbows and splayed her hands on his chest.

A dozen exclamations, curious questions, and justifications for her behavior skipped across her tongue. None of them were uttered or involved what she impulsively did instead.
She kissed him. Hard.

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future (Darcy Saga Prequel Book #2) by Sharon Lathan
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!

The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers.

Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured!

As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result?

Continue the journey begun in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century.

The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is Volume 2 of the “prequel duo” for Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Purchasing links—

Sharon Lathan bio—

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, was published in 2009. Sharon’s series of “happily ever after” for the Darcys now totals nine full-length novels and one Christmas themed novella.

Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future complete the “prequel to the sequel” duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began.

Sharon is a native Californian relocated in 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky, where she resides with her husband of over thirty years. Retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer.

Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Beau Monde chapter of the RWA, and serves as the website manager and on the board of the Louisville Romance Writers chapter of the RWA.

Sharon is the co-creator of Austen Authors, a group blog for authors of Austenesque literary fiction. Visit at: 

Connect with Sharon at the following places— 

Facebook at Sharon Lathan, Novelist
Twitter @SharonLathan
Pinterest  SharonLathan62

Thanks so much for being my guest, Sharon. I hope you will not wait so long next time to visit again. It's been lovely having you stop by. Your vocabulary lesson was awesome and it was interesting to see where and how many of these words were derived. I loved reading the meanings of all the terms relating to betrothal and marriage. It is a fascinating topic.

I think I'm a bit of a vocabulary nerd myself or was at one time. When I was in college, one of the English courses was Vocabulary. I had heard how tough the class was and decided to take it for the challenge. I worked hard in the class and studied harder but I loved it. To top it off, I made an A for the semester! 

That was a fun excerpt with a fantastic ending! Thank you for sharing with us and enticing us to read more! Best wishes with the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo.

Giveaway: 2 ebook copies (2 winners) of Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. The giveaway is international and all you need to do to enter is have your share in the conversation. We invite your thoughts. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 28th of August. Good luck!

Thank you, Sharon Lathan, for having a giveaway for my readers. I know they are as appreciative as I am. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

And the winners are...Mr. Darcy's Bride(s)

We have two lucky readers that have won eBooks of 
Mr. Darcy's Bride(s) by Regina Jeffers.


Claire Ferguson

Ladies, you should be receiving your gift from Amazon soon!
Be watching your inbox! :)

Thank you for visiting my blog and supporting it with your comments. I love reading your thoughts.

Thank you, Regina Jeffers, for your visit and for giving my readers a chance to win your new book. I hope they enjoy reading it as much as I did. Oh. My. Goodness! Darcy made me swoon! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

And the winner is...Darcy in Wonderland

We have a winner for Darcy in Wonderland,
the new release by Alexa Adams!

Winner's choice of eBook or Paperback:


Congratulations, KateB. I hope you enjoy the book. 

Thank you Alexa Adams for being my guest and for bringing your lovely sister, Katy along. I enjoyed the post the two of shared. 
Thank you also for having a giveaway for my readers.
All the best with this new release. Keep us updated on Elizabeth! :)

And the winners are...These Dreams

Hello, to all of you, Dear Readers. Are you having a lovely start to your week? For those of you that were witness to the solar eclipse yesterday, what did you think of it? I thought it was awesome. One of the neatest things was seeing the shadows of the moon crossing the sun. All the tree leaf shadows had the crescent shape as part of the shadow. It was amazing! Instead of the normal white part where the sun poked through the tree leaves, it was the white part with the black moon shape cutting through...the most spectacular ground visual of the eclipse without the pinhole box for viewing.
I had never seen that before. 

Now that I have thoroughly gushed over the eclipse, I have some winners to announce! Because of the overwhelming response to the cover reveal of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston, Nicole has decided to give away 4 eARCs instead of two. Isn't that great! We both thank each of you for stopping by and giving such a wonderful response to These Dreams and its cover.

Here are the 4 winners!

Jenetta James

Congratulations to each of you!
I hope you love the book as much as I do!
You should receive your eARC about this time next week! 

Thanks again to everyone that stopped by.
Please keep watching because the blog tour
for These Dreams will begin the 19th of September.
We hope to see you then.

Thank you, Nicole Clarkston, for allowing me the privilege
of revealing the cover and for sharing
4 eARCs with my readers. I wish you the best with this release
and cannot wait to see it in print!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Regina Jeffers...Mr. Darcy's Bride(s)

Available at Amazon
I always love having Regina Jeffers visit my blog and today is no exception. It's my stop during the Blog Tour for Mr. Darcy's Brides, Ms. Jeffers newest release. I have loved all her books and am quite certain I will love this one too. I'm looking forward to reading it.  

Regina is sharing an excerpt with us and giving us some history about married women under English law, as well as single or widowed women. I found this extremely interesting. Thank you, Regina, and welcome!


Under English law, women were subordinate to their husbands. It was expected that she was under the “protection and influence of her husband, her baron, or lord.” The law stated the old adage of “two shall become one.” She was her husband’s “feme covert.” Any property she owned—real or personal—came under his control. A married woman could not draft a will or dispose of any property without her husband’s consent.
Women rarely inherited property. She could inherit “personal” belongings such as, furniture, jewelry, clothing, moveable goods, etc. But that does not mean that a woman could NOT inherit real property (meaning land, or what we now call “real estate”). The practice of primogeniture under English law presented the oldest son with the real property upon the death of the father. [Note: Matrilineal primogeniture, or female-preference uterine primogeniture, is a form of succession practiced in some societies in which the eldest female child inherits the throne, to the total exclusion of males. The order of succession to the position of the Rain Queen is an example in an African culture of matrilineal primogeniture: not only is dynastic descent reckoned through the female line, but only females are eligible to inherit.] Daughters could only inherit in the absence of a male heir. The law of intestate primogeniture remained on the statue books in Britain until the 1925 property legislation simplified and updated England’s archaic law of real property.
Aware of their daughters’ unfortunate situation, fathers often provided them with dowries or worked into a prenuptial agreement pin money, the estate which the wife was to possess for her sole and separate use not subject to the control of her husband, to provide her with an income separate from his.
In contrast to wives, women who never married or who were widowed maintained control over their property and inheritance, owned land and controlled property disposal, since by law any unmarried adult female was considered to be a feme sole. Some of the peeresses, in their own right had property, as well as the title which the husband couldn't touch. Still, inheritance through the female of a peerage by patent was  extremely rare and usually only  put into the patent while the 1st peer was alive. Usually, the patents didn't allow for female inheritance. It was rare for a woman to be able to inherit a peerage created by patent. The Duke of Marlborough had his patent changed when it was obvious he would not have a son, but that was a rare occurrence. Most females succeeded to a lesser peerage created by writ. Once married, the only way that women could reclaim property was through widowhood.
The dissolution of a marriage, whether initiated by the husband or wife, usually left the divorced females impoverished, as the law offered them no rights to marital property. The 1836 Caroline Norton court case highlighted the injustice of English property laws, and generated enough support that eventually resulted in the Married Women’s Property Act.
Lately, England has considered what is cleverly known as the “Downton Abbey” law. The Bill is so called after the anomaly of female succession at the heart of ITV’s Downton Abbey, in which the character of Lady Mary, the eldest daughter of the drama’s fictional earl, was unable to inherit the family seat because it had to pass to a male heir. The bill adds the rank of “baronets” to those titles in which females can inherit.
Like many in the JAFF community, I often write how Anne De Bourgh can inherit Rosings Park. I do so again in my latest novel, MR. DARCY’S BRIDEs. But how is that possible? As mentioned above, Anne can inherit if she does not marry. By English law, she could inherit when she reaches her majority at age 21. I customarily add something in Sir Lewis’s will that has her wait until she is 25. [Mayhap, Sir Lewis anticipated Lady Catherine’s “unwillingness” to be removed from the reins of Rosings Park, and provided Anne a bit of time to find a strong husband who would depose her ladyship, or some such story line.] Yet, in reality, it is also possible for Anne to inherit because her father’s title is one of baronet. The rank of “baronet” was created by James I, who founded the hereditary Order of Baronets in England in 1611 to be conferred on 200 gentlemen with large, profitable estates on the condition they funded the salaries of 30 soldiers for the war with Ireland. In these early baronetcies, it was written into the letters patent from the monarch when the titles were created that women could inherit if there was no male heir. The last baronetess, Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald, whose ancestors became baronets in 1628, died in 2011 aged 104. Therefore, Anne De Bourgh could be the next baronetess of Rosings Park.

Introducing MR. DARCY’S BRIDE...
I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

ELIZABETH BENNET is determined that she will put a stop to her mother’s plans to marry off the eldest Bennet daughter to Mr. Collins, the Longbourn heir, but a man that Mr. Bennet considers an annoying dimwit. Hence, Elizabeth disguises herself as Jane and repeats her vows to the supercilious rector as if she is her sister, thereby voiding the nuptials and saving Jane from a life of drudgery. Yet, even the “best laid plans” can often go awry.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY is desperate to find a woman who will assist him in leading his sister back to Society after Georgiana’s failed elopement with Darcy’s old enemy George Wickham. He is so desperate that he agrees to Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s suggestion that Darcy marry her ladyship’s “sickly” daughter Anne. Unfortunately, as he waits for his bride to join him at the altar, he realizes he has made a terrible error in judgement, but there is no means to right the wrong without ruining his cousin’s reputation. Yet, even as he weighs his options, the touch of “Anne’s” hand upon his sends an unusual “zing” of awareness shooting up Darcy’s arm. It is only when he realizes the “zing” has arrived at the hand of a stranger, who has disrupted his nuptials, that he breathes both a sigh of relief and a groan of frustration, for the question remains: Is Darcy’s marriage to the woman legal?

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet met under different circumstances than those we know from Jane Austen’s classic tale: Circumstances that did not include the voices of vanity and pride and prejudice and doubt that we find in the original story? Their road to happily ever after may not, even then, be an easy one, but with the expectations of others removed from their relationship, can they learn to trust each other long enough to carve out a path to true happiness?

EXCERPT from MR. DARCY’S BRIDEs (Chapter 18): This scene is Darcy’s threat to Lady Catherine when his aunt insists that he cannot back out of his marriage to Anne. [Trust me. Even with Darcy’s commanding tone in this excerpt, Lady Catherine is not easily put off.]

“Lady Catherine, sir.” His servant barely had time to open the door before his aunt strode into the room.
“Mr. Nathan, have my bags placed in my usual room,” his aunt instructed without so much as a by-your-leave.
Darcy’s ire grew quickly. He despised such presumptuousness. “Mr. Nathan, you will leave her ladyship’s bags upon her coach. And instruct my aunt’s coachman to remain nearby with her carriage. Lady Catherine will not be staying at Pemberley.”
Mr. Nathan nodded his understanding and rushed from the room, closing the door behind him.
“So this is the welcome I am to receive,” her ladyship harumphed. “Your mother would be ashamed of you, Darcy.” She sat heavily in an armed chair.
Darcy remained standing beside his desk. He spoke in clipped tones. “I was considering something similar as to Lady Anne’s reaction to your poor manners, Aunt. I can guarantee that George Darcy would never have tolerated your ordering his servants about, and neither will I. This is Pemberley, madam, not Rosings Park. I am the master here.”
His aunt snarled, “I see your insolence continues.”
“And I see you still think that the world will bend to your whims,” he countered.
Rather than to fuel their standoff with more inflammatory accusations, Lady Catherine switched tactics, a devise he had observed her employ previously. Darcy had always thought her doing so was an intelligent means for a woman to earn agreement over business matters in a man’s world, but her diversion would not work on him. “Is that girl in this house?” she demanded.
Darcy propped a hip on the corner of his desk and attempted to appear casual when he responded, “I fear Georgiana is not at home at this time. My sister will be sorry to have missed your call.”
Lady Catherine’s chin rose in stubbornness. “So that is the way you wish to discuss this matter. Very well. Then I shall be more direct. Did you bring Miss Elizabeth Bennet to Pemberley when you left Matthew Allard’s estate in Scotland?”
Darcy schooled his features. Someone would pay dearly for sharing his business with Lady Catherine. “I am not in the habit of discussing my personal life with anyone, and you of all people should realize I am more Darcy than Fitzwilliam. Your line of questions will not win you my favor.”
“I see you mean to protect this upstart! Are you so enthralled with the woman’s arts and allurements that you cannot see reason? If you fancy her, Darcy, then make her your mistress. Anne will ignore your indiscretions. I will instruct my daughter in the ways of men. Anne can be your wife while this strumpet can suffer your lust.”
His aunt’s description of aristocratic life sickened Darcy. “I have no intention of marrying Anne. You may beg. You may threaten. You may cajole. You may bargain. But I will never change my mind. I permitted you to use the memory of my dear mother to coerce me into agreeing to marry Anne, but Fate had other ideas. Anne was late, and I spoke my vows to another.”
“We both know those vows are not legal,” she drawled in warning tones.
Darcy had heard from his solicitor regarding those first vows exchanged with Elizabeth, and as expected, his first marriage to the woman had proved void. Mr. Jaffray had filed the papers to have the ceremony declared null. “Such knowledge does not change my resolve. I will not marry Anne.”
“Would you prefer that I instruct Anne in suing Miss Bennet for criminal conversation?” she challenged.
“Although neither Anne or I could officially testify in such a suit, the truth would win out. A skilled barrister can make certain all the facts are relayed to the judge. The lady in question could not have claimed my affections away from your daughter, for beyond a fondness between cousins, I never loved Anne.” He would not say that Elizabeth Bennet held his heart in her delicate hands. “Moreover, as I did not hold the lady’s acquaintance until several hours after that morning at St. George, it would be impossible for her to draw me away with her arts and allurements. All such a suit would do would be to bring ruin upon Anne’s head and mar my family name. You would have your vengeance and little else to keep you warm in the winter. No man would ever claim Anne after such a public display, but I suppose that is what you wish. You wish Anne forever to remain under your control.”
“Anne’s dowry of thirty thousand pounds can cover any flaw you name,” Lady Catherine argued.
“Yes, I suppose her dowry and the promise of Rosings Park can conceal all but one of my cousin’s failings: that of possessing an overbearing and controlling mother. Only the most desperate of men would consider aligning his name with Sir Lewis’s daughter. You would be willing to turn over Anne’s future to a man of no principles. That fact should surprise me, but it does not,” he said in sad tones. “Such a man would run through every penny of Anne’s inheritance, leaving you and your daughter as Matlock’s poor relations. I suppose that must be my justice.”
“You think me so cold-hearted?” his aunt demanded. “Everything I do, I do for Anne.”
“You may tell yourself these lies,” Darcy cautioned, “but your family and soon society will recognize you as a bitter, vindictive woman.” He sighed heavily. “If you persist in this madness, I will sue Anne for breach of promise. Her fortune will be greatly reduced, for I will win my suit. There were at least two dozen witnesses that can swear to the fact that she left me at the altar. If not for the false exchange of vows, I would have been long gone from the church by the time Anne arrived. You, too, would have been gone, likely looking for your wayward daughter to strangle her, as you attempted to do when she did arrive. Are you willing to tarnish your daughter’s name twice in the court of public notice? Poor Anne who has never had a Season. Who has never been permitted the freedom to form a friendship. Who is poorly educated beyond what her governess provided her. That Anne will be irretrievably ruined.” His tone held the warning of winter’s embrace. “I do not wish to see Anne suffer, but I will not permit you to injure an innocent just to puff up your consequence.”
“An innocent?” his aunt accused in her most implacable voice. “The woman traveled with you to Scotland where she passed herself off as Mrs. Darcy. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Allard were quite pleased to tell my man of your indiscretions. Allard was most displeased that you withdrew your financial support of his latest venture.”
Allard’s financial future would be nonexistent when Darcy finished with the man. He would permit no one to bandy about Elizabeth’s name in a vile manner. “We could debate this matter all afternoon,” he announced as he stood. “I believe somewhere within your hard resolve you want what is best for Anne, and I am flattered that you think me a suitable match for my cousin, but I wish to marry in affection, and my feelings for Anne are more brotherly than those of a potential husband.” A profound sadness crept into his tone when Darcy spoke of his cousin’s situation. He should have done more to assist Anne before things had reached this turning point. Like most in the family, he had thought all would change when Anne inherited Sir Lewis’s properties and fortune. He had never considered the fact that Lady Catherine would do all she could to shove Anne out Rosings Park’s door in order to maintain control of all of Sir Lewis’s holdings. “Do you not wish something more for your daughter and your dearest sister’s only son that a marriage of convenience?”
“I wish to see Anne well settled,” she declared in undisguised contempt.
Darcy hesitated briefly before accepting the gauntlet. His aunt would force him to be ruthless. “Then you leave me no choice, madam. If you force me into marrying Anne, I will leave you with little more than a humble cottage and a pair of servants to tend you for the remainder of your days. Anne will be five and twenty in two months. I will postpone the wedding until your daughter inherits Rosings Park per Sir Lewis’s will. All of it will belong to her, and as the estate and the fortune are entailed upon the female line, when we marry, as Anne’s husband, I will have control of it all. I have no intention of bringing Anne to child, so your many manipulations will be for naught. As you say, I will take my lust elsewhere. At Anne’s death, I will sell Rosings Park and all it holds piece-by piece, until nothing remains of Sir Lewis De Bourgh’s legacy. All you hold most dear will be scattered among the households of those with the funds to purchase it. I will destroy everything you have ever loved: Rosings Park and Anne. And each day of your miserable life you will know that I did these things in retribution for your foolish sense of consequence.” Needing to be away from his aunt, Darcy started for the door. “Good day, your ladyship. I will have Mr. Nathan see you out.” With that, he was gone, never looking back to view the look of astonishment upon his aunt’s features.

Now for the GIVEAWAY: I have two eBook copies of MR. DARCY’S BRIDEs available to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Tuesday, August 22. 


I'm so glad that you visited here during your busy tour, Regina. I enjoyed your post and loved the excerpt! Darcy was more ruthless with Lady Catherine than he is often shown to be. I liked seeing him put her in her place! This is an interesting premise and I can't wait to read more. Keep writing and giving us your great books. The reviews coming in on this one are excellent. Congratulations!

Dear Readers, don't forget to comment for a chance to win one of the two eBook copies of Mr. Darcy's Brides. Good luck to all of you. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Darcy in Wonderland...Alexa Adams, Katy Wiedemann

Available at Amazon
Ever since Alexa Adams mentioned the idea of doing a post with her sister, I have been looking forward to today. I am fortunate to have two extremely talented sisters, Alexa Adams and Katy Wiedemann, talk about their work. As you know, Alexa Adams is an author and her sister, Katy, is an illustrator. She drew the pictures and covers for the latest release by Alexa Adams, Darcy in Wonderland. I love that these two sisters were able to work together and create such a neat book. I knew Alexa to be an excellent writer and now I know her sister to be just as excellent of an illustrator. 

Alexa and Katy share some of their conversations during the process of developing pictures for the book. It is interesting to read their interactions, their thought processes and how they worked together. Thanks, ladies, for sharing your talents and your conversations with me and my readers. It is such a privilege to have you both visiting More Agreeably Engaged. Welcome!


Thank you so much, Janet, for hosting not just me today, but also my incredible little sister, Katy Wiedemann, who illustrated my new book, Darcy in Wonderland. As you too are an artist and illustrator, it seemed intuitive to focus this post on the development of the images used in the book. The following is a conversation conducted over email between my sister and I reflecting on the process of illustrating the book. She is currently living in Australia, while I live in Switzerland, so it is always good to have an excuse to catch up. I miss her dearly.

Alexa: I've been begging you to illustrate my books for years. With such a talented sister, how could I not? You always had a good excuse not to: school, travel, or other projects that kept you busy. Yet I suspect there were alternative reasons for your reluctance, in particular a lack of interest in Jane Austen. I was much more confident of your acceptance with this project, knowing Alice is a passion we share. Am I right about Austen just not being in your "zone," maybe even intimidating?

Katy: That is definitely true. There were several factors that made a book illustration project intimidating to me, and the fact that the subject was Jane Austen was only one of them. One of the most important things with a series of book illustrations is designing a group of characters that need to be unique as well as consistent, which is something I definitely struggle with. It's one of those skills that I have always coveted in other artists, but haven't really pushed myself to develop, so I'm quite glad I got the chance to work on it with this project.

Another thing that made me a bit nervous going into a project for one of your books is knowing how important historical accuracy is for you. I didn't want to disappoint my big sister! I found myself calling you very frequently while drawing to ask questions about certain details, such as "Would Mr. Darcy wear a hat to dinner in his own home?" or "How should the architecture for the musician's gallery look?" But you had an answer for every one of my questions, so as long as you weren't bothered with the constant questions, it didn't turn out to be much of an issue. 

There was also the fact that there is a very distinctive style of illustration from the Regency period, which is quite different to how I draw. Having this story be a crossover with Alice gave me more options stylistically. I tried to reference the linear quality of Sir John Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice while maintaining my own style. 

As you were writing, did you envision the scenes and characters very differently? How did you feel seeing a visualization of your work through my eyes?

Alexa: I actually don't often have a clear image of the scenes that I write. My characters are pretty much always faceless in my mind (the one big exception being Sir James Stratton of Second Glances, who came to me in a dream). I think you got all the visual genes. As we discussed possible illustrations for the book, I might have formulated some preconception of how they might appear, but as soon as I saw your drawings they became the predominate images. I think the only issues I had when reviewing them involved perspective (I remember discussing how Alice looked uncomfortable sleeping behind the musician’s gallery).

I really enjoyed looking for period pictures to guide your work. Especially those involving clothing, which is always a subject of fascination. It was a bit tricky, as the book doesn't have a definite time period, straddling the time between when Carroll published Alice in Wonderland (1865) and the years in which the Darcys would still be raising their family (post-1813 to the late 1830s). Fortunately, fashions didn't change quite as quickly back then as they do now, though the late Regency to early Victorian Era is kind of an exception. I also really enjoyed researching illustrations of Mrs. Bennet for you to morph into her pigeon self. I think the hardest "assignment" you gave me was finding children's beds from the period, as such furniture was rarely preserved, and also pictures of musician’s galleries, as there are such an infinite variety, almost always viewed from the ball room, while we needed the back of the gallery, where Alice sneaks down from bed in order to watch the action. 

As a scientific illustrator, it makes sense that you would feel most comfortable working from concrete sources, rather than letting your imagination take over. Though I said earlier that you have the visual genes, I don't think this is actually all that different from how I approach writing. Yes, the story lines are completely invented, but I am a stickler for historical accuracy, and I am always considering what is possible, both for the period and also in regards to human reactions and responses. I always need a reason for someone to do something. It made working in the highly bizarre space of Wonderland rather tricky, and is probably why I stuck so close to the original story. 

One image that did surprise me was that of the White Rabbit, probably because you based it on your roommate's pet rabbit, whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting. I know you've done portraits of live animals before, namely the family dogs, and I think you used pictures of them for your work, but does having a live model change the end result? To me, it feels like such portraits have more personality. Do you think knowing and living with the animals makes a big difference in the finished product? 

Katy: Having a live model absolutely helps, predominantly because I can pose them however I need to. It was rather convenient that I had a white rabbit jumping around my house at the very moment I needed one, and all I needed was a carrot to get the him to stand up on his hind legs for the pose that I wanted. I think because of this, that particular illustration came the most naturally to me. I agree that the illustrations I do from live models always have more character. I think when I know a person or animal well it gives me more of the ability to capture their personality in the illustration. 

One of the other aspects of this project that was difficult was the fact that I know the illustrations from the original Alice books so well. There were a few of the scenes we wanted to be in the book, but I just couldn't get the originals out of my head. For example, I really wanted to have the Griffin and the Mock Turtle dancing the Lobster Quadrille with Alice and Mr. Darcy, but every sketch I did ended up looking too much like the original illustration. So we ended up scratching that scene and choosing another one instead. 

You mentioned that you struggled with some of the absurdities in the Wonderland part of the book, do you think some of that was due to the fact that you are also so familiar with it?

Alexa: No, I don't think it was the familiarity that made it difficult. After all, I'm super familiar with Austen's novels and have not the slightest difficulty in bending them to my whims. Knowing Carroll's work so well allowed me to feel comfortable working within it, certainly, but my safe zone was having Darcy trying to impose reality upon it. The struggle was in creating new preposterous elements. So there are no new talking animal characters, just Carroll's originals, and there aren't any additional growth or shrinking spurts. I played a little with trying to create new opportunities to bend the laws of the natural world, but in all honesty, poor Darcy was already being subjected to plenty of physical challenges. Carroll provides an ample supply.   

It's actually a bit strange that I feel so comfortable manipulating Austen's worlds but not Carroll's. One would think that the fantastic nature of Wonderland would readily lend itself to adaptation. Tim Burton certainly had no difficulty altering it (then again, I believe I read that he was totally unfamiliar with the actual text when he began his series of films, which kind of shows in his total disregard for it - interesting how familiarity can actually hamper your imagination). But as I said before, I need reasons for something to happen. I can get into Austen's characters’ heads and figure out what motivates them and how they would react to different stimuli, but Carroll's characters have no rhyme nor reason to their behavior, so it's a lot harder for me. I suppose I'm too rigid: a lot like Darcy, actually. I would probably be just as disconcerted by Wonderland as he is. 

Speaking of Darcy, I was very interested in how you came to portray him. As previously stated, your scientific illustration background makes you want to have a concrete model from which to work. Probably because of my influence and all the years of Colin Firth worship, you first tried to use him as a model for your depiction, but in the end I believe you went with David Rintoul from the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice (who does look so very Darcy). Will you explain why Firth was difficult to draw and the process through which we arrived at Rintoul as a better model? Could Matthew Macfadyen have worked?

Katy: The issue I found with using either Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen is that they both have very soft features. They look lovely in person, however, sharper features tend to look more appealing when simplified to a line drawing. I did want Darcy to look similar to how your audience knows and loves him, but I also wanted the character to be unique. I ended up deciding that the perfect reference for Mr. Darcy would be James Dean, but with David Rintoul's nose (which I love). I chose James Dean both because he is so classically beautiful and he has the sharp features to work as a line based drawing. I did find that as I was sketching his nose was so perfectly sloped that it looked unrealistic, so I threw in a bit of a bump to connect it more to David Rintoul's profile and add a bit of character. I do remember our phone conversation when I asked you if you thought this reference would be appropriate and you found it quite hilarious but also agreed that it worked. 

We also discussed the potential of giving Mr. Darcy a beard since different facial hair styles came into fashion during the Victorian Era. You seemed quite divided on this matter and ended up turning to your fans for advice. Most of them responded with strong opposition to him having a beard, so we stuck with his usual sideburns. 

Because Darcy is such a beloved character, I am interested to know how your fans are reacting to how we have both portrayed him in such a foreign environment. I know you initially had doubts about using the image of Darcy's neck stretched high above the tree tops as the cover illustration because you thought it might freak people out. What made you change your mind? And how have the early reactions been?

Alexa: Oh yes! I'd forgotten reaching out on the beard issue. Most fans were strongly opposed to the idea of a bearded Darcy. We can stick him in the Victorian Era, but I suppose we can't take away the Regency trappings. It's a bit sad really. Reminds me of people who still dress like they did in college twenty or thirty years later: stuck in their heyday.

I was concerned about the cover freaking people out a bit. I've been fairly sensitive about my covers ever since Christmas at Pemberley was declared "creepy" by several readers. I loved it and was totally shocked by this reaction. The experience has made me cautious, but as I didn't receive any negative feedback upon first revealing this cover, I thought we were safe, and now that it is released people seem to truly love it. It's such a fabulous illustration. I think it's my favorite that you did. Do you have a favorite from the book?

If I go on to write Lizzy Through the Looking Glass, which I'm seriously contemplating, are you on board for the illustrations?

Katy: I think the cover illustration is my favorite as well. I had so much fun drawing it. The white rabbit is a close second though, mostly because of how much it looks like the rabbit who lives in my house.

Even though this project was so different from what I typically do, I had a great time working on it with you. I would love to do another Wonderland series, so I really hope you write the sequel! I would love to draw the Jabberwock.

Alexa: I can't even begin to imagine how you would portray the Jabberwock, except that I doubt it would bear much resemblance to Tim Burton's. 

This has been so much fun, Katy - both working with you and chatting about it. I do hope we get to do it again. Thank you so much for your participation. 

Katy: No problem! I’ve enjoyed it.

Thanks again, Janet! We’ve had a lovely visit.


For more of Katy’s work, please visit her at and

Catch up with Alexa at one of the following:


I enjoyed so much reading your conversations. It was neat to see how you decided on certain things, the inspirations for Katy's drawings, and the way you discussed what each of you thought. I bet this was a fun project. It certainly is a unique one that deserves much attention. I hope you will decide to do Lizzy Through the Looking Glass. That sounds just as fascinating.

Ladies, thank you so much, for taking time to tell me and my readers a little about your process and the fun you had across the miles creating this novel! Congratulations to you both for a wonderfully crafted project! 

Readers, it's giveaway time! Yes, one of you lucky fans, will be the happy recipient of this lovely book. There is one Paperback or eBook of Darcy in Wonderland, winner's choice, to giveaway and the giveaway is international. All you need to do to enter, is leave us a comment. Tell us your thoughts. Be sure I can reach you should you be the winner. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 21st of August. Good luck everyone!