Monday, February 28, 2011

End of my blog tour with a Grande Finale! Interview and review with Laurel Ann of Austenprose.

As my blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Secret comes to a close, I'd just like to thank everyone who has been so kind in welcoming me onto their blogs, and for the many wonderful reviews I've received. 
Last on the tour, but by no means least, is a review from the lovely Laurel Ann at Austenprose Look out too for a guest post on the blog here with a fantastic giveaway. Here's the review.
Everyone has a secret or two in their past that they would rather forget. In Regency times, where a breach in propriety could ruin a reputation with a withering look, people had many secrets to hide. Are we surprised to learn that the residents of Pemberley, the palatial estate of the Darcy family in Jane Austen’sPride and Prejudice, have a few of their own tucked away in the library or residing at a local cottage? Author Jane Odiwe wants us to explore that possibility in her new novel Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Will the happily ever after really happen for the newly married Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, or will a family secret ruin the fairy tale?
At the conclusion of the original novel Austen left riffs running and a few positive connections for the couple. As Elizabeth arrives in Derbyshire and settles into to her new duties as mistress of the great estate of Pemberley, she attempts to reconcile her husband with his aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and build up fragile Georgiana Darcy after the emotional upheaval of the failed elopement with Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth resists the innuendo of local gossip Mrs. Eaton to a Darcy connection of a secret affair and illegitimate children until she discovers a cache of love letters hidden in the library. Her doubts about the man she married deepens further when Darcy insists that Georgiana marry quickly, and for title and fortune, and not for love.
Elizabeth stared at Mr. Darcy in disbelief. Not for the first time in the last few days did she stare at the man she had married to consider how little she really knew him. She had been so sure of his character in Hertfordshire and now, for the moment, she could not reconcile any of her former beliefs. Looking at him, his countenance flushed from his passionate speech, his face solemn and sober, she realized it was useless to debate the matter. Without further ado, she excused herself…page 114
No, life at Pemberley is not all sunshine and syllabub. Georgiana is torn between her family duty to marry the man of her brother’s choice or the man she truly loves, Thomas Butler, a young and aspiring landscape gardener designing a new garden on the estate. They have everything in common that true lovers should possess, which Elizabeth recognizes, and her husband does not. How could he be so calculating with his sisters happiness and not with his own? These inconsistencies in his character, the love letters and the familiar resemblance of a young boy in the village threaten Elizabeth’s trust in her new husband and Georgiana’s happiness.
With two plots churning, Jane Odiwe has crafted an intriguing and unique continuation of Austen’s classic that will charm and delight Janeites and historical romance readers. As we travel from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire to the Lake District of Cumberland, we enjoy the awe inspiring picturesque scenery and equally jaw dropping characterizations. Be prepared to see romantic icon Mr. Darcy knocked off his pedestal and conceitedly independent Elizabeth Bennet passively submit to her doubts. Is that a bad thing? Only, if you are determined that these characters should not change, grow and evolve beyond the last page of Pride and Prejudice.

I laughed at the creativity of giving Caroline Bingley a crush on a bohemian artist who she so wishes to impress that she embraces the peasant lifestyle and rents a rustic cottage near him while he is on holiday in the Lake District. He happens to be a wealthy and titled bohemian artist so we know she has not strayed too far from her aspirations of social grandeur. Georgiana plays out to be a bit of the rebel that we always knew she was by falling in love with one man while engaged to another, and thoughtless Lydia Wickham makes a cameo appearance to discover a secret that could ruin a Darcy’s happiness. Oh yes. Mr. Darcy is not the only one harboring secrets in this tale. Hiding or disclosing them is the mettle of true character. Who fesses up? Only one with the true Darcy spirit will tell.
 Last week also concluded with a gorgeous interview with Jessica Hastings at Suite 101, a guest appearance on  Sia McKye's thoughts over coffee, and A Moment with Mystee Interview
Thank you lovely ladies; I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret: A Competition, an Interview, and a Review

Hi everyone! I've been very busy with my book tour this last week or so. Everyone has been so welcoming on their blogs, and I've really enjoyed all the questions and the chance to tell the world about Mr. Darcy's Secret.
This week, I started off with a lovely interview with the Book Reading Gals. Here's a snippet.
TBRG: Before we get to the burning questions that everyone wants to know, can you tell us a little bit about your book?
JO: I am very excited to be here – I think this is my favourite book yet, thank you so much for giving me the chance to talk about Mr. Darcy’s Secret.
At the end of Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is set on course for true happiness with Mr. Darcy, the most eligible man in England. The new Mrs. Darcy is ecstatically happy as mistress of a grand house and wife to the dashing, yet proud Darcy who is proving to be everything she has dreamed of in a loving husband. His former arrogance is rapidly diminishing under her sunny influence; he is even becoming indulgent and sensitive towards her visiting family. But, the discovery of a secret correspondence and rumours involving Mr Darcy’s past threaten the very downfall of Pemberley plunging new bride Elizabeth headlong into a chain of dramatic events to challenge everything she believes in, ultimately testing the Darcy’s love and their future life together.
Mr. Darcy’s Secret is a story about love and misunderstandings; of overcoming doubt and trusting to the real feelings of the heart as our sparkling and witty heroine Elizabeth, and the powerful, compelling figure of Mr Darcy take centre stage in this romantic tale set in Regency Derbyshire and the Lakes alongside the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice.
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
JO: Jane Austen has been the biggest influence on my writing, as well as some later authors like Frances Hodgson Burnett, Edith Wharton and Elizabeth Gaskell.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
JO: I went to Amy Winehouse’s backstage party in Brixton, London, on her last major tour.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
JO: New York – how is it possible that I have never been? I don’t know, but I am determined to get there some time soon!!!
 You can read the rest of the interview here with The Book Reading Gals.

I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to read my book and then writes about it. Here's a particularly gorgeous review from Staci at  Life in the Thumb Blogspot
Mr. Darcy has a secret and Elizabeth is torn about wanting to know the truth and pretending that nothing is amiss. This story line captured me from the very first page and kept me turning the pages excited to find out what Darcy was hiding from Lizzy. I felt as if the author had the spirit of Jane Austen residing within her because the language, tempo, flavor, and the actions of the characters so closely resembled Austen's. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of Georgiana's own love story and how it made Darcy really stop and wonder if his pride was something of the past or not. This book felt very cohesive and put me right into the spirit of Pemberley and what "may" have happened after Darcy and Elizabeth married. This book will make any Austen fan happy and I feel that it takes the variations of P&P to a new level. 

I have another competition to win a signed copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret. I loved all the answers for the last one where we decided on Elizabeth's Secret - thank you for entering into the spirit so well!
This time I want to know about your favourite Austen hero. Who is he, and why do you like him? Please leave a comment below with your contact email, or if you are shy you can contact me here
Competition closes March 6th. Winner announced on the 7th. Good Luck!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret Blog Tour - Laura's Reviews, Psychotic State, Diary of an Eccentric.

My lovely blog tour continues - I want to say thank you to Laura Gerold for her fabulous review over at  Laura's Reviews and also to Lori Hedgpeth of Psychotic State for having me as a guest to talk about Elizabeth and Darcy. There's another wonderful review from Anna Horner at Diary of an Eccentric and an interview where I show the world my very messy study where I write! I hasten to add that I love it - I'm very lucky to have a room where I can spread my papers and books about, not to mention all the pictures, photos and objects that mean so much to me.

Look out for another competition next week! Until then, have a fabulous Friday, and a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret Winners!

I thought it only fair in the end when all your entries were so splendid to have a draw, so with the help of my handsome Valentine who drew the names, I am pleased to announce that the winners are

                                              Nancy Kelley and Luthien84! 

Congratulations! Thank you so much to everyone who entered into the fun, it really made the day extra special. I will be contacting you for your postal addresses, and I hope you enjoy the books! Just look, Lizzy's reading Mr. Darcy's Secret, I hope she's enjoying it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Over at Austen Authors we've been celebrating the whole weekend with lots of fun stuff - on Saturday I compiled excerpts from everyone's books - lovely romantic passages, of course - do have a look. 

I am thrilled to bits with this review from Suite 101 I don't think if I'd written it myself I could have done it better-thank you so much, Jessica Hastings!

I've been over at Love, Romance, Passion talking about writing styles. Here's the interview I had with Keira.

And here's a guest blog from Read All Over Reviews - suitably romantic for today!

Thank you, Teresa, for inviting me to your blog to talk about my book, Mr. Darcy’s Secret, and as we are so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be lovely to tell you about how some of my research was connected with the sending of flowers and love letters.
In Georgian times it was customary to send love letters and tokens, cards cut and pricked with a design to look like lace or flowers for Valentine’s Day. This was the age of the Romantic poet, and so poems were popular, they might be in the form of a riddle, such as the letter that Emma receives when Mr. Elton wishes to court her or an acrostic where the first letter of every line gives the lover’s name. Again, in Emma, Jane Austen has Frank Churchill send Jane Fairfax a very expensive valentine in the form of a pianoforte. Of course, she leaves us guessing from whom this gift has come, and I suppose that’s what makes valentines then and now, so much fun. Part of their charm is that we do not know always know the identity of the sender.
When I was writing Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I wished for Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister, to receive such a gift. There are two gentlemen pursuing her, and though I wanted to give the scene an air of mystery, I also wanted her to guess which particular gentleman had sent the tussie mussie, (a country word for a bouquet). Flowers were often sent as love tokens in this time period and every flower had a special meaning, so that if you were a shy suitor you would let your lady know how you felt by sending a particular flower. I chose violets, partly because they are associated with faithfulness and modesty, but also because they are February’s flower. Georgiana’s suitor wants her to know that he is steadfast and will never forget her, and is also illustrating what he feels she represents as a lovely, modest young woman. Here’s a sneak peek from the scene. Georgiana’s maid has entered her room on a spring-like February day.
“Oh, Miss Darcy, look what we have here,” Mary said, as she returned to the bedside fussing about her charge, pummelling pillows and straightening the bedclothes. Georgiana sat up rubbing her eyes but smiling at the sight of Mary who looked most excited. “There’s no note with them, Miss,” she began, “but I expect these beauties are from Mr Calladine.”
A bunch of blue violets, their delicate heads nodding against the glossy green leaves that bound them were wrapped in waxed paper and tied with a purple ribbon. “That’s so romantic, Miss,” Mary continued. “My dear old mum says there’s hardly such a romantic flower for lovers. Faithfulness, I’ll always be true is what a violet says, and a bunch as big as this—he must have been up for hours picking them. Ooh, Miss Darcy, smell them! Just a moment, I’ll fetch a vase of water.”
Georgiana held the posy to her nose and breathed in the sweetest perfume redolent of the scents of woodland in early spring. Hugh Calladine could not be responsible for such a delightful gift, she thought. The only flowers she had received from him were a bunch of hothouse blooms forced from one of his greenhouses on the day after the announcement of their engagement. The only person who really understood flowers and would be aware of their symbolism and meaning was the only man who truly empathised with Georgiana, she knew, and, as she buried her nose deep into the tussie mussie, her happiness at the idea knew no bounds. To think of Tom wandering through the woods collecting the tiny flowers, to know that she must have been in his thoughts at such an early hour was to render her almost delirious with elation. But whilst the sense of euphoria was almost intoxicating, the antithesis of feelings in desolation and despondency soon took hold. Knowing that their love, however sweet, was forbidden and could never be gave rise to feelings of despair.
Have a fantastic Valentine's Day with those you love!

Just a reminder that the competitions for a signed copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret close today. Winners announced tomorrow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret Blog Tour, An interview with Meredith Esparza, Austen Effusions, and Sisters.

I've some new updates on my website Austen Effusions about my new book, Mr. Darcy's Secret, including an extract.  
The painting featured I did a while ago of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. I often wonder how closely the relationship that these two heroines share is mirrored in Jane Austen's own life with her sister Cassandra.
In Mr. Darcy's Secret, the sisters are together again. Though they are not yet living within an easy distance of one another, we know that Jane Austen said that after twelve months Bingley and Jane settled in the next county.
Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only a twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to her mother and Meryton relations was not desirable even to his easy temper, or her affectionate heart. The darling wish of his sisters was then gratified: he bought an estate in a neighbouring county to Derbyshire; and Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other.

My sister and I touring Chatsworth
I know I found it very hard when I left my sister behind to come to London. Like Jane and Lizzy, we'd always done everything together, shared a bedroom where we used to chatter late into the night, and shared confidences. If you are lucky enough to have a sister like mine, you will know how wonderful such a relationship can be. Even though we still live far apart, we see each other when we can and talk all the time on the telephone. We are very lucky to have such instant ways of communicating with each other these days - it must have been very hard when you had to wait for a letter, and even then, when it was likely that others might read your correspondence, I expect it wasn't until Jane and Cassandra met, that they were able to talk freely about everything that concerned them. There are often hints of this in Jane's letters, and how frustrating it is that we don't have the replies.

Jane and Bingley arrive for Christmas in Mr. Darcy's Secret. Lizzy takes Jane off as soon as she can so that they can talk. Here's a snippet of their conversation.

Lizzy took her sister’s arm with much affection and led her upstairs to her small private sitting room, which on her marriage had been one of the many surprises her husband had presented. She had always preferred the style of the past to what was currently in fashion, and everything within the cosy room had been chosen with that in mind. A richly coloured tapestry, glowing with hues of yellow and rose, green and sand, hung on one of the oak-lined walls. Crewel-worked drapes framed the Venetian window, whose glass panes reflected cheerful flames from the fire in the chimneypiece, to glimmer on blue delftware bowls of dried lavender scenting the air with a fragrant pot pourri. Much of the furniture consisted of pieces that had been in the Darcy family from Tudor times. A gilt-wood settee upholstered in ivory Genoa velvet and embossed with green pineapples was placed on one side of the fire opposite a Queen Anne love seat beautifully worked in needlepoint. Elizabeth’s writing desk sat before the window next to her books from Longbourn, housed in a handsome bookcase in the corner, the one exception to antiquity. With the addition of a scattering of useful tables and several exquisitely painted Dutch floral pictures in gilt frames, the whole scene suggested comfortable and easy elegance, a refuge from the demands of a busy life as mistress of Pemberley.

“Oh, Elizabeth, what a perfect room,” declared Jane as soon as they entered. “I’ve tried to imagine you sitting at your desk so many times, but I really did not do justice to this heavenly place in my mind. And now, when I am home once more, I can picture you sitting there before the window filling a page with your news.”

“Oh, do not talk of going home yet, Jane, when you have been here but five minutes; I cannot bear it. Come, sit down, I wish to hear everything you could not put in a letter.”
Jane laughed. “I do not know where to begin.”

“Oh, my dear sister, that does sound promising.”

“On which particular subject are you most curious, Lizzy?”

“There are so many. First, are you happy, Jane? No, do not answer such a stupid question. Happiness is radiating like sunshine on a summer’s day from every part of you. But tell me, is Charles everything you hoped he’d be?”

“I could not ask for a kinder husband.”

“And are you in love with him still?”

“I love him more than ever.”

“And as a lover, is he all that you ever dreamed?”

“Lizzy, you are truly shocking! Whatever would Mr Darcy say if he knew quite how brazen the woman he married can be?”

“’Tis too late, I fear, Jane, he knows already. And I will confess to you, dearest sister, that I am quite delighted with my husband in every respect. And please forgive me, but my knowing such joy has only made me wish to discover if you too have found such happiness with Charles.”

Jane nodded and blushed, turning her head towards her sister with a smile. “Sometimes I feel so consumed by his affection that it almost frightens me. I do not know what I ever did to deserve such happiness, but I am so relieved to know you feel it too. But enough of such talk, you are making me blush. One thing I must ask you. In your last letter you said you had persuaded Fitzwilliam to write to Lady Catherine. Has there been any response?”

“Oh, yes! Lady Catherine has replied in her inimitable way; she is still refusing to visit, but I am sure she will come in time. Curiosity will get the better of her resentment, you’ll see.”

“Oh, Lizzy, you are of a stronger constitution than I am; I do not think I could handle a woman like that.”

“But you do and on a daily basis. Tell me, how does Caroline Bingley behave? Your letters paint such a generous description of that lady that unless she has undergone a complete character transformation, I am not entirely sure I can have any faith in what you have written.”

“Caroline is much improved, Elizabeth. But it does not mean to say that I have completely reformed our friendship in the old way. I do not bear grudges easily, but I believe it will take me a long time to allow her into my confidence again. However, she is very civil, and I will say is improving daily. I think she was quite surprised to find how reserved with her I became after Charles and I were married. And my dear husband has made it very clear from the start, without any unpleasantness, that I am the sole mistress of Netherfield Park. I daresay that is why we have been so fortunate to enjoy her absence from home this last week. She has been visiting her sister in London. No doubt, Louisa and Caroline had plenty to discuss on the subject of my marriage and my housekeeping.”

“If they have, and I think we may assume not a doubt of it, I hope the venom produced from their malicious tongues poisons them once and for all. Well, Jane, we do not have to be resentful, for we have the whip hand over those two embittered sisters.”

© Jane Odiwe Mr. Darcy's Secret February 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret Blog Tour, and an Austen Twitter Project

I'm really enjoying my tour and I hope you've been able to follow me so far. I'm the guest of Luxury Reading today where I'm talking about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, the joys of research when writing, and my luxuries.

I hope you have been following the Austen Twitter Project 
today. If not, it's still happening, and will be on following Tuesdays for many weeks to come. Your writing dreams may be realised as you tweet along with Austen fans from all over the world! You can become part of, or simply observe, an Austen inspired tale which is unfolding before your very eyes!
I signed up for three 15 minute sessions today. It's a bit scary because you have to wait and see what the person before you is tweeting about, so you can carry on your part of the tale, but it is great fun. Have a go - I promise it's all in the starting, and I know you will enjoy it. Follow the sign #A4T and remember to scroll down to the bottom to read from the beginning.
A special thanks go to Adam Spunberg and Lynn Shepherd who have organised this special event between them. You can read all about it by clicking their links!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret on tour at Jane Austen's World.

There's a lovely review of Mr. Darcy's Secret, and an interview with the very lovely Vic, from Jane Austen's World today, which you can read here. Thanks so much for inviting me to chat on your wonderful blog!

Thank you everyone who has entered the competitions - they are still open until February 14th if you'd like to win a copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret.

In other news - I shall be joining P&P Tours in May for their Barton Cottage tour. This should be such fun, and I'm really looking forward to it, hope you can come too! This year, it's the 200th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility so that's very exciting, and I know we will be thoroughly immersed in S&S in the Devonshire countryside. I have been before, and the area is breathtakingly beautiful - I don't think I ever saw stars quite like the ones in the night sky, and there are beautiful walks, log fires and walking in Marianne and Elinor's footsteps...well, location footsteps, which is the next best thing! Here's the info below - click the link to find out more!

Stay with us for the weekend in Barton Cottage from 1995 Sense & Sensibility. Includes all your food, the private beach, and all transport. Interior and exterior used in the film, and you can stay in Elinor & Marianne’s room, or Mrs Dashwood's, or lovely Margaret's. Book before 28th Feb and receive 10% discount see P and P Tours

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mr Darcy, Book Faeries, and Luxury Reading!

Well, I'm having such fun on my blog tour talking to some very lovely people. I've been chatting to Farah on the The Book Faery  and Meg from Luxury Reading has taken the time to read and give Mr. D a lovely review. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!

I promised another competition for a copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret. This is a straightforward quiz! Post your answers to me here and not at the bottom of the page or everyone will see them. The competition is open until 14th February. Correct answers will be entered into a draw.
Winner announced on 15th.

1. How many Bennet sisters are there in Pride and Prejudice?

2. What is the name of Caroline Bingley's sister?

3.Elizabeth goes to Hunsford to stay with her friend Mrs....?

4. Lydia falls in love with
a) Colonel Fitzwilliam
b) Mr. Denny
c) Mr. Wickham

5. What is the name of Lady Catherine de Bourgh's daughter?

6. What relation is Mrs. Philips to Elizabeth?

7. Where does Mr. Darcy live in Derbyshire?

8. What is the name of Mr. Darcy's friend at Netherfield?

9. Who says the following? "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."

10. Elizabeth is supposed to take a tour to the ---- -------- with her aunt and uncle, but goes to Derbyshire instead. Fill in the missing words.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret Blog Tour!

I had such a lovely day yesterday-thanks so much to everyone who visited-I know there were lots of people who looked but didn't comment, so I'm going to say be brave, join in the fun! The competition is open until the 14th February.
I'm on Austen Authors today - but I am a little upset because I've received a rather unpleasant letter, which is published there for you to see.
I am just starting my blog tour. Thank you so much to the lovely ladies below who have read and considered my book for review. Please click here to see a review and my interview with Royal Reviews
and here's another with Kelly Yanke Deltener and her review
Keep checking back for more competitions this week.
In the meantime, I know the lake scene isn't strictly P&P, but I know there are quite a few ladies who enjoy seeing Mr. Darcy in this particular episode of the wonderful 1995 BBC adaptation!

Today's illustration shows Mr. Bingley and his sisters who all feature in Mr. Darcy's Secret!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Secret - and Elizabeth has one too!

The big day is here at last! Mr. Darcy's Secret is out today and here I am proudly clutching my new novel!!!
 There have been a lot of people trying to find out Mr. Darcy's secret without having the bother of reading the book...and by asking extremely impertinent questions which have also included several devious methods on Twitter. But, I have not lips are sealed. I am not telling and the only way to find out Mr. D's very secret, SECRET, is to read to the very last page!
However, for your entertainment and for the chance to win a copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret, we have a 'Guess Elizabeth's Secret' game and competition. Two very amusing tweeting chums and fellow lady writers, Jane Travers and Kathryn Eastman have suggested and devised a competition for your diversion. Their first idea was that everyone should try to guess Mr. D's secret, but then we did think that might spoil the actual reading of the book. So, that was quickly abandoned to be replaced with this next idea that our Lizzy might be hiding something.
Yes, Elizabeth Bennet/Darcy has a secret, but what can it be? This is a chance for you to be creative and funny, there are no right or wrong answers, but please remember that visitors of all ages visit this site, and to keep within the 'Austen spirit'. Imagine Elizabeth has a secret of her own that she has kept from Mr. Darcy, only to be discovered once they are married. The most entertaining secrets will be selected and the winner drawn from a hat. Please leave your secret in the comment box below with a contact email for a chance to win, or you may contact me with your answer if you are shy.
This competition is to win one signed copy of Mr. Darcy's Secret and will be open until Valentine's Day, February 14th. Winner announced on 15th. Look out for another chance to win another copy of my book later this week and for information about my upcoming blog tour.
Mmm...just wondering what William Collins's secret might be...