Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview

Thank you again to Sourcebooks for the wonderful opportunity of reading The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview. Having recently read a book about Anne de Bourgh, Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst, I was a bit surprised to find another book told from another "fringe" character to the original Jane Austen novel. If you haven't noticed, I tend to be quite a sucker for any story that surrounds an Austen theme, so I was game for yet another. This also qualifies as my second in the "Everything Austen Challenge," for which I'm still re-reading the original Pride and Prejudice, after which, I plan on watching the BBC version of the film. This novel just made for a fun prelude to all my other Austen endeavors!

Synopsis: On the day of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy's wedding to Elizabeth Bennett, Caroline Bingley collapsed in tears in a nearby room. To her horror and dismay, she was not alone, and finds that a rather handsome man was seated in the room and had witnessed her tears. One year later, this embarrassing moment is brought to her attention when the man reenters her life. She learns that not only does this man know of her heartbreak over losing Mr. Darcy, but that he is said heartbreaker's cousin, Robert Darcy, from the United States.

Thrown together by their families, and a tragedy that has befallen Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam, the two travel with Charles and Jane to Pemberley. Along the way, Caroline and Robert become friends, and Caroline is able to allow Robert to be her protectorate along the way. The question then becomes if a man from Boston, and an upper-class British woman, at a time when the two countries are at war, can find enough in common to really be friends and understand one another? The other question is whether or not Caroline can see Robert as anything more than yet another man who has come along to make her pursuit of an eligible man to marry more difficult?

Review: While many of us have preconceived ideas about the snobbery and catty nature that the classic Caroline Bingley portrayed in Austen's original novel, Fairview chooses to show a more developed and complex Bingley. I will admit that I have never been much of a Caroline fan, in fact, I quite relished the fact that Elizabeth could say to her, "Nah, nah, nuh-nah, nah" after marrying Darcy, so I struggled to warm up to this character. However, after you see the weaknesses and hurt behind Caroline's prickly behavior of Austen's novel, it becomes much easier to empathise with her. In fact, at one point Jane Bingley asks Caroline if she is happy, to which she responds,
It is true I have not been as cheerful as I am used to. With so many marriages taking place, I suppose, I have been considering my single state more than usual. (151)
These lines made me smile, and even chuckle a little, as anyone who is single and has been exposed to a flurry of weddings can readily understand Caroline's expression here. As the reader, however, you not only feel for her losses, but also want to see her understood, happy, and content. To this, Robert Darcy seems like a perfect hero to come sweeping in, but things just can't be that simple. Differences in culture, ideals, and propriety put these two characters at odds, even if their friendship seems to continue to build. The greatest saving grace to their friendship and relationship, Robert's gallantry.

Although I was frequently distracted by the number of times sentences started with conjunctions (yes, I'm one of those), I enjoyed this clean and charming read. The writing was still very charming, and kept a tone and style that felt indicative of the time period. I do think that this is an easy read to escape into, and not distracting away from a purist's love of the original telling of Pride and Prejudice.

For more information see: The Other Mr. Darcy: Did you know Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?.

This also completes my second in the Everything Austen Challenge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Early last week, I opened up Kathleen Y'Barbo's novel The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, and quite frankly escaped into its pages. Thanks to the craziness of moving into a new home and starting back to school, I felt as though I had little time to actually read. Well, one evening I just decided to pick up this cute book that I won through Library Thing this summer, and can say that it was the first book I actually fell into and read in one sitting. For anyone who is a reader, that is a true delight that we all seek!

Synopsis: Beginning in New York City, upper-class society, beautiful young Gennie is on the verge of marriage to a rich man of her family's choosing. Gennie was not necessarily antagonistic against this relationship, but yearned for a real adventure, like the ones she'd been reading about in her Mae West novels. So when the opportunity popped up to take the place of her maid's sister, to pose as the new nanny of a family in Colorado rather than take a trip off to Boston for the season, Gennie jumped on it.

Arriving in Colorado, Gennie faces a new world, in a new home, with a young girl who is badly in need of a woman's influence. Angry that the father is away on business, leaving her with a young girl who rarely will even bathe without a huge confrontation, Gennie writes him a scathing letter, demanding his return home. Through a few strange coincidences, Gennie and the father (silver baron Daniel Beck) run into one another in town before realizing who each person is, and quickly develop a flirtation and a liking for one another. For Gennie, who is this dashing man with the confident personality? For Daniel, who is this beautiful woman who seems so curious about western life and Mae West stories?

The question then becomes, how will they both feel once they realize who the other person really is? Yes, the seed of interest had been planted, and Gennie got more than she expected with her trip west. Now what will come about with their interest once they get to know one another as the busy father and pushy nanny, and will Gennie get more of a western adventure?

Review: As an admitted fan of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (please tell me someone remembers the show), I quickly fell into this sweet novel by Kathleen Y'Barbo. In a strange coincidence, I had recently caught the John Wayne movie North to Alaska several days prior to picking up the novel, so the fun little connections I saw between the movie, Dr. Quinn, and other westerns I've read or seen made this a delightful read. I didn't necessarily see myself as a "western" fan, but let's admit it. I grew up in Idaho, on a piece of land from my grandpa's farm. Not only that, but my FAVORITE books growing up were the The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set novels. I seriously think I've read them once a year for fifteen years straight! Having said that, I have to say that reading this sweet novel took me back.

Considered a piece of Christian romance, Y'Barbo's novel is clean and yet injects a delightful romance into the story. Although categorized as "christian fiction," I couldn't see where there were many overt references to religious beliefs at all, in fact, I think this term is merely applied to refer to the content of the story as being clean and free of sexual content or excessive violence. The romance between the two main characters did have a bit of "ipecac factor" --that sugary sweet romance that makes you gag and giggle at some of the ridiculously romantic scenes--as my mom and I love to call it, but there is a real story and characters you care about in this novel that keep you reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed the escape factor of this novel. There were those moments of the romantic ridiculous, and yet I would still recommend this novel as a great pleasure read for just about any and all of my friends. Clean, sweet, and a fun little story, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper makes for a great read for a wide audience.

For more information see: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: A Novel.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogging RSS Feeds Blues

How do you keep up with the RSS feeds and follows? I was recently asked about the blog roll on my own blog, and realized that my original list is more of a jumping off spot for me to direct others to several other bloggers that I've come to know. In NO WAY does the roll on my blog reflect the number I'm actually following. Let's just say I follow more than I think I can now possibly keep up with!

On any given day, I like to (doesn't mean it always happens) do a quick run through on any new posts people have made. This used to be an easy task, but has over the past several months grown beyond my capability and was pushed to the weekends. As with anything in life, I'm sure it just takes some sort of consistent habit or pattern; one of which I am completely lacking. As soon as that last school bell rings, it's as if I feel my brain soften into a primordial goo, leaving me barely capable of intelligent thought. I often think to myself, "What's wrong with me?!?" Thankfully, other teachers--and adults in general--have commiserated on this late afternoon shut down, so I know there isn't something completely flawed in my own nature. I'm just rather worthless throughout the work week!

Here's my question, and purpose for this meandering blog post. Now that I've graduated from the weekend perusal of my Google Reader being enough, how might I keep up better? I have so many new and wonderful book blogs that I am excited to follow, yet am falling short. Now what? I've seen discussions on Twitter talking about having things in categories, such as by genre. I've listened to others talk about simply hitting "clear" after seeing how monumentally behind they were in their reading of posts. I know there isn't a hard and fast rule on something such as this, but how often do you clear your feeds, and more importantly, what strategies do you use in keeping up with those you follow? Maybe we need a Google Reader/Feeds Challenge?!? Trust me, I've considered it...

Thanks for lending me your ear, and I look forward to hearing about your techniques and strategies (or at least a bit of commiseration)!

BBAW Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to:

Jemima, at The Reading Journey.

She has won a copy of Harriet Evans' lovely novel A Hopeless Romantic. This is a whimsical read, and one of my favorite "escape reads" of this past year. I'll be emailing you to get your address Jemima!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Thanks to an iPhone and Kindle, I had a chance throughout my move to open my phone when I was sitting in offices, or my Kindle when I was staying at my aunt's house. Through technology, I was able to grab one of these devices through some stressful moments, and escape into a book when I often couldn't find them because of boxes and suitcases! Having said that, I read book four in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Angiegirl, over at Angieville kept telling me to hang in there for book four, so I was excited to dive in!

Synopsis: After the drama of book three, Sookie was sick and tired of fighting the paranormals that kept popping up in her life, especially without a strong support system. In this installment, Sookie is back in Bon Temps, and has her brother back in her life. Bill has taken off on official vampire business (or so we think), and Sookie is thankful to be alone...yet lonely. Into this set up comes Eric, who Sookie finds walking barefoot along the road home one night. Eric had lost his memory, was jumpy, and yet trusted Sookie enough to head home with her. From there, Sookie takes charge of Eric and must learn what happened to him that caused his memory loss, and if these causes might lead to more trouble for everyone.

Review: As Angiegirl explained, I did find that I like book four more than the previous two. Because I could see where things were heading back in book two, I was furious and felt as thought I didn't even want to continue, but hearing that book four helped, kept me reading! I did like book four, and didn't mind some of the departures and loss introduced in this installment. In some ways, these "time outs" felt right for some characters, as Sookie develops a stronger relationship with vampire Eric. While I like a female lead to have strength, I really did want someone to comfort Sookie! I can't help feeling sad for all that Sookie has lost along the way, and for how often she has had to fight for her own life. Having Eric there with her for a time, felt emotionally comforting, and although it might not be a long-term answer, one that helped Sookie for a time.

Overall, I did enjoy book four more than the two previous books in the series. There for a short time I had considered not finishing the series, but now really can't do that! I have to know what happens to Sookie, and feel pretty invested in her life.

***This series contains scenes of sensuality and violence.

This completes book four of ten in the eBook Reader Challenge over at J. Kaye's Book Blog.

For more information see: Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback).

Friday, September 18, 2009

BBAW: Goals for One Literature Nut

On this last day of BBAW, I finally have made it back amidst midterms this week, to make it back for our final topic for this great week of book blogger love! The question is:
What do you like best about your blog, and where would you like your blog to be a year from now?

Personally, I enjoy the variety of my posts. Although I mainly review books, I also discuss or review films, post topics pertinent to many busy readers, and share a bit about my life as a busy high school English teacher. In general, I'm not out to break into a new profession, but have found that the book blogging community allows me access to other passionate readers...and the books they're reading!

One Year From Now:

Honestly, I'd simply like to put myself on a better review schedule. I'm finding that I have put too many books on Mt. TBR (To Be Read), and as life is prone to do, I get busy and can't accomplish or keep track of all I need to read. There is a slight intimidation factor for me in book blogging, as many bloggers read much more voraciously than I do. I don't think I read slowly, but I do get side tracked pretty easily, and find that I have to read on my own terms.

I also would like to change the look of my blog. I can't say that I'm going to get into self-hosting, and pay for the upkeep of my blog. I'd love to say that I am, but I just don't see it happening. However, I would like to expand the columns, add pages, and spruce it up a bit!

Final Thoughts:

I really want to thank those that are in the community, those that put together these great events, and those that follow my blog for being a surrogate "support group" of sorts. Through your posts and comments, I've had the chance to meet and discuss books, topics, and life with many great people, and for that, I want to simply say "Thank You!" Book blogging for me is a hobby, and one that is meant in all the best ways; it pushes me to read and explore my own interests more. For every one of you who have stopped by and commented on a review, posted a kind word, or Twittered a bit of encouragement...or just a laugh...thanks. You all are great!

***Just as a quick reminder, don't forget to enter for a copy of A Hopeless Romantic, as my giveaway in honor of BBAW!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW: Blogger Interview With Ooh...Books!

For Book Blog Appreciation Week (BBAW), I had the opportunity to interview the engaging Cara of "Ooh…Books!” Thanks to our Book Blogging community, I was introduced to Cara and was able to visit with her over the phone over Labor Day weekend. What can I say? If you can learn something about someone by their voice and presence, Cara is definitely one to put a smile on your face. She is engaging, vivacious, and generous, and so excited about reading and reviewing, that what’s not to love!?!

Facts and Details: Cara comes to us from the east coast as a blogger since June of this year. She most likes to read classics (of the old variety), but found that during a stressful time in med. School—yes, did I mention that Cara has a degree in Biology and an MD!—that she branched out into Science Fiction and Young Adult Fiction. Although she first started off with “old” classics, she now reads modern literature, mysteries, comedy, and authors such as Koontz.

Unlike some of us here (like myself), Cara started off as a book reviewer from her very first post. The first book she reviewed, after a short introduction, was Harper Lee’s famous To Kill a Mockingbird. While many of her reviews are over classics, old and new, she has also branched out into wonderful pieces of YA fiction such as Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. She also covers great informational industry pieces, adding to the book/publishing conversations pertinent to many readers.

I really enjoy learning about other readers’ habits and abilities, so I asked Cara about her reading speed and consumption. Like many of you, she clips along and puts away a mass market paperback in about three hours. She also is a one-at-a-time reader, unless she’s not enjoying her current read, or finding it to be slow.

Cara generally reads just about anything, although admitted to being a bit of a book snob in high school. After telling her I was an AP Literature teacher, she revealed that she was one of my dream students, who read as many of the required books on the AP list as possible. Today, she will read and review just about anything, minus romance that goes straight to paperback!

I have to say that Cara came across to me as a very sweet, generous reader and reviewer. It was great talking about books, our blogs, and our future goals with one another. Cara has amazing goals for herself in the future, which includes a real desire to turn book reviewing into a career. Out of a love for reading, springs yet another great blogger with a desire to spread that love, one post at a time. Why don’t you drop by her blog today!

For more information, see: Ooh...Books!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Bloggers Appreciation Week: A Thanks and Giveaway

As part of Book Bloggers Appreciation Week (BBAW), we've been asked to mention a few blogs that didn't make the award lists or shortlists. I have to be honest and say that there are so many that I'd like to acknowledge, that I can hardly keep track of them! At this point, the blogs that I've been following with the most regularity, are those that I've been friends with for some time, those that Twittered their posts, and those who have left comments on my own posts. I'm going to make the list short, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a hundred or more others who I'd like to mention!

Babbling about Books, and More!
Heidenkind's Hideaway
Books, Lies & Alibis
Booking Mama
Books on the Brain
Emily's Reading Room
Hawaii Book Blog
It's All About Books
Alaine--Queen of Happy Endings
Confessions of a Book Habitue
Lost in Books
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Starting Fresh
The Biblio Blogazine

Each of these blogs have inspired me in their own ways, so thanks for all you do!

As for part two of my post, I'd like to post a giveaway in honor of BBAW! I've already given this book away earlier this year, after LOVING the escape factor in this fun, romantic, chick read. For my giveaway, I'd like to offer a copy of Harriet Evans' novel A Hopeless Romantic. Yes, I'm offering yet another copy!

If you'd like a chance to win this fun romp of a read, all you have to do is post a comment here with your email address attached. Yes, I'm making it super easy! This is my thank you to all those I've met here, in the hopes of meeting a few more. I will be closing the giveaway on Sunday, 9/20 at midnight MST. For more information about this fun read: A Hopeless Romantic.

Best wishes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Review: Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered what happens to your ornaments each year as they sit through the spring, summer, and fall, waiting for the season to come around again so they can pop out and have a look-see at the world again? In this cute Christmas story, a set of ornaments come alive each night after dark, to talk, hang out, and have ornament get-togethers--all overlooked by the Tree Lord, who keeps them in order. Even the lights on the tree are animate, and blink and move about the tree. For Larry, a Christmas snow-man, this Christmas is a troubled one, as he can't find his brother. After searching the tree, braving brown and dying limbs, he determines (along with a couple of friends) to go in search of his brother. Their adventures lead them to surprising, and even startling discoveries, that make you wonder...what if my ornaments really did come alive?

Review: I really wanted to like this hearty little tale of Christmas, and the heart-stopping adventure of a small group of Christmas ornaments out to find their friend and brother (who didn't make it to the tree). However, I did feel that the writing resembled a script, more than a story. Some of the jarring issues in writing slowly worked out somewhat by the middle of the book, and I thought the story itself was a cute idea.

I actually think that this would make a fabulous children's story, marketed to and for children. In fact, I'm certain that with a few added pictures, this would be a perfect bedtime story for older children/preteens. As it is now, in it's hardcover form and several hundred pages, you do think this will be a Christmas story that has adult appeal. This didn't necessarily strike me as a book for adults, but one that would make a great read if read aloud to children or pre-teens. I would recommend this for those readers that have older children, as I think this would be a fun book leading up to the holidays!

For more information: Secrets of a Christmas Box.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

In the midst of the chaos that has been my life of late, I had the chance to finish listening to The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer on audiobook. While a strange concept and read, I did find myself thinking about the ideas presented in this multi award winning young adult novel.

Synopsis: Centering on the life of a clone by the name of Matt, who is the property of a man so powerful that he owns more "eejits" (workers with computer chips embedded in their brains) as illegal field workers, than anyone can ever imagine. El Patron. Not only is El Patron rich and powerful, but over 140 years old thanks to illicit sciences and technologies that include his own clones...such as Matt. Mistreated because he is a clone, Matt faces multiple challenges that create tension and adventure in the story, and that lead to his eventual escape from the estate, only to face even more challenges across the wide desert of Northern Mexico and SouthEastern U.S. Will Matt, a lowly clone, be granted a happy life, one where he is recognized as a real person?

Review: I really must start my own response to the novel by stating how fascinating I find the idea of human cloning. Not because I necessarily think cloning is a smart idea at this point, but because it really asks us to question how "human rights" might be applied to these genetically engineered humans. Should we rightfully be afraid of clones? Should humans get into the business of creating a clone? For what valid reason would one need to create a clone? Shouldn't any being, enervated with life, be granted decency...and who decides what that means? You see the questions and dilemnas that I faced while reading the novel.

Honestly, I appreciated the questions posed by Farmer's work. The story, however, felt as though it took various strange turns, such as after Matt leaves the estate. Other than to deepen the story and make it more complex, I wasn't 100% sure why we needed the additional knowledge of the outside world, or did I overlook something? The voice of the audiobook was a huge negative for me, as he instantly reminded me of the man from "Reading Rainbow." I'm not against that show for one second, but found the reader's over the top readings of the novel, combined with that voice, to be absolutely grating! This was one case where I felt that I might have gained much more from the novel by reading it myself, rather than by listening to it.

On the whole, The House of the Scorpion is not only a novel full of great discussion points, but also a straight forward, interesting story. I was left with a lot to consider about the use of science, and did question them. However, I also would have to be honest in my opinions that this audiobook was a bit too over the top and a little too difficult to follow at times. If you're interested in this topic, I would suggest picking up the actual book, rather than listening to it.

For more information, see: The House of the Scorpion.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Challenge Updates: Extending the Rejuvenate and Renew Challenge

In the mass chaos that has been my life in the process of starting back to work and moving into a new home, I felt that I needed to do a little blog-keeping (like housekeeping). Since I didn't really read a book in August--I know, horrifying--I wanted to look at where I'm at with some of the challenges that I'm involved in, and the one that I'm hosting.

First, I am one book away from finishing my own challenge, the "Rejuvenate and Renew Challenge." Due to unforeseen circumstances this past month, I wasn't able to finish, but would like to extend the challenge by one month. I know that several others involved in the challenge could also use one more month, so if it's all right, I'm going to extend it until 10/1/09. Whew! Now I can finish up my own challenge!

Second, I recently reviewed Loving Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan. As a wonderful continuation of the Pride and Prejudice story, I forgot to count it as part of my "Everything Austen" challenge, that is being hosted over at Stephanie's Written Word. This read will make up my first of six for the challenge.

Next up is the "e-book Reader Challenge," of which I've read four out of the ten due for the end of the year. I have one review ready to post for this challenge.

I also participated in the "Shakespearean Summer" challenge, that I failed at. SAD! I managed to read 1 1/2 plays, MacBeth, and then half of Othello. This should have been an easy challenge for me, but the summer got by me, much too quickly!

Finally, is the "1% Well Read Challenge," of which I've read two of the thirteen for 3/31/10, and the "Period Drama Challenge." For the final challenge, I've reviewed two out of the twelve that I need by year's end.

Overall, I think I'm picking away at the challenges I've joined. I'm also participating in the Harry Potter Challenge, but since I've yet to actually start it, I'll hold off on any analysis here!

I don't think I'll be joining any more challenges, no matter how much I want to, because I can barely keep up with what I have. They each are challenging me in wonderful new ways, so I'll hold out hope that I can finish a few more. Until next time, I'll continue reading!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Georgette Heyer Receipt Promotion

Thanks to Danielle and Sourcebooks, I received this information about a great promotion going on for the release of another Georgette Heyer novel, The Foundling. If you are a Georgette Heyer fan, this is a great opportunity!

Sourcebooks B&N Heyer Receipt Promotion

This September, Sourcebooks is exclusively releasing The Foundling by Georgette Heyer in Barnes & Nobles stores Nationwide!!

Sourcebooks is holding a fabulous receipt promotion! Send us your receipt/proof of purchase of The Foundling from your local Barnes & Noble to our office or a scanned receipt in an email to danielle.jackson@sourcebooks.com and you’ll be entered to win a $200 Barnes & Noble gift card! Receipts must be dated between September 1 – September 31, 2009, and can be from an in-store or online purchase. Any questions please contact danielle.jackson@sourcebooks.com.

Sourcebooks is so excited about the warm embrace everyone has given the Georgette Heyer reissues! Good luck—we look forward to hearing from you!

Send your Barnes & Noble The Foundling receipts to

Sourcebooks, Inc.

c/o Publicity

PO Box 4410

Naperville, IL 60567

Join our Georgette Heyer mailing list!: http://www.sourcebooks.com/spotlight/georgette-heyer.html

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Author Highlight: Sharon Lathan

Several months ago when I first wrote that I was in the process of reading Mr. and Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One (here was my final review as well), author Sharon Lathan left me a message! I'm not even all that sure how it happened after that, but we shared comments with one another, and a couple of really lovely email. This summer, Sharon even suggested that while in Hawaii, I be reading her book on the beach and get a chance to share it with people I would meet there--which actually did happen, although the woman I talked to didn't really even know about the original Pride and Prejudice...I know, how could you not? Hopefully I introduced her to several good books to check out! Needless to say, our communications have been really nice, and I've loved the sweet things her husband has had to say as well.

As a Jane Austen fan, I have come to realize that I really do enjoy revisiting my favorite reads, and find that it doesn't change my love for the original in any way. For this reason, I have really enjoyed Sharon's novels, which includes Loving Mr. Darcy, which came out just yesterday! In preparation for the release of the novel, I sent Sharon a few questions that I was curious about, and wanted to share with you her comments and insights!

First, I was curious about her writing process, and how she mapped out what she saw happening for the Darcys. Knowing that there are more books to come, I suppose I'm curious about what she is considering while she's writing.
Writing this saga has been an organic process. By that I mean, I have my general goals in mind (a happy, realistic life) and the specifics of how that unfolds occur to me as I go along. As I research Regency and Derbyshire history, scenes appear in my head. As I write the drama coalesces. I try not to be too rigid, as I prefer to feel the story as it naturally flows.
Along with this, you'll notice in Loving Mr. Darcy a wide range of historical facts and information. I couldn't help but wonder how she came up with the streets and landmarks for London, as they play a prominent role in this novel.
Certainly imagination and creative license always plays a part. However, I carefully researched London of 200 years ago. I poured through literally hundreds of photos or drawings of places about the city. Surprisingly if one is patient a drawing or map can be found even if the building no longer exists or has drastically changed. Old maps are usually easy to find as well. I have one from 1827 that I printed so I could have a hard copy. There are uncounted numbers of website devoted to historical information, so with persistence I was able to hunt down details, getting as near to my time setting of 1817 as possible.
Finally, my more analytical side has been dying to ask Sharon for the longest time what she hopes we get from her continuation of the Darcy's story, as well as what she felt we can learn from them. I know that sounds like a pretty odd sort of question, but I always tend to think that there is something we gain from these characters, and wanted to hear her perspective on it!
There’s a reason I call my books “The Darcy Saga.” My story is of an unfolding life. It is thematic, not a singular plot driven tale. Also, I would love to be able to reach more readers right away and tell them, loud and clear, that it is a happily-ever-after story! Then they would be disappointed to discover it is not filled with trauma and tragedy!
The number one “lesson” I am trying to impart is what a marriage can be if two people strive for it. Beyond that, I truly only want my readers to enjoy themselves as they read a fun, romantic book. If they learn a bit about relationships, history, and anything else, that is a nice bonus!
As far as reader enjoyment goes, I know that I have thoroughly enjoyed escaping into Sharon's novels. Beyond a story that I really want to read more of, Sharon's writing style is purposeful, and stylistically fits the Darcy's story perfectly. For me, this continuation story has been a wonderful escape, and a great lesson in possibilities. Thanks Sharon! I can't wait to read the next installment!

For more information on Sharon's books see: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One (Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy) and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley.