<i>Infamous</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Infamous: Exclusive Excerpt Jenny Holiday "Hunter is all Jesse can think about..." <i>Courtly Pleasures</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Courtly Pleasures: Exclusive Excerpt Erin Kane Spock "Can they create a second chance at love before it’s too late?" <i>Roomies</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Roomies: Exclusive Excerpt Christina Lauren "Will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?" <i>A Duke in Shining Armor</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Duke in Shining Armor: Exclusive Excerpt Loretta Chase "So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him...?"
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November 21, 2017
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Jul 13 2017 8:30am

Jane Austen at Home Explores a Different Side of Austen

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley

In the world of Jane Austen biographies, there is no new thing under the sun. The best we can hope for is a biographer who understands Jane Austen and her world. In Lucy Worsley, we have that in spades.

After reading ancient and modern history at Oxford, Lucy Worsley began her career as a historical house curator. She worked as an Inspector of Historic Buildings for England’s National Heritage and as Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for maintaining the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. In other words, this is a woman who knows her historical buildings, so it’s no surprise that her biography is framed by the homes in which Jane Austen lived.

Naturally, we start in the rectory in Steventon in Hampshire where Jane Austen was born. Although the rectory has long been gone, Ms. Worsley does an elegant job of setting the scene.

Steventon Rectory, as Jane’s parents knew it, had a carriage drive, or ‘sweep’, at the front to bring vehicles off the road, an important mark of gentility. There was a pond, and a ‘screen of Chestnuts & firs’. To the sunny south side of the house, behind a thatched mud wall, was ‘one of those old-fashioned gardens in which vegetables and flowers are combined’.

[Read more...]

Apr 21 2016 8:30am

WWCBD: 8 Lessons from Charlotte Brontë (Through Jane Eyre)

8 Lessons from Charlotte Brontë (Through Jane Eyre)

1) Keep up with your Bible studies and be prepared to lie about it. You never know when you’ll be quizzed.

“Psalms are not interesting.” I remarked

“That proves you have a wicked heart; and you must bray to God to change it: to give you a new and clean one: to take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

This tidbit of wisdom can probably also be applied to other critical reading such as cookbooks and romance novels. The quote also has something to teach us about punctuation: but I’m not sure what.

[And so many more ...]

Jan 26 2015 2:00pm

Trust Issues: Eve and Roarke in J.D. Robb’s Vengeance in Death

This week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death series, Obsession in Death. As part of the celebration, we're taking an in-depth look at the sixth book in the series, Vengeance in Death (with a bonus excerpt of Chapter 1 from the book at the end of this post). To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag #obsessedwithindeath. And be sure to check out posts from fellow romance blogs Romance at Random and, next week, Smexy Books for more re-read fun.

Vengeance in Death, the sixth of J.D. Robb's wonderful In Death Series, is a pivotal novel for relationships in the series. In book one, Naked in Death, Eve Dallas, homicide lieutenant, fell in love with a man with a criminal past. In book three, Immortal in Death, she is preparing to marry him. Vengeance in Death is a turning point in the Eve / Roarke relationship, the book in which Eve determines how much she trusts her new husband.

Trust does not come easily for Eve, as anyone who has read the series will be aware. As a child, she was abused and molested and, eventually, found in an alley in Dallas, covered in blood with no memory of her past. She was raised in state institutions and driven to law enforcement as a stable, safe harbor. Over the course of the first five books, Eve begins to regain some of her memories and what she recovers does not encourage trust.

[Uh oh... that doesn't bode well...]

Oct 22 2014 8:30am

First Look: K J Charles’s Flight of Magpies (October 28, 2014)

Flight of Mapgies by KJ CharlesK J Charles
Flight of Magpies
Samhain Publishing / October 28, 2014 / $4.50 digital

Danger in the air. Lovers on the brink.

With the justiciary understaffed, a series of horrifying occult murders to be investigated, and a young student who is flying—literally—off the rails, magical law enforcer Stephen Day is under increasing stress. And his relationship with his aristocratic lover, Lord Crane, is beginning to feel the strain.

Crane chafes at the restrictions of England’s laws, and there’s a worrying development in the blood-and-sex bond he shares with Stephen. A development that makes a sensible man question if they should be together at all.

When a thief strikes at the heart of Crane’s home, a devastating loss brings his closest relationships into bitter conflict—especially his relationship with Stephen. And as old enemies, new enemies, and unexpected enemies paint the lovers into a corner, the pressure threatens to tear them apart.

Less than a year ago I read KJ Charles's The Magpie Lord, the first book in her Charm of Magpies series. This was my first male/male romance and I fell instantly in love. I loved her writing. I loved her characters, I loved the world building. Now I can't get enough of this series, so I was delighted to do a first look on Flight of Magpies, the third book.

For me, the key to any romance is the characters and the Charm of Magpies series has it in spades. By the time we have reached the third book, Stephen Day and Lucien Vaudry have established a solid relationship, although each has his concerns.

[Not trouble in paradise, though, right?]

Aug 13 2014 3:30pm

First Look: Maggie Robinson’s The Reluctant Governess (August 19, 2014)

Maggie Robinson
The Reluctant Governess  (Ladies Unlaced #3)
Intermix / August 19, 2014 / $4.99 digital

A secretary for the renowned Evensong Agency, Eliza Lawrence may have a pretty face, but she’s much prouder of her mind and her morals. When she’s pressed into temporary governess duty as a favor to her boss, she doesn’t expect to bend one bit for the rakish Nicholas Raeburn. Not even when he opens the door to her half-dressed...

Despite his bad reputation, Nicholas is a man of honor. To Nick’s way of thinking, he doesn’t need any help raising his daughter, Domenica. If only he weren’t so drawn to the meddlesome woman’s sparkling wit and uncommon beauty...

But when an act of misplaced chivalry goes seriously awry, resulting in mayhem and almost murder, Eliza becomes the only woman he can depend upon. Nick will do anything to protect his family, but who will protect him from falling in love with his reluctant governess?

The Reluctant Governess is the third in Maggie Robinson's Ladies Unlaced Series. I heartily recommend them all.  In this one, our heroine is Eliza Lawrence, newly hired as a secretary for the Evensong Agency, which is the locus of all the Ladies Unlaced books. When Nicholas Raeburn, an artist with an “artistic” reputation, and brother of the hero of the preceding book, In the Heart of the Highlander, returns to England in need of a governess for the daughter of his late mistress, whom he assumes is also his, Eliza takes the job until the agency can find a permanent one.

[Temporarily his?]

Jul 18 2014 8:30am

First Look: Molly O’Keefe’s Between the Sheets (July 29, 2014)

Between the Sheets by Molly O'KeefeMolly O'Keefe
Between the Sheets (Boys of Bishop)
Bantam / July 29, 2014
$7.99 print / $4.99 digital

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.
Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.

Between the Sheets is the third in Molly O'Keefe's Boys of Bishop series. Before we look at this book, I encourage you to read the entire series, beginning with Wild Child.

I chose to write about Between the Sheets because of its fascinating heroine. Shelby Monroe appears in the first two books of this trilogy, but you never really understand her. It's obvious that she has some underlying problem that keeps her from establishing a lasting relationship, but all we see before this book is Shelby screwing up.

[What makes her tick?]

Jul 6 2014 11:00am

Going to the Dogs in Kristan Higgins’s Romance Novels

Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins **Spoiler Alert: This post may contain some spoilers about Kristan Higgins's books and some of the very cute companions within.**

Sometimes you pick up a book with a dog on the cover and think, “Please God, not another cute romance facilitated by a cute pet,” and put the darned thing back down. This is not what happens with Kristan Higgins books. Granted, her covers all have dogs on them (except for The Next Best Thing—more about that later).

It's obvious that Kristan Higgins loves dogs and they usually play rather prominent roles in her books, but they're not just a cute addition. Kristan Higgins's dogs have a lot to tell us about their owners.  

In Catch of the Day, Higgins's second book, Colonel, a golden retriever, is the heroine's best friend. He's the repository of all her love and the being she turns to for solace.

When the humiliation and grief over Skip threatened to overwhelm me, Colonel would come over and nudge my hand with his nose until I petted him. Or he'd drop a ratty tennis ball at my feet, and if I ignored him, he'd repeat this ten or twelve times until I got the hint. He slept on my bed each night, his big head resting on my stomach as I fought off loneliness and tried to come up with a plan for my adult life.

Maggie's relationship with her dog says so much about Maggie's big heart. Her conversations with Colonel help the reader understand her loneliness. Her friends' grief at Colonel's death help us understand the close friendships she engenders. Colonel is an important piece in understanding Maggie. 

[Oh, Colonel!]

May 8 2014 3:30pm

Jane Eyre’s Edward Rochester: Hero or Not?

Michael Fassbender as Mr. RochesterEdward Rochester is nothing if not divisive. I spent last weekend harassing Megan Frampton about whether Edward Rochester (the ostensible hero of Jane Eyre) is actually heroic. We disagree. However, to do justice to a book that I read repeatedly during my teenage years, I present the five reasons Rochester is a hero, as well as the five reasons he is not. You decide.

Yes—Of course he's a hero:

5. Edward Rochester keeps his wife in the attic. What? You don't think that's heroic? Have you considered the alternative? What would life be like for poor Bertha Rochester in a Victorian insane asylum? Rochester at least has the grace to see that his wife is well cared for.

4. Edward Rochester is tortured. This doesn't necessarily make him a hero, but it makes him appealing in a heroic way. We find we can often forgive a man for past mistakes if he is tortured by them.

3. Edward Rochester is kind. He has taken in Adele, the child of a former paramour, and given her a home without even being convinced she's his.

[He's at least the hero of his own story...]

Mar 17 2014 3:33pm

Behind Closed Doors: The Romance of Kristan Higgins’s Fade-to-Black Scenes

Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins

Sexy doesn't necessarily have to include explicit sex. In my opinion, some of the sexiest writing in modern romance occurs before and after the actual act. No one does this better than Kristan Higgins.  In fact, I read two or three of her early novels before I realized that she shuts the bedroom door in the readers' faces. It works for me, and I'd like to take you on a journey through some of my favorite love scenes.

In Higgins's first book, Fools Rush In, Millie Barnes finally admits that the man she loves is not the fantasy she'd been chasing, but her sister's ex-husband.

Because I had known Sam all my life, I knew his goodness and kindness and I knew that I loved him with all my heart, and really, why on earth should we wait?
“I love you, Millie,” he whispered, tucking a strand of hair behind my hear, and I actually felt dizzy at the words.
“I love you, too,” I breathed.
And I disentangled myself from his arms, stood up and led him down the hall. To bed.

There you have it.  The first love scene between Millie and Sam.  You don't get to see the sex, but you just know it was great.

[Imaginations rule!]

Jan 9 2014 2:15pm

Lost Senses Awakened: Judith Kinghorn’s The Memory of Lost Senses

The Memory of Lost Senses by Judith KinghornThe Memory of Lost Senses is my first Judith Kinghorn book. It won't be my last.  This book tells the overlapping stories  of two women, Cecily and Cora. Cecily Chadwick's story begins in 1911, when Cora, a mysterious countess with (possibly) at least three former husbands, moves into the neighborhood with her handsome grandson.  

It takes a while for the two intertwining plots (Cecily's and Cora's) to get going, but the language in this book is so beautiful that the wait is no hardship.

We start with Cecily, at a cricket match on a summer afternoon and about to meet Jack (the handsome grandson).

In the middle of the green the yellowing grass turned to molten silver, the players blurring into the pool of liquefied metal: like a mirage, Cecily thought. Only a few wore white flannels, the majority were in their usual working clothes, with shirtsleeves rolled back and braces exposed. And beyond them, at the other side of the field, clear and solid, and dazzlingly white, stood Bramley's new pavilion.

The scene is set for Cecily and Jack's first meeting and you can almost feel summer and sense the mirage-like effect of the heat.

[Yes, yes, we could use some heat...]

Dec 16 2013 2:00pm

10 Things I Learned from Jane Austen

Jane Austen portrait by Cassandra AustenI have spent most of my adult life with Jane Austen, whose birthday is today, and she has taught me a great deal about life in general. Oddly, a lot of it has nothing to do with Fitzwilliam Darcy.  

1) Derive satisfaction from your wardrobe.

“Next week [I] shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.”

Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen on October 27, 1798

2) Take enjoyment from being an aunt while you can.

“I give you joy of our new nephew, and hope if he ever comes to be hanged it will not be till we are too old to care about it.”

Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen on April 25, 1811

“I shall think with tenderness and delight on his beautiful and smiling countenance and interesting manner, until a few years have turned him into an ungovernable, ungracious fellow.

Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen on October 27, 1798

[More excellent advice this way...]

Dec 13 2013 2:30pm

It’s Impossible Not to Love Him: 6 Reasons Mr. Impossible’s Rupert Carsington Is My Imaginary Boyfriend

Mr. Impossible by Loretta ChaseLoretta Chase has provided me with many imaginary boyfriends. Surprisingly, Dain from Lord of Scoundrels was not my type, but I did fall in love with his friend Vere Mallory, the Duke of Ainswood, in The Last Hellion.

As much as I still love Vere, I'm afraid that his place in my heart has been usurped by Rupert Carsington, hero of Mr. Impossible. And here's why:

1) He's rich, or rather his family is rich, and his father, the Earl of Hargate, loves his sons enough not to let them starve. In fact, if Rupert marries well but not wealthily, I suspect his father would see to it that he's set up for a comfortable life.  (Damn you, Daphne). I know this is a pitifully superficial reason to choose a boyfriend, but a girl has to live well.

2) He's up for anything. Do you need a big, brawny Englishman to accompany you down the Nile to retrieve your kidnapped brother? Although he knows nothing about Egyptian customs, Rupert's game. Take him along.

[This list is just getting started...]

Dec 3 2013 9:30am

First Look: Karen Doornebos’s Undressing Mr. Darcy (December 3, 2013)

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

Karen Doornebos
Undressing Mr. Darcy
Berkley Trade / December 3, 2013/ $9.49 print / $7.99 digital

Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

Hardbound books, teacups, and quill pens fly in the face of her e-reader, coffee, and smartphone…

…Until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate. The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten…personal. But can this old-fashioned man claim her heart without so much as a GPS? It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate re-enactor to find out…Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos is a love story between the heroine, Vanessa Roberts, and...wait for it...Jane Austen. Yes, there's a hero and a not-so-much-a-hero in the book. There's the heroine's beloved aunt (a rabid Janeite, naturally) and her aunt's belated but true love. But this story is really about a modern woman who had deliberately eschewed learning about Jane Austen, learning to love her.

[Getting to know her...]

Oct 29 2013 10:00am

First Look: Kristan Higgins’s The Perfect Match (October 29, 2013)

Kristan Higgins
The Perfect Match 
Harlequin HQN / October 29, 2013 / $4.79 print, $6.15 digital

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise?

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn't easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

Kristan Higgins's The Perfect Match takes us back to Manningsport, New York, where we met Faith and Levi in The Best Man. In this book, our heroine is Faith's older sister, Honor, thirty-five and single, who has just been to the doctor and told that her eggs are starting to decline and is soon thereafter dumped by the man she thought she loved.

[But her luck's about to change...]

10 Regency Romances You Should Read (An Opinionated Opinion)

Lord of Scoundrels  by Loretta ChaseTo follow Megan's example, I have chosen ten seminal Regency Romances for you. These are not my top ten best Regencies but books that have had an impact on the genre. In fact, if I were trying to convert a reader to Regency Romance there are one or two here I would not recommend. And believe me, it was not easy to hold this to ten.

10. Judith McNaught,  Whitney My Love

This is a love it or hate it book (I hated it). Here at Heroes & Heartbreakers people have both loved it  and hated it.  Regardless of your response, however,  it’s a book that elicits strong reactions and is a classic example of the 1980s “bodice ripper.” If you're going to talk about the evolution of Historical Romance, you should probably include this book. 

9. Stephanie Laurens, Devil's Bride

The first of Stephanie Laurens's Cynster Books (and, in my opinion, the best) is a first-rate example of the sexually insatiable alpha hero. Of course, Devil Cynster is also totally irresistible so any priapism is immediately forgiven. Published in 1998, this was the precursor of many, many hot Historicals.

[Are you up on your classic Regencies?...]

Jun 20 2013 9:45am

Top Five Bluestocking Romances from Chase, Ashworth, Ivory, and More!

Breaking Up of the Blue Stocking Club by Rowlandston

Let's start right out with the basics. The Oxford English Dictionary defines bluestocking as “Of, belonging, or relating to a series of assemblies or salons held c. 1750 by a group of London society ladies, notable for the informal dress worn by the male attendees and for the intellectual conversation engaged in by women and men equally.” It goes on to say that “The term blue stocking was originally a non-pejorative nickname, but was later used to connote the excessively feminine literariness or intellectualism seen as characterizing these gatherings.”

[Excessively feminine literariness sounds like a good thing!...]

Mar 27 2013 1:00pm

Light and Dark: The Shades of Connie Brockway

Bridal Favors by Connie Brockway

It's a rare delight to find an author with a wide tonal range. Frequently, I can pick up a book by a beloved author and know that I'll find something light and fun. When I want something a little darker, with a bit more angst, I'll reach for another author. But occasionally an author can handle both ends of the spectrum with style and grace. Connie Brockway is one such author. She has written some of my favorite light-hearted Historicals and has also written the deeply angsty All Through the Night. She pretty much covers the range in between but today I'd like to talk about the extremes.

All Through the Night, published in 1997, is a dark historical romance (quite literally, as much of it takes place after sundown). The hero, Col. Jack Seward, was rescued from a workhouse by his mentor and trained to be a weapon, doing his mentor's bidding in service of the government. The heroine, Anne Wilder, while the widow of a nobleman, was the daughter of a thief and learned well at her father's knee.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have The Bridal Season, published in 2001. Our hero in this is Elliot March, a war hero who is now the local magistrate in the small town of Little Bidewell where the heroine, Letty Potts, a music hall entertainer and former con artist, arrives impersonating Lady Agatha, a Victorian wedding planner who has been hired to manage the wedding of a local girl to a marquess.

Let's compare some scenes.

[Spot the differences!...]

Feb 28 2013 4:30pm

First Look: Simone St. James’s An Inquiry into Love and Death (March 5, 2013)

An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Simone St. James
An Inquiry into Love and Death
NAL Trade / March 5, 2013 / $10.99 print, $9.99 digital

In 1920's England, a young woman searches for the truth behind her uncle’s mysterious death in a town haunted by a restless ghost…

Oxford student Jillian Leigh works day and night to keep up with her studies—so to leave at the beginning of the term is next to impossible. But after her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, she must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings.

Almost immediately, unsettling incidents—a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own—escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay? And who beside the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken, a former RAF pilot with mysteries of his own, leaves Jillian with more questions than answers—and with the added complication of a powerful, mutual attraction. Even as she suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth, she begins to discover spine-chilling secrets that lie deep within Rothewell…and at the very heart of who she is.

An Inquiry into Love and Death is Simone St. James's  second book and the first that I've read. It won't be the last. This book is outside my normal reading choices on several levels. It's a ghost story, for one, a mystery, and set in the 1920s. And yet, a good book is a good book and there is, of course, a love story.

[All good stories have a love story somewhere!]

Feb 17 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Kristan Higgins’s The Best Man (February 26, 2013)

The Best Man by Kristan HigginsKristan Higgins
The Best Man
Harlequin HQN / February 26, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.71 digital

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there.... 

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

One thing you can depend upon Kristan Higgins for (aside from a terrific story and not a whole lot of explicit sex) is great settings. In fact, her setting becomes another character in each of her books. The hero and heroine would not be who they are without their town: its geography, its history, its commerce, its people. Because Kristan Higgins is a New England girl, I recognize a lot of the characters in her books, including the towns.

[It's like reuniting with an old friend...]

Feb 15 2013 12:30pm

Jo Baker’s Longbourn Will Take Pride and Prejudice Belowstairs

Luckington Court

What are we to think of the announcement of Jo Baker's forthcoming book (and possibly film), Longbourn?

The announcement states: “Riffing off the Jane Austen tale, Longbourn will highlight the constant chaos swirling downstairs, the preparation for lavish balls, and the housekeeper’s real thoughts about the family patriarch. But it will also reveal the tragic consequences of the Napoleonic Wars and focus on a romance between a newly arrived footman and a housemaid, the novel’s main characters.”

On the one hand, this seems like a brilliant marketing idea: Pride & Prejudice meets Downton Abbey. How many readers and viewers can you entice with that? Take a look at the posts on this site. Do a Google search on either. They're everywhere (at least in my Internet world) and everyone is talking about them or writing like them or including them in their own world in some way.

[But on the other hand...?]