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I'm continuing with Lord George and Madame Reauchard. We left off with the large man training his gun on the two of them, while the other man moved toward the table....
“Make sure they don’t move, Bill. Shoot the prancing dandy first.” His tone was more cultured than most thugs for hire and a hint of familiarity tugged at the corner of George’s mind.
It was only through years of conditioning that he didn’t betray his concern the man would discover important papers beneath his coat. If he found the smuggled documents and escaped with the knowledge of his and Evangeline’s clandestine operation, then many courageous people died for nothing. He arose from the couch like a sleepy giant.
“Whad’ya want,” he slurred and weaved on his feet as though drunk. “You haf to wait your turn, I paid for a full hour.”
He lurched toward the man called Bill who gripped his pistol tighter and advanced a step toward them. Evangeline cried out, “Please, don’t shoot.”
I feel this is where I should insert an announcer's voice, saying: "Will the thugs find the smuggled documents, and, will Lord George and Evangeline escape with their lives? Stay tuned next week for more adventures in (cue music) The Jane Austen Variation Theater......



Diary of An Eccentric ~ Anna

Caroline is the first book in a series of Pride and Prejudice sequels by Sue Barr, opening when Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley go back to Hertfordshire to propose to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Caroline Bingley is angry and distraught when she learns of Mr. Darcy’s engagement to the “country miss” Elizabeth Bennet, as she’d spent the last few years trying to grab his attention in her quest to marry into high society. Meanwhile, Lord Nathan Kerr, Mr. Darcy’s new vicar, is instantly captivated by Caroline but understands that, in her current frame of mind, she is not a suitable match for him. 

Unaware of Lord Nathan’s humble lifestyle in Kympton, Caroline is infuriated by his judgmental comments. She knows that Mr. Darcy is lost to her forever and that she must forge a new path for herself, but Lord Nathan can’t help lashing out at her for her marital aspirations. Yet neither can deny the growing passion between them, nor can they deny that they both need to do some serious soul searching before they can find inner peace. 

I really enjoyed Barr’s take on Caroline, from her temper tantrums to her memories of her grandmamma — and the advice she soon realizes she must take to heart. I also loved Lord Nathan, the reformed rake who still struggles with his memories of the war and the behavior he put behind him when he took orders. I thought he was pretty harsh to Caroline, but getting to see things through his point of view made me understand him better. It was entertaining to see their evolution over the course of this short novel. I was so wrapped up in their troubles that I didn’t mind the quick character development or that Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley/Jane take a backseat as their wedding preparations are underway.

Barr does a good job handling the Christian elements of the novel, from the Scripture passages Caroline remembers from her grandmamma to Lord Nathan’s prayers and counseling. It made sense given Lord Nathan’s occupation, and it wasn’t too heavy-handed. The only minor quibble I had with the book is that the ending seemed too convenient given the character development throughout the novel. 

Overall, Caroline is a strong start to the series, and readers will be happy that there isn’t a cliffhanger ending. I was thrilled to see a description for Book Two at the end of Book One, and I cannot wait to read the next volume!

You can see the full post here.

The Music Behind the Woman

When it comes to musical talents, I have learned that Jane Austen really was somewhat of a proficient and a rather accomplished lady in her musical achievements. From the age of 12 years old, Jane practiced the piano nearly each and every morning. In the evenings, she could often be found performing at the piano for her family and friends.

Even at the age of 20, she was still taking weekly lessons and learning new techniques, which happened to be unusual, even for the accomplished women of her class. Even though her family existed on a limited budget, Jane was always able to have access to a good quality piano. Due to the costs of printed music, Jane belonged to an “informal, women-driven network” of music copyists and borrowers.

In my story, Caroline, I was able to connect Austen’s love for music as we discover that Caroline also has a passion for music which soothes her soul. Whenever troubled, she gravitates to the pianoforte and plays. Personally, I love Mozart and was so glad that he lived prior to the time frame of my story.

One of my favorite movies is Amadeus, not for the characterization of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his protagonist, Antonio Salieri but for the music. There is one song, when the last of the high notes hang in the air before crashing to the end, which gives me goose flesh. The genius of Mozart’s compositions is beyond compare. His piano concerto No. 26 has so many layers in nuance and timing, also any of his Clarinet Concertos, … and who doesn’t love Eine Klein Nachtmusic? Most people listen to the piece with only stringed instruments, but the piano solo, accompanied by woodwinds and stringed instruments is achingly beautiful.

I also wanted Caroline to have layers with her love of music and there were many great Masters to choose from, but I looked for something different. I Googled popular composers in the time of 1812 and Ignaz Pleyel popped up. You Tube is a wonderful place to lose yourself and I listened to many tracks until I found his sonata in F Major. I thought I’d share a link to the scene from Amadeus where Solieri, played by F. Murray Abraham, is describing the music of Mozart to a young priest. I think he won the Oscar from this scene alone.

I challenge you to listen to some classical music, if you don’t already love it. Really, really hear what these Masters composed. Imagine flutes, oboes and clarinets, joined by an bassoon providing the much needed lower layer and then along comes the violin, piercing the air with each rising crescendo in harmony alongside the cello and in the background, bass drums, like a heartbeat.

Can you hear it?


The Newlywed Game ~ 1812 style

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I have invited Emma Woodhouse to host our Newlywed Game, 1812 Style, and without further ado, I turn the stage over to Emma…
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Good morning ladies and gentleman, this is Emma Woodhouse, and I am back here at the Theatre-Royal, Covent Garden to play another round of the Newlywed Game. Today I have Lady Nathaniel Kerr, née Caroline Bingley, here with her new husband, Lord Nathaniel Kerr. Please join me in welcoming them to The Newlywed Game. (Crowd applauses)
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Thank you for joining us. We all know the Ton is curious to meet this new couple and share in their happiness. I’ll begin our game with some easier questions...

What is your spouse’s favorite meal?

Caroline: Lord Nathan loves a good roast beef with Yorkshire pudding.

Nathan: That question was too easy, I told her that myself. My wife loves…hmmm… let me think about this. She's very fond of fresh lake trout, with a hint of lemon and new potatoes.
Caroline: That’s true. Very good.
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What do you think is the best thing your spouse loves about you?

Nathan: My eyes. I think.

Caroline: No, your compassion, how you care for those around you.
What about you, Lady Nathan, what do you think is the best thing your spouse loves about you?

Caroline: My hair. He’s been fascinated by it from the first time he saw me.

Nathan: Not true. I was captivated by the color of your hair, but when you played the pianoforte my soul was transported to another plane. I love the way you make me feel through music.
Have you ever bought anything and kept the purchase from your spouse?

Caroline: If you think I’m going to tell you that, you are a very silly interviewer, Miss Woodhouse.

Nathan: Really? Now I am intrigued. What could you have bought that I was not aware of?
Caroline: You won’t know until your birthday, two days hence.
Lord Nathan, what is the one thing your spouse wears that you absolutely love?

Nathan: She wears a pomander on her wrist and I love the scent. I’m reminded of her every time I smell rosewater.

Caroline: How interesting, I thought you liked the golden gown I wore at Darcy’s ball. You couldn’t keep your eyes off me that night. If you recall, you said you looked for me in the crowd.
Nathan: It wasn’t the gown, but what lay beneath. (in a low voice only his wife could hear)
Caroline: (slight gasp)
What was your first impression of your spouse?

Caroline: Imposing and dictatorial. He vexed me greatly.

Nathan: I think I fell in love with her the first time I saw her here, at the Theater Royal. She stood out in the crowd like a fiery siren.

How many pairs of shoes does your wife own?

Nathan: Too many to count. (laughing) I think she has a pair for every hour of the day.

Caroline: That’s unfair. (taps him on the arm with her fan) I do not have that many, but I will own to at least twenty pair.
Finish the sentence. I wish my spouse would stop ________

Caroline: Exaggerating how many shoes I have.

Nathan: My love, (taking her hand in his and kissing the back of it), I would buy you every shoe in the kingdom if it made you happy.
What is your spouse’s pet name for you?

Nathan: I don’t believe she has a pet name for me.

Caroline: That’s what you think, Lord Little Brat
Nathan: Ah… but you stole that from my brother Lord Pompous Head
When did you know you were first in love?

Nathan: I first acknowledged it to myself after I accused her of compromising at least two different gentlemen at the ball.

(the crowd gasps)

Caroline: I was mucking out a stall and thought of you the whole time. (laughs gaily at his shocked look) Oh, my love, I fell in love with you when you allowed me to argue with you. You had no fear of my opinion.
(laughter ripples throughout the theater)
Who said I love your first?

Nathan: I did

Caroline: He did, (said on a sigh), and we almost fought over that too.
Where was your first kiss?

Nathan: I asked her to marry me and when she said yes, I asked permission to kiss her.

Caroline: No, it was at the ball. Don’t you remember the music room?
Nathan: We didn’t kiss then.
Caroline: Really, (arching an elegant brow), then whose lips brushed mine that night? The scoundrel looked very much like you.
Nathan: My dear, if I had truly kissed you that night, you’d have been left in no doubt. (lowers his head and levels a telling gaze upon her mouth)
Caroline: Oh. (a becoming blush rises up to her face, she flicks open her fan and cools herself down, the lovely pomander swinging with each pass)
How many children do you wish for?

Nathan: ten

Caroline: three (both said together)
Caroline: (turning to face him, a shocked look on her face) Do you really want ten?
Nathan: (laughing) No, I wanted to see what you would do.
Caroline: Oh, you really are a scoundrel!

I believe this would be a good place to end our game, as I think you’ve given us lots to gossip, pardon me, I mean, know about both of you. I wish you nothing but joy in your new marriage and I look forward to seeing you again. Maybe at the ball Mr. Churchill and I are planning for next month.

Thank you so much for participating. Next month I shall be interviewing a well-known Lady's man and the woman who caught his heart. Watch for flyers which shall be delivered to your door.

Let's show Lord Nathan and Lady Nathan our appreciation and give them a round of applause. Refreshments are being served on the second level.