Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: From This Day Forward by Joana Starnes + Giveaway!!

From the publisher:
On a crisp winter morning, in a small country church, Miss Elizabeth Bennet married Mr Darcy – and her quiet, tame existence had abruptly changed. The second daughter of a country gentleman is now many different things, to different people. Beloved wife. Mistress of a dauntingly great estate. Reluctant socialite. Daughter. Sister. Cousin. Friend. Her world is very different too, touched by a series of events that the creator of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ would have recognised. And as the days of her married life go by bringing both joy and turmoil, the man that stands beside her is her shelter and comfort in the face of family opposition, peril and heartbreak. 
Three very different Christmas seasons come to serve as landmarks to their lives and there are blissful days and times of sorrow at the old English country house. And before too long, a time would come when Darcy must decide if he is prepared to risk everything for the sake of a full life together - or succumb to the collection of his fears.



Although Elizabeth stated in Pride and Prejudice that since Darcy was a gentleman and she was a gentleman’s daughter they were equal, it wasn’t strictly accurate; they lived in very different worlds. Darcy’s estate was much larger than the Bennet’s, so even if Elizabeth was well-versed in the duties that she’d need to fulfil as mistress of a home, being the mistress of a grand estate may well have been daunting. Also, Elizabeth had very likely never navigated London’s fashionable circles, something she’d need to do successfully to ensure a good marriage for Georgiana as well as for any children that she and Darcy would have. I’ve often wondered whether she’d struggle, or if it would be plain sailing.

Joana Starne’s story picks up 9 days after Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding.  When the story begins, we find a few obstacles that Elizabeth has already encountered; the housekeeper at the London townhouse is unwelcoming towards her, and Lady Catherine is not the only one of Darcy’s Fitzwilliam relatives that is opposed to his marriage to Elizabeth.  With the exception of Colonel Fitzwilliam, none of the Fitzwilliams are welcoming to Elizabeth.  If Elizabeth had come from the same social circle as Darcy, she would have been able to rely on the support of her own family, but of course, this isn’t the case as her parents don’t have the connections to be able to launch her into society. Luckily, some of Darcy’s more distant relations are more amenable and agree to assist.

The book follows the events of the Darcy household over the next few years.  Darcy and Elizabeth are a very loving couple (although, don’t worry if you don’t like sex scenes, there are none in this book).  We see them settle into their roles as husband and wife, and we see how much they come to rely on each other, particularly in the face of his family’s opposition.  Elizabeth breathes life that has been missing since the death of Lady Anne into the rather staid Darcy household.  The growing relationship between Elizabeth and Georgiana is lovely to see, and Elizabeth really helps Georgiana grow and find confidence in herself, something that is vital for Georgiana’s launch into society.  The book is as much about Georgiana and her blossoming into womanhood as it is about Elizabeth and Darcy. The family face a number of hurdles, some harder to overcome than others, and we will get the opportunity to see how well Mr and Mrs Darcy have overcome their old faults of hasty judgement and distain for the feelings of others.

Although I enjoyed the book from the outset, it took a good while to grip me.  It was fairly slow going at the beginning, and although issues were faced initially, they were pretty easily overcome, and I’d have liked a bit more tension in the first half of the story. The book has its share of angst, but it is concentrated, so it hits you even harder when it arrives.

Both Elizabeth and Darcy’s families appear in the book. I felt the depiction of the Bennet side of the family was generally faithful to Pride and Prejudice, aside from the Gardiner’s sons who were older than canon. In the world of Austenesque fiction, you often find Mrs Bennet drawn very harshly, but here I felt she was properly represented in all her embarrassing glory, and you couldn’t help wincing at some of her comments, but also sympathising with her when she succeeded in her life’s ambition of marrying off all her daughters and then felt bereft.  I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of Elizabeth’s sisters.  As for Darcy’s family, both Colonel Fitzwilliam and Lady Catherine are featured in this story, and we meet the more distant relatives who assist Lizzy’s launch to society.   The connection between Darcy and these relatives is described in a bit too much detail for me, I read the paragraph about 5 times before I had it straight in my mind, but distant cousin pretty much covers it!
One thing I particularly liked about this book was the humour, such as this gem showing Miss Bingley’s views of the Christmas entertainment at Pemberley:

‘“What game is that, pray?” Lady Mellor’s youngest piped up, understandably inexperienced in what passed for entertainment in Cheapside and the wilds of Hertfordshire.’

We see three Christmases in this book, the first two Christmases following Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s wedding which form a stark contrast to each other, and the third Christmas celebration in the epilogue, 24 years down the line where we get the chance to catch up with the futures of many of the characters.   Personally, I love an epilogue, and the epilogue in this book I particularly enjoyed.

Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Ceri Tanti. 

About Ceri:
I read ‘Sense and Sensibility’ back when I was a teenage bookworm.  I liked that book enough to move on to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I absolutely fell in love with it, completely captured by Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy’s story, and quickly moved on to read Austen’s other main novels.  Fast forward to Christmas 2011 and my husband got me a kindle for Christmas; when I looked on Amazon for my Jane Austen favourites I found that there was a whole world of Austen-inspired fiction that I never knew existed before.  Thank you Jakki, for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on ‘From This Day Forward’ with you all.


Connect with Joana Starnes
Read It Now!
Kindle | Nook

***GIVEAWAY TIME***
Joana Starnes has kindly offered up ONE (1) ebook copy of From This Day Forward for giveaway! Open internationally! To enter, comment on the review.
For extra entries, you may also do the following:
*Tweet the review (comment you tweeted)
*Comment on my interview with Joana on Thursday
*Tweet the interview (comment you tweeted)
*Share on Facebook
Giveaway ends Wednesday, October 2. 
Best of luck!! =)



58 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Anemailname - I'm so glad you think so! Thanks for commenting, and thanks so much Ceri and Jakki for the lovely review and for having me here!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Anemailname! I hope you get to read this book. Please leave your email address or Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win! :)

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  3. Great review. Well done Ceri! Lovely to see your name there as reviewer!

    I can't get enough of books about the Darcys. And I love reading about Lizzy and Georgianna.

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    1. Didn't Ceri do a wonderful job, Katrin? Glad you liked her review! :)
      Good luck in the giveaway, Katrin! :) Reading about the three Darcy's Christmases sounds fun.

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    2. Ceri's review is so detailed and so wonderful! Thank you so much, Ceri and thanks, Katrin for popping by to comment!

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  4. I love finding out what comes after the HEA. Sounds like this is a good one. Thanks for sharing, Ceri!

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    1. Hi Sophia Rose! Finding out what happens after they say "I do" is interesting, isn't it? I hope you enjoy this story!

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    2. Ooooops! So very sorry, I missed this first time round :( Thanks so much, Sophia Rose for stopping by and especially for the vote of confidence :) I do hope you'll like it! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  6. I tweeted the review.

    https://twitter.com/sophiarose1816/status/382595259697356800

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  7. Great job, Ceri! I'm glad you liked it. I read the first few chapters online and I wanted to read more, but was unsure if I would easily get into it. The introductions of Darcy's family and friends at the beginning (I think it was Lizzy's first dinner party or something) made my head spin. lol I was hoping I wouldn't have to keep track of all those characters in my mind. And it's always fun to see how Lizzy interacts with Georgiana and the rest of her new family.

    Thanks for the giveaway, Jakki and Joana :)

    @jaffobsession

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Monica! LOL - I really should have added a family tree, or at least I should have made it obvious it was part of the plot :) That I've introduced all this confusing avalanche of new family members / servants / acquaintance who comes to call as a means of highlighting Elizabeth's own confusion, when she moved from Longbourn (where, as her mummy said, 'I'll have you know, we dine with four and twenty families!") to London, where Darcy probably dines with something like 240 :) I REALLY should have made it clearer, though, that it wasn't necessary to commit ALL these people to memory. Sorry about that!!! I hope it hasn't put you off for good! Thanks so much for popping by!

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    2. Oh no, it definitely didnt put me off. It's a great way to show what all Lizzy had to contend with. I think I remember smiling about it because Darcy was all no-big-deal about it all. But at the end of the night they all go home & she has Mr Darcy so it's all good, right? ;)

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    3. Just like the various ways authors develop Georgiana, it is always fun to see how Elzabeth & Georgiane interact. I especially like seeing G's first impression of Lizzy.
      Good luck in the giveaway, Monica! :)

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    4. I love reading about G´s first impression. Thats one crucial part for me to see if I like an author. The way he/she describes Georgiana! ;)

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  8. I tweeted!

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jaffobsession/status/382619698572959744?p=v

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  9. Sounds interesting! I love Georgiana so I am excited to see that she is a big part of the book. I'll have to look into it more. I tweeted!
    jeannaputznutz at msn dot com

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    1. Hi, Jeanna! So glad you might find it interesting, and that you love Georgiana too. In that case, you might enjoy it :) Some readers who reviewed at Amazon weren't too pleased that I focussed on Georgiana to the detriment of Elizabeth's own sisters, but as I saw it, this was not only because Georgiana lived with them and the others didn't, but especially because ensuring Georgiana's wellbeing was very much part of Elizabeth's new responsibilities, and something that would be very close to Darcy's heart, so it would be very important for Elizabeth to bond with her and help her overcome the damages done by Wickham. Good luck with the giveaway! Please come back tomorrow for the interview Jakki has very kindly organised! There's some background info coming up, and the chance of extra entries in the giveaway! All the best, Joana

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    2. I enjoy reading about Georgiana as well, Jeanna. It is interesting to see the various ways authors develop her. :) I hope you like Joana's take.

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  10. Wonderful post! I am intrigued!! Thank you for the giveaway!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Becky! Please come back tomorrow for the interview, and the extra entries in the giveaway. Good luck!

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    2. Hi Becky! So nice of you to stop by & enter the giveaway! Best of luck!

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  11. Thank you for all your kind comments on my review, and thanks again to Jakki and Joana for letting me do the review in the first place!

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    1. Once again, many thanks, Ceri, for taking the time to read it, and for the fabulous review!

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  12. tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383239415654395905

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  13. Always love to read more about Jane Austen characters - Darcy and Elizabeth are my favourite couple - I also like to see the development of the lesser characters for example Georgiana


    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi, Vesper! I really enjoy it when authors develop the secondary characters. Hope you enjoy the book. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks, Vesper! Georgiana does feature strongly in the story, as she's such an important part of Darcy's life - and therefore Elizabeth's, so I do hope you'll like it! Best of luck with the giveaway!

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  14. tweeted the review - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383240475135590400

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  15. This sounds really good. I read tons of Austenesque books, but I haven't read too many that focus on the reality of their different stations in society so I'm intrigued. Thanks for the giveaway!

    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Anna! I do hope you'll like it! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  16. Thanks for stopping by, Anna. To read about the reality of their stations does sound interesting. You are right; I haven't read many that focus on that either.

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  17. Tweeted the Review - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383548049915510784

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  18. Tweeted the Interview - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383548669825282050

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  19. I saw this go up earlier in the week and wanted to read and comment, but couldn't because I was still writing my review! YAY for Ceri's first review on Leatherbound Reviews! Great review, Ceri! I agree with you about the faithful renderings of the characters and I liked how Mrs. Bennet wasn't very harshly portrayed - I don't like when that happens. I guess I'm like a little like Jane Bennet always wanting every character to have some good in them. :) Looking forward to your next review, Ceri!

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    1. Thanks Meredith, and thanks again Ceri for the great review! I'm so glad you both liked my take on Mrs Bennet - I think she's very silly but not purposefully mean, just thoughtless and with a one-track mind. But then who can blame her, they'd all be out on their ear if Mr Collins inherits so she does need plenty of sons-in-law, in the hope that one out of 5 would put up with her :)

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  20. Sounds like a great read. Best of luck to the author!

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    1. Thanks, Felicia! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  21. What an exceptionally good review, Ceri. I love it that different bloggers offer unique styles in their review and looking forward to reading more from you. By the way you write it, the novel has certainly piqued my interest and would love to win it.

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    1. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck with the giveaway! It was a fabulous review, so detailed and warm and insightful - many thanks, Ceri, I'm looking forward to reading your next reviews.

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  22. Review tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383929517984595968

    meikleblog at gmail dot com





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  23. Interview tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/383930474671796225

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with the giveaway! I hope you win!

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  24. tweeted review -https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/384320423384477697

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  25. tweeted interview - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/384321275264376833

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  26. tweeted review - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/384658937728876544

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  27. tweeted interview - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/384660160896970752

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  28. tweeted review - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/385008609043558401

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  29. tweeted interview - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/385009968081944576

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  30. tweeted review - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/385369387198197761

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. tweeted interview - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/385370354530516992

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete