Showing posts with label Mercy's Embrace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mercy's Embrace. Show all posts

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner of 3-book Giveaway: Mercy's Embrace

Sorry for the delay happens!

Without further ado, I am happy to announce that the winner of all three books, is Vee.

Vee - I have emailed you. Please reply with your mailing address and Laura will sign and mail your books.

Congratulations and enjoy these marvelous books.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Patrick McGillvary and Elizabeth Elliot from Mercy's Embrace

We're closing in fast on the final day (Thursday, October 28 at midnight) of the 3-book giveaway of Mercy's Embrace, by Laura Hile. To enter, leave a comment on this or the previous post and include your email address. This giveaway is for U.S. only.

To whet your appetite I wanted to share with you this scene that Laura just provided in which Admiral Patrick McGillvary and Miss Elizabeth Elliot condescend to answer my questions regarding their relationship. Cue Dating Game theme song please...

Elizabeth's sister apologized profusely, but McGillvary scarcely heard. Peace and quiet were what he needed, and soon! But the state of the Musgrove household was such that these were not likely to be found anywhere but the cellar! At last, still talking, Mary Musgrove left him alone in a shabby workroom, but not before giving the leather packet a longing look. It had been delivered to McGillvary by special messenger, and the strained expression on Elizabeth’s face had wrung his heart. He had no such sympathy for Mary Musgrove. He rather enjoyed closing the door on her.

The contents of the packet were much as he expected. Admiral Blankenship had been casting out hints for some time; this summons was hardly a surprise. Even so, it would have been helpful to know what the man was up to. McGillvary read through the orders several times. And then he noticed the letter.

It was heavily sealed and, unless he missed his guess, had been written by a woman’s hand. The paper, much stained, was particularly fine. But it was the postmark that caught McGillvary’s attention. His eyes narrowed. Had this letter come from the American West? How was this possible? Immediately McGillvary broke the seals, spread the sheet, and searched for the signature. “Who the devil,” he muttered at last, “is Jane Greensmith?”

He began to read … and at once looked about for a seat. The workroom’s only chair was occupied. “Out you go, sirrah,” McGillvary said to the cat and tipped the chair. He sat and went on with his reading. And then he began to laugh. For here was a list of questions, and what questions they were! A court martial could scarcely be more thorough!

What did you like best and least about the time you spent "slumming" as Patrick Gill?
Slumming? McGillvary worked to recall the meaning of this term. Slum, as in a back room? One that opened onto an alley? He had met with Elizabeth in such circumstances, now that he thought on it. And had he enjoyed it? Certainly at first – although what business it was of Ms Greensmith’s he could not say. Even so, he had to smile. The fine Miss Elliot, reduced to taking tea with a lowly clerk! How he had laughed. But later, after their meetings had become something more, the lies had multiplied. How he’d hated them, and himself.

McGillvary didn’t much care for these questions. Even so, he was intrigued. He went on to read the next one.

Would you advise deceit and disguise to other gentlemen as an effective means of procuring not only the hand but the love of the lady you wish to marry?
McGillvary shook his head. Clearly Ms Greensmith was a madwoman! Marriage, much like service to the Crown, was based on loyalty and trust. And yet, he reflected, it was a curious thing. Without knowledge of a suitor’s wealth and social status, a woman was less prone to pretense and flattery. McGillvary sat for some minutes thinking. Then he went hunting for a pencil and paper to answer Ms Greensmith.

“As to courting and deceit,” he wrote, “I would advise that a gentleman not wear his best raiment. Or drive a fine – or even passable-looking! – vehicle. The object of his affection must love him for himself, not for the comforts he is able to afford. As well, I have found that the sight of a gentleman’s handsome house, in particular, brings female ambitiousness to fever pitch.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live? Where would Miss Elliot choose?
McGillvary did not know how to reply. It was difficult to make people understand that he cared little for any particular spot, being more attracted to the opportunity or challenge offered by a location. Belsom Park, his family’s estate in Bath, was a conventional answer. The latter part of the question was easier. “Miss Elliot,” he wrote, “would doubtless say that she prefers Kellynch Hall to any residence. But that answer, I fear, would be made from habit and family loyalty. She has lately expressed a preference for London.” He paused to smile. “Or even,” he added, “a ship of the line.”

Can a house have too many looking glasses?
McGillvary’s lips twitched. “Not,” he wrote, “in a bathing chamber shared with one’s wife.”

If you were to fight a duel, say with someone related to Miss Elliot, which weapon would you choose?
By this, of course, Ms Greensmith meant William Elliot. “When engaging a relation of Elizabeth’s in combat,” McGillvary wrote, “one must first ascertain whether it is to be a battle of swords or wits.” Neither presented much difficulty when it came to the Elliots, but he could hardly say so to Ms Greensmith.

“As to choice of weapon,” he went on, “the sword is preferable to the pistol. Not that I am unskilled with the latter, but there is only one shot. A sword allows more opportunities for engagement, as well as greater gratification.” The fact that sword fighting was more fun because of the mess McGillvary decided not to share.

How did naval life prepare you for your courtship of Miss Elliot?
McGillvary rolled his eyes. How many pages did Ms Greensmith expect him to fill? Instead he hunted in a pocket for his notebook. He had a quotation of Gibbon’s that would answer nicely. “The wind and waves,” he copied out, “are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”

Is marrying the love of your life worth it if it means having to deal with her wretched family forever?
McGillvary did not hesitate. “Absolutely worth it,” he wrote. “Fortunately, Elizabeth’s family estate is buried in an out-of-the-way spot. The challenge will be in convincing Sir Walter Elliot to remain there.”

Whose family is the more trying, yours or Miss Elliot's?
McGillvary drew a long breath. Ms Greensmith must live in a nunnery, he decided, for clearly she had little understanding of family matters. “Whoever is in need of the most money is the most trying,” he wrote.

If you had met Miss Elliot when you were a young man, would you have fallen in love with her then?
“I fear I would have had little appreciation for Elizabeth’s strength of character,” McGillvary wrote. “As a young man I was set on making a life apart from my father and, most particularly, his second wife. Elizabeth, who is nearly ten years my junior, was at that time enamored with the idea of marrying her cousin.”

If you had meet Miss Elliot as a married man, would you have pursued her?
McGillvary grimaced. Ms Greensmith did not understand the rules of this game. He chewed on the end of the pencil as he thought. “Unmarried woman,” he wrote at last, “are rarely pursued for the purposes of dalliance. The risks are too great. As well, there is little sport in breaking an innocent heart. No, in these unfortunate alliances, both parties are married, and both are involved in the game of chase. And in the tidal wave of consequence, which is not only ugly, but bitterly and powerfully far-reaching.”

What is the thing in life you regret the most?
“The involvements I refer to above comprise the greatest regret. Second, that I did not in the pages of the Mercy’s Embrace actually punch William Elliot.

Do you think you ever would have thawed Miss Elliot's manner to you had you not assumed the guise of Patrick Gill?
McGillvary wrote decisively. “Certainly. You can hardly expect me to admit otherwise.”

How do you think Miss Elliot will adapt to her role as "Mamma" to your Cleora?
McGillvary gave a sharp intake of breath and dropped the pencil. Elizabeth as Cleora’s mama? How was it that he had never thought of this? “Oh my word,” he grumbled, as he dropped to his knees to hunt for it. “Elizabeth as mama! We are in the suds!”

Meanwhile Elizabeth Elliot was in the front parlor, holding a letter given her by Charles Musgrove. It was from a woman Elizabeth had never met. Benumbed by the long journey, as well as the strain of seeing the express packet delivered to Patrick, Elizabeth could only stare. The questions were both pert and presuming, but somehow she could not toss the letter aside. Against her will she continued reading.

Admiral McGillvary spent a great deal of time with you disguised as a poor clerk. If you had the opportunity to pretend to be someone you're not, who would you chose and why?
Elizabeth pursed her lips. This showed how little the sender of the letter knew! Why would she pretend to be someone else now that everything was at last coming right? Not that assuming a disguise would have done any good, for she had had no money to carry it off! Patrick would amuse himself by pretending to be poor, like the princes in fairy tales. But poverty, Elizabeth had discovered, was vastly overrated.

If she were to pretend to be anyone, she would doubtless choose the Viscountess Dalrymple. But Lady Dalrymple was both prideful and unattractive … and also, Elizabeth now realized, rather isolated and lonely. It would not have been a happy venture.

Would you advise deceit and disguise to other gentlemen as an effective means of procuring not only the hand but the love of the lady?
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Why, this letter was sent to the wrong Elliot! Her loathsome cousin, William Elliot, was the master of wooing ladies by deceit and disguise. This question would be better answered by Penelope Clay!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live? Where would Admiral McGillvary choose?
What a question! She, of course, would choose to live with Patrick, wherever that may be. And he would say the same.

Can a house have too many looking glasses?
Elizabeth turned the letter over to look at the direction. Was the sender acquainted with her father? How he would enjoy answering this question! But on this subject Elizabeth was in agreement with Lady Russell: Looking glasses were the province of the very young. In every other woman – herself included! – they revealed too many unflattering flaws.

How did life with your sisters and father prepare you for your future as the Admiral's wife?
Elizabeth sighed heavily. Diplomacy was needed when dealing with Anne; combat tactics with Mary. And her father required not only flattery and compliments, but amused responses to jokes and sallies.

Do you get seasick?
Both of Elizabeth’s brows went up. Why, the Elliots were never sick; everyone knew that! Her father had only pretended to be ill to avoid bill collectors.

Have you ever traveled outside of England? Do you enjoy travel?
Here she experienced a stab of regret. Aside from trips to London with her father and the occasional journey to Bath, she had traveled nowhere. It was a lowering thought.

You have had several role models of mothers in your life--your mother, Lady Russell, Mrs. Musgrove, your sister Mary. What kind of a mother doing you see yourself being to Cleora?
What kind of mother would she be to Cleora? A shopping mother, she decided. No, she would do better. She would stand by Cleora during her first agonizing season as debutante, guiding and directing her through the maze of social intricacies. She would not leave the girl to fend for herself, as her own father had done.

If you had meet Admiral McGillvary when he was a young man, would he have fallen in love with you?
Elizabeth put up her chin. Of course he would have.

If you had met Admiral McGillvary when he was a married man and he pursued you, how would you have responded?
This question was more to the point, and Elizabeth squirmed in her chair. Certainly she would have fallen in love with Patrick, but to what end? Nothing could have come of it – no engagement, no marriage, no romance. Only private heartbreak. In this her lot would have been even more miserable than Anne’s.

Would Admiral McGillvary have ever won you over had he not assumed the guise of Patrick Gill?
He would certainly have commanded attention, Elizabeth decided, for he was rich! And as such, he was just what she was looking for in a husband! But would she have come to love him as truly as she now did? Regretfully, no.

What is the thing in life you regret the most?
Elizabeth drew a long breath, for her regrets were many. Following her father in his headlong pursuit of vanity and foolishness came to mind first. But she had also abandoned her mother’s principles and example.

What is the thing in life you treasure the most?
The answer to this came flooding forward: The chance to start again, to live life on new and better terms.

Are you relieved that you are finally "off the shelf?"
Elizabeth smiled ruefully. Aside from the present scene, newly written, she had been left on the final page of the book standing on a country road, unmarried. This hardly constituted being “off the shelf.”

Are you a dog person or a cat person?
This last question brought a smile. Thanks to Sweetie, Elizabeth now knew that she was, after all, a dog person. So long as someone else fed the dog, bathed the dog, trained the dog, cleaned up after the dog...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Lady Must Decide - Giveaway for all 3 books in Mercy's Embrace series

Over the last weekend, I had the very great pleasure of finishing a story that I started reading years ago. Laura Hile's story, Mercy's Embrace is the story of Elizabeth Elliot, Persuasion's Anne Elliot's nasty older sister, and it has been packaged into three books. The third, The Lady Must Decide, was released in August.

I have been waiting for years to find out what exactly Elizabeth decided to do, given her aged state (29 years) and her various suitors, which ranged from the disgusting Mr. Rushworth (post-Maria Bertram) to the smarmy William Elliot to the deceitful but charming Admiral Patrick McGillvary.

I was also curious as to whether Charles Musgrove would really turn out to be a rake, and whether Lady Russell could actually go through with her hopelessly misguided plan to marry Sir Walter. I also wanted to find out just how far Captain Wentworth's patience would stretch when it came to putting up with and bailing out of trouble his Elliot in-laws. I wanted to find out which of her sisters would give Mary the dressing down she so justly deserves.

I was not disappointed. The Lady Must Decide moves at a breakneck pace, as Hile deftly ties up the loose ends of the various threads surrounding the fates and fortunes of the Elliot family members and their friends, spouses, cousins, and enemies. She ties up those threads with characteristic humor, warmth, sparkle, and, of course, romance. I found the ending pitch perfect!

I closed the book with a smile and a promise to myself to reread it again soon, starting, of course, with book 1, So Rough a Course. Congratulations, Laura, on a wonderful Persuasion sequel. I consider Elizabeth Elliot among my favorite heroines these days!

Now, on to the big news.

Laura has generously offered to provide all three books as a giveaway (U.S. only this time, though). Not only that, she has persuaded the dangerously charming Patrick McGillvary to submit to an interview. And knowing Miss Elliot as I now do, I wouldn't be surprised if she popped in to offer her two cents as well. Stay tuned.

All (U.S. only) who leave a comment on this blog post or those that include interviews with either Patrick McGillvary or Elizabeth Elliot are eligible to win all three books in the Mercy's Embrace series. Be sure to include your email address if you wish to enter the giveaway and confirm that your mailing address is in the U.S. Entries for the giveaway will be accepted through midnight Mountain Time on Thursday, October 28. I will announce the winner on Friday, October 29.

To recap, the Mercy's Embrace books are:
So Rough a Course
So Lively a Chase
The Lady Must Decide

Because inquiring minds want to know, here is an interview I did with Laura when I reviewed So Lively a Chase.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And the Winner Is...of Mercy's Embrace, books 1 & 2

I am please to announce that Giada M is the winner of So Rough a Course and So Lively a Chase, the first two books in Laura Hile's delightful trilogy Mercy's Embrace.

Congratulations Giada--Laura and I both hope you enjoy the books.

Stay tuned for book 3, The Lady Must Decide, which is due out in May.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Laura Hile, Author of Mercy's Embrace...Unmasked!

Laura Hile is the author of Mercy’s Embrace, a three-book novel, of which the first two books are now available. So Rough a Course (Book One) and So Lively a Chase (Book Two) tell the story of Elizabeth Elliot, the older sister of Anne Elliot, the heroine of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and how she comes to fall in love with Patrick McGillvary, the man she vows to hate. I just finished So Lively A Chase and I’m eagerly awaiting publication of the third and final volume in this wonderful story.

In the meantime, I thought my blogger friends would be interested in meeting Laura, whom I first met about ten years ago, when we were both writing fanfiction at the Derbyshire Writers Guild and Bits of Ivory, the now-defunct story board at the Republic of Pemberley. I fell in love with the story that she and Susan Kaye were co-authoring, Love Suffers Long and Is Kind, a Persuasion alternate universe story, and I have been following her writing career ever since.

If you would like to win a copy of So Lively a Chase, here's what you can do:
1) Leave a comment for Laura on this post for one entry.
2) Tweet about this post for another entry.
3) Become a follower of my blog for yet a third entry.

Make sure you provide me with your email address so that I can notify you when you win. The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 11 after 5 pm (MDT).

For those of you who don't win the freebie, visit the Austen Emporium and check out the great Austen-inspired books there plus other Cafe Press goodies:

Welcome, Laura. I want to congratulate you on the publication of Mercy’s Embrace. It’s really a thrill for me to interview you on my blog today.

As you know, Jane, I spend my days shut up with middle-school students, helping them cope with the agonies of pre-algebra, English grammar, sentence diagramming, and the like. While I do enjoy their company -- thirteen-year-olds are an endless source of comic inspiration! -- it is a pleasure write this for you today. Thinking readers! Civilized manners! Culture and refinement and peace! For a weary middle-school teacher, these are heady themes ...

Now that the formalities are out of the way, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to write about Elizabeth Elliot of all characters? Before I read your story, she was one of the characters that I truly loved to hate!

Ah yes, our Elizabeth is a real stinker, isn't she! And I was in there with you, Jane, hating away ... until one day I realized that Elizabeth is an eldest daughter, like me. She has an ill-concealed superiority complex...and I do, too! In fact, if I'd been born beautiful, I would have been just as awful as Elizabeth! I suppose this is why she is easy to write -- she's me! I should also add that Austen's Mary Musgrove is easy to write...

I began dabbling in Austen fiction in 1999, when the the Internet was young, for the sole reason that I wanted to accomplish something! Seriously. At that time I was a stay-at-home mom. My sons were in elementary school (and younger) and the cycle of household chores was never-ending. Every single thing I did -- even at work! I delivered a daily newspaper, The Oregonian -- had to be done again and again! The woeful state of my checking account meant that any hobby I took up had to be cheap. Writing qualified! The wheezy 486 desktop computer in our bedroom was perfect for my purposes, and dial-up Internet was a gateway to the wide world. Ah, the thrill of posting a story installment on the web! I watched the chapters pile up in my notebook. Here was accomplishment!

These days my sons are older, and I'm teaching full time. I've exchanged household chores and newspaper delivery for needy students! The time available for writing is much less, and my brain is weary and cluttered. On Saturdays and during school vacations (when I am, in theory, able to think) I write like mad.

I discovered Elizabeth Elliot's potential while working on Love Suffers Long and is Kind with Susan Kaye. What could be better than a beautiful, opinionated woman in want of a fortune? Although I've made Elizabeth more intelligent than Austen did, she's not as smart as she thinks. She's a well-bred Regency "Lucy Ricardo" whose schemes go sadly awry.

I never thought of Elizabeth Elliot as Lucy Ricardo, but I can see the connection! That's hilarious.

What is the title of the third book in the series and when can we expect it to be available?

The third book is called Mercy's Embrace: The Lady Must Decide, and it should be available in May. The title reflects my struggle, for as I wrote I became convinced that a "real life" Elizabeth would abandon the risk of true love and would settle for social position and security offered by her loathsome cousin!

Do you blog, and if so, what role does blogging play in the life of an author in the 21st century?

I've tried blogging, but I've yet to hit upon a topic that comes naturally and is interesting! (How sad is this?) What I do best is write fiction, so I began posting a work-in-progress Regency story, Mare's Nest, and, between book manuscripts, have been inching along. A link to my fiction blog can be found at I also blog at

Are you a plotter or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

I am a plotter, although not a very organized one. Too often I find myself in a fix (due to some detail or other that I've overlooked) and have to write my way out. In this respect, writing a book manuscript is very different than writing a serialized novel. In a book, mistakes can be fixed! Not so with serialized fiction. Readers remember, so the writer must twist the plot around yet again ...

Do you ever feel like your characters take on a life of their own, and do you let them dictate the story or do you rein them in?

As much as I like to think that I have the characters under my thumb, I don't. A story is a living thing, and readers aren't the only ones to be entertained by an unexpected change of direction! The biggest surprise for me came when Lady Russell's staid butler, Longwell, lifted himself from the very proper speech I'd planned and gave vent to his true feelings. Astonished, I kept typing as words rolled out. Magic moments like these make the grinding work of writing worthwhile.

I find Mercy’s Embrace to be a lovely mix of Austen characters in a Georgette Heyer world. Are you a Heyer fan? If so, do you have a favorite?

Ah, so you have found me out! I discovered Heyer at a time when most of her books were out of print, and for years I kept a lookout in libraries and used bookstores. Now that I think on it, the combative courtship of Elizabeth and Patrick was very probably influenced by Regency Buck. Other Heyer favorites include The Masqueraders, The Toll Gate, and Cotillion. I might add that fans of Heyer's A Civil Contract will see undertones in Love Suffers Long and is Kind.

Do you take a fiendish delight in writing cliff-hangers? You’re awfully good at bringing us tantalizingly close to resolution and then WHAM! Another monkey wrench throws everything up in the air again.

My love of the cliff-hanger was perfected during the years I wrote serialized fiction. Smarty-pants readers were too fond (I thought) of posting their ideas on message boards, thus thwarting the element of surprise. The Elizabeth Elliot in me took delight in outsmarting them!

I hope I rank in the smarty-pants category--I remember trying to figure out where you were taking the story and was surprised more often than not. Next question, how do you balance research—getting the details right for a historical fiction—with the need to get on with the storytelling? Do you do all your research up front or research as the need arises?

For me, research happens on an as-needed basis. Most of what I've learned comes from my love of reading old books. Also, because of television and cinema, modern readers expect the story to be told in action and dialog. This works in my favor, as I am not very good at description!

Tell us about your publisher, Wytherngate Press, and the Crown Hill Writers Guild.

Wytherngate Press is a small publishing house based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Pamela Aidan's very popular Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy was first released by Wytherngate, and was later picked up by Simon and Schuster. The Crown Hill Writers Guild is a group of like-minded writing friends.

What kind of a writing project do you think you will tackle next? Have you started your next novel?

Susan Kaye and I have decided to experiment with the Kindle market. This spring and summer we are editing our epic-size tale, Love Suffers Long and is Kind, for release (at Christmas?) as a series of ebooks. The idea is to have all five volumes available at the same time, and for a very low price apiece. Readers either adore or loathe this "what-if" story featuring Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, and Kindle is the perfect venue for it. I must say, it's been wonderful to work with my beloved James Benwick once again. I'm hopeful that Susan and I will at last be able to write the concluding (two?) volumes to this story.

For 2012, I am planning to release Mercy's Hard Bargain, the sequel to Mercy's Embrace.

I for one am looking forward to reading Love Suffers Long again front-to-back, but I'll have to stock up on tissues. There were a couple of scenes near the beginning that just devastated me--so powerful, so poignant. Also, I absolutely adore your James Benwick. Turns out to be a real hero.

Moving on... What do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

My sentimental favorite is Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, with Austen's Pride and Prejudice running a close second. Although I love sparkling romances, I find myself more often reaching for cozy mysteries. Dorothy L Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, PD James, and Ralph McInerny are favorite authors.

What is the best and the worst things that have happened to you since you’ve become a writer?

After teaching creative writing at our high school for eight years, a schedule conflict prevented me from offering it this fall. I shake my head and smile. Just when I become a published author, the writing class is canceled...

On the other hand, I am amazed and humbled to hear how I've entertained and amused "real life" friends, even my very well educated cousins. I've become a bit of a celebrity to my students, and I use this for all it's worth. Now when I tell them, "Somebody will write the songs / the television scripts / the adventure novels of the future, and it might as well be you," I hold up published books. "If I can do this," I tell them, "so can you. Do not abandon your dreams just because they involve hard work."

Thank-you, Laura, for sharing your thoughts, dreams, and insights with us. It's been great getting to know you over the years, and I absolutely adore your Austen-inspired stories. You're a wonderful writer who deserves a huge following.

Best wishes and write on!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at the Printed Page. This is the first time I've done this particular meme, but since I've started using PaperBackSwap I have a lot more books flowing into and out of my mailbox.

I'm looking forward to participating in and reading all the great posts that will be part of the March Classics Circuit, which features Georgette Heyer. Since I've already read the book I'll be posting on, I thought I'd acquire and read a few more so that I can get the most out of the tour.

An Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War arrived this week. I wanted to follow up my recent reread of Vanity Fair with another fictional account of Brussels on the eve of Waterloo, and this was recommended more than once including Library Journal on Amazon:

This must be the most accurately researched and detailed battle description that has ever appeared in a book of romantic fiction. The battle itself, and the weeks before and after it, forms the time line and backbone of this novel. The title refers to the Duke of Wellington's unkind nickname for the motley collection of national armies under his command in 1815 at Waterloo. Set in Brussels, as the French and Allied forces are converging, Heyer's story concerns the stormy courtship between Lady Barbara Childe and Col. Definitely a romance for the historically minded reader, there is no fluff here.

As did The Foundling. Here's what Amazon had to say about it:
One of readers', librarians' and booksellers' most frequently requested Heyers, The Foundling features Gilly, the seventh Duke of Sale.

A diffident young man of 24 years, easily pushed around by his overprotective uncle and the retinue of devoted family retainers who won't let him lift a finger for himself, the Duke sometimes wishes he could be a commoner. One day he decides to set out to discover whether he is "a man, or only a Duke."

Beginning with an incognito journey into the countryside to confront a blackmailer, he encounters a runaway school boy, a beautiful but airheaded orphan, one of literature's most appealing and well-spoken comic villains, and a series of alarming and even life threatening events from which he can extricate himself only with the help of his shy and lovely fiancé.

And Why Shoot a Butler? Again from Amazon's product description:

In an English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it's the butler who's the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled.

This gives me a good cross-section of Heyer--a historical, a Regency, and a mystery. A perfect antidote to endless winter.

Fever Pitchby Nick Hornby also arrived, and I put New York and Scenes of Clerical Life on hold so that I could dive into this memoir of one Brit's obsession with football, aka soccer.

Finally, volume two (So Lively a Chase) of Laura Hile's wonderful Elizabeth Eliot story, Mercy's Embrace, arrived from Amazon.

Dare I hope for another snow storm to keep me inside next weekend to enjoy these riches? Nay, I can read whether it's snowing or not...preferably NOT!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Update on Mercy's Embrace

A few days ago, Meredith from Austenesque Reviews commented on my review of Laura Hile's Persuasion-inspired story, Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course, a two-parter on Elizabeth Eliot, Anne's snotty older sister. My review is on book 1, which is entitled "So Rough a Course."

Meredith said:
I am eager to read this one now that I have finished Susan Kaye's books and you wrote such a great review about it! Is the Patrick McGillvary in this book based off the one in Ms. Kaye's?

I just replied:
Yes--Laura Hile and Susan Kaye co-wrote a fanfic story years ago that included Patrick McGillvary, and when Laura started work on Mercy's Embrace, my understanding is that she asked Susan for permission to use McGillvary in her story as well.

Then I had the bright idea of asking Laura whether she would care to elaborate, and she did:
Admiral Patrick McGillvary is Susan Kaye's creation for her Frederick Wentworth stories, and she has graciously allowed me to use him in my work. He's a bit of a bad boy who has learned wisdom the hard way -- through experience. As Sue and I worked out various storylines for our collaborataive fiction, we noticed that McGillvary had cast an interested eye at the so-proud Elizabeth Elliot. This made us sit back on our heels and take notice. What an idea! Patrick McGillvary's journey into love -- being caught in net of his own making -- became the basis for Mercy's Embrace. Over time it grew into a romp filled with many of Austen's Persuasion characters and is, I hope, an entertaining read.

Rest assured, Laura, your stories are always a romp and always entertaining. I thought Laura's note was worth sharing because it provides a glimpse into the creative process. When Laura and Susan were writing their Persuasion what-if story eons ago, they discovered a new character who had a story all of his own. More often than not, when I sit down to write I have only a vague idea of what I want to say but the act of putting fingertips to keyboard ignites the thought process and soon I am discovering ideas I hadn't known were brewing.

Visit Laura's website for info on her soon-to-be published book 2 of the Elizabeth Eliot story, "So Lively a Chase," as well as her other works.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So Rough a Course - introducing Elizabeth Elliot

I have been eagerly anticipating reading book 1, Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course, of Laura Hile's trilogy Mercy's Embrace, which is basically about the Other Elliot girl, Elizabeth.

We all know that Elizabeth is one of the wicked sisters in the fairy tale that is Austen's Persuasion, devaluing the saintly Anne, wallowing in vanity and pretension, and sitting on the shelf while the years of eligibility slip by. There is virtually nothing to like about Elizabeth Elliot. She's even beautiful, not having lost her bloom due to heartbreak at a tender age.

Laura Hile has found a kernal in Elizabeth that isn't despicable and within the first couple of chapters has worked it so that Elizabeth is a fully realized, likeable in a snarky sort of way, plucky heroine. I just know I'll be fearing and cheering for Elizabeth as she deals with the financial morass that her feckless father, the uber vain Sir Walter Elliot, has gotten the family into while she attempts to find love and security and an actual life for herself.

Elizabeth is not perfect--believe me, she is no Anne Elliot--but she has spunk, and unlike Lou Grant from the Mary Tyler Moore show, I like spunk.

I am looking forward to a thoroughly enjoyable romp through Austenland with Hile and Elizabeth Elliot and the very promising Adm Patrick McGillvary. This is summer reading at its best.