I realize this is Austen Authors, but you see, The Earl’s Bluestocking Bride is very Austen-inspired. In fact, it’s a reworking of my Austen variation, A Sense of Obligation. In recent months, I’ve become inspired by the universality of Jane Austen. Why should I not share my stories with non-Jane Austen readers? I’ve launched a new brand, Bridgewater Brides, which will house three series. Lords and Bluestockings will include my stories with a more intellectual Elizabeth Bennet. Kiss the Bride contains my forced marriage stories. A third set, yet to be named, will be spin off characters of these books.
I write my Austen stories to encompass several points of interest/genres. It’s historical fiction, historical romance, and, I hope, a faithful reworking of the original classic work. However, with these edits, I have focused more on the romance element while retaining the original frame of my story. As such, readers will sometimes see significant changes. For example, in A Sense of Obligation, the story opens with Darcy awakening after a night of intoxication to find Elizabeth’s bloodied handkerchief in his bed, leading to the erroneous presumption that he must have seduced her. In The Earl’s Bluestocking Bride, I have to introduce an entirely new cast of characters who also have different personalities and interactions. The handkerchief scene still occurs but not until Chapter Five. The next book in the Bridgewater Brides brand will be Kissed by a Lord and will feature what had been Jane and Bingley scenes of A Sense of Obligation but in such different circumstances that less than a fifth of the original scenes will be part of the Regency Romance version.
I hope Austen readers will give these books a chance. I believe in intelligent, flawed, headstrong heroines and heroes that can’t help but love such maddening women. If you love Darcy and Elizabeth as I know you do, take a chance with Dev and Vivian. I think you’ll quite enjoy them.
Understanding the layout of the house, he found the library on his second attempt at a door. Closing it behind him, he took in a deep breath. The musty smell of books filled the air and welcomed him home. Taking a moment to peruse the shelves, Dev saw signs that the library was well-used instead of merely for ornamentation. The books appeared categorized as well. First by topics and then alphabetically by author. Judging by the way Amelia was not entirely pushed all the way in, Mr. Ashworth was a fan of Henry Fielding.
Dev pulled out the volume and leafed through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the ground. He reached for it and then read aloud:
“Mr. Fielding must never have met an intelligent woman before if this is what he imagines they speak of when using allusions to the Aeneid! Why not rant about the unjustness of Aeneius’ treatment of Dido rather than merely quoting her vow – which she later rescinds – to stay faithful to her first husband. An educated woman would never find a means to criticize another woman when there are more than enough men to do that!”
Dev stood gaping at the note. He had wondered such a thing himself. “A bluestocking,” he said with wonder. No one had mentioned Ashworth’s nieces were intelligent. Rumor conveyed only their beauty.
“Yes, I am,” a feminine voice said and Dev started.
He snapped his head up and found a slip of a woman staring at him with hands on her slim hips and feet planted on the floor ready to do battle with a sharp tongue instead of a spear. Dev took a step forward, and the lady arched back her neck, showing him a sweetheart face perfect for holding in his hands and a neck worth kissing. Alarmed by his thoughts, he returned to his former position.
“Do you often break into people’s libraries and read their personal notes?” The shrew asked.
“You,” she wagged a finger at him, “are not supposed to be here. You’re a guest at the ball. And since I don’t know you, I assume you are one of the new neighbors.”
“And you must be a maid derelict in your duties,” he said coldly, and the lady’s eyebrows snapped together in anger, and she opened her mouth to argue. “Or do you mean to tell me that you are a guest, nay hostess, who shuns civility just enough to avoid the ball and berate strangers.” The mysterious lady’s mouth snapped shut. “You will not to allow them the comforts of your home or consider they might have similar reasons as your own for avoiding such an event?”
Her mouth opened ready to retort when there was a knock on the door. With a panicked look, she dropped her book and darted around a large cupboard. A second later the door opened, and Lady Belmore entered.
“My lord, what are you doing hiding in here?” she said as she came close enough to him one deep breath would rub her breasts against him. “Not that I can blame you. I was never more bored.”
Dev took a step backward. “A pity you are not enjoying the ball, my lady. I believe it is in your honor.”
“Must I ask you to call me Henrietta again? Or, since we are to be living in the same house you should call me Ettie as my brother and Belmore do.”
“Where is Belmore?” Dev asked.
Lady Belmore shrugged and waved a hand. “Around, somewhere. I had thought perhaps he was in here. I heard you speaking with someone.”
“You misheard. Perhaps the acoustics in this house are to blame. I assure you I was entirely alone in here.” He narrowed his eyes. “As I believe you well know.”
“Now, my lord,” she slid a hand up his arm. “I do know you love your solitude but the right company can bring absolute pleasure.”
Dev was attempting to disentangle his arm from her grip when they heard footsteps, and the woman willingly separated.
A bluestocking with a secret
With a family propensity for scandal, Vivian Ashworth believes she’s immune to the passions which ruled her parents. She might read about ancient seductions of Greek mythology, but no flesh and blood man ever made her heart race until she met Lord Hastings. Of course, at least half of that is anger at his arrogance.
An earl bound to duty
To restore honor to his family name after his father and brother left it in ruins, Devereux Hastings knows he must make a cold marriage to a lady of rank and wealth. Not that he’s in any hurry. Vivian’s mixture of intelligence and beauty captivate him, but he remains confident he can resist her charms.
One night changes everything
As fate brings them closer, Dev’s control slips and the line between fantasy and reality blurs. One unguarded night sees them marching to the altar, each with a different understanding of the evening in question. When the truth comes out, will it seal their love or separate them forever?
Be on the look out for more Bridgewater Brides books. I’m moving out of state (again!!) next week, actually most of my stuff is already at the new place, so I’m hoping to continue with this series as we adjust to the new area. Don’t worry, I’m still working on Austen stories. Darcy and Elizabeth will always be first in my heart! I hope to have Lord Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride available in the next few months.
Here is the purchase link and if you’re interested in reading a review copy, please let me know.