Monday, 24 November 2014

Dearest Friends by Pamela Lynne - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I have the very great pleasure of hosting a guest post from Pamela Lynne, author of Dearest Friends. We have an extract, and Pamela has very kindly offered a giveaway opportunity too, so read on for details:


Dearest Friends—and Family

This week, we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. We set aside this one day to be thankful for all the splendor bestowed upon us by divine ordinance, or if you prefer, luck of the draw. We gather our loved ones close, indulge to the point of bursting, and impatiently watch the clock tick down to midnight so we can celebrate the holiday that is quickly supplanting the one of thanks—Black Friday.

I am being sarcastic, of course. What most of us are thankful for, I believe, is our family. Whether it is the one we are born into or one we make ourselves, our family shapes us. The best kinds of family challenge us to be our best. The worst kind forces us to be our best in order to rise above the rest.  In Dearest Friends, both Darcy and Elizabeth belong to the latter.

Austen gives us great familial parallels in canon, primarily with Georgiana/Lydia and Lady Catherine/Mrs. Bennet. We see those parallels in Dearest Friends, too, though they may be a little more extreme. We have Matlock and Mr. Bennet—two estate owners who have failed to lead their family to prosperity. Lady Susan and Mrs. Bennet are both far more concerned with appearances than goodness. Lady Catherine and Mrs. Gardiner are wise advisors, though they dispense their advice a little differently and Sebastian and Mary are both assumed to be one thing, but prove themselves to be something different altogether.

As similar as the Fitzwillams and the Bennets are, one thing is jarringly different. When faced with a crisis, one acts while the other flounders. I believe that is the heart of redemption, the willingness to fight versus the inclination to fade.

Since so many of us are faced with tables full of guests this week, I thought I would share a scene from a Fitzwilliam family dinner. This did not make it into the book, so you will only see it here. I hope you enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.
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Book cover - Dearest Friends by Pamela Lynne
When the entire party was finally awake and assembled around the dinner table enjoying their soup, Darcy leaned over to Elizabeth, who was seated on his left.

“Dearest, I cannot apologize enough for my family’s behavior. It was a mistake to have them all to dinner at the same time. They are much less severe in smaller batches.”

He felt Elizabeth’s comforting touch on his arm as he looked to his sister, who sat at the end of the table, flanked by Richard and Mrs. Gardiner. A mortified blush had not left her face since Jennings’ outburst, but she was fulfilling her duties with remarkable grace.

“Georgiana is handling the situation well. I am proud of her. She was worried you would abandon us when you saw what you were marrying into. I am sorry I cannot provide better relations, but you will be impressed with the livestock at Pemberley. They are far better bred.”

Elizabeth’s soft laughter washed over him like a soothing balm. “You must not make me laugh, Fitzwilliam. It may draw their attention and we would have to speak to them.”

As Elizabeth supposed, their amusement drew the notice of Lady Catherine, who was seated opposite Elizabeth, next to her still slightly comatose brother.

“What are you speaking of, Darcy? I must have my share in the conversation. Henry here is of no use. He is barely keeping his chin out of the soup.”

“We were speaking of Pemberley’s livestock, madam.”

“Oh, more talk of cows, how delightful. And do not think I missed your butler’s comment, Darcy. It is true that Susan is an old hen, but you cannot allow your servants to speak so plainly. If he says such things above stairs, imagine what he discloses in the kitchen.”

“I assure you, his actions tonight will be addressed.”

The lady was satisfied for the moment, so Darcy turned his attentions back to his betrothed.

“Much of my upper staff here and at Pemberley have been with our family in some capacity since my grandfather was master. I am afraid it is past time for many of them to retire, but this is an area for which I am wholly unprepared. I have had to release servants from their duties before, but they were not the ones who tended my scraped knees or assisted my childhood games. Jennings knew the best hiding places in the house and Richard and Sebastian could never find me. In truth, we should have made arrangements for him before my father died, but Jennings had shown him the best hiding places, too, only then he was a footman.”

“What will you do?”

“I will not reprimand him, but I must relieve him of his duties. I cannot allow the staff to believe I am weak, and it is time for him to rest. If he wishes to continue to live here among the servants, he may, or I will arrange for him to join what is left of his family. He has survived most of them, including his wife and son.”

Elizabeth looked at him intently, the way she did when she was trying to sketch his character. He had learned that if he only waited a moment, she would ask her question.

“Was it a great burden for you, inheriting your duties so young?”

Darcy looked around to be sure no one was attending their conversation. For once he was glad for the noise coming from his family.

“As you can surely have no trouble imagining, I had little assistance adjusting to the role of master. I knew I was largely on my own, so I did not think much on it. I had no time to dwell on the burden because I was too occupied doing the work. I did not realize how difficult it had been or what an isolated life it was until a certain lady laughed at me. Can you imagine such impertinence, to laugh at the Master of Pemberley?” Darcy smiled at the imp by his side who currently feigned shock at such behavior.

“The nerve of the girl. I hope she has received a just punishment, sir.” Before Darcy could answer, they were once again interrupted. 

“And speaking of kitchens,” Lady Catherine continued, “Does your cook at Pemberley still allow that pig to sleep by the stove?”

Though several guests were seated between them, Richard could clearly hear his aunt’s voice above all others and joined the conversation, perhaps speaking louder than necessary.

“I remember her quite well. She used to wave her knife in the air when she caught us taking bread for the ducks in the pond. I believe all left over food was meant for that pig. She would rather have seen us butchered than it. Of course, the pig was just as mean. Surely it is not still alive.”

“No, Richard, that particular pig is not still alive. She has since raised and trained several others,” Darcy replied. Addressing Elizabeth alone, he continued. “Our cook trains pigs to forage for mushrooms. She grows attached to them and we have always found it better to allow her way in this particular matter. She is a very talented cook.”

“She is indeed, Lizzy. You will see for yourself when you come home that Richard is exaggerating. She is not mean at all and her pigs are always well behaved. I have often gone down to the kitchen for shortbread and she has not once waved her knife at me.” Georgiana gave her cousin a disapproving glare.

“I do not believe you, Mouse. That woman is a witch, I tell you. She goes foraging in the woods to find toads, not mushrooms.”

“Perhaps you only misunderstood her. She still mostly speaks French. However, I do believe she does not care for most English men. She does not like the way you all speak.”

“What is wrong with the way we speak?”

“I know not cousin. I overheard her say something once about English men and their un-talented tongues. She stopped talking when she noticed me so I did not hear the explanation, but she seemed very put out.”

Richard brought his napkin to his mouth before the soup he had just placed there could spew forth. When he saw his aunt nodding as if in agreement he could no longer hold back his mirth. He turned to his brother, who was faring no better.

“What say you Sebastian? Shall you travel to Pemberley and have a talk with Darcy’s cook? I just cannot fathom the idea she is displeased with our speech. It is your duty as an English gentleman. You must restore the honor of our nation.”

“You know I am always willing to perform my duty, brother, but I fear I could not get past that pig. I do have a solution, though. Darcy should send his butler. As a servant, he will not be chased out of the kitchen and, uh, speaking to the cook should be punishment enough for his outburst this evening.”

As one end of the table roared with laughter, Darcy leaned close to his betrothed.

“You were speaking of punishment, dearest? I believe the lady in question will have such extraordinary sources of mortification she will soon regret drawing my attention.”

Elizabeth smiled and touched the spot on his face where his dimple should be, were he not seated to dinner with his family.

“No, sir. If you were to ask her she would say that on the whole, she has no cause to repine.”

**

Sigh! Dearest Friends is available to buy in both paperback and ebook formats on Amazon US, Amazon UK and very likely your country's Amazon too. To keep in touch with Pamela you can visit her blog, The Happy Jaffer, follow her on Facebook, or on Twitter. You can also follow Vanity & Pride Press on Facebook, where Pamela and her fellow Austenesque author Cat Gardiner share information.

Giveaway!

Pamela has very generously offered to give away the winner's choice of an ebook or paperback copy of 'Dearest Friends'. This giveaway is open internationally, and to enter all you need to do is comment on this post. Please leave a way for me to contact you should you win, such as twitter handle, or email address. To prevent unwanted spam, you could write your email address with an (at) rather than an @. Closing date for the giveaway is Tuesday 2 December 2014. - Please note that this giveaway is now closed.

53 comments:

  1. I am sorry this scene was cut from the book, it made me chuckle. I hope you share any others, as well. The ebook is on my TBR and I will be reading it soon. Thank you for sharing this funny piece and for the generous giveaway, Pamela. Thank you for hosting this post, Ceri. skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. I do have one other outtake and will share it sometime soon. It is much shorter, though. Thank you so much and good luck!

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    2. Thanks Deborah Ann, I enjoyed it too :)

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  2. Thanks for the giveaway. If this scene was cut I can't imagine how funny the scenes are that did make the book.

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    1. Thank you tresha. Those Fitzwilliams are a riot. Good luck!

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  3. I wonder why the scene was cut - I will have to make sure that the book is added to my wish list

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks Vesper. This scene is a continuation of one that is big and boisterous. I wrote it wanting to show Elizabeth and Darcy being somewhat normal in the midst of their insane families. When placed with the previous scene, however, it was too much. A little Fitzwilliam goes a long way ;). Good luck!

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    2. That's a good question Vesper, I always wonder why a scene is cut if it's an enjoyable one, so I'm glad you asked.

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  4. just check and unfortunately the paperback is not available from Amazon Canada - does Pamela know is it will be added to that site?

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    1. You are right, Vesper. Try this link for the Createspace store.

      https://www(dot)createspace(dot)com/5042682

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  5. Sorry this was cut but it tells me that what remains will be a wonderful story. I can never get enough of Elizabeth and Darcy.
    saganchilds(a)gmail.com

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    1. I can't either schilds! I love reading stories about Elizabeth and Darcy :)

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    2. Thank you schilds. I'm a big E&D fan, too. Good luck!

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  6. I really love this excerpt, Pamela, as it is funny. I wish it could be added back into the story. Thanks for giving away a copy!

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. This excerpt is great isn't it! I'm so glad Pamela chose to share it here.

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    2. Thank you Luthien. I didn't feel it was right for the book, but I'm glad I was able to share it here. Good luck!

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  7. I can't imagine why publishers decide to cut a scene...sometimes they have very strange reason...

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    1. Pamela gave the reason in one of the comments above, Loren, it was part of a longer scene and it was a bit too much Fitzwilliam family. They seem quite full-on don't they! Thanks for commenting :)

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    2. It just would have been too much. I'm glad for the opportunity to share it here.

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  8. What a hoot! I needed that extra scene on a windy, dreary Monday. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I thought this was a really fun scene too Sophia :)

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    2. Glad you liked it Sophia. Thanks!

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    3. I forgot to leave my email for the contest. Oops!
      sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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  9. Thanks for the give-away. I can't wait to read the entire book!
    lbeason@harding.edu

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    1. Thanks Loren, I'm looking forward to reading it too.

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  10. Golly gosh, if the rest is as funny, then we're in for a good old time with our Dearest Friends, by the looks of things. Thanks for sharing this with us Pamela and thanks for hosting the giveaway, Ceri.

    angmardee@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks Anji! It looks like a fun read.

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    2. Thank you Anji. I had a lot of fun with them. Good luck!

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  11. Pamela, I love this scene!! I can remember the scene just prior to this one and I believe I laughed so hard with how you wrote the Fitzwilliams!!!! So dysfunctional but amazingly great!!

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    1. Thank you, Erika! They are something, but you can't help but love them. One in particular, am I right?

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  12. I'm guessing that scene was the one that was kept in the finished book, great to know it's laugh out loud material Erika!

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  13. I have a comment to add on behalf of T Garcia, whose comment was eaten by Blogger - I'm so sorry about that, I know this happens to me on blogs sometimes, it seems to happen when I've clicked on a link in the Facebook app and it opens blogger within the app. I usually find if I open the website in my web browser instead then I can leave a comment.

    "I hope I get the chance to buy your book soon, if this is a sample, it should be a riot!"

    Thanks for your comment, despite the difficulties leaving it, and good luck in the giveaway!

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    1. Parts of it are, but be warned that there are some dark parts as well. One of my favorite quotes on writing comes from Joss Whedon. "Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then for the love of God, someone tell a joke." I think that describes DF pretty well.

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  14. Love a good book that doesn't take itself too seriously! I really like the way you write the characters!!
    Even if I don't win it, I will be reading this one!! Thank you for the chance!
    theardentreader at aol dot com

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    1. Thanks for commenting Angie!

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    2. Thank you, Angie. I wouldn't call this one a straight comedy, but we do have plenty of opportunities to laugh. Good luck!

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  15. Thank you for sharing the deleted scene. It's always so much fun to read any deleted scenes or vignettes to a story. It's an added bonus to be able to savory the story longer.

    Looking forward to reading this novel! Thank you for the giveaway. My email address is tdungnvu (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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    1. I was so pleased Pamela chose to share a deleted scene with us, Dung Vu, as like you I always enjoy reading them. Thanks for your comment!

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed, Dung. Good luck!

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  16. Sounds like a book I´d love to read! :)
    mmyheartishere@gmail.com

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  17. Very fun scene to read! Thanks for sharing it since we will not get to read it in the book. This book is going on my 'too lengthy' TBR list!

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    1. My TBR is just the same Janet, I have books on there that I'm really keen to read but wonder if I'll ever get to! Thanks for commenting :)

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    2. My TBR list has been growing since I started writing. I will never get caught up. Thanks and good luck!

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  18. Hello Ceri,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderfully talented author. I love Jane Austen and many times when I pick up a "sequel" I feel as if the characters have been changed and the writing voice is different. However, in this little scene I feel as if I am reading Jane Austen. Perhaps Pamela is Jane Austen reincarnated.

    I put this book on Santa's list for Christmas.

    Thank you,

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    1. Thanks for your comment Ed, I am sure Pamela will be thrilled to receive such positive feedback!

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    2. Oh my. I think I might swoon. That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Thank you Ed. I am going to bed a very happy girl tonight.

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  19. Pamela, your writing talent amazes me! This excerpt is so funny, just like so many of the scenes in the book. The book, truly, remains as one of my favorites. No need to put me in the drawing, I have print and ebooks of both... I just wanted to let you and everyone else know how much I love them. ;). I am going to read FP as soon as I reread DF. I'll let you know how much I love it when I'm done, because there is no doubt that I will love it.

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