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Friday, 28 November 2014

The Falmouth Connection by Joana Starnes - Review + Giveaway

Book Cover: The Falmouth Connection by Joana Starnes
I was so excited to see that there was a new book by one of my favourite Austenesque authors, Joana Starnes. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed two of her books this year, ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ and ‘The Second Chance’, both of which mix characters from other Austen books in with our favourites from ‘Pride & Prejudice’, but ‘The Falmouth Connection’ is a variation featuring only characters from ‘Pride & Prejudice’. What if... Elizabeth was called away from Hunsford before Darcy could propose? That is what happens here, an estranged relative of Mrs Bennet has summoned the whole Bennet family to her estate in Falmouth. Darcy is determined to propose and desperate to get a chance to do so before Elizabeth leaves.  Elizabeth has to meet her family at Basingstoke, some 80 miles or so from Kent, which has caused the Collinses a dilemma, as they don’t want to send her unescorted. When Colonel Fitzwilliam offers to solve the problem by escorting her en route to returning to his duties in Portsmouth, chaperoned by a maid, his cousin quickly speaks up, and offers to take them both, knowing that this unprecedented behaviour will require some explanation to the Colonel.

Colonel Fitzwilliam is supportive of Darcy’s choice of future wife, but unimpressed by his arrogance and utterly aghast at the thought that he is planning to make Miss Bennet aware of his condescension in overlooking her family being so far beneath him:
“Go and propose to her by listing all her failings and see what good it does you! Do not imagine though that I will spare you the ‘I told you so’!”
During the journey, Darcy is unable to find an opportunity to speak privately to Elizabeth, but unfortunately the Colonel does, and, as per his role in 'Pride & Prejudice'. while trying to further his cousin’s suit, instead he manages to drop him right in it instead! The gentlemen deliver Elizabeth to her family and leave. We see a very perceptive side to Lydia here, who, in the space of less than 24 hours manages to make Mr Darcy aware of his blunder in splitting up Bingley and Jane and also channels her mother’s matchmaking intuition and instantly sees something that Lizzy has been blind to:
“Oh Lizzy, just think – and he said you were not handsome enough to tempt him. Oh, what a laugh! Who would have thought it? Mr Darcy!” 
“Hush, Lydia!” this time Elizabeth and Jane urged, both at once, and Jane stared at her sister in concern, as Elizabeth’s mouth literally fell open.
Unable to propose, and slowly coming to the realisation that that the lady he loves might not feel any affection towards him and that she might also be extremely angry with him, Darcy decides that he needs to set things right for Bingley as soon as possible, and moreover, that he needs to head for Falmouth, to see what he can do to recover the situation. There, after a delay in discovering the exact location of the Bennets, he discovers three problems. Firstly, he has a rival for Elizabeth’s affections, his nemesis Wickham is working as a steward at a neighbouring estate, and something very fishy is going on.

This was quite different from Joana Starnes’ previous books but I was absolutely riveted by it. Darcy’s slow realisation of the hash he’d made of things was almost painful. Since Darcy doesn’t make his proposal rudely, and knowing and pitying him for his unreciprocated feelings rather than being taken by surprise means that the ‘Hunsford’ moment wasn’t full of vitriol and indignation as in canon, but just utterly heartrending. I thought the emotion in this story was fantastic, Darcy’s despair, Elizabeth’s anger and later her sadness for the pain she’s had to cause, and lots of romance. The story was certainly not lacking in action, and we even got a swordfight! There were also some fisticuffs, which were unfortunately off page, as it involved a character I would love to see being a bit more active! On the downside, I felt that some of the romantic feelings did evolve a bit too quickly, which to be fair, is something that is actually addressed in the book. I would have liked part of the story to take place over a few days rather than a single night so that the feelings could develop at a slightly slower rate. I also wasn’t convinced by one of the pairings without seeing much of the couple together.

One of the things that I’ve noted before in Ms Starnes’ books is that she gives Mrs Bennet some sympathetic treatment – often in JAFF Mrs Bennet is portrayed pretty harshly, which I think is a shame, as I think Austen views her affectionately. Here, Mrs Bennet doesn’t play much of a role, but she warms markedly to Darcy when she sniffs a potential suitor in him. This reversal of attitude from ‘Pride & Prejudice’ really tickled me:
“Well! I trust you know that you are always welcome at Landennis, Mr Darcy,” she offered warmly, “and at Longbourn of course, when we return to Hertfordshire, though I have no notion how soon that would be.” 
She fanned herself, then pursed her lips and added, pointedly, looking straight over Bingley’s shoulder: 
“And I suppose you can bring your friends, if you so wish...”
We saw some character development of two characters in need of it too, Mr Bennet, who realises he needs to question his parenting, and I was also pleased to see Lydia being given a chance to redeem herself, as the life she had committed to in 'Pride & Prejudice' was not likely to lead to much happiness or respectability. I would definitely recommend reading this book; there is action, intrigue, despair, joy, and so much romance. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, and I’d rate it as a 5 star read.

5 star read

*I received an ARC of this book from the author for my honest review.

Giveaway!

Book Covers - Joana Starnes

Joana has very kindly offered to give away an e-book of the winner's choice of one of her books to an international commenter on this post. So you could choose 'From This Day Forward', a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel, 'The Subsequent Proposal' which sees characters from both 'Persuasion' and 'Pride & Prejudice', 'The Second Chance', which features characters from 'Sense & Sensibility' in addition to those from 'Pride & Prejudice', or this book, 'The Falmouth Connection'.  Just comment below to enter the giveaway, which is open until Sunday 7 December 2014. Please leave a way for me to contact you should you win, twitter handle, email address etc. To prevent spam, please leave your email address with an (at) instead of an @. Please note this giveaway is now closed.

Many thanks to Joana Starnes for sponsoring the giveaway and giving me the opportunity to read 'The Falmouth Connection'! You can connect with Joana via her website, become a fan on Goodreads, or follow her on twitter.

50 comments:

  1. Great review Ceri, I've read so many wonderful excerpts from this book & look forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. My email address is tdungnvu (at) yahoo(dot) com.

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    1. So pleased it caught your eye, Dung Vu! Good luck and I hope you'll like the book!

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    2. Thank you Dung Vu! I really enjoyed reading it.

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  2. Great indeed, Brenda - thanks so much, Ceri, for the amazing review! It's so very kind, so detailed and thorough, yet with no hint of spoilers and no secrets are given away ;) Thanks for stopping by to read it, Brenda, and best of luck in the giveaway!

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    1. You are welcome Joana, thank you for the book, and for the giveaway too! I'm glad you think I didn't give away any secrets, I hate to read spoilers.

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  3. Oo, what a generous giveaway, Ceri and Joana! I've read The Second Chance and have The Subsequent Proposal and The Falmouth Connection sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read (December is the plan). So, if I was lucky, it would have to be From This Day Forward as it's the only one I'm missing right now.

    I loved The Second Chance and I'm so looking forward to reading the other two, especially The Falmouth Connection after all the reviews (including yours, Ceri) and excerpts I've read.

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    1. I've read all four of the books on offer Anji, and I'd recommend any of them! My reviews of two of the reviews are linked from this post, but if you are interested in reading my review of 'From This Day Forward' you can see it over on Leatherbound Reviews: http://leatherboundreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/review-from-this-day-forward-by-joana.html

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    2. Thank you both for the kind words, Ceri and Anji! I'm thrilled you liked my books, as you can imagine ;) Just a word to the wise, Anji, my first book is in a rather different style (more history, less drama) but if you like reading about my take on our favourite couple's married life with its ups and downs, I hope it won't disappoint. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

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    3. Just popped back to say that I read The Falmouth Connection over the weekend. Wow!! The night garden scene made me melt into a puddle all over again! Didn't leave my email address before, so here it is.

      angmardee(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    4. So glad you liked the garden scene, Anji !!!! Poor Mr Darcy, I thought he deserved a consolation prize, after the miserable day I made him have ;)
      Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for coming back!

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  4. What a great review, Ceri. I look forward to reading The Falmouth Connection when I have the time. I already own 2 of Joana's books and would love to get another one to add to my wish list.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks Luthien! I hope you enjoy The Falmouth Connection when you get time to read it. Good luck getting another book for your ereader in the giveaway :)

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    2. It truly is a wonderful review! Thanks ever so much, Ceri :)

      Best of luck in the giveaway, and I hope you'll enjoy The Falmouth Connection!

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  5. Great review Ceri, the excerpts were spot on! I want to read it again. I liked the quick turn around for a change as it was sweet and unexpected ;) obviously do not enter me as I have all :)

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    1. Thank you Tamara! There were so many great quotes in this book, I had trouble picking my favourites.

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    2. Grins and blushes, ladies, thank you both! So glad you enjoyed it! Best of luck in the giveaway, Tamara, and whichever one you choose if you win, I hope you'll like it!

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  6. Another great review, Ceri. I'd love a chance to win. Thanks for doing the giveaway, ladies.

    pemberley96(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi, KrisAnn

      You're most welcome! Thank YOU for stopping by to read Ceri's wonderful review and for taking part in the giveaway. Good luck!

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  7. A wonderful review. I haven't read anything by Joanna Starnes, yet, but I'd love to!
    As for the choice of yìthe e-book, should I win the giveaway, I'd rely on your advice, Ceri :)

    pottypo(at)yahoo(dot)it

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    1. Thank you Gabriella! Any of Joana's books are well worth reading, but my favourite one, just by the tiniest amount, is 'The Subsequent Proposal', when I finished reading it I wanted to turn right back to page 1 and start again! good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. Persuasion is my favourite novel, so, I think you gave me the perfect advice, Ceri! :)

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  8. Hi, Gabriella

    I'm so happy that Ceri's great review caught your eye and got you interested in my books. Thanks for taking part in the giveaway and good luck!

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  9. I am adding a comment on behalf of Teresita, who my blog won't allow to comment, I don't know why! Teresita says the book looks great, and she's looking forward to reading it as soon as possible.

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    1. Thank you both, Ceri and Teresita!
      I'm so glad you like it, Teresita, and I hope you'll read it soon. Best of luck!

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  10. I am very happy I wondered upon your blog! I've not read Joanna Starnes before, but I look forward to reading in the future. Your review of The Falmouth Connection was so good that I want to read it straight away :) So that would be my choice, should I win the giveaway

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    1. I forgot my Twitter handle :)
      It's (at)yayitsme

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    2. Thanks Linsey. I really enjoyed it. I love your twitter handle by the way!

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    3. Hi Linsey

      I'm so happy that The Falmouth Connection caught your eye, thanks to Ceri's wonderful review!
      Thanks for stopping by to read it and best of luck in the giveaway!

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  11. Oooh, I would LOVE to win this! Please consider me! I've enjoyed all of the things I've read by Joana Starnes. I am GinnaSaisQuoi et verizon det net

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    1. Yes of course, thanks for your comment and good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Great to 'see' you again :) and thanks for the lovely words about my books. Good luck, I hope you get to read a new one soon and I hope you'll like it.

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  12. Always interesting what direction a variation can take things. I love the idea that this one is 'off the usual site' and that Darcy has a rival. Very unique. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ceri!

    I haven't read any of her books and they all look delightful particularly since a couple blend more than one set of characters from the novels. I'll say this book though if I were to win since you've got me excited to read it.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read one of Joana's books soon, Sophia, they are all well worth reading in my opinion! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. Thanks for the lovely message, Sophia Rose!

      I'm so glad you like the idea of taking them somewhere new. Hope you get to read 'Falmouth' and that you'll like it! Best of luck!

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  13. I would love to win a copy of the Falmouth Connection as it's the only one I haven't read yet. I love Ms. Starnes writing style and I hope to enjoy her books for many years to come. Thanks for the opportunity. carterkristina2 (at) gmail.com

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    1. Hi Tina. If you enjoyed Joana's other books I feel sure you'll enjoy The Falmouth Connection'. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks so much for the wonderful words, Tina! I'm so happy that you liked my other books! I hope you'll like 'Falmouth' too. Best wishes and good luck in the giveaway :)

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  14. Such great books. Well done also. Thanks for the give away. Lou Ann louannlajeunesse@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks LouAnn! Good luck in the giveaway.

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    2. Hi, LouAnn. Thanks for stopping by to read Ceri's wonderful review. Good luck in the giveaway, hope you'll enjoy the story you choose.

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  15. I just finished reading The Falmouth Connection and loved it. I would love to read The Subsequent Proposal! saganchilds(a)gmail.com

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    1. The Subsequent Proposal is so good, one of my favourite reads this year! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. I'm so happy you liked 'Falmouth' and I hope you'll like The Subsequent Proposal too! I hope you're of strong constitution and the prologue doesn't make you throw the book across the room! I promise Mr Darcy's troubles get fixed ;)

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  16. Can't wait to read this book - it's on my amazon wishlist! My email is allisonpsullivan(at)gmail.com

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    1. Hi, Allison
      Thanks for stopping by and for putting 'The Falmouth Connection' on your wishlist! Hope you'll like it. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks Allison! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it, I'd really recommend it :)

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