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Monday, 29 December 2014

To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I am welcoming Jeanna Ellsworth, author of 'Mr Darcy's Promise', 'Pride and Persistence' and 'To Refine Like Silver' to the blog. She will be sharing an excerpt with us, and there is a giveaway opportunity too! Read on for details...

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Thank you, Ceri, for hosting me on your blog! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you were able to build lasting memories. It soon will be New Years and it causes me to reflect on the last year. I was able to publish two books this year, Pride and Persistence in the spring, and To Refine Like Silver in October as well as publish a second edition of Mr. Darcy’s Promise. I am so grateful for the readers and fellow writers who have taken a moment to review my books or just stopped by and said how they enjoyed it. Connecting with my readers is the fuel for this muse of mine.


Book cover - To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth
This is especially true for my latest book, To Refine Like Silver. I knew it would not be for everyone, particularly because it deals with some difficult topics like depression and rape, but also because the way our favorite characters learn to get over the hurdles in the book is to fully rely on God. Few JAFF books have a spiritual theme. I hope I have treated these topics respectfully but at the same time in such a way that speaks to those who might have suffered in similar ways.

Although I have never been sexually assaulted, it does not mean that those I know have not been hurt. In fact, one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. About as many women will fight depression at some point. No one plans for these things to occur and at times we become quite blindsided. I fought depression for many years, have helped numerous people who themselves are depressed or they come to me for advice on how to help a loved one. Elizabeth gives some great advice that I stand by and pass on to anyone who asks me how to help a loved one. Unconditional love is more powerful than any pharmacological drug, but do not mistake me, medication is vital sometimes and we should not be afraid to seek medical help. If more people sought help early on and had a support system like Georgiana has, depression would rarely take anyone’s life.

In this excerpt, we are entering a very emotionally charged scene. Just hours before, Elizabeth was summoned to Pemberley to help Georgiana because she had very nearly attempted suicide. Georgiana confided in her what really happened in Ramsgate with Wickham (which is far worse than canon). Darcy is beside himself with worry. He just now heard that Wickham had sexually assaulted Georgiana back in the spring and he had a natural, guttural response and bellowed his anger toward Wickham in front of Elizabeth.

One of the things that draws Darcy to Elizabeth is her glow and love of life. He sees almost immediately that his anger seemed to affect Elizabeth more than normal and it tempers his response. I think I have set you up enough for the excerpt I wish to share. Enjoy!


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Darcy considered her idea. But then he remembered the pain in Georgiana’s eyes. “You say God designs our trials as lessons; if that is so, He has dealt too harshly with Georgiana. She is only fifteen, and I nearly lost her. I do not know if I can forgive Him for that.”

Elizabeth could feel the pain in his words. She had felt the same way many times. She hesitated only a moment, considering how much to reveal about her own past. “Although I know God designs my lessons, there were times when I questioned my strength,” she replied. “There were times when I wondered whether I would survive such harsh lessons. But I did survive, and I know Georgiana will too. After many years, I have learned that God does love me. When I hurt, He hurts also. When I grow, He rejoices. After all, if I lived an easy, carefree life, I would be a very dull person, having learned nothing.”

Dull. Something she said triggered a cascade of thoughts in Mr. Darcy. He looked at her with new eyes. She had said someone close to her had felt like Georgiana. She had said she survived and Georgiana could too. What did she mean by that? He looked at her, and he saw in the gold specks of her eyes that the answer was plain as day. She had been the one who had felt like Georgiana. That was how she had recognized the danger lurking.

The silence between them grew thick, and he knew not what to say. His angry reaction had dulled her sparkle, diminished her radiance. But yet she sat here with her reassuring hand on his, calmly guiding him through his visceral emotional response. Suddenly, they weren’t just discussing Georgiana’s past. He could see that she was reliving the very worst moments of her life, moments when she too had been quite melancholy, perhaps even suicidal. His heart ached to reach out and comfort her.

How could this glowing, captivating lady ever have been like Georgiana had been these last months? He couldn’t imagine her essence and love of life gone out of her eyes, but yet when he looked at her now, he caught a glimpse of dullness. He caught a glimpse of that blank stare. He felt his eyes tingle with the pricks of tears forming. He looked out to the lake and blinked them away. He knew now she had been right. His reaction could make or break Georgiana’s success in moving forward.

Elizabeth gave his hand a squeeze. She wondered if her family had reacted this way when they found out about her. She felt herself falter slightly in her inner strength and pulled her hand away. She said another quick prayer and looked up at his face, watching the emotions dance in his eyes. He was struggling. She so desperately wanted to help him, but the last few hours had been draining. Elizabeth had relived that wretched moment years ago at least a dozen times as Georgiana told her story. She wasn’t a fool and knew she would always have some pain with the memories, but she thought she had been more prepared than this. Looking down at her hands, she felt a chill go up her spine and knew the temperature was only partly to blame. She was startled when Mr. Darcy’s husky voice addressed her.

“Miss Elizabeth, obviously my reaction was all wrong. I do not know how to help her. Can you tell me about the person you once knew who went through something similar? What would have been the right thing to say to her?” He looked at Elizabeth’s eyes and saw her smile slightly, her glow slowly making its way back into her face.

“This person needed only one thing: unconditional love. No matter what happened to her, or how she behaved, she needed to know she would be loved and accepted. She felt she had lost control of her life. She felt there was no solid foundation, and she was drowning in mundane tasks as simple as breathing. What got her through it was the unconditional love of her sister and father, but most importantly, she learned that God also loved her unconditionally.”

“So, you think Georgiana needs my love, not my anger?”

“I do. She did not want to see your reaction, and I am afraid she was correct in her hesitation. When you see her, you need to embrace her with love. She needs to see that you look at her no differently; you need to forget the images in your head right now. She needs to see that what she went through does not define her. Let her know that this thing that Mr. Wickham did does not diminish her worth as a person. Do you think you can do that?”

“Of course Georgiana’s worth is not diminished! If anything, I love her more than ever! To imagine she suffered all these months alone is heartbreaking. I want to be there for her in any way I can! I do not want to let her down.”

Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief and stood. “Good. She will need to hear that. She will need it more than you know.” She smiled weakly and started walking back to the house. Mr. Darcy followed her, taking long strides to catch up. He put his hand on her arm and gently stopped her.

“Miss Elizabeth, I am sorry for reacting the way I did. I should have been more in control of myself.”

“Mr. Darcy, emotions cannot be helped. One cannot stop the rain from falling, but we can be wise enough to seek shelter instead of getting wet. What I am trying to say is, it is what we choose to do with our emotions that is important. Now, Georgiana said she would be waiting in the yellow sitting room. We have been gone some time now, and the sun has set. I suggest we go find her.”

Mr. Darcy didn’t offer his arm this time. He needed to focus on Georgiana and controlling his reaction when he saw her. As much as he liked feeling Elizabeth’s hand wrapped around his arm, now was not the time to play the gentleman suitor. They entered the house, and they both silently walked to the yellow sitting room. He took one more look at Elizabeth’s encouraging face.

Elizabeth put her hand on his arm and whispered, “You can do this. She just needs your unconditional love.”


*****

I hope you enjoyed this emotional scene. It was a hard one to write but it has ended up being one of my favorite moments in the book. I hope that this book has influenced you and you are more prepared to fight the demons you or your loved ones might face.  I have said all along that people will either hate it or love it. I hope you love it. To Refine Like Silver is my favorite of all the books I have written because it is so close to my heart. In it, the characters learn that our trials, whether they be physical or emotional, do not define us, but if we let them, they refine us into better people.

I want to do two giveaways: One paperback of To Refine Like Silver (I am making both giveaways INTERNTIONAL!!) and one bar of Fitzwilliam Darcy soap from Shirley’s Handcrafts which, if you do not win, can easily be found on Etsy.com. Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShirleysHandicrafts?ref=search_shop_redirect

All you have to do is comment below. I love to answer questions about the book or my writing and you will find I am an open book about depression. We have had some fabulous discussions on the blog tour and I hope this will be just as engaging. Good luck in the giveaway and thanks again, Ceri, for hosting me!


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Thank you so much to Jeanna, for sharing this powerful excerpt with us, and offering a giveaway too. To enter, just leave a comment for Jeanna, and please tell me which prize you'd prefer to receive if you are one of the lucky winners, otherwise, I'll assume you are equally happy with either. Please leave a way for me to contact you should you win, email address, twitter handle etc. Jeanna is very kindly making both giveaways open to international entrants. Closing date for entries is now Wednesday 7 January 2015.

If you'd like to know more about Jeanna, you can catch up with her over at her blog, Goodreads author page, or on twitter.

43 comments:

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    1. Hi Amy, it has wonderful reviews, I'm looking forward to reading it too :)

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    2. Thanks Amy! I love seeing the enthusiasm everyone has for it! I hope you read it even if you do not win!

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    3. By the way, I am finally getting home from a 11 hour drive from Colorado to Utah and feel like I might have a bit of sanity left. If I do not sound like it, know I put a valiant effort into it!

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  2. Looks pretty interesting, i'm also into romantic novels... and the giveaway looks really nice, can't wait to read it too, that book. ;)

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    1. Yes, I read a few different genres of book, but they're all varieties of romance. Good luck in the giveaway.

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    2. It is its own kind of romance. Many people have reviewed the book suggesting that it might be classified as a bit like Christian literature however that is not the purpose of the book. Really I wanted to write a great love story with a moral to the story. Hope you like it!

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  3. Thank you for including a spiritual dimension to the characters here. I believe this will resonate with many of your readers, including myself!

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    1. It hadn't occurred to me until I read Jeanna's post, but a stronger spiritual side is a little unusual in JAFF, but like you say, that will resonate with a lot of people.

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    2. It is true that few JAFF books have a spiritual element. I love that you used the word spiritual and not religious. I do not think of forgiveness and gratitude as religious, I think of them as basic human traits that make good men great. For those who have a low tolerance for preaching, or any reference to God for that matter, this is not for you. I am glad to hear that it with resonate well with you. We all are on a journey to improve ourselves and this book is (mostly) Darcy's journey into refinement although several characters become refined including Georgiana.

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  4. I have read elsewhere, Jeanna, that you feel people will love this or hate it; I think I fall into the former category. I truly enjoy seeing these characters in different situations, watching their reactions, and seeing how they evolve through their experiences. Ceri, if I am the lucky winner, I would love to receive the book!

    rcmsilvia[at]google.com

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    1. I love it when you can see a character develop and grow throughout a book. Good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. I had I believe 14 reviews in the first week and half it was out and they were all five stars except one. Even the agnostic gave it a 5 star. Then suddenly there were 5-6 really bad reviews and I realized just how true it was that people either loved it or hated it. It currently has a 3.9 star average rating with over 60 reviews. If any of you loved it, please take a moment and review it so others can see it is worth the read. There are those who need to hear the messaged woven into the love story and I hope to get the word out there. Good luck!

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  5. Of all the different retellings of P&P, this one caught my eye the most! The adding of spiritual sides to already beloved characters is a hole in one!!
    E.Kate~

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    1. Thanks for your comment!

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    2. LOL love it! I love hearing that I did something right! This alternative path variation is rather fun because Darcy meets Elizabeth before Pride and Prejudice even starts in canon. It offered a lot of freedom in writing because I was able to skip over the "not handsome enough to tempt me" misunderstanding and Darcy, being in his home county is much more at ease. I always picture Darcy as being willing to court much sooner if he was not a guest of Bingley's. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  6. Quite an intense scene, that, Jeanna. You may remember, I'm a fellow health professional (pharmacist) and I've recently been refreshing my learning about depression, so this would definitely be an interesting read for me.

    I'd love to win either of the prizes. Thanks so much for making them international.

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    1. The depression side is another unusual element isn't it. Thanks for commenting Anji.

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    2. I fought depression for ten years and tried all sorts of cocktails and self help. I finally found the perfect mixture of lifestyle changes (exercise, eating better, weight loss, good job, writing, great support system, and yes, medication) and I have been depression free for over 5 1/2 years! Infused in this book are all the right ingredients for Georgiana to pull through it. I may have made a whole bunch of lifestyle changes to change the course of the disease and its death grip on me, but many of the advise of council that Elizabeth gives Georgiana and Darcy throughout the book are things that I may have actually had on my mirror as a post it note to remind me of its message. I imagine that Georgiana started with a good dose of situational depression which is a bit easier to treat than a chemical imbalance back then.

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  7. I had read so many wonderful excerpts for this book and finally had the opportunity to read it. It's a wonderful book and I really enjoyed it.

    I started to read your other works as well and must say I can't get enough... I was laughing out loud when reading Pride and Persistence. Thank you for re-releasing Mr. Darcy's Promise, I'm going to be reading it shortly. I'm really enjoying your Hope Series on AHA too. It tugs at your heart!

    Thank you for the giveaways. I going to receive the paperback of this novel soon so please do not enter me in for that prize, but I would still love the ebook if possible.

    Thanks for hosting the blog and Jeanna, I look forward to reading more of your works!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Dung Vu. I haven't read the Hope Series on AHA, I don't seem to have chance to read much there these days, my TBR is too out of control!

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    2. YAY! I am thrilled to know that you enjoy my writing! It is wonderful to hear from readers and know that they are received well. I really like that you enjoyed Hope for Mr. Darcy and Hope for Fitzwilliam on AHA (they are also on Darcyandlizzy.com) I am currently 6 chapters into Hope for Georgiana but have set it aside for a bit while I rewrite my original Regency romance, Inspired by Grace. I plan on posting Inspired by Grace fairly soon so watch for it. It will be the next book that I publish (Probably in July or August 2015???)

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  8. Thanks so much for the giveaway. I was lucky enough to be able to read this book my library got it yay. I absolutely loved it there were several things in the book that really made me think and see things differently. I would love a copy to be able read again and again. Tresha_7atmsndotcom

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it Tresha, good luck with the giveaway!

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    2. I am so excited that libraries are carrying them! I love that! It makes me giggle just thinking about it. Really! Take a picture and send it to me on Facebook so I can see it on the shelf! (Can you tell I am still surprised that I actually have not only published 1 book, but 3!) I very rarely introduce myself as an author because it still doesn't seem real!

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  9. I love your insight on depression. It is true that what you need most in those moments is unconditional love. I hope to win your book. I really want to read it. Love those soaps I have several from the Pride and Prejudice collection. saganchilds (a)gmail.com

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    1. The soaps look lovely. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that the one Jeanna is giving away was inspired by the description of Mr Darcy's scent in Haunting Mr Darcy by Karalynne Mackrory

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    2. Close, Ceri, I think it is from Falling for Mr. Darcy, her first book. I have to admit that I sat and walked from one end of the house to the other for the sole purpose of taking the bar into my hand and smelling it again. It is delicious and very inciting! Yummy! It is a believable scent for a man back then since they often used lemons as deodorant.

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    3. I am so humbled that people are interested in the book and my writing. I have to say, I don't just have insight into depression, I have experience. It is nothing to be ashamed of, Heck! I'll even admit to trying all sorts of medication to get through it! But the key ingredient to success for me was gratitude. Some reviewers thing that might be all religious and all that but there is not one of us who doesn't know a negative Nellie. I am not saying depressed people are negative Nellies (DEFINITELY NOT SAYING THAT) but I can say that where there is gratitude, there is little room for regrets, especially if we realize that our trials we are going through are refining us.

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  10. I'd like to win the book (or the soap, second choice). An unusual P & P variation.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks Michelle, good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. Glad you stopped by to comment. I never turn down a free book either! It is such a thrill to get a real physical book in the mail and drop everything just to read it as soon as it arrives!

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  11. I would love to win the book, it looks really good!! Poor Georgiana!

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    1. I know, poor thing! She is so lucky to have such support. Good luck in the giveaway.

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    2. I do hope you get a chance to read it even if you do not win. Georgiana is one of five characters who learn that their trials do not define them, they refine them. She does heal eventually with the unconditional love of her brother and her new friend, Elizabeth.

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  12. Looking forward to reading this one. Had a longer comment but posting here has been problematic!

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    1. I am so sorry to hear you've been having trouble posting :(

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    2. Bummer! I hate with we accidentally delete a message and the frustration that comes with that is hard. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  13. Oh, my! Thank you so much for sharing with us this excerpt! It was so touching! Those themes are very difficult but I'm sure that Jeanna Ellsworth did a great job! Mr. Darcy's Promise is one of the sweetest books I have ever read, and I think that is one of the most important characteristics of Ms Ellsworth's writing. Thanks for the giveaway and I'd prefer the paperback.

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Maria. This was unlike Mr Darcy's Promise, although I enjoyed that read too. I really wasn't expecting something that touched me so deeply.

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  14. Thanks Maria! I'm glad you found Mr. Darcy's Promise to your liking! To Refine Like Silver is a bit different but I think in a good way. It too is sweet but it touches on difficult subjects. It may not be everyone's cup of tea. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  15. So glad to have found this!! The post went up while I was away and I would have been so sorry to miss the chance to say how much I liked this book! As I said in my review (so sorry it took so long BTW!), I've read Jeanna's works before, but this was a class apart. Not just moving, but absolutely gripping in its realism and the quality of the writing, and as for the metaphor behind the title - WOW! Mind totally blown!

    Thanks for a great story, Jeanna, and thanks Ceri for the great review (I followed that link to get here). Please don't enter me in the giveaway, as I already am the lucky owner of a signed copy. Just thought I'd pop by to say hi :)

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    1. I usually don't like metaphors at all, and I thought the refining of silver would be the same, but then the process was described and the lightbulb went on over my head as it all became clear! Thanks for your comment Joana :)

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