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Monday, 26 March 2018

The Assistant by Riana Everly - Guest post and Blog Tour

Today I'm welcoming Riana Everly back to the blog with her newest book, The Assistant. Riana has a guest post, excerpt and giveaway for us today! Let's start with the book description:

Blurb

Book Cover: The Assistant by Riana Everly
A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

Guest Post from Riana Everly

Thank you so much hosting this stop on my blog tour for The Assistant, the tale of Lizzy Bennet’s aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. The story begins in 1799, when Edward Gardiner comes across an injured youth, whom he takes on as his assistant. Young Matthew has some remarkable abilities, and more remarkable friends. But I shall allow someone else to tell you all about Matthew, for she is always one to sketch the character of everyone she chances to meet.   I hope you enjoy what she has to tell you.

~*~

Oh, did you just arrive? I must not have seen you come in. Do take a seat. Would you like some tea?

Mama says I must learn to be a gracious hostess and treat my company well. Am I doing alright? I do try, but I am only nine years old and I forget sometimes. I would so much rather be outside exploring, or in Papa’s study, reading by the large window.

Young Lizzy
My name is Elizabeth Bennet, but everyone calls me Lizzy. One day, so Mama tells me, I must be known as Miss Elizabeth to all but my dearest friends, but that shall not be necessary until after I come out, whatever that means. I think it involves attending a lot of boring dinners and having to sit still whilst people sing very poorly. For now, I shall be happy as just Lizzy. But you did not come here to listen to me talk about myself. I really wish to tell you about Matthew!

Have you met Matthew? He is the most odd creature ever. Uncle Gardiner found him in the woods, rather like I found my favourite puppy. And just like my puppy, Matt had no family and he was in danger of being drowned, or something, and so Uncle Gardiner took him home. Now he works for Uncle Gardiner at his warehouses, and he is even smarter at arithmetic than I am! Mama tells me it is not ladylike to boast, but I am smarter than my sisters, and that is no more boastful than to say that I am shorter than Jane or have the darkest hair. It is simply fact. Regardless, Matt is so smart, even Uncle cannot match him!

Matt also talks funny. I was scolded when I said so, for Uncle told me that in the part of England where he found Matt, everybody talks like that. I should like to visit there one day, but I must be certain not to say how odd everybody sounds. That might be rude, and Mama would be vexed with me. When we went exploring, I asked Matt about where he is from, and what the people are like there, but he did not really answer my questions. He seemed more interested in hearing about my adventures in the woods, and how I learn about the places we like to explore.

It was really most fun when Matt joined Jane and me on our exploring. He helped us sail to China, although we are not allowed on the pond for fear of falling in and drowning, like what nearly happened to my puppy. But we built a boat of twigs, with a branch of leaves as a sail, and he told us grand stories of what we might see once we arrived. He is so very smart, and knows so very much, but there is something strange about him. He is very kind and funny, but I think I know a secret that he does not want Uncle Gardiner to know.

Well, I must go. Our next adventure is to the wild jungles of Africa, where I hope to sail down the Nile and meet an elephant! You may join me, but the tea will grow cold if you do. And that would not be a polite way to treat my guests, would it?

~*~

Excerpt from The Assistant

The younger men left the room, but not before Edward noticed a strange expression on Lizzy’s face. She was thinking about something in that inscrutable way of hers. He wondered what was going through that unusual little mind, so full of books and stories and tales of the imagination. He never knew what words would come out of that mouth, whether they were informed by fact or fantasy, but he knew they always were perceptive and very interesting.

She glanced away now, as if the notion had abandoned her, and began to talk to her father of what she had helped cook prepare for Christmas dinner. Edward turned towards the door and began to climb the stairs to his chambers. He turned back, however, having neglected to ask a question of his host.

“Go along, Matt,” he told his assistant. “I shall knock on your door when we are ready to dine.” He walked back towards the salon, but paused at the door when he heard Thomas speaking.

“What think you, my Lizzy-bear? Did you enjoy young Matt’s company?”

“Papa, indeed I did, but he is a strange one. He talks so oddly, but there is something else in his manner that perplexes me.” Of course nine-year-old Elizabeth would have full command of a word like ‘perplex.’ Edward adored that child!

“Does he frighten you, Lizzy?” Bennet’s voice held a note of concern.

Children playing
“No, not at all. I like him and I am happy to explore the world with him. He knows so much, much more than Jane knows. He told us stories about the Rajahs of India and the Mandarins of China. Did you know that there are whole lands in the East that are all sand and hot sun? And that they are even further away than France? There are places where they speak strange languages too, even stranger than what Matthew says they speak in Derbyshire. He talked to us normally as well as in his funny Derby voice. His normal voice sounds quite different. He said he was learning to speak like we do, from Uncle Edward and from his time in London, but it didn’t sound like he was just learning. I wonder, though…”

“What is it, my Lizzy?” Edward heard her father ask.

“I don’t quite know, Papa, although I do wonder.”

“You shan’t tell me, will you?”

“No, indeed I shall not!” She laughed her cheerful and knowing little girl laugh, and with that pronouncement, she skipped up the stairs to dress for dinner.

Buy Links

The Assistant is available to buy now: Universal book link

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

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Giveaway Time

Book Cover: The Assistant by Riana Everly
Riana is giving away 5 ebooks of The Assistant on her blog tour. To enter for a chance to win a copy, please use the Rafflecopter.


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32 comments:

  1. What an interesting and thought provoking idea!!
    Am I wrong in thinking that this little boy is in fact Darcy and has become 'lost' to his immediate family and relations?
    Loved the excerpt!
    Wishing you the best of luck with this book!

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    1. There's certainly something unusual about the assistant, but I'm not telling what it is!;-)
      I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and I hope you love the book.

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    2. Hmm, good question, Mary!

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  2. Lizzy... not telling us what she thinks... that vexing child. My nerves... where are my salts!!! LOL!! What fun... I loved that excerpt.

    Ceri, thanks for hosting our author on this blog tour. To our author... blessings on the launch of this book and we all wish you much success. I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, little Lizzy is a bright thing, and she knows when to speak and when to keep quiet! I'm sure she gives her poor mother no end of grief. ;-) I hope you enjoy the story.

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt Jeanne!

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  3. Ah, that was cute to have Lizzy introduce Matt. Hmm, wonder what curious fact struck her about him? ;)

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    1. Lizzy sees so much! She's little, but quite perceptive, and you can never have a secret when she's around. ;-)

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    2. That bit enticed me too, Sophia!

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  4. Fun interview and loved the excerpt. I liked seeing little Lizzy. Thanks for featuring Riana's new book.

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    1. Thank you. It was fun to go back in time, so to speak, and see what our favourite characters were like when they were younger.

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    2. I was glad to have Riana visit again Jen. Thanks for commenting :)

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  5. Carole in Canada27 March 2018 at 14:51

    What a wonderful little discussion with Lizzie and what a wonderful book! I had to buy it after the excerpt from the first blog tour stop! Let me tell you it was JUST WONDERFUL! I did post a review but there are no spoilers...it is well worth finding out on your own!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, Carole, and thanks for coming by to tell us. It must be fantastic for Riana to receive such praise!

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  6. Thank you for this guest post! It was funny to read about a little Lizzy, I have never thought about her in this way!
    Good luck everyone for the giveaway!

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    1. Thanks. She was a fun character to get to know. :-)

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    2. Thanks Loren. Good luck to you!

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  7. Who is Matt, really? I loved the interview and excerpt. Best of luck with the blog tour, Riana. Thanks for hosting, Ceri!

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    1. Matt has a couple of secrets he needs to keep. If anyone found out, there could be trouble! Tee hee!

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    2. Yes, we want to know what's going on! Thanks for commenting, Suzan.

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  8. What a joy to meet a young Lizzy. She is interesting and always asking questions no matter what age.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the book.

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    2. I imagine she was a very inquisitive child.

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  9. The humor in your interview was so engaging. Look forward to the book! I have always enjoyed working with the young Lizzy!

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    1. It's a treat to be able to engage with the characters outside of their time/place in Canon, as I'm sure you know! I'm glad you enjoyed that little tidbit.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Don!

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  10. Always liked the Gardiners and will have to read this at some time. Elizabeth getting to know and accept someone different reflects her views on canon where she choses not to judge by class or wealth. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Sheila. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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