Wednesday, 14 March 2012


The author: Cynthia Ingram Hensley 
I turned 40. In a nutshell, that’s the reason I began writing books. Echoes of Pemberley, my debut novel, started as nothing more than a personal challenge for that dreaded milestone. I figured writing a novel was better than jumping out of an airplane—I hate heights! After years of jotting down short stories and poetry in my free moments, I quit my career in early childhood education and started writing full-time, praying I hadn’t made a terrible mistake. Thankfully, I had a husband and children who cheered me on. Almost three years later, Meryton Press took a chance on my novel and here I am!
Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, storytelling is in my blood. My hometown of Asheville, NC was birthplace to many famous writers such as Thomas Wolfe and John Ehle—Jennifer Ehle’s papa and one of my personal favorite storytellers. I grew up in the rich history of the early Scottish and Irish settlers. Their music and ballads passed down through the generations and played on my grandfather’s banjo.
Being published was nothing short of a dream come true for me, but nothing compared to the kind words of praise and encouragement that have followed from family, friends, and complete strangers. I’ve been truly humbled and honored by the excitement so many have shared with me on this journey.
Echoes of Pemberley has been nominated for a 2011 Independent Publisher Book Award. I am currently working on my next novel.

The guest post
First let me say, it is a privilege to be a guest on My Jane Austen Book Club. Thank you, Maria Grazia, for inviting me. I am grateful for the incredible opportunity to share Echoes of Pemberley with your readers.
I’ll admit—Pride and Prejudice made me a textbook case anglophile. When not writing or reading—my two favorite pastimes—you’ll find me standing on an upturned crate, on my tippy-toes, peering at what’s going on over the pond. I love all things English, but nothing so much as Jane Austen, her novels, and the brilliant assortment of fan fiction that has followed. I read it all!
I have always greatly admired writers who have taken up the questions of “what happened next” and “what if” and written sequels or variations of Pride and Prejudice. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t do it. And I really wanted to!  Instead, I dwelled on other questions. Such as: What if the Darcys still lived at Pemberley? Isn’t there a whole host of great country houses scattered throughout the U.K., occupied to this day by the original families? What would the modern descendants of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy be like—their personalities, peculiarities, strengths and weaknesses—can you imagine? So, I gave in, grabbed my laptop, and started writing. After all, maybe I wasn’t the only one curious?
 Echoes of Pemberley is neither a sequel to nor a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is a renewal of sorts, a continuation of the family Jane Austen started two centuries ago. In my novel, I wanted to offer devoted Pride and Prejudice readers a chance to meet Darcy and Elizabeth’s descendants, their modern-day counterparts. Echoes of Pemberley is just that—an echo of Pride and Prejudice.

Like Ms. Austen’s Georgiana Darcy, Catherine (Catie) Elizabeth Darcy was orphaned at a young age and left in the custody of her overly protective brother, Bennet Fitzwilliam Darcy—a man worthy of his lineage. A true romantic who has never been kissed, Catie Darcy spends her school holidays at Pemberley—the Darcy’s ancestral home in Derbyshire, England—reading romance novels that her brother calls “rubbish.”

Enter nineteen-year-old Sean Kelly, an Irishman from his flat cap to his boots, who arrives at Pemberley in his relic Land Rover to give Miss Darcy riding lessons. Sean lives at Kells Down, his family’s horse farm in Northern Ireland. One of five—what some might call rowdy—brothers, Sean is most unwilling to bow down to Pemberley’s “perceived” haughty young heiress. Oh, those wretched first impressions! Starting to sound familiar?

Echoes of Pemberley is a love story with a slight, respectful nod to Pride and Prejudice. However, it is also a heartwarming tale of siblings and family devotion. Like Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy, Ben and Catie’s lives have been complicated by death and grief governs their obligation to each other. Throw in a WWI-era diary, which Catie finds in her window seat, and you have a plot full of twists and turns that is sure to entertain. If you didn’t laugh, cry, cringe, and gasp during Pride and Prejudice then I’d suggest you check your pulse then go back and read it all over again. It was my hope to make my readers react similarly to my humble addition to Ms. Austen’s original story.
It is my sincere belief that Ms. Austen would appreciate how she has inspired so many women and writers. For me, Jane Austen’s novels are like a slow Sunday afternoon on the porch swing or the homey comfort of visiting a close friend. Her characters are imperfect, passionate, endearing and wicked. Essentially—they’re real! Using the human spirit as her canvas, Jane Austen set the standard for romance.
Thanks you again, Maria Grazia, for allowing me to share Echoes of Pemberley with your lovely readers. I truly hope everyone enjoys reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The giveaway
There are two copies of Echoes of Pemberley for the readers of My Jane Austen Book Club who will enter this giveaway contest:
- 1 paperback copy for US readers
- 1 e-book for readers from the rest of the world
Please,  remember to say which country in the world you live in in your comment and add your e-mail address to be contacted in case you are the winner.
The contest will end on March 21,  when the name of the winners will be announced.

You can find Cynthia Ingram Hensley at and on Twitter:  @Writer_CHensley. Also, you can follow the book’s progress on Echoes of Pemberley/Facebook and at


Kolein said...

The book sounds wonderful. And just in the knick of time! I've run out of novels to read! Thank you!

An American

Andrea Staten said...

This book sounds very interesting! :)

araminta18 said...

This sounds great!

araminta18 at gmail dot com

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

This sounds so awesome! And I LOVE the cover :oD

I'm from NC too, and love-love-love the mountains :o)


Oh, I'm USA.

Gabriella said...

I think this book sounds really intriguing. I love Georgiana Darcy, and I would like to be introduced to her progeny Catie...


Sophia Rose said...

What a beautiful idea to write about the descendents. I am definitely interested.

I enjoyed seeing how Cynthia came to writing her book and her back ground.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
US resident

Miss Claire said...

WoW! Very interesting!


Miss Claire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krista said...

I love the story line, modern day Sean Kelly (Irishman) with heiress. Sounds romantic brings me back to Downton Abbey with Sybil the beautiful Lady falling in love with the Chauffeur. Oh how I loved that! This book sounds wonderful! Thank you for a chance to win. I say this everytime but it is true. Everyday my list becomes longer. But this is going to the TOP. Hope to win
United States

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

a wonderful idea and loved hearing how Cynthia processed her writing desires... thank you for this opportunity and your generosity!

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

sorry email is faithhopecherrytea at gmail dot com but can be found on my blog as well. US, UK and CA

BeckyC said...

I love what ifs, sequels and modern Austen twists. This book sounds delightful! Thank you for the giveaway! (US)
cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

Jakki L. said...

This sounds like such a wonderful book! I cannot wait to read it. I love that it presents a fresh premise!
Thanks so much for the giveaway! (US)

Gayle Mills said...

We're almost neighbors. I'm from S.C. Your book cover is beautiful.

scmema at yahoo dot com

Margaret said...

One of the things I love about Jane's novels are the family connections. She always shows such a bond between sisters. This book sounds lovely! Thank you for the giveaway!



Stephanie said...

This is the first time I've heard of this one and I'm thrilled to add another book to my TBR list! Love the premise!!

MonicaP said...

I love the premise of this! I don't think I've read anything quite like it. I'm from SC and I love Asheville, it's so pretty there. Thanks for the giveaway :)

monicaperry00 at gmail dot com

heather said...

It sounds great!

Candy M said...

Echos of Pemberley sounds like a wonderful story! Definitely one I would love to read! Thanks for the giveaway!



Cynthia Ingram Hensley said...

Thank you everyone for the kind comments! Krista, I too love Sybil and Branson from Downton Abbey! Monica, Gayle Rebecca, so neat that we're so close! Yes, Asheville is beautiful...though I'm a bit biased.

Shanna Sandmoen said...

i love the modern day versions; this sounds like a lot of fun! USA paperback

kaewink said...

Oh that sounds lovely. And the cover is wonderful!

Would love to read it!

kewinkler at gmail com
Austria, Europe

cyn209 said...

thank you for this giveaway!!! already added Echoes of Pemberley to my WishList!!!!
i'm in the USA!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

GranJan said...

very interesting! Ehle is from NC - didn't know that. She seems so totally British in the film.
Did you pattern your Pemberley off of the Biltmore? It is quite an impressivce estate. I lived in Charlotte many years and was able to visit it.

I would love a chance to win your book! cpnclprashe at yahoo com

Cynthia Hensley said...

Shanna, I also enjoy any modern-day versions! Kaewink, cannot tell you how my heart swelled when I saw the cover! Meryton's graphic artist captured the novel perfectly! Gran Jan, yes, Jennifer Ehle was born in Winston-Salem, NC! How crazy is that? her Mamma is VERY English, however! And I absolutely used the Biltmore House as inspiration - if you've been there you might recoginze a tad of it in my version of Pemberley! Thanks everyone for the comments - I have really enjoyed reading each one of them. Cynthia

Michelle said...

Would love to read this book written by a fellow North Carolinian, which means of course I'm in the USA!

twilightdew said...

I'd love to win this book!

I live in the USA!

Patricia F. said...

I live in the USA

The book sounds really interesting!

mimi the zookeeper - said...

i've been reading jane for as long as i could pick up a book (almost 50 years!). i'm a lifelong fan of escaping into a good story whenever i get the chance (especially one where the hero is fitzwilliam darcy!)....and this sounds like another amazing adventure!

best wishes...carry on :)

Danielle said...

I think it will be interesting to see how the family turns out. How the past affects to the people of the future. Looking forward to reading this book.


aurora said...

Dear Cynthia, I am sure your novel is excellent. I would never have guessed that Jennifer Ehle is from the US. Interesting info.,
I live in Croatia at the moment..

Julie Martin Wallace said...

I would love to win a copy. I'm in the US. What a great story idea.

Julie Martin Wallace said...

i would love to win a copy for the US. my email

Laura Hartness said...

Hope it's not too late to enter-- this looks great!

I'm from the U.S.


Laura Hartness
CalicoCritic at gmail dot com