Friday 16 December 2016


About the book

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

Visit to find a map of the village, character profiles, a book giveaway, and more!

Sunday 11 December 2016


(by Victoria Grossack)

Are you at a loss, this holiday season, at what to give your loved ones?  Why not take a look at the gifts in Jane Austen’s novels and see if they inspire you?  And beware of the pitfalls, as not all gifts are welcome from all givers.

One of the most frequently bestowed gifts in Jane Austen is money.  The amount may be small, such as the single pound note given by Mrs. Norris to William Price in Mansfield Park (this amount is not given explicitly in the text, but Jane Austen herself told her family that was the amount she meant).  Or the sum may be enormous, as when Darcy bribes Wickham to marry Lydia Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.  Today some people turn their noses up at money, but in Jane Austen’s novels, recipients are almost always appreciative.

Assuming you want to be more personal, let’s consider other significant gifts in Austen’s novels.

The pianoforte.  In Emma (spoiler alert), Frank Churchill ‘anonymously’ gives Jane Fairfax a pianoforte to use during her stay in Highbury.  Of course, Miss Fairfax knows who the donor is, but as she cannot say, the gift makes her vulnerable to unkind rumors.  On the other hand, it is a pretty instrument, a generous gift, and she enjoys playing it tremendously.  What can one learn from this?  It’s always good to remember the tastes of your recipients, and to give them what they lack in certain situations.  Still, do your best not to cause mischief and inconvenience.

Wednesday 7 December 2016


Hello dear friends and thanks for dropping by from time to time to join our online Jane Austen book club. Today I have two Austenesque audiobooks to propose to your attention, Unwilling and The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams. Discover more about them reading this post and pick up your favourite one. Then enter the giveaway in the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Maria Grazia

Mr. Bennet discovers his days are numbered, so he immediately begins to set his affairs - and his five unmarried daughters - in order. Knowing they will fare best should at least one of them find a suitable husband, he cannot refuse any respectable suitors.
The high-spirited Elizabeth suspects something isn't right in the halls of Longbourn, but nothing prepares her for a certain haughty gentleman from Derbyshire. While Mr. Darcy is exceedingly wealthy and handsome, in Elizabeth's eyes, he is also proud, high-handed, and insulting. And unfortunately, desperately in love with her.
Suddenly, Elizabeth is forced to rethink her previous opinions. And accept a choice she never had the chance to make.

Monday 5 December 2016


Adrian Lukis as Wickham (1995)
It is a pleasure for me to have been invited here to share a moment with you, dear readers, in between campaigns. Indeed, what better excuse to bid my dearest Lydia a fond farewell and retire to my rooms, take up my pen and note down a little something that I hope you might enjoy.

What, though, might a man, a soldier such as I, share with visitors to a salon so esteemed as this? What could I possibly know that might entertain you, might give you reason to afford me a smile?

Well, I turned my mind to this whilst strolling with Lydia in Hyde Park, looking out over the Serpentine that was so quiet now with winter drawing in. The horses thundered on Rotten Row, the carriages rattling this way and that but everyone was, of course, fully and firmly clad.

Twas not always so.

And I was not always a respectable married fellow, nor were all my days passed in boyish play with my brother and friend, Mr Darcy. I know that you will find it hard to countenance, dear reader, but even I, George Wickham, had my moments of bawdiness.