What strange weather we’re having!

It’s supposed to be spring, isn’t it?  The past few days have been more wintry than most of our winter has been!

A couple of days ago, hubby and I took our two dogs for a walk around Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal Water Gardens, which is a World Heritage site about 20 minutes drive from our house.

Click here for the National Trust page about the Abbey and Gardens

We probably visit there around once a month as it’s a National Trust property as well and as members we get in for free as part of our membership. It was a lovely sunny, if somewhat chilly, morning when we arrived and we’d planned to have lunch at the café by the lake after our walk. They make some very mean paninis there, our favourite having a filling of mushrooms and melted blue cheese. Washing one of those down with a cappucino would have set me up for the afternoon. “Would have” being the operative words. After walking up through the Water Gardens, around the Abbey ruins and heading back through the Gardens again, we were visited by a hailstorm. We experienced two more before reaching the lakeside car park again. Having the dogs with us meant we would have had to sit at one of the outside tables, which was no longer an option due to the inclement turn in the weather. The temperature reading on the dashboard thermometer was 1.5 degrees Celsius at one point on our journey home.

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Yesterday, I was working about 45 minutes drive away from home, listening to Rumours and Recklessness by Nicole Clarkston on my iPod via the car stereo during my journey. This took me up and over the wonderfully named Blubberhouses Moor which looked quite lovely in the morning sunshine. Coming home was a totally different matter, though. Not long after I’d left the pharmacy I’d spent my working day at, I could see that there was some sort of “weather event” happening up on the Moor. Even before I started the climb up, it had started snowing and this soon turned into a full blown blizzard. As you can see in the photo, the temperature had dropped to 0 degrees Celsius!

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Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth

I first read this not long after it was published and was totally delighted with it and the concept behind it. It’s recently become available from Audible so I immediately spent one of my subscription credits on it. I love audiobooks! They’re great for getting a reading fix when you can’t actually read because of doing something else. I listen when I’m driving to and from work, cooking, and winding down for sleep after a long day, to name but three situations.

I’ve read somewhere that folk have likened it to a film call 50 First Dates. Having not seen that one but knowing and loving Groundhog Day, that’s what springs to my mind with Pride and Persistence.

The premise is that Darcy sustains a head injury and broken foot falling from his horse after giving Elizabeth his letter following the disastrous first proposal at Hunsford. He’s unconscious for a while and has memory loss when he comes round. He doesn’t remember that proposal! Elizabeth helps care for him at the parsonage as he’s too ill to be moved. Each time he falls asleep, he loses the memory of what has happened so more proposals ensue. I won’t say any more but there’s a lot of poignancy but also a great deal of humour in this. Jeanna Ellsworth’s experience as a neurology nurse certainly shines through here. Warning: this Mr. Collins is totally gross!

There were a few Americanisms (pants instead of breeches, on one occasion, is the one that really jarred with me) but not enough to spoil the book/audio overall. The narration of the audio was also pretty good. I suspect that the narrator, Nancy Peterson, is not using her native accent but brought off a creditable English one. The main exception was the pronunciation of Hertfordshire. We pronounce it “Heart-fordshire” whereas she used “Hurt-fordshire” but at least she was consistent with it. I’ve heard some real horrors by narrators in the past, some of whom just seemed unable to make their minds up as to how a name or place should be pronounced.

I can recommend both book and audio to anyone who hasn’t yet read this. There are a number of lovely romantic scenes but nothing explicit so this would be suitable for all audiences.

Date listened to: January 2016

Source: Audible audiobook purchase.

Review originally published on: Goodreads, Audible, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory

I’ve been wanting to read this one for such a long time as I’d heard really good things about it. Safe to say, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest now that I’ve dug it out of my rather substantial TBR collection.

This story starts in Kent, assuming all the details of canon up till this point. Darcy is about to to make that ill-fated proposal at Hunsford when Elizabeth receives letters telling of tragic news at home. Some of you may know what that is, but as I try not to do spoilers, I won’t say what it is for anyone who doesn’t. That proposal is never made and Darcy sees to Elizabeth’s safe transport back to Longbourn. Coach journeys from Kent to London and London to Longbourn ensue. As there’s been no proposal and Elizabeth hasn’t made her less than diplomatic refusal, there’s no letter from Darcy explaining about his interference with Jane and Bingley or Georgiana’s near-elopement with Wickham. Other means have to be found for Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy to change and for him to realise what a pompous prig he was to plan the proposal he’d been intending to make, amongst other things. I won’t say any more here though, apart from the fact Elizabeth and Georgiana meet a lot earlier and Wickham is even more of a villain than in canon!

There is an odd Americanism here and there (yes, we Brits can be very picky!), but Ms Mackrory is an excellent writer with a good feel for her subject. There’s quite a lot of angst involved before the HEA and several delicious love scenes but no sexual content so I can recommend this for all audiences.

Date read: January 2016

Source: Amazon Kindle purchase.

Review originally published on Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

The Last Waltz by Pat Santarsiero

This story starts six years before canon P&P. Darcy and Elizabeth briefly meet at a memorial service for his late father in London. Life is good for Elizabeth at that time. Whilst staying with her Aunt and Uncle, she and Jane attend their first assembly in London. Shortly after this, tragedy strikes and life is never the same for Elizabeth again. Fast forward six years and Darcy is contemplating marriage to someone who isn’t Elizabeth! Whilst thinking it over, he goes to Hertfordshire with Bingley and to the Meryton Assembly we all know so well. Darcy and Elizabeth meet again but under somewhat different circumstances to canon.

I don’t write long or ‘spoilery’ reviews but as always, the path to true love still refuses to run smoothly for Darcy and Elizabeth on the way to their HEA. There’s no explicit sexual content, though there are several quite passionate love scenes, so I can recommend this book for all audiences.

I really enjoyed this book, despite like others, having a few queries about some historical details. It certainly had a different wrinkle to the circumstances. Definitely one to read if you haven’t already.

Date read: January 2016.

Source: Blog giveaway win.

Review originally posted on Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

 

 

Where will I go from here?

Will I ever manage to get this blog off the ground?  Where will I find the time?  I love reading other blogs and would dearly love to be able to keep up with writing this one. Time alone will tell.

My grand plan (and we all know what can happen to them!) is to post reviews of books I’ve read, films I’ve seen, audiobooks I’ve listened to – you get my drift. Then there may be random musings, photos from places we’ve visited, holidays we take.  I’m going to start by copying over my reviews from Goodreads, posted this year.

I hope this won’t be the only original post I ever write but Life, The Universe and Everything may just conspire to get in my way. Just saying.