The Journey Home
is now out in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon!
Stay tuned for the Blog Tour.
It's coming soon,
with Guest Posts, Reviews
|Welcome to the Author page of Joana Starnes||
The Journey Home
is now out in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon!
Stay tuned for the Blog Tour.
It's coming soon,
with Guest Posts, Reviews
I love reading and writing JAFF, it's an irresistible addiction! I love scenarios where misunderstandings abound and, as my dear friend Jami so beautifully put it, our favourite characters hurt each other's feelings in a rich variety of ways. But then it's wonderful to see them talk – talk openly, without holding back – until all those dreadful misunderstandings are cleared and the path to their happily-ever-after opens wide and bright before them.
In my upcoming book, there is both angst and joy for our dear couple, and that’s thanks to the generous feedback I received over the years from my friends and readers, and often from readers who have become my very special friends.
Once again, HUGE thanks to you all for sharing your thoughts and for making me see that once the heart-wrenching conflict is resolved, it would be nice to bask in the happily-ever-after.
So my new book is meant to be rather like a Victoria sponge cake (or a piece of death-by-chocolate): sweet layer
of courtship at the bottom; dark angst in the middle and another sweet layer of happily-ever-after on top.
I hope you’ll like the layered cake with a nice hot cuppa.
The book will be released in a couple of days, but in the meantime please pop by to Austenesque Reviews for a chance to win one of the prizes in the Cover Reveal Giveaway.
All the best and thanks for reading!
to everyone who followed The Darcy Legacy blog tour, and the lovely people who hosted it, much appreciated!!
Hope you had fun! I loved reading and replying to your comments. Thank you all so very much!
So now, without further ado -
of the Rafflecopter Giveaway!
is the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Leah, please let me know if the email address entered in Rafflecopter is the one I could use to send you the prize.
Kindle versions of
The Darcy Legacy
Denise D S M
Beth R W
Please let me know if the email address entered in Rafflecopter is the one I could use to send you the prize.
Audible codes for your very own copy
of one of my audio-books,
exquisitely narrated by Stevie Zimmerman
The codes are redeemable on Audible.COM.
If you're using Audible UK, please let me know.
Also, please let me know if the email address entered in Rafflecopter is the one I could use
to send you the code.
The winners are:
Carol S. R.
Many thanks again for taking part in the giveaway and for following the blog tour for the launch of The Darcy Legacy
This page hasn't had (m)any updates this year (sorry about that!) because apart from a couple of memorable trips with wonderful friends, I spent the last 4-5 months beavering away on my WIP.
At last, today I have some news to share:
THE DARCY LEGACY
is finally out at Amazon!
Many thanks to everyone who visited Claudine Pepe's
Just Jane 1813 yesterday and had a peek at the cover.
Once again, Claudine, HUGE THANKS for hosting
the cover reveal and for organising a fabulous blog tour
for the launch of my new novel,
and HUGE THANKS thanks to all the wonderful people who are kindly hosting me on their blogs this July!
You can find the blog tour details at Just Jane 1813
and also below:
July 2 / Austenesque Reviews/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
July 3 / Diary of an Eccentric/ Guest Post & Giveaway
July 4 / More Agreeably Engaged/ Book Review & Giveaway
July 5 / Of Pens & Pages / Guest Post & Giveaway
July 6 / So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Guest Post & Giveaway
July 7 / My Love for Jane Austen / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
July 8 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
July 9 / My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
July 10/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
July 11 / Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
July 12 / Just Jane 1813/ Tour Finale & Giveaway
Please visit, and I hope you'll like what you see!
Don't miss the chance to enter
the Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY!
You can enter here and also along the blog tour
The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
and will be open until
the end of Monday, 16 Jul 2018
(midnight Pacific EST)
You can win
one of the 10 Kindle versions of The Darcy Legacy
one of the 20 Audible codes with which you can listen for free to your choice of
Stevie Zimmerman’s exquisite productions
of my other books
or a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Best of luck and thanks for taking part!
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful festive season, and a lovely and relaxing time.
My family and I spent the end of 2017 with a large group of friends in a village near York, and we had the chance to visit that beautiful city to my heart’s content.
York is a magical place, and even more so at Christmas.
(Photos © Joana Starnes)
Enclosed within the medieval walls, still largely intact, you can find layer upon layer of history, 2000 years of it and more, with gems to discover at every corner.
York Minster awes the visitor with its grandeur, and no less with the secrets it had revealed over the centuries, of times gone by, when a Roman fortress that had stood on its site, later replaced by a Norman cathedral, and then by more and more grandiose structures.
Around the corner is the house where Guy Fawkes was born; also, the famous Shambles that, among other things, have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley...
... and dozens of old ale-houses and coaching inns that have welcomed the weary traveller for over 300 years. Some of those weary travellers reputedly never left, and are to this very day haunting some of those ale-houses – or so the story goes.
The Treasurer’s House, a beautiful National Trust house near York Minster was unfortunately closed at that time of year...
...but the absolute gem that is Fairfax House was open, and I spent hours absorbing the atmosphere of a Georgian Christmas in one of the finest townhouses in England.
Just like Basildon Park (which, incidentally, was built by the same architect, John Carr of York) Fairfax House has seen years of great affluence followed by sad neglect and unsympathetic uses, yet the stories of both houses have happy endings.
After decades of being used as a gentlemen’s club, a dance hall and an adjunct to a 1000-seat cinema (with part of the house demolished and the main bedrooms converted into toilets) an impressive conservation project has brought it back to its original glory.
Photography is not allowed, but the Fairfax House website will give you tantalising glimpses of the exquisite place.
I think it looks at its best at Christmas, when garlands of greenery and flowers adorn the columns, the bannisters, the portraits and mantelpieces, and the dining room is a delight.
The table is laid for the dessert course, with a large temple as the centrepiece, surrounded by a ‘parterre’ made of sugar paste, as well as by bowlfuls of sweetmeats and wonderfully realistic marzipan fruits, while an impressive Twelfth Night cake sits proudly on the dresser along with an array of drinks, and elaborate flower arrangements.
The breakfast table, set in the library, is no less impressive, with its array of ‘shred pies’, rolls, jam, tea, coffee, a vast Yorkshire Pie that seems to have come straight from the hands of Hannah Glasse, and a wheel of cheese that fills the air with its aroma because, as most of the food on display, it’s real, not just artfully decorated plaster and silicone. Again, I so wished I could take a photo (or hundreds) but you can get a very good idea here of what the Yorkshire Pie looked like.
I could have spent days in Fairfax House and still find intriguing and beautiful little details I missed, and I could have also spent days in the amazing treasure-chest that was this gorgeous bookshop on Minster Street, with several storeys full of hundreds of books and old prints.
A week would not have been enough to absorb the beauty of Castle Howard, once the home of the eldest daughter of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.
What can be more inspiring for Regency and JAFF writers than the great country houses where Mr and Mrs Darcy might have stayed in the delightful season of their courtship, or as blissfully happy newlyweds?
As always, I find them everywhere I go, and I love to sit and scribble in some quiet corner and imagine them strolling along secluded paths or seeking refuge in some walled garden to steal a kiss or two.
The snow-covered grounds of Castle Howard were lovely even on a dreary and overcast day, but they must be an absolute delight in the spring and summer.
It’s been a very long time since my last trip to Yorkshire - over twenty years, ever since my own season of courtship' 😉- but something tells me I’ll persuade my family to return very soon!
Happy New Year and happy trails in 2018!
Many thanks to all the entrants in the Rafflecopter Giveaway for the launch of 'Miss Darcy's Companion' in Audible, on my blog page and at 'Austenesque Reviews', 'Just Jane 1813', 'From Pemberley to Milton' and 'Obsessed with Mr Darcy'!
Drum roll for the Winners!
Winners of the signed paperbacks (Leah and Glynis) and of the Pemberley, Bath & Chawton goodie bag (DarcyBennet) - please contact me on Facebook Messenger or via the 'Contact' tab on my website (www.joanastarnes.co.uk) with your mailing address.
Winners of the Audible download codes for Stevie Zimmerman's production of 'Miss Darcy's Companion' (Gabriela, Kasia, Sheila, Susanne, Denise, Laurie, Desiree, Bethany, Stephanie, Sonia) - please contact me by Facebook Messenger or via my website to let me know if you are using Audible.com or Audible UK, and I will send the site-specific codes by email, at the address provided in the Rafflecopter giveaway (or please let me know if you'd like me to use a different email address).
Many thanks again for taking part in the giveaway, have a wonderful December and a very happy New Year!
Now that the days are short and they start with mist and end with rain, and you’re wondering how on earth you’ll be able to finish everything that needs doing at this time of year, maybe a little spell in our happy place will take your mind off the festive season conundrums, and drive the winter chill away, too.
What works for me every time is Pemberley and the Darcys (now that’s a surprise – not!)
Will we ever tire of their beautiful love-story, and of imagining all sorts of ways their courtship could progress towards the happily ever after?
I don’t think so – after all, we haven’t managed to in 200 years, and the what if’s are so tantalising!
I can’t wait for the holidays, so that I finally get the chance to catch up with my ever-growing TBR list, and thank goodness for audio-books!
One amazing Christmas present in 2016 opened the door into that magical land for me (WOW, Mira!), and in 2017, thanks to Rita Deodato and Stevie Zimmerman, my own books made it into the world of Audible.
In her narrations, Stevie Zimmerman brings the story and the characters to life, her inimitable style enhances their every emotion, and her Mr Darcy is utterly irresistible! She portrays his trademark blend of passion and restraint to perfection, and in doing so, touches every chord of your heart.
That was the case for all of my books that she has narrated, and the sample from the latest, Miss Darcy’s Companion, will show you what I mean.
You can listen to it here, to hear Darcy’s reaction when he discovers his true feelings, in a moment of crisis.
Exploring the premise of Miss Darcy’s Companion was very rewarding. I always love to imagine them cutting to the chase, bypassing some of the obstacles and getting to bask in their happily ever after just that little bit sooner. Take for instance the Meryton Assembly. It was masterful, from beginning to end: the embarrassing Bennets, the arrogant newcomers (except sweet, lovely Mr Bingley) and of course the gratuitous insult that, from the very beginning, tainted Elizabeth’s view of Mr Darcy. But I must admit, I love the variations where they don’t get off on the wrong foot, which is one of the reasons I couldn’t resist the temptation to write one where Elizabeth meets Darcy at his best, not his worst. She sees him on his own territory, where he isn’t weighed and measured as a potential prize, where he has no need to play a part, and is free to be himself: a loving brother, a fair and considerate master, and an eminently nice man (albeit a little too masterful and self-confident, but who can blame him?)
Of course, that premise introduces other obstacles, such as the even greater disparity in their stations, which would influence the battle between head and heart.
Stevie Zimmerman exquisitely gives voice to Mr Darcy’s dilemma, as both he and Elizabeth embark on their separate journeys of self-discovery, while alongside them Georgiana blossoms from a shy girl into a confident young woman (and Wickham can’t resist throwing a few spanners in the works).
For a chance to sit back while Stevie brings the story to life, or win a signed paperback of 'Miss Darcy’s Companion,' please enter the international GIVEAWAY, and the very best of luck!
Please follow the blog tour for more chances to win. The posts, kindly hosted by Meredith Esparza, Claudine Dimuzio Pepe, Rita Deodato and Mira Magdo, will take you on a trip into Darcy Wonderland, reveal a conversation with Miss Darcy, tell you more about the audio-book backstory and what comes next, and ensure you’re all prepared for THE Chocolate Rating.
You can find out more on:
27 Nov 2017 – Austenesque Reviews
29 Nov 2017 – Just Jane 1813
30 Nov 2017 – From Pemberley to Milton
2 Dec 2017 – Obsessed with Mr Darcy
Thanks for reading, best of luck in the Giveaway, and have a magical December!
Cornwall is the sort of place people tend to fall in love with at first sight. Windswept beaches, the restless and relentless sea, the whisper of mystery, the promise of romance and adventure capture the heart and the imagination, and there’s little wonder that this magical corner of the world had inspired Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and The Frenchman’s Creek, as well as Poldark, Winston Graham’s epic novel.
I visit Cornwall as often as I can. The touristic hotspots and the crowded surfers’ beaches not so much, but the secluded coves, the narrow lanes that rarely get a hint of sunlight, the small hamlets, the great houses asleep under layer upon layer of history, or the places where, if you close your eyes, you can almost hear ‘the gentlemen go by.’
Photos © J Starnes
This time I ventured all the way to the battered western shoreline, to the famed Tin Coast near St Just, where to this day we can still see poignant and impressive monuments to industry, ingenuity and grim determination; where people have toiled for generations, and few – the very few and very, very lucky – have made staggering fortunes.
(Click to enlarge)
Such was the case of Stephen Harvey James from Botallack Manor Farm – “a local Poldark figure”, a National Trust information board tells us. When the mine workings at Botallack had apparently become exhausted, he stepped in to try to rescue the mine. For five years this seemed a dreadfully bad investment. The mine kept emptying the shareholders’ pockets and eventually the agent reported that “he knew not where to find two penny weight of ore in the mine.” Mere days later the tributers cut a rich lode of copper which over the following 12 months yielded a profit of £24,000 (over £2,400,000 in today’s money). Two decades later there were 500 people and 11 steam engines working at the mine.
It’s easy to believe that this story might have inspired Winston Graham when he wrote about Capt. Poldark’s changing fortunes. And what better location for the family mines of Wheal Leisure (in real life Wheal Owles) and Grambler (Wheal Crowns)?
If you have a good head for heights and aren’t particularly fazed by sheer drops you can make your way along a narrow footpath from the upper engine house of Wheal Crowns to the lower – both hanging to the cliffs in defiance of centuries of raging storms.
If you’d rather have a wider stretch of ground underfoot, you can still brave the extremely picturesque coastal path, where every step along the way entices you with glimpses of romantic coves (which, by the bye, are far too dangerous for swimming. If you’re thinking of the famous swimming scene you might wish to visit Porthgwarra Beach further south, on the St Aubyn Estates).
You can find out more about the filming locations here, and then arm yourself with a camera and a pasty and go on Poldark walks.
Or you could visit the delightful little port of Charlestown to see the ships at anchor, stroll along the Georgian quay and treat yourself to a jolly dinner at The Rashley.
Other locations are a long way from Cornwall. Trenwith (Chavenage House) is near the Cotswolds. Some of the Truro scenes might have been filmed in Charlestown, but others were shot 150 miles away in Wiltshire, in the charming market town of Corsham, not far from 1995 Meryton, a.k.a Lacock.
I have not visited Nampara yet, nor Godolphin House, used as the home of Francis Poldark in the original series, but they're both on next summer's list. By the way, did you know that you can actually stay at Godolphin, this hugely atmospheric 17th century manor house?
So what do you think, are you tempted to don your best apparel and have an Early Georgian house party at Godolphin? Or is your heart forever set on the Regency and Pemberley?
And the winner is:
And because Julia Grantham is so awesome
she has 2 additional surprise presents
for the runners-up:
Joy Dawn King
she has donated her own pendant to the
Jane Austen Literacy Foundation,
to be used for fundraising!
You can see the draw here.
Congrats to the winners
and many thanks for visiting, Julia,
it was such a pleasure to host you
and Mr Darcy's Guide & pendant!
It is my privilege to welcome my very dear friend JB Grantham today to talk about her absolutely delightful labour of love, 'Mr Darcy's Guide to Pemberley', a wonderful creation I'm sure you'll adore as much as I do.
If, like me, you can't have enough of Pride and Prejudice and you visit the filming locations whenever you can for more glimpses of Pemberley, you'll be thrilled to own this beautiful book and travel to the iconic country house as often as you wish in your imagination, with the master of the house guiding your virtual footsteps.
JB Grantham will now tell you more about it. Please read on and don't forget to comment for a chance to win an exquisite token in the GIVEAWAY.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I am delighted to visit Joana’s blog today with my new book “Mr Darcy’s Guide to Pemberley”.
Joana is a very dear friend of mine and her support has been absolutely invaluable in bringing this book to you. Ever since I shared with her my secret about writing the book, Joana never allowed me to lose my focus or my heart about it. There were some tough times during the process when I felt like giving up, but Joana never lost her optimism and belief in the book and encouraged me every step of the way.
In two years that we’ve known each other we visited together so many wonderful Jane Austen–related places: from Lydia’s Brighton, to Mr Darcy’s Pemberley, from Catherine’s Bath to Jane’s very own Chawton.
One of my fondest memories along the way is that of visiting Pemberley with Joana and Mira Magdo. I suppose, we just had to meet on that path one day, for all roads lead to Pemberley…
Indeed, they do. At least - for any dedicated (read - obsessed) Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice 1995 fan.
And, you will not be surprised, I am sure, that a person, who started a Facebook Page about Elizabeth Bennet’s life after her marriage to Mr Darcy, and continues to work on that page religiously 5 years later, - is a dedicated fan. Or enthusiast – pick your own noun.
However, no matter how many times one watched BBC’s P&P and re-read The Book, life adds its corrections to one’s travel schedule. As it happens – I only managed to travel to Pemberley for the first time about 4 years ago.
I planned my trip meticulously: a train to Manchester, from there – to Stockport and Disley; all train times written down neatly on a folded sheet of paper, pages of maps printed from the internet, a sketchpad and pencils in my bag – everything ready for my big adventure at Pemberley.
For weeks before the trip I was trying to imagine my feelings when I would see the gates of Pemberley for the first time, seriously believing that I might be in tears when it happened.
Well… I planned it all, but didn’t count on one simple thing – Disley is a small village and there is no taxi rank at the station. It might not be a deal breaker for the vast majority of people, but I, as it happened, had an injured knee at the time and walking was not my forte. In vain I struggled to connect to the internet and call a taxi, nothing was available. I had to resort to walking along the main road, following the directions on my map. It was an early summer’s day, warm and dry, large heavy loaded lorries passed me in both directions, lifting into the air clouds of fine road dust, leaving fumes of diesel in their wake. No matter how hard I tried to imagine myself being Elizabeth Bennet on one of her long walks – the image was repeatedly ruined by the next heavy truck speeding along the road.
It took me a while to reach the gates of the Lyme Park (Pemberley) estate, and I turned off the main road onto a smaller one, shaded by trees on both side, promising some respite from the sun and dust.
One thing I underestimated, just like Elizabeth on her first visit to Pemberley, was the size of the vast estate. From the main gates the road continued for miles, as I felt it, or rather my knee did. I looked enviously at cars passing me on their way to Lyme Park, ready to partake in its delights. I carried on along the road, trying to ignore my aching knee and wishing only for one thing – to reach a place I could sit down and have some rest.
When, at last, I glimpsed the walls of Pemberley in the distance, the only tears to blur my vision were the tears of pain, bud – alas – not of sentimental delight. By this time I didn’t feel like a romantic heroine at all. I suppose, I could have pretended to be Marianne Dashwood with her twisted ankle, but as no handsome scoundrel rushed to my rescue, this scenario didn’t quite work.
This painful walk made such an impression on me that when, months later, I started working on “Mr Darcy’s Guide to Pemberley” I felt it necessary to warn my readers of the potential difficulties of the walk, writing something like “the walk from Lambton is quite manageable for an experienced walker”.
It made my husband laugh when he read it.
“You mean, it is OK, unless you have an injured joint or two?” he asked. “Exactly!” I replied, but removed the sentence from the book.
Nevertheless, I feel that I should forewarn any particular pilgrims of the future – the walk along the main road is not the most pleasant. There are some other back roads and paths however. They are all approximately 2 miles long, or just over. They are more picturesque than the road I took, but do wear comfortable shoes.
However, if you prefer to call a taxi, you can do nowadays! On our last visit we used Lynx Taxis of Stockport (+44 161 480 5000), you can even download their app on your phone (http://www.lynxtaxis.uk/). They were pretty efficient and turned up quickly even at short notice. I am not on any commission from them, of course, just sharing my experience :)
Many people asked me whether it is easy to get to Lyme Park without a car. It is, actually.
You need to take a train to Stockport – most trains from London to Manchester stop at Stockport. The trains go from London Euston and take exactly 2 hours. You change at Stockport and take a train to Disley. It actually goes to Buxton – that what you need to look for on the departure screens, but you alight at Disley after only 20 min. The train goes once an hour, so there might be time for a cup of coffee at the station café.
From Disley Station – as I said before – you either walk or call a taxi that will bring you right to Lyme Hall ( aka Pemberley House) in a mere 5-6 min. Easy!
Once at Pemberley, you won’t need my directions, because now its Master himself invites you to take a turn in the grounds of his house.
Visit Pemberley’s gardens, woods and lake sides, see the house from every angle, accompanied by Mr Darcy’s commentaries and explanations; learn about the history of his family, and share his memories of meeting Elizabeth by the giant lime tree back in 1812.
The book is available for pre-order: https://gumroad.com/pemberleybooks
About the book:
Sumptuously presented, to make sure it does justice to the stunning place it describes, this book is the first and only of its kind. It is only available as a hardback, wrapped in a smooth dustcover with gold emboss. Inside, the book is printed on high quality silky paper with full colour paintings adorning every page.
Hand-drawn maps help you to find your way around Mr Darcy’s extensive estate and perfectly imagine every detail as if you were walking the garden paths beside your generous (and handsome!) host.
I'll tell you a secret, when I brought my specifications to the printers their reply was: "Sounds like a nice book with every high priced print process known to man and the most expensive paper you can buy." That scared me a little, but I had to stick to it to do justice to the beautiful place this book is about.
- It is a hardback, landscape, 28x21 cm.
- Dust cover with gold emboss.
- Satin paper.
- Full colour throughout.
- 108 pages, with illustrations practically on every page.
Because the book will be expensive to print - we are looking first of all to fulfilling the pre-orders. How many will remain available for general sale - I am not sure.
I will be donating 10% of any profit
made on this book to the
Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.
You can pre-order to save money and secure your copy here: https://gumroad.com/pemberleybooks
Firstly, this way you secure your copy. The book is a limited edition and the number of copies ordered will be strongly determined by the number of pre-orders we receive.
Secondly, there is a special introductory price on pre-orders, you save £5 off the regular price of the book.
The book will be released on 1 October 2017, and you will not be charged until the date of release.
It is coming to Amazon.co.uk in October at RRP £25 + p&p.
Pre-order at https://gumroad.com/pemberleybooks for £20 + p&p only.
If you need a recommendation, I would like to share with you a review written by none other than my generous hostess, Joana Starnes. Also, exclusively for Joana’s Blog I am very happy to reveal one page of the book (please click on the images to enlarge them):
And finally - Today’s Giveaway:
To win – comment on this post and tell us about your favourite episode from BBC 1995 Pride & Prejudice adaptation. The winners will be chosen randomly in a week time.
A specially made pendant featuring an original portrait of Mr Darcy by E.Tarnovski.
This work was especially commissioned for this book and currently not available for sale from any retailers. The pendant is 23 mm in diameter, on a long chain and on the back features one of the best known and loved quotes in literature. Can you guess which?
There are only two pendants like this in the world. One is mine and the second one will belong to our lucky winner.
You also will receive an A5 print of the portrait and a green ostrich feather – why not? ;)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thank you, Julia, for compiling the beautiful Guide, for visiting my blog today with this lovely post, and for this gorgeous giveaway!
I fell in love with Mr Darcy's Guide to Pemberley ever since you kindly showed me the draft copy. That is also the time when I became a huge fan of E. Tarnovski.
In my opinion this is the best portrait of Mr Darcy. E. Tarnovski has skilfully portrayed him as we know and love him, with his inner goodness shining through as he bestows a loving glance upon his Elizabeth.
Please leave a comment for a chance to own one of the only two such pendants in existence and check out Mr Darcy's Guide to Pemberley
I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do!
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post no later than midnight, BST (British Summer Time) on Monday, 31 July.
The winner will be announced on this blog on 1 August, 2017.
Joana's Blog Page