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Giveaway & Excerpt: A Very Austen Christmas

With the holidays approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to host an international giveaway for an e-book of A Very Austen Christmas by Laura Hile, Wendy Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and Robin Helm.

Before we get to the giveaway, Laura Hile, author of Darcy By Any Other Name, wanted to share an excerpt from her story, The Matchmaker’s Christmas:

The library door banged closed, and Darcy found himself alone with Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet. Miss Woodhouse was busy examining the bookshelves. “Mr. Darcy,” she said, “do you know whether Mr. Bingley has a copy of Debrett’s?”

She looked over her shoulder at Elizabeth “It is a guidebook for the peerage. Surely Miss Bingley has one,” she said, before Darcy could answer. “Depend upon it, she means to marry well. Aha! Here we are.”

Emma removed the book from its shelf and brought it to a table.

“Something Mr. Hurst said interests me.” She smiled at Elizabeth. “He is a funny one, is he not? The sort of person my brother-in-law would call a rum’un.”

“A what?” The words were out before Darcy could stop them. Hurst certainly was, but—Elizabeth’s eyes met his; she gave a gurgle of laughter.

Emma was untroubled. “He seems to be a most peculiar person. My brother-in- law will talk like that, because he is fond of jests and wordplay. I daresay it is also because he is a barrister. Mind, he is quite well-to- do, being a Knightley of Donwell Abbey. But such is the lot of a gentleman’s younger son. He must have a profession.”

“My Uncle Gardiner,” said Elizabeth, “is in the same situation. He is in trade.” She said this with a lift of her chin and a glance in Darcy’s direction, as if it were a challenge. What did she mean by it?

Emma continued to turn pages. “But who is Sir Thomas Bertram? That is the question. Because young Tom is not a younger son. And so his presence becomes, shall we say, interesting?”

Darcy did not care for her implication. “In what way?” he said.

Emma gave him an ingenious smile. “I specialize in matchmaking.”

She specialized in what? Somehow Darcy managed to keep his countenance.

“It is a most amusing occupation,” continued Emma. “My first was ever so successful—my former governess and old Mr. Weston. They are happily settled at Randalls now.”

“How nice for your governess,” said Elizabeth.

“She is the dearest creature and quite the gentlewoman—as the best governesses always are. I have another match in progress, between my friend Harriet and our vicar. I do worry, however, because I am away. Matches, you see, need helping along.”

“So I am given to understand,” said Darcy dryly. A matchmaker in their midst. What next?

Then again, why should he object? Because dinner—without Caroline’s repressive formality—was refreshingly agreeable. Charles sat in his place, and the others chose seats as they wished. Jane shyly slipped into the chair at Bingley’s right, with Mr. Bertram beside her.
Elizabeth sat at Bingley’s left. Darcy could not help himself; he claimed the chair next to Elizabeth’s. This meant that he had Miss Bates on his other side, but she was content to talk across the table to Mr. Bertram and Emma.

Darcy hid a smile. Miss Bates could carry a conversation on her own, without stopping to draw breath.

And the wind and rain continued to beat against the house.

This meant that the bridge was still out. Darcy, imprisoned at Netherfield against his will, was forced to endure lovely, intelligent Elizabeth Bennet as his dinner partner. It was all he could do to keep a
foolish smile from his lips.

This time—this time!—he would speak without stiffness or pretension. If Emma Woodhouse meant to match Elizabeth with Tom Bertram, she would have a fight on her hands!

Enter the Giveaway:

Comment about whether you’ve been a matchmaker or have made a match for someone else. Leave the comment by Dec. 5, 2017, 11:59 PM EST. The giveaway is open internationally for those who want 1 ebook.

Good luck!

  • Laura

    Darn – I missed this one. It looks like a fantastic book. I’ve never been a match maker. I think about it – but I’m inept at actually setting people up 🙂

  • Serena Agusto-Cox

    Ginna, you’re the winner! Congrats!

  • Regina

    While not exactly matchmaking, I did urge a niece to seriously reconsider her breakup with her then boyfriend. Seems to have worked out: they’ve been happily married since 1979, parents of 2 and grandparents of 3!

    • How gratifying is that? Wow, Regina. Sometimes we do not see the qualities in a man that wear well over time.

      Thanks for entering the giveaway. Good luck!

      • I mean, we don’t see what someone else clearly does. I’m glad to know that your niece is so happy.

  • Becky Rathjen

    My very feeble attempts at matchmaking have been similar to yours, Laura; not very successful! I enjoyed your excerpt from the book, and look forward to riding the rest of the story.

    • Becky, hello! Thanks for entering our giveaway! It’s so nice to see you here!

      Yes, grown sons — what can we do save to throw up our hands and then pray? A lot?

      Dudes, come on, really? Ask her to coffee already! 😀

  • Glynis

    I can’t remember ever being a matchmaker but if I had I would probably be just as bad at it as Emma is. I’m so pleased that Darcy is determined to stop her matching Elizabeth with anyone other than himself. Phew!!!
    I do look forward to reading all the stories in this book.

    • As you know, my books are l-o-n-g, so to have Darcy recognize the state of his heart so soon in a story was surprising to me. The Christmas Matchmaker kept wanting to become a novel!

      Good luck in the giveaway, Glynis!

  • Erika Messer

    I have never been a matchmaker – not that I haven’t tried a few times – but nothing came of it so I kind of gave up 🙂 I love the idea of Emma and the Bertrams and Darcy and Elizabeth all in the same book! This would be heavenly to read right before Christmas 🙂 Let the matchmaking begin Emma! Erika Messer hopefuldelights1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    • Matchmaking is probably best left in the hands of the very young — like Emma, who know no better — or the very old, who are wise enough to recongize traits that wear well in life.

      As you say, all that plottiing and planning adds fun to a story.

      Thanks for entering the giveaway, Erika. Good luck!

  • Lúthien84

    I’ve never been a matchmaker and I don’t intend to be one. I let nature takes its course. If it is meant to be, then let it be.

    • Hi, Luthien …

      One of my single friends shakes his head over well-intentioned people. “What is it about this person that makes you think she will be a good match for me?” he’ll ask.

      Usually, the would-be matchmaker does not have a reason. “So basically,” he confided to me, “the only determining factor is that we’re both nice and we’re both single?”

      Thanks for entering the giveaway, Luthien.

    • Sassy

      That’s a great idea, Luthien84. I totally agree with you.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Robin

  • Janet Woo

    I’ve been a matchmaker more than I’ve been matched. I wonder what that says about me! But “Emma” has always been my least favorite Austen book. Could it be because it reminds me of my own meddling? Or perhaps I’m just jealous that Emma landed good Mr. Knightley in the end…

    • The only matchmaking I’ve attempted in recent years has been giving nudges to my too-busy-to-date sons. Unsuccessfully.

      “You know, you could ask her to coffee…”

      “Mom.”

      “I’m just saying.”

      “You’re not helping, Mom. You’re making it worse.”

      With encouragement like this, I throw up my hands.

      Thanks for entering the giveaway, Janet. Good luck!

    • Sassy

      I tried a little matchmaking years ago, but it did not turn out well. Once burned, twice shy. I wouldn’t do it again. lol

      Emma is a favorite of mine. Well, I DID marry Mr. Knightley.

  • Virginia Kohl

    I have never made a match personally but several characters in my stories have played matchmaker for other characters 😉 Thank you for the glimpse into this lovely Christmas tale!

    • Oh, I agree. It is too much fun to make matches for our imaginary friends in a story.

      Thanks for entering the giveaway, Virginia. Good luck!

    • Sassy

      So glad you liked the post, Virginia. This is Robin. I guess I am Sassy. lol

  • LorenDushku

    I have never made a match for anyone but some of my friends introduced me to my current Mr Brandon after a bad story with a Mr Willoughby…and I thanks them for this <3

    • Those Willoughbys — so charming, but such a waste of a good woman’s love. Hurray for your Mr. Brandon!

      Good luck in the giveaway, Loren.

      • LorenDushku

        Thank you Laura!

    • Sassy

      What a fortunate escape! I married my Mr. Knightley after escaping Thomas.

  • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    Loved this excerpt! No need to enter me, as I have a copy and will be reading it soon!

    • Anna, thank you for your support and encouragement.

      We watch in astonishment as readers have propelled our anthology to the #1 Best Seller position in its genre at Amazon — and are keeping it there! Who knew that Jane Austen and Romance and Christmas would be what readers are looking for?

      One day the numbers will fall, we know that.
      But today is not that day!

      • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

        Congrats, Laura! That’s fantastic news. 😀

        • Serena, let’s keep Anna in the giveaway.

          Anna, if you win, I will gladly send the eBook to one of your friends. How’s that?

  • Ginna

    Never matchmade or been matchmade, at least not that I can remember. Another person and I were once obnoxious in college to a friend who went out on a date, made an embarrassing sign and put it in the window by the dorm’s main door. Surprisingly, they only went out a few times. 😮

    • Hi, Ginna,

      See, that’s the thing we forget — how young (and inexperienced) Emma is. She thinks she is so smart, and she just … isn’t.

      In high school and college, so many of us drifted into the “obnoxious” category …

      Good luck with the giveaway!

  • Suko

    I’ve never been a matchmaker. Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I will add it to my blog’s sidebar.

    • Sassy

      Hi, Suko! One of my daughter’s roommates set her up with a wonderful young man she’d known all her life. They started dating, dated for three years, and have now been deliriously happy for over two years. Sometimes matchmaking really does work.

      Thank you for commenting. Good luck in the giveaway!

    • Hi, Suko!
      Thank you for adding the giveaway news to your blog. The more, the merrier. It’s fun to give away an eBook …

  • DarcyBennett

    I played matchmaker between my college roommate and one of my single friends. Turns out I was lucky it didn’t work out for them as a few years later my friend and I decided to date and are now married.

    • Oh, what a fun story, DarcyBennet!
      The kind of thing you tell your grandchildren, with a wink and a smile. Good luck in the giveaway!

    • Sassy

      The guys we liked enough to introduce to our friends as dates are guys we would date ourselves. Glad it worked out for you. Good luck, DarcyBennett!

  • Pricilla T

    was never a matchmaker nor a match myself. thanks for te giveaway!!

    • Sassy

      I was afraid to play matchmaker. What if it turned out to be a really bad relationship?

      Thank you for commenting, Pricilla. Good luck in the giveaway!
      Robin Helm

    • I tend to forget how young Emma is.

      I had much fun “matchmaking” while in my late teens — because in my naiveté (I had no boyfriend in high school), I knew almost nothing about failed marriages or grief. As I grew older, I grew more cautious.

  • Vesper Meikle

    Nope, never a matchmaker or made a match. Much like Emma really

    • Sassy

      Hi, Vesper. Clever response. She really wasn’t much of a matchmaker, was she? I haven’t ever played cupid, either. I was cautious about mismatching a couple and being responsible for a disaster. I also have NO idea why I’m posting as sassy. lol This is Robin.

      • I played matchmaker’s assistant once, with an old boyfriend. We secretly sent flowers to a girl his best friend really liked — who was also a good friend of mine. It was her birthday and the best friend was in Italy visiting his family. My boyfriend’s mother sent flowers often, so she had an account at the florist’s. The bouquet he chose was gorgeous … and was probably quite expensive. I saw it later — wow! She was so thrilled that he thought of her.

        The boyfriend and I drifted apart when I went to college, but Italy guy and the girl were married a few years later. I never, ever told her — and I bet he didn’t either.