Some Winners…

Sorry for the delay in the winners announcements. I hope I don’t forget anyone. I’ve been a bit bogged down with work and other things this month.

The winner of The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath was Beth Fish Reads!




The 2 winners of You Are My Only by Beth Kephart were Michael of Middle Grade Mafioso and Evangeline from Sugarpeach.  I am sorry for the delay in shipping these books out.  I’ve run into some issues that have precluded me from mailing them, but I hope to get them in the mail to you sometime after the holiday on Dec. 25.  Please accept my sincere apologies.



The winner of Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers was Cynthia Wong.




Congrats to all the winners.

The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath

The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath tackles the enigmatic figure of Mary Bennet, the third oldest of the Bennet sisters.  She’s the one considered unremarkable and religious in the original novel, Pride & Prejudice.  Here readers will see the struggles of Mary as she finds that she is often ignored or laughed at on almost every occasion.  She turns to sermons and music for solace, though she notes that despite the many hours she spends practicing, she is unable to improve her musical talents.

“It is a comforting belief among much of society, that a plain girl with a small fortune must have no more interest in matrimony than matrimony has in her.”  (page 1)

Sarath’s Mary has grown from the quiet girl, who was content to remain in the background.  Although she’s not sure what she wants out of life, she certainly realizes that her life is not where she wants it to be and that she wants to find a man who is her equal and to be more than her mother’s keeper or a possible governess to her sister Jane’s unborn children.  Jane and Lizzy have bigger plans for their sisters, Kitty and Mary, and plan to expose them to a greater society.  They hope that through their stay the younger sisters can find happiness, but this is Mary’s story.

Sarath has expanded upon Austen’s Mary, and readers can watch her grow into a more confident woman.  Her happiness begins to shine and it rubs off on those around her.  Rather than weave a story about Mary’s pious nature and place her in the path of a clergyman, Sarath guides Mary with deft prose to become more independent from her family and her sisters.  However, there are those moments when Mary doubts her own decisions and resolve, but so too would any woman of her societal standing who is often overlooked by men of her acquaintance as a suitable match and who is considered to be plain.

Readers favorites from Mr. Darcy and Lizzy to Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh round out the cast, but the colorful and rambunctious Mr. Aikens captures some of the spotlight as he shows up at inopportune moments and disrupts the decorum of Regency society with his amiable nature and constant rambling about horses.  Sarath’s characterization of Aikens helps offset the quirkiness of Mary in a way that will endear her to readers, who will see her faults as charming foibles of a well-meaning woman.

The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath is less a commentary on how the wall flower blooms, but rather how as we grow into the adults we’re meant to be, we can surprise even ourselves.  Sarath has a talent for keeping the language modern, the characters vivid and evolving, and the story engaging.  Another Austenesque novel that should be read by those who love Austen and her characters.  Hopefully, Sarath has another novel planned for Kitty Bennet.

To enter the giveaway for 1 copy (US/Canada):

1.  Leave a comment about what has surprised you about your adult self when you look back on how you viewed yourself as a younger person.

2.  Spread the word on Twitter (@SavvyVerseWit), Facebook, or a blog, and leave a link for up to three more entries.

3.  Leave a comment on the guest post for another entry and let me know on this post.

Deadline Dec. 14, 2011, at 11:59PM EST.

Guest Post: Out of the Pantry by Patrice Sarath

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen has transformed into a subgenre of its own with retellings, spinoffs, continuations, and re-imaginings. What keeps these books going is the fresh perspective that each author brings to the story and its characters.

Patrice Sarath is bringing her talents to the fore in The Unexpected Miss Bennet, which tells Mary Bennet’s story. She’s the one considered unremarkable and religious in the original novel. But in this iteration, Sarath takes her on a journey because she’s uncertain about her future of spinsterhood. Today is the release of The Unexpected Miss Bennet.

Today, I have a treat for my readers, a glimpse into her writing space. Please enjoy.

Up until six months ago, I wrote in my pantry. That’s right, my pantry. See, we have a small house, barely big enough for the four of us, so my husband created a writing space for me in our combined laundry room/pantry. It was big enough for my desktop and contained all of my writing miscellanea, as you can see. In the summer, it got pretty hot, so I wrote to the constant sound of a fan positioned at the doorway. In the winter, I kept warm from the dryer.

I wrote four novels and countless short stories in that pantry. I think my success was due to the womb-like nature of the writing space. The only way out of that room was to write my way out of it. I sat with my back to the door, and the world went away, so much in fact that my daughter would have to call me by my first name to get my attention, causing me to jump.

But life goes on, first daughters grow up, and after she went to college, we started to eye her bedroom. Wow, what an awesome space for an office, I thought. We could create a shared guestroom office space – our daughter could stay there on breaks, and I’d have a window for writing.

So we took out the carpet, fixed the ceiling, painted, and put in beautiful flooring. I put in my desk and computer, put up the bookcase my husband made, and made a beautiful writing space for myself.

And promptly got a very bad case of writer’s block. Too much light and air, I think. Too many distractions. It took awhile to get over that. I don’t take change well, and it was a shock to my system. Sometimes I find myself going into the pantry to sit down and write, only to be shocked with how my former space is taken up with household stuff.

So I find my way to the new office, settle in with music and the fan, just useful as white noise now, and fully expect the next years to bring me the same joys and heartache and frustration and elation that writing always brings. I still have to write my way out of the room. It’s just a bigger room.

Thanks, Patrice, for sharing your writing space with us.

Photo Credit: Ben Van Dyke

About the Author:

Patrice is a writer and editor in Austin, Texas. Her first novel, Gordath Wood, came out from Ace in the summer of 2008, and the sequel, Red Gold Bridge, in 2009. Gordath Wood is hard to categorize. It’s fantasy but with only a touch of magic to it.

Like most writers, she has a day job at Hoover’s, Inc. where she writes about business and commerce as it relates to the financial and construction industries.  In the evenings she writes fiction, including her new release The Unexpected Miss Bennet.

Mailbox Monday #151

First, I would like to congratulate (Ryan) on winning My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due (my review) from the last Mailbox Monday giveaway.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Mailbox Monday tour blog.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  You Are My Only by Beth Kephart; finally my 5 pre-ordered books arrived (so the two of you readers who have won a copy should receive them soon from me) and 1 autographed copy from Beth after I won her Treasure Hunt, which I will treasure forever.

2.  Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly for review in January from Sourcebooks.

3.  Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers for review in December from Ulysses Press.

4.  Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange for review in December from Berkley/Penguin.

5.  The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath for review in December from Berkley/Penguin.

6. Ivan and Misha by Michael Alenyikov, which I won from Unabridged Chick!

7. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson from Library Thing Early Reviewers.

What did you get in your mailbox?