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Guest Post & Giveaway: Catherine by Sue Barr

Good morning! I hope everyone is enjoying their first week of June. Today, we have the wonderful Sue Barr as a guest and a giveaway for her new book Catherine, which is the second book in her series. The first book was Caroline.

Please read the book details below and check out today’s special guest post.

About the Book:

Some secrets are not meant to be shared.

Catherine Bennet, known as Kitty to close friends and family, knows this better than anyone. She also knows that she will never marry and it never bothered her before she met Lord George Kerr at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding. He’s determined to breach the walls of defense she’d
carefully constructed around her heart, and she’s just as determined to stay the course.

Some secrets cannot be shared

Lord George Kerr knows this better than anyone. For five years, as a spy for His Majesty the King, he played the part of a Rake, concealing his espionage activities beneath a blanket of brothels, drink and loose women. Even though he’s forced to resume his regular life within London’s finest society, he still must keep some things hidden.

One thing he does not hide is his attraction to Miss Catherine Bennet of Longbourn. Enraptured by her beauty and warmth of character, he plunges headlong into winning her heart, only to find it carefully guarded and she’s unwilling to give him even a small pinch of hope.

Some things are beyond your control

When circumstances bring Kitty’s secret into the open, she fears the tenuous bonds of friendship she’s forged with Lord George will be lost forever along with whatever love he proclaims to have for her. With the very lives of England’s vast network of spies working undercover in Bonaparte’s France hanging in the balance, she’s forced to face her worst nightmare.

Her secret is laid bare, can he love her enough to overcome what he learns?

Please welcome today’s guest, Sue Barr:

When an author begins to write their story the words that make it on to the page is not the WHOLE story. Every character has a history, even if it’s in the author’s mind. Today I thought I’d share a few highlights of some of the characters (without giving away any spoilers).

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet

We all know her as the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. The one who Elizabeth dismissed by saying, ‘and wherever Lydia goes, Kitty is sure to follow’. In CATHERINE, the reader is re-introduced to her at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding breakfast and by this time she’s been out of Lydia’s shadow for about six months, maybe more. This is all according to canon.

What I did was create a backstory for her, complete with a secret that no one besides Mr. Bennet is aware of. The burden she carries from this secret makes her believe she will never marry, so, when Kitty meets Lord George she wants to indulge in daydreams, like any girl of ten and eight would, but forces herself to rein in her emotions and not allow her heart to become involved.

Lord George Kerr

Lord George is the next eldest brother of the Duke of Adborough. The reader is introduced to him in the very first chapter. He is a spy for the Crown and has been for over five years. What the reader doesn’t know is that George rescued Evangeline, the Countess of Anstruther (his espionage counterpart) in a daring rescue from France. Evangeline will get her own story – An Elaborate Ruse – but not until Georgiana’s story is complete. George is a master of disguise, adept at many languages and trades, an expert marksman and superb horseman. He is above all, a gentleman. I lurve him. He and his two brothers have a close relationship and family is very important to him. His good will and protective streak also has him taking care of those who enter his life in interesting ways.

Mary Bennet

Mary is the middle daughter and according to canon is annoyingly pious and boring. I wanted her to have her own secret, which is revealed in a fun way when she and Kitty have a lovely sister moment early on in the book. I decided to write Mary as being clever. Elizabeth, Jane and Lydia all cast long shadows with their various personalities and it was time for Mary to step out into the light. The reader will find that she plays beautiful music, having learned some skills from Miss Darcy, reads novels and has a sly sense of humor. I enjoyed expanding Mary’s
character and I hope the reader comes to like her as do I.

Phillip Sheraton

My favorite new character is Phillip. If you don’t fall in love with this cheeky boy…

EXCERPT:

With an agitated whinny, Buttons suddenly reared, unseating George who promptly landed in the ditch filled with water. He fully expected the horse to bolt, but all his patient training kept the handsome steed close, albeit a little skittish by whatever spooked him.

He pulled himself from the water and scrambled onto the road, snagging the horse’s halter in case he changed his mind and decided to make a break for Keswick Manor.

“What is it, boy? What has got you all fired up?” George spoke in a soothing voice and ran an experienced hand over the horse’s flesh, checking to make sure there wasn’t some unseen injury. He paused when his fingers ran across a small welt on the horse’s right hind quarters. At that exact moment he felt a sharp sting on his neck.

“What the…?”

His hand flew up to swat whatever had bit him. Within his peripheral vision he caught sight of a boy, seated in a tree by the side of the road. He pretended he hadn’t seen the little blighter and spoke to the horse in a louder than normal voice.

“Well, there must be some wasps out now that the rain has stopped. I hope they don’t interfere with my digging for gold.”

As he suspected, the boy lowered the device he’d used to sling tiny rocks, clearly intrigued by the thought of gold. Thank goodness it hadn’t been anything more sinister. His mental musings about Catherine had dulled his senses. Had this been France, he’d be dead.

He swung up into the saddle and flicked the reins. Buttons obliged by moving off at a slow walk. Now that he was aware of the child, George clearly heard him clambering out of the tree and trying to follow in the rain-soaked underbrush. The boy was going to become very wet.

Good.

He continued past the drive to Keswick Manor and headed for the small house where their groundskeeper took lodging. He stopped in front of a small barn, slid off Buttons and tied him to a post, then strode around to the back of the house and waited for the lad. He didn’t have to wait
long. No more than five minutes passed before he heard shuffling behind the stone fence that encircled the small yard and garden.

When he judged the boy was passing by his location, he stood and with a quick hand reached over the low fence and grabbed him by the shirt collar.

“Oi. Wot do you want wif me?”

The grimy faced urchin kicked and wiggled in vain.

“I would like to know why you attempted to injure my horse.”

“I dunno wot yer yabberin’ about.”

George hauled the boy over the fence and plunked him down, keeping a firm hand on his neck.

“You launched a rock and hit my horse on his flank, which I know you thought was funny as I fell arse over tea kettle,” – the boy sniggered – “but what if the horse landed into a rut and broke his leg.”

“I never thought of that.” The boy stopped struggling and lowered his head. “Wot you gonna do wif me?”

George paused and thought about his options. By the amount of filth encrusted on the child there was a good chance he didn’t have caring parents. Or at least parents who could afford to keep their children clean. He seemed slightly malnourished, given how he could feel fragile
bones through the threadbare shirt.

No, the punishment had to fitting, yet fair.

“What is your name?”

“Phillip.” The boy dared to glance up at him.

“That is a good strong name. One you can live up to.” George glanced toward Keswick Manor. “I have a task you can do which is quite fitting for the crime.”

At the word ‘crime’ the boy began to squirm again. He tightened his grip, trying not to bruise the frail child. “Settle down, Phillip. I am not turning you over to the magistrate.”

The young lad stopped struggling.

“Seeing as you nearly caused irreparable harm to my horse, I believe I shall have you water, feed and care for him while I’m here in Cambridgeshire.”

“I cain’t feed yer ‘orse. Ain’t got no money fer that.”

“I shall provide everything you require. Your job is to take care of Buttons.”

“Buttons?”

Phillip grinned, showing a gap between some of his teeth, which made George think he was only about eight or nine years old. At least that was how old he’d been when all he had to show for a smile was his two front teeth and nothing on either side.

“Yes, my horse’s name is Buttons. Are we in accord you will look after him?”

“I dunno. I’m supposed to help me mum and there ain’t no pay lookin after yer ‘orse.”

What a sad state of affairs that a child had to worry about bringing money home for the family.

“What would you say if I paid you a half guinea for a job well done.”

“A half guinea?” Phillip squeaked out, his eyes wide.

“For a job well done,” George stressed. “You must do a good job in order to receive the full amount.”

He already knew he’d pay the boy a half guinea even if the job was incomplete, but Phillip didn’t need to know that.

“I can help you hunt fer gold.”

George had to swallow a laugh. He’d forgotten about mentioning gold, clearly Phillip had not. Smart lad.

“I am not here for gold. That was a ruse to entice you behind the house.”

“You talk pretty fancy fer a git.”

George crouched down so he could look Phillip face to face.

“Take care how you speak to me, Master Phillip. This ‘git’ is the one who will pay you a good wage for honest labor.” Assured he had Phillip’s complete attention, he rose to his feet.

“We shall settle Buttons and then you can commence with the job at hand.”

About the Author:

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, and her blog.

GIVEAWAY:

Three winners will receive a copy of Catherine. Two winners will receive eBooks and one winner will receive an autographed paperback book of “Catherine.” All giveaways are open to international winners.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook or paperback book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

The rest of the tour:

May 28 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Launch Post & Giveaway
May 29 / From Pemberley to Milton/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
May 30 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
May 31 / More Agreeably Engaged/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway
June 1 / So Little Time… / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 2 / Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway
June 4 / Diary of an Eccentric /Book Review & Giveaway
June 5 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
June 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
June 7 / Margie’s Must Reads/Book Review Post & Giveaway
June 8 / Obsessed with Mr. Darcy / Book Review & Giveaway
June 9 / My Love for Jane Austen / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 10 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 11 / Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

Caroline by Sue Barr

Source: the author
Ebook, 204 pgs.
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Caroline by Sue Barr, view her guest post, explores Caroline Bingley from a different perspective, following Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet.  What if all we thought we knew about Jane Austen’s foil to Elizabeth wasn’t completely true? What if there was more to her than we thought?

Caroline has been in love with Mr. Darcy, or at least his society position and estate, for a very long time, and when she discovers he is lost to her forever, she is devastated.  She falls to an emotional low, and while turning to music and listening to her sister’s advice, she strives to make improvements — albeit slowly.  But her relationship with her siblings is not as close as it could be, especially when she makes her feelings known to Charles.

“Caroline eyed the half-chewed sticky mass on the floor and with great determination kept a steady gaze on Louisa’s face.  Not for the first time she wished her sister would not speak with her mouth full.  In front of the wrong person, she could be mistaken for an uncouth gentlewoman, on par with Mrs. Bennet.”

In walks, Lord Nathan Kerr, Mr. Darcy’s new vicar, and he is almost immediately besotted, but like Mr. Knightley, he takes Caroline to task for her past transgressions, even some she didn’t make.  Barr creatively intertwines scripture and is never heavy handed, and she shows the gradual evolution of Caroline from social-climber to a woman who is looking for companionship, respect, and love.  She has a harsh temper, which she must learn to curb, and eventually listening to the advice of her grandmother from long ago, she’s able to seek solace and learn to quiet her frustrations and anxieties enough to see the potential before her without lamenting what can never be.

The only drawback was the convenient ending, which took away some of the redemptive qualities of the novel.  But, overall, Caroline by Sue Barr is a wonderful story about a woman in need of new direction and finds it by looking at the opportunities before her that she might have spurned not too long ago.  This fiery redhead learns a lot about herself and society perceptions along the way, leaving her little choice but to reform herself and become more open to love.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three … in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady- in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. For more information about her other books, visit her website, her blog, and on Pinterest, Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Caroline: The Music Behind the Woman by Sue Barr

Many Pride & Prejudice variations are focused on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, but what attracts me to Sue Barr’s variation is that it focuses on Miss Bennet’s nemesis, Caroline Bingley.  (OK, maybe nemesis is a strong word)  Caroline has focused on Mr. Darcy for so long, what happens to her after Darcy marries Elizabeth? How does she cope with that loss and what does she focus on now that he’s out of the picture?  Today, Sue Barr will share with us the musical influences of Jane Austen and how it plays in Caroline’s life.

But first, read more about the book below.

Book Synopsis:

Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years, her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’. Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

Purchase Links: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon AU

Please give Sue a warm welcome.

Thank you, Serena, for inviting me to your lovely blog today to discuss my latest book, Caroline. Today, I look forward to sharing this post with your readers that discusses the musical influences in Jane Austen’s own life, as well as in Caroline Bingley’s story too.

When it comes to musical talents, I have learned that Jane Austen really was somewhat of a proficient and a rather accomplished lady in her musical achievements. From the age of 12 years old, Jane practiced the piano nearly each and every morning. In the evenings, she could often be found performing at the piano for her family and friends.

Even at the age of 20, she was still taking weekly lessons and learning new techniques, which happened to be unusual, even for the accomplished women of her class. Even though her family existed on a limited budget, Jane was always able to have access to a good quality piano. Due to the costs of printed music, Jane belonged to an “informal, women-driven network” of music copyists and borrowers.

In my story, Caroline, I was able to connect Austen’s love for music as we discover that Caroline also has a passion for music which soothes her soul. Whenever troubled, she gravitates to the pianoforte and plays. Personally, I love Mozart and was so glad that he lived prior to the time frame of my story.

One of my favorite movies is Amadeus, not for the characterization of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his protagonist, Antonio Salieri but for the music. There is one song, when the last of the high notes hang in the air before crashing to the end, which gives me goose flesh. The genius of Mozart’s compositions is beyond compare. His piano concerto No. 26 has so many layers in nuance and timing, also any of his Clarinet Concertos, … and who doesn’t love Eine Klein Nachtmusic? Most people listen to the piece with only stringed instruments, but the piano solo, accompanied by woodwinds and stringed instruments is achingly beautiful. I have a CD of his music and love it.

I also wanted Caroline to have layers with her love of music and there were many great Masters to choose from, but I looked for something different. I Googled popular composers in the time of 1812 and Ignaz Pleyel popped up. You Tube is a wonderful place to lose yourself and I listened to many tracks until I found his sonata in F Major. I thought I’d share a link to the scene from Amadeus where Solieri, played by F. Murray Abraham, is describing the music of Mozart to a young priest. I think he won the Oscar from this scene alone.

I challenge you to listen to some classical music, if you don’t already love it. Really, really hear what these Masters composed. Imagine flutes, oboes and clarinets, joined by an bassoon providing the much needed lower layer and then along comes the violin, piercing the air with each rising crescendo in harmony alongside the cello and in the background, bass drums, like a heartbeat.

Can you hear it?

Reference: JOHNSON, CLAUDIA L. and CLARA TUITE (eds). A Companion to Jane Austen. Blackwell Publishing, 2009. Blackwell Reference Online. 25 February 2017

Thanks, Sue, for sharing this with us. I can hear the music now. I’m sure my readers can, too, and I bet they’re excited to enter to win!

About the Author:

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three … in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady- in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. For more information about her other books, visit her website, her blog, and on Pinterest, Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter.

Enter the Giveaway:

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of Caroline and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. (All giveaways are open to international winners.)

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