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A Vintage Halloween by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
Ebook, 56 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Vintage Halloween (Memories of Old Antique Shop #3) by Cat Gardiner is delightful short story in which Elizabeth Bennet is trying her best to put on a brave face as she helps Jane with her wedding preparations to Charlie Bingley and navigating through her mother’s nerves. But what is really getting her down is the absence of her Darcy and the knowledge that he’s in a dangerous place and may not come home to make good on his promise to marry her. Gardiner knows these characters, even her modern versions, so well, that they shine on the pages.  Lizzy is tough, but she’s vulnerable, and Darcy is smart but dutiful.

“In Will’s absence, Fred Astaire wasn’t her hide-out any longer — at least not when she needed a break from her mother.”

Halloween is approaching and Lizzy may not feel like celebrating, but she’s made a promise to the Memories of Old shopkeeper, Doris. A romantic trip to 1944 is what Lizzy needs to recharge, but she’s not the only one missing her sweetie in this tale of ghouls and ghosts. Doris is being mysterious, and Mary joins Lizzy at the shop only to see things Lizzy cannot see.

A trip through a mirror and a masquerade ball may be just what the doctor ordered for Lizzy and Doris.  But who is behind those costumes and masks, and where are all those customers coming from and what are they looking for? Will Doris let Lizzy in on her secrets? Find out in A Vintage Halloween (Memories of Old Antique Shop #3) by Cat Gardiner.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

A Vintage Victory by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
ebook, 54 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Vintage Victory: Memories of Old Antique Shop Book 2 by Cat Gardiner is a short story that takes us back to the time portals of the old antique shop in Meryton where not only Elizabeth and Jane Bennet have taken a trip back in time, but so too has Mr. Darcy.

Charles Bingley has cold feet about his wedding to Jane, but a trip back to WWII through the Memories of Old antique shop might just set him to rights. Gardiner’s short stories and this time portal antique shop always delight, even when the subject matter is the possible loss of lives during a harrowing WWII battle.

Charlie isn’t only experiencing cold feet, he’s also very different from Austen’s young beau in that he has a tough time making decisions and often just lives off his family’s money. Meanwhile, army ranger Darcy finds that the trip is not only the remedy his friend needs to cure his indecision, but also the push he needs to share his feelings with his love, Elizabeth. But can these two men return to the present without dying? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Gardiner is one of the best historical fiction authors I’ve read, and her Pride & Prejudice variations are unique and engaging. Antiques will often transport us to the past and memories we hold dear, but Gardiner takes that one step further in these short tales. Readers will be truly engaged with the present and past, and itching for their own trip into the Memories of Old antique shop. A Vintage Victory: Memories of Old Antique Shop Book 2 by Cat Gardiner is another strong installment in this short story series, and I cannot wait for the next one.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Without a Conscience by Cat Gardiner

Source: the author
ebook, 204 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

***There may be spoilers for the first book in this review.***

Without a Conscience (available on Amazon Nov. 11) by Cat Gardiner is a stunning and intense follow-up to Denial of Conscience. If you thought Iceman was stone cold in the first book, you’re going to love watching him thaw and then freeze, before he ultimately melts in Liz’s arms.  Life at Pemberley with the horses is placid, but even training horses can be an adrenaline rush, especially while wielding a gun and shooting targets in the woods.  When danger comes home to roost after a successful operation — his last with Obsidian — all that target practice seems well timed.

“Your conscience, your moral sensibilities will get you and them killed.  It’ll cause you to pause, to flinch, to second guess.  There are no second guesses or second chances.  Only one choice before you: life or death.  You must remain without a conscience in the fight for life.” (ARC)

Given Liz’s sheltered life at Longbourn, Iceman Darcy wonders just how free she’d like to be, not confident that his love or the peace a Pemberley is enough to satisfy her, especially as she hugs the turns in her new Harley. These insecurities mirror Liz’s own as she sees how unsettled he is and the distance in his eyes from time-to-time, but she’s determined to keep their love alive. Even as they navigate their new marriage, it is clear that his past life as the Iceman will reclaim him, even if he doesn’t want it to.

Gardiner’s writing is adept at lulling readers into a false sense of security as we watch Darcy and Liz build a life together on the grounds of a tranquil property. Only glimpses of danger are seen and the solid panic room in the depths of the house are a warning of things to come. From the dangerous tango in an French club to a secluded van, it’s clear that Iceman and Liz have become two halves of the same coin, and they’re bound together more closely at the end of this novel.

Even with the cloak-and-dagger, Liz and Darcy find their ways back to one another, and communication is a key component of that — just like in any marriage. Without a Conscience by Cat Gardiner hugs the corners close, throbs in your ears, sends your nerves over the edge, and brings you in for a smooth, romantic landing.

Check out the Pinterest board and the book’s Playlist.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

Guest Posts:

***Cat Gardiner’s new WWII romance, A Moment Forever, also toured with Poetic Book Tours.***

About the Author:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more on her book, visit A Moment Forever.

Follow her on Twitter
On Facebook
Follow her blog.

Mailbox Monday #400

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Without a Conscience by Cat Gardiner for review in November.

Someone wants to kill The Iceman, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and will stop at nothing to lure him into the open. Out for retribution, the son of an assassinated South American drug lord is seeking payback. His diabolical objective puts Operation Macarena into play by dangling bait guaranteed to entice his enemy. Can Darcy’s new bride, Liz, accept his decision to leave their tranquil life at Pemberley to resume the deadly profession he swore was behind them forever?

But are Darcy and Liz each fully satisfied with their simple, peaceful existence raising polo ponies and planning exotic vacations? Darcy set Liz’s spirit free; how can she resist the urge to ride on the wild side? Perhaps coming out of retirement is just what her husband needs because The Iceman never truly melted.

Without a Conscience takes readers on an adventure from the dangerous Peruvian Amazon Basin to the salacious underbelly of Parisian nightlife, leading toward a perilous rescue in Moscow.

Essential Readings & Study Guide by K.V. Dominic, which Anna passed on to me.

“K. V. Dominic Essential Readings” gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: “Winged Reason,” “Write Son, Write” and “Multicultural Symphony.” A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic’s prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.

Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic’s keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.

R2-D2 and C-3P0’s Guide to the Galaxy (LEGO Star Wars) by Ace Landers, which my daughter picked from her school’s book fair (primarily because it came with a C-3P0 lego character)

A guide to the good guys, bad guys, places and vehicles from LEGO(R) STAR WARS(TM) presented by R2D2 and C-3P0. The two fan-favorite Droids introduce each chapter (i.e. heroes, villains, vehicles, places) and occasionally pop in to comment on things via comic book word balloons, making for a humorous and fresh take on the LEGO(R) STAR WARS(TM) Universe. Plus, comes with buildable C-3P0 minifigure!

Draw DC Universe: Learn to Draw the Heroes and the Villains by Kaitlyn Nichols, which she got from the book fair as well.

This book is a complete how-to-draw package, jammed with expert tips and techniques, tons of practice space, and of course, a universe of DC heroes and villains. The draw-right-in-it book comes with everything you need: a sketching pencil, a drawing marker, artist Have fun

The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine, illustrated by Marc Brown, which she picked from the book fair.

A frighteningly fun picture book adventure from two monstrously talented children’s book icons–Marc Brown and R.L. Stine!

Are you are afraid of monsters?
Do they make you shiver and shake and shut your eyes really tight at night?

Welcome to the Little Shop of Monsters! Do you want a SNEEZER? A TICKLER? Or one of the CREEPIEST monsters of all? Come on in and choose your favorite, if you dare (before one of them chooses YOU!).

Renowned children’s book creators Marc Brown and R.L. Stine join forces for the very first time-in Stine’s picture book debut-with a tale that is monstrously good fun.

Trick or Treat! by Hayley Down, illustrated by Sarah Vince, which she selected from the book fair.

As Halloween approaches, children will be excited to explore this super spooky story. It contains a silicone torch that can be used to light up the pages and reveal some hidden artwork. Dim the lights of the room for extra effect!

A funny, rhyming story that will help children understand that Halloween doesn’t have to be scary, it’s full of pictures of fun costumes. Shine the torch and you’ll be able to see the excited children inside them!

Political Theatre by Mark Peterson, already reviewed in November.

Over the past two years New York–based Mark Peterson (born 1955) has photographed American presidential candidates as they lead rallies, meet with the public and plead for votes. He began documenting the race shortly before the government shutdown in 2013 at a Tea Party rally at the US Capitol, when politicians were railing against President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Since then Peterson has followed the political spin as it approaches the November 2016 election, creating already-famous images of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie and others, cutting through the staging of their personalities and revealing the cold, naked ambition for power. This volume documents what has been widely described as the most polarized and bizarre presidential race in American history.

What did you receive?

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Writing Space of Pamela Lynne

family-portraits-cover-ebook-largeWelcome to today’s guest post and giveaway with Pamela Lynne.  Her latest Jane Austen inspired novel, Family Portraits, hit shelves earlier this month, and it is garnering some great reviews.

About the Book:

In Dearest Friends, Pamela Lynne drew complex and interesting characters who joined Darcy and Elizabeth on their road to happily ever after. But, what happened after ‘the end’? Did Lydia survive her time at Rosings? Did Jane find fulfillment as Mrs. Bingley? Did Mary and Sebastian adhere to duty or allow their hearts to lead them? Follow the Fitzwilliams, Bennets, Gardiners and Darcys through portraits of their lives at two, five and ten years after the Darcys’ marriage. Their canvas is studded with heartbreaking loss, new beginnings and, through it all, the indelible bond of family.

Without further ado, please welcome Pamela as she shares her writing space with us.

Hello everybody! I am so happy to be here at Savvy Verse and Wit for the very first time! Thank you, Serena, for hosting me. This is the last stop on my Family Portraits blog tour and Serena has asked me to share my writing space with you all.

I admit, I panicked a little at first when Serena made this request. My desk is a drop down style that can be closed to hide the mess inside, and it is always messy inside! All week I told myself I would straighten it up a bit and take pictures. Procrastination coupled with waking up with a nasty head cold determined that you will see me in all my disorganized glory instead.

closeddeskOne day, I will have a lovely space of my own that opens up into a beautiful garden (that someone else tends), but until then, I share my writing space with my husband, three kids, two cats, and one overly attentive dog. My husband gave me this desk for Christmas the year we moved into this house. The gesture actually meant a lot to me. I had just finished Dearest Friends two months prior and was still not sure this writing thing would stick. He wasn’t sure either, but said the desk was there just in case.

peacockThankfully, it did stick and I have managed to write two more books while sitting here, or at the library, in my bed, at the kitchen table, or at Panera Bread. When I am up late at night this is where I sit with my mug of green tea as the characters in my head have their way with me. The décor on top changes from time to time. Right now you see most of our Vanity and Pride Press releases along with my A Moment Forever (Savvy Verse & Wit review) hope chest and my IPPY bronze medal. In the next week or so the peacock will likely be replaced with a scarecrow or a Halloween tree, but the books will remain. Along with Cat’s and my books, I have my favorite copy of Austen’s complete novels, a well-worn paperback of Jane Eyre and two books I sometimes use for reference and inspiration while writing my Austen inspired work. Those will change as my needs change and are not always stacked so neatly.

dewshineInside, we see not only my writing necessities, but those of the family as well. I have two pencil boxes full of pens, pencils, scissors, and sharpeners and a pottery crock containing the same things. They are never moved, but how many times a night do I hear, “I can’t find a pencil.”? Several. I also have some items that make me smile. The Dew Shine is another gift from my husband. I have a non-Austenesque plot bunny set in Tennessee during prohibition. You can probably guess moonshine is involved. My dear man saw this in the store and remembered me telling him about the idea. I now have proof that he does listen to my ramblings! Hanging up beside it is a note card with a picture of my favorite Darcy drawn by the fabulous Janet Taylor, sent to me by the equally fabulous J. Dawn King. Next to him is another favorite, the Darcy featured in Cat’s Denial of Conscience. (Savvy Verse & Wit review) We had a blast sharing Darcy on his bike with readers all over the world. I keep him there as a reminder of how much fun this JAFF world can be.

pencildrawingOn the other side of Iceman is a picture drawn by my daughter. I have several handmade items my kids have given me either in celebration of a release, or as encouragement. This one has a special place of honor as it was the very first one of its kind, presented to me after I told her about the friends I have made in the online Austen community.

Finally, we have my two most important pieces for writing—my laptop and my “scratch paper.” So far, I have written three books on three different laptops. Dearest Friends was written on one that was truly on its last legs. It did not survive long past the last paragraph. I purchased a pretty purple Dell that housed Sketching Character lynnecomputerthrough publication, but not long after, it succumbed to a cup of hot coffee. I really hope I break the streak and get at least one more book completed on this one before I somehow destroy it as well. I won the notebook, which is a novel journal of Emma, at another wonderful blog, Austenesque Reviews. It goes wherever I go, and for the past year I have been jotting down ideas and bits of dialogue that will make it into my next novel.

So, that’s a look into the most photographable part of my creative space. In truth, I can write pretty much anywhere I can find a quiet space, as long as the Muse is cooperating. Thank you all for reading, and thank you, again, Serena, for having me! Happy reading, everybody!

Thanks, Pamela, for sharing your space with us!  It’s always fun to see a creative person’s writing space.

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY:

Up for Grabs: 1 copy of any Pamela Lynne e-bookSketching Character, Dearest Friends, or Family Portraits.

Leave a comment here about your own reading or writing space, and leave a way for me to contact you if you win.

Deadline is Oct. 5, 2016, 11:59 PM EST

GOOD LUCK!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!! The winner is Priscilla T.

A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner

Source: the author
Paperback, 600 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner, which was on tour with Poetic Book Tours last month, is the first in the Liberty Victory series of books, and it is epic! Elizabeth and Lillian Renner are the daughters of a railroad magnate bent on more power and prestige, but their father holds his cards close to the vest in 1940s Long Island, New York. Even as Lillian becomes a disappointment by working with the American Red Cross, rather than acting the debutante she is, Elizabeth is his shining jewel, one he hopes to marry off to the highest bidder. Her life is easy, but her perceptions of the glistening world she lives in soon become tainted after she meets a dreamy flyboy, William Martel.

When America decided to enter WWII after Pearl Harbor, many men joined up to fight Hitler’s aggression and that of the Axis powers. This left many gaps in American society, with women eagerly filling empty roles. The Renner family, however, remained traditional in its expectations of its female members. Lillian, one of five sisters, consciously decided to embark on her own adventures, while Lizzy tries to straddle two worlds. The Renner fortune protected them and plans to unite the family with the neighboring elite, the owners of Robertson Aviation, would secure their position further.

Fast forward to 1992 when Juliana Martel is gifted Primrose, a home in Brooklyn owned by a great-uncle she never knew. The house is a time capsule, a shrine to true love, devotion, and loyalty. Her great-uncle, who disappeared in 1950, loved his “Pistol”, but the farther Juliana digs through the cobwebs of the past, the more she is sure that they were separated against their wishes. Her role as a journalist has given her the best instincts to uncover the past, and as she untangles the strands of his history, she becomes enchanted herself.

Gardiner has re-created the past in the dress, manner, and speech of her characters, and while loosely in homage to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, this WWII epic romance spans five decades. The heartbreak, the love, the devotion, and the regret leap from these pages. Did Lillian’s independence from the Renners leave her blind to her sisters’ dilemmas? Did Kitty, the younger sister plagued by polio, let emotion overtake her better judgement? Did Lizzy act too rashly when Will was shipped overseas? Readers should be prepared with their tissues. I have not cried this much since the epic read, Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly.

How would you pay homage to those you love? How far would you go to make reparations for the past and to make amends? When should you let the past lie where it is and move on? A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner is like the smooth sounds of Doris Day singing “Again”. It pulls you into Gardiner’s world page by page, and it wraps you up in the passionate notes of Vera Lynn’s “Yours”. I cannot wait for the second book in this series.

(You can listen to the music.)

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more on her book, visit A Moment Forever. Follow her on Twitter
On Facebook, and Follow her blog.

Anticipating: Without a Conscience and Guilty Conscience by Cat Gardiner

Since reading Denial of Conscience by Cat Gardiner on vacation this month, I’ve been dying to know what will happen to the Iceman and his Lizzy, modernized characters from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Gardiner thoughtfully sent me a teaser to her new book, Without a Conscience, and her epilogue/prologue novelette, Guilty Conscience, both due out in the fall. The latter coming out a month before. In the novelette, which begs the question “Will Iceman and Liz Macarena?”, Gardiner gives readers a little tease as to what married life is like for Liz and Darcy after their whirlwind romance in Denial of Conscience. When Darcy takes off for a few days on a camping trip he planned before meeting Liz, she feels his absence strongly. Like many newlyweds, Liz and Darcy have had a passionate honeymoon and first few months of marriage. Gardiner captures this feeling really well.

“For the last three days, she’d walked around Pemberley in a fog, feeling depressed, his absence gutting her soul. The scent of him lingered on bed linen, which she refused to change until his return. … Only two more days, just two more days.”

Can the very controlled Darcy, who holds his emotions close to the vest, let her in completely? Can the newly freed Liz learn to compromise after being essentially imprisoned at Longbourn? You get a taste of not only what married life is like for this couple — not all roses and sunshine — but also the danger that is around the corner. While Iceman has changed his ways and trains horses, could he be drawn back into black ops?

You’ll have to stay tuned for the next book in the series. I’m waiting on the edge of my seat!

Other Reviews:

Guest Posts:

***Cat Gardiner’s new WWII romance, A Moment Forever, is touring with Poetic Book Tours.***

About the Author:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more on her book, visit A Moment Forever.

Follow her on Twitter
On Facebook
Follow her blog.

Denial of Conscience by Cat Gardiner

Source: Giveaway win from JAFF Event
Paperback, 347 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Denial of Conscience by Cat Gardiner is a hot, modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Gardiner writes steamy romance really well, and the fire crackles between this Darcy and Elizabeth like a gunpowder trail to a pile of dynamite. Set in Virginia and Asheville, N.C., it was the perfect getaway novel for vacation, especially since we would be in the same area at the Biltmore estate! Gardiner knows the area well enough to write about the former plantations in a way that makes it believable that Darcy of Pemberley would be a wealthy landowner whose past has pushed him into the military and the world of black ops, while Lizzy has remained at Longbourn beneath the guilt of her mother’s exit from their lives.

Unlike Jane who left the home shortly after Mrs. Bennet to seek freedom, Lizzy stayed behind to care for their father and the repairs of an aging estate. Despite working for the Department of Defense, they are unable to keep up with the costs of the repairs, and without intervention soon, they’ll have to sell off some acreage to keep afloat. While Lizzy is forced to decide between her freedom and saving the ancestral home, her father has other ideas about how to save the place — and these ideas get them both into deep trouble.

“‘Carinatus? In English, Darcy. Our Latin is restricted to the dance floor here.’
‘It’s a snake, Medusa, like the ones writhing on your head.’ Darcy smirked.
‘Screw you.’
‘We tried that; it didn’t work. Remember?'” (pg. 28)

Darcy has become a hardened man since the death of his parents and his Iceman persona keeps him safe from emotional entanglements as his work takes him all over the world assassinating evildoers. He’s turned into a leather wearing, tattooed biker in Gardiner’s modern tale, and he’s hotter than ever. He oozes charm and danger, something that draws Lizzy in, revealing a woman who wants to be free to pursue her passions and take on new adventures. Both emerge from their chrysalises renewed and engaged with life. There’s no going back, and those who want to stop them from being together better look out.

Denial of Conscience by Cat Gardiner explores how people fall in love and why, how that relationship can encourage each partner to grow, and how mutual respect can spur them to greater things. Living a happier and fuller life is something we all should aspire to, and while assassinating evildoers might make the world a safer place, its toll can be devastating. Living for others and denying oneself even the simplest pleasures can also be draining. Gardiner explores all of these themes and more in her novel. This one is hot, hot, hot!

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

Guest Posts:

***Cat Gardiner’s new WWII romance, A Moment Forever, is touring with Poetic Book Tours.***

About the Author:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more on her book, visit A Moment Forever.

Follow her on Twitter
On Facebook
Follow her blog.

Mailbox Monday #379

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James for review from the author in Aug/Sept.

“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world,” said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of “Pride & Prejudice”—but was it true?

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, a story unfolds within their story. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?

How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

“The Elizabeth Papers” is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater purchased from Audible.

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

A Moment Forever: (Liberty Victory Series #1) by Cat Gardiner for review in June.

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Banana Muffins & Mayhem by Janel Gradowski for review in June.

Culinary competitor Amy Ridley is as excited as anyone in Kellerton, Michigan to have DIY Home Improvement star, Phoebe Plymouth, come to town for the first annual Cabin Fever Cure event. However the TV personality’s sour attitude quickly curdles people’s opinion of her. When she’s found dead, at the business owned by Amy’s husband, Alex, the heat is on to catch the killer before his professional reputation is ruined!

When Amy seeks help in preparing for a vegan baking recipe contest, she also finds assistance from an unlikely team of sleuths who want to help her catch the murderer. But things go from bad to worse when Alex and his business suddenly suffer a series of less-than-random attacks. Are the murder and attacks related? Amy vows to figure it out before her and her husband’s lives are ruined…or ended permanently!

What beauties did you receive in your mail?

Undercover – An Austen Noir by Cat Gardiner

Source: Cat Gardiner
Ebook, 220 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Undercover – An Austen Noir by Cat Gardiner, a noir novel inspired by Jane Austen’s characters from Pride & Prejudice set in the 1950s, is a fun ride.  Elizabeth (Eli) Bennet has left her father’s garage business after being duped by George Wickham, a Navy man gone AWOL.  She’s carved out her own life in Hell’s Kitchen as a private investigator, hacking her own career path in a man’s world among gangsters, commies, and police bravado.  Her home life was complicated, and Gardiner has created a more than down-on-their-luck Bennet family, plagued by drink and poor decisions.  Despite her rough beginnings, she’s smart, savvy, and willing to make the tough choices for her clients, even though she has a personal case of her own to find the elusive Slick Wick.

“‘Dealing with Wickham can make any man brood.  It’s the smolder that I look for.'” (ARC)

On her personal case, she comes across the smoldering Fitzwilliam Darcy at the Kit Kat Club and the sparks fly even though they just ogle one another.  Her assets on display, he cannot take his eyes off of her, especially after he sees how savvy she is in getting what she wants.  Stumbling upon another machination by Slick Wick, she finds herself coming to the rescue of the man with the smolder that could make her do things she promised she wouldn’t do again.

“‘Well, since you want to know about me, then you will have to share something about yourself in return.’

‘So, you’ll make me work for your affection?'” …

‘I guess not trusting a man is a result of your occupation.  Well, you may ask questions but I may choose not to answer them.'” (ARC)

Gardiner knows her Austen, and she modifies the famous lines from the novel in inventive and surprising ways, but in ways that keeps with her own plot and characterization.

“Those slow dances below the palm trees made her knees go weak.  It felt like pure seduction each time his hand slid down her back like an electrical frisson along a tense wire when he’d held her in his arms.”  (ARC)

The heat between Darcy and Eli will sizzle before readers’ eyes, and these characters are hot to trot.  Gardiner’s novel is fun, dark, and full of mystery, but it also provides a glimpse into what Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance would have been like in more modern days, especially after women gained a modicum of independence following WWII and were eager to remain in the workforce.

RATING: Cinquain

***Enter the Giveaway HERE***

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy and Jane Austen. A member of the esteemed National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America and her local chapter Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA,) she enjoys writing across the modern spectrum of “Pride and Prejudice” inspired novels.

Winner of Austenesque Reviews Favorite Modern Adaptation for 2014, the comedic, Chick-Lit “Lucky 13” was released in October 2014. The romantic adventure “Denial of Conscience,” named Favorite “Pride and Prejudice” Modern for 2015 by Margie Must Reads and More Agreeably Engaged has set the sub-genre on fire since June of this year. Her latest release in December 2015, another romantic comedy titled “Villa Fortuna” has been voted Just Jane 1813’s Favorite Modern JAFF for 2015.

Her greatest love, however, is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII Romance. Her debut novel, “A Moment Forever” will release in Late Spring 2016 with “The Song is You” following in the winter.

Married 23 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world – their orange tabby, Ollie. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Career Girl: Elizabeth (Eli) Bennet

I hadn’t heard of Cat Gardiner until Anna asked me to go with her to a Jane Austen panel in Bethesda.  And winning a bunch of Austen-inspired books didn’t have much to do with it.

What has a lot to do with my interest in Gardiner’s books is her plucky characters, and Elizabeth Bennet in the 1950s, after WWII, is nothing short of independent in Undercover.  You’ll have to read my review later for more on this gem.

Today, Cat Gardiner is going to share with us her love of Austen and the WWII-era, as well as how Elizabeth Bennet got to be so independent and feisty.  Please give her a warm welcome.

What an absolute delight it is to visit Savvy Verse & Wit! Thank you, Serena for inviting me to share with your readers a little bit about my newest release, Undercover – An Austen Noir, and my love of romantic, 20th Century historical fiction. Some of your readers may recognize me as a writer of Jane Austen-Inspired Contemporary, but my newest book opens the door to another passion of mine that I have longed to write.

Now, in the 21st Century, some younger readers may not be aware of the struggle women had during the 1940s and 50s as it pertained to working outside of the home. For the record, I dislike labels, and would never slap “feminist” on myself, but I am a gal who believes in progress, equality, and teaching to preserve the lessons from the past. I would like to discuss this particular role of women in the early 20th Century and how it affects Undercover’s heroine, Elizabeth (Eli) Bennet.

Undercover takes place in New York City seven years after the end of the Second World War. It was a time when suburbia was popping up all over America, cookie-cutter homes in tranquil little communities, restoring a nation that had come through the Great Depression, followed by war―to re-embrace the cultural norm of family life. It was also a time in history when claims of Communists hidden among us and fears of atomic war were threatening at our doorstep. Family was considered a safe haven in the “duck and cover” scare of the Atomic Age. Men were the providers, bread winners, and head of the happy home. Women were the heart of it, many of whom embraced the idea―others conformed begrudgingly. Yet others, fought it, and it was around this time that America saw an uptick of women, once again, enter into the workforce despite the societal expectation that they should remain homemakers and mothers. The model of white, middle-class, domestic perfection would, in 1957, be embodied by wholesome June Cleaver, homemaker, wife, and mother in the television show “Leave it to Beaver.” And it is that model that gave us the Baby Boomer Generation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. To better understand Undercover’s Elizabeth and the culture she grew up in, let’s step back to 1942 with the government’s rallying call for women to enter into factories for defense production.  Previously, traditional jobs held by women (mostly spinsters) were considered “women’s work” of clerical, school teaching, nursing, or as librarians. Uncle Sam said entering the labor force was their patriotic duty from 1942 through 1945, even encouraging young ladies to join the military for specific roles. With their husbands leaving to fight, wives had suddenly become the sole money earner. That was an amazing opportunity following a period when those same women had been discouraged from working outside the home during the Great Depression as men fought a different fight: epidemic unemployment following the Stock Market Crash of 1929. For many women these three years were a taste―a tease―of the possibilities.

How were the 19 million female war workers rewarded for their “temporary” call to action? Apart from lower wages to their male counterparts (something our gender still struggles against) these new employees were simply given pink slips even though they had excelled at their jobs. After all, the war had ended and the millions of men returning home needed to re-take their place as breadwinners in peacetime production. Close to 90% of women wanted to remain working when asked to give up their newfound sense of individuality, as well as liberation. Further, the G.I. Bill was also putting men through school and dreams of higher education for women were met by closed doors. What choice did our 1940s counterparts have but to settle back into life with a good man and raise a family while pursuing the American Dream?

When the war began, Elizabeth Bennet once dreamed of becoming a housewife, raising a family of 3.2 children when her sweetheart returned from Europe―only he returned with another woman and a baby! Her sister, Jane, a mercenary creature, wanted that prescribed gender role, living the ideal life with her wealthy husband who brought home the bacon. Elizabeth sought a different avenue: She became a “career girl”, a private investigator, moved from her parent’s home at the age of 24, and took an apartment next door to a boarding house in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. She is considered a spinster when we meet her in 1952 at the age of 26. As far as her family knew, she was a bookkeeper for Macy’s department store. Independent and spirited, she financially managed in a career path dominated by men. This was a culture where sexism was so common that many advertisements denigrated women, even in the role that society demanded they take. Here are just a few.

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According to Smithsonian magazine: “This ad isn’t frightening women into thinking their genitals smell badly.  According to historian Andrea Tone, “feminine hygiene” was a euphemism.   Birth control was illegal in the U.S. until 1965 (for married couples) and 1972 (for single people).  These Lysol ads are actually for contraception.  Even still, it poisoned/killed hundreds of women while killing sperm.

chase-and-sanborn-1952-this-ad-makes-light-of-domestic-violence

But Elizabeth surrounded herself with men, who themselves, were non-conformists: a hard-boiled homicide detective who took her under his wing, as well as a corrupt restauranteur acting as an informant in her investigations. Both men respected her moxie and determination and neither treated her with disrespect. Enter Darcy, the enigmatic financier whom she considered a “real sourpuss.” He, too, respected her―even if she was from the wrong side of town from a low-class family of lushes.

It was the best damn time he’d had in his life. Honest to goodness fun and exhilaration brought on by her laughter and keen wit, her attention and fine footwork. The babe was quite a hoofer. In spite of her particular career, her obvious undercover work to find Wickham, and, not to mention, her low-class family—he had fallen for her like a ton of bricks. The evening had confirmed everything he already knew: She was brilliant and not afraid to live life on her terms. He admired her. Unlike her sister Jane, who married up attempting to make something of herself, Elizabeth was out there on her own working hard for a living, making her way in a man’s world. And using what she had to get what she needed. She was good at it, too.

Once he fell hook, line, and sinker for her, he wasn’t looking to cage her or “domesticate” her. He only wanted her happiness and, like a man in love, thought nothing of allowing her to continue in her career after “I do.” In 1952, Undercover’s Darcy was one in a million―real cream. Of course, not all men were sexist in viewing women as the above advertisements indicate. But it was the culture―a man’s world―and women had to deal with the derision and censure that came with stepping outside the social norms. Overall, men were gentlemen, polite, and stylish. But ladies, they wore the pants in the home. (Or so a brilliant woman led him to believe. And if you were like Elizabeth [Eli], you did what the heck you wanted, anyway.)

Oh how far we have come … yet, some things stay the same.

If you’re a 20th Century Historical Fiction lover, and adore getting lost in a saga, look for my soon-to- be-released WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever (A Liberty Victory Series Novel). Check out my 1940s Experience blog: cgardiner1940s.com for more information.

Thank you again, Serena, for the warm welcome! I look forward to chatting with your readers.

Thanks Cat for joining us today! 

***THE GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!***

Giveaway:

For those of you who cannot wait to read her books, we’re hosting a 2 e-book giveaway of Undercover!

Leave a comment about what your passions are with your email address by May 31, 2016, to enter.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED