Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Mendacity and Mourning by J.L. Ashton

I'm excited today to have up on the blog today an excerpt and review of J L Ashton's newest novel Mendacity and Mourning.

Book Blurb: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gossip in possession of misheard tales and desirous of both a good wife and an eager audience need only descend upon the sitting rooms of a small country town in order to find satisfaction. And with a push from Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins sets alight a series of misunderstandings, rumours, and lies that create obstacles to a romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

This slightly unhinged romantic comedy follows Darcy as he sets off to find himself a wife and instead finds himself pulled into the mire of his aunt’s machinations and his own fascination with Elizabeth, whom he believes betrothed to another. As Meryton judges him the grieving groom of Anne de Bourgh and a caddish dallier with the hearts of others, Darcy must ferret out the truth behind his cousin’s disappearance, protect his sister from the fretful fate of all Fitzwilliam females, and, most importantly, win Elizabeth’s heart.

You could put Cupid into the poorhouse.” Bingley offered a brimming glass to Darcy, who shook his head in refusal.
Shut it, Bingley,” he growled. “You find beauty and loveliness wherever you go.”
And you are a far harsher judge of your own needs, Darcy.” Bingley glanced at Hurst as though making a private joke. “A pretty girl with a happy disposition, a dislike of dancing, a love of books, and patience for your dark moods and odd ramblings on Greek philosophy and chess manoeuvres should be easy enough to find, eh?”
Darcy pretended not to hear Hurst’s roar of laughter. “Right.”
After all, your friends have likely lined up a multitude of eligible ladies at their estates. I wager you will be betrothed before me.” Bingley smirked. “However, if you meet no one, do remember there is always my sister waiting in the wings.”
Good lord,” Darcy muttered. “Charles Herbert Bingley, I believe I must call you out.”
What?” Bingley’s voice cracked.
Pour me half a glass, and I shall find it in me to forgive you,” Darcy grumbled. He pulled a book off the shelf and strode over to the windows.
Bingley prepared a nearly full glass, walked over to his friend, and handed him the drink. “You will stay until after the ball?”
Yes, of course. The following afternoon, I shall be off to Kenilworth. I have delayed my visit already, and my friends await.” He sipped the brandy and placed it on the table near his favourite chair.
As do their sisters, I have no doubt.”
Darcy glared at him then sighed. “Yes, as you have already stated. Their sisters and their sisters’ friends.” He sat down, stretched out his legs, and stared out the window. Black clouds were rolling in, and he could feel the temperature dropping as a cooling breeze blew. A rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.
You seem less than enthusiastic, my friend.” Bingley fell into the room’s other reading chair and stared at Darcy. “Do you wish to keep to your practice of avoiding eligible young ladies? Or would you like to find love and happiness as I have?”
Both men disregarded Hurst’s snort of laughter. “Cupid’s arrow indeed!”
What harm can come to you? It is a late summer sojourn. You may meet a pretty girl or two.”
Yes. This has been a comfortable respite.” Darcy’s eyes moved back to the window and the roiling clouds outside. “I am not averse to enjoying the company of intelligent young ladies.” I have already enjoyed the company of one and can only hope to find another to match her wit and beauty.
The clock chimed. Hurst looked over and squinted at it, then stood up a bit straighter and adjusted his waistcoat. He took a final gulp of brandy and set down his empty tumbler. “Excuse me, gentlemen. I shall rely on you not to drink all the brandy. I shall return at a later time, undoubtedly in need of a glass or three.”
Darcy and Bingley watched him stroll briskly out of the room.
Where is he off to?” Darcy asked. Hurst rarely moved with much intent and never with such speed.
Bingley’s cheeks reddened. “Er, Louisa.” He stood up and walked to the doors, closing them firmly before returning to his seat. “It is Thursday.”
Thursday…” Darcy repeated, his face reddening as realisation dawned.
Have another brandy. He should be back within the half hour. Or quarter hour.”
Darcy’s eyebrows rose as far as they could.
I know,” Bingley cried. “It is an absurd amount of time. The walk up the stairs alone…”
Every so often, he does not return. Most often, though, he is absent for at least thirty minutes.” Bingley looked beseechingly at his friend. “I do not care to think on it.”
But you do like to talk on it.”
It is just…not quite the way I foresee marriage. If that is all the time I can give my wife, or she give me, I can handle things faster by myself.”
Bingley! For goodness’ sake, shut it.”

My Review: Misunderstandings and complex situations abound in this newest JAFF offering from J. L. Ashton. This book did start off a bit slow for me but it did pick up once I got about thirty percent into it. The Fitzwilliam and Darcy families end up having a crisis where Anne de Bourgh is dead but not dead. Darcy thinks that Elizabeth is engaged to her Uncle Gardiner (he doesn't realize that he's her uncle) and Collins is an idiot like usual. 

I really enjoyed this book even though some parts of it did drag for me. Specifically it was about the first thirty percent of the book. Things end up like they should by the end of the book with two surprise couples. I found Colonel Fitzwilliam to be the best character in the book with his snarky comebacks and observations. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author Bio: Jan Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves around the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took a history degree and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to start writing them. Today, in between writing Austen variations, Jan lives in the Chicago area, eats out far too often with her own Mr. Darcy, and enjoys membership in the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America. 

Mendacity & Mourning is her second book with Meryton Press. She published A Searing Acquaintance in 2016.

Contact Info: 

Buy Links:

Blog Tour Schedule
06/19 Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, GA
06/20 My Jane Austen Book Club; Author/Character Interview, GA
06/21 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
06/22 From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
06/23 More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, GA
06/24 Just Jane 1813; Review, GA
06/25 Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, GA
06/26 Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, GA
06/27 Tomorrow is Another Day; Review, GA
06/28 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, GA
06/29 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, GA
07/01 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
07/02 Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Excerpt, GA
07/03 Diary of an Eccentric; Review


  1. Maybe Hurst should add some more days to the Thursday

  2. Thanks for the review, Kristina. I appreciate your time and your thoughts.

    Quite a conversation there between Bingley and Darcy! I can't help but feel a bit sorry for Mr. Hurst. I agree with you, Vesper. :)

  3. Thanks so much for hosting me, Kristina, and for the review. Hurst did totter off happily enough, Vesper. The man is willing to do his duty!

  4. Jan's stories are always great! Thank you for the review and congratulations on your new book, Jan! ;)

    1. You are so sweet, Daniela! Happy to see you here!

  5. Thanks for the excerpt and review. I am excited about Col. Fitzwilliam's character as you said he is the best in the book. He's one of my favorite characters as long as he's not paired with Elizabeth so I can't wait to read!

    1. I would never, ever pair Elizabeth with anyone but Darcy, but I do so love to write a larger-than-life Colonel. He's so much fun!
      Thank you, DarcyBennett!

  6. This story sounds like it has taken our beloved characters off on a tangent onto an unknown path where anything is possible,the topics of conversation are far ranging and no subject is taboo!!!
    It sounds delightful!
    Best of luck with it!!!

    1. Oh, what a great comment! The story does take our characters into some new territory...and at least two of them do not know the meaning of taboo topics or behavior. Thanks, Mary!

  7. This excerpt is definitely one of those "Oh myyyy!" moments! The mention of not one, but two surprise couples sound most intriguing. Would the Colonel be part of one of them?

    1. Happy couples abound, but the journey to arrive there is interesting (or odd) for one of them. Hope you enjoy reading the story, Anji!