Monday, September 04, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge ~ Review + Vignette

I am overjoyed today to have on my blog an up and coming JAFF author.

Book Blurb: We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself.

But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other?

Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

Then Mary plays for Mr Haskins. She knows almost immediately she is doing something wrong, she can tell by his face as she steals glances at him over the top of her music. She winces as he bangs his hand on top of the case.

"No, no, no, Miss Bennet, who taught you to play? Which musical charlatan told you to hold your hands like that?"

"My grandmother, sir," she says timidly. Her friend has told her that Mr Haskins is irascible but fair. Mary is not sure if she believes her.

"Drop your shoulders, Miss Bennet and place your hands on the keys as though you were going to play." He sighs and lifts her wrists. "Like that and then curve your fingers as though you were holding a ball."

She tries. It feels awkward and unnatural, especially when he seizes a cushion from a nearby chair and makes her sit on it.

"There, you see the way your hands and shoulders are? Make a note of it, write it down, practise today when I am gone so that you can remember it." He looks over at the other lady in the room. "You will please remind Miss Bennet." He turns back. "Miss Bennet, you should copy this young lady, she has been properly taught." Mary murmurs something he cannot hear. "How long do you practice every day?"

"Two hours, sir. It would be more but my mother says it makes her head ache."

Mr Haskins is touched. He knows he is not a good-tempered man, disappointed hopes and the early death of his dear Margaret has soured his disposition, but he is not heartless. He draws up a chair. "My dear young lady, you must have been in agony. Why did you not tell someone?"

Mary looks at her hands and remembers all the painful mornings in the back parlour, usually in the cold because her mother begrudges the coal. "I thought it was like that for everybody," she whispers.

He sighs and rubs a hand over his face. "Miss Bennet," he says eventually. "Why do you wish to play?"

"It is every young lady's duty to be accomplished," she replies, blinking at him from behind her spectacles.

"And is that the only reason?"

Mary says nothing.

"Miss Bennet?" he prompts.

She cannot speak.

"Mary, dear?" says her friend in the corner, getting to her feet.

She swallows hard and then bursts out. "I wanted something that was mine! Jane is beautiful, everyone says so and Lizzy is witty and charming and .... and all the young men crowd round Lydia and Kitty and say they are lively and friendly. And I cannot do any of that and I am not at all beautiful and father says I am a fool. So I wanted music to be mine and now you say that I cannot do that either." She chews her lips furiously, desperate not to cry.

He pats her hand and waits until she has herself under good government. "Now when did I say you could not play? Eh? Now, there are two kinds of musician, young lady, and I do not mean those who have talent and those who have none. No, the two kinds are those who work at it, and those who do not. We already know that you are the kind how knows how to work. So long as you are doing the right kind of work, I know that you can make music that even your mama will enjoy."

Mary giggles damply and dabs at her eyes.

"And no more practising for two hours. One hour, no more, especially until you get used to holding your hands correctly, and if it starts to hurt - stop."

"Yes, sir."

"And don't forget your cushion. If your arms are not at the angle I showed you, ask for a cushion."

"But won't people think it strange?"

"Not if they know anything about music: and if they know nothing about music, then why should you care about their opinion?" He claps his hands together and makes a mental note to find some more suitable music for her. That ponderous liturgical stuff is doing her no favours at all. "Now let me hear you sing."

She stands up, clasps her hands before her and begins. She does not get far.

"Miss Bennet," he said. "Who told you you were a soprano?"

My Review: So I went into this story very apprehensive as I had never read this author before and didn't know what her writing style was like. This story didn't really seem to have a lot of conflicts which to me made it a long read even though the story is quite short. Anything that happened seemed to be fixed very quickly and made the story very fast paced. Also at one point, Lizzy bowed to Caroline. Um... she should have curtsied not bowed. This book is worth a read but I'm not sure if I'll re-read it.

Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5

~ I received an advanced eARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own ~

About the Author: Catherine Lodge is a semi-retired lawyer and lecturer, living in Yorkshire–a part of the UK even more beautiful than Derbyshire. One of five daughters, although by birth order regrettably the Jane, she found 19th Century literature early in her teens and never looked back–even if that meant her school essays kept coming back with “archaic!” written in the margin next to some of her favourite words. She still thinks that “bruited” is a much nicer word than “rumoured.”

After years of drafting leases and pleadings, she finally started to write for fun in her forties and has never stopped since. Much of this will never see the light of day, having been fed to the digital equivalent of a roaring bonfire, but “Fair Stands the Wind” is the first book she thinks worthy of public attention. She spends her day fixing computer problems for friends and family, singing in her local choir, and avoiding the ironing

Contact Info:

Buy Link:

Blog Tour Schedule:

08/30 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post or Vignette, GA
08/31 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, GA
09/01 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Excerpt, GA
09/02 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/03 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
09/04 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Vignette
09/05 Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, GA
09/06 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Vignette, Giveaway
09/07 From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post or Vignette, Excerpt, GA
09/08 So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/09 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, GA
09/10 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, GA
09/11 My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
09/12 Just Jane 1813; Review, GA


  1. Wonder why Darcy needs to provide for a sister, surely that's the duty of the elder brother

    1. Well it would be if it were not for......

      You'll have to read the book to find out!

    2. Ahhh, the reply intrigues! :) Thanks, Catherine!!

  2. Thank you for your review! Loved to read your thoughts about this book!

  3. You always write very honest reviews, Tina, and I respect them. I'm surprised at the conflict-free comment, but each reader has their own level of tolerance of dramatic tension, and that's why authors often find it hard to tell readers whether it's a low-angst or high-angst novel. Unusual vignette, Catherine!

  4. This is a five-star book for me. The brilliant and subtle humor and yearning in the writing, along with the unique and historical setting, build slowly and deliciously to make this story an annual (at least) re-read for me in its online version. I can't wait to own it...especially with that beautiful cover!

  5. Thanks for your review, Tina. This book intrigues me greatly and it's always good to come across a new author in the genre.

    Interesting vignette involving Mary. Is it an excerpt from the book, or a vignette written for the tour?

  6. Thanks for participating in the blog tour, Tina, and for taking the time to read and review the book.

  7. Catherine, that's a fantastic excerpt! It made so sad for Mary but glad the Mr. Haskins began to soften and really help her. Poor Mary!

  8. Thank you for the review and vignette. I don't like a lot of angst so I am glad to hear that there is not much conflict.

  9. Thanks for your review. Luckily I'm not a big angst lover even though I have read a few that have me in tears. You say that this has any problems soon sorted out so that is my kind of book.
    I have it on my list of ' books to buy next' and really look forward to reading it.