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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Mistress of Netherfield by Julia Winter ~ Review, Excerpt + Giveaway

Title: Mistress of Netherfield
Author: Julia Winter
Genre: Pride and Prejudice variation
Publisher: Glass Hat Press © 2021
Release Date: June 28th, 2021
Number of Pages: 490
Version Read: Kindle ebook

Synopsis: It is a truth universally acknowledged that on escaping an unhappy marriage, a young widow will be delighted to remove to the dower house and lease the marital abode to a single man in possession of a good fortune, provided he looks elsewhere to fulfil his want of a wife.

Five years after being forced into an unwanted marriage at the age of sixteen, and freed six months later by the death of her abusive husband, Elizabeth Grayson (née Bennet) has finally found a measure of peace. The inheritor of her husband’s estate, Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is now a wealthy young widow, independent and self-reliant. With an eye always on improving her four sisters’ woefully small dowries and providing for her mother, who will be homeless when her father dies, Elizabeth is pleased to lease out Netherfield to the Bingley family, making her home in the dower house in Meryton and vowing that she will never remarry.

Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire is rich and well connected but reserved in company with anybody outside the very few he counts as friends. Towards those friends, he is loyal and steadfast, the staunchest of supporters. So when a young man comes to him with a tale of the clandestine marriage and mysterious death of Darcy’s old school friend, James Grayson, and begs Darcy’s help to investigate the widow’s role, Darcy agrees. Visiting Charles Bingley, the new tenant of Netherfield, Darcy is very soon torn between his loyalty to his dead friend, and his burgeoning attraction to the widow.

Throw two unprincipled rogues and an elopement into the confines of Meryton, and how will Darcy’s dilemma over Elizabeth ever be resolved? And is she willing to put aside her misgivings, and trust again?

My Review: I'm not the biggest fan of either Darcy or Lizzy being married before they meet but it works in this book. I had a suspicion that her husband was a piece of work and I was right. Abuse in any form is not alright and if you are in a situation like that seek help. This book is not so much a mystery as I had one person describe it, it is more of a story where a person is trying to get an estate that isn't theirs and sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. Darcy got so dupped in this story by that person and he felt so guilty afterward. I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to spoil the story, especially what goes down after that takes place. 

I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to seeing what the author has in store in the future. The writing was great and it didn't feel so basic like a lot of debut authors. I really recommend this book if you are looking for a good romance.

Rating: 4 stars



At Netherfield, while Jane is recovering, and the return to Longbourn:

The next day dragged.

Jane came downstairs after breakfast, well enough to rejoin normal life. She spent much of the day before the fire in the morning room chatting amiably with Mr Bingley and his unmarried sister. She was tempted out for a walk around the garden at one point, so wrapped in shawls and scarves that she was quite double her normal width as she promenaded slowly on Mr Bingley’s arm. Miss Bingley went along with them, to play propriety. She hung grimly onto her brother’s other arm and was a third in their conversations all day.

Elizabeth spent the hours mostly in the company of Mrs Hurst. They were more at ease with each other than Elizabeth could ever be with Miss Bingley. Louisa Hurst might one day prove to be a friend.

Elizabeth had two things vex her that day. Her mother’s response to her note requesting the carriage for the next day was a tart No! Indeed I will not send the carriage! Do not be so selfish, Lizzy Bennet!—indignation having got the better of Mrs Bennet’s memory as to Elizabeth’s married name—Jane must stay at least a week—these last words heavily underlined for emphasis—and make sure Mr Bingley notices her and pays his addresses. He cannot fail but love her, if he can but spend time with her. You must make certain he has the opportunity. I will be extremely vexed—more savage underlining—if you spoil her chances of gaining him!

“I shall take Jane home in my own phaeton,” Elizabeth said, putting aside the note with a sigh. Her mother learned nothing from her mistakes.

“Your father’s carriage is not available?” Mrs Hurst asked, and when Elizabeth owned to this, answered, “If you are determined to return home tomorrow… and I do understand, Mrs Grayson, that Jane may be more comfortable recovering in her own home—I would be myself! Well, I will ask my brother to lend his carriage for the trip. We will be very sorry to see you go, and though you must do as you think best, I cannot think a ride in an open phaeton will do her good.”

Which was the sort of kindness Elizabeth had come to expect from Louisa Hurst. It was a great pity that when in company with her sister she grew smaller, less clearly delineated, sitting in Miss Bingley’s shadow with her nervous fingers playing constantly with her bracelets. She was a much brighter light when separated from the irresistible cavalry charge that was Miss Bingley.

That difficulty overcome, Elizabeth went to the library after a bite to eat at noon, and there faced the second of her day’s vexations. She was joined there by no other than Mr Darcy, who, although he stopped short at seeing her, did not retreat. Instead, he returned her greeting in a tone so glacial that she expected to see icicles depend from the bookshelves and all the books wearing snowy caps over their spines.

Gathering the cold around himself like a mantle, he took a seat on the far side of the room, and devoted himself to the book he had brought with him. When she quietly slipped out of the room a half hour later, she doubted he even noticed. Unless, of course, the temperature rose from the depths of winter to the dizzy heights of spring when she softly closed the door behind her.

All in all, it was quite a relief the next day to have one of Mr Bingley’s footmen hand her down from the borrowed coach onto the gravel sweep before Longbourn’s doors. Before she could do more than thank him and turn towards the house, the front door burst open and a tall, heavyset man dressed in clerical garb hurled himself down the shallow steps to grasp her hand and raise it to his lips to slobber over it. An ecclesiastical whirlwind, he spun on one foot to catch Jane’s hand and do likewise.

“Oh, my dear cousins! I have been awaiting your homecoming, most anxiously!” He rocked back on his heels to survey them, his large hand still enclosing Jane’s. “Oh, your beauty is beyond compare. Nothing I have heard does either of you justice! My dear, dear cousins, I am so happy to see you.”

“Mmn.” Elizabeth stepped forward until the stranger had perforce to relinquish his hold on Jane’s hand and take a step or two away. “And you, sir, I assume, are Mr Collins.”

The cleric beamed. “Indeed I am, cousin. Indeed, I am!”

“Mmn,” said Elizabeth again, looking him up and down. “How… splendid.”


About Julia

Once Julia was a communications specialist with several UK government departments. These days she's thankfully free of all that, and writing full time. She lives in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo, who’s supported by Mavis the Assistant Editor, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several times bigger than she is but with no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

Contact Julia:

Email | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway

Between 21 June and 3 July, enter this Rafflecoptor for the chance of the first prize of a copy of Mr. Darcy’s Hunsford letter (complete with seal, and tied in red ribbon) and a copy of the eBook, or one of the two second-place prizes of an ecopy of Mistress of Netherfield.

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