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Christmas with Mr Darcy!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I've recently finished writing Mr Darcy's Secret, which is to be published by Sourcebooks. Here's a small extract with a festive theme. Elizabeth Bennet is married to Mr Darcy and is welcoming her family for the Christmas season to Pemberley for the first time, not without some trepidation!
Christmas Eve and the arrival of the Bennets and Bingleys to Pemberley marked the official start to the festive season. Elizabeth was pleased and surprised at her own feelings on firstly welcoming her parents and two of her sisters, Mary and Kitty, to her new home. For all her newfound happiness and exultation in the success of her marriage, she had not realised until coming face to face with them again, how much she had missed them. It was especially heartening to see her papa again and as he hugged her until she thought she might have no breath left, her feelings took her by surprise. The resulting misting of her eyes she quickly brushed away before his notice …

Snow, Christmas Trees and a Review for Willoughby's Return

Well, it's feeling very festive here in England with all the snow we've been having! As I look out of my window I can see the world dusted with icing sugar - the sky is a beautiful iridescent pearl, which reminds me of the sort of day it was in Willoughby's Return when Marianne and Margaret join a skating party in London's Hyde Park - hence the painting above. I did enjoy doing the research for this part of the book, though I seem to remember it was early summer when I wrote it!
We put up our Christmas tree yesterday - I always love to dress the mantlepiece and my children love to do the tree. There's something very special about unwrapping all the baubles that we've had for many years - it's like finding old friends. They did a lovely job, the tree is sparkling with flower lights, glass birds, angels, father Christmases, fans and icicles - I even have Lizzy and Darcy - beautiful fabric decorations made by my sister-in-law, Trin. I'm taking a moment to…

A Review for Willoughby's Return from Austenesque

Thank you to Meredith Esparza of Austenesque Reviews for her review of Willoughby's Return!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
*****
“Sense and Sensibility” is such a lovely, honest, and entertaining novel; it such a shame that not many authors have attempted to compose a sequel for it. I have greatly enjoyed “Colonel Brandon's Diary” by Amanda Grange (S&S told from Colonel Brandon's point-of-view) and “Reason and Romance” by Debra White Smith (a modern adaption with Christian undertones); but neither of those are sequels or include a continuation story for Margaret. But now, having read “Willoughby's Return,” I feel I have found the sequel for “Sense and Sensibility” I have always wanted! I am so very delighted that Jane Odiwe has supplied us ravenous Austenites with this compelling and expressive sequel to cherish and enjoy!

Whatever became of Margaret Dashwood? As Elinor and Marianne's younger sister, Margaret has witnessed their heartbreaks and heartaches first hand. Has…

A Review for Willoughby's Return from Austenprose

Here's a review from Laurel Ann at Austenprose. I'd like to thank her very much for taking the time to read and review my book!

While the Jane Austen sequel industry abounds with numerous books inspired by Pride and Prejudice, regretfully there are very few sequels to Austen’s first published novel Sense and Sensibility. Why? Possibly because some readers have been disappointed with half of Austen’s unsatisfactory ending for her two heroines. While the two Dashwood sisters do marry: staid and stoic Elinor to Edward Ferrars and impulsive and free-spirited Marianne to Col. Brandon, the second pairings future happiness seemed doubtful. How could a young lady with Marianne’s intense passionate depth be happy with anyone other than her Byronic first love Mr. Willoughby – even after he threw her over for an heiress? Nagging questions arise. Did she settle when she married the Colonel? Would she be tempted into extramarital affairs and runaway with her lover? Possibly, leaving an intr…

Red Roses for Authors Interview!

I was recently interviewed by Red Roses for Authors blogspot in celebration of the publication of Willoughby's Return. It's always an interesting experience being interviewed - I'm always surprised by how much I learn about myself as well as my book!


Tell us a little about yourself

I’m an English author, an artist, and a wife and mother to three children. I live on the edge of London and enjoy indulging my passions of reading Jane Austen, writing and painting.

What do you write?

I write books inspired by Jane Austen’s life and works. I’ve written and illustrated a book about Jane and have also written three novels, Lydia Bennet’s Story, Willoughby’s Return, and Mr Darcy’s Secret.

Why do you write?

I love escaping into a different world and the sheer pleasure I get when I write is something I’ve enjoyed since I was a little girl. I like the fact that each book is like a puzzle waiting to be worked out with ideas coming to life on the page with my words.

What are you writing now?

I…

A Review for Willoughby's Return from Book Eater

Here's a review from Odessa at Book Eater.

Sequels, prequels, paraliterature; we see it everywhere, especially in regard to Austen. I am often skeptical, but when I saw Jane Odiwe (author of Lydia Bennet's Story) had a new sequel to Sense and Sensibility I thought I'd give it a read. I'm glad I did.
Unlike most sequels that endow Austen's characters with alarming amounts of sex and violence, Odiwe keeps in the spirit of Austen's style. She resurrects her most charming rogue with success. At the end of S&S the secondary heroine, Marianne Dashwood, marries the much older Colonel Brandon and the dashing Wiloughby disappears with his wife, married only for the money. Many fans have often asserted that Wiloughby's not a bad guy, that they almost wish in spite of everything that he and Marianne end up together.
This novel begins three years after the close of Austen's novel. It brings up very real concerns in Marianne's marriage to the Colonel. Does he o…

Researching Willoughby's Return!

One of the things I enjoy about writing my Austen sequels is the research I have to do for each novel. I love to set each major scene giving clues to how places looked at the time, as well as considering sounds and smells! Jane Austen did not devote much of her writing to descriptions of places and scenes as she took it for granted that people would know what she was talking about, but I think it is important that I transport my reader back to the 1800’s especially if they know little about the era.

I have Marianne and Colonel Brandon go to London for the season. I read everything I could about shopping, amusements and entertainments of the time and it is very fortunate that so much of the part of London I was researching still exists even if some of the buildings have changed. Helping to transport me back in time was a map from 1803 that I downloaded from the internet. Off I went on the tube to stand in Oxford Street and Bond Street trying to imagine that the cars roaring by were carr…

Willoughby's Return Interview with Barbara from Everything Victorian

I've been having a lovely time on my blog tour for the launch of Willoughby's Return. Here's an interview I had with Barbara from Everything Victorian and More. Thank you Barbara, I really enjoyed the interview!
1. What inspired you to write about the main character?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. She’s a heroine who wears her heart on her sleeve and never loves by halves. In Jane Austen’s book Marianne has two great love affairs – firstly, with the dashing Mr Willoughby, who ignites the feelings of her first great passion but who lets her down badly, and secondly, with Colonel Brandon, an older, steadier man who is the real hero, the one she marries. The ending of Sense and Sensibility surprises some readers who can’t believe that Marianne really loves the Colonel enough to marry him. This intrigued me, and the fact that she is a character we easily identify with – I’m sure most people have known a Willoughby at some stage in…

Mr. Willoughby - is it possible to resist him?

I was very kindly invited to guest blog on Book Nerd Extraordinaire Blogspot. Here's what Jaime Huff has to say about Willoughby's Return followed by my guest post.

'I have been enjoying the selection of Jane Austen sequels, and Willoughby's Return by Jane Odiwe is right there leading the pack. Marianne, in my opinion, was spoiled, vivid and full of life and Jane Odiwe has maintained that spirit as she brings us to Marianne's life and her marriage to Colonel Brandon..."Willoughby's Return" has maintained the spirit and life of it's predecessor, "Sense and Sensibility" and was such a strong, flowing read and I would definitely recommend this to any Sense and Sensibility fan who has wondered "well, what then?"' Jaime Huff

Jaime, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog to talk about my book, Willoughby’s Return. I thought I’d talk a little about Mr. Willoughby, that bad boy we find hard to resist!

Have you ever felt an …

Lucy Ferrars writes a letter!

In celebration of the publication of Willoughby's Return, Vic (from Jane Austen Today) and I have decided to write a series of posts as Jane Austen characters from Sense and Sensibility. Recently, Lucy Ferrars wrote a letter to Elinor Ferrars - Vic is writing as Lucy and my response shows Elinor's thoughts and point of view! We thought it might be fun to see how these sister-in-laws might behave now they are married to Robert and Edward Ferrars.


My Dear Mrs. Ferrars, (or may I call you Elinor now that we have been SISTERS for more years than I care to admit!)

I write seemingly out of the blue, for I have been the poorest of correspondents. Unfortunately, my duties as Mrs. Robert Ferrars keep me too busy to attend to this important duty as MATRIARCH of the family (now that Mrs. Ferrars, that dearest of mama-in-laws, has been laid to rest). Be assured that I have managed to apprise myself of both your and Rev. Ferrars’ well-being through Mrs. Jennings’s cheery correspondence an…

Competition Winners and a Review for Willoughby's Return from Jane Austen Today!

I am delighted to announce the winners of the competitions held during the last fortnight. I just want to say thank you to everyone who entered the competitions and also to everyone who joined in the fun and left their comments. I've been very touched by your comments and personal e-mails; it's so lovely to hear from you all.

Names were drawn from the hat for each competition - here are the winners!

Painting of Marianne and Elinor - Milka

Greetings cards - Sylvia Chan and Etirv

Sense and Sensibility CD - Mer

Willoughby's Return Books - Michelle W and Laura Gerold

Jane and Cassandra painting - Alexa Adams

Here's a review from Jane Austen Today

Humans are complex creatures. We are all multidimensional, like the characters that Jane Austen created in her delightful novels. Take Willoughby, the handsome cad from Sense and Sensibility. At the end of Jane Austen’s tale, he expressed his love for Marianne to Elinor, even though he had become engaged to another woman . The reader, sen…

Willoughby's Return Interview with Serena from Savvy, Verse and Wit!

Well, I've come to the end of my blog tour - I'm feeling a little bit sad, it's been so lovely to 'meet' and hear from everyone who has made comments and entered the competitions. Thank you to all who have interviewed me and spent time reviewing Willoughby's Return, I greatly appreciate all your efforts on my behalf.
There's still time to enter the competitions - I'll announce the winners on Monday!

Here's an interview I had with Serena from Savvy, Verse and Wit

Most authors dealing with classic characters fell in love with them early on, but wanted something more. Is this how you felt about Willoughby, and what is it you sought to do that Jane Austen had not?

Rather than falling in love with Willoughby, I suppose it was really that ideal of romantic love that I fell in love with early on, and the relationship that Willoughby first shares with Marianne Dashwood. Jane Austen painted him initially as the epitome of the dashing hero and that is very attra…

Willoughby's Return, Fresh Fiction and Lyme Regis

You can find me guest blogging on Fresh Fiction today talking about descriptions of Georgian dress in my books.

I've been very busy this last fortnight mostly talking about my book! Here's my chat with Naida from The Bookworm.

Thank you Naida for inviting me to talk about my about my favourite Austen novel, and how it helped me to write my new book, Willoughby’s Return.

My favourite Austen novel is a difficult choice because I love them all, but, if I could only choose one, it would have to be Persuasion. Of course, Willoughby’s Return was inspired very much by Sense and Sensibility, another favourite, but my love of Persuasion is very strong, and sometimes themes and motifs from that book creep into my writing. One of these themes is of love being renewed after it is lost between the hero and heroine. I wanted to explore the idea in a different way in Willoughby’s Return. Although Marianne is very happily married, I wondered what would happen if her love was tested. If circumst…

Ninjas, Birthdays, and Regency sights and sounds!

Vic from Jane Austen's World let it slip that it was my birthday yesterday - thanks to everyone who sent birthday messages! I had a lovely day. One of the highlights was this card my son made for me - well, it made me laugh. I don't think he's considering a career change, but you never know!

I'm a guest on Love, Romance, Passion today. Click here to read about the sights and sounds of Regency Britain.

Willoughby's Return Interview on Jane Austen's World!

Please join me today for a guest blog on Jane Austen's World. It was lovely to be interviewed by Vic again - thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about my book, Willoughby's Return.

Today's question is for fun! Which hero from Sense and Sensibility do you like best - would you fall for an Edward Ferrars or a Colonel Brandon? Are you influenced by the actors who play these roles? The top photo shows Alan Rickman and David Morrissey as two very gorgeous Colonel Brandons and the equally dashing Hugh Grant and Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars below. I have to admit I loved them all!
Please leave a comment below if you are brave enough to join in.

Willoughby's Return Competition - Win a Painting of Jane and Cassandra

Sense and Sensibility centres on the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. They appear at first to be opposites - Elinor is rational and sensible and Marianne seems to think and act only on her impulsive feelings and highly charged emotions, though by the end of the book we have witnessed quite a crossover in the way that both girls behave and interact with the world.

Jane Austen and her sister were very close. There were just under a couple of years between them, and we know that they spent much of their time together as they grew up, writing daily letters whenever they were apart. From family recollections we are given the impression that Cassandra, Jane's older sister, was the more level-headed, and from her letters it appears that Jane looked to Cassandra for guidance and advice. I'm not the first to wonder if Jane drew on her own experiences with her sister Cassandra when drafting her story. Who knows? Perhaps Elinor and Marianne represent aspects of Jane…

Willoughby's Return, Blog Tour, another Review and Gunter's Teashop!

I am having a lovely time on my blog tour. Thanks so much to everyone who has given me such a warm welcome. Follow the links for more guest posts and giveaways from The Bookworm and here is a review from Books Like Breathing

I have been yearning for a Sense and Sensibility sequel. Colonel Brandon is my second favorite Austen hero (sometimes he even beats Darcy). Sometimes I get a bit tired of Darcy (just bought two more P&P sequels) and yearn for some Brandon, Wentworth, Tilney and Knightley (never Edmund Bertram).
Odiwe’s portrayal of all of the characters was perfect. Marianne was exactly as she was in S&S albeit a bit more mature. I also could understand why she was upset with Brandon. He completely neglected her to take care of his “other” family. I would have been upset too. Colonel Brandon was broody yet sweet—just as I imagine him. He did make a few mistakes throughout the book but redeemed himself. Marianne and Colonel Brandon’s marriage was a huge highlight for me. Ther…

Willoughby's Return in Bidding War for Film Rights and Two Reviews!

OK - so that's just the dream scenario and one surely every writer thinks about! In my absolute fantasy, of course, I have Emma Thompson phoning me begging to let her produce the film (she tells me she has already written the screenplay based on my book, which she couldn't wait to buy!) In the next breath she is saying that Greg would make a perfect Colonel Brandon now his temples are greying so deliciously - I hesitate, only because on the other line my husband's mouthing at me that Sony want Richard Armitage. Oh, the dilemma - what to do?!!!



Emma's sister Sophie would make a wonderful Mrs Dashwood or even Mrs Jennings - she's a fabulous character actress. But, maybe in the dream scenario I could get to play Mrs Jennings! And could Emma resist being in a new Austen adaptation especially if we could get Ang Lee on board. I'd definitely want Patrick Doyle or Mario Darianelli for the music and the same fab designers who did the original S&S - the list goes on.