As someone who loves Jane Austen and the JAFF based on her brilliant stories, I simply can’t imagine a better way to celebrate Jane’s birthday today than by hosting the Meryton Press cover reveal for The Best Part of Love, by debut author, Amy D’Orazio!
Jane Austen was not only a tremendous storyteller, she was also an ardent admirer of many literary works. It’s widely believed that Sir Charles Grandison, by Samuel Richardson, one of the great novels of her age, was also a favorite novel of the Austens. In the late 1970s, scholars took a second look at a play eventually known as, Grandison, that was thought to be written solely by seven-year-old Anna Austen, and through careful examination of this document they have come to believe that many parts of this play were actually written by Jane Austen herself. It doesn’t surprise me that Jane tried her own hand at writing a play based on a book that she dearly loved. Actually, I can think of no better way for an author to express his/her admiration of a story!
Today, I am honored to share the cover reveal for The Best Part of Love, which I truly believe was written with the same love and respect that Jane felt for Richardson’s story. I can only imagine her feeling tremendous pride and amazement if, she herself, could read many of the beautifully crafted stories that have been inspired by her own work, such as The Best Part of Love, which has been a tremendous favorite of mine since I read it online 17 months ago. After recently reading the Meryton Press eARC for this story, I can confidently state that JAFF readers have some of their best reading moments waiting for them in Amy D’Orazio’s debut book, The Best Part of Love!
Here’s a book blurb for The Best Part of Love:
Elizabeth Bennet may capture Mr. Darcy’s heart, but what is the truth of her past?
When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a simple country girl from a humble estate, he has no idea that she—and indeed, the entire town of Meryton—harbors a secret. Before she meets Darcy, Elizabeth has spent two years hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, and certainly not the haughty man who can do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.
In time, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. As the newlyweds are just beginning to settle into their happily-ever-after, a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her—including Darcy—Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But the truth could destroy them both.
Meet Amy D’Orazio:
Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.
She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.
Now let’s blow out the candles for Jane and pull back the curtains on this long-awaited cover!
I think the talented Ellen Pickels really hit the mark with this cover and the back cover is just so perfect too!
Meryton Press and Mrs. D’Orazio have graciously shared an excerpt from this upcoming story with my Just Jane 1813 readers. Read on to learn about the huge surprise that Mr. Darcy has in store for him!
THE OPERA HOUSE WAS FULL TO OVERFLOWING, ALL OF BETTER SOCIETY agog with their desire to see the countess. Her story was repeated in excited whispers among the knots of elegant ladies and gentlemen. Speculation abounded as to who her fortunate escort would be this night, what gown
and jewels she would wear, and when she might marry again. Tales of her beauty, grace, and wit ran rampant. In general, the ton was much disposed to approve of the young countess, courtesy of her large fortune and heartbreakingly dramatic story.
Darcy heard the bits and pieces of varying—and sometimes contradictory—rumours swirling about him as he made his way through the crowd, his sister on his arm. Having decided he would oblige his aunt with an introduction, he was resolved to meet Lady Courtenay with a mind unfettered by prejudice. It was exceedingly unlikely that he would marry this lady, no matter what his aunt believed, but it would do him no harm to meet her. You cannot marry some insignificant country girl. Think of your family name. It might as well be Lady Courtenay as any other lady, for it can never be the one who owns your heart.
Darcy and Georgiana had advanced halfway up the stairs leading to the boxes, when Georgiana looked back and espied Lord and Lady Matlock slowly entering the grand hall. She tugged her brother’s arm to inform him of their presence.
Darcy was thankful for his height in these situations as he easily spotted his aunt and uncle amidst the crowd that had set upon them nearly immediately. Finally, Darcy saw his cousin enter, but the lady on his arm was evidently petite, for she could not be seen through the crowd around her.
Later, Darcy wondered whether his recollection had taken on a false hue, tainted by the knowledge of what came later, or if it was truth and understanding that caused him to remember his view of her approach being painstakingly slow. It seemed as if she moved towards him in a dream, with the sea of people moving and undulating about her. The hum of the crowd grew to a roar, but he discerned nothing of the words spoken, just an indistinct cacophony in his ears.
It was obvious that the lady would have no difficulty making her return into society, for society thronged about her, desperate to catch a look or a word. Those afforded a conversation were among the most fashionable: young Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, and Mrs. Drummond Burrell, along with their husbands. Splendid, she is one of those ladies whose greatest concern is gaining admittance to Almack’s. He rolled his eyes even as he thought it, though he could not discount the excellence in such connexions.
He tried to see her even as he attempted to appear disinterested—no mean feat. He was soon punished for his inattention, as before he knew what she was about, Caroline Bingley had appeared and attached herself to his arm. “All these people to see some little country nobody,” she hissed. “You shall not see me paying her court, I assure you.”
I doubt you could get near her. Darcy was about to invite Miss Bingley and her brother to join him in his box when Bingley suddenly gasped.
“Bingley? What is it?” Darcy asked. “Are you ill?”
“I believe I just saw Miss Bennet,” Bingley reported breathlessly, his eyes wide.
“Oh Charles.” Miss Bingley was disgusted with her brother and rolled her eyes, explaining to Darcy, “We have had a number of reports of Miss Bennet’s whereabouts this week. Let us see, she was on Bond Street—at the most fashionable dress maker, of course—and she was seen leaving Towton Hall in Mayfair as well!”
She lowered her voice, “Pray speak to him; his obsession is truly unseemly.”
Darcy did not hear her, having turned to look in the direction Bingley indicated. As it turned out, Bingley was correct: the lady he saw was unmistakably Miss Bennet making her way towards the boxes along with an older couple. However, it was not the sight of Miss Bennet that most astonished Darcy.
The sound of his own pulse filled his ears as his mind struggled to make sense of the sight before him, and time slowed to a merciless crawl. His eyes seemed to have developed extraordinary capacity, as they noted the bit of a dark curl on the delectable, snow-white skin of a graceful neck, the flash of an impish smile, and the flutter of her gown.
There was a murmuring of Georgiana attempting to speak to him, but he was deaf to her words, hearing nothing but the pounding of his own heart. Bewildered, he shook Caroline Bingley loose and took two steps forwards. His lips parted and his mouth opened, but no sound would emerge.
The four had converged upon their little group. Lord and Lady Matlock stared at him, and Fitzwilliam smirked; he did not care. His eyes were fixed onto the eyes that enchanted him, the figure that enthralled him, and the face that reached into his dreams and captivated his heart.
“Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” he whispered.
She offered him a curtsey, her eyes remaining locked in his gaze. “I beg your pardon, sir, please call me Lady Courtenay.”
I know it’s a little bit of a tease that this excerpt is somewhat of a cliffhanger, but I hope that now you’re even more curious to crack open the pages of this book! Meryton Press is planning an early January 2017 release for this book.
The Meryton Press Blog Tour for The Best Part of Love will begin on January 6th and take place through January 21, 2017, and I can’t wait to see what Meryton Press has planned for JAFF readers. I highly recommend that this book is penciled in on every JAFF readers list for the New Year!
As my way of saying “Thank you” to everyone involved in this cover reveal, I am offering an ebook giveaway of this book to one Just Jane 1813 reader, which will be delivered to the winner as soon as the book is released in early January. Please comment on this blog and congratulate Amy on her debut novel. I know she’s worked really hard to share an unforgettable story with us, and we’d love to hear your thoughts about the cover and/or the excerpt. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post no later than midnight, ET, on December 26th. The winner will be announced on this blog on December 27, 2016.
Please feel free to spread the word about this cover reveal by sharing this post on your social media! We’d really appreciate your help with spreading the word about this wonderful story, and its amazing debut author, Amy D’Orazio!
References for Grandison: Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ edited by Brian Southam and Sir Charles Grandison and Jane Austen’s Men.