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What do Saint Patrick and Jane Austen have in common?

What do Saint Patrick and Jane Austen have in common?

Guest Post By Cynthia Ingram Hensley

Top of the mornin’ to ye, fellow Austenites! And the happiest of Saint Patrick’s Day wishes!

Now, to answer the question: What do Saint Patrick and Jane Austen have in common? Well, probably not a whole lot. However, if you will humor me for a moment while supporting the “six degrees of separation” theory, then we can share some fun Austen facts in Irish fashion on this Saint Patrick’s Day.

As many of you already know, reportedly our dear Miss Austen was once courted by an Irishman named Thomas LeFroy. Actually, Tom was part Irish and part Huguenot. Basically meaning that part of his lineage was French Protestants who left France due to Catholic persecution, fleeing to Ireland under English protection, most likely during the latter part of the 17th century. And though a lesson on European Christendom is quite interesting and rather fitting for Saint Patrick’s Day, we’ll leave the long, tumultuous religious history of that great continent on the back of the hob for now and get back to Jane and St. Paddy, or more specifically, Jane and Tom LeFroy, who was from Ireland of which Saint Patrick himself is the patron saint. See there, that was as easy as connecting Kevin Bacon with Queen Elizabeth II—kind of.

Like most authors of Austen fan fiction, I reached into my favorite Austen novel—for me Pride and Prejudice—and pulled out of that classical and celebrated love story a tale of my very own. And though it was Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy who most inspired me, by no small extent did the courtship between Jane Austen and Tom LeFroy stir my imagination. As a matter of fact, I have probably watched Becoming Jane almost as many times as I’ve watched Pride and Prejudice—mind I said almost.

In Becoming Jane Austen, a biography written by Jon Hunter Spence, Spence suggests that Jane Austen most likely used hers and LeFroy’s personalities for the characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with the interesting twist of Mr. Darcy being a play on Jane herself and Elizabeth Bennet being more a portrayal of Tom LeFroy. It was then and there I decided that my Elizabeth Bennet must be a man. And, in honor of Tom LeFroy, the next step seemed obvious…he must also be Irish.

It was with a hopeful heavenly nod from Miss Austen, that I sat down and constructed a story of misinterpretations and mistaken first impressions and, like Jane, took my characters on a journey of emerging understanding to better appreciate the human spirit. Which is an extremely technical way of saying I wrote a love story—a funny, sweet, happy ending, Austen-style love story. So, if you find yourself craving a handsome Irishman with just the right amount of Irish brogue and a wee bit of Irish humor this Saint Patrick’s Day, skip the shepard’s pie and green beer at the pub and instead read (warning: you are about to experience a shameless book plug) the two book series Echoes of Pemberley and The Heart Does Whisper. Pull up a pew (that’s Irish for sit down) and travel back to Pemberley once more and join predictably haughty Catie Darcy (aka: Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen) and—yep, you guessed it—arrogant Sean Kelly (aka: Elizabeth Bennet, Tom LeFroy) on the familiar yet always unique path of the heart and find in this new generation a fresh romance with historical roots and Austen-like parallels that will appeal to the purest of Austenites.

 As for our dear Saint Patrick, he has an inspirational, uplifting story all his own. So if you do make it to the local pub this Saint Patrick’s Day, lift a glass to himself and then lift a glass to Thomas LeFroy, the man who might have loved Jane Austen…the man who just might have been the muse for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. If that be the case, do we not owe a hearty toast on a fresh round of Guinness to this Irishman? Aye, I’d say we do! So, Sláinte and happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Consequences Blog Tour March 11-21

Consequences Blog Tour Happening Now


C P Odom's Consequences Blog Tour is ongoing with reviews, excerpts, a guest post, and giveaways. Learn more about what people have to say about Consequences, and don't miss out on several chances to win a copy of the book.

Here is the schedule of stops in case you missed some.  Don't hesitate to stop by these blogs as giveaways sometimes are open to entries for a few days.

Review on March 11 at Addicted to Jane Austen

Review on March 12 at Best Sellers and Best Stellars of Romance

Excerpt & Giveaway on March 13 at So Little Time…

Guest Post & Giveaway on March 14 at My Love for Jane Austen 

Author interview on March 16 at My Kids Led me Back to Pride and Prejudice

Review on March 18 at More Agreeably Engaged

Review on March 19 at Diary of an Eccentric

Review on March 20 at Warmisunqu's Austen

Guest Post & Giveaway on March 21 with Joana Starnes Learn more about Consequences now or get your copy without waiting.

Just Released: The Cover of Aerendgast

Aerendgast Closer to Publication

I'm thrilled to be able to show off the cover of Aerendgast: The Secret History of Jane Austen. I think it's such a great representation of the book, and am so excited that we're getting closer and closer to publication (in April).

- Rachel Berman

Southern Kentucky Book Fest 2014

Southern Kentucky Book Fest 2014


I'm thrilled to be on the Fiction II author panel at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest this year! The panel begins at 1 pm, and I'll be joining two other authors: Helen Motter and Catherine McKenzie. I'll also be greeting readers starting at 9:00 am that morning. All three of my titles will be available for anyone who would like one signed.

Austenesque authors Regina Jeffers and Sharon Lathan will be at the Book Fest this year, as well as some great Kentucky authors like Molly Harper (Paranormal/Contemporary Romance) and Ann Gabhart (Inspirational Romance). And Charlaine Harris is the headliner!

If you're in the Bowling Green area, please stop by and say hello!

- Karen M Cox

Stronger Even Than Pride

Stronger Even Than Pride - Coming in March

From the author of ...To End All Wars, winner of a silver IPPY award 2011

"…in his behaviour to me there were stronger influences even than pride."

When George Wickham speaks these words to an impressionable Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she can have no idea how true they will turn out to be. Stronger Even Than Pride, Gail McEwen’s latest novel, explores whether love can survive the biggest obstacles fate—and a most ruinous stubbornness—can conjure up to separate two people destined to be together. After Miss Bennet refuses to read the faithful narrative of Darcy’s dealings with Mr Wickham, this Pride and Prejudice variation quickly travels a darker path when she chooses to exonerate the wrong man.Obstinately standing by that choice, Elizabeth’s life descends into a downward spiral and Fitzwilliam Darcy is forced to watch helplessly as the woman he loves slips further and further from reach. Can there be a happily ever after for them? Can a love, stronger even than pride, redeem even the worst mistakes?

Los Angeles Festival of Books

Los Angeles Festival of Books


Meryton Press will be at the Los Angeles Festival of Books on April 12&13 at Booth 965. The event is held at the USC Campus. Join us there to meet authors and pick up a copy of your favorite Austenesque or romance novel. All our authors books will be represented.

As part of the event, we are also concocting a giveaway so, stay tuned for details.  We will update you as they become available.

Be on the lookout for these upcoming releases:

Stronger Even Than Pride - Gail McEwen - March

Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen - Rachel Berman - April

Haunting Mr Darcy: A Spirited Courtship - KaraLynne Mackrory - Spring

My Husband, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy - Lory Lilian - Summer

Longbourn to London - Linda Beutler - Summer

Upcoming Events:

The Secret Betrothal Blog Tour - April 7-18

Los Angeles Festival of Books - Meryton Press - April 12 & 13

Southern Kentucky Book Fest - Karen M Cox - April 26




And Remember...

It is a truth universally acknowledged: when one finishes a great love story, one always longs for more. Count on Meryton Press, an independent publisher of Austenesque and Romance, to provide that more.