Saturday, November 5, 2016

Austenesque Spotlight and Giveaway: Darcy's Hope by Ginger Monette

Today The Calico Critic welcomes Ginger Monette and her latest work, Darcy's Hope: Beauty from Ashes.  We'll be featuring lots of great material today, from spotlight information, to an interview, a giveaway, and more!  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy this little foray into the World War I era with some of our favorite Austenesque characters!

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Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War I alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You'll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.

1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet's life in tatters.

Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!

But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives....

Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”

But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.

With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent? Darcy can only hope….
  • Cameo appearance by John Thornton (of Gaskill’s North & South).
  • Rated PG. Clean romance, mild language, some war scenes.
  • Darcy's Hope has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey, coming in February 2017. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple's love will face a new, tragic test.

Interview with Ginger Monette

Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes, a Great War Romance

Q: What inspired you to catapult Darcy and Lizzy’s story from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s?

A: Downton Abbey! Julian Fellowes’ creations have numerous similarities with Jane Austen’s characters: a house full of girls with no heir, an entailed estate, a landowner living in a grand house, a crotchety female matriarch, and high society characters falling in love with, well, those not so high society. It was remarkable to me how little British culture had changed in 100 years. I could see Darcy dining with Lord Grantham with little change in decorum. Besides, the turbulence of the Western Front seemed a fitting and colorful setting for a romance between two characters known for clashing. And so a plot was born.

Q: Most Americans know nothing more about World War I than trench warfare and trench foot. How did you research such a broad topic?

A: With the only sources I could trust as historically accurate—diaries. What made research difficult was that diaries aren’t written to instruct a future audience (complete with topic headings and index). Consequently, their vantage point assumes an acquaintance with their present culture—social mores, current news, general ways of doing things, gender roles, etc. Since I am not from that era, all those little details had to be gleaned from hints here and there—and that required hours and hours of reading. I read six hours a day for nine months and compiled over 200 pages of typed notes.

Q: That’s a lot of reading! Didn’t you tire of such tedious research?

A: No. Actually I became obsessed. Those folks back then were a lot smarter than I’d given them credit for. In addition, I found the history fascinating and the people inspiring!

Q: How were they inspiring?

A: Machine guns, poison gas, airplanes, and tanks made their debut in WWI inflicting destruction and horrific wounds on an unprecedented scale. Men lived in squalid trenches and saw their comrades dismembered and slaughtered on a daily basis, yet they remained cheerful and self-sacrificing.

And everyone did something to aid in the war effort. Hundreds of women volunteered as nurse’s aides, others wrote letters, sent care packages, and knitted socks. Men too old to serve as soldiers became stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers. They fashioned splints from scrap metal, turned church halls into hospitals, and emptied bedpans. These small acts of kindness repeated over and over made an enormous difference. As a result, I am challenged to be cheerful amidst trying circumstances and to offer my own small acts of kindness even when they seem insignificant.

Q: Did you face any particular challenges in writing Darcy’s Hope?

A: Yes! Weaving a romance into a complex setting unfamiliar to most readers, with both the hero and heroine experiencing significant character evolution, all in the context of a mystery was a HUGE challenge. I’ll never try to combine that many elements again.

Q: I hear you've put together a special photo album to accompany Darcy's Hope. Can you tell us about it and why you compiled it?

A: Most Americans know almost nothing about WW1. I was no exception. But after researching, it dawned on me that my own understanding of the Great War had been greatly enhanced by photographs. What if I shared some photos with my readers?

After combing through a thousand or more WW1 photos, I selected nearly a hundred that not only represented the culture and technologies of the war and era, but also of the people and places depicted in the story. I dressed them up like an old fashioned album, and I’m really pleased with how Lizzy's Scrapbook turned out.

I'm offering free access to Lizzy's Scrapbook as a special blog tour bonus to anyone who orders the book during the tour, Nov. 1-22. All they have to do is purchase Darcy's Hope, then visit my website ( and follow the prompts for Lizzy's Scrapbook.

Q: Your last book, Tree of Life, Charlotte and the Colonel, had a Christian theme. Can we expect that again?

A: Not this time. But the story does have themes. The primary theme is deception—people, circumstances, and situations are not always what they initially appear to be. Even the subtitle, Beauty from Ashes is a paradox, a form of deception. Another theme, the barriers one erects to protect him or herself from pain, are also a kind of deception. They end up delivering more pain than protection.

Q: Now that you’ve done so much research on World War I, can we expect more novels set in this era?

A: Yes. Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey (yes, that’s the home of George and Emma Knightley’s descendants), now available for pre-order. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple’s love will face a tragic test.

In addition, I’m planning a Great War Romance series. Several of the characters that readers encounter in Darcy’s Hope will have stories all their own including Colonel Fitzwilliam, John Thornton (yes, John Thornton from North & South), Robert Knightley and a few more. Stay tuned!

Q: Is there a way readers can get updates on future releases?

A: Yes. They can sign up at my website to receive email updates and “like” my Facebook page, Ginger Monette Author.

Q: Anything else you would like readers to know about Darcy’s Hope?

A: As you can guess, historical accuracy was important to me. And although I tried to keep the romance between Darcy and Lizzy the story’s primary focus, I hope readers will finish Darcy’s Hope with a taste of what it would have been like at a field hospital near the Front.

Readers may also be interested to know that the chateau-turned-field-hospital in my story is based on one that actually existed, even down to the swans in the water feature! The Messines Ridge blast and Darcy’s “going over the top” at the Battle of the Somme were actual events. Also, chaplains really did occasionally assist in the operating room, and the two outlandish stories told by the colorful Scotsman are true as well.

But most of all I hope readers will love the story!

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog : )

Giveaway - Perfect for Downton Abbey Fans!

The ornament giveaway is open to US residents in the continental US.
The prize for residents of the continental UK is a Downton Abbey mug.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she's hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's 2015 Picture This grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.

Connect with Ginger

Paperback Kindle Tree of Life Paperback Tree of Life Kindle


  1. Love knowing that so much research and a heart for the story was involved in the writing and the sequels sound fantastic, too.

  2. It seems to be a very interesting story... Added to my wish list.

  3. Thank you, Laura, for the lovely feature of Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes!

    This morning I was thinking about some of the WW1 era romance movies that I enjoyed (and have a happy ending : ) Downton Abbey first peaked my interest in the era, but I also really enjoyed The Wingless Bird (on Youtube). It's about two wealthy British brothers who fall for a working-class girl. Does anyone else have a WW1 era movie they've enjoyed?

  4. I love P&P, and I loved Downton Abbey, so this sounds very interesting!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  5. What a huge number of hours of research you've put in Ginger! Hats off to you for that.

    I think my favourite WWI drama isn't actually a drama at all, it's a TV comedy series made here in the UK in the late 80s, called Blackadder Goes Forth. I don't know if you good people in the US are familiar with the Blackadder comedy series at all, but the WWI one was the fourth and last. Each series was set in a different time period: Middle Ages, Elizabethan, Regency (each of the episodes had a title somewhat resembling a Jane Austen novel e.g. Dish and Dishonesty) and finally WWI. They all starred Rown Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean) as as the eponymous "hero". The WWI series final episode attracted a lot of praise for the way it respectfully treated the subject. Won't say any more - spoilers!

    1. Sounds intriguing! I'll check it out ; )

    2. Thanks Ginger. Btw, I spelt Rowan Atksinson's name wrong there. Also forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the video trailer!

  6. I don't know much about World War I either -- except for what I saw on Downtown Abbey -- so this book sounds very informative, plus has a great storyline. I'd love to read it -- and win the Downtown Abbey ornaments!

  7. Interesting to see where you will take the story!

  8. I love how a scrapbook of pictures came out of writing the book.
    I used to enjoy reading diaries from that time, something about the way they wrote appealed to me.

  9. Ginger, congrats on your release of Darcy's Hope. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.



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