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Archive for the ‘Richard Armitage’ Category

I had such fun writing this P&P mash-up with the very lovely Juliet Archer for Austenesque Extravaganza – I hope you enjoy it! Please read the first half on Juliet’s website! 

I’m celebrating the release of Searching for Captain Wentworth on Friday and giving away a copy of my book. Please leave a comment below to qualify. 
Here is part two of our short story!!!

A modern Mrs Bennet meets a time traveller or two from the original Pride & Prejudice … 
By Juliet Archer and Jane Odiwe 

Part Two

What if Mr Collins was only pretending to be a vicar? That would explain the weird hat, for a start. A lunatic would think that was perfectly normal headgear for a man of the cloth. Once again, she wondered if it was wise to be alone with him. Pocketing her phone, she edged towards the door.

‘I don’t need any more photos – Lydia can check the church website or something if she needs more information. And I’ll send you an email about booking the date – or have you got a PA?’

‘Mrs Bennet, I am nonplussed by your mode of expression – your vocabulary is most unusual. Perhaps the unseasonal warmth of the day has addled your senses? Allow me to escort you to my humble abode where I will fetch my dear Charlotte’s smelling salts for your present relief. But we must keep out of sight of Rosings, lest Lady Catherine herself glimpses your sorry attire.’

Charlotte marries Mr Collins

To Cindy’s horror, he grabbed her arm and marched her out of the church. They were about to cross the lane that separated the church from the rectory, when the appearance of an old-fashioned coach, driven by four chestnut horses (such as Cindy had only ever seen on a Christmas card) and bowling along at speed, stopped them in their tracks. Much to Cindy’s relief, Mr Collins let go of her arm – but then immediately stood right in front of her, acting like a one-man human shield. Every time she tried to sidestep him, he hopped like a demented grasshopper, his arms flapping on either side as he tried in vain to hide her from sight.

‘Mr Collins, whatever are you about, my man?’ boomed a large, imperious-looking lady from the carriage window. ‘Let down the roof, Hopkins, so that I may see what is going on.’

The coachman leapt from his perch to do as he was told. Cindy was wide-eyed with wonder at the vision of the woman who was clearly in fancy dress. She’d never seen such a hat with so many feathers and decided there must be a very bald ostrich somewhere running around Kent.

‘Mr Collins, I insist upon knowing what – or rather, whom – you are failing miserably to conceal! You ought to know that I hate to be trifled with. Who is that person?’

‘A Mrs Bennet, your ladyship,’ answered Mr Collins with so low a scrape that his pancake hat fell off.

‘Bennet!’ screamed the lady. ‘That name is offensive to my ears. I am no stranger, madam, to the particulars of your family’s scandalous history. And do not think that I am unaware of your lowly connections in trade –’

Cindy was having none of this. ‘How dare you! I’ll have you know that My Dream Wedding was in the top 300 wed-sites of 2005, and on the wishlists of subscribers to Brides Third Time Around in 2007.’ She watched aghast as she was minutely scrutinised through a lorgnette on a long, gold chain.

‘Mrs Bennet, do you know who I am? Where are your manners, your obeisance?’

‘My what?’

‘Curtsey, Mrs Bennet, pray curtsey to Lady Catherine de Bourgh,’ urged Reverend Collins in a loud whisper, his head fairly bouncing off his knee in a spectacularly low obeisance of his own.

‘I shall do no such thing – I’m off!’ cried Cindy, impressively wielding both her handbag and her Galliano shopper like a ninja born, whilst all too aware that, as seconds, the handles might not prove up to the job.

‘I shall not be interrupted! Hear me in silence,’ roared Lady Catherine, rising to her feet, eager to have the last word. ‘Mr Collins, remove this unfortunate person at once, apparelled like a wanton in what I can only assume is de rigueur in Hertfordshire.’

‘De rigueur … this is as fashionable as it gets!’ Cindy had never quite got the hang of French even after several gîte holidays in the Dordogne. Flouncing off as fast as her Jimmy Choos would allow, her stiletto heels sinking with every awkward step into the ground, she decided she’d just about had enough for one day. No wedding or country church was worth this kind of abuse, whatever Lydia might say. She’d clearly run across the village idiot and his mother, escapees from some nightmare she’d once had. That was the curious thing – there was something familiar about them, but she couldn’t think what.

‘Mrs Bennet, please wait,’ called Mr Collins, scuttling after her like a large black-winged insect. Cindy broke into a panic-stricken trot, fumbling in her bag for her keys. He was gaining on her with every second. Where was the wretched car? She was sure she’d left it just beyond the churchyard. She dodged between the gravestones, glancing behind her as she went, but failing at the last to see the stone epitaph to Sir Lewis de Bourgh. In an unguarded moment, she caught her toe on a heavenly cherub, tripped and fell flat on her back …

‘Excuse me, Miss, are you okay? Can you hear me?’

Cindy opened her eyes. The nightmare had turned into a delicious, fantasy-filled dream. There above her was Richard Armitage’s twin brother. Well, if he had a twin and he was a vicar, she was sure he’d look exactly like the handsome man in a dog collar towering over her.

‘I fell over. I was being chased – at least, I thought I was,’ she added, lamely. Because, as far as she could tell, the mad reverend had disappeared.

‘Oh dear, I am sorry to hear that. It’s normally so quiet here, hardly a soul about.’ He offered his hand. ‘I’m David Collins, by the way.’

She’d registered the name, but it must be a coincidence, mustn’t it? ‘It was a Mr Collins that was chasing me … Reverend Collins, I thought he said.’

‘I’m the only reverend here, though I much prefer to be called David. Anyway, let me help you to your feet. Come over to the rectory and I’ll make us some tea.’

Five minutes later, Cindy was sipping Earl Grey tea from a floral cup, tucking into a plate of scones in the Georgian rectory and relating her life story. Her only injury was to her foot, which David had expertly bandaged and insisted she rest on a footstool. When she wasn’t telling the young vicar all about wedding planning and settling the arrangements for Lydia’s day, she was taking in her surroundings. It was a nice house, she thought, but it could do with a woman’s touch … She was just wondering whether he was single and might do for her daughter Katie, when she spotted a pencil drawing on the wall. Mounted in a gilt frame, a figure in a pancake hat looked at her with that same silly expression. There was no doubt in her mind.

‘That’s him!’ she shouted, leaping up and forgetting her painful toes. ‘That’s Reverend Collins!’

‘Are you sure? I think there must be some mistake.’

‘I never forget a face, and believe me, his will never be forgotten.’

‘But that Reverend Collins is long gone, I’m afraid, Cindy,’ David replied. ‘He was an ancestor of mine – with quite a history as a matter of fact. He was vicar here in the 1800s … there’s a family story that he inspired the writer, Jane Austen, but whether it’s true or not, I can’t say. Likewise, Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice had a parish in Kent and we’re not far from Westerham, so perhaps there’s something in it.’

Cindy felt most bewildered. When she came to think of it, the whole episode had been very weird. Both Mr Collins and the woman, Lady Catherine, had had a very strange, antiquated appearance. But, she couldn’t explain it. Besides, she had far more important matters on her mind. ‘Well, never mind, David. I’m so happy you can marry Lydia – though unfortunately for her, she’s already taken, if you get my meaning.’

A pause, then she asked coyly, ‘What about you? Are you single?’

David blushed to the roots of his hair. ‘Yes, I’m afraid I am.’

Cindy tried – and failed – to disguise the predatory gleam in her eyes. ‘Can’t think why, I’m sure you look very fetching in a pulpit.’ Another little pause. ‘I don’t like to boast of my own children’s beauty, David, but my Katie looks absolutely stunning in her bridesmaid’s dress … And whilst we’re on the subject of marriage, all wedding planners have a slogan above their desks. Coincidentally, Jane Austen wrote mine – very apt, I think, in this instance: “I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage”.’

She gazed at him fondly, imagining the double wedding celebrations they might have if she was quick to introduce Katie to this Richard Armitage look-alike. ‘What do you think of that, David?’

David merely smiled. ‘All unmarried vicars have a slogan above their desks too, Cindy. And mine is also from Jane Austen – “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment”.’

For once, Cindy was unable to think of a reply.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Searching For Captain Wentworth! The competition closes on September 30th – international giveaway!

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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.

So, if you could put on your dream version of Sense and Sensibility or Willoughby’s Return, who would you cast? I think Carey Mulligan would make a good Marianne and perhaps Johnny Lee Miller for Willoughby. What do you think? And who would you cast for the roles of Elinor and Edward, and for my book – Margaret Dashwood and Henry Lawrence?

Please leave a comment below – just for fun, this one!

I’ve had a couple more reviews I’d like to share:

4.0 out of 5 stars Willoughby’s Return, November 5, 2009
By S. Agusto-Cox “Savvy Verse & Wit”

Willoughby’s Return: A tale of almost irresistible temptation by Jane Odiwe reunites readers with Mr. and Mrs. Brandon and Marianne’s sisters Margaret and Elinor from Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen.

“But three years of married life had done little to really change her. Marianne still had an impetuous nature, she still retained a desire for impulse and enterprises undertaken on the spur of the moment.” (Page 3)

Truer words were never spoken about Marianne. She is the same impetuous girl from Austen’s book, even though she is married to Colonel Brandon and has a son, James. Her husband, however, has obligations to his ward, the daughter of his deceased first love, and her child–a child she had with Marianne’s first love, Mr. Willoughby. Drama, drama, drama fills these pages, just as they filled Marianne’s life in Ausen’s work, but Odiwe adds her own flare to these characters.

Marianne continues to hide things from her husband no matter how innocent the situations may be and her jealousies drive her to make nearly scandalous decisions and snap judgments. However, while this book is titled Willoughby’s Return, he is more of a minor character and his storyline with Marianne looms from the sidelines as her younger sister Margaret and her beau Henry Lawrence take center stage.

Margaret is very like Marianne in that she is passionate, romantic, and impetuous. She’s opposed to marriage and Marianne’s matchmaking until Margaret sets eyes on Henry Lawrence. She falls head-over-heels for him, but Odiwe throws a number obstacles in their way.

Readers may soon notice some similarities between Henry Lawrence and Frank Churchill from Emma by Jane Austen, but the romance unravels differently for Henry and Margaret than it does from Frank and Emma. Readers that enjoy Jane Austen’s books and the recent spin-offs will enjoy Willoughby’s Return: A tale of almost irresistible temptation – a fast-paced, regency novel with a modern flair.

5.0 out of 5 stars Sense and Sensibility Continues Brilliantly, November 4, 2009
By Lori Hedgpeth “Psychotic State” –

I adore Jane Austen and I have a serious obsession with Austen fan fic. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book not only due to my love of all things Jane Austen but also because I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Odiwe’s previous effort, opportunity to review this book not only due to my love of all things Jane Austen but also because I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Odiwe’s previous effort, Lydia Bennet’s Story.

Ms. Odiwe again took a secondary character from an Austen story – this time Margaret Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility – and shared with her readers a continuation of what happened after Austen’s novel ended. She also took what could have been an unfinished story – Willoughby’s leaving and Marianne marrying Colonel Brandon – and wove it intricately into the tale of a now of-age Margaret finding love.

Willoughby’s Return works so well because, as she did with Lydia Bennet’s Story, Ms. Odiwe stayed faithful to the characters Jane Austen originally created and by doing so, Willoughby’s Return reads virtually as a Sense and Sensibility sequel written by Austen herself. Marianne, while more mature due to Colonel Brandon’s love and the events that transpired in Sense and Sensibility, still has a romantic, and even flighty, streak. Colonel Brandon, while deeply enamored of his wife, is still serious about his responsibilities to his wards. Elinor is still mindful of appearances and decorum and Lucy Steele Ferrars and Anne Steele are still very much the busybodies they were. Even Mrs. Jennings still remains ever the fanciful matchmaker.

I could not wish for a more fluid, yet entertaining, story, nor a more satisfying ending. I raced through the book as I was anxious to find out what would happen, while at the same time dreading for the story to end because I was enjoying myself so much. In my opinion, Ms. Odiwe surpassed herself with this effort and I enjoyed it even more so than I did Lydia Bennet’s Story.

If you are a fan of Jane Austen, of Regency romps and/or historical fiction, I cannot recommend Willoughby’s Return enough. A definite must-read!

Don’t forget the competitions are still running – click on the links in the side-bar!

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