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Monday, November 18, 2013

Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe | Excerpt & Giveaway!

I have three words for you:

I'm pretty sure you all know me well enough to know that that sweet utterance means Jane Odiwe's Project Darcy landed an instant spot on my wishlist... So of course, I'm super happy to have Jane drop by today to share a bit of Project Darcy with you, as well as a chance to win a copy!

Thank you so much, Misty, for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my new timeslip book, Project Darcy.
The setting for most of the book is Steventon Rectory - in the present, five friends volunteer for an archaeological dig taking place on the site of the old rectory, which was pulled down some time in the 1820s. Whilst there, one of the girls, Ellie, experiences glimpses into the past at first, but then finds herself spending days away in another time - seeing life as Jane Austen lived it in 1795/96. In the past, Ellie sees life through Jane’s eyes at Steventon with the Austen family and their neighbours, and, in particular, she lives out Jane’s reactions to, and experiences with a young Irishman’s visit to the area. Tom Lefroy comes to stay with his aunt at nearby Ashe, and when Jane is introduced, she feels she has met her match!
Weaving two stories is always fun, and I had a lovely time travelling from the present to the past with Ellie who has four friends who also volunteer for the archaeological dig. Like the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice, the five girls share similar initials and characteristics. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the book, which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Ellie asked herself again, for the hundredth time, how it was that she’d been persuaded to join in. Archaeology was hardly her thing and for that matter, neither was Jane Austen. But, in the end, it was impossible to refuse Jess this small request. Jess, her best friend, who she loved like the sister she didn’t have, had pleaded with them all. And it was Ellie who had made sure the others had agreed to come on the dig, reminding them when she’d managed to take them to one side that they were lucky to still have Jess around after her horrendous health scare of the previous year.
‘It’ll be fun,’ said Ellie, packing her sketch book into her bag as she walked along in the sunshine, ‘especially as it’s our last summer together before most of us have to join the real world and work for our living.’
‘So long as I can bring my straighteners,’ said Liberty, admiring her reflection and flicking back her chestnut mane as they walked past the refectory window on their university campus. ‘They do have electricity where we’re going, don’t they?’
‘Of course they do,’ Martha snapped, unable to disguise the irritation in her voice. With her nose buried in a book, she completely missed Liberty’s rolling eyes and the grin that passed between her and Cara. Although the five girls had struck up a friendship since sharing a student house, the mix of characters and personalities could hardly have been more different. Martha always remained just a little outside the group. It was Ellie and Jess, Liberty and Cara, and Martha drifted between the two, happy, for the most part, to be on her own.
Ellie purposely left out any suggestion that the trip might involve hard work or dirt, and made light of the fact that the archaeological dig was in a tiny Hampshire village in the middle of nowhere. Jess was obsessed with Jane Austen’s books and when she’d found out that volunteers were needed to find the remains of Jane’s childhood home in Steventon, she’d not talked about much else. Jess would never have done anything like that by herself; she’d always been timid with strangers. Ellie knew Jess wanted them all to go with her, but also realised that if Liberty and Cara had any idea of what was really expected of them, they might refuse the invitation. Instead, she focused on the parts she knew would keep them interested.
‘There’s a film crew going, and they’re making a documentary.’
Liberty, the drama student, could hardly contain herself. ‘OMG, do you think we’ll get to be in it?’
‘Oh, Liberty, our fifteen minutes of fame,’ said Cara, grabbing her friend’s hand and twirling her round. ‘I’ll have to tell my mum. When do you think it will be on the telly?’
‘I don’t know exactly, sometime next year, I should think, but I can tell you who will be presenting it.’
‘Who is it, somebody famous?’ Liberty looked as if she might explode.
‘Greg Whitely.’ Ellie knew she did not have to say any more.
Liberty threw her arms around Ellie. ‘But, I’ve been in love with him forever, and I’ve just always had this feeling that we were meant to be together. I think I might die at the thought of meeting him.’ Her hands flew to her mouth. ‘Do you think he’ll be there, Ellie?’
‘I don’t know, maybe not for the whole dig, but perhaps for some of it.’
‘Well, I shan’t be in any hurry to meet him.’ Martha closed her book and tucked her lank, mousy hair behind her ears. ‘My mother’s worked with him and she says he’s an insatiable womaniser.’
‘Even better! Perhaps I could be the one to tame him. I can just picture it – me in ‘Hello’ magazine on Greg’s arm swathed in satin and crystals,’ said Liberty, striking a pose, ‘as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shower me with confetti.’
‘Dream on, Liberty,’ said Cara with a grin. ‘Martha, you’re so lucky. It must be wonderful to have an actress for a mother.’
‘No, it’s not,’ said Martha, instantly turning scarlet to the roots of her hair, a frown wrinkling her forehead. ‘I don’t think you can have any idea. My childhood was spent largely alone with a succession of nannies in school holidays, none of whom ever showed me the slightest affection, whilst my mother travelled the world pursuing her career.’
‘But, you must have seen some incredible actors and met some of them, too,’ said Liberty, who really excelled at saying exactly the wrong thing at the worst possible moment.
Ellie knew she should step in before Martha started to say she wouldn’t be able to come after all. ‘There is someone going on the dig who I think you’ll be interested to meet, Martha. He’s been on that documentary series where they only have a week to dig up some bones and then reconstruct the faces. Will MacGourtey – you know him – he’s an archaeologist – fair hair, young and quite good-looking.’
‘At least there will be someone worth talking to, then,’ Martha said as she opened her book again. ‘Intelligent conversation coupled with the informed knowledge of a first-rate academic is my idea of heaven – something quite sadly lacking from my life right now.’
The other three exchanged smiles, and Ellie, who was glad that she now had all three girls on her side, sent up a silent prayer that they would all continue to be so happy.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing this book, and imagining all the scenes - I’d love to know, if you could be a character from one of Jane Austen’s novels, who would you like to be?

Jane has offered up a copy of Project Darcy to one lucky winner in the US or Europe. Giveaway is open until December 1st at 12am EST. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter; further rules and regulations in the Rafflecopter. Good luck!
Please do not leave sensitive info or email addresses in the comments. This comments will be deleted!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe
326 pages
Published October 16th 2013 by White Soup Press
It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen's childhood home. She's always had a talent for 'seeing' into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with Mr Darcy's ghost at the house where she's staying. When Ellie travels into the past she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796. As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice - a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination.


Jane Odiwe is the author of five Austen-inspired novels, Project Darcy, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Mr Darcy's Secret, Willoughby’s Return, and Lydia Bennet’s Story, and is a contributor to Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, with a short story, Waiting.

Jane is a member of the Jane Austen Society; she holds an arts degree, and initially started her working life teaching Art and History. When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting and trying to capture the spirit of Jane Austen’s world. Her illustrations have been published in a picture book, Effusions of Fancy, and are featured in a biographical film of Jane Austen’s life in Sony’s DVD edition of The Jane Austen Book Club.

Find her on


  1. I'd be Charlotte Collins... LOL, not really, of course. I know it's obvious, but I'd be Elizabeth Bennet, she's my favourite.

  2. I would be Emma Woodhouse. I am quite taken by the dashing Mr Knightley!!:)

  3. Ceri, she is wonderful, that Lizzie Bennet!
    Kelli, I didn't know you had a thing for Mr Knightley - must do an 'Emma' book!

    1. I do have a thing for Mr Knightley. He was the first Austen hero I met! I would absolutely LOVE if you did an Emma book!!;)

    2. I second that! Lovedy love Mr. Knightley. :)

  4. Nicole-it's Captain Wentworth for me too. I'd love to be Anne, but I don't think I'm good enough!

  5. I would be Georgiana Darcy. Oh, to have a wonderful brother, a dear sister-in-law & a full life ahead to live!

  6. I'd like to be Elizabeth Bennet because I'd get Mr. Darcy, of course!

  7. I would be Anne Elliott. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen book

  8. Emma. Seriously- beautiful, rich, beloved, and getting (eventually) into Mr. Knightley's pants. Win win!

  9. Elizabeth because I just love her. Also she get Mr. Darcy!

  10. personallyyoursemily-Georgiana is a lovely idea-best of everything, I quite agree!

    Susan, Mr Darcy is yours!

    Terry, you share the same favourite as me-I love Pride and Prejudice, but Persuasion just tips the balance.

    Beth-that made me laugh-Mr Knightley for you-I can understand that!

    bookrockgoddess Elizabeth-who wouldn't want to be her?!!

    Thank you everyone for stopping by with your comments!

  11. Love this excerpt, Jane. It really sets the 'Bennet' sisters in place and makes the whole story so much more fun to foliow! Don't include me in the giveaway as I have a paperback and eBook copy and I'm loving it! Highly recommended.

    Oh, and yes do please do an 'Emma' story - I love Mr Knightley!!!

  12. All of Austen's heroines are wonderful...I am most like Georgiana, would love Elizabeth' spirit, but Anne is my favorite

  13. Emma, because she is a lady who evolves to become better and she gests a wonderful gentleman in return ;-)
    Thanks a lot for this chance, I love the theme of the book!

  14. I'd like to be Charles Bingley. Money, good looks, freedom to be at leisure and set down some snobby sisters, friends with county estates to visit, easy charm... but he'd need a bit more spine to be truly worthy.

  15. I would like to be Anne Elliot. She's wise, good-harted and much stronger she initially leads us to believe.

  16. Probably because she doesn't have to marry for money or social standing I would like to be Emma and of course there is Mr. Knightly to consider

  17. I also want to be Emma. If I'm going to live in the 19th century I want to be rich so I don't have to get married just to survive.

  18. I would love to be Elizabeth Bennet! She is smart and independent, and she lands dreamy Mr. Darcy. Who wouldn't want to be her?

  19. i would LOVE to be Lizzie Bennet...why?? one word............DARCY!!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!

  20. It would be interesting to be spoiled and ignorant like Emma Woodhouse for a while and then learn the error of my ways.

  21. Definitely Elizabeth Bennet! She's just so sassy, smart and before her time.

  22. Thank you, Cassandra-yes, I'd love to do an Emma story!

    Lucaseth, Anne is such a lovely character!

    Babel, Emma really improves, and I suppose that's what we love about her!

    Colleen, Charles Bingley is such a nice chap-and even he puts everything right in the end!

    Ludo, Annie is wonderful!

    Vesper, Mr Knightley is definitely a catch!

    Natalie, yes, it wouldn't be much fun being poor, I quite agree.

    Amber, Lizzy is a fabulous heroine!

    cyn209, well, Mr Darcy is quite a draw, it seems!

    Justine, yes, it might be fun for a while!

    Meghan, Elizabeth is definitely before her time-that's part of her appeal, I think!

  23. Handsome Darcy is always my favorite Hero, but I don't want to be Lizzie.... I want to be Anne Elliot! Yes, big surprise :) I want my guy to pierce my soul :D

  24. I know just what you mean, Jo's Daughter! Thank you for commenting!

  25. Adm Croft!! Sadly, I'm all too often John Knightley.

  26. Adm Croft!! Sadly, I'm all too often John Knightley.

  27. Adm Croft!! Sadly, I'm all too often John Knightley.

  28. I am going with Emma Woodhouse. She is wealthy and is not worried about marriage for her survival. And as a bonus, she ends up with Mr. Knightley.


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