A Preview of Cat Andrews' Latest Book, "An Unexpected Harvest" + Giveaway

Summertime, and the living is easy...🎜🎝🎜. I have not posted on the blog since late April 😧, and I fully attribute this to the craziness that comes with the end of the school year. For those of you who don't know, I work in the pubic school system. It's been quite an unorthodox, insane year! I am so glad to be on summer vacation so that I can work on feeding my Jane Austen State of Mind. To that end, I just bought my tickets for the upcoming annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY including the Ball on a Boat. I'm sure that event will give birth to a few blog posts later this summer.

Summer vacation has allowed me to read more. As I've noted before, I've long been partial to regency-era variations. That partiality, however, has softened over the past year or so as I continue to broaden my horizons. I give much of the credit for this shift to authors like Elizabeth Adams (from whom I won audiobook copies of Ship to Shore and Green Card), Karen Cox (1932 and its companion novella The Journey Home), and Jenetta James (The Memory House, not JAFF, but similar vibe). I'm thankful for the variety my growing appreciation for moderns and other era variations has provided. 

To that end, I'm very excited welcome author Cat Andrews to the blog to learn more about her new release, An Unexpected Harvest. I'm currently reading it and am impressed by how our beloved Pride & Prejudice cannon characters exist in the modern world via a city girl meets country boy backdrop. Without giving too much away, I'll let Cat take the floor...

Hello all! I’m so happy to be making my first ever blog tour visit to Jane Austen State of Mind! Thank you so much for having me, Paige. I appreciate that you are hosting my new modern Pride and Prejudice variation, called An Unexpected Harvest.
I’m hoping readers will enjoy the excerpt I’ve chosen. This takes place almost midway through the story, when Will and Elizabeth run into each other at, of all places, a Super Bowl party. At this stage of the story, even though a lot has transpired between them (no spoilers here!), both are unsure of where they stand with each other; too much has gone unsaid, yet at the same time, far too many things have been said—and there’s some drama playing out that Will isn’t privy to. This scene is told from Elizabeth’s point of view, and is one of the first in which they have a real conversation, without interference from Elizabeth’s foot landing squarely in her mouth. I hope you enjoy it!


Elizabeth heard the doorbell and easily discerned Will’s deep voice and, with something akin to panic, realized it was coming closer. All of a sudden he was there, filling the doorway and walking into the kitchen behind Jane. Her eyes locked on his, and for a moment, she couldn’t breathe.

His eyes widened slightly. “Elizabeth.”

A blush warmed her cheeks. “Hi, Will.”

“Will brought chicken wings for all of us. Isn’t that nice?” Jane chimed in and then turned to him. “Hand me your beer. I’ll put it in the refrigerator.”

It was then Elizabeth noticed his arms were full. “Oh, let me help you.”

He said nothing, just handed her the tray of wings. Jane took his six-pack of beer and handed him one bottle before placing the rest in the refrigerator.

Jane smiled. “Come and join us in the living room. The pre-game show is just about to start. I’ve got some snack stuff out already.” She walked out, leaving Will, Elizabeth, and an awkward silence behind.

Elizabeth looked at the tray in her hands, neatly wrapped in foil. “Should I put these in the oven?”

He nodded. “Thanks. Um, on low so they don’t dry out.”

“Did–did you make them yourself?” She turned toward the oven, finding it easier to speak if she wasn’t facing him.

“Yes. I make a pretty mean wing.”

She turned back to him with wide eyes. “These aren’t–are they the chickens from Pemberley?”

He chuckled softly. “No. Those hens are for eggs, not for the dinner table. These wings were bought at the market.”

“Oh, okay. Good.” She turned on the oven and placed the wings inside. “They smell delicious.”

“Thanks. Um, they’re a little spicy. I hope that’s okay.”

He’d set his beer down on the counter and had pushed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. She forced her eyes to his, and was surprised by the softness she saw there.

“I–I like spicy, as long as it’s not too overwhelming.”

He nodded once. “They should be fine, then.”

Another awkward moment passed, and her heart raced as she kept her eyes trained on his. “Um, how are you?”

“Fine. Busy.”

“And your family? How are they?” And did you read my email?

His gaze moved away from hers and he shifted his feet. “They’re doing well. Everyone is…doing well.” Once again they stood there in silence, until he cleared his throat. “Um, I guess I’ll go join the crowd.”

He grabbed his beer and walked out of the kitchen, and she released a long breath, feeling as if she’d been holding it deep in her lungs for the last five minutes.

I can do this.

Elizabeth recovered her equanimity, refilled her glass of wine, and left the kitchen to rejoin the group in the living room. Jane and Charlie had taken up residence in the large overstuffed chair, and it was obvious there wouldn’t be enough room on the couch for the four remaining adults; but before Elizabeth could grab a chair from the dining room, Caroline offered to sit on the floor against the end of the couch between Tom’s knees. That left Elizabeth with one place to sit, and it was right between Will and Tom.

She offered Will a small smile as she sat down and immediately noticed his thigh, wrapped in faded jeans and resting ridiculously close to her. She dragged her eyes away and focused on the television, but the opening act for the Super Bowl held no interest for her. Apparently it didn’t hold much interest for anyone; two conversations were going on around her, though Will wasn’t a participant in either.

He cleared his throat, and when his shoulder lightly brushed hers, she felt absurdly thrilled.

“So, who are you rooting for?” he asked quietly.

She risked a glance at him and seeing his face just a scant ten inches away sent her heart racing again. “Rooting for?”

“Yes. Rooting for.” One corner of his mouth curled up and he nodded toward the television. “The game?”

“Oh, the game. Right. Of course. I guess…well, since the Patriots aren’t in it this year, I don’t really care one way or the other.”

His eyes brightened. “You don’t know who’s playing, do you?”

She bit back a grin. “I have no idea.”

He chuckled. “It’s the Saints and the Titans.”

“Oh. Um, the Titans, I guess. They’re in our division or conference or whatever, right?” He nodded, his eyes on hers, and her insides melted a little. “Okay, then. Go Titans.”

“Go Titans.” He glanced at Charlie and Jane and then took a sip of his beer. “So you’re obviously not here because of your love for the game. Just a quick visit?”

Her stomach fluttered. “Yes, just until tomorrow. I need to take care of some things. I actually–I didn’t know Jane was having company. I sort of…forgot about the game.”

He nodded but remained silent, and she was compelled to keep the conversation going, though she had to be careful to avoid saying exactly why she was here.

Unless I tell him everything.

They were getting along okay, and aside from her curiosity as to whether he’d read her email, their brief conversations had been tension-free, if a little strained. But there’d been occasions in the past when she thought they were on the same wavelength, but was horribly mistaken. She took a deep breath and decided that for right now, she’d take everything one small step at a time.

I also like to read the book blurbs, as they provide a concise picture of the plot. I think Cat's summary from the book's back cover is particularly well-done: 

Elizabeth Bennet left her affluent New England home at the age of sixteen and never looked back. She’s built a fabulous life in Boston and loves everything about the city—especially her dream job as creative director at an advertising agency.

Will Darcy has never lived anywhere but in rural Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He lives the quintessential small-town life and loves everything about the country—especially his family’s farm, which he’s doing his best to modernize and return to prosperity.

When her older sister moves back to New England, Elizabeth reluctantly pays a visit to the hometown she left behind. Soon enough, the city girl meets the country boy and the insults and misunderstandings fly—but so do the sparks.

No one is more surprised than Elizabeth and Will when those sparks turn into a brilliant flame, and the 300 miles between them that once felt far too close suddenly turns into an unbearable distance.

The city girl and the country boy know a good thing when they see it—even if they don’t see it nearly enough. Can they overcome their greatest challenge and find common ground—and their happily-ever-after? 

This novel is a modern variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but with a slight spin on the usual cast of characters. It contains adult content and is meant for mature readers.

Thank you, Cat, for the great excerpt! The artist in me loves a beautiful cover, and yours does not disappoint. For my readers who are new to your work, I want to share a little about you including ways they can connect with you on social media. 


I also want to encourage my readers to visit other stops along the blog tour for An Unexpected Harvest to learn more about the book as well as for additional chances to win a free copy! One lucky reader who leaves a comment on this blog post will be chosen at random to receive a free eBook copy of An Unexpected Harvest!

Cat Andrews has always beenn an avid reader, but didn't discover Jane Austen until her love of a certain British actor led her to the BBC's 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, because she just had to know, why all the fuss over this Darcy guy? What followed her viewing of that glorious miniseries was an inhalation of and immediate fixation on all of Austen's novels, though Pride adn Prejudice remains her favorite.

Her discovery of Jane Austen Fan Fiction opened up a whole new world, and thus began her addiction, and months and months of sleep deprivation, as she immersed herself in JAFF. After reading a modern Pride and Prejudice variation that she fell in love with, she was inspired to begin a cautious but earnest foray into the world of writing.

 In real life, Cat has spent thirty-plus years working in healthcare. She enjoys life on the shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she grew up, fell in love with her own Mr. Darcy, and raised a family (and a three-legged dog). More often than not, you can find her at the beach with a book in her hand and her toes in the sand.

 An Unexpected Harvest is her second novel. In addition to Amazon and KindleUnlimited, the author encourages you to consider purchasing the book here: http://getbook.at/AnUnexpectedHarvest






Comments

  1. I look forward to when school gets out as I hope I'll get more time to read. This one sounds like one I would enjoy!

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    1. I hope you finally get the chance to read it! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Darcy, I think you'll really enjoy it (see my comments below to Christina and Patty). I can relate to the (relative) freedom that comes with the end of the school year. Woo hoo!

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  2. I look forward to reading this book. It really sounds good, and I love moderns.

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    1. I'm so glad you're a modern fan! Thanks Patty!

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    2. I think you'll really like it. Cat's take on the characters' personality traits is unique while still in keeping with the spirit of P&P. I'm still reading (it's a fairly long book, which I prefer), and I've been completely drawn in!

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  3. Happy summer break to you, Paige! And if you feel so inclined, I hope you'll post some pictures of your time at the Jane Austen festival!

    I was so lucky to get to read Cat's book before it came out, and I loved the dialogue between these two--in this scene and all throughout the book. Cat did such a great job of capturing some of the key ideas of P&P, yet putting a really different spin on it. And as a resident of Western Massachusetts and a former resident of Boston, I loved how she made these places I know feel so real! Please don't enter me in the giveaway, but I'm so excited for the winner...they'll have a lovely read ahead of them! Congrats to Cat, and so glad to see you back on the blog, Paige!

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    1. Christina, I'm so glad you commented. I wondered about you when I read it was situated in Western Mass. I'm still reading the book, but I completely agree with you. Cat's take on the characters is unqiue but still in keeping with the spirit of our beloved P&P. I love how the manifestations of their traits is somewhat unorthodox--for example, Bingley being the more reserved of the two between he and Jane; Elizabeth showing the tendency to brood while looking out windows; Caroline being less of a shrew when living outside of teh expectations/constraints of the 19th century; etc. I could go on and on. I'm going to be on a vacation over the next week, so I plan to devour the rest of this book.

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    2. Thanks so much, Christina! I'm so glad you enjoyed the 'rough' version, and your insights were so helpful. Paige, I hope you continue to enjoy it! Thank you again for having me at Jane Austen State of Mind!

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  4. That was a nice excerpt. Am curious what is on that email and if FD really did read it.Looking forwrad to reading the book

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  5. The excerpt is so beautiful. I wish I could read the whole book.

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    1. I hope you'll get to read it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I love this excerpt. There's something awkward between Will and Elizabeth and I'm curious to know more. I also wonder what is in the email and why she care so much if Will has read it or not.

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    1. They are still so very awkward around each other at this point. A lot has transpired... I can't say more, because I don't want to spoil it! I hope you give it a shot. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. First of all, Paige, congrats to you and Cat for the post! I hope you have an amazing summer vacation, and thanks to Cat for another wonderful and witty excerpt. I would certainly be like Lizzy as I no longer am seriously into football. One last thing: thank you for the giveaway chance!

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    1. Elizabeth definitely has an agenda and is NOT their for the game! LOL Seeing Will was just a bonus - a sweet, thrilling, happy bonus. Thanks Jen!

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  8. Thanks for having An Unexpected Harvest at your blog, Paige! I appreciate it. Have a wonderful summer vacation, and I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the story! Cat

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    1. You're welcome. I'm well past 50% now and really enjoying it!

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