Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway - A Very Bennet Christmas by Katie Oliver - #CarinaChristmas

When I started trying to persuade the wonderful Carina authors to take part in this oddball idea of mine, of Carina Christmas, I had no idea just how creative some would be in providing a guest post for me, and I think you will agree, that this post from Katie Oliver is incredibly clever and must have taken so much of your valuable time. I can't thank you enough, and thank you also for donating a fab giveaway prize too.

In the early years of the nineteenth century - the Regency period - Christmas was primarily a religious holiday. There was a measure of fun to be had after church services, to be sure - people went wassailing; there might be dancing after dinner, or a game of charades. But the Christmases known to Jane Austen were very different to ours.

Imagine, then, if the Bennet sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine and Lydia - lived in today's Christmas-mad society. What would their family celebration be like? Are you curious? Follow me as we go, like Ebenezer Scrooge trailing after the ghost of Christmas present, and have a peek at the Bennet family at home on a modern-day Christmas Eve...

"We've just got back from the mall," Lydia Bennet gushed as she burst into the drawing room. Her arms were laden with carrier bags and her sister Catherine, similarly burdened, followed close behind.

Jane looked up from her needlepoint with a quizzical expression. "The mall? Pall Mall, do you mean?"

"No, silly. Westfield! It's got every shop you can imagine - easily three hundred, I should say," Lydia exclaimed. "I got a fab outfit at All Saints, and," she added, and lowered her voice, not wishing their father to hear, "the raciest red corselet you've ever seen at Ann Summers. Mr Wickham will adore it."

"Ann Summers?" Elizabeth echoed, and frowned as she sipped her hot chocolate. "I do not know her. Is she visiting here in London for the season?"

"Ann Summers is a lingerie shop, Lizzy," Catherine retorted. "You don't get out much, do you?"

"I daresay I don't," Lizzy snapped, "as I'm far too busy helping Jane and mum with the Christmas preparations."

"What preparations?" Mary asked as she entered the room and made her way to the piano. "I thought we were all going to Mr Darcy's for the Christmas ball."

"Yes, we are, tomorrow night. But there's Christmas dinner still to be made."

"GIrls," Mrs Bennet trilled from the kitchen, "a bit of help with the chestnut dressing would be most welcome!"

"Can't," Lydia called back. "I have the shopping to put away, and gifts to wrap, and then I have a date with Mr Wickham at midnight."

"Midnight?" Jane exclaimed, scandalized. "You cannot possibly go out so late with a man."

"We're going to midnight mass, Miss Prissy-pants. I daresay even daddy wouldn't disapprove of that."

"What wouldn't I disapprove of?" Mr Bennet asked, his brows drawn together in a frown over his eyeglasses as he came in and sat down to read the newspaper.  Before his daughter could answer he added, "I'm quite sure I will disapprove, Lydia, if it's anything to do with Mr Wickham."

Jane and Lizzy left them to battle it out and went into the kitchen, where Mrs Bennet put them to work forthwith chopping and mixing and assembling ingredients.

"Where are your sisters?" their mother fretted. "I need them to peel and chop the onions."

"Catherine's gone upstairs," Jane replied, "and Mary's playing the piano. And Lydia has a date with Mr Wickham."

"Oh, that girl!" Mrs Bennet cried. "Always chasing after the wrong sort of men. Always chasing after men, period! Why can't she marry a nice clergyman like Mr Collins?"

"Are you looking forward to Mr Darcy's ball?" Jane asked in an effort to change the subject.

"I am. I simply cannot wait to see inside Pemberley! Such an impressive stately it is. You must both do your best to charm Mr Darcy."

"Why?" Lizzy asked mulishly. "He should do his best to charm us."

"With an attitude like that," Mrs Bennet scolded, "you'll never be married."


The night of the ball duly arrived, and the Bennet girls, dressed in their Christmas finery, took their places in the glittering crowd as the first dance formed.

"Will you dance, Miss Bennet?"

Elizabeth gave a start and turned to see Mr Darcy himself stood before her. Although beyond handsome in his tuxedo and white shirtfront, he did not smile, only offered her his arm. Silently, she took it and followed him onto the floor. They began to waltz.

"Do you enjoy Christmas here at Pemberley, Mr Darcy?" Lizzy asked him politely.

"Not particularly, no. I find the holiday exceedingly commercialized and lacking in true spirit."

"But the house is so beautifully decorated," she said, surprised. "The twelve-foot tree, the heaps of presents...it's all quite impressive. Kirstie Allsopp could hardly do better."

"My sister oversees the decorations; I care little for such things. I would far prefer to go somewhere tropical for Christmas."

"Well, on that at least, we're agreed." She gave him a hesitant smile. "A thatched hut in the Maldives..."

He nodded. "A hammock under a palm tree..."

"Drinks with little umbrellas..."

"And a sea as blue and clear as your eyes," Darcy said, and drew back to study her face. "Shall I pack a bag and take you there, Miss Bennet?"

She went still in his arms. "Are you serious? But we only just met!"

His eyes were dark and intense on hers. "It's the strangest thing, but I feel as if I've known you all my life. I cannot bear to be parted from you. I'll arrange for the Lear to be readied. Only say the word, Miss Bennet, and we can be somewhere warm and sandy in a few hours."

"Yes," she breathed, her heart quickening. "Oh, yes! I cannot bear to be parted from you, either. But first -" she blushed. "If you don't mind,  I really need to run home and borrow my sister Lydia's red corselet..."

For the first time, a smile curved his lips. "Ann Summers?" he asked, his voice low and hopeful.

Lizzy blinked. "How did you know?"

"Every Englishman knows about Ann Summers." His hands tightened on her waist as he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her.

Her head spun, her lips tingled, and she didn't care that everyone in the ballroom was watching them. She'd found her Mr Darcy.

"My sister tells me I don't get out much," Lizzy admitted, and smiled up at him. "I daresay I don't." She took his proffered arm and added softly, "And I'm very glad for it."

"As am I." He covered her hand with his. "Happy Christmas, Miss Bennet."

"Happy Christmas, Mr Darcy."

And they lived, as all such perfectly suited and imminently deserving people should, happily ever after.

And the Ann Summers red corselet was put to very good use...

Giveaway to win a signed copy of Prada & Prejudice & Christmas Ornament (Open Internationally)

Amazon UK
Katie is very generously giving one lucky person the chance to win a signed copy of Prada & Prejudice but also this Christmas ornament too, pictured below. 

Giveaway open internationally, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 4/12/2015. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone. 

About Katie Oliver

Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who "meet cute," Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband and three parakeets, in a rambling old house with uneven floors and a dining room that leaks when it rains.

Katie has been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it.  With her sons grown and gone, she decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories.  She even finishes most of them.

So if you like a bit of comedy with your romance, please visit Katie’s website, www.katieoliver.com, and have a look.  

Here's to love and all its complications...

Katie Oliver blog/website -http://katieoliver.com/ko/blog/ 
Carina UK/Pink Ink blog/website - https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com 

For more #CarinaChristmas click here


  1. Ha-ha Ann Summers! I must confess the Benett sisters with Mr.Darcy making an appearance and my gosh the red corselet. I thoroughly enjoyed this Benet Christmas post, Brought on quite a few giggles.


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