“Will Darcy ever grow to love a child he never wanted?”
Wait a minute… how can someone write that and leave it like nothing happened! Jan Hahn, that is one of the most unnerving questions I have ever read in a JAFF novel. If you are looking for the definition of “intriguing”, that sentence would be a good example. You cannot guess how my mind went wildly and how many different scenarios I imagined in a few seconds.
I will let you read the rest of the book description in order to let your imagination rest… or not!
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford is disastrous. In Jan Hahn’s The Child, Darcy flees England soon afterward, striving to overcome his longing for her. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget. But who is the child holding her hand?
Darcy soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight. His misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.
Will Elizabeth be able to forgive Darcy for his good intentions gone awry? And what effect will the child have on Darcy’s hopes to win Elizabeth’s love?
What now? Better? Worse? Even more questions? I totally understand it, it is complicated. I will let you know a bit more later on in my review, but let me introduce you to the author of The Child: Jan Hahn.
Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of five Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas, but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal,A Peculiar Connection, and The Child. The anthology, The Darcy Monologues, contains her short story entitled Without Affection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: ‘A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.’ Jan is a member of JASNA, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of grandchildren.
Maybe one of the most difficult JAFF books that I have read and I want to review without giving spoilers. I will try: the book is really good and there is a lot of misunderstanding between Darcy and Elizabeth. Full stop.
No, I am not crazy, this book is almost impossible to review without spoilers so I will just make one… you have been warned, do not look below…
there is a HEA.
Am I crazy again? Nope, but you may think so. Let me explain a couple of things about the beginning of the book.
Darcy, as you have read, left England after the first proposal. He went to Europe even crossing enemy lines. He took Charles Bingley with him. He was escaping. When he is back a few years later, he is about to walk down the aisle when, before entering the church, he sees the woman he has always loved, Elizabeth, just on the other side of the street. However, there is a surprise, she holds the hand of a child. He is petrified but eventually he goes down the aisle.
How can things get any worse?, you may be thinking. Trust me, they do worsen. A transport problem finds Darcy and Bingley helping Jane, Elizabeth and the child who are in need. Fire and thunder go around Elizabeth’s manners towards Darcy, you have no idea! However, the ladies need the help for the child’s sake. Nothing carries on in a good path from now on. Angst, pain, resentment, etc. go together hand in hand to despair us while reading.
Jan has written a lovely book where so many of the characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice appear again and a bit changed. There is anguish as well, and a two-years-old child who is a bit spoilt may not make things easy for the adults.
However, who can resist a beautiful little child as the one on the cover. Isn’t it a lovely cover? What an artist!
Time To Give Away
8 eBooks of The Child are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on March 21 – until midnight ET on April 4, 2018. Just click the following link:
Terms and conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.
Book description of The Sweetest Ruin by Amy George to give you a clue of what I may be writing about.
Let me introduce you to the author of this book set in Las Vegas 🙂
“Amy George is a middle-aged woman who got rid of her old lady/grown up and has since purchased an unreasonably small car. She refuses to listen to its radio at a reasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a small town in the Midwest where the bookstore and yarn shop are neighbors and most food is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.
She has been writing since she was a child and ran the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.”
Fun fact: My birthday is January 30th so this is like a big birthday party.
A few hours since you meet a gorgeous English man when you are working in one of the best casinos in Las Vegas and… you wake up to a crazy marriage to him. What should you do? Firstly be surprise (duh!) but then both of you talk about it and give it a chance.
Yes, give it a chance! If we would have been talking about other protagonists, it could be a bit weird but we are talking about Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy, so they are entitled to meet and start their relationship any way they want 🙂
They admit their supermegahyper chemistry since the first minute they saw each other, he is not a serial killer and she is not a gold digger, so at least they have a good beginning.
While in Las Vegas, they have a honeymoon for a couple of days and then her reality, as university student and waitress shows up but everything is fine and they keep knowing each other and falling for each other. However not everything is bliss and fireworks (trust me, there are a lot of fireworks between these two *wink wink*). Even if they are happy, friends and family from both sides may not be so happy about it and some problems must be faced: especially from the other side of the ocean. Let’s say that William’s little sister is not very enthusiastic about his brother’s impetuous and unexpected marriage.
Mr and Mrs Darcy face any problem coming along together but when a few months later they go to London to meet his family and also settle there, life gets much more complicated… extremely more complicated, particularly for Mrs Elizabeth Darcy. However, her love for her husband and also in a way her past and friends-family are key on her new role.
We could say that in this case Jane Bingley is not as sweet as we know her to be in the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We can read about characters with names from P&P but there are some “swaps” between personalities, although we always have ¨Cousin Richard¨!
A short novel that it is very easy to read and with some twists that are really nice, who are the family-friends that Elizabeth has? What complications apart from Georgiana they may have? Is Darcy always to be there? How is Elizabeth Bennet on her “role” of Elizabeth Darcy?
Why not to buy this book as soon as possible? Or maybe you just wait for the giveaway (check it below) and if you are not one of the lucky winners, you can always go to:
Amy is kindle offering on her blog tour 8 ebook copies of her The Sweetest Ruin to eight different winners. Click the link below and double check the terms and conditions as well to know how to get more points:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.
No, it is not a Pride and Prejudice variation or any variation related to Jane Austen. Carry on reading! Do not stop just because you may think that “you just want JAFF” because Regina has written a great book. Very strong characters and a plot that does not allow you to stop reading.
Love at first sight, just sight actually! Accidents, reputation and honour that needs to be protected, intrigue, murders, stubbornness…
Angelica is an American whose parents are British. Angel comes back to his father’s country to follow the wish her mother had for her: to come out in England. Her manners are not exactly what the ton looks for but she is still a novelty and that is good for gossip at least.
Angelica is determined to pleased his father and look for a good match until she sees his “Lucifer”… in her dreams or not…
A carriage accident occurs and she has to pretend that a gentleman is her husband because she has rescued him. This man eventually has only Angel as the only real part of his life because he has lost his memory during the accident and he sees her as his “Angel” even after he is recovered by his family and Angelica is back to his father’s protection.
However, destiny is vicious and the ton’s invitations cannot be forsake, so Angel goes with his father to the Devil’s Keep where her “husband” is.
Nope, I have not forgotten to mention anyone 😀 you will have to read about him. I am pretty sure that you will like him as much as I do. However, Angel is the character that I have loved the most due to her strength and determination to help everybody and if needed she will sacrifice herself, or her heart to protect others.
Follow Regina or check her books on the links below. I have read quite a few and I recommend you to read her, you will not be disappointing.
Lizzy locked up in her bedroom as she were the mad woman in the attic but in this case the “stubborn” woman in the bedroom according to some.
Darcy, soldier with a horrible experience that changes his temper.
Letters, so important in Jane Austen’s world. Love letters, friendship letters, letters that bring people to life. Letters that may not be read, or will be read by the recipient years later.
Honour, reputation, the ton… that does not matter sometimes but who can decide? who can decide what to believe? People will believe anything that they do not like and will just label it under any tag that goes against honour and reputation, no matter what…
Two fathers taking his children to see the continent. Little Lizzy and very little Georgina become more than friends, sisters. Fitzwilliam likes the friendship that her sister has, he enjoys little Lizzy and her mind. Mr Darcy and Mr Bennet, the “nerds” of the time: Latin, Greek, calculus… A trip that unites two families but death is ruthless. First Mr Darcy, then Mr Bennet. Moreover, war, India, so far away.
‘Promise me that we will write to each other’.
Years in order to read the letters, but everything changes, hearts change and the future looks good but not very good.
Hearts are still closed and real happiness takes a while. Actually we could even thank Mr Wickham for the beginning of pure happiness, although… it is Wickham nonetheless.
Really sweet story set a few decades before the time that Jane Austen gave to her Pride and Prejudice. There is a lot of suffering going on but we cannot underestimate the power of a letter even if it is not meant to be read directly.
Just a warning, you may dislike the dislike you will feel towards some normally lovely and loved characters from P&P.
This is the first book that I read by Timothy Underwood but it will not be the last one, that is for sure.
If you want to follow him or buy any of his books, check the links below:
Thus began Jane Austen’s classic, a light and lively tale set in an English village two hundred years ago. Yet every era has its share of Emmas: young women trying to find themselves in their own corners of the world.
I Could Write a Book is the story of a self-proclaimed modern woman: Emma Katherine Woodhouse, a 1970s co-ed whose life is pleasant, ordered and predictable, if a bit confining.
Her friend George Knightley is a man of the world who has come home to fulfill his destiny: run his father’s thriving law practice and oversee the sprawling Donwell Farms, his family legacy in Central Kentucky horse country.
Since childhood, George’s and Emma’s lives have meshed and separated time and again. But now they’re adults with grown-up challenges and obligations. As Emma orchestrates life in quaint Highbury, George becomes less amused with her antics and struggles with a growing attraction to the young woman she’s become.
Rich with humor, poignancy and the camaraderie of life in a small, Southern town, I Could Write a Book is a coming of age romance with side helpings of self-discovery, friendship, and finding true love in the most unlikely places.
What do you think? Are you not really into Emma? Do you think she is just a bit silly spoilt child? Do you think she is just a bored rich kid? Maybe, maybe you are thinking that or maybe you actually really like this character and her way of seeing life. However, if you are one of the people who normally dislike Emma more than like her, this is your book to see her in a different light.
It is not anymore the 19th century but the 1970s when woman were not just a price to marry to someone or where there was not need to follow the strict rules of society. Women are more independent and have a bit more freedom to choose what they want to do. What? Are you going to give me a “but” were you will point out that she is still rich and doesn’t have to worry about earthly needs? Yes, I see you point but there are some other ideas shown in this book that will help you to forget that she is only a “rich girl”.
What about our Knightley here? He is not as old, I mean, their age gap is not so big and he is as charming or even more charming than the original (I can listen to voices saying “blasphemy!”). Yes, I do think that this Knightley is more charming but also because we are in another time, in another country and under other social reality.
For me the story flows so well that I have enjoyed every single scene, every single dialogue and I want to read it again after only a couple of weeks. Karen M Cox has taken the original by Jane Austen and put it in a different level when it comes to modern variations. She has been faithful to the book, that’s it, she has followed the same story-line but even if everything was moved forward a century and a half, the characters are faithful to the original just with their modern attributes attached to them.
I have enjoyed this Emma because she is more reasonable due to her time and it is a bit less capricious and more down to Earth so to speak. The rest of the characters are very well written and even if there are a few changes (she does not have a nanny/governor, she has an aunt), everything flows and links in a great writing manner.
Now let me introduce the guilty one who made me love I could write a book, Karen M Cox.
Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of novels accented with romance and history, including 1932 and its companion ebook novella The Journey Home, and the novels Find Wonder in All Things and Undeceived. She also contributed a short story, “Northanger Revisited 2015”, to the anthology, Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, and a story titled, “I, Darcy” to The Darcy Monologues.
Karen was born in Everett WA, which was the result of coming into the world as the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee and New York State before finally settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at the age of eleven. She lives in a quiet little town with her husband, where she works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter.
Karen is giving away two themed prizes during the blog tour, tokens of appreciation for readers of I Could Write a Book, and for supporters of the wonderful sites on the blog tour.
Tea Prize Basket includes: A signed copy of I Could Write a Book, Mr. Knightley’s Reserve and Emma’s Perfect Match teas from Bingley’s Teas, a set of Jane Austen Book Coasters, and a Jane Austen Quotes mug.
Pretty Things Basket includes: A signed copy of I Could Write a Book, an “Emma” quote pendant, an Emma bangle bracelet, Regency cameo earrings, and a jewellery roll.
Readers can enter for chances to win these prizes here. There are bonus entries for social media shares and visits, if you’re on social media. This is one big giveaway with two prizes.
15, a lucky number for some people, “la niña bonita” (the pretty girl) when it comes to bingo in Spanish, fifteen are the stories in The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd and written by fifteen authors, come of them with a lot of JAFF written, a few other with a bit less written so far but with a great future ahead of them.
I am pleased to introduce one of these authors who has one of the regency stories on the monologues, KaraLynne Mackrory. She has written Clandestiny and in this particular case, I will leave you with Natalie Richards to tell you about it and about KaraLynne.
Falling for KaraLynne Mackrory by Natalie Richards
I am excited to read all of the stories by my fabulous fellow authors of The Darcy Monologues, but I confess to having a particular soft spot for KaraLynne Mackrory. I’ve been reading her books for years now, and had the pleasure of hosting her on my blog twice before we both contributed stories to the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology.
I always approach a KaraLynne Mackrory story with a greedy sort of glee, like a dragon with a shiny new treasure to hoard. Her stories have been making me happy ever since I read Bluebells in the Mourning. They always have the perfect blend of ingredients; a pinch of angst, a dash of humor, and enough romance to make the stoutest heart swoon. I know when I pick one up that there will be hours of enjoyment to be found betwixt their covers.
Clandestiny is the title of her contribution to the anthology. It caught my eye immediately. It is just a deliciously mysterious word, is it not? Add that to the anticipation of pleasure her previous books gave rise to, and the story becomes irresistible. KaraLynne likes her twists and turns, occasionally even a touch of magic, so I do not know what to expect, I only know it will be good.
I am not going to do a normal review, I will leave you with my questions, the ones I leave to tease you or to intrigue you. I have to say that KaraLynne´s story is lovely and a bit funny with the turning and turning and turning again 😉
What if Netherfield has secrets? What if Darcy is not so proud? What if Elizabeth understands better how society works? What if a slipper is a key in a story? (and not exactly like Cinderella’s) What if “but you do not even like me, sir” is my new catchy phrase? Yes, I think I will repeat that sentences in my mind for a few days and it will remind me of this story.
KaraLynne tells us about herself
How did you come to be inspired by Miss Austen as both a woman and then, as a writer?
Pride and Prejudice was the first of her works that I read and I found it incredibly funny. I started to think about what kind of woman could produce such witty and dry humor as would be necessary for this prose. The more I learned about the time in which Jane Austen lived the more I came to respect her further because my girl Jane didn’t live an easy life and yet she found humor in things. I like to think that I do that too and that we could have been good friends. Her writing proves her outlook on life had to be through humorous glasses. I have mad respect for that.
Can you offer readers a brief description of your story and tell us why you chose to set your story in the Regency era?
I chose to set my story in the regency era mostly because I am very comfortable in that setting, and I love the romance of the time. My short story evolved from the desire to see what fun could be had with a secret door, a surprise encounter and a little bit of forced seclusion for our two sweethearts. I’ve always thought that if Darcy and Elizabeth could just spend time together alone they would come to see their futures are destined together. So my story gives them that chance.
This year we’re coming up on the 200th anniversary of the publications of Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. What were you trying to capture in your story, Clandestiny, of Jane Austen in The Darcy Monologues?
I always hope to emulate her writing style and to keep her characters true to the ones she created originally but I also hoped that Clandestiny would be a glimpse into the conflicted and passionate heart of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. He’s a man that epitomises the “still waters run deep” saying and I give the readers a look into what runs deep for Darcy.
The reactions to this upcoming release have been overwhelmingly positive from readers and I think that’s also in response to Mr. Darcy’s tremendous popularity throughout the past two centuries. Why do you believe that modern-day woman still find him so appealing?
Because he’s mysterious, noble, good and kind – let’s not forget handsome, rich and sexy. What’s not to love? He’s terribly flawed and yet at his heart he is a good man who cares deeply. Everyone wants to be cherished and we know a man like Darcy would execute the job admirably while also being a challenge for us and keeping the appeal alive. I’ve heard complaints from men that they can’t measure up to the perfection of Darcy – and yet that’s where they are wrong. Because Darcy isn’t perfect – far from it. But where it counts he has what we want. We want to feel empowered, while also protected. We want to feel capable while also cared for. Darcy can be a class A jerk and yet he can be tender too. But I think what makes him most appealing is his willingness to try to be better. He sees a fault in himself and instead of making an excuse about it – “that’s just how I am” – he endeavours to be better. And that is sexy.
Did writing this story make you appreciate something about Jane Austen all over again?
As I wrote above, Jane is a witty girl and with my story I paid homage to that by creating a romantic scene with a touch of the funny.
Can you give us a six-word memoir about yourself?
Mother, wife, writing of love life.
What can readers look forward to reading from you in the future and how can readers stay in touch with you?
I have a storyline in the works, but sadly it is not far enough to have any kind of timeline for publication. I connect frequently with readers through book groups, fairs, and online. I love this part of being an author the best! So, please contact me, I’d love to hear what you think of my stories.
To be honest, more than a mini-review, I will give you a couple of words, or a sentence, a quote of each story, from them you just need to use your imagination 😉
This is a great read, Darcy’s words, Darcy’s thoughts in so many stories and also in different eras. He shows us his love for Elizabeth, his struggle sometimes but *spoiler alert* his happy ending and how he cherish it.
Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams: Darcy has to put the best announcement on the paper ever!
From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft: tongue and letter, tongue and letter and repeat.
If Only a Dream by Joana Starnes: 17 hours and a half. She is not ghost or a vision.
The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford: The Beauty and the Beast at Pemberley.
A resentful man by Lory Lilian: his unsteady knees.
In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani: “you lied to me (…) you must marry her!”
Without Affection by Jan Hahn: “I failed to see the fascination” (that’s what you think!)
Hot for teacher by Sara Angelini: Elizabeth, you led him on!! You, naughty girl 😛
You don’t know me by Beau North: “shut up and…” x2
Reason to Hope by Jenetta James: “Elizabeth, there isn’t anything between me and Caroline Bingley, you know.”
I, Darcy by Karen M Cox: a farm, a restaurant “Seasons”.
Pemberley by Stage by Natalie Richards: maybe he does not abhor disguise so much.
The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland: what a Porsche Sherlock has 😛
Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose: he won the game.
Time to Give Away
Two lovely prizes for two winners are waiting thank you to The Darcy Monologues.
One winner will win our grand prize of 24 paperback books, each one autographed by the author, and mailed to the winner’s home.
Hello to all and I apologise about being MIA. My life since the end of March has been a roller coaster but it will soon be a bit calmer… I hope!
The important thing is that I am back to present you a great book, I have really loved it. Yes, this is a spoiler alert, so you can assume that you will see five stars below when you reach my review.
However, first things first. I want you to know a bit more about the book and the author and today I am glad to introduce Don Jacobson, author of today’s book: The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque.
Don Jacobsonhas written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. He has previously published five books, all non-fiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series—The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series. Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.” Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a speciality in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilisation and Research Writing.
He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound. Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorise, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear. Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.
His other passion is cycling. Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills). He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days). Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).
As you can read and as normally happens with JAFF authors, they are “all-terrain” as we say in Spanish, they do so many things that I wonder how they manage to write so well and so much 😛
This time I will not add the blurb of the book, I prefer you to read about the book from the writer himself.
Don’s words and excerpt
The Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Jane Austen Universe. While the characters are familiar, I have endeavoured to provide each of them with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional personalities, although not necessarily in the Regency period. If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-travelling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.
The Wardrobe underlines my conviction that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back.
Would it have been possible for them to do so staying on the Regency timeline?
Perhaps. However, something tickled my brain—maybe it was the intersection between my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me. Now my protagonists could be immersed in different time frames beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realise their potentials and in the process carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century.
Some Bennets will travel further and remain in the future longer than others. We may not be privy to accounts of all of the journeys they take. Rather, we may see whispers of those trips as they impact others.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in which the Families discover that Miss Bennet has vanished from Matlock House.
Darcy House, Later that evening (July 4, 1891)
The noise level of chattering Cecils, Darcys and Fitzwilliams rose and fell much as the tide did on the beach by the House at Deauville. The discussion happily tended to be lighter than the bleak circumstances that had been bearing down on everyone in attendance. The family group was small and intimate: Eddie Darcy chaired the gathering from the head of the table in the small dining room with Ellie on his right and Lady Caroline and Lord John Cecil immediately to his left. Henry sat next to his sister and across from Lord John. Lady Elaine took over the mistress’ role and sat opposite Eddie.
All six looked up sharply when Mr. Hastings was interrupted by one of the footmen who purposefully strode over to the butler and whispered in his ear. Hastings’ eyebrows lifted as the message was passed. He nodded and dismissed his subordinate. At Darcy’s inquiring glance, the butler moved to his side. The two men stepped away from the table.
Within a few seconds, Darcy, a grim look on his now pale face, returned. In a worried voice he said, “We have just received an urgent message from Mrs. Brandon at Matlock House. It seems that Miss Bennet has gone missing.”
Five voices were clamoring for his attention all at once. Darcy held up a hand stopping the flow of questions.
“There is no indication about how long she has been gone. There is no news about what she may have done or, if she left the house, where she may have gone. All that the message said was that the entire house has been searched, and she is not to be found,” Darcy stated.
Henry threw his napkin on the table and rose from his seat, and, with the others following suit, called for his carriage to be brought around. In minutes, Darcy House was emptied of quality, leaving only worried servants to clean up the debris after yet another body blow dealt to the Five Families.
Henry, Eddie and Lord John stood in the center of Matlock House’s Gold Parlor staring at the letter that had been discovered by Kitty’s lady’s maid, Letty. The distraught girl was sitting on one of the sofas being comforted by Ellie. Letty’s gulping sobs served as a fitting backdrop for the somber scene. Lady Elaine and Lady Caroline sat together on a matching loveseat, holding one another’s hands trying to overcome their worry…one for a near daughter, the other for a grandaunt who had become like a sister.
Cecil spoke to the other two men, “You know Miss Bennet better than me. Does this sound like something she would have done? To run off to the Continent and visit a school friend on the Mediterranean? How could she even have hoped to pay for such an excursion?”
Fitzwilliam snorted a humorless laugh, “Cecil, you have no idea. Kitty is certainly impulsive. But this sort of activity is far beyond anything any of us could have ever imagined that she would do. She certainly could afford it. She has 8,000 a year now that she is of age.
“But she would never do anything that would worry Mother or distress Ellie and Caroline. The three young ladies have been thick as thieves ever since Caro married you, Cecil. I have to believe that, at the very least, she would have revealed some of her thinking to those two if she had been upset enough to run off.
“She has not breathed one word about doing anything this far out of bounds.
“What bothers me is, according to the maid, she has not taken one jot other than the clothes on her back.
“Kitty is very peculiar about her clothes. Once it goes into her wardrobe or changing room, she is an absolute Tartar about upkeep. Nothing is disposable as far as she is concerned. Letty has had to split a seam with her bare hands in front of Kitty to be permitted to retire a garment.
“On top of that, Kitty absolutely abhors loaning anything. I have seen Ellie and Kitty arguing about a pair of gloves that my sister wanted to borrow before a ball. I thought Kitty was going to demand that she make a blood oath promising to return the gloves immediately after the dance.”
Eddie Darcy chimed in, “While Kitty is as fond of romance and adventure as any young woman, I could never imagine her placing a toothbrush in her handbag, catching a train to Dover, and then hopping on a Channel ferry to Cherbourg.
“No, this is quite out of character.”
They turned their attention again to the letter. Henry walked over to Ellie and held the missive out to her asking if she agreed that this appeared to be Kitty’s handwriting.
Ellie sighed and took the note from his hand.
“As I said before. The letter certainly looks as if Kitty wrote it. It appears to be in her hand.
“Yet, this just does not sound like a letter Kitty would write to me. There is nothing personal. No shorthand comments that would mean something to me and nobody else. This letter has been composed to be clearly understood whether I am reading it…or Mama…or you.
“And if she had been planning to visit Hermione de Secondat’s villa on the Côte d’Azur, she would not have spelled out the entire family name.
“Hermione was one of the girls who shared our suite at school. While not as close as Kitty and I, she remains, none-the-less, a dear friend. Kitty never would have written anything more than ‘Hermione.’
“She probably would have referred to her as “Boots” because that was our nickname for her. She loved to wear her riding gear whenever she could avoid Matron.
“I could not prove it, but while this letter looks as if Kitty did write it, I would wager my next quarter’s allowance that she did not actually do so. I cannot prove that fact. Maybe somebody else can.
“What are we to do, Henry? I am worried that something truly awful has happened to Kitty.”
Fitzwilliam cleared his throat, his Managing Director of the Trust look transforming his features as he began speaking.
“Let us begin with the assumption that Kitty has voluntarily left and is travelling, as the note suggests, to Nice. That would necessarily focus our efforts in one direction, which may be exactly what is desired. While I am not inclined to believe that Kitty would abandon us without a word, I cannot ignore this avenue of inquiry.
“We left the house around three o’clock. That means she could have as much as a five-hour head start.
“The most we could hope for is to try to catch her at Dover or Cherbourg. But I think that we may be out of luck as her lead is too large. We should still alert the police to be on the lookout there and then again in Paris.
“If she is actually on her way to Nice, she will have to catch le Train Bleu and then change again in Mâcon. We can have the police check the train and all of the intervening stations.
“Then we will send a telegram to Mlle de Secondat’s home in the south of France. Her parents should be able to confirm with your friend if she is aware of Kitty’s plans.
“However, taking Ellie’s sense that the letter was designed to be a convincing misdirection, we cannot ignore the possibility that there are some darker forces at play here.
“Darcy, Cecil and I will engage a squad of private detectives to seek to discover Miss Bennet’s movements since this afternoon. Assuming that she was not actually spirited out of Matlock House, we must believe that she left of her own accord only to encounter someone who engineered her disappearance.
“I fear that we may learn little, and, until we receive some communication from her captors, we will be like blind men tapping our way around an unfamiliar drawing room. This reasoning suggests that Miss Bennet is being held by those who have pretensions of being paid for her return.
“Another bleaker line we must consider is that attractive as she is with her blonde hair, she could have been the target of white slavers. If that is the case, we may never find her.”
All of the women gasped at this terrifying pronouncement. Then each person subsided into his or her own private brown study as another mournful shroud descended over the room, layering over the others already being borne by its occupants.
In the midst of this silence, Letty gasped, rose, and curtseyed to the silent aristocrats and hurried out of the room. She was gone for only a few minutes when she rushed back into the room bearing a large hatbox.
She breathlessly exclaimed, throwing all sense of position to the wind, “I found…this…just…outside the…servant’s hall. It must’ve been…forgotten in the entire hubbub…about Miss Bennet. Mr. Anderton…says that it…was delivered this…afternoon. For Miss Bennet. From Harrods!”
What do you think? What about Don’s words introducing the book? What about the excerpt? Where’s Kitty?
I would like to start stating that I have loved everything that happens in this book and to its characters. Maybe a few of you are thinking something like “but Darcy and Elizabeth are not the protagonists” or maybe something like “Kitty is not my favourite Bennet sister” but I can promise that The Exile goes beyond those thoughts. Obviously Kitty is the main character but there is so much more. As you have read above, it is the last years of the 19th century and Kitty Bennet is on the story, she has travelled on time until the decade of the 1880s and you can imagine how difficult it can be. However, with help from family, every obstacle can be overcome.
The Five Families, although it looks more like a mafia title, shows all the traits, strengths and personalities of the people that we know so well from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Five Families being: Fitzwilliams, Darcys, Bennets, Gardiners and Bingleys.
Don Jacobson creates like a parallel world, at least for me it has been something like that. I was reading about new characters or I was reading them but due to Don’s descriptions or the character’s words, I could see some of Austen’s characters reflected one way or another.
Kitty’s life in her new now has a bit of everything: self-discovery, friendship, misery, suffering, isolation, recovery and much more. I have really like the way she reflects in her life after some trauma that she experiences and how she matures. How she saw herself during her childhood, how her relationship with her sisters and parents was, etc.
I will not go on more detail about the events on Kitty’s life but I would like to mention some names: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, Winston Churchill…
As every good P&P JAFF book, we have a “Wickham”!! and semi-quoting Terminator: “he’ll be back”. He is a very dark and vengeful man.
Time to Give Away
Don Jacobson is offering 8 ebooks of this great book!
To enter the giveaway, click here but please read the conditions below, not only to know the terms but also to know how to get extra entries 🙂
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
However, do not lose the opportunity to buy it for yourself or as a present, check the links below.