What a treat we have today. Don Jacobson is bringing us so much from her latest novel: The Sailor’s Rest. I am looking forward to your comments. I really hope you enjoy everythings he is bringing!
The Sailor’s Rest was released almost two weeks ago and I promise you that the press announcement is very interesting and a great way into Don´s brain and how plot connexions are made.
The Naval Adventure Jane Austen Might Have Written
Las Vegas, NV: The Sailor’s Rest, the latest Austenesque novel by Don Jacobson, will be released worldwide on March 28, 2023. Published independently, this is the author’s twelfth variation using Austen’s Canon as a basis for the story. The book is a cross-over (not a mash-up) of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. For plot purposes, the novel (approx. 117,000 words) is set on the Persuasion timeline in 1815. However, the age and plot constructs from Pride and Prejudice have been maintained to establish context.
According to the author, the book grew out of his interest in learning how the two pairs of lovers would interact with each other when placed in proximity. “One of the more popular plot tropes in Pride and Prejudice variations is the kidnapping model. However, this usually is limited to the premise Darcy and Elizabeth are kidnapped—usually by Wickham.
“The core question is How will they escape from their assailants? The secondary one would be How will they overcome the attendant scandal which will force them to marry even though their relationship is on uneven ground?
“Certainly, this is interesting and entertaining.”
However, Jacobson wished to explore the strengths of the women and the men.
“By situating the story after the betrothals but before the weddings—where their loves is established—I was able to move the plot in a different direction.
“In The Sailor’s Rest, the kidnapping is the device that throws Wentworth and Darcy together as well as teaming Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot. One pair seeks to survive their captivity while the other seeks to survive the possible deaths of their heartmates.
“Also, where many kidnapping-motif Pride and Prejudice variations focus exclusively—and logically so—on ODC’s struggle to free themselves, The Sailor’s Rest considers the emotional costs on both the seekers and the prisoners.”
Jacobson also engaged in one of his favorite activities when writing the book: the building of secondary characters. “I imported several characters from my other works including Sergeant and Mrs. Wilson. Then there were new characters like the pair of lovers—the maid Sarah Small and Wentworth’s Coxswain Michael Tomkins—who echoed and enhanced my belief that the deepest love is not solely reserved for the gentry.
“However, my favorite bit of development—one which I hope readers will enjoy—is the treatment of Admiral and Mrs. Croft. I always felt that he was treated as a bit of a ‘Colonel Blimp’ type. My research showed that only thirty seagoing admirals were active at any time in the Napoleonic Wars. The Croft’s leased Kellynch upon their return from a Far Eastern command.
“Admiral Alfred Croft was not a fool. He was a well-experienced fighting man. As such, his wife would also be most capable, and, as a rector’s daughter, she was no society wife. Both are imbued with their own brands of common sense. I brought that out, I hope. This makes a difference for both Anne Elliot and Elizabeth Bennet.”
According to Alice McVeigh, the author of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel, the book is “Part mystery, part adventure – and all heart – This has the feel of a Hornblower epic.”
The Sailor’s Rest is available exclusively on Amazon—print and e-book—and Audible (performed by Benjamin Fife). Retailer prices are available through Amazon.
What do you think? I like how things that may be overlooked in some narrations are essential in this book. Moreover, I am very glad that I cansee Admiral Croft with a more positive view as the one we read. I actually like him and Mrs. Croft very much. In addition to that, seeing Elizabeth and Darcy, Wentworth and Anne before the weedings is very appealing.
Just in case you are not familiar with Don Jacobson, you have his biography and bibliography, as well as the different ways to follow him. I recommend you to follow his newsletter!
Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years, 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 nonfiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. Since then, Meryton Press re-edited and republished Keeper and the subsequent six volumes in the series. In 2022, Meryton Press published the eighth and final book in the series—The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy. Other Meryton Press books by Jacobson include Lessers and Betters, In Plain Sight, and The Longbourn Quarantine. All his works are also available as audiobooks (Audible).
Jacobson holds an advanced degree in history. As a college instructor, he taught United States history, world history, the history of western civilization, and research writing. He is in his third career as an author and is a JASNA and Regency Fiction Writers member. He is also a member of the Always Austen collective.
Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the Austenesque world, Jacobson enjoys cooking, dining out, fine wine, and well-aged scotch whiskey.
His other passion is cycling. He has ridden several “centuries” (hundred-mile days). He is incredibly proud of having completed the AIDS Ride–Midwest (five hundred miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-a-Wish Miracle Ride (three hundred miles from Traverse City to Brooklyn, both in Michigan).
When not traveling, Jacobson lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife and co-author, Pam—a woman Miss Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize.
Miss Bennet’s First Christmas (2015)
The Bennet Wardrobe: Origins (2016)
The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)
Of Fortune’s Reversal (2016)
The Maid and The Footman (2016)
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)
Lessers and Betters (2018)
The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)
The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)
Cinders and Smoke in Falling for Mr. Thornton (2019)
In Plain Sight (2020)
The Longbourn Quarantine (2020)
The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy (2022)
Kiss Me Goodnight Major Darcy (editor) (2022)
The Sailor’s Rest (2023)
Don Jacobson’s Newsletter Austenesque Thoughts: https://austenesque.substack.com/
Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s (US) page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Don-Jacobson/author/B001IQZ7GC
Don Jacobson’s BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/don-jacobson-ef9f09e3-96b8-475e-b988-54505cd1ec36
Don Jacobson’s Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15235321.Don_Jacobson
Without further ado, I wil let you discover what Don has prepared for us. I promise you that you will enjoy it immensely!
I wish to thank Ana for hosting me today as the blog tour for The Sailor’s Rest comes closer to the end. I hope you will enjoy the following interview with Admiral Alfred Croft by a researcher from the Bennet Family Trust. NOTE: I cast Iain Glen as Admiral Croft in my imaginary movie.
This interview is transcribed from stenographic notes of an interview conducted by Margaret Reynolds, MA, of the Bennet Family Trust Research Department on December 29, 1940.
The Old Admiralty Building
My first image—and one that has stayed with me in the months since his departure—of Rear Admiral Lord Alfred Michael Gabriel Croft, KCB, Baron Nore, was of his back as he looked out the window onto Whitehall, the Thames, and the great city beyond. The pitch-dark room was open to the world, the thick blackout curtains were thrown open, and his figure was backlit against the fires raging throughout the city. His shoulders, broad but not overly so, leaned toward the roiling blazes on the other side of the glass as if he could somehow will the explosive eggs laid by the Nazis to be stillborn.
CROFT: Bastards! At least in my day, most outrages were confined to killing crapaud matelots and mustaches. Our jacktars had little opportunity to sack towns. If we were to shell a port, we’d give them some notice so the civilians could head for the hills. If the garrison decided to follow, all the better. As for the army, after Badajoz, Wellington instituted brutal disciplinary measures to end the traditional rape and pillage.
“For this monstrosity, I have no words. Like get my hands on that fat bastard Goring.”
REYNOLDS: This is what we have come to expect of the Hitler gang.
CROFT: What little I have read about this corporal since I arrived makes our little Tyrant look the epitome of nobility.”
Then he rumbled, “However, like all who see themselves as the infallible heritors of Alexander and Charlemagne, this one makes the same mistake as ours. He underestimates the resolve of a free people to remain in that blessed state. As was with the Greeks, so again will it be with today’s Britons!
The admiral pulled shut the drapes, felt his way to his desk—not cautiously enough to avoid barking his shin—and flicked on the desk lamp. He motioned me to sit opposite.
The light was dim, not relieving the shadowy pools thrown by furniture. However, even in the watery yellow, I could sketch the man. Of medium height, his build was that of someone used to rigorous living. Although he wore a well-tailored navy blue suit, civilian clothing could not disguise his martial bearing. His eyes bored into me to measure my debits and credits.
CROFT: “Now, Miss Reynolds: I understand that you are one of the breed known about the Trust as a “Research Reynolds.” The only Reynoldses I know of are Mr. Reynolds, Larchmont’s butler, and his daughter Mrs. Adelaide Reynolds, the Pemberley housekeeper. Might they be kin of some remove?”
REYNOLDS: “Both are, indeed. We are indeed proud of our tradition of serving the Families. My branch has found a home in the Research Department.”
CROFT: “And now you are here to add my story to your library?”
REYNOLDS: “Perhaps if you have the time later. However, the Managing Director is most curious about why you and Mrs. Croft stepped out of the Wardrobe and into the middle of the family Christmas celebration.”
CROFT: “Do you cultivate that air of imperturbability? You sit there blinking owlishly and make Earl Michael sound like a confused schoolboy seeing a gypsy maiden make his new shilling vanish. Given the number of stern young men who surrounded Sophie and me when we dropped in unannounced, I imagine the Earl is more than a little impatient to have his ‘curiosity’ satisfied. I have no doubt he is wondering if he ought to lock that fey cabinet in the Tower lest those people invade and find a way to use it for foul purposes!
“Well, my dear, his interest tells me that he is less concerned about why a rear admiral of the White landed in 1940 than how I was able to arrive at Matlock House in the middle of The Blitz.
“Miss Reynolds, I had little to do with it. ’Twas all my wife…and Mrs. Mary Benton, the Keeper.”
REYNOLDS: “Your wife? Mrs. Benton?”
CROFT: “Come now, do not be coy: ’tis unbecoming in anyone. Least of all a well-educated woman like you.
“Have you ever looked into Mrs. Croft’s eyes? Have you seen their shape? Mrs. Benton pulled her aside for something she called The Keeper’s Talk. Ring any bells?
“My wife is a descendent of the Hunters line. Her great-grandmother was daughter to Benjamin Bennet and married a Hunters. Her granddaughter—Sophia Hunters—married the Reverend Wentworth and settled in Bristol. Thus, she is of Bennet blood.”
REYNOLDS: “As is Captain Wentworth!”
CROFT: “Yes, Miss Reynolds, as is Captain Wentworth. Both my wife and the Baron Balears can avail themselves of the Wardrobe’s unique properties. Mrs. Benton confirmed it.
“But, before my brother could undertake a mission and gain a glimpse of the future, I prevailed upon Sophie to use the same method as will Thomas Bennet with his wife. She carried me forward.”
REYNOLDS: “Why, Admiral?”
CROFT: “Because England needs Frederick Wentworth in our here/now, not this where/when. The man is still young and has much to do shepherding Rochet in the West Africa Squadron while preaching the Navy’s cause in the Lords.
“Your Admiral Pound has the fleet well in hand. And the Prime Minister’s arrangement with the Americans to exchange Caribbean bases for fifty of those small ships you call destroyers allows us to concentrate the fleet on convoy duty to the Island.
“I did not want Wentworth playing dice with the universe and running the risk of injury or death because the Wardrobe sent him where he learned what he needed about the service’s future. He will be an essential man as we relinquish sail and wood for steam and iron in the coming decades.
“I knew I had one more campaign in me and took the risk myself. What is happening on the other side of those curtains tells me I was correct.
“So I put on my number one rig like I was going rail-to-rail with a frog, took my wife in my arms, and, how did Mrs. Benton put it? Oh yes: a thousand bees buzzed, and the pressure built.
“I have done my part for King and Country. If I died right now, if one of Hitler’s bombs found its way to this room, I doubt if little would change. Sophie could return Home or take her chances here, although I wager she would find her way back to Kellynch, Anne, and the children.”
The admiral fell silent as a warden pounded on the door, ordering us to evacuate to the shelter.
Please enjoy this brief excerpt from The Sailor’s Rest—©2023 by Donald P. Jacobson. Reproduction in any form is prohibited, published in the United States of America.
From Chapter 39
Persephone Great Cabin
Despite the damage wrought upon the frigate, Persephone’s carpenter’s mates had returned the cabin to its former state. Fresh timber’s aroma pervaded the captain’s lair testifying that new wood replaced the splintered remains of the larboard quarter. Walinsham’s Berber carpets softened the deck, and walnut-stained chairs faced the stump-legged desk before the transom seat. Chests and bureaus lined the walls. The cabin could have been a satrap’s throne room, although naked of silken ceiling hangings.
Croft groaned as he dropped into the desk chair and planted his hands on the waxed desktop. The late afternoon sun poured through the windows warming his shoulders beneath his topcoat. He looked around the compartment, and his eyes squinted in disgust.
Looks like a bordello, or at least what some tradesman showing off his newly-earned wealth thinks a whorehouse plying its trade to ducal sons would appear. Tasteless—not that I would know! Sophie would have my guts for garters and hang my tanned hide on the stable doors if I abandoned her arms for the ‘pleasures’ of one of those places behind St. James!
The admiral grimly considered the creased sheet framed by his meaty paws. His jaw thrust forward pugnaciously, giving his glower even more menace. Wilson and Tomkins lounged against the opposite bulkhead. The cox’n had planted a foot proprietarily atop an enameled writing slope.
“Is this thing,” Croft pointed at the letter like a viper coiled to strike, “representative of the lot?”
Since this was a naval matter, Tomkins straightened and answered for the other subaltern. “Th’ sarn’ ’tis bett’r at siftin’ through trait’rous commun’cations. ’owever, Ad’m’r’l, from what I can divine, Walinsham’s been th’ puppet and nay th’ mast’r, doin’ the bidding of another an’ ’opin’ for some sort o’ return.
“What I find most ’ncredible is that ’e kept ev’ry letter—or so it seems—’e ever received from ’is controll’r.
“Found ev’ry one o’ ’em in ’is writin’ box.”
Croft snorted. “Arrogant bastard: that’s all he is. Like a fair number of his class.”
The admiral looked directly at Wilson. “I am excepting General Fitzwilliam. The son of Matlock learned humility at both his sire’s and dam’s knees. I would ride to war any time with the general. Walinsham undoubtedly is your everyday, garden-variety-privileged popinjay and looked for every way to avoid coming to grips with the enemy.
“My Lord, Byng may have been shy, but only after his fleet had been well-chewed, and he paid the blood debt for his indecision.
“This slug was never indecisive. He ran.”
Croft warmed to his topic and returned to the more profound question. “His actions today will be his undoing, but his crimes against decency are older.
“Like all those who live a cossetted life, he thinks his private correspondence was private. Thus, he was unguarded and ignored operational security basics. Never commit anything to paper that you do not want printed on the front page of The Advertiser! Then again, I wager he is typical of those who sneer at your Jermyn Street fellows, Sergeant. It would never occur to him that gentlemen would read another gentleman’s mail.
“I am a gentleman only because His Majesty has deemed it so. As for you two miscreants:” Croft shot a humorless grin across the room, “you own more gentility than this bastard. ’Tis society’s loss that neither you nor your ladies will be considered gentle. That will be the lot of your children. However, wherever Mrs. Croft and I reside, you and yours will have a place at our high table.”
The admiral shook his head. “What is more incredible, and I say that in its crapaud sense, incroyable, is that Walinsham kept true copies of his letters to his principal, including the bottom feeder’s name and direction.
“And now everything that has happened in the past months becomes clear.
“But, before we can take on the canker at the center, we must deal with this pustule.
“Bring him to me.”
With Tomkins and Wilson absent, only his dark thoughts sat with the admiral: the cabin’s silence was broken only by the gentle slap of water against the ship’s stern.
How have you enjoyed the interview and the excerpt? He is an amazing author.
Don Jacobson will give away ten e-book copies of “The Sailor’s Rest” to randomly selected winners during the whole tour. Please comment to enter the drawing. No purchase is necessary.
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