How is the reading going? Mine has been for too long very slowly and even on the second week of my holidays, I have barely read anything. However, several weeks ago I read a very interesting book, Rebellion at Longbourn, with a twist that I really enjoyed to discover.
Have a look at the blurb and see what you think.
Elizabeth Bennet’s father died two years ago, and her odious cousin Mr. Collins has taken possession of the Longbourn estate. Although Collins and his wife Charlotte have allowed the Bennet sisters and their mother to continue living at Longbourn, the situation is difficult. Viewing Elizabeth and her sisters as little more than unpaid servants, Collins also mistreats the tenants, spends the estate’s money with abandon, and rejects any suggestions about improving or modernizing Longbourn. After one particularly egregious incident, Elizabeth decides she must organize a covert resistance among her sisters and the tenants, secretly using more modern agricultural methods to help the estate thrive. Her scheme is just getting underway when Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton.
Upon returning from a long international voyage, Darcy is forced to admit he cannot forget his love for Elizabeth. When he learns of the Bennet family’s plight, he hurries to Hertfordshire, hoping he can provide assistance. Sinking into poverty, Elizabeth is further out of Darcy’s reach than ever; still, he cannot help falling even more deeply in love. But what will he do when he discovers her covert rebellion against Longbourn’s rightful owner?
Falling in love with Mr. Darcy was not part of Elizabeth’s plan, but it cannot be denied. Darcy struggles to separate his love for her from his abhorrence for deception. Will their feelings for each other help or hinder the Rebellion at Longbourn?
Servants? Not following advise… how can Mr. Collins be so obtuse when he always followed Lady Catherine’s? (Is she around?) Darcy, really? Two years away and you expect to have forgotten her… as if! 😀
Let me (re)introduce you to the author of Rebellion at Longbourn: Victoria Kincaid.
Victoria Kincaid is the author of several popular Jane Austen variations, including The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & Proposals, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, When Mary Met the Colonel, and Darcy vs. Bennet. All of her books have been listed in Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Regency Romances. The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth was nominated for a Rone award and Pride and Proposals was recognized as a top Austenesque novel for 2015 by Austenesque Reviews.
Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.
She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, an excessively energetic dog, two children who love to read, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.
Hello Ana and thank you for having me back for a visit! Below is a scene from early in Rebellion at Longbourn when Elizabeth comes across the cottage of a tenant’s widow. Collins, now the landowner at Longbourn, has ordered the woman’s eviction. Enjoy!
Sam was lashing the last of the Wileys’ belongings securely to the cart.
“Hello, Sam,” Elizabeth said, striving to imbue her tone with warmth.
“Miss.” He nodded respectfully.
“This is a sad business, is it not?”
He hung his head. “It is indeed. I don’t like forcing a woman out of her house, but I don’t want the master to turn me out neither.”
“Of course not. Such a shame the family has nowhere to go but the poorhouse.” She opened her hand to reveal the coins, drawing Sam’s attention. “But I was thinking… There is an old cabin on the edge of the North Field, near the woods. Nobody lives there….The Wileys could inhabit it without disturbing anyone.”
Sam’s brow furrowed. “Would the master like it?”
“There is no reason he has to know. It would be a temporary solution,” she hastened to add. “Until I might find a new home for them.” Surely one of the local landowners would be compassionate enough to give them a cottage until John was of age.
Sam’s eyes focused on the coins, a month’s pay for him.
“You would be doing her and me a great favor,” Elizabeth said.
“But if Mr. Collins found out, he would toss me out for sure.” He scratched his forehead.
“Even if he discovers the Wileys, they will not say that you helped them.”
The man considered for a long moment. “Very well. It ain’t right to force out a family when the nights are still cold like this. I’ll take her things to the North Field cabin.”
Elizabeth poured the coins into his hand. “There is no road to the cabin,” she reminded him. That was why it had been abandoned.
“Yes’m, but I can drive the wagon to the Three Oaks clearing and carry her things the rest of the way.”
Elizabeth smiled. Carrying the furniture through the woods would reduce the chances of being discovered. “Clever man.”
He ducked his head and blushed. “Should I bring the Wileys, too?”
“No. I will escort the family by another route.” They could travel more inconspicuously across the fields.
“Very well. I’ll take my leave, then.”
“You are a good man, Sam White.”
He blushed again and then hurried to the cart.
Mrs. Wiley, with little Tom clinging to her skirt, and Mrs. Greeves emerged from the house just as it was rolling away. “Did he agree, then?” the widow asked, her eyes wide with amazement.
“I thank you, miss. You worked a miracle for my family today.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “It was the least I could do. Longbourn owes you a deep debt. You deserve better treatment.” Her husband had died fighting a wildfire at Longbourn six months ago.
Elizabeth took the older boy’s hand. “I can lead you to the cabin and make sure you have a stock of wood for the fireplace. But this must stay a secret; Mr. Collins would be quite angry to find you living on Longbourn property. I shall attempt to bring you food directly, but I want to avoid rousing suspicion.” She looked questioningly at Mrs. Greeves.
“I can get her the food when you can’t,” the other woman said stoutly. “Nobody is watching where I go. And a few of the other neighbors can be trusted.” Mrs. Greeves would know which tenants would keep such a secret; no doubt most could. The tenants of Longbourn seemed to watch out for each other.
Elizabeth nodded. “I will send the food to Mrs. Greeves, then. Of course, this is but a temporary measure—until I might find another place for you.”
Mrs. Wiley wiped an errant tear from her eye. “I wrote to my brother in Plymouth, but I don’t know when we might hear from him. He’ll need to find someone to read the letter to him.”
This woman faced so many obstacles that Collins would never even consider. “We will find a place for you.”
“God’s blessings on you, miss. I’ll pray for you, I will.”
Elizabeth wished she could do more to earn such gratitude. “Let us go to the cabin now and have you settled by sundown.”
Mrs. Greeves embraced her friend. “I’ll visit you tomorrow, Kate.”
Elizabeth led the family toward the road, calculating a path to the cabin that would draw the least attention to the family. John made a small noise of distress. Elizabeth squeezed his hand. “Is this not exciting? You shall live in the woods!”
He gave her a tentative smile—rather brave under the circumstances. “Is it an adventure? Like in the stories?”
“Indeed, it is,” she said with a cheerfulness she did not feel. “Let us venture out and see your new home!”
Let’s be honest among us, it is clear that years may pass and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is not going to forget her true love, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. However, stubborn and proud Mr. Darcy believes that going far away with Bingley and Georgiana is going to help his heart to forget her. Wrong! Two years away and in the first moment he learns that Elizabeth has lost her father, the fate of her sisters and that she is under Collins’ “protection”, he flies to Longbourn (if he could have done it literally, he would have taken an helicopter). It is endearing and funny to see how he makes up excuses for his behaviour and his reasons to be back so suddenly. Elizabeth is confused to say the least but she has more pressing matters on her hands, however, having the man who declared his love for her back, it is somehow distracting. Although, the wellbeing of the tenants and her sisters and mother are paramount for Elizabeth.
As you can read on the blurb, she will rebel agains the injustice, even if it is in the shadows. She spends even the little money she has to make Longbourn prosper. Together with her sisters Jane, Kitty and mainly Mary, they are able to hide from Collins their plans and the tenants help them because they are the first ones to benefit as their houses get repaired or there is enough food on their tables.
What happens when the “silly” Darcy gets to know this deception? Many many things that I am not going to spoil for you but you must know that Mr. Darcy will be a bit unrecognisable, mainly with some clover…
Spoiler alert (yes, one of my spoilers…)
There is a happy ending for everyone, even Mrs and Mr Collins! I think Mrs Charlotte Collins gets a good ending.
I really like how Darcy gets even more to Elizabeth’s heart with his kindness, although obviously the present is from Georgiana, ehem ehem! Nope, Elizabeth does not only love him for a present but I am not telling you what else he does for the family, you will have to read it.
Victoria is giving away an ebook copy of Rebellion at Longbourn and I am giving away one paperback, therefore, we will have two winners!
To participate (for a chance to win or the ebook or the paperback): one point will be given if you comment on this post and you can get an extra point for every share of the post on social media (do not forget to tag me on those posts).
The giveaway is international and closes on the 16th of July at 23:59 CEST, shortly after I will announce the 2 winners.
READ: For the paperback, it is likely that I will buy it on Amazon and send it to the address you give me, so you must allow me to share your address with Amazon to send you the book. I may use the Amazon on your country or amazon.com / amazon.co.uk depending on where you are in the world!
Edited (22nd of July): big apologies for not having drawn the winners yet, I will do it before the end of this week!