Happy Friday dear readers. I have a new Austenesque novel to share with you today that gladdens my heart by just reading the title. Yes, a Jane Austen-inspired novel based on Sense and Sensibility. They are as rare as hen’s teeth and as welcome as tulips in the Spring.
The Year in Between has so much going for it without even opening the cover. Its author is Christina Morland, one of the most astute and sensitive writers of my reading acquaintance, it continues the story of Marianne and Elinor Dashwood after the end of the original novel, and it is a whopping 715 pages! Now, some of you might be intimidated by that size. Stop. There is no need for apprehension, I assure you. The advance praise of this novel is so encouraging and if it is the quality of Christina’s other novels, those pages will just fly by.
We are thrilled to feature The Year in Between here on Austenprose today with an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway chance offered by the publisher. Please check out the details at the bottom of this post and leave a comment to qualify.
I hope that you all have your reading lined up for the weekend and are enjoying the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere.
Cheers, Laurel Ann
Marianne Dashwood was “born to an extraordinary fate…to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favorite maxims” (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility). After Willoughby’s betrayal, how did Marianne learn to see Colonel Brandon—and herself—in a new light? And how did Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars fare during their first year of marriage?
The Year in Between explores the untold year in the last chapter of Sense and Sensibility. Whether you know Austen’s novel well, or this is your first introduction to Elinor, Marianne, Edward, and Brandon, I invite you to visit Delaford, where friendship, love, and all the challenges that come with these gifts abound.
Marianne put her hands to her face and sighed. Would she never learn?
“Are you unwell, my dear?” asked Mrs. Richardson, who had joined them for tea.
“Oh, I am quite well.” Straightening in her seat, Marianne tried for her very best smile. “I am only…”
Fatigued? This would have been the polite response, but it was not precisely true. She tried to think of a way to explain her behavior, but how could she say, “Each day is a reminder that I am not the person I believed myself to be,” in a way that was both civil and honest?
The silence stretched on for several ticks of the mantel clock—an awkward eternity, if Mrs. Richardson’s pitying smile and Margaret’s squirming were an accurate measure of time.
“Miss Margaret,” said the housekeeper, “I have just had a thought. You must see the specimens in our herb garden! You may find one or two plants that are new to you, and I will be only too happy to provide seeds so that you may plant new herbs in your garden at Barton Cottage. Oh no, Miss Dashwood, Colonel, do not get up. Sit, sit! Enjoy your tea. I will have Miss Margaret back to you before you know it.”
Chagrined, Marianne saw how Mrs. Richardson looked at her as she ushered Margaret out of the room. It seemed as if the housekeeper had been trying to help Marianne in some way. But why ever had she supposed leaving her alone with Brandon would be a consolation to either of them? Indeed, Mrs. Richardson had done her employer a disservice, for Brandon seemed even more discomfited by this turn of events than Marianne.
“If you like, Colonel”—she offered him a rueful smile—“I could burst into tears or fall into a faint, and then you may have an excuse to hurry out of the room and fetch help.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“I was trying for humor,” she explained with a sigh. “It is a strategy I have seen Elinor put to good use, but I am afraid my own results are rather hit-or-miss.”
Now he smiled—yet still he remained silent.
It was clear he wished himself elsewhere. Embarrassed that she kept him here out of a mere sense of duty, she said, “If you have other business to attend to, I am quite able to—”
“Manage on your own,” he cut in, surprising her. Had he ever interrupted her before? “Yes, you mentioned that earlier.” When he stood, she groaned to herself, knowing what would come next—a bow. And yes, there it was: civil, correct, cold.
“Excuse me. I will leave you to—”
Of course: retreat.
Vexation shot through her then—sudden, fierce, but hardly unexpected given her many turns of mood that morning.
Marianne jumped to her feet. “You cannot leave. You have not even finished your tea!”
He furrowed his brow, which, though it emphasized the lines in his face, made him appear oddly youthful, as if any show of feeling, even bafflement, were more natural than the placid resignation he so often wore. She could hardly blame him for his confusion; in almost the same breath, she had dismissed him and then entreated him to stay. If ever there was a model of inconstant womanhood, it was she, Marianne Dashwood.
Though she told herself to apologize, to smile, to make some small effort at lessening his uneasiness, she did just the opposite: she strode toward him, making sure not to come too close—she knew how little he liked even the possibility of her touch—but near enough to see the rise and fall of his chest. With more boldness than she really felt, she raised her eyes to his and thought, I dare you to look away.
He did not.
“I know how little you esteem me, Colonel—and with good reason,” she added after seeing how he flushed and started. “The way I behaved last year, toward you most especially—”
One word, so well known to her, and yet how strange the sensation that shot through her then! Alarm—or something else? She had heard him speak her name before, though always with the obligatory “Miss” attached. Was it the unexpected informality, or was it the tone—at once gentle and fierce—that caused her stomach to swoop?
Chapter five, pages 108-109
- “Ms. Morland’s writing is flowing and emotive, sweeping the reader completely into the story. The various plots and subplots weave through and around each other throughout the book, with a definite build toward climactic moments for both Elinor and Marianne…Highly recommend!”— Debbie Brown, Goodreads
- “I always love an author who can create word pictures. Christina Morland is a master of the craft… recommend it to anyone who enjoys JAFF.”— wosedwew, Goodreads
- “Five stars. This was the book I really, really needed.”— Colleen Cowley, Goodreads
Christina Morland spent the first two decades of her life with no knowledge of Pride and Prejudice—or any Jane Austen novel, for that matter. After overcoming this childhood affliction, she became a devoted fan of all things Austen.
Morland is the author of three Pride and Prejudice variations, a Sense and Sensibility variation, and three Austenesque short stories featured in the Quill Collective anthologies. She is currently at work on a new Pride and Prejudice variation, as well as a fantasy novel that has nothing at all to do with Jane Austen.
When not writing, Morland tries to keep up with her creative, mischievous daughter and her maddeningly brilliant husband. She lives in a place not unlike Hogwarts (minus Harry, Dumbledore, magic, and Scotland), and likes to think of herself as an excellent walker.
ADDITIONAL BOOKS BY CHRISTINA MORLAND
Christina Morland has generously offered a giveaway of 3 (three) Kindle copies of The Year in Between for our readers. This giveaway is open to US residents. To qualify, please leave a comment with this post before 11:59 pm PT on March 11, 2021. The winners will be announced with an update to this post on March 12, 2021. Good luck to all.
- The Year in Between: A Sense and Sensibility Variation, by Christina Morland
- Independently Published, January 23, 2021
- eBook (715) Pages
- ASIN: B08TW4B8DS
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Cover image, book description, excerpt, & author bio courtesy of Christina Morland © 2021; text Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com