It is always a red letter day when one of my favorite Austenesque authors releases a new book – so I am so pleased to share this guest blog with you today from Shannon Winslow. Her new “darling child” has arrived and it is a treat.
Return to Longbourn is her second installment after her popular The Darcys of Pemberley was published in 2011. Please help me welcome Shannon by leaving a comment to enter a chance to win one of three copies of her new novel available.
Thanks, Laurel, for having me here today. It’s always a pleasure to visit Austenprose, especially when I have a new story to share!
Following last year’s publication of For Myself Alone, I longed to return to my first love, to the world of Pride and Prejudice. Even after tying up lots of loose ends in The Darcys of Pemberley, there were interesting avenues left to explore.
Yes, Elizabeth and Jane are well settled, and it would be pleasant to visit them again. As for Lydia… well, that’s another story. But I was chiefly intrigued by what lay ahead for the other two Bennet daughters. With her expiration date quickly approaching, Kitty is desperately looking for a husband.
She fretted over being already almost twenty with no prospects for marriage immediately apparent…(The Darcys of Pemberley, epilogue)
Mary, however, has pragmatically moved on with her life, putting her hard-won skills to good use as governess to the new family at Netherfield.
Thus, well seasoned by time, practice, and renewed dedication, she made great strides toward the standard of the truly accomplished young woman she had always aspired to be…(The Darcys of Pemberley, epilogue)
Then disaster strikes; Mr. Bennet dies. So, what will become of the Bennet ladies?
If you remember, Mr. Collins met a premature end in The Darcys of Pemberley. What you may not recall is that he had a younger brother (as revealed in that book and in the preview post for RTL here at Austenprose). You will find Mr. Tristan Collins far more agreeable (and swoon worthy) than his brother. And, to Mrs. Bennet’s delight, he turns out to be single. We first meet him in the prologue:
The letter from London was a true Godsend. He knew it the instant it arrived, and just as quickly determined what he must do. Now the fertile Shenandoah Valley of Virginia – which until so recently had encompassed all aspects of his life and every hope for the future – lay half an ocean behind him, the distance widening with each passing day.
As the creaking timbers of the deck dipped and rolled beneath his feet, Mr. Tristan Collins kept one gloved hand ready on the rail. He had long since overcome his initial discomfort with being at sea, to the point where his legs had learnt to compensate for the perpetual movement without any conscious effort.
“Mr. Collins, sir,” said the cabin boy, coming up behind him. “Capt’n says won’t you take supper with him?”
The distinguished young gentleman with sandy hair turned into the chill wind to answer the lad. “Thank you, Patrick,” he said with a wan smile. “Tell the captain I shall be along directly.”
Pulling his great coat more tightly about his person, he turned his gaze aft once more, to where the sun had recently sunk below the western horizon. He had no idea what he expected to see. There was nothing there, other than a fading glimmer of daylight and three thousand miles of cold, roiling brine – an impenetrable barrier, seemingly. But would only half an ocean be enough to keep the ghosts he left behind in America at bay… or to keep his own thoughts from forever flying back, like pigeons returning to their roost?
No, he would not feel truly secure until he once more set foot on the reassuring ground of his native country. In England, he would start again.
Hmm. I wonder what – or who – he has left behind in America. I wonder what he’ll think of Longbourn… and of its female occupants. Will he turn them out of the house, or obligingly fall in love with Kitty… or Mary?
The book is called Return to Longbourn, but I could just as easily have been named Netherfield or Pemberley in the title instead. I hope you’ll come along as we revisit all our favorite P&P places and people, come alive again between the pages.
Shannon Winslow specializes in writing fiction for fans of Jane Austen. She first garnered attention as a finalist in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It short story contest, with her entry titled Mr. Collins’s Last Supper. The 2011 publication of her popular debut novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, further cemented her place in the genre, being particularly praised for the author’s authentic Austenesque style and faithfulness to the original characters. A stand-alone Austen-inspired story, For Myself Alone, followed in 2012. Now Return to Longbourn continues Winslow’s Pride and Prejudice saga, serving as the sequel to her own sequel.
Her two sons grown, Ms. Winslow lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.
Return to Longbourn: The Next Chapter in the Continuing Story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Winslow
Heather Ridge Arts (2013)
Trade paperback (270) pages
- Read our review of The Darcys of Pemberley
- Read our review of For Myself Alone
- Read our preview of Return to Longbourn
© 2012 Shannon Winslow, Austenprose