From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
The seasons are changing here. I hope to get into the garden this weekend. How about you?
Today we are delighted to preview a forthcoming novel by Corrie Garrett, From Highbury with Love. Technically it is crossover fiction, combining the characters from two of Jane Austen’s novels: Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
Talking about crossovers, this is an emerging subgenre in Austenesque fiction that is trending. While Sybil G. Brinton’s 1913 Old Friends and New Fancies was the first to incorporate this technique of blending multiple storyline characters into a new narrative, more recently Joana Starnes’ The Subsequent Proposal: The Tale of Pride and Prejudice & Persuasion (2013), and Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright (2021) have expanded the practice to much acclaim. I suspect that we shall see many more authors embracing this device in the future.
Since there are far fewer Emma sequels than Pride and Prejudice, (by the thousands, if you want a wild guess) the choice of combining the residents of Highbury with Pemberley is refreshing. Author Corrie Garrett has kindly offered us an exclusive excerpt from her new novel to give a peek inside the story and a generous giveaway chance for three digital copies of the book that releases next month. Enjoy!
A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma, bringing some of your favorite couples together in unexpected ways!
When Lizzy Bennet spends a winter visit in Highbury with her father’s cousins, Miss Jane Fairfax and Mrs. Bates, she becomes friends with the young lady of Hartfield, Emma Woodhouse. At least, everyone assumes they will be friends, but soon Lizzy is as invested in Harriet Smith’s sweet romance as Emma is opposed to it, and neither of these spirited heroines will back down easily!
And when Darcy visits his friend George Knightley, it’s a complete carousel of mistaken affections and awkward confrontations.
Some in the neighborhood are convinced Mr. Darcy remains in town for Emma. Some think Lizzy would be an excellent young bride for Mr. Knightley. Meanwhile, Lizzy accidentally discovers love letters to Jane Fairfax, Lady Catherine hears rumors of Darcy’s courtship of Emma, and Mr. Knightley rescues the wrong girl at the ball.
Between Christmas parties, outdoor frescoes, and fireside chats, the Highbury community is in for all the drama their village can hold.
Lizzy wished that what Emma said was true. Lizzy was not one to argue further when her point was roundly rejected—her mother had cured her of that silliness—but she sighed inwardly.
Emma’s argument that Harriet could and would marry well despite her tenuous position was nearly something that Lizzy might have said four months ago, while watching a besotted Charles Bingley dance with Jane!
Humility and sweetness and beauty ought to have carried the day, if truth and goodness were what she’d thought them!
But that idealistic Lizzy had taken a beating nearly as brutal as poor Jane’s heart. Lizzy wondered when Emma would be thus disillusioned. Or perhaps she would not be, and her sanguine hopes for Harriet would be answered.
Lizzy rose and pulled on her gloves, nodding goodbye to Mr. Knightley and Emma. “I hope you may be correct, Miss Woodhouse, but I really must be going. May I call as usual tomorrow?”
“Of course, you must visit, my father will expect your update on Miss Bates.” Emma waved an impatient hand. “I am too used to arguing with Mr. Knightley, but you must not take it personally. I would walk you back, but I do expect Harriet at any moment, and it would be unkind to make her wait and wonder.”
Lizzy tied the ribbons of her bonnet. “No matter at all.”
Emma detained her another moment. “I just recollected that Papa wanted to send some of his own tea to Miss Bates for he finds this blend quite restorative.” She rang for the servant to bring the spare tea caddy they sometimes used for that purpose.
Mr. Knightley also took his leave, offering to walk Lizzy back to Miss Bates’s rooms since it was on his way.
He carried the little wooden chest of tea for her but was largely silent. Lizzy assumed he was still mulling over his sharp disagreement with Emma. She did not interrupt his reverie.
They had just turned onto the main street that ran through Highbury, when he asked, “Have you been to London?”
“I have been there, yes, my aunt and uncle live on Gracechurch Street. I have never gone about much. My sister Jane spends the winter there.”
“Emma has never been.”
Lizzy puzzled over the meaning of this cryptic utterance. “I suppose she does not care to leave her father.”
“No. He could little spare her and would be extremely nervous if she left… could very easily make himself ill. But I wish, for her sake, that she could. She has gone so little out of Highbury. She sees the world…” He struggled for the right words.
“As she finds it in books?” Lizzy offered, having been accused of that once or twice in her life.
He laughed. “No, even that would be better. She sees the world as she wants it to be, and she has been too little challenged in her ideas.”
“I gather you challenge her, sir.”
“Yes. But I am only an old brother-in-law, she does not greatly attend to me.” He nodded to several men they passed on the street. Lizzy had been slightly surprised that he offered to walk her back alone, but supposed he was held in such high esteem here that no one thought it untoward. Besides which, she was generally known to be Miss Bates’s cousin, and so probably anyone watching them assumed he’d fallen in with Lizzy on his own visit to his old friend.
The truth was that Knightley was accustomed not to stand on much ceremony with Emma, and in the frustration of the morning, had forgotten that Miss Bennet stood in rather different circumstances. He accompanied Lizzy all the way to Miss Bates’s rooms before passing off the chest of tea, leaving his respects for the ladies of the house.
He made a mental note to send Larkins here with more wood and probably some of the winter apples. He thought little more of that part of the morning, though Mr. Martin’s disappointment at Harriet’s refusal continued to haunt him.
He would have been surprised to learn that that one walk animated more than a few tongues, a walk taken as it was just before midday—when he was generally to be found busy about his own estate—and a walk taken with the pretty Miss Bennet who was known to come from a good family of large property in Hertfordshire.
In fact, Mrs. Cole, who had it from Mrs. Perry, told Mrs. Weston that it was strangely particular for Mr. Knightley, who was so long a bachelor.
“Perhaps he is finally ready to bring a mistress to Donwell Abbey!”
Chapter 5, pages 24-26
Corrie Garrett began writing in 2010 when she discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and finished her first novel in a month. She has a degree in History & Political Science, along with Computer Science, since she mistook her love of science fiction and romance for a love of computers and history. But she doesn’t regret it, since it led to her very own happily ever after. Corrie lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, four kids, and a lot of very pushy fictional characters.
Corrie loves classic science fiction, from Isaac Asimov to Andre Norton, and enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with an old-school vibe and a bit of romance. Her second love is retellings – be it myths, Bible stories, or classics.
ADDITIONAL BOOKS BY CORRIE GARRETT
- From Highbury with Love, by Corrie Garrett
- Independently published (April 21, 2021)
- ASIN: B08SLVZM4R
- Genre: Austenesque, Regency Romance
Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, excerpt, & author bio compliments of Corrie Garret © 2021; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2021, austenprose.com.