A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of In Plain Sight: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Don Jacobson

In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson 2020I am happy to welcome Austenesque author Don Jacobson to Austenprose today to celebrate the release of his latest novel, In Plain Sight. Don is a prolific writer publishing seven novels in his Bennet Wardrobe series and additional Jane Austen-inspired variations. He has also contributed to the North and South Anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton.   

In Plain Sight is a Pride and Prejudice variation that might surprise you. When I first read the book description my eyebrows shot up—and then I read that Nicole Clarkston was the editor and that explained a lot. She is also a popular writer who can push the envelope of the norm, so it seemed like an author and editor match made in P&P variation heaven.

Meryton Press has kindly supplied an exclusive excerpt selected by the author to pique your interest. In Plain Sight is now available to purchase. You will find the links to the different retailers at the bottom of this post. Please leave a comment and share what you think of this creative premise.

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and breakthrough their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

Darcy had the lead as he flew between Pemberley’s gateposts. Wickham’s nags were lagging as Darcy’s matched grays, nostrils flared, spun onto the Derby Turnpike and pointed the curricle toward Lambton.

The wind nipped Darcy’s nose and ears, cutting through the alcoholic haze that had wrapped him in its warming arms. He realized how foolhardy it had been to succumb to Wickham’s taunts and accept his wager. After two bottles of brandy, it had seemed a reasonable proposition. For him, twenty-five pounds was barely pocket change, but for Wickham…well, George all but broke a leg racing out to the stables to set the boys to harnessing.

A small corner of Darcy’s mind, a part not involved in managing the ribbons, contemplated why he had acted so rashly. Four months ago…before Papa…he never would have behaved like this. His barriers were gone. In shyness, Darcy had fallen back on the familiar: George Wickham.

Darcy had rationalized compromising his integrity—my good regard, once lost, is lost forever—by arguing that, as long as Wickham was imbibing brandy in Pemberley’s parlor, he could not be victimizing Lambton. Darcy had also applied Wickham’s favorite lubricant, guineas, to purchase a congenial drinking partner.

At no point in the past three months had Darcy altered his behavior, not even when the earl and countess appeared at Pemberley’s door demanding to take Georgiana to “visit her cousins.” He realized that he could not manage a girl-child, not in his state. Thus, her removal struck him as wise, doing that which he could not and admitting that the family was broken by his father’s death. He had found a way, though, to pull himself together, and to bid his sister a happy farewell. Ten-year-old Georgie, filled with innocent excitement at a sojourn in Matlock, was none the wiser. Once the door closed, Darcy crawled deeper into the green bottle.

There was a part of him that wished to destroy a world that had taken his father before his time and, failing that, himself.

Now, in the dark of a Derbyshire night, Darcy was in the middle of his most foolhardy effort to throw off responsibility’s heavy yoke.

Wickham’s curricle responded agilely to its master’s experienced driving. Since leaving Cambridge, Wickham had been lining his pockets with the ready so easily gambled away by the ton’s dissolute sons. His edge over Darcy sprouted from dozens of races just like this.

As the two curricles approached the bottleneck where Lambton’s High Street looped off the turnpike, Wickham began to draw even. Darcy over-steered on the hard-left turn, which allowed George to slide by on the right and gain a full length. However, the master of Pemberley was not to be outdone by his old playmate. Once the road straightened between the shops and stores, Darcy whipped the grays into a final burst of speed.

He pulled up to Wickham. At that moment, George looked over and flashed a toothy grin before throwing his head back and laughing at Darcy.

That was a fatal error.

As he turned his attention once again to the dirt fairway before him, a look of horror reshaped Wickham’s features.

There in the byway was the solitary figure of a man struggling to get out of the way of the speeding vehicles.

Tomkins did not have a chance.

Neither did Darcy nor Wickham.

Wickham instinctively hauled his team hard left. However, the die had been cast. The most Wickham could do was spare Tomkins death beneath iron-shod hooves. However, the metal rim of the right wheel was sure to catch the one-legged man who lay sprawled in the dirt, clawing hand-over-hand, trying to escape.

He screamed as the wheel slashed across his living leg.

George’s turn, however, also doomed the two curricles.

In a flash—and before Darcy could react—Wickham’s swerving carriage veered into his lane.

Wheels clashed and locked together. Spokes splintered. Nearly two tons of equine flesh slammed into one another. Neither driver could protect himself from the impact or the oaken javelins that broke free as the curricles disintegrated.

Darcy climbed out of the darkness into a world through which the faces of a milling crowd flickered. At some level, he became aware of an angry murmuring, but the dampness that seeped into his eyes prevented any deeper understanding. What remained were the shrieks of sheer agony that would haunt him to the end of his days.

All he knew was that the vacant eyes staring back at him from a face that rested upon bleeding torso bent at an impossible angle had lately belonged to George Wickham. What Darcy did not apprehend at this moment was that Wickham had, through the expedient of breaking his neck, escaped the fate awaiting Darcy.

Chapter 2, pages 17-20

  • “Don Jacobson has created a moving tale that reimagines one of the most beloved romances ever! He carries the themes of pride, prejudice, and forgiveness through the text beautifully. An original tale laced with historical details. You’ll love it!” —Elaine Owen, author of Duty Demands
  • “…a revelation and a shock to the system at certain points!…I can only say a huge congratulations on this new book, Don!” —Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
  • “…Don Jacobson is a natural storyteller.” —From Pemberley to Milton

Don Jacobson is an Emmy nominated writer in news and features for advertising, television, and radio. He has published seven novels in The Bennet Wardrobe Series along with Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016), The Maid and The Footman (2016), Lessers and Betters (2018), and contributed a short story in the anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South (2019).

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | BOOBUB | GOODREADS

In Plain Sight: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Don Jacobson
Meryton Press (June 12, 2020)
Trade paperback & eBook (412) pages
ISBN: 978-1681310381

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND |  GOODREADS 

Cover image, book description, & exclusive excerpt complements of Meryton Press © 2020, text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2020, Austenprose.com

A Preview & Giveaway of The Gentleman Spy (Serendipity & Secrets Book 2), by Erica Vetsch

The Gentleman Spy, by Erica Vetsch 2020Hello readers. Are you in the mood for a total escape during these challenging times? Then, bring on The Gentleman Spy, the next Regency-era novel in the Serendipity & Secrets series by bestselling historical romance author Erica Vetsch.

Even if you have not read The Lost Lieutenant, the first book in the series, you can jump right into this stand-alone Regency historical filled with intrigue, history, and swoon. I promise—there is great conflict and plenty of twists in the plot to keep you turning pages into the wee hours of the night.

And for those who just can’t get enough of the characters in the Serendipity & Secrets series, next up is a bonus novella in Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection, a trio of novellas by Vetsch and fellow authors Carolyn Miller and Amanda Barratt (available October 13, 2020). Then, the last installment of the series, The Indebted Earl, the story of Marcus Haverly’s younger sister, Sophie, will arrive on shelves in March 2021. That should set you up for some time.

I am happy to share a preview of The Gentleman Spy with a book description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt selected by the author for Austenprose readers. Please check out the amazing giveaway chance for a prize pack listed at the bottom of the post with a link to enter. Good luck to all!

He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

Continue reading

Tempted: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Nicole Clarkston—A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

Most variations of Jane Austen’s classic novels are set in England, in the same Regency time period as the original stories. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that this new Pride and Prejudice variation—Tempted, by prolific Austenesque author Nicole Clarkston—takes place in a unique time and multiple locations.

In July 1900, we are introduced to an American Elizabeth Bennet, born and raised on a ranch in Wyoming and recently wed to Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, cousin of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and second son of the Earl of Matlock. Elizabeth’s amenable yet annoying cousin Billy Collins has escorted her and her sister Jane from America to London so that she may present herself to the colonel’s parents, Lord and Lady Matlock. Colonel Fitzwilliam, a cavalry officer, had been sent to Wyoming as a special envoy of Her Majesty’s Army—and someone with a good eye for horseflesh—in search of horses for the military. While on his mission in Wyoming, the colonel was called to the Boer War in South Africa and married Elizabeth shortly before he departed. There are mysterious circumstances surrounding their hasty marriage, and Elizabeth soon discovers that the colonel’s family is completely unaware of her existence and refuses to receive her as his wife. Instead, she is met by Mr. Darcy, serving as a family representative, who bears unwelcome tidings about her new husband.

“He could not form his own words, so at last, he opened the letter and read a portion of the excruciating print. ‘…We regret to inform you that Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam of the 4th Battalion of the Derbyshire’s has been listed as Missing in Action….’” (117)

Continue reading

Rebellion at Longbourn: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Victoria Kincaid—A Review

Rebellion at Longbourn by Victoria Kincaid 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

What is left to a woman when by law she is at the mercy of an incompetent, oafish cousin? Why, a quiet rebellion, of course!

Victoria Kincaid has authored many lively Pride and Prejudice variations and retellings over the years which I have thoroughly enjoyed. While respecting Jane Austen and her works, Ms. Kincaid infuses her latest, Rebellion at Longbourn, with strong entertainment value and a shout for human injustice.

After Mr. Bennet passes away in the prime of his life, his daughter Elizabeth discovers that life is not fair, and justice is not just when women and dependents have no recourse. By law, her family’s estate of Longbourn must go to a male heir, which is their odious cousin Mr. Collins. In addition, her sister Lydia’s thoughtless elopement has destroyed the reputation of her entire family.

As she watches her nincompoop cousin Mr. Collins take over her family estate and proceed to run it into the ground, their very survival is now in jeopardy. The income from the harvest is not enough to sustain Collin’s extravagant expenditures, so he pulls from the estate resources resulting in less for the workers and the dependent Bennet family.

After Mr. Collins refuses to listen to good advice about running the estate, Elizabeth has had enough. She realizes that what Collins’ ignorance does not know will benefit others. So, she sets out to make things right on the estate and assuages her conscience that what she and others do behind his back is still benefiting him, so they are not stealing or taking advantage. Continue reading

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women Book 1), by Vanessa Riley

A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby by Vanessa Riley 2020Diversity within historical romance has been a heated topic lately covered in major media. The controversy with RWA has stirred up a lot of emotional discussions, and hopefully positive change toward including a wider range of authors and characters of ethnic and sexual orientation in the romance genre.

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby is a big step in the right direction and I am happy to shine a spotlight on it and its author Vanessa Riley today. She is a very talented novelist who has been writing historical romance with diverse characters for several years. Her research is impressive, and her plots and characters are compelling and “swoothy” (swoon-worthy).

Here is an exclusive excerpt from A Duke, the Lady, and A Baby, the first book in her Rogues and Remarkable Women series which is receiving rave reviews and prominent media coverage. I am thrilled to share that the book lives up to the hype. Enjoy!

Created by a shrewd countess, The Widow’s Grace is a secret society with a mission: to help ill-treated widows regain their status, their families, and even find true love again—or perhaps for the very first time . . .

When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .

A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?

Continue reading

Rescuing Lord Inglewood: A Regency Romance, by Sally Britton—A Review

Rescuing Lord Inglewood, by Sally BrittonFrom the desk of Katie Patchell:

I have been doing something unconventional lately, and I don’t just mean tanning in my front yard because of COVID-19. I’ve paused my habit of reading book summaries and back covers to ‘know what I’m getting into.’ Instead, I start with page one, immersing myself in the story and characters without any prior knowledge or expectations. As someone who enjoys her ‘prior knowledge,’ this is a big deal. Happily, I can say it’s been a successful experiment. There’s nothing like being surprised as a reader along with a novel’s heroine or hero. Without realizing it, my new method of reading novels is a perfect tribute to Sally Britton’s Rescuing Lord Inglewood and its themes of shattered expectations and wonderful surprises.

When Esther Fox takes her heartbroken neighbor for a walk to distract her from her failed romance, Esther doesn’t expect romance to hit her – literally – with the force of a falling statue. After throwing herself on a distracted passerby to save him from being crushed to death, she soon discovers two truths. The first is that the man she saved is none other than her older brother’s mischievous childhood friend, Silas, now a responsible (some would say, overly responsible) titled member of Parliament. The second truth is that the rumor mill has already almost destroyed her reputation, and with her only blood relative away fighting Napoleon, her marriage to Silas is unavoidable.

After their wedding, a series of misunderstandings, fears, and troublesome memories threaten to destroy what’s already been built on shaky ground. With every new twist and turn, Esther and Silas must decide if their marriage will remain a solution to a problem, or will grow into a partnership built on mutual trust and love. Continue reading

Murder at Northanger Abbey: Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel, by Shannon Winslow—A Review

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Do you ever read a book and enjoy it to such an extent that your mind continues to dwell on the characters, and you imagine your own continuation of the story? If that story is Northanger Abbey, then it is no stretch to imagine that the heroine, Catherine Morland, must have her dream of living inside one of her delicious gothic novels fulfilled even while reveling in the happiness of being married to her Henry. Oh, not as the gullible young girl who conjured up ghouls and mystery where it did not exist, but a heroine worthy of adventure when the adventure finds her. If you perked up at this possibility, then, like me, dear reader, you are primed for Shannon Winslow’s Murder at Northanger Abbey.

The story opens with Catherine and Henry Tilney, newlywed and living in bliss at Woodston Cottage. Catherine is still settling in as mistress and exalting in the tender and passionate love of her husband. She has learned from her earlier adventures and set aside the impressionable girl who saw a bloody skeleton in every locked trunk or a villain in every frown. She is sensible now and seeks to be a credit as a vicar’s wife.

Into this idyllic life, an invitation arrives from General Tilney for them to attend an All Hallows Eve Masquerade Ball at Northanger Abbey. Henry is dubious and still has strong feelings about his father’s previous treatment of Catherine, but if this means an olive branch, he should accept. Catherine is thrilled about the ball and revels in the chills she feels about spending All Hallows Eve at a house she once thought haunted.

Their arrival reunites all the Tilneys including Elinor and her husband. Catherine also meets a pretty, young, but ineligible woman whom Frederick brought to annoy the General, though she is startled to notice a soft spot in the cruel Captain. The General also has a young pretty woman on his arm and she is very much eligible as the daughter of a Marquess. He is bursting with some sort of inner glee over what is to come later in the evening, and she can only take heart that he welcomed them if a tad coolly. Continue reading

A Timely Elopement: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Joana Starnes—A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

For a Pride and Prejudice enthusiast, there is nothing quite like an unusually talkative and passionate Mr. Darcy to pique one’s interest. And it becomes particularly intriguing when the story is told almost exclusively from his perspective. Ironically, it is perhaps his most blundering speech that is mercifully interrupted in this variation, A Timely Elopement, from master storyteller Joana Starnes.

The tale begins in the parlor at Hunsford Parsonage near Rosings Park in Kent with the only two occupants; a visibly agitated Mr. Darcy and a startled and wary Elizabeth Bennet. Darcy has been at Rosings with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam to visit their aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and their cousin Anne, while Elizabeth visits her friend Charlotte Lucas, newly married to Elizabeth’s cousin and one-time suitor, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine’s parson.

Darcy’s unexpected and ardent marriage proposal to Elizabeth is fortunately interrupted just before he manages to insult her with his ungentlemanlike manner, although she cannot forget that morning’s revelation from an unwitting Colonel Fitzwilliam that Darcy’s intervention had ruined her sister Jane’s chances for happiness with his friend Charles Bingley. Colonel Fitzwilliam barges in at that fortuitous moment to announce, “We have reason to fear that Anne has eloped. To own the truth, with Wickham.” (Kindle 82) Shock settles over the group as they consider the dire situation of Anne de Bourgh, known only as a sickly but wealthy heiress, possibly eloping with George Wickham. Lady Catherine later exclaims, “All saints preserve us! A steward’s son! What was the girl thinking?” (Kindle 496) Unbeknownst to her, he was the same fiend who had attempted to elope with Darcy’s sister Georgiana, also a wealthy heiress, from Ramsgate the previous summer. Thus, Darcy ceases his proposal just after confessing his love for Elizabeth. He briefly apprises her of the previous situation between his sister and Wickham before hurrying off to search for Anne, unaware that his aunt is about to summon his ladylove to accompany her to London for the same purpose. Continue reading

A Preview & Giveaway of So This Is Love: An Austen-Inspired Regency, by Laura Hile

So This is Love by Laura Hile 2020I am so happy to welcome author Laura Hile back to Austenprose today. Laura is the writer of several Jane Austen-inspired novels and short stories, notably the Mercy’s Embrace trilogy featuring none other than the peevish Miss Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion, and her humorous fantasy, Darcy by Any Other Name.

Laura has two new books releasing in quickstep: So This Is Love, and A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3. Today we are featuring So This Is Love, a Pride and Prejudice-inspired variation involving Charlotte Lucas whose re-imagined story many readers will find much more rewarding than what was originally devised by Jane Austen.

Laura has generously offered a guest blog, an exclusive excerpt, and a giveaway chance! That is the trifecta in book promotion! Enjoy! Please return on August 10th for our review of A Very Austen Romance.

“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”

Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As a companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.

But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?

Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely.  She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.

So This Is Love is a joyride of a Regency, bringing whirlwind romance and happily-ever-after to Jane Austen’s staid and practical Charlotte Lucas. Continue reading