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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Darcy’s Melody with Jennifer Redlarczyk

By Jennifer Redlarczyk

(It is my pleasure to welcome Jennifer Redlarczyk today to Darcyholic Diversions.  I first met her on the forums, and found her delightful.  I am happy to let you know about her latest book.  Be sure to read through to the end as you need to comment to win one of 2 copies of her book.  Post your comment by October 16th by 9 pm est. BTCole...)

Greetings! I am pleased to here on Darcyholic Diversions today with my new release, Darcy’s Melody, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In the year 1811 the war with France continues to rage, sending many injured men home to England where accommodations are limited. Raising funds to build an additional structure at the London Hospital for the wounded has become a top priority for Lady Eleanor Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock. She has not only enlisted members of the ton to assist with her committee, but women who are well-known throughout the trade community. It is within this endeavour that Elizabeth Bennet and Georgiana Darcy first meet through a mutual love of music. In this particular scene, however, Darcy and Elizabeth encounter each other under very different circumstances.


Tuesday, 21 May 1811
Early afternoon

Ballard’s was an eclectic treasure trove of rare first editions and unusual books located on the thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Although it appeared somewhat dingy and dimly lit from the outside, inside the ageing building the atmosphere was inviting, and a vast array of literature beckoned lovers of the written word.

Promptly at one o’clock, Fitzwilliam Darcy entered the bookshop and walked directly towards his favoured section. While paging through a military war journal, he instinctively glanced toward the back of the shop. Even with several patrons milling about the establishment today, Darcy’s eyes were drawn to a young lady who appeared to be examining a small book in the poetry section.

Closing the journal, Darcy ambled over to where the woman stood and began perusing the titles on a nearby shelf. After taking a book in hand, he purposely turned his head towards the young lady. Captivated by her large, dark emerald-green eyes sparkling with mischief, he felt his lips curve into a half smile when she spoke.

“Pray, sir, may I trouble you to hand me the book of Cowper poetry on the upper shelf?”
Darcy nodded. “With pleasure. Cowper is an excellent choice.” 

As he reached for the book, she continued, “One poem in particular reminds me of Oakham Mount in Hertfordshire. I find I am rather desirous of its solace today if only through the eyes of the poet.”
Handing her the book, he answered in kind. “I understand your sentiments for I, too, am from the country and have longed to return to Derbyshire.”
Arching an eyebrow in his direction, she inclined her head and said, “I thank you, sir.” 
“You are most welcome.”
As she turned the pages of her selection in search of the poem, Darcy heard the young lady gasp when both of her books slid out of her hands and onto the floor. “Oh dear,” she sighed, stooping down to retrieve them.
“Allow me,” he immediately offered. Both reaching for the books, Darcy felt her small, warm hand carefully slip a folded piece of paper into the palm of his own. The young lady had not replaced her glove after perusing her own book, and her skin was soft to the touch. Leaning closer, the faint scent of lavender seemed to strengthen, causing his chest to tighten and his heart to quicken in response.

Feigning innocence, she looked up at him and said, “Again, sir, I am in your debt. Perhaps I should make my purchases before I have another mishap.”

“Permit me to carry these to the desk for you.”

Acknowledging his offer with a slight curtsey, the young lady whispered, “Sir, I think we are being observed.” Then speaking louder, she added, “Thank you again. You are most kind.”
“Your servant.” He bowed. With his senses heightened from being forewarned of impending danger, Darcy spoke softly in return, “How did you come? I would not have you leave here unescorted.”

“There is a carriage waiting, sir. A manservant is nearby and a maid is within.”

“Then leave now and be careful.”

As you can tell from this opening scene, there is a bit of intrigue, not to mention Darcy feels an immediate attraction to Elizabeth when they first meet. Not long after, Darcy is made aware of Elizabeth’s identity, and because of her standing in society is resolved to keep his desires under good regulation. In this scene, however, we see that our hero’s subconscious is equally determined. Enjoy!

Darcy’s Bed Chamber

The curtains fluttered back and forth as a cool, soothing breeze blew in through the open window. Darcy rolled over and reached for her soft, warm body, but she was not there. The mellow sound of her lovely voice humming a simple tune brought a smile to his lips.

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he asked, “Where are you, my love?” 

“I am here,” she answered from the balcony of their bedchamber.

Bathed in moonlight, he could see every curve of her silhouette beneath the thin sheath of her nightgown. Tempted by the sight, he stole out of bed and hurried to where she stood gazing at the stars.

“William, is it not beautiful?”

“Beautiful,” he whispered although his eyes were fixed solely on her. Gently wrapping his arms around the one he loved, Darcy inhaled the scent of lavender as he burrowed his face in her long tresses. Then, ever so softly, he placed tender kisses on the side of her neck, continuing down to her exposed shoulder. She willingly turned in his arms and began sliding her hands up his chest until her fingers slipped into his hair, clasping him firmly behind the neck. Her eyes were inviting, and his breath quickened as he lowered his head to claim her lips. In one swift motion, he picked her up and carried her to their bed.

“My darling, I love you.”

“I am yours,” she whispered.

To his dismay, a sudden gust of wind sent a shiver through his body, causing him to feel something was terribly wrong. Studying her face in the dim light, he wondered if the shadows were playing tricks on his vision. Pulling back in fear, he gasped when the woman in his arms leaned forward, allowing him to clearly see she was not his Elizabeth. She was....

“NO!” Darcy sat up in bed, drenched in perspiration. Struggling to be free of the sheets and regain his senses, he exclaimed, “Merciful Heaven, what is happening to me?”

Rising, he groaned while pushing the tangled mess aside and donning his robe. Immediately calling for a bath, he ordered his valet to have the water tepid for, at present, the heat radiating from his body was unbearable. Needing a few minutes, he walked over to a window, gripped the sashes, and breathed deeply. Every night since she was last in his home, he had dreamed of Elizabeth Bennet, and each and every night, the dream had become more vivid. “This has to stop. I shall not give in to this madness!”

Thanks so much to Barbara Tiller Cole for having me as her guest today. I hope all of you have enjoyed these short excerpts from my new book and will let me know how well you think Darcy is controlling his desires in your comments. Feel free to speculate about the other woman who was brazen enough to interrupt his dream. I look forward to hearing from you, and from those who comment, two winners will be chosen in my giveaway to receive a Darcy’s Melody eBook. (International) Good luck! Jen Red


Jennifer Redlarczyk

I am a private music instructor living in Crown Point, Indiana where I teach voice, violin and piano and work as an adjunct music professor at Purdue University Northwest. As a teen, I was introduced to Jane Austen by my mother who loved old books, old movies and old songs. In the summer of 2011, I stumbled upon Jane Austen Fanfiction at a Barnes and Noble store and became obsessed with this genre. From there, I met several talented JAFF authors and devoted readers who were active on social media and eventually became a moderator for the private JAFF forum, DarcyandLizzy.com. It was there that I first tried my hand at writing short stories. I have the greatest appreciation for the creative world of Jane Austen Fanfiction and am thrilled to be a part of the JAFF community.

You can find me at: DarcyandLizzy.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on YouTube. On my Pinterest page you will find inspiration pictures for each chapter of Darcy’s Melody as well as my other books, and on my YouTube channel you can listen to my recordings of all of Lizzy’s songs. ~ Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red)

Jennifer’s Links:   

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Tomato or The Bamboo? Who Are You?

The Tomato or The Bamboo?  Who Are You?

By Barbara Tiller Cole

 (I am honored to be invited to join Dianne Venetta's Authors in Bloom Hop again this year!  If you are new to the hop there are some great prizes available including a grand prize of a Kindle or Nook.  If you want to win the grand prize, you need to visit and comment at ALL stops on the hop.  Most of the individual destinations will be giving away something as well.  I will be giving away two eBook copies of either of my novels including international winners, as well as either Tomato or Bamboo seeds to a USA winner.  To win one of my prizes join my site, friend me on Facebook and like my author page as well as comment below and be sure to let me know if you think you are a tomato or a bamboo person.  Be sure and include a way for me to get in touch with you in your post unless I am already your friend on Facebook.  Be sure and read to the end of this post for more information.  )

A father took his two sons aside and asked them if they were interested in having a contest.  He wanted both of them to develop a plan, a plan to grow something from seed that would benefit the entire family.  He didn’t tell them anything other than that.  Both of the brothers contemplated what they would grow.  He gave them a week to return with a plan including the reasons for why they selected it.
One of the brothers decided to grow tomatoes.  He envisioned the first bite into a fresh tomato, as well as the grin on his dad’s face when he ate a tomato sandwich from the first crop. The first son had been watching cooking shows and loved to try out some of the recipes.  He wanted to try to make some special salads and even some tomato bisque.  His mother would love to be able to have fresh homegrown tomatoes to make her special tomato sauce for pasta and pizza.  It was going to be perfect.
The second brother loved to spend time in their backyard.  He and his dad had an old Mustang that they were rebuilding.  The entire family loved to grill out and have dinner on their patio, and they were considering installing an above ground pool. His mother was longing for the day when they could have a Jacuzzi as well.  His older sister loved to sunbathe, but there was no barrier between their family’s backyard and their neighbors’.  He thought that by growing bamboo he could have privacy between the family and their neighbors.  The entire family would benefit and it was going to be perfect.
Dad approved both plans and let them both know that the contest was not over until he said it was over (which neither of them understood at the time) and they were off to the garden store to get everything that they were going to need to grow their plants from seed. The first brother decided on Heirloom tomatoes and the second decided on Chinese bamboo.
(I won’t go into all the steps of growing each plant but will give you some links at the end of this article in case you want to grow your own tomatoes or bamboo.)
Within a month the first brother was thrilled with his progress he had moved from seedlings to beginning to grow full-grown plants. The second brother had barely had his seeds sprout.  His father told him to have patience that bamboo would take more time, more patience and perseverance.   “Hang in there,” the father told the second son.  “It will be worth it in the long run.”

The first brother went from being proud to gloating.  He teased the second brother and even went so far as laughing at him.  The second brother didn’t understand why his plants weren’t growing but did as his father told him to do and remained patient. 
The tomato plants grew and grew until they bloomed and the blooms turned into little small green tomatoes.  After a week of rain, the first brother noticed that his tomato plants were wilting.  The tomatoes did not look healthy. His dad told him that it was due to fungus.  They went to the garden store.  They listen to the experts and did what they could do, but in the end the plants all died.
The younger son didn’t understand why his plants weren’t growing, but the father took him to visit with a kind old Chinese gentleman who specialized in bamboo.  What he learned was that bamboo grows under the ground at first.  The root system has to be extensive before the bamboo plant begins to grow above the ground.    The Chinese man told him, “Be like bamboo.  Trees break in the wind.  The bamboo will survive by bending in the wind.  Do not worry young one.  The bamboo will grow when its roots are strong.  And when the roots are strong you cannot stop the bamboo from being all that it wants to be.”
The next year the first son tried again with his tomatoes.  He had a modest crop, but the tomatoes were wonderful when ripe and fresh.  The second year the bamboo was still setting its roots.  The second son was tempted to dig it up and look, but he remembered he needed to bend and be flexible and willing to do what it took to wait on the bamboo.  
The third year the first son took classes with a master gardener.  He learned all he could about potential threats to his plants.  He prepared and planned and had a wonderful crop. 
Two months into spring of the third year the bamboo began to grow, and it grew and it grew and it grew.  The privacy fence of bamboo grew up sooner than anyone could imagine.  And the second son had to then visit the old man and learn how to manage his bamboo and crop it and began selling part of the crop it grew so fast.  Before he knew it he had enough money to give his father to put the down payment on the above the ground pool.  By the next year, he was able to finance his mother’s Jacuzzi.
What kind of gardener are you?  Are you patient enough for bamboo?  Or do you want a quick crop?  Learn from the first brother.  Study and learn what you need to know about possible dangers before you plant.
What does this teach us about life?  You may remember the quote, ‘Pride goeth before the fall’.  Which actually comes from the Bible verse: Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."   The younger son had much to learn about pride.  He also had to learn that even when things are going very well, sometimes we fail because of unforeseen events or challenges.  However, we can learn how to plan for those things to begin with and often have greater success when we look at the potential pitfalls we may face along the way.  That was why the first son was eventually successful.  It is how we can often be successful by looking at the potential ‘what ifs’ we may encounter along the path.
But often success and life is like the bamboo.  Our project, our life endeavors may not look like they are doing much.  But by putting down roots and allowing them the time that they need to grow (there were many different forecasts of how long it takes for the bamboo to take root, so I used an estimate in my story) with patience it will bear fruit.  No success will come without a healthy, vibrant root system. It may look completely fruitless at times.  We may want to give up all together.  If we are willing to put in the patience to wait, with time, it will succeed.  And life is so much better if we have a good attitude and live in the moment while the growth takes its time.

So what kind of life gardener are you?  Are you a tomato or a bamboo?

I Am A Life Gardner, Not a Real One!  So if you want to plant tomatoes or bamboo you might Start with the following Links...:

  GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of $25 gift card.  Be sure and check out Diane Venetta's site for the Rafflecopter entry location.  For my prize, check out the instructions in italics before my post.  And be sure you post at ALL locations on the Hop if you want to be considered for the 1st or 2nd prizes.:


Monday, April 16, 2018

Living Large With the Ladies of Rosings Park

 Living Large with the Ladies of Rosings Park:

William Collins Exclusive Interview with Shannon Winslow

Darcyholic Diversions is very happy to welcome Mr. Collins as he shares his interview with Shannon Winslow 

[Legendary literary figure and talk-show host Sir William Collins returns to the set after the commercial break to commence his weekly Meet the Author segment. Today’s guest is Shannon Winslow, mildly successful author of Jane Austen based fiction. Collins politely shakes her hand, smiles for the camera, and then nods several times to the studio audience until the applause finally dies down. He takes his seat and turns his attention to his guest.]

WC:  Well, well, Ms. Winslow, how kind of you to visit us again here at Meet the Author.
SW:  Thank you, Mr. Collins, but the pleasure is mine. When I was here last, we ended with such a good understanding that you graciously invited me back anytime I liked. Do you remember?
WC:  Oh, yes. I can truthfully say this much for you Ms. Winslow; your visits are always memorable. And I must tell you that I was very intrigued when I heard the title of your new book: The Ladies of Rosings Park! How those words warm my heart and take me back to a time I remember with great fondness.
SW:  It is the same for me Mr. Collins. It seems I am always drawn back to the world of Pride and Prejudice, wanting to spend a little more time there with the characters I so admire.
WC: Ah, no doubt in this case you mean my noble former patroness, Lady Catherine, and Miss Anne de Bourgh. I assume they are the ladies to whom you refer in the title.
SW:  Primarily, yes, although there are also a few contributions by Mrs. Jenkinson and Mrs. Collins as well.
WC:  Ah, dear Charlotte. Yes, this all sounds very promising. It is high time that someone paid the Rosings family the homage they deserve. I presume that Lady Catherine herself is the heroine of the piece. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? But here I must confess that I haven’t actually read the novel. You must understand that I am extremely busy. You would have no way of knowing this yourself, but when one has achieved a certain level of fame, one’s time is not entirely one’s own anymore. My public clamors for more and I must not deprive them.
SW:  Of course. As for who is the heroine of my book, that’s not as clear cut as you might imagine. Lady Catherine certainly gets her share of space on the page – she would stand for nothing less – and I must say that she has most if not all of the best lines.
WC:  That is only right, for nobody can deliver a line like Lady Catherine. What timing! What a noble air! What a commanding presence!
SW:  As you say. But you know as well as I do that there must be a courtship story in a Jane Austen style book, and Anne is the focus there. So, strictly speaking, the daughter not the mother is the heroine.
WC: [gasps] Oh, dear! Does her ladyship know? I cannot help thinking she will not approve of anyone upstaging her, even her own daughter!
SW:  She may know it by now… and some other things in the book she will like even less. In any case, she did not hear these things from me. I interviewed her early on in the process, and I’m afraid we did not part on good terms. She seemed very annoyed when I asked her about her late husband, Sir Lewis.
WC:  Oh, Ms. Winslow, you didn’t! That subject is strictly taboo. It was one of the first things I learned when I came to Hunsford all those years ago.
SW:  Apparently, Mr. Collins, the subject is no more palatable to Lady Catherine today. Even if I had been forewarned, however, I would have had no choice. It was imperative to establish some background information on Sir Lewis, for how he and his early loss affected his wife and daughter. All we know from Miss Austen is that he is absent, and, so we must presume, dead. But I asked myself if that really were the whole story. Then I asked Lady Catherine. That’s when she terminated the interview. I can’t say as I blame her. From what I learned later through other sources… Well, let’s just say I now understand why she was so touchy on the subject.
WC:  I cannot imagine Lady Catherine had anything to hide, so fine and upstanding a woman as she is!
SW:  I suppose we all have things we would prefer to conceal, Mr. Collins. If I were to look closely into your background, for example, who knows what I might discover?
WC:  No, you mustn’t! That is to say, surely there can be no occasion for your going to so much unnecessary trouble. After all, I am but a minor character in these events, and such idle speculations are profitless. Now, Ms. Winslow, one final question. It occurs to me that, by coming back to revisit events in Pride and Prejudice and what followed, it might have given you the opportunity to revise what you had written before. That upon further reflection, you might have thought better of the unfortunate choice to prematurely eliminate…
SW:  Excuse me, Mr. Collins.
WC:  Yes?
SW:  Forgive me for interrupting, but I could see where you were headed. I’m sorry, but you must understand that events in this new book had to agree entirely with what I wrote in The Darcys of Pemberley. The same is true of Return to Longbourn and Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley. They’re all part of the same series, you see. So despite my personal fondness for you and how sincerely I value our friendship…
WC:  Still dead, then, am I?
SW:  I’m afraid so. But if it’s any consolation, I actually have sometimes regretted being so hasty in bringing about your character’s demise. You truly are one of a kind, sir, and a delight to write for. That’s why I always look forward to opportunities like this to renew our acquaintance. Plus, in The Ladies of Rosings Park, there are about a hundred and fifty pages prior to… the unfortunate event, so you have plenty of opportunity to shine before…
WC:  Before I go out in a blaze of glory. I think that is the phrase you are looking for.
SW:  Yes, thank you, Mr. Collins. And of course, that was not the end for you. You have not allowed yourself to remain trapped in the past. You have moved on and made a huge success of this, your second career, as well. I find that very admirable. Very inspiring. In fact…
WC:  Ms. Winslow, you cannot outdo me at my own game. Besides, I’m afraid we are out of time for today. [Mr. Collins turns to address the audience.] Let us take this lesson from Ms. Winslow’s visit: make the most of every day, because one never knows when some lunatic person or event will come along to cut one down in one’s prime. Until next time, then – if indeed there is a next time for any of us – I thank you all for being here.
[The ‘applause’ sign lights, and the studio audience responds tepidly, looking a little uncertain. “Cut,” shouts the director. “That’s a wrap.” Mr. Collins’s personal assistant hurries to his side to blot his brow, offer him a cold adult beverage, and, at his instruction, escort Ms. Winslow away. Thus ends another memorable day on the set of Meet the Author.]
At first glance, Anne de Bourgh doesn’t seem a promising heroine. But beneath that quiet exterior, there’s a lively mind at work, imagining how one day she will escape her poor health and her mother’s domination to find love and a life worth living.
Now Anne finally gets the chance to speak her mind. But Lady Catherine demands equal time. Even Charlotte Collins and Mrs. Jenkinson get into the act. Chapter by chapter, these ladies of Rosings Park take turns telling the tale from the moment Elizabeth Bennet sets foot in Hunsford, changing everything. Is Anne heartbroken or relieved to discover Mr. Darcy will never marry her? As an heiress, even a sickly one, she must have other suitors. Does Lady Catherine gracefully accept the defeat of her original plan or keep conniving? Will Anne’s health ever improve? And what really happened to her father?
Complete in itself, this work expands The Darcys of Pemberley series laterally, beginning during the timeline of Pride and Prejudice and carrying beyond to reveal the rest of Anne’s story. When a young lady is to be a heroine… something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way. (Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Don Jacobsen Shares a Lost Scene From His Latest Book

A Character Interview of Lieutenant George Percival Wickham: A Lost But Now Found Outtake from The Exile: The Countess Comes to Longbourn

by Don Jacobsen

(Darcyholic Diversions is happy to Welcome Don back to Darcyholic Diversions with this special additional scene!  Be sure to comment and Follow the Rafflecopter Link for a chance at the Blog Tour GiveAways.)

This character interview of Lieutenant George Percival Wickham has been composed in the form of a short vignette which, if it had been included in The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn, would have fallen within Chapter XXXIV of the book. © 2018 by Don Jacobson. Publication or other use of this work without the expressed written consent of the creator is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

March 24, 1815,
A café in Hietzinger Hauptstraße opposite Schöbrunn Palace, Vienna
The man stepped from the street into the café. His black suit, if one looked closely, betrayed considerable wear with fraying threads drooping from the cuffs of the jacket’s sleeves and his pant legs. Shiny spots and knees and elbows likewise suggested that his chosen trade paid little and irregularly at that. His deep-set eyes scanned the tables distributed around the cheerily decorated room, candlelit now even though the first day of spring had heralded longer days. Finding his desired target, he doffed his hat, ran his fingers through unkempt brown hair, and wove between guests and furniture toward a lone British officer seated by a window looking out onto the boulevard.
While the city was full of officers of all stripes given the Great Congress, this man, handsome to be sure, was one of the lowliest but, in his own way, one of the most important—at least to a reporter for The Times.  He was only a lieutenant in a city where colonels were often used to fill gaps on the lower end of countesses’ tables. However, his regimental facings were easily identified as being of the 33rd Infantry, Wellington’s Own. That and the silver cords of an aide de camp looping down from his left epaulet made him the object of the journalist’s desire.
Reaching his destination, the fellow unceremoniously dropped into the vacant chair opposite the lieutenant. Barely acknowledged by his quarry, the reporter dug into a pocket under his left lapel. Successfully removing a well-folded and somewhat grubby newspaper he dropped the publication next to the officer’s cup of chocolate. Using an ink-stained finger, he stabbed at a column-length article under a screaming header.
Without ceremony he addressed the Lieutenant, “What you gave me a few weeks ago was pure gold, Wickham. My editor is beside himself wondering what comes next. And if John Stoddart[i] is asking, that means that everybody from the Prince Regent to the charwoman at Carlton House wants to know.
“And that means, I need to know what the Duke plans to do now that the Emperor is back in Paris.”
George Wickham grinned back at the earnest newshound. Brigadier Fitzwilliam, his master, already had given him his remit: he was to feed Tomlinson exactly what the Duke was planning to do.
As his old playmate had put it, “Well, George, his Grace wants that bloody man to come to him. Rather than leave him to wonder, we will let him know exactly where to find us.
“So, tell the Times that the Coalition will defend the path to Antwerp somewhere outside of Brussels. We will feed his spies the same information, thus confirming one with the other. With luck, Napoleon will have to prove his claim to the throne by showing his followers that he can defeat our best and avenge Leipzig and Toulouse. That means he will want to take on Wellington.
“But he still has to raise his force and arm his men. So do we. That should take the better part of two months, time enough for us to scarper from Vienna up to Brussels with stops along the way to get our Allies committed to sending their troops to the Low Countries. Nothing should happen until sometime in early June.”
In several curt sentences delivered in low tones to convey the seriousness of the information, Wickham passed on the general outlines of Wellington’s plans. Tomlinson had fished out a pencil stub and took notes at a furious pace. In a few minutes, all was as the Duke wished it to be. Wickham signaled a waiter who bowed over the table before scuttling off with Tomlinson’s order.
While he had fulfilled his commission, Wickham still had something else he wanted to cover with the scribe. However, he did not know how to begin.
Tomlinson sensed his hesitation and employed his own interrogator’s skill.
“How long have we known one-another, Wickham? Four, five years? Certainly since before your marriage. When was that? The year ’11? So, at least five years. You crossed my path when you were still one of the ‘leading lights’ of the demimonde.
“But, since then, I have heard just that little tidbit about you and some elderly French Countess. After that, nothing,” Tomlinson quizzed.
Wickham sighed and leaned back into his seat. He tipped his head to the side and regarded the reporter much as a bull mastiff would consider a puppy intent upon disturbing his afternoon nap in the sun; he wondered how much energy he would expend explaining himself. Eventually he chose to offer some meat to cover the bones knowing that Tomlinson would be more inclined to fulfill Wickham’s request if he understood what rested behind it.
In the same low tone he had used before, thus, he hoped, placing the information on par with his earlier tip, Wickham related his thoughts, “I am not the man you first met. On the contrary, that young lady who married me has become quite dear. That tittle-tattle your gossipmonger printed back in December ’11 could have sorely hurt Mrs. Wickham’s trusting heart.
“You know she is nearly three-and-ten years my junior. I will own that my motives for marrying her were less than honorable, but shortly after we were wed, I began to reconsider the path down which the currents of life had been carrying me. I began to find that I wanted to comport myself in a manner that would give credit to my name and raise myself in her eyes.”
Tomlinson interjected, “So, poor fool that you are, you fell in love with your wife?”
Wickham chuckled, a relaxed smile easing his features, and replied, “There you have it. George Wickham, dissolute rake and gambler, had his locks shorn by a Delilah from Hertfordshire. Yes, I will own up to it; I have discovered that I love my wife. She has made me a better man, although, the Good Lord knows that anyone could have made me better given the state of my soul at the time.
“But, Mrs. Wickham made me think. And, then she captured me lock, stock, and barrel one chilly January eve early in ’12. After that, I really changed my ways.”
So saying, he raised his cup of chocolate in silent salute to a woman who waited for his return at her old family home, although she was in mourning for her father’s recent passing. They had rarely been together since the Second Battalion had posted to Portugal in the spring of 1812. Lieutenants were not colonels or majors. Unlike in the past years, leave had not been granted often to any officers as Wellesley pursued the French from Iberia across the Pyrrenes and into the Midi. However, there was a lively correspondence between himself and Lydia, augmented by another stream between his color sergeant, Henry Wilson, and his wife, the former Laura Jenkinson. Wickham read his letters from Lydia to an attentive Wilson while the blonde giant related his from Laura. Between the two of them, they managed to patch together a fairly clear picture of the goings-on in Meryton.
Then he continued, “I have truly come to treasure my wife. But, I am worried about what the future will bring. There are no guarantees in my business. The fight we are going into will be desperate indeed…and the infantry will take the worst of it. A voltagieur could easily place a ball between wind and water (his hand touched first his shoulder and then dropped to his stomach) and put paid to old George. Rather not think about what a 32 pounder from the Beast’s le Brutal would do to me.
“I have made sure she will be provided for. I’ve invested in a closed trust set up by some of those clever men from the City. But, money is not the sort of legacy I want to leave. I wasted too many years chasing gold. I have something else much more important to my posterity.
“No, t’is nothing anyone else would care about. But, I think Lydie would find comfort that her husband had grown to be more akin to her other brothers who are serious, thoughtful, and upright men.”
He reached underneath the table and pulled out a leather valise, its straps securely buckled. The thump it made when he dropped it to the table was noticeable, giving testament to the weight of what was contained inside.
Wickham added, “This is my journal. I have been writing in it since December of ’11. I am going to presume that you will read it, however, I beg of you to give me your word of honor that you will not publish a word of it, and that you will deliver it only to me if I survive or my wife if I do not. If the latter, make whatever arrangements with Mrs. Wickham you will.
“I would, however, remind you that those brothers I mentioned are Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley. Her uncle is Edward Gardiner. Between the three of them, they could buy your great newspaper and use every copy they print to wrap fish from Wapping to the mouth of the Estuary.”
Having said his piece, he pushed the case across the table into Tomlinson’s waiting hands, the Lieutenant stood and shock hands with his messenger. He then shook the other’s hand, gave him a quick nod, and, wrapping his cloak around him against the Austrian chill, swiftly strode out the door into history.
The Bennet Wardrobe books are best read in the following order:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

[i] Editor of The Times of London from 1812 to 1816

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn


“I have been shaped by the events of over forty years. The world is a nasty place full of awful persons, Mr. Wickham, and does not get any lighter through complaining or blaming.”

The Countess: An Enigma? A Mystery? Or a young girl all-grown-up?

Kitty Bennet, the fourth daughter of the Master and Mistress of Longbourn, had spent far too long as the shadow of her youngest sister. The all-knowing Meryton chinwaggers suggested that young Miss Bennet needed education—and quickly.

How right they were…but the type of instruction Kitty Bennet received, and the where/when in which she matriculated was far beyond their ken. For they knew nothing of that remarkable piece of furniture which had been part of the lives of clan Bennet for over 120 years: The Bennet Wardrobe.

Forty-six years from when she left her Papa’s bookroom, the Dowager Countess of Matlock returned to that exact same moment in 1811 to tend to many important pieces of Family business.

In the process, Kitty Fitzwilliam helped her youngest sister find the love she craved with the hero who, as the Duke said, “saved us all.”

Who can resist the magic of time-travel? Pages of worldwide history rustle back and forth between Regency grand salons, Napoleonic battlefields and more recent conflicts as, guided by Don Jacobson’s masterful pen, the Bennet sisters grow as people and come into their own. ‘The Countess Visits Longbourn’ is a wonderful new instalment, and we cannot fail to revel in the excellent writing and the abundance of detail as the mysteries of the Wardrobe continue to unfold. This captivating series, that brings together real and much-loved fictional characters from all walks of life, is one to savour, and I will revisit it again and again.

Joana Starnes, author of Miss Darcy’s Companion 

Author Bio:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.”
 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 JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).
            He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.  
His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

 Contact Info:


Buy Links:  Paperback & Kindle

Blog Tour Schedule:

Feb. 14 Austenesque Reviews;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
Feb. 15 My Jane Austen Book Club;  Guest Post, GA
Feb. 17 My Love for Jane Austen;  Character Interview, GA
Feb. 19 So little time…  Excerpt, GA
Feb. 20 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl;  Review, GA
Feb. 21 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, GA
Feb. 23 More Agreeably Engaged;  Review, Excerpt, GA
Feb. 24 Darcyholic Diversions;  Character Interview, GA
Feb. 26 From Pemberley to Milton;  Excerpt
Feb. 28 Just Jane 1813;  Review, GA
Mar. 2  Diary of an Eccentric;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
Mar. 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, GA
Mar. 5  Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, GA

Giveaway: (12 books – 10 eBooks and 2 Paperbacks)

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook or Paperback of The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn by Don Jacobson. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.