Meryton Vignettes – Excerpt & Giveaway

meryton-vignettes-cover

Hello everyone,

Today I bring you an excerpt of the first short story in Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice which is Elizabeth Adams’ latest release.

This book is a collection of six short stories where we can see that the people of Pride and Prejudice move on, grow up, and explore paths not taken. Time leads these beloved characters down roads of self-discovery, courage, and heartbreak. And sometimes the journey takes them to surprising places.

I’ve started reading this collection and I’m loving it so far! I’ll review it next Friday, so if you are curious to know my opinion, and to know more about each story, stop by at From Pemberley to Milton.

But I don’t want to suspend the pleasure you’ll have reading this excerpt any longer, so here it is:

 

Mistress of Longbourn

Charlotte Returns

Charlotte ran her hand along the back of the sofa, her gloves skidding lightly along the upholstery. Her eyes scanned the room: the pair of chairs by the empty fireplace, the windows covered in lavender drapes, the aged mirror over the mantle.

Of all this, she was now mistress.

She gazed at the portrait of Mr. Bennet, painted in his prime, and remembered the man who had been her neighbor for twenty-seven long years, and who was now, by his failure to produce an heir, the means of her husband having his own estate. In a way, he could be credited with her having a husband at all. If he had not agreed to host Mr. Collins all those years ago, and supported Elizabeth’s refusal of her cousin’s proposal, Charlotte would have never met and married Mr. Collins.

And now, seventeen long years after her wedding, she was here. The mistress of Longbourn. Second only to Netherfield Park, it was one of the most respectable estates in the area, belonging to one of its oldest families.

And now, it was hers.

“Was your journey pleasant?”

Charlotte jumped and looked over her shoulder. “I didn’t hear you come in. Forgive me, Mary. How do you do?”

“As well as can be expected, Mrs. Collins,” replied Mary Bennet.

“Please, call me Charlotte. We are such old neighbors,” said Mrs. Collins kindly.

“I think not,” Mary said plainly. “Nearly everything is packed. We shall be gone tomorrow.”

Mary turned and left the room, leaving a bewildered Charlotte behind her.

Charlotte shook off the feeling of guilt that had tried to settle on her shoulders and went upstairs to see to her children. She did not particularly enjoy her husband’s company, and she found the act of begetting children quite off-putting, but the results of her endurance were more than adequate recompense.

“Mother, have you considered my request?” asked a voice to her left.

She turned and looked into the face of Charlotte Rose, her eldest daughter. She was quite a pretty thing if Charlotte could say such about her own daughter. She had the look of her Aunt Maria about her.

“I have, Lottie, and since you have been so helpful throughout this move, I have decided to grant your request.”

“Oh!” the girl squealed, jumping on her toes and clasping her hands in front of her. “May I choose my chamber now?”

Before her mother could answer, the eldest of the Collins children ran off and began opening doors and comparing views. Charlotte shook her head at her enthusiasm.

“Oh, to be fifteen again!” she mumbled to herself.

She went into the nursery to help settle in her younger daughters.

Two years after her marriage, she had been delivered of a girl, Charlotte Rose, Lottie to her family. Only eighteen months later she had born a son, William John. He was followed in two-year increments by Catherine Ann and Mildred Grace. Believing she had done her duty, and not wishing to die in childbirth as her years increased alongside her womb’s fecundity, Charlotte told her husband she wished for no more children. Having birthed four babes, he couldn’t possibly expect more of her.

Mr. Collins acquiesced as she knew he would and no more was said about it.

Unfortunately, when young William was but five years old, he succumbed to a fever and was buried in the churchyard. Charlotte was devastated.

Within a year of his death, at thirty-seven years of age, Charlotte was with child. When she delivered a boy, she thanked God she would be spared further confinements. Lying in bed exhausted and spent, so happy and relieved was she that she didn’t hear her husband clearly at first when he suggested a name for the babe. She cuddled the white bundle closer to her and asked again what he had said.

“William, after his father. It’s fitting, don’t you think?” Mr. Collins said with an ingratiating smile.

He clearly had no idea of his suggestion being denied.

“We already had a son called William. Do you not remember, Mr. Collins?” she asked, her voice calm.

She remembered perfectly. How his skin had felt so hot and yet so thin, his cheeks flushed and his forehead clammy. She remembered how he had struggled for breath as she held him, praying with every fiber of her being for God to spare her only son. How she had bargained with fate, promising to be the best mother, the best wife, if only her boy would live! And how lost she had felt when the last ragged breath had left his body limp in her arms, his eyes unmoving, his chest eerily still.

She had let out a mighty wail the likes of which Hunsford had never heard, lost to everything but the profundity of her grief. She had not been practical Charlotte in that moment. She had been nothing but a mother, deprived of her life’s greatest achievement and proudest joy.

Her husband’s idiotic rambling brought her back to the conversation and his insulting suggestion.

“Well, yes, but, as the boy is no longer with us, a man wants his name to carry on, that is, I am his father…”

He spluttered on and Charlotte settled her eyes on the window, the church just visible in the distance, and next to it, the churchyard that held her beloved boy in its peaceful clasp.

“No, Mr. Collins, we will not,” she said simply.

He looked at her stupidly for a moment, but her eyes remained fixed on the window.

“What was that, my dear?” he asked.

“We will not name him William.”

“But surely, I am his father, my name, I must—”

“No,” she said forcefully. “I have already birthed and buried a son called William. There will not be another.”

Mr. Collins stood gaping at her, his mouth opening and closing like a fish.

“I shall call him Lucas Adam, after my family and my grandfather.” She looked at the baby fondly. “He was always kind to me.”

Mr. Collins had left the room then, and she had written it in the family Bible before he could argue further.

 

***

What did you think of the excerpt? Did it foster your curiosity? I particularly liked the tone Elizabeth Adams chose to start this story, it’s contemplative and soothing. Having read the full story, I liked to see what Charlotte’s life was and how everyone reacted to her becoming Mistress of Longbourn. It’s not very common for authors to venture in this idea, after all, who likes to see Charlotte and Mr. Collins taking over Longbourn? But I did like to see their trials in doing so, and I particularly liked reading the end of the story which will demonstrate the position the Collins’s will have in the neighborhood.

But to know how they will be seen and how they will act, you’ll have to read the story 🙂

 

You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

***It’s giveaway time***

Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the review I will post on the 25th of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

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48 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

48 responses to “Meryton Vignettes – Excerpt & Giveaway

  1. Glynis

    I have loved all Elizabeth’s books so far and am sure I will love this one. The Houseguest was one of the first JAFF books I bought and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t buy Green Card at first as I thought it wasn’t about Darcy and Elizabeth however I listened to a chat about it between Elizabeth and I think it was Beau North and realised that it was based on them so I bought it and I’m so glad I did. Then of course Unwilling was another winner. I look forward to your review on this one Rita.

    Like

  2. Sophia Rose

    Oh wow! I love that she explored this story of Charlotte and Collins at Longbourn. I look forward to reading this set of stories.

    Thanks for sharing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BeckyC

    Oh my! You have my attention! Looking forward to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Debbie Brown

    I’ve had my eye on this collection since it was released. Elizabeth Adams’ The Houseguest and Green Card are such great stories, so I figured this to be another winner. Your excerpt today proves it! I look forward to reading your review. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Theresa M

    I am a little surprised at how cool Mary is but love Charlotte standing up to Collins! I will have to read the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always imagine Charlotte standing up to Collins, I’m not sure why, but I never like it when she does not. I think she has a much stronger personality than him, so it makes more sense for this to happen, so I loved it too Theresa 🙂

      Like

  6. Poor Charlotte! Shunned by her old neighbors and friends because both are in a hard spot. And what a putz her husband can be! I am looking forward to reading this one.

    Like

  7. I felt so sorry for Charlotte to have to endure the loss of a child. I am so happy she didn’t let Mr. Collins force her to name the baby William and stuck to what she wanted and thought was right. Great excerpt, can’t wait to read more.

    Like

  8. I want to read more, and why is Mary so distance, surely they have somewhere to live

    Like

  9. Carole in Canada

    Poor Charlotte…the price she had to pay…looking forward to reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is tragic, but somehow I think she found contentment in her situation. I actually like when authors portray older versions of these characters and they have had tragic events in their life’s. I like the fatalism in that 🙂

      Like

  10. J. W. Garrett

    OMG!! I have always liked Charlotte. This was a really stirring excerpt. Thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to reading this. I have been watching the comments on GR and am anxious to read it. I haven’t read a story where Collins and Charlotte take over Longbourn. Somehow I have missed those. I look forward to seeing how she handles it… and Collins. He has no idea how to run an estate. If it succeeds, it will be because of Charlotte.

    Like

    • I agree with you, one of the things I most liked about this story was to see them return to Longbourn so many years later to take their rightful place (even if it’s hard to accept it). It’s not very common and it was interesting to see everyone’s reaction. And I agree, Mr. Collins is not prepared to run an estate, but is Charlotte prepared to be mistress?

      Like

  11. Ginna

    Sounds awesome! Terrific excerpt. More proof of Mr. Collins’ cluelessness. And what’s up with Mary? I’d like to read more, to find out why she had that reaction.

    Like

  12. Patricia Finnegan

    I love stories with Charlotte in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mary

    Rita,what a wonderful,touching and quite emotional excerpt. I’m delighted that Charlotte stood her ground and refused to name her second son William.

    Imagine the perversity of Mr C,his total lack of understanding,fatherly feeling and compassion for all his wife has suffered,to not only ‘encourage’ her to have another child,at such an age,but to want to call him the name of their son,buried but never forgotten by one of his parents,if not both.

    And yes,I agree that the atmosphere,theme and indeed initial tone of the story sets it apart from others. I’ve never read a story based on this premise,how interesting and intriguing of Ms Adams to begin in this fashion.
    Am looking forward to reading this book.

    Thank you for sharing this delightful snapshot!

    Like

  14. KateB

    A wonderful excerpt, it DID foster my curiosity. I would love to read this book.
    Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

    Like

  15. Mary

    Rita,what a wonderful excerpt!
    Ms Adams has certainly gone off on a tangent with this story,as I’ve never read a book detailing Charlotte’s life as Mistress of Longbourn. Quite an intriguing premise and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

    And yes,I agree the tone and atmosphere created in this excerpt is certainly different and to be admired!

    Was delighted to see Charlotte defying Mr C and asserting herself as the mother of this newborn child. Perhaps being ‘encouraged’ to give birth to another child was simply enough for her to say ‘this far and no further’.
    And who,under the circumstances,could blame her?

    Thank you for sharing this snapshot,Rita. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading this book.

    (This is my second comment,I thought I posted the first one but it ‘disappeared’ and I’m not sure if I lost it or it’s being processed. Apologies if two comments appear. Me and technology are not the best bedfellows!)

    Like

    • I think we will both be wishing for these short stories to become full length books Mary 🙂
      I loved the tone and the premise on this story.
      I think the first comment never got through, I never saw it 😦

      Like

  16. Elizabeth is back!! 🙂

    Very nice excerpt. I have to admit thatI have never given much thought about Charlotte actually becoming mistress of Longbournbut I think it may be interesting. However I felt for her when Mary talked to her like that. YEs,I know Mary could have suited Collins but Charlotte is nice.

    Like

  17. I often wonder how Charlotte and Mr Collins got along together. I always focus on the line from P&P when Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Mr Collins likes to spend time in his garden and that she, Charlotte, encourages it. Love that line, I can just imagine the knowing look that passes between the friends.

    Great excerpt, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  18. Looking forward to reading this but, Dec 2 might be too long to wait. I might just have to buy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lenora Robinson

    I look forward to reading this and to find out what was up with Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love reading about the lives of minor characters, especially since it gives me somewhat of a free reign imagining how Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives turned out (based on their recollections or tidbits of conversations). I’m looking forward to Caroline’s story of course 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve never before seen a tale set this far in the future of the life of Charlotte and William Collins. So glad she stood up to him over the naming of the new baby boy. Just goes to show how clueless he is over personal things like that. What mother could name a second baby after one who’d died?

    Like everyone else, I’m curious as to why Mary reacted as she did. I guess we’ll have to read the book to find out!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. A heart-breaking and at the same time breath-taking scene. Looking forward to learning the whole story. Many thanks for the excerpt and giveaway offer.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I have often wondered about Charlotte’s life with mr Collins. It must nit always have been easy, but who has an easy life after all. Still I felt for her & would love to know what happens to her.

    Like

  24. Pingback: Meryton Vignettes – Excerpt & Giveaway | elizabethadamswrites

  25. Sheila Majczan

    Eerily reading of their taking over of Longbourn…but in many books we read of that fact, just now a description of the day it, in fact, occurs. Sad to read of any child dying. Four children living and one dead, so now she can deny Mr. Collins his husband’s rights? I do hope so. La!

    Like

  26. Pingback: Meryton Vignettes Review & Giveaway | From Pemberley to Milton

  27. Karylee Marin

    Thank you for this exposure (and for the giveaway). I am seriously intrigued. If I weren’t already, your calling the book ‘delicious’ in your 11.25 review put me ‘over the edge.’ Thanks!

    Like

  28. Sarah

    I’ve loved every book of Elizabeth Adams’ so far! I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. When I discovered a listing of “Green Card” but couldn’t find it available on Amazon, I probably spent about an hour just tracking it down a place where I could buy it (successfully!). I was thrilled to discover that it was basically a modern variation on Pride and Prejudice. One of my favorite aspects, though, was that it was a modern that was *not* a straight retelling of the story! I love variations, moreso than just retellings of the story, but so many modern stories try to stick too closely to the original plot. It was an absolute delight and I’m so glad I bought it.

    I loved Unwilling and Houseguest, too, of course (in fact, the fact that just this evening I picked up Unwilling and started to reread it is what provoked me to check, yet again, to see if Adams had anything new available yet and led me to this post).

    I’m not usually fond of stories that focus on other characters than D&E or that take place far into the future… and yet I found this little glimpse into Charlotte’s future life compelling, as everything Adams has written seems to be. I had a feeling, when it mentions that Charlotte declared herself done after four children when only one was a male heir, that disaster might strike. After all, how many fanfics have Elizabeth Bennet have a male sibling who doesn’t survive? I’m impressed that she was able to continue forward, go back to Mr. Collins, and have another son, and I’m particularly impressed at her fortitude in insisting on not reusing the name. I look forward to seeing how things will continue for Charlotte now living at Longbourn with a son.

    Like

  29. Patricia Finnegan

    I love the excerpt included. Charlotte seems to speak up for herself.

    Liked by 1 person

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