Good Afternoon everyone,
Today I am hosting for the first time author Jayne Bamber who has just released the second book of the Friends & Relations Series. Have you heard of it before? Have you read any of the books in this series yet?
The Friends & Relations Series is an epic saga that peers into the lives of all of Jane’s Austen’s heroines, imagining them to inhabit a world where their lives and families are intertwined. Throughout this series, characters from all of Jane Austen’s major works will be revealed to have existing familial relationships, and will forge new connections as well.
One of my favourite things about it is that it is a mash-up, and I truly love mash-ups because they always bring something new to the story and force the author to get creative. When mash-ups put my favourite characters in the same story, then I consider them perfect, so I’m definitely adding this series to my TBR pile considering the first novel is a mash up of two of my favourite Austen books: Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility 🙂
Today Jayne Bamber is bringing you an excerpt of book 2 in the series, where you will recognise characters for even another novel. I hope you like it 🙂
Lady Rebecca began to see why her cousin Emma should be so vexed with Miss Fairfax’s reserve. How could it be possible for anyone related to Miss Bates to be so very reticent?
“I am sure you must find it very dull to be back here in Highbury,” Emma replied, “after so many months at the seaside. How I long to see it! I have never been to the sea, you know – it quite fills me with envy!”
Smirking to herself, Rebecca interjected. “It is certainly a subject of no little curiosity to myself, but I happen to have heard of Sanditon, though I understand it is still an up-and-coming little place. I made the acquaintance of your friend Colonel Campbell, I think, for such a man was introduced to me not six weeks ago, by the foremost man of Sanditon himself, Sidney Parker. Are you at all acquainted with Mr. Parker?”
Here Miss Fairfax blushed even deeper as she owned that she was a little acquainted with him, as he was often visiting both Colonel Campbell and Mr. Dixon. “How unlikely it seems,” she said timidly, “that you should have met in London! Only think, they were little more than a week in the capital, and made your acquaintance, and then you came here and met me.”
“In fact, my acquaintance with Mr. Sidney Parker is of somewhat longer duration,” Rebecca continued. “We met at a ball last September, and he regaled us with many fine descriptions of the famous Sanditon. I believe my cousin Georgiana now shares Emma’s desire to see it all for herself. But I understand he left London last October, and has been these last five months in Sanditon, just as you have – no doubt your acquaintance with him must exceed my own. Such an interesting character, is he not?”
“Oh yes,” Emma cried, “is he half as charming as Mr. Dixon?”
“I found the society in Sanditon generally quite pleasing,” Miss Fairfax replied. “I enjoyed my stay there very much, but I am just as happy to be where I am now, at home in Highbury.”
Emma and Rebecca exchanged a glance of disappointment at Miss Fairfax’s dull reply, for it contained very little to interest them. Rebecca was eager to discuss Mr. Parker at some length, though she supposed that perhaps it was best they did not, as Miss Fairfax might yet become a servant in the same household in which she resided.
She was moved to approach the topic which had brought her and Emma thither. “And yet, I hear you are not long for Highbury – Mary informs me you mean to seek out a position as a governess.”
“Yes,” Miss Fairfax replied. “I shall delay it until the summer, I think.”
“I suppose it cannot be put off much longer than that,” Miss Bates began to lament. “I am certain the Campbells would keep Jane with them forever if they could; really, I do not see why they should not, or perhaps Jane might find work here in the village will not hear of it. She insists that she shall seek out a position in just a few months’ time, no later than summer’s end. But at least we have her here with us now, and must make the best of our time together before she has to go away. I only hope we can find her a good position, one not too far away, and perhaps with kindly people who will let her come and visit us very often.”
Rebecca smiled. “What if she were to find a position right here in Highbury? Would its taking place earlier than summer not be offset by the very great convenience of having Jane settled at such an easy distance from you?”
“Why, I cannot think of how such a thing would be possible, indeed I cannot,” Miss Bates replied, but Rebecca could see some degree of understanding in Miss Fairfax’s countenance.
“We are speaking of Hartfield, of course,” Emma said encouragingly. “As you may recall, John was obliged to replace the nanny last week, and though it has only been a few days since he put an advertisement in the paper, I believe we cannot wait much longer to fill the position. Only think of how perfect it is, that Miss Fairfax should come to Hartfield and be a governess to all the little Knightleys!”
“Oh my goodness,” Miss Bates cried, fluttering with excitement. “But of course, I daresay I should have thought of it sooner, silly me! Oh yes, I can think of nothing more perfect, nothing more desirable, indeed. Oh, Jane, I wonder you did not have such a thought, for you are such a clever girl, and you arrived the very same morning Mr. John Knightley was obliged to dismiss the nanny. It seems like fate!”
“I – I had meant to wait until summer,” Miss Fairfax stammered.
“But Jane,” Miss Bates replied, “they may not have a position available come summer. It is very unfortunate Mr. John Knightley should have such bad luck in retaining the services of a governess, but perhaps they should find a new one, who decides to remain for many years – then you shall have to go away, far, far away I am sure, and I shall never see you!”
“I do not know that we shall find a suitable replacement very soon,” Emma said carefully, “but it is possible that once one is found, she might stay so long as to necessitate that Miss Fairfax must seek work elsewhere, come summer.”
“Indeed,” Rebecca agreed. “There is no certainty regarding what the future may hold. However, there is an opportunity now. What say you, Miss Fairfax?”
After another quarter hour of deliberation, it was agreed between the four of them, for the elderly Mrs. Bates made no contribution to their conversation whatsoever, that Jane Fairfax would accept the role of governess at Hartfield.
Unexpected Friends & Relations
Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.
Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.
Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.
Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in the area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.
Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.
Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as well as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.
After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations pursue destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.
You can find Unexpected Friends & Relations at:
Please note that this is the second volume of the series so reading Book 1 first is highly recommended. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the blurb:
Happier in her Friends than Relations
In this angsty fusion of two of Jane Austen’s most beloved novels, Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, the actions of their sisters cause challenging chain reactions for one of literature’s most celebrated couples….
Fitzwilliam Darcy is faced with a family crisis of epic proportions after the fallout of his sister Georgiana’s ill-fated elopement in Ramsgate, while his friend Charles Bingley is persuaded to abandon his scheme of renting Netherfield Park.
Elizabeth Bennet journeys to London to recover her spirits after Jane’s unexpected marriage changes the sisters’ relationship forever, and despite an attempted reconciliation, Jane is revealed to be far from the angel Elizabeth has always admired.
The bonds of friendship offer Elizabeth a lifeline after a series of tragic events causes her to fear for her future. The support she receives from her new neighbor Marianne Brandon, and snarky socialite Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam, may yet prove to heal her broken heart and bring her closer to a happily ever after. The wide array of characters from throughout Austen’s works teach Elizabeth Bennet that she is truly happier in her friends than relations.
You can find Happier in her Friends than Relations at:
Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.
Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.
After years of dating Wickhams, Collinses, and the occasional Tilney-that-got-away, Jayne married her very own Darcy (tinged with just the right amount of Mr. Palmer) and the two live together in Texas with a pair of badly behaved rat terriers, and a desire to expand their menagerie of fur babies.
Jayne Bamber would like to offer one copy of Unexpected Friends & Relations to my readers, the giveaway is international and to enter it, all you have to do is comment on this post and click on this link which will take you into rafflecopter.
Good Luck everyone!