How are you this week? I have travelled south and am currently spending a few days in sunny Algarve. The weather is great, the beaches are incredible and the company could not be better, so I can’t complain about June so far 🙂
On the literary side, I’m very happy to receive Don Jacobson today who is releasing a new book with Meryton Press, and guess what? It is a stand alone completely unrelated to the Wardrobe Series!
This full length romance takes a different take on Pride & Prejudice with the social roles being flipped. But I’ll let you read the blurb in a second, I just wanted to say what an honour it is to once more reveal a cover designed by the wonderful Janet Taylor. I love every single cover she works on and this one is no exception! I’m thrilled to share it with you today, and I am very curious to know your opinion about it.
“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”
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 break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.
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
Curious about the cover? Here it is:
What do you think of it? I bet this isn’t what you were expecting, is it? This is definitely not the usual regency cover we often see in JAFF books, and I love the choice the author and the designer took to differentiate it based on the story itself. These workers will be pertinent to the story and it is up to your imagination to discover how…But could they represent someone that might be in plain sight, but not recognised? One name in particular comes to my mind 🙂
I love the detail that Janet always puts in her covers, and the palette of colours always seems to captivate me, this one in particular reminded me of my favourite painter, Vincent Van Gogh. I’m very curious about this book and I cannot wait to read it, the cover did that to me 🙂
But you haven’t seen the back cover yet, you probably know that my love for back covers is equal to the one I have for front covers and this one kept me thinking..
So, what is your opinion? I am very curious to know why we see different social classes on the front and back cover. Why do we see workers in the front and the gentry in the back? Does that mean anything? I love looking for clues in the covers Janet Taylor works on. She usually adds something of significance in the cover, and it has become a habit of mine to try to find it. Also, have you noticed how the woman sitting on the last row is looking back at that gentlemen as if they are discussing something of import? What could they be talking about? And why are the ladies in the back trying to listen to their conversation? Where are they looking?
Don Jacobson gives you more intel on the cover in the following guest post, and he even answers some of my questions, so if you’re curious, don’t skip it 🙂
Thank you, Rita, for hosting the cover reveal for my latest novel, In Plain Sight. The book is a Pride and Prejudice Variation of about 120,000 words in length, soon to be published by Meryton Press.
I am absolutely in love with this cover. Of course, having the amazing Janet Taylor at the drawing pad (oh, do not pick on me for being a throwback!) makes all the difference. Her superb eye finds the essential “it” in every piece of art. Her touch is evident in each element of the wrapper…front/spine/back. Nuances of added color draw the viewer much like Darcy passing Elizabeth through the line of dance: gently and elegantly with supreme confidence.
As with many of our collaborations, I suggested the front cover artwork to Janet. La Seconde Récolte (~1879) by Julien Dupre spoke to me of the whole idea that most of the population of Regency Great Britain was hidden in plain sight from the elites. My interest in this unseen (and the vast majority) group led me to consider using this as a device to explore the complexities of the Darcy and Elizabeth dynamic. After all, those of us in the enlightened 21st Century recognize that all individuals—rich or rude—have the desire to be loved and the capacity to love. Dupre’s harvesters are from the lesser classes.
The back cover artwork is one of Janet’s discoveries and demonstrates the inverted lives of the ton when compared to that of the farmworkers. The painting also recalls the crux event in the book. I hope that readers will appreciate that this was the froth that was the lives lived by the upper reaches in counterpoint to the gritty reality of the existence of the lessers.
Many readers have engaged in my work through either The Bennet Wardrobe Series or the Lessers and Betters stories. All of those books feature secondary characters in the P&P universe. Truthfully, I did not have the courage earlier in my career to offer an original ODC story. However, I was never allowed to rest and continue delving into a world with which I was familiar. N-o-o-o-o, my good writing friends, Lory Lilian and Joana Starnes, pestered me every time a Bennet Wardrobe book published. When are you going to write a Darcy and Elizabeth story? When will we see how you would do it? Don’t you think you would enjoy writing an ODC?
Well, dear friends…thanks to you I did it. I found a way to overcome my fears, and I never would have done it without you, Lory and Joana, as well as the fine folks at Meryton Press. I am proud of In Plain Sight. Its truth resonates and has an authenticity that, I hope, will offer a different experience for fans of #Austenesque fiction.
On Oakham Mount, October 1, 1811
… Elizabeth clutched her pelisse about her as the breeze cut to the bone. As the gusts increased in intensity, thickening strati scudded above. Dark clouds raised their hunched shoulders above St. Albans to the north. Hertfordshire weather, capricious as always, was changing its mind yet again.
The young woman—her decision made—stood and, bowing her head, made her way toward the point where the trail down to Longbourn cut through the turfy cornice crowning the peak, although only in rolling Hertfordshire would this hump be counted an alp. For as long as she could remember, this trailhead had been marked by an overhanging gnarled elm. As she approached the small gully cut through the rim, the tree, which had been swaying wildly, gave up the effort to retain its grip in the over-soaked soil. It tipped and, with a resounding crash, ripped free of the hillside and plunged into the path, its root ball exposed to the heavens and blocking any access to the route.
Even so, Elizabeth Bennet was not daunted. She was thankful that she had not been seconds faster on her feet. There was another footpath that dropped down the hill’s southwest slope toward the Mimram circling its base. This track was less well traveled.
While ’tis longer, what is an extra mile or two when my only alternative would have been to sooner endure Mama’s fulminations and Collins’s attentions? I can follow the river road back toward where it passes through Meryton and intersects Longbourn Lane. I shall be home in time to closet myself with Papa and devise a strategy to keep the peace while thwarting both Mama and Mr. Collins.
Gathering her skirts, she sped across the grass, splashing through day-old puddles and dampening her half boots until she reached the other path’s entrance. Lizzy peered downhill with rising dismay. Clearly, few if any employed the track connecting the river road and the summit. The way was overgrown with hawthorn brambles and weed stalks. Furthermore, it dropped into the shadows of woods that had not seen a forester in decades—if not centuries. The dimness beneath the overhanging boughs left Lizzy with a fell sentiment knotting her stomach.
Yet, there was nothing for it. With a last look behind her at the gray wall sweeping southwards toward her, Lizzy plunged downward.
As she moved through the forest, though, Lizzy did as she always had when rubbing shoulders with nature. She gave voice to her joy at being free of Mama’s glowering. Surrounded by the wonders of Hertfordshire’s varied countryside, Elizabeth sang and reveled in the way her rich soprano echoed off Oakham Mount’s southern ledges.
She hurried to make up for the time that was sure to be lost with the extra mile added to her walk. Elizabeth was aware of the opprobrium her mother would heap upon her shoulders for her tardiness. Haste, though, was not to be the enemy of good sense. Lizzy placed her feet with care lest she also have to explain to Mama why her skirts were coated in muck from hem to hip and not just the six inches the laundry maid had come to expect.
However, as Robert Burns mused about the best-laid plans…
As the forest brightened, indicating her approach to the road, Lizzy relaxed for a moment, looking up to gauge the remaining distance before she would be on a graded surface—at which point, her foot caught an exposed root, sending her tumbling head over heels down the hillside.
As she rolled off the path and onto the roadway, Lizzy’s bonnet flew free as it was caught by a gust, and it landed in the opposite ditch.
Huffing in disgust as she hauled herself to her feet, Lizzy realized her headgear had gone missing. Scanning the area around her, the bonnet was not immediately visible. Rather than abandoning the wayward chapeau—and aware that a vision of her hatless self would set tongues to wagging—young Miss Bennet widened her search.
After a brief reconnoiter, her eye was attracted to a flash of color on the far side of the ditch. Her bonnet rested brim-down on a dry patch of grass, looking none the worse for wear. The sounds of the rushing Mimram, hidden from view by the far bank, drowned out the wind moving through the trees.
Already a sodden mess, Lizzy shrugged, clambered down the embankment, and gingerly stepped into the weedy pool filling the sump. She focused on shuffling through the murk to avoid a freezing dunk. The water passed her half boots, filling them, and swirled up her calves. The discomfort quickly surpassed the inconvenience of wet feet. Throughout all of this, her eyes remained glued on her prize.
Biting her lower lip to stop her teeth from chattering, Elizabeth snagged the errant bonnet and clamped it over her unruly hair. She swiftly tied the ribbons beneath her chin and steeled herself for the return trip.
Then, from corner of her eye, she caught a slight movement amongst the grassy sedge about ten feet to her right and just below the road’s verge. Scoffing at the way she had jumped, Lizzy dismissed the rustling as a chance zephyr stirring the plants rather than evidence of anything more substantial…and dangerous.
She had almost calmed herself when the foliage, about two feet tall, shook with such violence that Lizzy let out a squeak and propelled herself across the mire and up onto the roadway. Her eyes never left the spot where the movement had originated.
Like a filly not only aware of the bridle in her groom’s hand but also entranced by the apple slice proffered by the other, Lizzy skittishly approached the trough’s lip. As she carefully looked down into the gully, she apprehended nothing…at first.
Then the brush was parted by a pair of hands followed by a face, misshaped by a rictus of unaccountable pain, surging up the slope toward her. The man’s gasp of inhaled breath—for ’twas a man—painfully conquered the river’s roar.
Like a castaway rising from the surf, he collapsed about three feet short of the rim, a wine-dark stain coloring his forearm.
The blog tour for In Plain Sight will begin in a few days and Don will be visiting again on the 22nd of June, so stop by to know more about this book. And of course, don’t forget to visit all the other blogs, each stop will have different information 🙂